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On September 3, 2006, about 1750 eastern daylight time, a Luscombe 8A, N71927, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during initial climb after departing from the McGinley Airport, Ocala, Florida. The certificated private pilot and the passenger were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the previsions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Witnesses stated to the Marion County Sheriff's Deputies that they saw the airplane on the north side of the runway. They drove toward the airplane to inquire why the airplane had landed on the private strip. As they approach the airplane, it started to taxi toward the north end of the runway, turned around and started heading south. At first they believed the airplane was taxing to them. The airplane did not seem to gain speed quickly. The tail came off the ground and several seconds later the main wheels started to bounce until the airplane became airborne. It appeared the airplane was flying in ground effect, as it flew past their vehicle. The airplane was flying very slow and the engine did not sound like it was at full power. The airplane started climbing very slow, when it reached about 80 feet above the ground and 200 yards south of County Road 484, it turned to the left, east bound. The airplane stalled in a nose high attitude, the left wing dropped and the airplane nosed over and went straight into the ground.
TEST AND RESEARCH
The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that the airplane impacted a crop field about 3 tenths of mile from where it departed. An examination of the wreckage was conducted. Control continuity between the rudder, elevators and ailerons controls were established. The engine was rotated by hand and there was fuel in both tanks.
A representative of Teledyne Continental Motors under FAA oversight examined the airplane wreckage at a salvage facility, after recovery. The FAA inspector confirmed flight control continuity and engine control continuity. The fuel selector was observed in the left tank position. Recovery personnel stated to the FAA inspector that both tanks had (auto) fuel in them at the time of recovery. The engine's crankshaft was rotated and continuity was confirmed to all of the cylinders and to the rear of the engine. Thumb compression was established to all cylinders. The oil sump was breached by the carburetor. The oil screen was clean with no metal deposits. The top spark plugs were unremarkable. Both magnetos produced spark at the terminals when hand rotated. The carburetor incurred impact damage and was separated below the throttle valve. The fuel screen was clean and clear. One of the propeller blades was bent and twisted as the other was slightly twisted, both in the direction of rotation. The inspection of the engine did not reveal any abnormalities that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated horsepower. Review of the airplane's maintenance records showed the airplane's last inspection to the engine was completed on April 19, 2005. The airplane had a 100 hour inspection on May 6, 2006. Discrepancies were found at that time and documented in the maintenance logbook. No corrective action entries were made for those discrepancies.
The pilot's last medical, a second class, was on April 23, 1984, and at that time he reported 85 total hours of flight experience. The pilot's flight logbook reflected that he started flying again on December 11, 2004. The last entry, August 20, 2006, reflected a total of 215 hours of flight time. At the time of the accident, the pilot had a current and valid Louisiana driver's license. The accident airplane met the Light-sport aircraft category requirements.
A hand written pre-takeoff checklist was located at the wreckage and read in the following order: blood sugar test, tank select, altimeter set, controls free, trim set, seat belt, oil pressure, mag/carb heat check, traffic clear, and log hobb & T/O time. The Marion County Sheriff's representative discovered several prescription medications among the personal effects of the persons on board.
A family member of the pilot stated that the pilot quit flying about 30 years prior to the accident due to diabetes, and then started flying again about a year and a half prior to the accident when he obtained a Sport Pilot certificate and purchased the accident airplane. The family member added that the pilot had flown the airplane from coast to coast, and that on the day of the accident, flew from Louisiana to Gainesville, Florida, to visit his son. Later in the day he went to Ocala to visit his daughter from his first marriage. They were, more than likely, on a "joy ride" at the time of the accident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
Postmortem examination of the pilot and passenger were preformed by Christena L. Roberts, M.D., Medical Examiner District 5, Leesburg, Florida. The cause of death was listed for the pilot as fractures of base of skull, and that the pilot used an insulin pump. The cause of death for the passenger was listed as atlantoaxial dislocation with pontomedullary laceration.
Toxicological testing of specimens obtained from the pilot was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory (CAMI). The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol in the blood. Levels of Fluoxetine and Norfluxetine were detected in the blood and liver. Levels of Donepezil were present in the blood and urine. Toxicological testing of the passenger's specimens was preformed by Wuesthoff Reference Laboratory, Melbourne, Florida. No alcohol, drugs or other stimulants were detected in the passenger's blood.