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On November 11, 2006, approximately 1435 central standard time, a single-engine McCutchan Glasair experimental airplane, N606MC, was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a loss of control while landing at the Mineral Wells Airport (MWL), near Mineral Wells, Texas. The private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual metrological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight departed from the Mason County Airport (T92) approximately 1330, and was returning to Mineral Wells.
A witness reported observing the airplane moving from northwest to southeast as it was spiraling downward. The witness observed about two spin turns before the airplane impacted the ground in a pronounced nose down attitude, and "there was no fire or movement seen at that time."
According to airport records, on October 28, 2006, the airplane was "topped-off" with 16.3 gallons of 100 LL aviation fuel before the pilot departed on a flight for Houston, Texas. No other refueling records for the airplane were located at the home-base airport. Additionally, no record of fuel purchases were located at either Houston, Texas, or Mason, Texas.
The 55-year old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot had been granted an authorization for a special issuance of a third-class medical certificate on October 6, 2005, with the restriction "Not valid for any class after October 31, 2006." Complete pilot flight records were not located; however, at the time of the medical application, the pilot reported having accumulated a total of 1,000-hours, with 75 hours in the last 6 months. The last recorded date for flying N606MC was on April 6, 2006, and at that time the pilot had accumulated 76-hours in that particular airplane.
The McCutchan Glasair was an experimental single-engine, low-wing, fixed tri-cycle landing gear, two-place airplane, serial number 606, that was manufactured by Roy McCutchan in 1988. Records show that the registration transfer of the airplane to the pilot was on December 6, 2004.
The airplane was powered by a single Lycoming O-320-H2AD engine, rated at 180-horsepower, with serial number L-6898-76. The two-bladed propeller, serial number 468768AT76LK, was manufactured by the Prince Aircraft Company.
According to the former owner of the airplane, the fuel tank capacity was 40 gallons, with 6 gallons in the header tank, and at normal cruise speed, the airplane would burn about 8 gallons per hour. He added that the normal procedure in a low fuel state condition was to place the fuel selector to the header position, which normally provided a 45-minute reserve.
Maintenance records for the airplane were not located.
At 1453, the automated surface observation system at MWL reported wind from 020 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.27 inches of Mercury.
The pilot reported a five-mile and then a two-mile final to runway 31 on the airport's Unicom frequency (122.725 MHz). On both transmissions, the pilot's voice was reported as calm and clear, and did not indicate any type of problem.
The Mineral Wells Airport is located 3 miles southeast of Mineral Wells, Texas, at an elevation of 974 feet. The airport does not have a control tower, but has a local area common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) that also serves as a non-governmental communication facility (UNICOM), which provides airport information. The airport features two runways. Runway 13/31 is 5,996 feet long and 100 feet wide, with an asphalt surface. Runway 17/35 is 4,188 feet long and 100 feet wide, with an asphalt surface.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage of the airplane was located in an open field about 1.68 miles southeast of the airport. The Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates recorded at the accident site were latitude 32 degrees 45.939 minutes North, longitude 98 degrees 02.291 minutes West, with a field elevation of 770 feet mean sea level. Examination of the wreckage revealed that all aircraft components were located within 40 feet of the accident site. Flight control continuity was established throughout the airplane to the ailerons, elevators, and rudder from the center of the fuselage. One propeller blade was separated and imbedded in the impact crater. The other propeller blade was still attached to the engine. No rotational signatures were observed on either blade. Wing and header (reserve) fuel tanks were breached. The fuel selector position was found in the "header tank" position. There were no blight, stains, or odors of fuel present at the accident site.
Thumb suction and compression were obtained on all cylinders. Crankshaft and valve train continuity were observed. The magneto was impact displaced, and the ignition wires were destroyed, but spark was observed at the ignition wire ends on the left side only. The oil sump was breached, and an unmeasured amount of engine oil was observed under the engine. The carburetor inlet fuel screen was removed and observed clear of contaminants. No fuel was observed within the float chamber of the carburetor.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
An autopsy was performed on the pilot on November 12, 2006 at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's District Morgue in Fort Worth, Texas, by a medical examiner from the center, with the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries.
Toxicological testing on the pilot was performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) Forensic and Accident Research Center, near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs. The results of these tests were reported as negative.
The airplane was released to the owner's family on November 13, 2006.