CHI07LA024
CHI07LA024

On November 15, 2006, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Maule MX-7-180B, N4159K, equipped with amphibious floats, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged while landing on Wixom Lake near Edenville, Michigan. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot drowned. The exact flight itinerary was not determined. The airplane was based at Jack Barstow Airport (3BS), Midland, Michigan.

A witness reported seeing the airplane approaching to land on Wixom Lake about 1520. There were no witnesses to the accident. At 1602, a boater contacted local authorities to report an over turned sailboat in the lake. Upon arrival at the scene, emergency crews observed the accident airplane inverted in the water. The pilot was subsequently recovered from the airplane.

A witness located in a wooded area approximately 3 miles south of the accident site reported that he saw a propeller-driven airplane with floats flying northbound between 1430 and 1500. He noted that it appeared to be in level flight and the "engine was running very smoothly." He stated that approximately 5 minutes prior to seeing that airplane, he observed three military airplanes fly over at "tree top level." One was maneuvering, apparently to join formation with the other two. The flight of three aircraft proceeded northbound. He stated that the propeller-driven airplane was "considerably higher" than the military airplanes.

A post accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. At the time of the examination, the landing gear on the amphibious floats was in the retracted position and the landing gear selector handle was in the up position.

The aircraft maintenance logbooks were normally kept in the airplane and were not recovered.

Weather conditions recorded at the MBS International Airport (MBS), located 21 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the accident site, at 1553, were: Winds from 040 degrees at 7 knots, 7 statute miles (sm) visibility, and clear skies.

Conditions recorded at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport (MOP), located 20 nm southwest of the accident site, at 1535, were: Winds from 050 degrees at 5 knots, 10 sm visibility, and clear skies.

The pilot's logbook was reviewed. The logbook indicated that the pilot accumulated a total flight time of 134 hours. He added a single-engine sea airplane rating to his pilot certificate on September 11, 1999. The log indicated a total of 6.4 hours of seaplane flight time at the time of the checkride. His next logged flight was on August 31, 2006, in the accident airplane. He logged 13 flights, totaling 24.3 hours, between August 31st and November 12th, all in the accident airplane. Of those flights, the initial 8 were logged as "Dual Received", with a total flight time of 17.0 hours. The final 5 flights were logged as "Pilot in Command" only, with a total flight time of 7.3 hours.

Wixom Lake is located about 1 mile north of Edenville, Michigan. The main portion of the lake extends northeast approximately 4 miles and measures about 1/2 mile wide at the south end.

The Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Chapter 7 - Section 3, noted the characteristics and avoidance procedures for aircraft wake turbulence. It noted that vortex avoidance procedures include avoiding flight below a large aircraft's flight path, and ensuring at least a 2-minute separation interval for landings or takeoffs.

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