On December 2, 2006, about 1600 Pacific standard time, a Holloway RV6A amateur-built experimental airplane, N914C, collided with ocean water about 500 yards off Horsefall Beach, located about 2 miles northwest of North Bend, Oregon. The airplane sank and is presumed destroyed, and the two occupants, a private pilot and a passenger, were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the passenger and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane departed from Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend at an unknown time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to information provided by the Coos County Sheriff's Office, witnesses reported that they saw a small airplane traveling at a high rate of speed flying parallel to Horsefall Beach in a northerly direction. A few moments later, they saw the same airplane fly southbound in a similar fashion and nose into the ocean about 500 yards off of the beach. Sheriff's Office personnel reported that the weather conditions at the time were clear and sunny with a temperature near 55 degrees F. A search of the area using boats and a helicopter revealed an oil slick and several small pieces of floating debris. The passenger's body was recovered on December 7, 2006, approximately 4 miles south of the accident site. The pilot's body was recovered on December 16, 2006, approximately 40 miles north of the accident site, near Florence, Oregon. Small pieces of wreckage washed ashore; however, the majority of the airplane was not recovered.
During a telephone interview conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), a witness reported that he was standing on the beach with his back to the water when he caught sight of the airplane to his left, about 1/2 mile north of his position. It was about 500 feet above ground level in a slightly nose down attitude (about 15 degrees nose low) with the wings "near vertical." The port wing was facing up and the belly of the airplane was facing towards him. The airplane was descending and when it was about half way to the ground, the "wings fluttered," and the airplane entered a steeper dive. The airplane's "nose went even more vertical," and the airplane accelerated towards the water. He saw the water splash when the airplane hit the ocean. It hit nose first, then starboard wing, and sank immediately. He did not hear any sound at all, except the impact with the water.
A second witness was also interviewed by the NTSB IIC. This witness reported that he was riding in a friend's truck, and they were driving south along the beach. He had seen the accident airplane flying with another airplane a couple of hours earlier. When he saw the airplane earlier, it was "a lot higher," it was "not doing tricks," and it was following the coastline. When he saw the airplane for the second time, it was "pretty low" maybe about 500 feet above ground level. It went by his position going north, flying parallel to the shoreline. He had the window rolled down, and he could hear the airplane's engine running. The airplane turned and went south. It was a "real tight, real fast" turn. He lost sight of the airplane for a couple of seconds and when he saw it again, it was directly offshore from his position in the truck. The airplane was "flying just fine but was real low," maybe 200 to 300 feet above ground level. It "went sideways" so that he could see the top of the airplane and then immediately nose-dived into the ocean. The wing and nose hit at about the same time, and the airplane sank immediately.
The airplane's maintenance records were not located during the investigation. FAA records indicated that the airplane was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate in the amateur built category on August 19, 2005. The records listed the passenger as the builder of the airplane.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. His most recent medical certificate was a third class medical issued on May 23, 2005, with no limitations. On the application for this medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had a total flight time of 285 hours with 3 hours flown in the past 6 months. The passenger held a student pilot certificate/third class medical issued on October 27, 2005, with the limitation, must wear corrective lenses. On the application for this medical certificate, the passenger reported that he had a total flight time of 40 hours with no hours flown in the past 6 months.
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted on December 19, 2006, at the Sacred Heart Medical Center Morgue in Eugene, Oregon by a Deputy State Medical Examiner. The cause of death determined was severe blunt trauma. Toxicological tests conducted by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs. Ethanol was detected in the samples; however, the report noted that the ethanol found was from sources other than ingestion.