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On July 28, 2007, about 1437 eastern daylight time, N98MF, operated and registered by Opus Motorsports LLC as an experimental exhibition BD02 airplane, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during an airshow maneuver at the James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY), near Dayton, Ohio. A post impact fire occurred. The aerobatic flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The accident airplane and another airplane departed from DAY as a local flight of two performers in the airshow.
A news reporter near the airshow, in part, stated:
We watched while [the pilot] and his partner waited on the ground
(at opposite ends of the runway) for the audio cue to take off.....they
did a low level flip on their sides...then into the maneuvers....with
smoke trail. At the top of the loops...they spiraled down....[The accident
pilot] was headed to show LEFT.....I saw his plane do a few barrel
rolls...disappear for a split second in a wisp of smoke still on the
ground.....then hit the ground......[I] saw sparks ... then the plane
skidded to a stop and [burst] into flames.
Pictures and videotapes of the accident showed that while the airplane was on its down-line there was smoke and haze consistent with the smoke oil used by the aerobatic aircraft in the performer's box and a cloud ceiling was also observed above the box.
The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with multi-engine and single-engine land airplanes, rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate for single-engine airplane, rotorcraft, and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued a FAA second-class medical certificate on March 9, 2007. The operator accident report indicated that he had accumulated a total flight time of 3,000 hours and that he had accumulated over 2,000 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. He also held a mechanic certificate for airframe and power plant.
N98MF was registered as an Opus Motorsports LLC BD02 single-seat aerobatic biplane, with conventional landing gear. The airplane was modified from a stock Pitts S2S. A 400-horsepower Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 engine, serial number L-52082-06, which had been modified from a stock 260 horsepower engine, powered the airplane. An airplane logbook endorsement showed that the airplane was inspected by a FAA Aviation Safety Inspector and determined to meet the requirements for an experimental exhibition special airworthiness certificate on February 8, 2007.
At 1356, the recorded weather at DAY was: Wind 010 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; sky condition few clouds 1,900 feet, broken 3,100 feet; temperature 25 degrees C; dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 29.92 inches of mercury.
DAY had two grooved asphalt and concrete runways, 6L/24R and 18/36. DAY also had one grooved concrete runway 6R/24L. Runway 6L/24R was 10,900 feet long and 150 feet wide. Runway 18/36 was 8,502 feet long and 150 feet wide. Runway 6R/24L was 7,001 feet long and 150 feet wide.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
According to the FAA Inspector who conducted the initial on-scene examination of the wreckage, N98MF came to rest upright near runway 24R at 39 degrees 54' 25" north latitude, 084 degrees 13' 23" west longitude. The inspector reported that the aircraft had initially impacted terrain at 39 degrees 54' 28" north latitude, 084 degrees 13' 17" west longitude. After the on scene investigation was performed, the aircraft was recovered to a hangar at the airport for further detailed examination.
The FAA Inspector, along with an air safety investigator from Textron Lycoming and a safety representative from Aviat Aircraft Inc., conducted a detailed examination of the wreckage at the hangar. The examination revealed consumption of the fuselage fabric and charring of the wood spars consistent with a ground fire. The fuselage and bottom wings exhibited compression damage consistent with a near flat impact attitude. Both main landing gear tubular steel truss assemblies were splayed outward and rearward. All portions of the aircraft were located at the main wreckage site, and control continuity was established for all aircraft control surfaces. The engine remained attached to the fuselage and the bottom of the engine cowl exhibited scaring consistent with ground contact. The propeller hub remained attached to the crankshaft. One propeller blade was broken off at its base. Another blade was broken about six inches outboard of the hub. The third blade was broken about one foot outboard of the hub. The engine rotated by hand during the examination and continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drive was obtained. Each cylinder produced a thumb compression when the engine was rotated. A borescope examination of each cylinder interior revealed no anomalies. Both magnetos produced a spark when they were rotated by hand. No airplane or engine anomalies were detected that would have precluded operation of the airplane.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.
The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report stated that "IBUPROFEN" was detected in blood sample.
The parties to the investigation included the FAA, Textron Lycoming, and Aviat Aircraft Inc.