ATL07LA119
ATL07LA119

On August 26, 2007, at 1022 eastern daylight time, a Cessna P206, N904DZ, crashed into an open field in Center Hill, Florida. The certificated commercial pilot was killed and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight was operated as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from the Herlong Airport (HEG), Jacksonville, Florida, on August 26, 2007, at 0524.

According to the Jacksonville, Florida Sumter County Sheriff's Department, the pilot/employee of Skydive Jacksonville, in Jacksonville, Florida, took a company aircraft before business hours and departed from HEG with intentions to attempt suicide. The pilot’s girlfriend alerted the Sheriff’s Department that the pilot had called her at 0400, as he was depressed over their recent breakup. She told officers he was planning to use a small airplane to attempt suicide. She further stated, he had been drinking and taking medication. According to the Herlong Aviation fixed base operator, the pilot fueled the airplane with 64 gallons of 100LL fuel prior to his departure. Police officers arrived at HEG at 0524 and observed the airplane taking off and departing to the southwest.

According to the Florida Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) received the first Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) ping at 1022. The wreckage was located 100 nautical miles southwest of HEG by the CAP at 1530.

The pilot, age 25, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane, issued on February 9, 2007, and a first-class medical certificate issued on April 26, 2007, with no limitations.

The six-seat, high wing, fixed gear airplane, was manufactured in 1965. It was powered by a Continental IO-520, 285-horsepower engine, and equipped with a Hartzell model PHC-J3YF-1RF, propeller.

A review of the airplane’s logbooks found that the airplane’s last annual inspection was performed on July 29, 2007. According to the inspection write up, the Tachometer time was 888.8 hours, and the airframe total time was 6,496 hours.

Examination of the wreckage by representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Cessna Aircraft Company, and Continental Motors, found that the airplane had impacted into an open field on a magnetic heading of 145 degrees. The debris path from the initial impact to where the main wreckage came to rest was 275 feet. The engine, which separated during the impact sequence, continued for another 470 feet beyond the main wreckage. Both wings separated from the fuselage and the cabin/cockpit was crushed exposing the structure inside. The airplane structure was heavily fragmented with multiple impact signatures. The flaps were in the full up position. The elevator trim tab measured 5 degrees tab down. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed for all the input controls and aerodynamic surfaces. The mixture, throttle, and propeller controls in the cockpit were found full forward. The fuel selector valve was on the right tank position. No fuel was observed in the wing (bladder) tanks, and both fuel header tanks were compromised from the impact. The fuel strainer on the firewall had approximately 1/4 cup of fuel remaining.

Examination of the engine included partial disassembly. The induction air pipes, exhaust system, spark plugs, valve covers, accessory components, and rear accessory case were removed and documented. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand and continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drives were established. Each cylinder produced compression while the engine was rotated. At the conclusion of the airframe and engine examination, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions were found.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 27, 2007, by the Medical Examiner District 5, Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties, Leesburg, Florida. The autopsy findings reported the cause of death as blunt force injuries of head, torso and extremities. Manner of death was undetermined.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Aeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that no Carbon Monoxide or Cyanide were detected in the blood. However, 270 (mg/hg) Ethanol was detected in blood, 315 (mg/hg) Ethanol was detected in Urine, 227 (mg/hg) Ethanol was detected in the Brain, and 250 (mg/hg) Ethanol was detected in the Muscle, 1 (mg/hg) N-Propanol was detected in Urine, 2 (mg/hg) N Butanol was detected in the Muscle, Citalopram, was detected in blood and urine, Di-N-Desmethylcitalopram, was detected in blood and urine, and 0.069 (ug/ml, ug/g) N-Desmethylcitalopram was detected in blood and N-Desmethylcitalopram was present in Urine, finally 0.087 (ug/ml, ug/g) 7-Amino-Clanazepam was detected in blood.

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