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On August 28, 2007, about 1825 eastern daylight time, an Apollo North America Inc., model Tundra experimental amateur built aircraft, N304AP, registered to Tampa Bay Aerosport, and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while maneuvering in Zephyrhills, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The private-rated pilot and passenger received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The flight originated in Zephyrhills, Florida, the same day, about 1815.
A witness stated that she was "weeding" in a neighbor's yard and upon hearing a loud cracking sound she looked up and saw an ultra light airplane, with its wings folded straight up. The witness further stated that she then observed the aircraft roll over two times, and then it dove straight to the ground. She said that when this occurred the sky was clear, and there was no wind, or lightening. Upon observing the accident, the witness said she immediately went inside her house, and telephoned 911.
According to a Pasco County Sheriff's deputy, another witness stated that she was outside her home on her deck watching the aircraft circle overhead and she went inside her home for a moment and further noticed that she did not hear the aircraft engine operating. She then went back outside, heard a whistling sound, and when she looked up, observed the aircraft falling to the ground. She then proceeded inside her house and telephoned 911, reporting the accident to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The Pasco Sheriff's deputy also reported that he interviewed a witness who was in his yard a few blocks north of the accident location, and he observed the aircraft making circles overhead. According to the Sheriff's deputy, the witness heard a "pop", and he looked up and saw the aircraft spinning toward the ground.
The pilot held an FAA private pilot's license, with an airplane single engine land rating, issued on August 28, 2005, and he also held an FAA third class medical certificate, issued on June 14, 2005.
Logbooks depicting flight experience were requested, but were not provided to the NTSB, and according to FAA records, at the time of the pilot's last medical he reported having accumulated 52 hours of flight experience.
FAA records showed that on August 10, 2007, the pilot made application for a Sport Pilot Certificate, and during the course of the application he reported having accumulated more than 300 flight hours total time, of which 21 flight hours was of instruction that he received in weight-shift-control aircraft.
The owner stated that the pilot worked for him, and he held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating, and had further completed a flight proficiency examination, which resulted in a weight-shift-control-rating being added to his certificate. The owner reported that the pilot had accumulated a total of 345 flight hours, of which 25 flight hours were in the same make and model as the accident aircraft. He also stated that the accident pilot had accumulated 295 hours of flight experience as pilot-in-command, of which 15 had been in the same make and model as the accident aircraft.
N304AP, serial number KLM0004, was an experimental weight-shift-control light sport aircraft, Manufactured by Apollo North America Inc., and was constructed from a trike carriage made in Canada by Kruker Manufacturing. The trike wing was constructed by Aeros Ltd, in the Ukraine.
The aircraft was equipped with a Rotax 582 DCDI, 2-cycle Dual Carburetor, Dual Ignition 65 HP water cooled engine, whose serial number was 6140364, and a 3-bladed Aero Prop propeller, Model E1750, constructed of composite material, with stainless steel plate riveted into the leading edge.
The airplane held a special airworthiness certificate, and was certificated in the light sport aircraft category on December 15, 2006. The owner of the accident aircraft said that the aircraft had been flown for 2.5 hours on an instructional flight the morning of the accident, and that the earlier flight had been uneventful.
The Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL) 1850, surface weather observation was winds from 100 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 15 statute miles; sky condition scattered at 3,000 feet, broken at 25,000 feet; temperature 29 degrees C; dewpoint temperature 22 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.98 inHg. Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, is about 15 NM to the southeast of the accident site.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
According to the a Pasco County Sheriff's deputy who responded to the scene of the accident, the airplane crashed in the back of a residence located at 6233 Megan Lane, Zephyrhills, Florida. The deputy further stated that upon his arrival at the scene, the aircraft exhibited structural damage that appeared to be the result of its impact with the ground and the subsequent postcrash fire.
Two FAA inspectors initially responded to the accident scene with the Sheriff's deputy and examined the accident aircraft. In addition, after the initial examination the inspectors secured the damaged aircraft and returned later with a representative from Rotax Engines to examine the aircraft.
According to the FAA inspectors and the representative from Rotax Engines, the detailed follow-on examination of the damaged aircraft and its engine showed no evidence of any preaccident anomalies. In the inspector's report to the NTSB, the inspectors said that the examination showed that the propeller exhibited signatures which suggested minimal forward velocity consistent with the engine operating at idle or a low power setting, and that the overall aircraft damage was consistent with the impact and postcrash fire.
In addition, FAA inspectors consulted with Aeros in Europe for assistance in inspecting the wreckage of the accident airplane, and Aeros contacted Antares U.S Corporation, another manufacturer of trike aircraft, and asked that they provide technical assistance. The specialist with Antares U.S Corporation (Aeros' representative) noted that operational limitations of weight-shift-aircraft are generally well understood, and are: 60 degrees angle of bank; 30 to 45 degrees pitch up and down; positive Gs at all times, with no sustained zero Gs and negative Gs; and no aerobatics allowed. In his report, the Aeros representative further noted that the investigation revealed evidence that the trike's wing broke while in-flight under high negative G-loading, consistent with the aircraft being operated outside its parameters. The propeller blade exhibited signatures consistent with impact with the right main flying wires/cables of the wing while the airplane was being maneuvered, with the two wires having separated in the same location, consistent with having undergone a heavy load. See the attached Aeros representative's report.
FAA on-scene investigators recovered the damaged wires and sent them to the NTSB for further examination. On July 24, 2008, a metallurgist at the NTSB's Metallurgical Laboratory, Washington DC, examined the accident aircraft's fore and aft cables that had supported the right wing, and which had been sent to the NTSB by the FAA inspectors, for examination. Both cables were noted to have separated consistent with overstress.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On August 29, 2007, a medical examiner with the Pasco and Pinellas Counties (District Six) Medical Examiner's Offices, performed postmortem examinations on both the pilot and passenger. The cause of death in both cases was attributed to blunt force trauma. No findings which could be considered causal were noted.
The FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicology studies on specimens from the pilot. The specimens were tested for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs, and none were found.