MIA07LA155
MIA07LA155

On September 22, 2007, about 1455 eastern daylight time, a Grumman AA-5A, N26442, registered to and operated by an individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight, ditched in the Ohio River near Worthington, Kentucky. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot was killed and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight departed from the Ashland Regional Airport (DWU), Ashland, Kentucky, about 1453.

Witnesses stated that the pilot arrived at DWU and noticed an engine oil leak, which almost left the engine without oil. After an inspection of the engine, it was discovered that the vacuum pump, which the pilot had installed earlier that day, was installed incorrectly causing the oil leak. He corrected the discrepancy with the pump and added 4 quarts of oil to the engine; 3 quarts less for the required full level. He then took off to fly back to Grayson County Airport (M20), Leitchfield, Kentucky; however, the airplane returned to DWU shortly after departure and parked on the ramp. At that time, the pilot stated to the witnesses that the engine got hot again. The pilot declined to have the engine inspected and stated he had "Get-Home-Itis." He purchased 4 additional quarts of engine oil, which he added to the airplane’s engine. The pilot again departed for M20.

On departure, the engine lost total power. The pilot announced the emergency over the common traffic advisory frequency. A witness, fishing in the river north of the airport, saw the airplane ditch in the river in a flat attitude. The airplane floated for a moment, then nosed over and went completely underwater. The pilot was unable to exit the airplane after it was submerged.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the No. 4 engine piston had separated from the crankshaft.

The pilot, age 80, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on March 23, 2006, with limitations; must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. He had documented 3,560 total hours at that time. He held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate with limitations of inspection certificate for experimental aircraft make William G Stevens model Lancair 360, serial number 1109P.

The pilot’s flight logbook and the accident airplane’s maintenance records were not located.

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