On November 2, 2007, approximately 1400 Pacific standard time, a Kelly F1D experimental homebuilt Formula One racer, N42KK, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in a spin at Reno/Stead Airport , Reno, Nevada. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant on board, was fatally injured. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight, which departed approximately 1340. A flight plan had not been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Information gathered by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that the pilot purchased the airplane in 2003, without an engine. The pilot put an engine and propeller on the airplane, which were different from the original airplane design. The FAA inspector ascertained that the weight reduction was approximately 15 pounds, which moved the center of gravity aft.
A witness said the pilot asked him to assist him with his first flight in the airplane by monitoring a radio and documenting transmitted information. During the preflight briefing, the pilot told the witness that part of the flight would include doing an "approach to stall." The pilot topped off the 5-gallon fuel tank and departed for an estimated 30-minute flight.
The witness observed the airplane maneuvering near the airport, and the pilot made several transmissions to him. The witness said the airplane entered a high downwind (approximately 2,000-3,000 feet above the ground). He observed the airplane slow to a nose high attitude while maintaining altitude. Then, while maintaining the same pitch attitude, a constant loss of altitude occurred with the wings level for approximately 3 to 4 seconds. He heard no increase in engine power nor was the airplane’s pitch angle reduced. There appeared to be an abrupt entry into a right spin, and 6 to 8 turns were observed with a nearly vertical impact with the ground.
Post accident examination of the engine by a representative of the engine's manufacturer did not reveal any abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation. No engine or airframe maintenance logs were found; the pilot's flight-logbook was not located. The pilot's most recent FAA flight medical exam (second class) was taken on May 1, 2007, and on his application for the exam, he stated that he had 1,150 hours of flight experience.
The Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office, Reno, performed an autopsy on the pilot on November 3, 2007. They determined that the cause of death was multiple blunt traumas. The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#200700262001), his urine was tested for volatiles and drugs with negative results. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed.