On May 4, 2008, about 1130 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Cozy Mark IV, N14GG, registered to and operated by the certificated commercial pilot, ditched in the ocean about 3 miles off the southern coast of Jekyll Island, Georgia. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The commercial pilot was killed, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The flight departed Brunswick Golden Isles Airport, Brunswick, Georgia, at 1050. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot's son stated that his father was flying in the local area on a pleasure flight. A witness, who was at the north end of Jekyll Island, stated that he was sitting on the beach and saw a white, single-engine, canard-style airplane fly overhead. He commented to his wife about the unique style of the airplane, followed by "that plane's engine sounds funny." He stated that he did not see smoke or any indication of mechanical difficulty. The airplane was flying south, parallel to the beach, about 1,000 feet above the ground. It was not until a couple of days later that he heard the airplane had crashed. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, there were several witnesses to the accident, but none had come forward. The inspector asked a local reporter to place his name and phone number in the paper and ask for witnesses to contact him. As of the publication of this report, no witnesses have come forward.
The pilot, age 71, held a commercial pilot certificate, with an airplane single-engine land and glider rating. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with a rating for glider, updated on January 24, 2005, and a third-class medical certificate issued on June 12, 2007, with a restriction that he must wear lenses for distant, and possess glasses for near vision. The pilot's most recent medical certificate showed that he had accumulated 7,600 hours of flight time. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination.
According to the son of the pilot, the airplane had floated in salt water for about 3 days following the accident, and then washed ashore on a beach near Cumberland Island, Georgia. It remained buried in the sand for 4 days before he was notified by Cumberland Island authorities that he had to remove the airplane from the beach. The son transported the airplane wreckage to his father's residence and placed it in a hangar.
Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector found that the airplane had impacted the water in a wings level attitude. The impact separated the upper cabin, propeller and engine gearbox. The airplane had been equipped with an Allison T63-A-700, 250-horspower, turboprop engine. The engine remained partially attached by it mounts. Once the airplane was recovered, there was no evidence of a loss of engine power. However, saltwater damage was prevalent on the engine and airframe. The airplane's logbooks were not located, and the airplane's most recent condition inspection could not be determined.
An autopsy was performed on the pilot on May 5, 2008, by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Medical Examiner, Atlanta, Georgia. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death as "Blunt force injury" and noted the presence of "severe arteriosclerotic coronary vascular disease" with maximal occlusion of greater than 90% in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery. The report further noted that the heart size was 440 grams and "The ventricular wall thicknesses are (cm): 0.4 right, 1.9 left, and 2.0 interventricular septum. The ventricular chamber diameters are (cm): 4.5 right, 4.3 left, and 12.7 transventricular."
Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that there was no carbon monoxide, cyanide or ethanol detected in blood, and no ethanol detected in vitreous. However, there was 163 (mg/dl) glucose detected in urine, 21 (mg/dl) glucose detected in vitreous, and 11.1 (%) Hemoglobin A1C detected in blood.
The pilot's most recent application for third-class airman medical certificate, dated June 12, 2007, indicated "no" to "Do you currently use any medication," "yes" to "high or low blood pressure," and "no" to all other items under "Medical History," including specifically "Diabetes" and "Heart or vascular trouble." Under "Explanations" was noted only the previous use of losartan and hydrochlorothiazide for blood pressure control, discontinued 2 years previously.