On July 2, 2008, about 0845 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Talon XP, N1974L, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain during takeoff from Mountain Airpark (0GE5), Cleveland, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness observed the pilot as he departed the airport from runway 35. According to the witness, the pilot flew the airplane level, about 50 feet above the runway, until about 900 feet of runway remained. The airplane then pitched up "sharply," and the airplane climbed to about 150 feet before it entered a stall and pitched nose down. The airplane impacted the ground at a near 60-degree angle and "exploded."
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector conducted an examination of the airplane and the accident site. The wreckage was oriented on a 350-degree magnetic heading, was located at the end of the runway overrun area, and was heavily fire damaged. The distance from the first ground contact to where the airplane came to rest measured approximately 48 feet. The right wing of the airplane was deflected rearward, consistent with having contacted a nearby fence pole. The front strut of the right wing was broken consistent with impact. The left wing was also impact-damaged, and had broken at the aft rear wing mount area. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator were broken off in the middle of the tail boom area, and the tail boom fracture was consistent with overload.
The propeller blades were separated 3 inches from the nosecone hub. Two blades were located 15 feet to the right of the engine, outside of the wreckage site. The ballistic recovery device that was installed in the airplane was deployed during the postcrash fire. The inspector verified control continuity for all control surfaces, and found no obvious mechanical deficiencies with the airframe or engine.
A review of the airframe, engine, and propeller logbooks did not disclose any maintenance issues other than a tail wheel problem that was corrected previously. The last condition inspection was accomplished on June 10, 2008.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 24, 2004. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated 225.5 total hours of flight experience, with approximately 142 hours in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot's logbook indicated he had 12.8 hours of flight experience in the 90 days preceding the accident.
The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. Toxicology testing indicated the presence of doxazosin in the pilot's blood and urine.
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "blunt force trauma of the chest."
The weather reported at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (GVL), Gainesville, Georgia, located 19 nautical miles south, at 0853, included winds from 030 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 22 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.17 inches of mercury.