MIA08LA138
MIA08LA138

On July 9, 2008, at 1117 central daylight time, a Colyaer SL Freedom S100, Special Light Sport Airplane (S-LSA), N4450E, crashed into the Tennessee River, in the Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area, in Limestone, Alabama. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the certificated private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local pleasure flight. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight originated from the Pryor Field Regional Airport (DCU), Decatur, Alabama, at 1053 the same day.

The private pilot was receiving 10 hours of transition training in the S-LSA seaplane from the pilot-rated passenger at the time of the accident.

Witnesses in the local area stated that they did not see the accident but heard it. When they saw the airplane wreckage they called the police. The airplane was observed upside down resting in the water with one wing separated.

The pilot, age 65, held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, and instrument airplane, issued on May 6, 1981. His third-class medical certificate was issued on July 7, 2008, with a restriction that he must have available glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate that he had accumulated 2,600 total flight hours. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination.

The two-seat, high-wing, retractable-gear amphibian, single-engine airplane was manufactured in 2007. It was powered by a Rotax 912ULS, 4-cycle 100 horse-power rear mounted engine. The airplane logbooks were not recovered for examination.

The 1153 surface weather observation at HSV was: winds 220 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling was few at 4,300 feet, temperature 32 degrees Celsius, dewpoint temperature 22 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.07 inches of mercury.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found that the engine and flight controls were present, and that the airplane's nose and cockpit section separated at impact with the water. The left wing separated at impact and sustained minor damage. There was no damage noted to the empennage or T-tail. Examination of the landing gear found it retracted and undamaged. However, the main landing gear doors were separated from the hydrodynamic hull structure but the gear door hooks were intact and undamaged. Examination of the right flap attachment actuator found it consistent with a 10 to 15 degree flap down position. Examination of the available wreckage did not reveal any evidence of preimpact failures or malfunctions.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 10, 2008, by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Huntsville, Alabama. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as blunt force injuries due to aircraft collision.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that there was no carbon monoxide or cyanide detected in blood, and no ethanol detected in vitreous. However, minoxidil, pioglitazone, and ranitidine were detected in blood and urine.

A Garmin GPSMAP 496 was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorders Division in Washington, DC., on July 30, 2008.

Recorded data for the most recent tracklog began at 1052.55 central daylight time with a latitude/longitude position fix corresponding to DCU. The average GPS altitude during the first 13 minutes and 22 seconds of recorded tracklog data was 643 feet. Field elevation for DCU was 592 feet. The final GPS position location fix was recorded at 11:16:25 CDT and placed the airplane near the accident site at an altitude of 584 feet or approximately 532 mean sea-level. The last calculated velocity and direction of travel was 72 miles per hour ground speed with a course of 229 degrees true.

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