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On July 31, 2008, about 0937 central daylight time (all times herein are central daylight time unless otherwise noted), a Moser George Lancair Legacy, Fixed Gear Aircraft, N515RB, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain while on final straight in approach to runway 27 at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The pilot and one passenger received fatal injuries. The airplane was being operated on a personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the flight was on an Instrument Flight Rules flight plan. The flight had departed from Washington, Pennsylvania earlier that morning at 0650 on a direct flight to the 2008 AirVenture Convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin and was on a visual approach at the time of the accident.
Numerous witnesses observed the aircraft and generally described the aircraft as on approach to runway 27, hearing the engine running, and then observing a sudden bank and seeing the aircraft hit inverted and slide to a stop.
One witness said “With my back turned to the centerline of 27, I heard a loud engine noise, very suddenly. I turned and looked to see a 2-seat airplane, starboard(ing) very low and rolling clockwise. The plane struck the ground canopy-first and totally inverted. The strike was very violent, and the airplane wreckage moved another 150 feet downrange….”
The pilot held a Private Pilot Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. The certificate included single engine land and instrument endorsement. The pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on March 13, 2008. The pilot had approximately 1,700 hours total flight time and more than 10 hours flight time in the aircraft make and model.
N515RB was a low wing, propeller-driven, fixed landing gear, semi-monocoque design, two-seat airplane. It was a Lancair Legacy Model Serial number LS-205. A 310 horsepower, six-cylinder, air cooled, horizontally opposed, fuel injected Teledyne Continental Motors IO-550 series engine was installed on the aircraft. The airplane was being operated in the Experimental Classification, Amateur Built Category.
The last inspection on the aircraft was an annual inspection on May 2008 at a total airframe and engine time of 97.0 hours.
Reported weather from KOSH at 0942 cdt, was clear skies with a visibility of 10 statute miles, winds from 300 degrees true at three knots, temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.79 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest left of and short of the threshold for runway 27. The initial impact was about 315 feet from the end of the runway and the final resting point was about 135 feet from the end of the runway and to the left of the extended centerline. The flaps were down. All three blades of the propeller exhibited leading edge nicks and gouges and the blades had chordwise scratches across them.
The aircraft was moved to a hangar on the airfield for a detailed examination. The left and right wing spoilers were found extended about 75% of their extension. Inspection of the flight control system did not disclose any evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction.
The aircraft called the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) at OSH about four minutes before the accident reporting the flight six miles east on a visual final for runway 27. The ATCT North Local Controller (LC) instructed N515RB to report a four mile final. The flight acknowledged to report a four mile final for runway 27. A minute later the flight stated that they would need 4,500 feet of runway. About 0936 the flight report they were at a three and one half mile final. The tower told N515RB they were number four following a second Malibu on base and N515RB stated the flight was looking for the traffic. About 45 seconds later LC instructed N514RB that a Malibu was turning final in front of them and that N515RB was cleared to land on the orange dot. N515RB responded that they were cleared to land on the orange dot. About 15 seconds later LC instructed the Malibu to keep it in the air to down to the green dot. At 0936:55 an open mike was heard on the frequency. About 15 seconds later LC broadcast that the airport was closed.
Wittman Regional Airport (OSH) was operating under special flight procedures that were effective from July 25 to August 3, 2008 during 2008 AirVenture, Oshkosh. The “Orange Dot”, where N515 RB was cleared to land, is approximately at the intersection of taxiway A and runway 27 at Wittman Airport. Page 13 from the “2008 AirVenture Oshkosh NOTAM” guidance publication, depicting the Orange, Green, and White landing dots for runway 27, is available in the public docket of this report.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The Federal Aviation Administration prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report on the pilot. The results were negative for cyanide and volatiles. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen were detected in the blood of the pilot.
TEST AND RESEARCH
The baggage was weighed and totaled 149 pounds. The pilot weighed 155 pounds and the passenger weighed 209 pounds, totaling a weight of 513 pounds excluding fuel. The aircraft had a useful load of 750 pounds. Based on an approximate flight time of three hours and fuel burn at 12 gallons per hour, the aircraft was within weight and balance limitations at the time of the accident.
The Piper Malibu Pilot’s Operating Handbook list the landing final approach speed, with full flaps down, at 77 knots. A Lancair representative stated that the Lancair final approach speed is about 90 knots.
The wreckage was released to the insurance adjuster for the aircraft.