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On August 5, 2008, about 1925 eastern daylight time, an unregistered, experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA), GT Ultralight, Airborne Edge X Trike, incurred substantial damage when it crashed into the waters of the Taunton Bay near Franklin, Maine. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The weight-shift trike was owned and operated by the pilot, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local personal flight. The pilot was killed and the passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from a private airstrip earlier that day, at an unspecified time.
A friend of the pilot, and witness to the accident, stated to a Maine State Police representative that the trike was observed flying over the bay, which was not uncommon. The pilot completed a circle, at the same time, the trike dipped toward the surface of the bay. The witness added that the maneuver was how the pilot would say “Hi” to the locals in the area. While performing the maneuver, a part of the trike made contact with the water and crashed. The witness added that the pilot often performed the same maneuver, which included banking low above the surface of the water.
Witnesses rushed to the submerged trike and managed to rescue the trapped passenger and the pilot from the underwater wreckage; they both were in their seats with their respective seat belts attached.
The pilot, age 52, did not hold a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot license or a medical certificate. The pilot’s flight logbook was not provided.
The GT Ultralight, Airborne Edge X Trike was a two-place, weight-shifting controlled trike, powered by a Rotax 580, 65-horsepower engine. The trike was built to meet Australian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations, CAA 95.32. The trike's maintenance records were not provided.
The nearest official weather reporting station was Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine, located 32 miles southeast of the accident site. The 1953 surface observation was: winds 60 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few at 4,500; temperature 20 degrees Celsius; dew point 12 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An examination of the wreckage was conducted by an FAA inspector. There was no evidence of a preimpact failure or malfunction with the trike and its systems.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted under the authority of the Maine State Medical Examiner, Augusta, Maine, on August 7, 2008. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.
The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) conducted toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. No carbon monoxide, cyanide, or drugs were detected; however, review of the report revealed:
"159 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Blood
159 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Vitreous
174 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Urine
129 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Muscle"