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On March 5, 2009, at 1320 eastern daylight time (EDT), an experimental, amateur-built, Glenn Moore Moronca, N404AF, incurred substantial damage when it impacted terrain during a forced landing about one mile southeast of Stag Park (7NC1) in Burgaw, North Carolina. The owner/pilot succumbed to his injuries later that day. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, personal flight.
The airplane crashed into a small, freshly plowed field located near the property owner’s house. The property owner/witness reported hearing the engine sputter before hearing the airplane impact the ground. The witness did not see the airplane until after the crash had occurred. A member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter that the pilot belonged to stated that six weeks prior to the accident the pilot had reported that the airplane’s engine had cut out. After examining the fuel system, the pilot told the EAA member that he found some debris in the tank and he would “keep an eye on it.”
The pilot, age 80, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He was issued a third class medical certificate on October 12, 2004, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported having 1,600 hours at the time the medical was issued. He was also issued a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate on June 17, 2008.
The amateur built airplane was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate on April 12, 2008. The airplane was powered by a Continental C-65-8, 65 horsepower rated engine. The fuselage was primarily Aeronca with the wings and landing gear system designed by the pilot. The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that a review of the airplane’s logbook showed that the airplane had accumulated a total of 47.21 hours since the time it was built. Its last inspection, a conditional, took place on November 28, 2008 and the airplane flew seven hours between that inspection and the time of the accident.
The nearest weather observation facility was located 15 miles south of the accident site at Wilmington International Airport, in Wilmington, North Carolina. An aviation routine weather report (METAR) issued for 1353 EDT on the date of the accident included wind 110 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 12 degrees Celsius (C), dew point -5 degrees C, and altimeter 30.50 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The responding FAA inspector stated that the airplane crashed into a soft, recently plowed, field about one nautical mile to the southeast of its departure point. Trees near the field displayed fresh breaks and tears, showing evidence of impact during the airplane’s descent. Thirteen yards behind the airplane was a large crater area where it appeared the nose had first impacted the ground. This area contained the remains of the propeller, which was destroyed on impact. The cross bar were the pilot’s shoulder harness was attached to ripped away during the crash, and the landing gear was torn from the airplane. Both wings suffered damage consistent with impact from trees. The fuel system gascolator was found five yards behind the aircraft, residual fuel was found in the tanks, and there was a strong scent of fuel in the air around the wreckage. The oil tank, engine air intake, and carburetor were all crushed.
A post crash assessment performed by members of the EAA familiar with the airplane found small contaminant particles within the fuel tank’s drained fitting, which supplied fuel to the engine. The fuel tank was cut opened, the interior was observed deteriorating and flaking apart.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Coastal Pathology Associates Office in Jacksonville, North Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination. The cause of death for the pilot was blunt force trauma and the toxicology report was negative for ethanol.