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On January 9, 2010, about 1308 Pacific standard time, an experimental weight-shift-control Airborne Streak 2, N155TD, collided with terrain near Lake Isabella, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The pilot, who did not possess a pilot certificate, and one passenger were killed; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The local personal flight departed at an unknown time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
Several witnesses observed the airplane flying around during the morning. One described the airplane as buzzing the lake, and performing maneuvers that seemed to be dangerous. Estimates of the altitude varied between 300 and 500 feet above ground level (agl). One of them thought that the engine stopped, and another did not hear the engine. They all reported that they observed one wing folded up.
Another witness reported that a neighbor went up with the pilot the day before the accident, and the pilot did not use seat belts.
One witness observed the airplane performing aerobatic maneuvers like a stunt plane all day. The pilot appeared to be attempting to perform loops, and made numerous nose high and nose low maneuvers. The pilot would point the nose toward the ground, and then pull up at the last moment to a high nose up attitude. The witness estimated that the maximum altitude for all of the maneuvers was 300 feet above ground level. He thought that the airplane landed, and then returned and started maneuvering again.
The witness observed the airplane in level flight. The nose went down steeply 45-90 degrees, and then started going up. Just after the nose went above the horizon, the right wing folded up. The engine cut out, and the airplane started down in a free fall and began to spiral. He said that there were no birds or any other objects near the airplane when it went down.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the 31-year-old pilot did not hold a pilot certificate or aviation medical certificate.
The airplane was an experimental Airborne Streak 2, serial number ST261; the engine was a Rotax 582DCDI. No logbooks or maintenance records for the airframe or engine were recovered.
The FAA provided an application for an airworthiness certificate dated July 19, 2007; the application was not made by the accident pilot, who was the current owner. The form indicated that the airplane had a total time of 235 hours. The FAA issued an airworthiness certificate of August 19, 2007.
Issued with the airworthiness certificate were experimental operating limitations for light sport aircraft. Item 15 of the operating limitations noted that this airplane was prohibited from aerobatic flight. The limitations described this as an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in the airplane’s attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration not necessary for normal flight. Item 16 provided four options regarding the minimum pilot certificates that would be acceptable to act as the pilot-in-command (PIC) of this type of airplane.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Several FAA inspectors examined the wreckage at the accident site. They indicated that the wing spar buckled near the forward point where the tubular spar attached to the wing keel. The spar was partially flattened, and the fracture surface was angular and jagged.
They established control continuity for all flight controls. The pilot did not appear to be wearing a seat belt; one side of the lap belt was tucked in at the left side of the seat.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Kern County Coroner completed an autopsy. The FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. They did not perform tests for carbon monoxide or cyanide.
The report contained the following findings for tested drugs: 0.12 (ug/ml, ug/g) amphetamine detected in liver; 0.07 (ug/ml, ug/g) amphetamine detected in kidney; 0.026 (ug/ml, ug/g) diazepam detected in liver; 0.628 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine detected in liver; 0.408 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine detected in kidney; 0.064 (ug/ml, ug/g) Nordiazepam detected in liver; 0.037 (ug/ml, ug/g) Nordiazepam detected in kidney; Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana) detected in lung; Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in lung; Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in liver; and Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in kidney.
The report contained the following findings for volatiles: 12 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in muscle; there was no ethanol detected in the brain. The report stated that the ethanol found in this case was from sources other than ingestion.