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On March 18, 2010, at 1300 central daylight time, an experimental Sea Rey airplane, N100JW, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after take off from Huntsville Municipal Airport (H34, Huntsville, Arkansas. The private pilot/registered owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
A witness stated that the pilot initially departed on Runway 30, broke ground and flew over the runway for approximately 2,000 feet, and then landed back on the runway. The pilot taxied back to the departure end of Runway 30 and departed again. The witness said that when the airplane was adjacent to a windsock located on the runway, the airplane made a "real sharp right turn" over a parking area. Then the airplane turned southeast, before it made another right hand turn and had a "stall/spin accident." The witness said the airplane went inverted and hit the ground at a 45 degree angle.
A witness was at a park located near the airport when she first noticed the airplane "low to the ground" and the wings were "tipping left and right." The engine was "running." The witness said that as the airplane continued to fly towards a large recycling center, it did not appear to gain altitude and the wings "really tipped left and right or vice versa then it suddenly pointed straight down and crashed."
Another witness, who was at the recycling center, also saw the airplane in a "nearly straight down" descent before it impacted the ground.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land and sea. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical was issued on November 18, 2008. At that time, he reported a total of 1,000 flight hours. A review of his personal logbooks revealed a total of 407 hours as of February 12, 2010. However, when the hours were re-calculated, it added up to a total of 358.3 hours. There were no entries that reflected the pilot's time in the accident airplane; however, the pilot's father stated his son had accumulated approximately 15 hours at the time of the accident.
Weather at Drake Field Airport (FYV),Fayetteville, Arkansas, approximately 20 miles west of Huntsville, at 1253, was reported as wind from 190 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, a few clouds at 9,000 feet, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dewpoint 03 degrees Celsius, and a barometric pressure setting of 30.13 inches of Mercury.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-scene examination of the airplane and reported that the nose of the airplane was on the ground and the tail of the airplane was extended in the air. Flight control continuity was established for all flight controls. All three composite propeller blades had snapped off, but the ends of the blades were still tight to the hub.
The pilot's father, who had extensive experience in building/flying experimental aircraft including the Sea Rey, reported that he talked to his son the day before the accident. His son mentioned how well the airplane was flying and that he had been adjusting the propeller pitch for additional performance. The pilot's father also conducted an examination of the airplane after the accident and reported that “there was not one thing wrong with it” and, “the plane was fine.”
The airplane's last condition inspection was completed on January 26, 2009. The special airworthiness certificate, aircraft identification plate, and the experimental aircraft operating limitations for operating an amateur-built airplane were not on board the airplane at the time of the accident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot by the FAA’s Medical Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The findings were positive for acetaminophen in the blood and chlorpheniramine, dextromethorphan, and dextrorphan in the blood liver and kidney.
An autopsy was conducted on the pilot on March 22, 2010, by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, Little Rock, Arkansas. The cause of death was determined to be multiple injuries as a result of an accident.
The pilot had a spider bite approximately six weeks prior to the accident, which family members reported was from a brown recluse and was quite painful, tender and interfered substantially with his ability to sleep. Medical records documented the bite and a prescription for methylprednisolone and doxycyline on February 4, 2010. The family also reported deep dark circles under the pilot's eyes. He was noted to have been typically working a night-time shift schedule, though he had not worked the three nights prior to the accident. Multiple over-the-counter medications were found in his automobile following the accident, including three multi-symptom cold medications each containing acetaminophen and dextromethorphan along with phenylephrine alone, phenylephrine and chlorpheniramine, or doxylamine.
Toxicology staff at the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute noted that paperwork accompanying toxicology samples indicated the blood source to be "pleural cavity."