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On June 23, 2010, about 1145 mountain daylight time, an Airborne Windsport Edge weight-shift aircraft, N55857, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while performing aerobatic maneuvers near Fort Lupton, Colorado. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local flight. The pilot departed a private airstrip at an unknown time.
An eyewitness reported that he observed the weight-shift aircraft performing “loops and wingovers” for about five minutes. The eyewitness continued that during the last maneuver the pilot performed what looked like a wingover; however, the wing folded, approximately 1,000 feet above ground level, and the aircraft spiraled down and impacted terrain.
A review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) database failed to show that the 86 year old pilot possessed a pilot certificate. Additionally, no FAA medical records on the pilot were found.
The aircraft was a 2000 Airborne Windsport Edge, serial number 582-560. It was registered as an experimental, weight-shift aircraft. The aircraft was powered by a Rotax 582 two-stroke engine, rated at 65 horsepower.
Several requests were made of the pilot's family to provide pilot and aircraft records, however the family failed to reply to the requests.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
A postcrash examination of the aircraft at the accident scene showed that the carriage wing attachment hang point was broken. The fracture was consistent with a failure not caused by impact with the ground. No other anomalies with the aircraft were found.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was conducted by the Weld County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner, in Greeley, Colorado, on June 24, 2010. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.
The FAA’s Civil Aeromedical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The report stated that Amlodipine, Atenolol, and Triamterene were detected in liver and blood.
Atenolol is a beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist or beta blocker used for treatment of hypertension and certain arrhythmias.
Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker used to treat hypertension.
Triamterene is a potassium sparing diuretic used to treat hypertension.
The FAA Aviation Medical Examiner’s Guide states that medications acceptable to the FAA for treatment of hypertension in airmen include all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved diuretics, alpha-adrenergic blocking agents, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, calcium channel blocking agents, angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and direct vasodilators.
The aircraft's operating instructions state that all aerobatic “manoervres” (maneuvers) including spinning is prohibited.
Flight load factor limits for the aircraft show the maximum positive maneuvering load factor is 4.0 G. Load factors below 1.0 G are “to be avoided”, and negative load factors are prohibited.