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On July 29, 2010, about 1242 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Marshal Zodiac CH601 HDS, N18295, collided with terrain near Graham, Washington. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot was fatally injured and the pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Kapowsin Field (86WA) located in Kapowsin, Washington, about 1241 with a planned destination of Thun Field (PLU) Puyallup, Washington (six miles north of 86WA). Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The pilot-rated passenger reported that during the initial climb, at about 700 feet above the ground, the airplane stalled.
Witnesses stated that, on previous occasions, they observed the pilot conducting taxi tests on the runway. On the day of the accident, a witness, who was standing on the north end of the airport, observed the airplane's takeoff roll and reported that it used most of the runway to takeoff. He further stated that the engine seemed to be running normally, however, it did not sound like it was at full power. When the airplane lifted off the ground it was at a high angle of attack and was not climbing very fast. The airplane climbed to about 100-200 feet above ground level and it started to "wobble." According to the witness, the airplane then appeared to stall and spin out of the witness's vantage point. Shortly thereafter, the witness heard the impact of the airplane.
The pilot, age 75, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) database, the pilot did not have a FAA medical certificate. Flight time and flight review records for the pilot were not obtained. The pilot's son reported that the accident flight was the pilot's first flight in the accident airplane.
The airplane was an amateur-built Zodiac CH601 HDS, serial number 1245. The all-metal 2-place airplane incorporated a low-wing with hinged ailerons, and a fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane was equipped with a NSI Subaru four cylinder conversion engine. The airplane's hour meter indicated that the airplane had accumulated a total of 288.7 hours of flight.
The airplane was stored in a hangar for approximately five years before it was purchased by the pilot in July 2010. The last maintenance entry in the airframe and engine logbook was for an annual inspection; however, the entry was not dated.
The weather conditions reported at PLU at 1330 indicated wind calm, visibility of 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 19 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of Mercury.
The Kapowsin Field Airport is a private airport located approximately 2 miles north of Kapowsin, Washington. The airport has a single asphalt runway identified as 16/34 that is 2,500 feet in length and 24 feet wide. The airport elevation is 720 feet mean sea level.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest in a field about one quarter of a mile north of the departure end of runway 34. The airplane's engine was lodged in the ground and the airplane stuck out of the ground at an approximate 45 degree angle. Aft crushing was noted to the leading edges of both wings. The right wing leading edge was resting on the ground, and the left wing was aloft and bent aft. The aft fuselage was buckled. Control continuity was established from the control column throughout all control surfaces. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office. The autopsy report attributed the cause of death to be "Blunt Force Injuries...".
The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) completed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide and ethanol. The results were positive for Metoprolol in both the blood and urine, and Quinine in the urine.