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On July 30, 2010, about 2000 central daylight time, an American Champion Aircraft Corp., 7GCBC, N5027G, registered to private individuals and operated by Big Q Aviation, impacted terrain in the vicinity of Mid-Way Regional Airport (JWY), Midlothian, Texas. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The flight originated from JWY about 1955.
The CFI and student pilot, were doing local area traffic pattern flights prior to departing the area for a night cross country flight instructional flight.
Two witnesses driving eastbound on the highway west of the impact location, observed the southbound airplane initiating a left hand turn below 250 feet above ground level (AGL). One of the witnesses stated, the airplane was going very slow when the airplane completed the turn, the nose dropped down and the airplane entered a shallow dive and recovered to climb up to about 300 feet AGL. The airplane then entered another flat turn. During the turn, the airplane turned more sharply and started to dive again and went into a wings level nose down attitude. The witnesses were then less than a half-mile from the impact location when the airplane pulled up sharply, and the airplane entered an almost vertical spiral into the ground.
Another witness about 1,500 feet northeast from the impact location observed the airplane flying much lower than normal. The airplane continued to descend and began a left turn which steepened and the airplane then suddenly headed straight down and impacted terrain.
The 64-year-old CFI, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. In addition, his certificate included commercial pilot privileges with ratings for airplane single-engine land and glider. He held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held an aircraft dispatcher certificate. The CFI held a second-class medical certificate issued on July 8, 2010, with the restriction, "Must wear corrective lenses." The CFI’s last flight review was completed on April 29, 2010. A recovered insurance form dated July, 2010, indicated the CFI reported he had 16,000 total flight hours with 2,500 of those hours in conventional gear equipped airplanes. In addition, the CFI indicated he had 3,500 hours as a flight instructor.
The 37-year old student pilot was issued a second-class medical certificate dated February 25, 2010, with the restriction, "Holder shall wear corrective lenses." The back side of the student pilot’s certificate was endorsed for solo flight in 7GCBC aircraft on May 2, 2010, and was endorsed for solo cross country flight in 7GCBC aircraft on May 17, 2010. The last entry recorded in the student pilot's logbook on July 29, 2010 revealed he then had accumulated 23.4 hours total time in all airplanes with all of that experience in the accident airplane. The logbook contained entries for 18.2 hours of dual instruction and 5.2 hours of solo flight.
The airplane was a single-engine, high wing, tail wheel airplane with aerobatic capability. The airplane serial number 1174-79 was manufactured in 1979, and it was powered by a Lycoming O-320-A2B, 150 horsepower engine driving a two bladed fixed pitch metal propeller.
Review of the airplane log books revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on December 5, 2009, and the total time on the engine and airframe was 2,330 hours. The last 100-hour inspection was conducted on June 5, 2010, at a total time of 2,432 hours. The aircraft total time at the time of the accident was estimated as 2,495 hours.
At 1945, the automated surface weather observation at JWY reported wind from 170 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 33 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 18 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of Mercury.
U.S. Naval Observatory data shows that on July 30, 2010, sunset occurred at 2027, and the end of civil twilight occurred at 2054.
The main wreckage was located on the west side of a private unpaved road about one mile south of JWY. An impact crater was located on the east side of the road and about 20 feet from the main wreckage. A ground scar to the east of the impact crater corresponded to a ground impact with the right wing. A hand held compass showed that the main wreckage was located about 300 degrees from the impact crater. A trail of debris led from the impact crater to the main wreckage.
The airplane was resting upright and the damaged fuselage was oriented to about 70 degrees. The right wing was partially separated and folded aft over the top of the right side of the empennage. The left wing was in place and sustained aft crushing along the leading edge. The cabin area had been impact compressed and reduced in size by approximately 40 percent. The engine was impact driven into the area of the front seat.
The leading edges of both wings sustained aft crushing damage from the wing root, extending outboard to the wing tips. Both fuel tanks were ruptured. A portion of wing skin from the fuel tank area of both wings was removed and hydraulic deformation was observed on both fuel tanks. The ailerons were damaged and remained attached at all hinge points. The flaps were damaged and remained attached at all hinge points.
The vertical fin, rudder assembly were not damaged. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were not damaged. The left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were damaged. The left trim tab remained attached to the left elevator.
Control cable continuity was verified throughout the airframe, and it was noted that the rear seat throttle handle was observed impact locked in the fully closed position. The position of the front seat throttle handle could not be determined because of impact damage.
The separated propeller was observed resting adjacent to the impact crater. One blade displayed an approximate two degree aft bend at six inches out from the blade tip and the other blade displayed a gradual ten degree aft bend approximately six inches out from the propeller hub. The back of both propeller blades displayed rotational scoring and leading edge polishing. The face of both propeller blades were unblemished. Crush angles evident on the propeller spinner were consistent with a near vertical impact.
The engine remained partially attached to the fuselage and engine mounts. It was removed and examined. The exhaust system was impact crushed. The exhaust system was removed, along with the magnetos, rocker covers, spark plugs, and the vacuum pump. The crankshaft was rotated by hand and thumb suction and compression were obtained on all cylinders. Valve action was observed at all rockers, and the accessory gears were observed rotating. Mechanical continuity was observed throughout the engine.
All cylinders were inspected using a lighted borescope and accelerated wear was observed on all of the cylinder walls. The oil suction screen was removed and examined. It was noted that approximately five percent of the screen was obstructed with particles that had the appearance of carbon flakes and ferrous metal.
The carburetor was impact broken off of the engine. It was recovered and the inlet fuel screen was removed and examined, it was observed unremarkable. The carburetor was destroyed and no testing was done on the unit. No fuel was observed at the engine examination.
The gascolator was removed and the screen was examined, it was observed unremarkable.
Both magnetos were rotated by hand and both furnished spark at all outlet points as required.
An unmeasured amount of oil displaying an extended service life was observed in the oil sump. An approximately four inch fracture was observed on the upper right front of the crankcase that began at the crankshaft flange and continued longitudinally aft.
Both magnetos were removed from the engine and rotated by hand. Spark was furnished at all outlet points.
All eight spark plugs were removed and examined. They all exhibited wear and color consistent with normal combustion when compared to the Champion Spark Plug Wear Chart.
No preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the aircraft or engine were found that would have precluded normal operation.
A Garmin global positioning system (GPS) receiver was retrieved from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for download. The GPS data was reviewed and the accident flight was not recorded.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Institute of Forensic Sciences, Medical Examiner, Dallas, Texas, conducted the autopsy on the CFI on July 31, 2010. The cause of death was blunt force injuries.
The autopsy of the CFI also revealed severe atherosclerosis of the right coronary artery with superimposed fresh-recent thrombus suggesting an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The CFI’s most recent application for a second-class medical certificate noted “no” to all under “Medical History” including heart or vascular trouble. There was no indication that the CFI was aware of his heart disease.
The Bioaeronautical Research Science Laboratory, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed a postmortem toxicology of specimens from the CFI. The report stated that the test results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and listed drugs.
The Institute of Forensic Sciences, Medical Examiner, Dallas, Texas, conducted the autopsy on the student pilot on July 31, 2010. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.
The Bioaeronautical Research Science Laboratory, FAA, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed a postmortem toxicology of specimens from the student pilot. The report stated that the test results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and listed drugs.
Review of performance data in the airplane flight manual revealed the airplane will stall at 43 knots or 50 mph.
Refueling facility records at JWY showed that the airplane had most recently been serviced with 16.6 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline. Following the accident, management persons at JWY quarantined the fuel facility and personally supervised fuel quality testing of the 100LL refueler. Samples taken from both the hose and the tank sump were clean and showed no debris, water, or other contamination.
First responders said that a strong smell of fuel was noted around the wreckage immediately after the accident.
Another person, who was not a witness to the accident, stated he was rated as an airline transport pilot and had flown with the CFI on several occasions and did not believe that the CFI would ever allow an airplane to stall/spin. He also stated that the CFI instructed aircraft control and stall awareness as a principle.