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On October 6, 2010, about 1040 central daylight time, a Grumman American Aviation AA-5A, N9695U, was destroyed by ground impact and post impact fire after a loss of control during a go-around at the Downtown Airport (3DW), Springfield, Missouri. The private pilot and right seat passenger received serious injuries. The rear seat passenger received fatal injuries. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot as a personal flight under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed 3DW about 1010 on a local flight.
The pilot reported that he took two groups of people on airplane flights on the morning of the accident. He took three passengers for a 30-minute flight that returned to 3DW about 1000. He reported that the flight had proceeded normally and that the airplane operated without any problems. He took two passengers on the second flight. After about 30 minutes, the pilot began heading south to return to the airport.
The pilot reported that he made radio calls at 10 miles and 5 miles from the airport notifying other aircraft of his intention to land on runway 29 at 3DW. About 3 miles north of the airport, he radioed his intention of crossing runway 29 at midfield to enter a left downwind for landing on runway 29. He reported that immediately after he made the radio call, another pilot radioed that he was 3 miles to the southwest and would cross the runway midfield and enter a right downwind for runway 29.
The other aircraft crossed the midfield before the accident airplane. It flew a right downwind, right base, final, and landed on runway 29. The airplane taxied to the end of the runway and taxied to the run-up area on the west end of the runway.
The accident pilot reported that while the other airplane was flying the pattern and landing, he flew across midfield and flew an extended left downwind in order ensure that the other airplane had adequate time to land. He then turned left base and then entered an extended final to runway 29. While on final, he did not see the other airplane so he made a radio call to ascertain its location. The other pilot responded that he would remain in the run-up area. The accident pilot reported that he decided to land near the runway numbers instead of at the landing touchdown zone 1,000 feet from the approach end of the runway so that he could have more separation from the other airplane.
He flew a stabilized final approach. As he got closer to the runway he determined that he might be short of the runway by 3 or 4 feet. He raised the nose of the airplane to extend the glidepath. He reported that "this action probably caused me to stall." The airplane dropped suddenly onto the runway and it bounced. He immediately thought about executing a go-around but chose to continue the landing. The airplane bounced a second time and the pilot executed a go-around by pushing the throttle full at which time the airplane veered off of the left side of the runway. The pilot attempted to control the airplane back onto the runway. He reported that the wing or tail might have scraped the ground. The airplane returned to the runway, but it veered off the right side of the runway as the pilot raised the flaps. The pilot reported he was not certain what happened after this point and thought the airplane became airborne again. He reported, "I also probably did not release the back pressure on the yoke and the plane stalled and then crashed."
A witness who was located in the fixed base operator's lobby reported that he saw the accident airplane landing with its right wing almost hitting the ground. He then saw the airplane at about 100 feet above ground level. The airplane was at a slow airspeed with a high nose attitude. Its wings were rocking left and right, and then the right wing dropped. He reported that the airplane "stalled" and the airplane's right wing impacted the ground in a steep nose down attitude.
The pilot was able to exit the airplane under his own power. Local citizens rescued the second passenger, but were unable to rescue the rear seat passenger due to the post impact fire.
The pilot was a 36-year-old private pilot with a single-engine land rating. He held a third-class medical certificate that was issued in May 2010. He had a total time of about 105 hours of flight time with about 37 hours in the accident airplane. He was issued his private pilot rating in September of 2010.
The airplane was a single-engine Grumman American Aviation AA-5A, serial number AA5A-0061. It seated four and had a maximum gross weight of 2,200 pounds. It was powered by a 150 horsepower Lycoming O-320 engine, serial number L-43192-27A. The last annual maintenance inspection was conducted on August 23, 2010. The total time on the airframe at the time of the inspection was 2,794 hours.
The airplane was owned by the pilot. The pilot reported that there was no mechanical malfunction or failure of the airplane during the accident flight.
At 1052, the surface weather observation at 3DW was: wind 270 degrees at 6 knots; clear skies; visibility 10 miles; temperature 19 degrees Celsius; dew point 7 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.32 inches of mercury.
The Springfield Downtown Airport is an uncontrolled airport with a single runway. Runway 11/29 is an asphalt runway that is 4,035 feet in length by 50 feet wide. The airport facility directory lists a left traffic pattern for landings in either direction. The only taxiway associated with the runway leads from the fixed base operator's ramp to runway 29's landing touchdown area. It requires that an airplane landing on runway 29 to typically back-taxi after landing in order to proceed to the ramp. There are run-up areas located on the east and west ends of the runway.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The main wreckage was located on the right side of runway about 3,000 from the approach end of runway 29 and about 300 feet from the centerline. The debris path was about 90 feet in length from the initial impact point to the main wreckage on a 330 degree magnetic heading. The majority of the airplane was consumed by the post impact fire.
The postaccident inspection of the approach end of the runway revealed that two parallel black skid marks veered off of the left side of the runway. A single skid mark continued in the grass on the left side of the runway for about 282 feet before it came back to the runway. Two parallel black skid marks were visible as they crossed the runway at a diagonal. The skid marks stopped near the runway centerline, but the skid marks continued in the grass on the right side of the runway for about 50 feet before they stopped.
The postaccident inspection of the airplane wreckage revealed that the cables from the flight controls to the flight control surfaces exhibited continuity. Breaks in the cables were consistent with overload separations. The engine crankshaft was rotated and drive train continuity was confirmed. All cylinders exhibited thumb compression and suction. The propeller blades exhibited leading edge nicks and chordwise scratching.
A Federal Aviation Administration inspector interviewed the pilot of the airplane that landed prior to the accident airplane. The pilot reported that he approach 3DW from the west and was in contact with Springfield Approach Control. He announced on the radio that he was going to cross midfield and enter a right downwind to get a look at the field since he was unfamiliar with the airport. He was on final when he heard the accident pilot announce that he was entering a 45-degree entry for the left downwind. The pilot called final and landed on runway 29. He passed the taxiway turnoff and he continued to the end of the runway where he pulled into the run-up area and called clear of the runway on the radio. Once in the run-up area, he was busy inside the cockpit putting away charts. He did not see the accident airplane land or the accident occur when the accident pilot attempted a go-around. He called on the radio and announced that he was going to back-taxi on the runway to go to the ramp. There was no response so he taxied back to the ramp. He observed the airplane erupt in flames as he was taxing to the ramp.