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On October 18, 2010, about 1749 eastern daylight time, an American Champion Aircraft Corp. 8KCAB, N105AC, impacted terrain after taking off from the Sebewaing Airport (98G), near Sebewaing, Michigan. The airplane crashed into an open cornfield about 0.25 nautical miles south of the departure end of runway 18 (2,178 feet by 50 feet, dry asphalt). The airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain. A post-impact ground fire occurred. The pilot, who held a private pilot certificate, and the certified flight instructor (CFI), who held a commercial pilot certificate, were fatally injured. The CFI was providing a flight review to the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file for the flight. The flight departed from the Dupont-Lapeer Airport (D95), near Lapeer, Michigan, about 1700, performed a full stop landing at 98G, and was returning to D95 at the time of the accident.
A witness at 98G saw the accident airplane land there on runway 18. The airplane taxied back on runway 18. He observed the airplane holding on the runway for three to four minutes with its engine at "fast idle." The witness saw the takeoff roll and the engine "sounded normal for take-off."
Another witness who lived near the accident site saw the airplane takeoff. She saw the airplane above power lines that were about 0.3 nautical miles south of the departure end of runway 18. The airplane's engine "sputtered" and the airplane banked to the left. According to the witness, the airplane was "completely turned back toward the airport." She said the engine "quit completely." The airplane subsequently "took a nose dive into the field."
The 54 year old front seat pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held a FAA third-class medical certificate dated January 8, 2010. The pilot recorded in his logbooks that he had accumulated 979.2 hours of total flight time. His last flight review was dated October 24, 2008.
According to FAA records, the 52 year old rear seat CFI was issued a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating limited to center thrust and an instrument airplane rating on October 13, 1983, based on military competence provisions allowed under 14 CFR Part 61.73 Military Pilots or Former Military Pilots: Special Rules. He also held a FAA commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. He held a flight instructor certificate. He held a FAA second-class medical certificate issued to him in April 1, 2009, and he reported that he accumulated 2,675 hours of total flight time on the application for that medical certificate. The CFI's logbooks showed that he had recorded 188.4 hours of total flight time. The CFI's last flight review was dated April 9, 2009. The pilot reported that he had accumulated 2,765 hours of total flight time on his CFI application dated April 9, 2007.
N105AC was an American Champion Aircraft Corp. 8KCAB, dual strutted, high-wing, fabric covered fuselage and wing airplane with serial number 647-91. The tailwheel airplane had fixed landing gear and accommodated a pilot and a single passenger in a tandem seat arrangement. The airplane was equipped with dual flight controls. The airplane was powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming AEIO-360-H1A engine with serial number L-2566-51A. Its propeller was a Hartzell HC-C2YL-4, marked with serial number AU113168. Airworthiness records showed that the airplane's standard airworthiness certificate was issued on June 28, 1991, and that the airplane was certificated for both normal and acrobatic categories. Logbook entries showed that the last annual inspection was completed on March 11, 2010, and the airplane had accumulated 974.6 hours of total time at the time of that inspection. The pilot owned and operated N105AC.
At 1755, the recorded weather located 177 degrees and about 16 nautical miles from the accident site at the Tuscola Area Airport, near Caro, Michigan, was: wind 260 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition broken 8,000 feet; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point 1 degree C; altimeter 29.96 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane was found resting upright on about a 320-degree heading in a harvested cornfield about 0.25 nautical miles south of the departure end of runway 18. The power lines around the cornfield were intact. The fabric covering the fuselage and right wing was consumed by fire. A circular patch of ground about the right wing exhibited charred corn stalks and terrain. Fuel was found in the left fuel tank. The right fuel tank sustained fire damage.
An on-scene examination of the wreckage was conducted. Flight control cables were traced from the flight controls to their respective flight control surfaces. Flight control continuity was established. The propeller hub and its crankshaft flange separated from the engine crankshaft. One propeller blade exhibited chord abrasion and polishing. That propeller blade also had leading edge nicks. The engine crankshaft rotated when an accessory drive was rotated. All valves were observed to operate and each cylinder produced a thumb compression. The left magneto sustained heat damage and did not rotate. The right magneto sustained heat damage and it produced spark at its center electrode. Fuel and oil screens were free of debris. The engine driven fuel pump sustained fire damage. Disassembly of that pump revealed no anomalies other than fire damage. The electric fuel pump emitted a liquid consistent with the smell of aviation gasoline when electric power was applied. The electric pump was able to pump a liquid when electric power was applied. The muffler's exhaust tubes exhibited deformation consistent with impact damage. The spark plugs were normal using a spark plug chart. A borescope examination of the pistons and cylinders revealed no anomalies.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on each pilot by the Huron County Coroner's Office. The autopsy listed multiple traumatic injuries and burns due to an airplane crash as each pilot's cause of death.
The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report on both pilots. The reports on both pilots were negative for the tests performed.
The terrain south of the accident cornfield was examined. There was a suitable straight ahead forced landing field south of the power lines that bounded the cornfield.