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On January 5, 2011, about 1045 central standard time, a single-engine Columbia Aircraft LC41-550FG airplane, N1393T, impacted terrain following a loss of engine power on departure from the Eagle's Nest Estates Airport (2TS6), Midlothian, Texas. The commercial pilot and passenger were both fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was owned and operated by Paradise Leasing Inc, Dover, Delaware under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that operated without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for the South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field (ELD), El Dorado, Arkansas.
According to a witness statement made to local law enforcement, the airplane's engine sounded normal until the airplane was 100 to 200 feet above ground level. The witness heard the airplane's engine stall and dark smoke emanated from the airplane. The airplane was observed to turn left with about 30 degrees of bank. The engine sounded as though it was attempting to restart as the airplane descended and collided with terrain.
The pilot, age 40, held a commercial pilot certificate with single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. A second class medical certificate was issued on August 17, 2010. A review of the pilot logbooks revealed that the pilot had accumulated over 1,000 hours total time, with over 800 hours in the accident airplane. The pilot’s last flight review was conducted on November 15, 2009, and was flown in the accident airplane.
The four-seat, low-wing, fixed gear airplane, serial number 41675, was manufactured in 2006 by Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing. It was powered by a 310-horsepower Continental Motors TSIO-550-C driving a 3-bladed Hartzell HC-H3YF-1RF constant speed metal propeller. A review of copies of maintenance records showed an annual inspection was completed on August 27, 2010, at an airframe and Hobbs meter time of 786.6 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 833.7 hours, according to the pilot's records.
The pilot had acquired the airplane on October 6, 2006, at an estimated airframe and Hobbs time of 27 hours.
At 1023 a weather reporting facility located approximately 5 nautical miles north of the accident site reported wind from 300 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 52 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 28 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.02 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located approximately a quarter of a mile north-northwest of the departure end of runway 35. Fuel was found at the accident site. Impact marks and damage to trees were consistent with the airplane descending in a left turn. The airplane's initial impact point was near the row of trees which consisted of the propeller and several pieces of fiberglass fuselage and left wing. A few feet north of the propeller was the airplane's engine, which had separated from the airplane at the firewall. Immediately to the west of the engine was the fuselage which came to rest in the row of trees in a nose-down attitude.
The forward portion of the fuselage was heavily distorted and damaged. About two feet of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The remainder of the wing was broken in multiple pieces and distributed between the tree impacts and the main wreckage. The right wing was partially separated from the fuselage. The outer one-third of the right wing was distorted and damaged. The tail section was nearly separated just aft of the baggage compartment. Damage to the cockpit area rendered an examination of switch positions unsuccessful. An examination of the engine revealed dark, black sooting on the spark plugs. In addition, a clamp securing the rubber hose between the left intercooler and aft intercooler induction tube was found set to smaller diameter than the combined diameter of the induction tube and rubber hose. No further anomalies were discovered with the engine.
The propeller blades were labeled A, B, and C, for reporting purposes only. Blade A displayed S-bending, leading edge polishing and chord wise scratches along its entire surface. Blade B was relatively undamaged. Blade C displayed leading edge polishing and chord wise, 45 degree, and perpendicular scratches along one-half of the blade surface. The metal nose cone displayed signs of rotational scoring along with rotational distortion of the nose cone. The airplane’s electrical auxiliary fuel boost pump was found impact damaged and separated from the engine. The boost pump was retained for further examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas, as authorized by the Ellis County, Precinct 2, Justice of the Peace. The medical examiner noted that “[m]yocarditis may or may not have caused a cardiac event, i.e. arrhythmia, prior to the plane crash.”
Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology did not find any evidence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs in the specimens.
Fuel Boost Pump
The Dukes “Pump Electrical Fuel Boost," p/n 5544 00-1 was an electrical pump which normally would operate at a low and high flow setting of 4 to 7 psi and 29 psi respectively. The pump was examined at Cessna Aircraft Company under the supervision of the FAA. Testing of the pump discovered that impact forces resulted in a case leak and also precluded testing of the low flow setting. The high flow setting and current draw tests were within acceptable testing limits.