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On April 23, 2011, approximately 1530 mountain daylight time, a Cub Crafters CC11-160, N143FJ, registered to and operated by Flying Js, LLC, Lone Tree, Colorado, was substantially damaged when it was seen to stall and spin to the ground at the Everitt Airport (Rocky Mountain Airpark, 1CO8), Parker, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger on board the airplane were fatally injured. The local flight had just originated.
The pilot reportedly was giving a demonstration flight for a group of girl scouts. An adult member of the group said he had never flown in a light airplane, and the pilot invited him along.
A video was taken from a cellular telephone by a witness. Examination of the video recording showed the airplane taking off and assuming a steep angle of climb. The airplane leveled off and appeared to be motionless. The right wing then dropped and the airplane spun to the ground (approximately 1 complete turn). High winds prevailed at the time of the accident.
Photographs were recovered from the passenger’s camera, which were taken out the right window seconds before the accident. A group of people could be seen standing on the ground and looking up at the airplane.
One pilot-witness was standing in his driveway on the south side of the runway. He said the wind was from the south between 180 to 190 degrees and 15 to 20 knots with occasional gusts. He said the airplane lifted off after a 200-foot ground roll and climbed to an altitude between 150 and 200 feet. Ground speed appeared to drop to zero as the airplane hovered in the high wind. Suddenly, the right wing dropped sharply and the airplane made a high speed descending right hand turn, striking the ground in a right wing-down, nose-up (30-degrees) attitude. He did not see anything fall off of the airplane in flight, nor did he hear any unusual engine sounds. Another eye witness, a former Army National Guard pilot, saw the airplane “in slow flight.” He said the flaps appeared to be down. The airplane made a tight 180-degree turn, appeared to hover, then pitched down and rotated before disappeared from view.
Others witnesses, who did not see the accident but had seen the pilot flying the airplane on previous occasions, elected to submit statements. One witness said he saw the airplane flying on the previous afternoon, and was surprised the pilot was flying in such windy conditions. He saw the airplane take off and fly directly into the wind. The pilot held it completely still in the wind, “like a helicopter,” then he would point the nose straight up so that it was almost at a 90-degree angle to the ground. The pilot would then roll the airplane over to the right or left, descend straight down and pull up. He would then repeat this maneuver. Another pilot-witness said he was at the airport on the day before the accident and saw the airplane doing downwind departure stalls at 200 feet. He said the wind was very gusty. On the day of the accident, the witness attempted to ferry his airplane to Wyoming but abandoned the flight because it was cloudy and very windy, “terrible flying weather.” A third pilot-witness, an International Aerobatic Club-trained judge and an aerobatic pilot, observed the pilot doing downwind departure stalls at approximately 200 feet. He said the nose was in excess of 45 degrees nose-up, and the winds were very gusty. A witness who was driving near the airport on the evening before the accident saw the airplane flying very low. The airplane made a steep bank to the left and disappeared from view. She thought it had crashed.
PERSONNEL (CREW) INFORMATION
The 49-year-old pilot held an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. He was type rated in the Boeing 747, Boeing 777, and Lockheed L-188. The pilot also held a first class medical, dated March 28, 2011, with no restrictions or limitations. On his application for medical certification, the pilot estimated he had accrued 9000 hours total time. Other records showed the pilot had logged 6,780 in single-engine airplanes, and 3,000 hours in the Cub Crafter CC11. His most recent flight review (airline proficiency check) was accomplished on January 11, 2010. Airline records indicate he had flown 75 hours in the last 90 days, and 135 hours in the last year.
N143FJ, serial number CC11-00160, a two-seat, high-wing, fixed gear airplane, was manufactured by Cub Crafters on March 21, 2011. It was powered by a CubCrafters CC340 engine (s.n. 00064), rated at 160 horsepower, driving a Catto 2-blade 78”x55” propeller (s.n. 01111542). The propeller had a wood core with carbon fiber tips, and was wrapped in fiberglass. An audio stall warning system was installed in the leading edge of right wing root panel.
A review of maintenance logbook records revealed the altimeter, encoder and static system were certified up to 20,000 feet on March 9, 2011, and an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) was installed on March 21, 2011. On March 23, 2011, a production flight test was conducted and the airplane received an Experimental Airworthiness Light Sport Certificate on March 24, 2011. On April 5, 2011, an airbag harness, autopilot, and fire extinguisher were installed.
The following METAR (Aviation Routine Weather Report) observations were made at Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado, located approximately 12 miles west of the accident site. The observations were made at 1453 and 1553, respectively:
Wind, 190 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 26 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles (or greater); sky condition, few clouds at 4,000 feet, scattered clouds at 6,500 feet, broken clouds at 12,000 feet; temperature, 08 degrees C.; dew point, -05 degrees C.; altimeter, 29.92 inches of Mercury. Remarks: Peak wind, 170 degrees at 26 knots at 1450.
Wind, 180 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 21 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles (or greater); sky condition, few clouds at 5,000 feet, scattered clouds at 7,000 feet, broken clouds at 11,000 feet; temperature, 10 degrees C.; dew point, -06 degrees C.; altimeter, 29.88 inches of Mercury.
Everitt Airport, also known as Rocky Mountain Airpark (1CO8), is located at 14250 N. Delbert Road, about 7 miles east of Parker, Colorado 80138. It is situated at an elevation of 6,295 feet msl (mean sea level), and is served by one runway, 04-22, 2200 ft. x 100 ft., turf. The airport manager was the pilot of N143FJ.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane lay flat on the ground on a magnetic heading of 195 degrees. There was a 12-inch rebounding ground scar. The right side of cockpit was open and the right wing was peeled back to facilitate victim extrication. The right wing’s fabric bore wrinkles from the inboard leading edge root to the outboard trailing edge tip. The fuselage bore wrinkles from the top front to the bottom rear. The flaps had been lowered to the first notch (15 degrees). The rudder was fully deflected to the right, the elevators were slightly up, and the left aileron was up. Both wings bore leading edge crush damage. Flight control continuity was established.
The engine was canted 30 degrees to the right and aligned on a magnetic heading of 225 degrees. The bottom cowling was crushed and shattered. Throttle and mixture control continuity was established. One propeller blade was found buried in the dirt in front of the engine. The other propeller blade was found 300 feet away near the edge of the parking lot
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy (Report No. 11A-264) was performed on the pilot by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office on April 25, 2011. According to the report, the cause of death was “blunt force injuries.” The manner of death was “accident.”
Toxicology screening was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s FAA’s Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma. According to CAMI’s report (#20100085001), there was no evidence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, or drugs in blood, and there was no evidence of ethanol in vitreous.
According to the "Cub Crafters CC11-160 Pilots's Operating Handbook and Airplane Flight Manual," Section 18.104.22.168.1, normal takeoff technique uses the first notch (15°) of flaps. Section 2.8 prohibits intentional spins. Section 7.5.12 notes that the stall warning system is activated by a vane located on the leading edge of the right wing. As the aircraft approaches the stall, a horn will sound. The system is calibrated so that the horn will come on at least 6 miles per hour above the stall speed.