On May 27, 2011, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a Boeing A75NA (PT17), N60147, descended and impacted terrain while turning crosswind after takeoff from Fremont Municipal Airport Fremont (FFX), Michigan. The airplane transport pilot sustained minor injuries and the pilot-rated passenger was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that was to remain in the airport traffic pattern of FFX. The flight originated from FFX about 1430. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot-rated passenger did not have a tailwheel endorsement and had received flight instruction from the pilot prior to the day of the accident. On the day of the accident, the passenger performed the first takeoff and landing which was to be followed by the pilot performing the second takeoff and landing while remaining in the airport traffic pattern. The passenger stated that the airplane was running fine and it did not sound differently prior to the accident. The pilot-rated passenger stated that he did not realize anything was wrong until all he could see was tree branches which was followed by the impact.
The pilot stated that airplane seemed to stop climbing after it entered the crosswind leg of the departure. The airplane then started to settle and descended into trees.
The Michigan Department of State Police administered a preliminary breath test (PBT) to the pilot at 1610. The PBT results were 0.188 blood alcohol content (BAC). The State of Michigan Department of State Police Forensic Science Division Laboratory Report, Results of Analysis,of the pilot stated: 0.15 grams alcohol per 100 milliliters blood.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the propeller was a McCauley, D1093 Navy hub, serial number MC-45-249. One propeller blade was bent backwards and had impact marks on the back side of the blade but not on the leading edge. The engine case was cracked.
The FFX airport manager said that the pilot disassembled and inspected the propeller and noted the presence of light corrosion within the hub. The pilot then threw the hub in the garbage. The airport manager said that the propeller blades had been damaged from their impact with trees. He said the pilot did not think that there was anything wrong with the propeller and did not want to provide the propeller for examination, which was requested by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector and National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration brochure "Alcohol and Flying," effects of a BAC of .18% - .30% can include confusion, dizziness, exaggerated emotions (anger, fear, grief) impaired visual perception, decreased pain sensation, impaired balance, staggering gait, slurred speech, and moderate muscular incoordination. Effects of a BAC of .09% - .25% can include emotional instability, loss of critical judgment, impairment of memory and comprehension, decreased sensory response, and mild muscular incoordination. It advises that "The number of serious errors committed by pilots dramatically increases at or above concentrations of 0.04% blood alcohol. This is not to say that problems don’t occur below this value. Some studies have shown decrements in pilot performance with blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.025%."