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On June 22, 2011, approximately 1340 central daylight time, an Ultralight America Spitfire II, experimental light sport airplane, N6524R, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during takeoff from the Ranger Municipal Airport (KF23), Ranger, Texas. A postimpact fire ensued. The student pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the accident site, the purpose of the flight was to take the airplane's perspective buyer for a local flight before a possible purchase. After takeoff, the airplane was observed to stall and roll left, before impacting a tree and subsequently the ground.
The student pilot, age 70, held a student pilot certificate with no limitations, issued on September 30, 2012. He did not hold an airman medical certificate.
The student pilot’s logbooks were not located during the course of this investigation and his experience in the accident airplane was not determined.
The pilot-rated passenger, age 56, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate, without limitations, on January 12, 2007.
The passenger’s logbooks were not located during the course of this investigation. At the time of medical certificate application, he reported 300 total flight hours.
According to FAA records, the Ultralight America Spitfire II light sport airplane (serial number 00180100JT), was registered with the FAA on a special airworthiness certificate for experimental operations. A Rotax 582 engine powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a two-blade, Warp Drive propeller.
The maintenance logbooks were not located during the course of this investigation.
The closest official weather observation station was Stephens County Airport (KBKD), Breckenridge, TX, located 19 nautical miles (nm) northwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 1,284 feet mean sea level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KBKD, issued at 1335, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky condition clear, temperature 32 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 13 degrees C, altimeter 29.95 inches.
Calculations of relevant meteorological data indicated the density altitude was 3,921 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located in a grove of trees and bushes, 600 feet to the west of runway 18/36, approximately mid-field. The accident site was at an elevation of 1,473 feet msl.
The main wreckage included the engine and propeller assembly, the left and right wings, the empennage, and fuselage. The wreckage was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. The remaining structure of the airplane was bent, crushed, and broken due to ground impact. The flight control cables were continuous.
No preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office on June 3, 2011. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was blunt force injuries with extensive thermal injuries, and the report listed the specific injuries.
The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201100121001). Results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Testing of the blood revealed chlorpheniramine, 0.247 ug/ml diphenhydramine, levetiracetam, and metoprolol. Testing of the urine revealed chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, levetiracetam, metoprolol, and naproxen. Chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine are common over the counter antihistamines used to treat colds and hay fever. Levetiracetam is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Metoprolol is a beta blocker used to treat hypertension and arrhythmias. Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory agent. The student pilot’s medical records were not available and it is unknown why he was taking these medications.
Neither an autopsy nor toxicology was conducted on the pilot-rated passenger.