***This report was modified on January 22, 2012. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.*** Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On June 30, 2011, about 1733 central daylight time, an amateur-built Ray Aerial Spraying model 773 Racer, N773RY, impacted terrain and a tree while returning and attempting to land at the Ottumwa Regional Airport(OTM), Ottumwa, Iowa. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Ray Aerial Spraying and was being operated by a commercial pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight originated about 1730 from OTM and was en route to the pilot's private airstrip in Hedrick, Iowa.
A witness reported that the pilot flew the airplane to OTM on June 28, 2011. Upon leaving, the pilot was unable to start the airplane and told the witness that he would return later to get the airplane. A receipt indicated that the airplane was fueled with 30.1 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline on June 28, 2011. Another receipt for parts required to repair the engine starter was dated June 30, 2011.
A witness to the accident reported that he had talked with the pilot for about an hour prior to the accident flight. They reportedly discussed the accident airplane’s glide characteristics in the event of an engine failure. The pilot said if the engine were to quit that he would have to put the airplane into a dive and get it on the ground. The witness said that after their conversation the pilot took off in the accident airplane and performed two low passes down the runway and then departed the area.
The same witness reported that later, he was in flight on downwind for runway 22 when he saw the accident airplane approaching from the distance. The accident airplane was above traffic pattern altitude and overflew runway 22. The airplane proceeded past the departure end of runway 22 and turned left onto what the witness believed was a crosswind for runway 22. When the airplane was on the crosswind leg the witness saw the nose of the airplane pitch down and descended and maneuvered toward the airport. The airplane subsequently struck a farm field and then a tree. A postimpact fire ensued. The witness could not hear the accident airplane’s engine due to the engine noise from the ultralight he was flying.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a second class airman medical certificate issued on July 7, 2010. The pilot also held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. A review of pilot logbook records indicated that he had accumulated 6,581.8 hours of total flight time including 6,381.8 hours in single engine airplanes. A logbook entry indicated that the pilot’s most recent flight review was conducted on July 7, 2010. Two entries were found within the logbook for flights in the accident airplane. The first entry, dated May 17, 2011, indicated that the first flight of the accident airplane was conducted on that date. The total time recorded in the pilot’s logbook for the 2 flights in the accident airplane was 0.7 hours.
The airplane was a single-seat amateur-built monoplane reminiscent of a 1930’s air racer. The fuselage and tail surfaces of the airplane were constructed primarily of steel tubing with a fabric covering. The wings were constructed of wood with fabric covered steel tubing used for the aileron structures. The airplane had a fixed conventional (tail-wheel) landing gear arrangement. The airplane had a wing span of 21.5 feet and 98.57 square feet of wing area.
A Ranger model V-770-11 engine powered the airplane. The cylinder configuration was a "V" arrangement with 12 cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of six cylinders. The engine was rated to produce 520 horsepower.
At 1753, the recorded weather conditions at OTM were: Wind 190 at 15 knots; 10 miles visibility; clear skies; temperature 33 degrees C; dew point 25 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.82 inches of mercury.
The OTM airport was located about 5 miles northwest of the city of Ottumwa, Iowa at an elevation of 845 feet above sea level. There was no operating control tower on the airport when the accident occurred. The airport had 2 intersecting runways. Runway 13/31 was 5,885 feet by 150 feet, and runway 4/22 was 4,600 feet by 100 feet. Both runways were hard surface paved runways.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted a berm that bordered a farm field adjacent to the airport. The initial impact point was located about 650 feet southwest of the approach end of runway 31. The airplane’s heading at the time of impact was about 15 degrees. A portion of the left wing was found near the initial impact point. The direction of travel and location of impact were consistent with an attempted return to the runway. After the initial impact the airplane travelled about 250 feet before coming to rest.
The fuselage aft of the pilot compartment and tail surfaces of the airplane remained intact except for fire damage to the fabric covering. The forward fuselage was separated from the aft section and displaced to the right. The forward fuselage coverings were consumed by fire. Both wings were almost completely consumed by fire with the exception of the ailerons and the main spar. The wooden main wing spar was charred but predominately intact. The spar remained attached to the fuselage.
Examination of the airplane’s flight control system revealed no evidence of a preimpact failure or malfunction.
The airplane’s engine was examined. Rotation, crankshaft continuity, accessory continuity, and valve train continuity were confirmed. The distributor caps were opened and no preimpact anomalies noted. The engine’s magnetos produced spark on the output leads to the distributors when the engine was rotated by hand. The examination of the engine and ignition system revealed no evidence of a preimpact failure or malfunction.
The fuel system of the airplane was consumed by the postimpact fire. The carburetor exhibited extensive fire damage. No determination could be made concerning preimpact operation of the carburetor.
All three blades of the airplane’s propeller remained attached to the hub. There was chordwise scuffing at the blade tips, and slight rearward bending of all three blades.
The fire was limited to the area immediately surrounding the main wreckage. No soot streaking on the aft fuselage or other evidence that the fire erupted in-flight was found.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The pilot initially survived the accident but later succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident about 5 hours later. An autopsy was performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on July 1, 2011. The cause of death was attributed to injuries received during the accident.
A Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report found Lidocaine detected in the heart. Lidocaine is used as a local anesthetic and for the treatment of ventricular arrythmias.