ERA12FA057
ERA12FA057

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 1, 2011, about 1642 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Vans RV-6, N262MA, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in Taylorsville, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed Mount Sterling-Montgomery County Airport (IOB), Mount Sterling, Kentucky, about 1500, destined for Weedon Field Airport (EUF), Eufaula, Alabama. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's son, the airplane was based at Hendricks Field (NK16), Gouverneur, New York during the summer, and the pilot was in the process of flying the airplane from NK16 to EUF, where it would be based for the winter. The pilot also maintained a residence in the Eufaula area.

According to information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight was receiving visual flight rules flight advisories and was at an altitude of 6,500 feet msl, when pilot contacted the Atlanta Approach Control Satellite-F sector at 1633. The pilot was provided an altimeter setting and instructed to remain clear of the Atlanta Class B airspace, which he acknowledged. There were no further communications from the pilot. Radar data showed that the airplane continued to track to the southwest; however, it gradually climbed to an altitude of approximately 7,100 feet, when radar contact was lost about 1642.

A witness, who lived near the accident site, stated that she heard a very loud engine noise. She looked out the window and saw an airplane "nose diving toward the ground, very fast and very steep." The airplane was almost straight nose down and was not spinning. The airplane struck the ground and debris scattered. She did not observe any smoke or fire before or after the impact. In addition, she described the weather at the time of the accident as clear skies and sunny.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 70, held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land and airplane single-engine sea. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 5, 2011.

Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that at the time of the accident, he had accumulated approximately 1,100 hours of total flight experience, which included about 75 hours during the 1 year preceding the accident, of which about 50 hours were flown in the accident airplane.

The pilot's most recent biennial flight review was conducted on August 1, 2011.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, low-wing, tail-wheel, all-metal airplane, serial number 20265, was originally issued an experimental airworthiness certificate 1993. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2D, serial number L-36039-27A, 150-horsepower engine, equipped with a Catto three-bladed 68X72 wooden propeller assembly. In addition, the airplane was equipped with a Trutrak two-axis autopilot system.

According to FAA records, the airplane was purchased by the pilot through a corporation on January 27, 2011.

Examination of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent condition inspection was performed on January 15, 2011, at an airplane and engine total time of 607.2 hours. The airplane had been operated for about 50 hours since the condition inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The reported weather at Cartersville Airport (VPC), elevation 759 feet, at 1653, was: wind 020 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clear skies; temperature 20 degrees Celsius (C); dew point -1 degrees C; altimeter 30.26 inches of mercury.

According to Lockheed Martin Flight Services, prior to departing IOB, the pilot contacted the Princeton Contracted Flight Service Station for a weather briefing. The weather reported during the briefing included that there were no clouds below 12,000 feet, nor any weather advisories, and unrestricted visibility.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane impacted in a cow pasture and was highly fragmented. All major portions of the airplane were accounted for within about 150 feet of a debris field located between 160 and 240 degrees, which began at an impact crater that was about 6 feet long, by 7 feet wide. The main wreckage consisted of an approximate 4 by 4-foot portion of the front cabin, which included the two seats and the empennage. The left and right wing spars extended from the main wreckage; however, the respective wing structure, which included both ailerons, was located in the debris field. The rudder, horizontal stabilizer and both elevators were crushed into each other.

The airplane's flight controls were actuated by a series of push-pull tubes. Due to the fragmented nature of the wreckage, flight control continuity could not be confirmed. In addition, the condition of the airplane's autopilot system could not be evaluated.

The engine was located within the impact crater at a depth of about 5 feet. The crankcase was impact damaged. The left side of the crankcase was fractured above the Nos. 2 and 3 cylinders and a portion of the crankcase forward of the No. 2 cylinder was separated, which exposed the forward portion of the crankshaft. The No. 2 cylinder was partially separated. The accessory section was separated from the crankcase and all engine accessories, which included both magnetos and the carburetor were destroyed. The No. 2 top spark plug was separated. The remaining top spark plugs were removed. Their electrodes were intact and dark gray in color. The engine could not be rotated due to impact damage. A borescope inspection of all cylinders did not reveal any preimpact malfunctions. In addition, the cylinder rocker arm and valve assemblies were intact.

All three wooden propeller blades were fragmented and separated at their respective hubs.

Portions of two Garmin 496 global positioning system receivers were recovered from the debris field and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC, for further examination and data download.

Examination of the GPS receivers revealed that one was missing its non-volatile memory chip; however, the chip was present in the second GPS receiver and was successfully downloaded.

Data retrieved from the GPS receiver indicated that at 1634, the airplane was at a GPS altitude of 6,554 feet, a ground speed of 143 knots, and a heading of 191 degrees. Approximately 1 minute later, the airplane was at GPS altitude of 6,737 feet, a ground speed of 137 knots, and a heading of 226 degrees.

The recorded data further indicated the following GPS altitudes, grounds speeds and headings:

At 1640:42, 6,884 feet, 138 knots, 219.2 degrees
At 1640:53, 6,939 feet, 133 knots, 218.7 degrees
At 1641:00, 6,844 feet, 140 knots, 215.3 degrees
At 1641:11, 6,759 feet, 147 knots, 212.2 degrees
At 1641:20, 6,786 feet, 149 knots, 214.9 degrees
At 1641:30, 6,841 feet, 145 knots, 216.8 degrees
At 1641:31, 6,851 feet, 143 knots, 223.2 degrees
At 1641:35, 6,939 feet, 134 knots, 241.1 degrees

The last recorded data point was at 1641:37, at a GPS altitude of 6,899 feet, a ground speed of 131 knots, and a heading of 268 degrees.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of Forensic Sciences, Decatur, Georgia. The autopsy report revealed the cause of death as "blunt force injuries due to airplane crash." In addition, the medical examiner reported that the injuries sustained by the pilot precluded the ability to exclude if natural disease caused or contributed to the accident and death.

Toxicological testing performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol in liver tissue.

During the pilot's most recent FAA medical examination, he reported a history of hypertension, was previously reported and "well controlled." He also indicated that he was taking Hyzaar, Sectral, and Potassium, which were all previously reported.

The pilot's most recent examination by his primary care physician was conducted on May 17, 2011, for routine follow-up. At that time, his physician noted that he was "doing fine" with normal laboratory results for sugar, kidneys and hemoglobin levels.

The pilot's son described the pilot as very active and said that he was not aware of the pilot experiencing any health issues. He saw the pilot the day before the accident, who seemed fine, and displayed no unusual behavior. The pilot's son was not able to provide any information regarding the pilot's sleep/awake history prior to the accident.

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