WPR12LA241
WPR12LA241

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On June 1, 2012, at 1059 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Westcott Prowler Jaguar, N125CW, impacted terrain immediately after takeoff at the Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the owner/builder under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed and involved in a post-accident fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

According to the Monterey County Sheriff, witnesses reported observing the airplane accelerate down runway 26. Immediately after takeoff the nose pitched up, the airplane stalled, rolled, and pitched down, then impacted the ground nose first. A post-crash fire ensued. Witnesses stated that they could audibly hear the engine operating all the way up to ground impact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 73, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating and commercial privileges for airplane single engine land. He held a third-class medical certificate issued February 8, 2012, with the limitation that he wear lenses for distant vision, and have glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his medical application that his flight experience included 20,000 flight hours and 75 hours in the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not located and was not examined by investigators.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The experimental category tandem configured, low wing, airplane with retractable landing gear, serial number 0012, was manufactured in 2007. It was powered by a Rodeck V8 350-hp engine. Airplane maintenance records were not located and were not examined by investigators.

WRECKAGE & IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located on the south side of runway 26 near taxi way D. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector examined the wreckage and reported that all flight control surfaces were present and that the airplane had been consumed by a post-crash fire.

Airport surveillance cameras captured the airplane's last few seconds prior to the accident.

Camera 7 was located on the south side of the runway near the approach end of runway 26. The imagery depicted the airplane passing through the upper right corner of the camera's field of view at an approximately 30° angle climb at 1058:45, and exiting the frame at 1058:47. The airplane reenters the frame at 1058:49 in an extreme nose down attitude, impacts terrain at 1058:54, and was immediately followed by a fire ball explosion.

Camera 9, located on a building on the north side of runway 26, views the intersection of taxi way D and runway 26/08. The camera imagery depicts the airplane entering the field of view at 1058:52 in an extreme nose low attitude with the left wing pointing towards the ground. The airplane rolls approximately 90° to its left and impacts the terrain inverted nose first 2 seconds later. A fireball explosion immediately follows.

MEDICAL & PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on June 4, 2012, by the Monterey County Forensic Pathologist, at the Monterey County Coroner Facility, Salinas, California. The pathologist's summary stated that the pilot most likely died suddenly as a result of coronary artery atherosclerosis (heart attack due to hardening and narrowing of arteries that supply the heart muscle), commonly associated with sudden unexpected death. No rapidly fatal injuries sustained in the airplane crash were observed at autopsy.

The FAA's Forensic Toxicology Research Team CAMI performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The following results were reported; no carbon monoxide detected in blood, no cyanide detected in blood, no ethanol detected in vitreous, and no listed drugs identified in urine.

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