On June 4, 2012, about 1400 central daylight time, a Bellanca 8GCBC, N88095, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Zahl, North Dakota. Witnesses stated that the airplane engine sputtered and the airplane then descended in a nose-down attitude. Examination of the airplane revealed no usable fuel aboard. The uncertificated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The airplane was registered to an individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the flight that originated from Crosby, North Dakota. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the wreckage was in a rural area approximately 10 miles southwest of Crosby, North, Dakota. Witnesses stated pilot was flying low and maneuvering between the gravel piles of a gravel pit adjacent to the crash site. One witness stated, in his opinion, the pilot was flying carelessly. Witnesses stated that the pilot was flying 20-25 feet above the ground when the airplane appeared to level out over a field, went straight up while executing a half spiral, nosed-over, and impacted terrain.
The pilot, age 33, held a student pilot certificate and airman medical certificate that was expired. At the time of his last airman medical certificate which was dated April 27, 1997, He reported a total flight time of 15 hours of which 6 hours were in the last 6 months. The airman medical certificate was a third class with the following limitation: requires corrective lenses while operating aircraft. There were no current FAA records for the pilot.
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the State Forensic Medical Examiner, Bismark, North Dakota. The cause of death was: blunt chest, abdominal, pelvic and extremity injuries. The manner of death was: accident.
The FAA's Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report of the pilot stated that there was no carbon monoxide or cyanide detected in the blood. No ethanol was detected in vitreous. The following tested-for-drugs were detected: Valsartan detected in blood and liver.
According to the FAA, Office of Aerospace Medicine, valsartan is a prescription medication that is a specific angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) acting on the AT1 receptor subtype, used to treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (CHF), and post-myocardial infarction (MI).
The 1974 Bellanca 8GCBC airplane was registered to the pilot's father on July 2, 1975. The airplane registration expired on March 31, 2012. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-360-C2E engine. The airplane and engine annual/100-hour inspections were completed on June 18, 2011, at 1,609 hours total time. The FAA inspector reported that the airplane was airworthy on the date of the accident.
Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the airplane fuel tanks, carburetor float bowl, and firewall fuel strainer had no evidence of fuel. Vegetation in which the airplane impacted showed no damage from fuel spill. One witness also commented he heard the engine rev up right before aircraft nosed over, which is indicative of an engine in an extreme lean mixture condition.