HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On September 7, 2012, about 1755 central daylight time, a Goodyear F2G Corsair, N5577N, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an aerobatic practice routine at the Barnes County Municipal Airport (BAC), Valley City, North Dakota. The pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an air show practice flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from BAC about 1740.
A witness reported that the practice routine proceeded normally. During the final barrel roll, the airplane pitched to about 10 degrees nose up and rolled left until about 10 degrees past inverted, at which point the roll slowed and ultimately stopped. The airplane then pitched down and started to pull through from a vertical nose down attitude. Vapor trails were visible from both wing tips from about 80 degrees to 40 degrees nose down. At this point the airplane was about 100 feet above ground level. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground in about a 10-degree nose down, wings level attitude.
A second witness reported that there appeared to be no issues with the initial part of the practice routine. During most of those maneuvers, the airplane reached altitudes of 2,000 feet to 2,500 feet above ground level (agl). The maneuver immediately before the accident was a four-point roll from east to west, with a turn back toward the east. While heading back toward show center, the airplane pitched up and rolled to the left, as if the pilot was entering a barrel roll. However, during this maneuver, the airplane only climbed to 1,000 feet to 1,200 feet agl. The airplane was inverted at an altitude of about 1,000 feet agl, on a north heading. At that point, the roll stopped and the airplane “pulled through” until it impacted the ground.
The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with single- and multi-engine land airplane, single-engine sea airplane, helicopter, and glider ratings. His pilot certificate included type ratings for Cessna 500, Cessna 525, Douglas DC-3, Learjet, and Socata TBM airplanes. He also held pilot and flight instructor authorizations for Chance Vought F4U, Curtis P-40, Mitsubishi A6M, Northrup F-5, North American P-51, North American T-28, Yakovlev Yak-3, and Yakovlev Yak-9 airplanes. His most recent aerobatic competency evaluation (ACE) was completed on December 31, 2012, with an authorization for solo aerobatics. His most recent performance was reportedly on August 26, 1012.
The pilot held a flight instructor certificate with single and multi-engine airplane, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings, and an inspection authorization. He was issued a second class medical certificate on November 1, 2011, with a restriction for corrective lenses and a waiver for color vision. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported a total flight time of 19,975 hours, with approximately 150 hours within the previous 6 months.
The accident airplane was a restored World War II era fighter airplane. Records indicated that it entered service with the United States Navy in February 1946. It was restored and re-issued an experimental airworthiness certificate for exhibition and air racing purposes in July 2011. Maintenance records indicated that a condition inspection was completed on July 12, 2012. The airplane had accumulated 107.9 hours total time at the time of that inspection.
The Jamestown Regional Airport (JMS) Automated Surface Observing System, located 27 miles west of BAC, at 1756 recorded conditions as: wind from 330 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 18 degrees Celsius, dew point 6 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.12 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Initial ground impact was located about 500 feet from the approach threshold of runway 31; about 90 feet southwest of the edge of the runway. The debris path was about 900 feet long by 200 feet wide, and oriented on a south bearing.
The airframe was fragmented during the impact sequence and a postimpact fire ensued. The engine had separated from the airframe. It came to rest in the debris field, about 450 feet from the initial impact point. Three of the four propeller blades had separated near the blade root and were embedded into the ground at the initial impact point. The fourth propeller blade remained attached to the hub, with the hub remaining attached to the engine.
A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies consistent with preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction. Damage to the flight control system was consistent with impact forces. However, the extent of the damage to the airframe precluded a complete examination of the flight control system.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted on September 10, 2012, at the North Dakota State Forensic Examiners Office in Bismarck, North Dakota. The pilot’s death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.
The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute toxicology report noted:
62 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle;
52 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Kidney;
24 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Lung;
No Ethanol detected in Brain;
N-Propanol detected in Kidney;
N-Propanol detected in Muscle.
No drugs in the screening profile were detected in Liver tissue. The report indicated that the tissue samples were putrefied.