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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA16LA139
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Cheraw, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/16/2018
Aircraft: HALL, WENDALL W HARMON ROCKET II, registration: N729PS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airline transport pilot was conducting a local flight in his experimental, amateur-built airplane. Several witnesses observed, and GPS data confirmed, that the accident airplane flew a significant portion of the 38-minute flight at low altitude, at least twice flying as low as 50 ft above ground level. The airplane subsequently collided with power lines that spanned the river.

Examination of the wreckage and review of engine monitor data did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology testing of the pilot revealed the presence of a muscle relaxant with potential mental and physical impairing side effects; however, the levels of the drug or its effect on the pilot's decision-making could not be determined based on the available information.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's decision to fly at low altitude, which resulted in a collision with power lines.