NTSB Identification: WPR15LA084
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On January 11, 2015, about 1427 Pacific standard time, an experimental amateur-built Bruce J Myers (Vans) RV-9A, N8080S, collided with terrain at Prineville Airport, Prineville, Oregon. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence. The cross-country personal flight was departing with a planned destination of Bend, Oregon. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The Assistant Manager of the Prineville Airport, who held a private pilot certificate, stated that the pilot arrived in the airplane about 0930 on the morning of the accident, after being unable to land at his intended destination of Madras, Oregon, due to bad weather. Upon landing, the pilot noticed that the nosewheel tire was flat. He borrowed the airport's loaner car, and returned to his home base airport in Bend, Oregon, to retrieve tools and a replacement inner tube. He repaired the tire, and prior to departure, he discussed the deteriorating weather conditions with the airport manager. The pilot then loaded his tools into the airplane, and taxied to the run-up area.
The manager reported that he was seated at the window of his office. He had a clear view of the entire length of runway 33 during the accident sequence. He observed the pilot perform an engine run-up, then a standard takeoff roll. He saw no other traffic in the air or on the ground, and after rotation the airplane climbed in a nose-high attitude, and drifted left of the runway centerline. After reaching about 1,000 ft agl, the right wing dipped, and it descended in a right spin, impacting the parallel taxiway to runway 28. He noticed an airplane make one pass over the crash site after approaching the airport from the northwest. That airplane did not make a radio call, and left the area after the pass.
Another pilot on the airport noted that the weather was marginal, with a ceiling of about 1,500 feet above ground level. It was raining, and the winds were calm.
No personal flight records were located for the 73-year-old pilot. The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) obtained the aeronautical experience listed in this report from a review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen medical records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center. The pilot reported on his medical application in June 2013 that he had a total time of 960 hours, with 40 hours logged in the previous 6 months.
FAA records indicated that the experimental amateur-built, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number 90836, was built by the pilot, and issued a special airworthiness certificate in January 2007; the airplane was powered by an Eggenfellner Subaru H-6 converted automobile engine. No maintenance logbooks were recovered.
An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for Prineville, was issued at 1415 PDT, it stated: wind calm; visibility 6 miles; light unknown precipitation; sky 2,900 feet scattered, 3,400 feet scattered, 3,900 feet scattered; temperature 5/41 degrees C/F; dew point 3/37 degrees C/F; and altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.
Similar conditions including a confirmation of light rain were reported at Roberts Field Airport, Redmond, Oregon, 12 miles west, with further deterioration throughout the day.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest on the north taxiway parallel to runway 10/28, 4,500 ft north-northwest of where the airplane initiated the takeoff roll. Fire had consumed the entire cabin and fuselage structure forward of the empennage, along with both fuel tanks and the underside of both wings. The upper wing surfaces were heavily charred and remained partially attached to the wing spar. The elevator control push-pull tube remained attached to its control arm on the elevator torque tube, and both rudder cables remained attached to their respective rudder horns. The remaining flight controls had been consumed by fire. The airplane was equipped with an electrically driven electrical elevator trim system. The elevator trim tab was observed in the tab down (nose-up) position. The steel frame of the sliding canopy was located separate from the main wreckage; its rear locking tangs were undamaged, and the forward lower canopy latch handle was found a position 45 degrees relative to the airframe centerline, corresponding to the "open" position. The canopy skirt and associated fuselage canopy track hardware was consumed by fire.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Oregon State Police Medical Examiner Division completed an autopsy. They determined that the cause of death was blunt force head trauma. No significant natural disease was identified.
The FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot.
The report contained the following findings for tested drugs: Desmethylsertraline detected in liver, 2.723 (ug/ml, ug/g) Desmethylsertraline detected in blood (heart), Sertraline detected in liver; and 0.531 (ug/ml, ug/g) Sertraline detected in blood (heart). There were no findings for ethanol.
The NTSB's medical officer reviewed the pilot's certified medical records on file with the FAA, the autopsy report, and personal medical records. The medical officer prepared a factual report, which is part of the public docket for this accident. The review revealed that the pilot had reported no chronic medical conditions and no chronic medication use to the FAA. However, toxicology testing identified sertraline in liver and heart blood. According to personal medical records, the pilot had longstanding asthma, impaired glucose metabolism (prediabetes), gastroesophageal reflux disease, mild hypertension, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. His doctor had prescribed Fluticasone Propionate and Sertraline for many years, and both a burnt Fluticasone Propionate, and undamaged Albuterol Sulfate, inhaler canisters were located at the accident site. At his last primary care visit, in March 2014, his conditions were stable.