Saturday, June 9, 2012

Phillips Challenger II, N1279T: Accident occurred June 09, 2012 in Plant City, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA387 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2012 in Plant City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: PHILLIPS WILLIAM L CHALLENGER, registration: N2571T
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the airport manager, the purpose of the flight was for the student pilot/owner to get “one last flight” in the airplane before he sold it. The pilot had experienced health issues and undergone surgery in the years prior to the accident, and had not flown the airplane in about 1 year. The manager watched the entire flight and described the takeoff as “normal.” The first landing approach was “fast and long,” and the pilot performed a go-around and entered the traffic pattern for a second approach. The manager and other witnesses stated that the airplane descended on the base leg of the traffic pattern to about 500 feet, and that the airplane turned and aligned with the runway. During the descent on final approach, the airplane pitched up, leveled off, descended, and pitched up multiple times with corresponding changes in engine power. The airplane “wandered” to the west and was briefly flying parallel to the runway as it headed toward the witnesses on the grass apron and the hangars on the west side of the field. The airplane then pitched up, the nose dropped, and the airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude of about 25-30 degrees. During the descent and at ground contact, the engine was running “at cruise power,” according to the airport manager. The engine continued to run after the accident, and first responders had to pull one of the carburetors from its mount in order to stop the engine. The 79 year-old pilot/owner had never obtained a pilot certificate. Over the 60 years that he documented his flight time, the pilot reported 122 total flight hours. The accident airplane was purchased almost 20 years before the accident but was not registered until 5 years before the accident. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 19 total airframe hours.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The non-certificated pilot’s loss of control during approach and landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of both total and recent flight experience.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 9, 2012, at 1126 eastern daylight time, a Phillips Challenger II, N1279T, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain while maneuvering for landing at Blackwater Airpark (9FD2), Plant City, Florida. The pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed 9FD2 about 1110. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the airport manager, the purpose of the flight was for the pilot/owner to get “one last flight” in the airplane before he sold it. The pilot had experienced health issues and undergone surgery in the years prior to the accident, and had not flown the airplane in approximately one year.

The manager watched the entire flight, and described the takeoff as “normal” with no problems noted. The first landing approach was “fast and long,” and the pilot performed a go-around and entered the traffic pattern for another approach.

The manager and other witnesses stated the airplane descended on the base leg of the traffic pattern to about 500 feet, and then the airplane turned and aligned with the runway. During the descent on final approach, the airplane pitched up, leveled off, descended, and pitched up multiple times with corresponding changes in engine power. They observed as the airplane “wandered” to the west,and was briefly flying parallel to the runway as it headed towards their location on the grass apron and the hangers on the west side of the field.

The airplane pitched up, the nose dropped, and the airplane imapcted the ground in a nose-down attitude of about 25-30 degrees. During the descent and at ground contact, the engine was running “at cruise power.” The engine continued to run after the accident, and first responders had to pull one of the carburetors from its mount in order to stop the engine.

PILOT INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot did not hold a pilot certificate. He most recently held a student pilot certificate, which expired April 30, 2009. A review of his logbooks revealed that he first logged an entry in 1952; he last logged an entry in 2006, and had accrued 122 total hours of flight experience as of that date. His most recent third-class FAA medical certificate was issued in November 2007. The pilot did possess a valid driver’s license.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was purchased in 1993 and certificated in 2007, and was registered to the pilot/owner. It was a two-place, high wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. According to the airplane’s maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on June 5, 2012, at 19 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1115, the weather conditions reported at Plant City Municipal Airport (PCM), about 7 miles north of the accident site, included winds from 160 at 3 knots. There was a broken cloud ceiling at 5,000 feet and 8,500 feet. Visibility was 10 miles; the temperature was 30 degrees C, the dew point 24 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 030 degrees magnetic, and was approximately 180 feet in length.

The initial impact point was on the west side of the north/south runway, and the ground scar crossed the runway on an approximate 30-degree angle. The airplane came to rest upright on the east side of the runway. Fragments associated with the nose landing gear and nose enclosure were scattered along the wreckage path.

The bottom of the fuselage was crushed upwards, and the fore and aft cabin structure was folded in on the cockpit area. The engine support structure was collapsed, and the engine rested on the bottom of the airframe.

Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces.

Examination of the two-bladed wooden propeller revealed that both blades were fractured and splintered near the propeller hub. Splintered fragments of the propeller were scattered along the wreckage path.

The examination did not reveal any defects or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department, Tampa, Florida, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy revealed the pilot died from blunt injuries to the head and neck.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. No carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol, were detected in the specimens tested.

The following Tested-for-Drugs were detected:

Atenolol detected in Blood (Cavity) - Atenolol (Tenormin®) is a prescription synthetic, beta1-selective (cardioselective) adrenoreceptor blocking agent used to treat high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Atenolol detected in Urine

Clonidine detected in Urine – Clonidine (Catapres®) is a prescription centrally-acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent used to treat high blood pressure. This centrally-acting medication has side effects including dizziness and fatigue. According to the FAA, clonidine use was a disqualifying condition for the issuance of a medical certificate.

A review of the autopsy report as well as statements from the pilot’s wife and his acquaintances revealed the pilot’s medical history included:

Coronary artery disease (Blocked / narrowed coronary arteries)
Myocardial infarction (old heart attack) at apex of heart
Implanted pacemaker
Aortic valve replacement
Mitral valve repair
Stage III renal failure (moderate reduction in the filtering capability of the kidneys)
High blood pressure
Stroke

The pilot’s pacemaker logbook did not record any arrhythmias on the day of the accident. It could not be determined to what degree the pilot’s general health, or use of medication, affected his performance during the accident flight.



 

The pilot was found dead after this small aircraft went down Saturday morning at Blackwater Creek Flight Park, a small airport that caters to sport aircraft.


PLANT CITY — A pilot was found dead after a light aircraft crashed at Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said late Saturday morning.
The pilot, William Lee Phillips, of Lakeland, was alone in the aircraft when it crashed, according to sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Phillips, 79, circled the grass runway three times before making a hard landing that slammed the bottom of the aircraft into the ground, McKinnon said. The aircraft, a Challenger ultralight that was based at Blackwater, skidded about 50 feet along the runway and Phillips was found dead inside, according to McKinnon.

Blackwater Creek, an ultralight and light-sport aircraft facility with a 2,300-foot runway, is on a 45-acre farm along Paul Buchman Highway, 7 miles north of Interstate 4, according to its website.




Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon has confirmed that there is one fatality in the plane crash today at the Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City.

The crash occured before noon.

"The single occupant of the airplane has died," McKinnon said, in a telephone interview on the way to the airport, which he said is about 10 miles north of Interstate 4.

The next of kin has to be notified before the victim is identified, he added.
  • An updated Tampa Bay Times report noted that "the pilot circled the grass runway three times before making a hard landing that slammed the bottom of the aircraft into the ground," according to McKinnon, who added that the plane skidded about 50 feet along the runway. He added that the pilot was found dead inside the aircraft, a Challenger ultralight based at Blackwater.
Blackwater Creek is at 9002 State Road 39 North in Plant City. The stretch of road in that area is known as well as the Paul S. Buchman Highway.

"I never in my life heard of [the airport] before," said McKinnon, who graduated from Brandon High School in 1978. "I didn't know there was an aiport out there."

That's not surprising, though, he added, given that there are many such small, and even smaller, "little grass runway airports" throughout the county, including one, he said, that used to be at Providence Road, off Lumsden Road, where Heather Lakes now stands.

According to an online notice, Blackwater Creek is a private, ultraflight facility located eight miles northeast of the nearest business district and covers 7 acres.


 
The plane went down in the 9000 block of Paul Buchman Highway in Plant City, near the Blackwater Creek Airport.


PLANT CITY (FOX 13) -   An unidentified man was killed Saturday morning when the small plane he was piloting went down near Blackwater Creek Flight Park in Plant City. 
 The incident occurred just after 11:30 AM in the 9000 block of Paul Buchman Highway.

According to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report the pilot of a single-seat Challenger plane made two unsuccessful attempts to land on the grass runway of the airport.

On the third approach the aircraft when down hard on the belly of the fuselage and then skidded approximately 50 yards. It came to a stop on the grass runaway and paramedics were quickly dispatched to the scene.

The pilot was found deceased, still strapped to his seat inside the plane.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Authority also responded to the crash site to assist in determining the cause of the fatal incident.

The pilot's official cause of death has not yet been determined. The report states the aircraft was among approximately 12 that were stored at the Blackwater Creek Airport.
The owner has not been determined as the investigation continues.


PLANT CITY – A pilot was found dead after a light plane crashed at Blackwater Creek Flightpark in Plant City, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said late Saturday morning.

The pilot was alone in the aircraft when it crashed, according to sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Blackwater Creek, an ultralight and light-sport aircraft facility with a 2300-foot runway, is located on a 45-acre farm along Paul Buchman Highway seven miles north of Interstate 4, according to the flightpark's website.

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