Sunday, February 05, 2017

Europa, Sancap Aircraft Inc, N149RS: Fatal accident occurred June 26, 2015 in Beloit, Mahoning County, Ohio

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Factual Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA281
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 26, 2015 in Beloit, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: STUHLMILLER ROBERT EUROPA, registration: N149RS
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.

A witness reported seeing the pilot depart the airport in the experimental amateur-built airplane. Shortly thereafter, an individual checking on crops found the wreckage of the airplane in a soybean field about ½ mile from the airport. First responders noted the smell of fuel at the accident site.  An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any pre-impact abnormalities. The engine examination found signatures consistent with rotation at the time of impact with terrain.

The pilot had previously been issued a special-issuance medical certificate; however, at the time of the accident, he was flying under the sport pilot rules for medical requirements.  A review of the pilot’s medical records and autopsy report revealed a history of coronary artery disease and old scarring of the heart muscle. These factors increased the risk of a cardiovascular event that could result in sudden impairment or incapacitation. The autopsy report noted that a contributing factor to the cause of death was coronary artery disease and chronic hypertension. Therefore, it is likely that pilot experienced in-flight incapacitation due to a cardiovascular event.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s incapacitation in flight due to a cardiovascular event.

Robert D. Stuhlmiller


On June 26, 2015, about 1830 eastern standard time, a homebuilt Europa XL airplane, N149RS, impacted terrain near Beloit, Ohio. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sancap Aircraft Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Tri-City Airport (3G6), Sebring, Ohio at an unknown time. 

An individual at the airport recalled that the pilot had recently replaced the battery in the airplane. Later, as he was mowing the grass, he saw the pilot taxiing the airplane towards the north, then back south with the canopy open; he did not recall the time, but thought it was sometime between 1800-1830. The pilot departed to the north from runway 35. 

An individual, who was checking on soy bean crops, noticed the airplane wreckage located about a half-mile from the airport in a soybean field, and notified authorities about 1837. 

A person familiar with the pilot reported that the pilot had not flown the airplane in "a couple" years, but was looking forward to doing so.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with rating for single and multi-engine land airplane, and instrument and glider ratings. The pilot held a third class special medical certificate that was issued on June 1, 2011, with the restriction; "must have available glasses for near vision". The medical certificate expired on June 30, 2013. The pilot was medically eligible to fly under the light sport pilot rules.

On his last medical application for a medical certificate, the pilot reported he had 1,820 total flight hours with 6 hours in the last six months. The pilot's logbook was not recovered during the course of the investigation. The pilot recent flight experience could not be determined. 


The accident airplane was a Europa XL is a low-wing, single-engine composite aircraft with fixed landing gear. Europas can be fitted with either normal (tourer) wings or motorglider wings that have a greater wing span. Depending on the owner/pilot's preference, either set of wings can be installed, changing the aircraft's configuration as either a traditional airplane or a motorglider; the accident aircraft was configured as a traditional airplane. The airplane was assembled by the owner from a kit, and was certified in the Experimental – Amateur Built category on May 19, 2005. The airplane was powered by a four cylinder Rotax 912S reciprocating engine driving an electrically actuated Air Master AP332 full feathering, constant speed propeller.

The airplane's maintenance records were not located during the course of this investigation. A maintenance person, who helped the owner preform some of the maintenance on the airplane, said he was standing by to help the owner change the oil and filter on the airplane. He also added that the previous year, he had helped the owner replace the fuel pump and fuel lines, and the nose gear bungees.


At 1851, the automated weather observation facility located at the Akron-Canton Regional airport located about 20 miles west of the accident site recorded; wind from 050 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, an overcast sky at 15,000 feet, temperature 75 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 60 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.97 inches of mercury.


The on-site examination of the wreckage and ground scars were consistent with an inverted, near vertical impact with terrain. The airplane came to rest on its belly and landing gear, about 10 feet from the impact crater; several pieces had separated from the airplane and were scattered, but remained near the wreckage site. Both wings remained with the fuselage and the outer sections of the leading edges of the wings displayed impact damage. The cockpit and engine compartment were severely crushed; the empennage remained attached, with minor damage to the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The 3-bladed composite propeller remained attached to the hub; however, two blades were broken off at the hub, the third blade remained in the hub, but had broken off approximately 12 inches from the hub. A smell of fuel was reported by people who located and responded to the accident site. There was not a post-crash fire. The ELT (emergency locator transmitter) was found in the "off" position.

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane was recovered to a hangar for further examination.

The left and right horizontal stabilizers had separated slightly due to ground impact, which also separated the elevator control; otherwise continuity was established to the respective control. The rudder control cables were traced to the front of the cabin. Aileron and elevator continuity was established; however, a rod end bearings on each control had broken due to impact forces. The flaps appeared extended; however, they had separated from the linkage, which allowed them to extend free from the control. 

Due to impact damage, the fuel lines had separated near the cabin area; clear in-line fuel-filters were installed in the fuel lines. A small amount of unknown contaminants were visible in each filter. The fuel in the filters tested negative for water, using a water detection paste. 

The engine had sustained impact damage. The engine could not be rotated by hand; continuity was established to the accessory section of the engine and through the valve train. The engine was partially disassembled. The engine's PSRU gearbox was dissembled; the unit's drive gear had impacted the engine case. A portion of the gear's teeth contained metal shavings, while the case had a corresponding scar. The signature is consistent with engine and propeller rotating at the time of impact. The sparkplugs exhibited light colored combustion deposits.

No pre-impact abnormalities were noted during the airframe and engine examinations.


The Mahoning County Coroner's Office, Youngstown, Ohio, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be, "multiple blunt force injuries".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. The specimens were not tested for cyanide; the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The test detected Irbesartan in the blood and urine. 

Irbesartan is used to keep blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow. Irbesartan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).

The NTSB's medical factual report is located in the docket for this report. The summary of the report is noted below:

The pilot had a history of severe coronary artery disease treated with multi-vessel bypass surgery, stents and medication. Additionally, he had elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure treated with medications. Since his last medical certification examination, an exercise stress test showed no significant changes but his coronary artery disease had progressed as demonstrated by a cardiac catheterization that showed 90 percent occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery with impaired blood flow to a part of the heart muscle.

The autopsy identified multi-vessel coronary artery disease with up to 70 percent occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery treated with coronary artery patent bypass grafts.

Additionally, the report documented metal stents in the right coronary artery with areas of up to 70 percent occlusion. Finally, the autopsy documented a contributing factor to the cause of death was coronary artery disease and chronic hypertension.

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