Friday, May 26, 2017

Bellanca 7ECA, N787MW: Fatal accident occurred September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, Liberty County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Patrick J. Falterman: http://registry.faa.gov/N787MW 

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA346
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/2017
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7ECA, registration: N787MW
Injuries: 2 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.

The private pilot and a passenger were conducting a local flight and performing aerobatics. Witnesses observed the pilot conducting "flybys" and "tricks" in the area. One witness reported observing the airplane complete "flips and spins" for about 10 minutes before the accident. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left and entered a near- vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane then impacted the river. A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction.

According to a friend, the pilot was competent in spins and had received instruction in aerobatic maneuvers. However, the lack of a formal logbook training record with respect to aerobatics, the investigation could not determine the pilot's level of proficiency in such maneuvers.

Toxicological testing on the pilot was positive for cocaine and its metabolites; cocaethylene, a metabolite formed when cocaine is ingested with alcohol; and levamisole, a drug commonly used to "cut" street cocaine, in urine. Cavity blood was positive for methamphetamine and its metabolites. The absence of cocaine in the pilot's blood suggested distant usage. Accordingly, the acute effects of the drug had likely dissipated. The level of methamphetamine in the pilot's blood sample was low. As a result, the presence of any residual effects of the drug could not be determined. Based on the available information, the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot was impaired, if at all, at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of control attempting to recover from a low-level aerobatic maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to attempt the low-level maneuver which significantly reduced any margin for error.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 3, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7ECA airplane, N787MW, impacted the Trinity River while performing low-altitude aerobatic maneuvers near Moss Hill, Texas. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from a private airstrip in Cleveland, Texas, at an undetermined time.

Witnesses observed the pilot conducting "flybys" and "tricks" in the area. One witness reported observing the airplane complete "flips and spins" for about 10 minutes before the accident. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left and entered a nearly vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane impacted the river in a nearly vertical, nose-down attitude and came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's initial logbook entry was dated March 14, 2015; it was denoted as an "orientation flight" and was conducted in the accident airplane. His primary flight training was completed in the accident airplane, as well as Cessna 152 and 172 airplanes. The pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on July 13, 2015. He received a tailwheel airplane endorsement on July 14, 2015. The logbook also contained a stall awareness/spin competency endorsement dated January 5, 2016. The logbook did not contain any entries that specifically noted instruction in aerobatic maneuvers. However, a friend of the pilot's family stated that the pilot had received instruction and was competent in basic aerobatic maneuvers.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records revealed that the current owner purchased the airplane in November 2014. The exact airplane total time could not be determined because the recording tachometer was damaged consistent with impact forces.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the Trinity River about 1/3 mile south of Highway 105. A small beach area was located along the bank of the river immediately south of the highway overpass. Both river banks were lined with low trees in the immediate vicinity of the accident site.

A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction. A detailed summary of the airframe and engine examinations is included with the docket material associated with this accident case.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted at Forensic Medical Management Services in Beaumont, Texas. The pilot's death was attributed to blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted forensic toxicology report stated:

No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood (Cavity);
No Ethanol detected in Vitreous;
2.067 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Urine
0.049 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaethylene detected in Urine
Cocaethylene NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaine detected in Urine
Cocaine NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ecgonine Methyl Ester detected in Urine
Ecgonine Methyl Ester NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ibuprofen detected in Urine
Levamisole detected in Urine
Levamisole NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
0.032 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Methamphetamine detected in Muscle

Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester are inactive metabolites of cocaine; cocaethylene is a metabolite that is only formed when cocaine is co-ingested with ethanol. Levamisole is commonly used to cut street cocaine. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter analgesic commonly marketed with the names Advil and Motrin. Methamphetamine is available by prescription for the short-term treatment of narcolepsy and obesity, but is also commonly available on the street.


Patrick Falterman (right), 26, of Tarkington, was the pilot of a Bellanca 7ECA that crashed September 3rd, 2016 in Moss Hill, Texas. His passenger, Zach Esters, 25, of Lafayette, Louisiana was on board the plane. Both young men were killed.









NTSB Identification: CEN16FA346
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, TX
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7ECA, registration: N787MW
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.


On September 3, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7ECA airplane, N787MW, impacted the Trinity River about one-third mile south of Highway 105 near Moss Hill, Texas. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Cleveland Municipal Airport (6R3), Cleveland, Texas, at an undetermined time.


Witnesses reported observing the pilot completing several low altitude maneuvers before descending and impacting the river. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left, subsequently entering a near vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river.

No comments: