Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lancair 360, N528HZ: Fatal accident occurred August 01, 2016 at Columbia Gorge Regional (KDLS), Dallesport, Klickitat County, Washington

Richard Gregory Sperling 
Richard Gregory Sperling of Lyle, Washington died August 1, 2016 doing what he loved most- flying. He served with the Air Force in the Viet Nam War. Working at the Lockheed and Todd shipyards, he learned novel types of welding. From his father, a flight instructor during World War II, Richard gained an interest in flying and went on to repair, buy and fly several different kinds of planes.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Richard Gregory Sperling:

Location: The Dalles, OR
Accident Number: WPR16FA154
Date & Time: 08/01/2016, 1100 PDT
Registration: N528HZ
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 1, 2016, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair 360, N528HZ, impacted terrain while landing on runway 31 at Columbia Gorge Regional/The Dalles Municipal Airport (DLS), The Dalles, Oregon. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from DLS about 1030.

Two witnesses, located on the ramp adjacent to the refueling area, observed the airplane west of the runway in a nose-low, steep-left-bank attitude with the left wing pointed directly towards the ground. A second later, the airplane impacted the terrain. One witness reported that, following the impact, the airplane cartwheeled and slid on its belly before it came to rest. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/28/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1860 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multi-engine land ratings. He held a third-class airman medical certificate issued on April 28, 2014, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. At the time of his last medical exam, the pilot reported flight experience that included 1,860 total hours and 104 hours in the last 6 months. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: SPERLING RICHARD G
Registration: N528HZ
Model/Series: LANCAIR 360 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 553-320-300
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-C1C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 240 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The two-seat, single-engine, low-wing, retractable landing gear airplane was manufactured by the pilot in 2014. It was powered by an experimental Textron Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine, rated at 240 horsepower. The airplane was equipped with a Hartzell two-bladed variable-pitch propeller, model HC-E2YR-1BF/F7068-2. A review of available maintenance records showed that the engine was disassembled and inspected on March 4, 2014, due to low oil pressure. The engine was subsequently rebuilt and installed on the accident airplane at an undetermined date. The airframe records were not available to investigators during the investigation. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDLS, 210 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 105°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots, 340°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: The Dalles, OR (DLS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: The Dalles, OR (DLS)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1030 PDT
Type of Airspace: 

At 0953, the weather conditions at DLS included wind from 340° at 10 knots, 10 miles visibility, temperature of 21°C, dew point temperature of 11°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 246 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5097 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 45.619444, -121.168333 (est) 

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the accident site and the surrounding area. The examination revealed 6 equally-spaced propeller slash marks on runway 31 about 1,800 ft from the approach end. A ground scar and a part of the left-wing tip were observed in a grassy area located 385 ft from the propeller marks on a heading of about 296o magnetic. The airplane wreckage debris path was about 200 ft in length on a heading of about 235o magnetic. The airplane came to rest upright with its nose oriented northeast.

The left wing and its respective carry-through structure had separated from the fuselage, and parts were dispersed along the debris path. All airframe components were found with the main wreckage along with all flight control surfaces, which had remained attached to their respective hinges. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to all primary flight control surfaces. Multiple separations were observed in various control cables, consistent with impact.

During the wreckage recovery, the FAA inspector observed that both main and the nose landing gear were in a retracted position. The left and right main landing gear doors and the fuselage bottom skin exhibited numerous scratches and paint transfer consistent with the airplane's lower surface contacting the runway with the landing gear retracted. No evidence of pre-impact anomalies was found with the landing gear system.

The two-bladed propeller assembly remained attached to the crankshaft's propeller flange. Both blade tips were bent and curled aft, and the blades displayed numerous span-wise scratches from about mid span to the blade tips consistent with the propeller blades contacting the runway.

The engine remained attached to the airframe, and the engine mounts were intact. All engine accessories remained attached to the engine. The air filter remained attached to its bracket and exhibited signs of impact damage. The fuel pump and the fuel lines remained attached to the engine and to their respective cylinders. The fuel selector handle was found in the "RIGHT" tank position. Fuel was present in the airplane; however, the fuel quantity was not determined. The needle on the fuel gauge indicated 1/2.

The top sparkplugs were removed from their respective cylinders and exhibited signatures consistent with normal operation. The electrode areas displayed no mechanical deformation. A compression test was conducted and cylinder Nos.1, 3 and, 4 produced compression and suction during the propeller rotation. The No. 2 cylinder did not produce any compression or suction due to impact damage. The throttle and mixture controls remained attached to their respective cockpit controls and their control levers. The throttle, mixture, and propeller control levers were positioned full forward.

The examination revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction that would have precluded normal operations.

The complete accident site summary and the examination report are available in the public docket for this accident. 

Medical And Pathological Information

Klickitat County Coroner's Office, Goldendale, Washington, completed an autopsy on the pilot and concluded that the cause of death was blunt force injuries. The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology on specimens from the pilot. No ethanol was present in urine; ketamine was detected in urine and blood. Ketamine is an injectable, rapidly acting general anesthetic agent that was administered during the pilot's postaccident transport to the hospital.

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 01, 2016 in The Dalles, OR
Aircraft: SPERLING RICHARD G LANCAIR 360, registration: N528HZ
Injuries: 1 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 August 1, 2016, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, a Lancair 360, N528HZ, was destroyed after it impacted terrain while landing at Columbia Gorge Regional/The Dalles Municipal Airport (DLS), The Dalles, Oregon. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from DLS at about 1030.

Moments before the impact, a witness observed the airplane in a nose-low attitude with the right wing pointed up and the left wing pointed directly towards the ground. A second later, the airplane impacted the terrain. A witness and another person tended to the pilot where they waited for the emergency medical services. The pilot was then transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries approximately an hour and a half later.

The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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