Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rans S-12 Airaile, N6202N, registered to and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred December 12, 2015 at Chilhowee Gliderport (92A), Benton, Polk County, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

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

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

Gary Wayne Church: http://registry.faa.gov/N6202N



Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Benton, TN
Accident Number: ERA16LA068
Date & Time: 12/12/2015, 1440 EST
Registration: N6202N
Aircraft: MCCORKLE ROBERT B RANS S-12 AIRAILE
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 12, 2015, about 1440 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built RANS S-12 Airaile airplane, N6202N, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground shortly after takeoff from Chilhowee Gilderport (92A), Benton, Tennessee. The sport pilot 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 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight to a private airstrip in Athens, Tennessee.

According to witnesses, the airplane was the third in a group of three to take off from runway 21 at 92A. Witnesses noted that, after the takeoff, the airplane made a "rapid" or "steep" climb at the top of which it began a left turn. One witness noted that the airplane then entered a "steep wingover-like 180° turn reversing to the north." The airplane was then "in a low energy state," about 150 ft above ground level (agl) at a high rate of descent with "the left wing [then] lowering in what can only be described as a 1/2- to 3/4-turn spin, impacting the ground with the left wing and nose."

Another witness noted that the airplane "appeared to stall, hovered for a split second and twisted in a nose dive into [a] sod field." A third witness stated that the airplane was in a left bank of about 70° to 80° and subsequently "descended rapidly then 'nosed over' and impacted the ground in a near vertical attitude." A fourth witness, who was inside at the time, stated, "I heard the crash; the sound of the engine was loud and even right up to the moment of impact."

The accident site was located in an open grass field about 360 ft southeast of runway 21. According to a local law enforcement incident report, the airplane impacted terrain inverted and was subsequently righted by first responders.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector's examination of the airplane did not reveal evidence of any preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Photographs of the airplane showed crush damage to the forward section of the fuselage and the leading edges of both wings. All major flight control surfaces remained attached. The engine remained attached to the airframe. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine. Two of the wooden propeller blades were fragmented near the propeller hub, and one blade fragmented near the tip.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate. He also held a light sport aircraft repairman certificate that was limited to N4288S, a Quad City Challenger II, serial number GC6151954. The pilot did not hold a medical certificate nor was he required to for the accident flight. The pilot's logbook was not located.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the two-seat, single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1992. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Bombardier Rotax 912 engine. The airplane's airframe and engine logbooks were not located.

According to a specifications sheet provided on the kit manufacturer's (Rans Aircraft) website, the airplane's aerodynamic stall speed with flaps retracted was 42 mph and with flaps extended was 35 mph. The airplane's flap setting at the time of the accident was not determined.

A witness at the airport reported that the wind was from the south at 8 to10 miles per hour. The weather conditions reported at McMinn County Airport (MMI), Athens, Tennessee, about 10 nautical miles north of the accident site, included wind from 230° at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 5,000 ft agl, temperature 21°C, and dew point 13°C.

The Center for Forensic Medicine, Office of the Medical Examiner, Nashville, Tennessee, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries." The autopsy also revealed that the pilot had significant coronary artery disease with 70-80% stenosis of the left anterior descending artery and 50-60% stenosis of the right coronary artery.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on samples from the pilot. The testing identified clozapine, an antipsychotic medication known to increase the risk of a number of medical conditions including seizures and death, and propranolol, a non-impairing medication most often used to treat hypertension. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: MCCORKLE ROBERT B
Registration: N6202N
Model/Series: RANS S-12 AIRAILE
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 0992285
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MMI, 874 ft msl
Observation Time: 1435 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 10°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 13°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 230°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Benton, TN (92A)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Athens, TN (NONE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1440 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Chilhowee Gliderport (92A)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 770 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2600 ft / 200 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  35.224167, -84.584722

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA068
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 12, 2015 in Benton, TN
Aircraft: MCCORKLE ROBERT B RANS S 12 AIRAILE, registration: N6202N
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 12, 2015, about 1440 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built RANS S-12 Airaile, N6202N, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground shortly after taking off from Chilhowee Gilderport (92A), Benton, Tennessee. The sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight to a private airstrip in Athens, Tennessee. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

According to witnesses, the airplane was the third in a group of three to take off from runway 21. Witnesses noted that after the takeoff, the airplane made a "rapid" or "steep" climb, at the top of which, it began a left turn. One witness noted that it then entered a "steep wingover-like 180-degree turn reversing to the north." The airplane was then in "in a low energy state," about 150 feet in the air, at a high rate of descent, with "the left wing [then] lowering in what can only be described as a ½ to ¾ turn spin, impacting the ground with the left wing and nose." 

Another witness noted that the airplane "appeared to stall, hovered for a split second and twisted in a nose dive into [a] sod field." A third witness stated, "the airplane was in a 70-80 degrees of bank. It subsequently "descended rapidly then 'nosed over' and impacted the ground in a near vertical attitude." A fourth witness, in her office at the time, stated, "I heard the crash; the sound of the engine was loud and even right up to the moment of impact." 

Due to the accident's proximity to a road and the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector's arrival the next day, permission was granted to move the wreckage to behind an airport building. The FAA inspector's subsequent examination of the airplane did not reveal any preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

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