Saturday, May 19, 2018

Advanced Aeromarine Buccaneer IIB, N696FT: Fatal accident occurred January 14, 2017 in Mayo, Lafayette County, Florida

Analysis

The sport pilot of the experimental, amateur-built, amphibious airplane flew to meet a friend to camp for the night along a river. He landed on the river to the north, flying over power lines during the landing approach, and pulled the airplane onto the shore. The pilot offered to help his friend search for a life vest that had floated downstream after he finished unloading the gear from the airplane. Multiple witnesses watched as the pilot departed northbound on the river, made a 180° turn southbound, then flew over the river, beneath treetop level, and out of sight. They reported hearing a loud "boom" and the engine noise stop just before a power outage occurred. One witness reported seeing the airplane flying 30-40 ft above the river when it "suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water." One witness reported that the sky was grey and overcast, and that the sun was setting about the time of the accident, making the power lines difficult to see. The powerlines directly overhead of the accident site displayed striations consistent with the airplane impacting the powerlines.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of a preexisting anomaly or malfunction that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology testing on the pilot detected two medications, which were unlikely to have caused impairment, and the autopsy revealed an enlarged heart; however, there was no evidence of a heart attack or any other incapacitating event. It is likely that, while flying along the river at low altitude, the pilot failed to see the powerlines, which resulted in an in-flight collision with the powerlines and impact with the river. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to see and avoid power lines while flying at low altitude. 

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)
Identification/recognition - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Wire - Awareness of condition (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)

Maneuvering
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)

Neal Harris, 61
Kissimmee, Florida


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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N696FT




Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Mayo, FL
Accident Number: ERA17FA088
Date & Time: 01/14/2017, 1715 EST
Registration: N696FT
Aircraft: SHARPE WILLIAM L BUCCANEER II B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 14, 2017, about 1715 eastern standard time, an amphibious experimental amateur-built Buccaneer II B, N696FT, was substantially damaged after it impacted high voltage power lines and a river near Mayo, Florida. 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. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight.

According to a friend, the pilot had flown to the Suwannee River in Blue Springs Park to meet him and camp next to the river for the night. The pilot landed to the north on the river, flying over power lines during the landing approach. About 20 minutes after the pilot landed, his friend arrived. The two spoke briefly; the friend told the pilot that he needed to retrieve a life vest that had floated downstream; the pilot offered to help after he finished unloading his airplane. The friend paddled downstream and subsequently heard the airplane takeoff.

Multiple witnesses in the area of the accident site reported seeing the airplane take off northbound along the Suwannee River, complete a 180° left turn, descend below treetop level, and fly southbound over the river out of view. Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported hearing a loud "boom" followed by the engine "going quiet" and a power outage.

One witness, who was located about 1 mile from the power lines, stated that he saw the airplane flying about 30-40 ft above the river when it "suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water." 




Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
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: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:
8000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a sport pilot certificate, an airframe mechanic certificate, and a light sport repairman certificate for three airplanes, none of which were the accident airplane. His pilot logbook was not located. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on May 17, 2016. He reported 8,000 total hours of flight experience on that date. During his previous medical exam, on March 6, 2014, he reported 982 hours of flight experience. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: SHARPE WILLIAM L
Registration: N696FT
Model/Series: BUCCANEER II B NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: B2B005 582
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/17/2014, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1120 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 765 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 948.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: Neak Harris
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane was primarily constructed from aluminum and Dacron, with a fiberglass hull. It was powered by an 80-horsepower Rotax 912 four-cylinder engine mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration.

The pilot purchased the airplane about 9 months before the accident. FAA records showed that a registration application had been submitted and later extended, but that no current registration information was on file. The most recent entry found in the engine maintenance records was dated June 14, 2015. The airframe records were not located. 




Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CTY, 42 ft msl
Observation Time: 1710 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 168°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 17°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4400 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 30°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.34 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mayo, FL
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Mayo, FL
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

The closest weather reporting facility, Cross City Airport (CTY), Cross City, Florida, was located about 30 nautical miles south of the accident site. The 1710 surface weather observation included broken clouds at 4,400 ft, wind from 030° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 22°C, dew point 17°C, and altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.

A witness reported that, around the time of the accident, grey clouds were in the area as the sun set. He stated that the light and sky conditions made the power lines difficult to see. 

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:  30.121389, -83.225556 

The wreckage came to rest inverted and partially submerged in shallow, fast-moving water beneath power lines that ran roughly east-west and crossed the Suwanee River below treetop level. All major components were accounted for at the site; the airplane was intact with the exception of the left float, which was located downstream.

When recovered, the airplane was set upright on the shore for examination. There was leading edge damage to both wings near the wing roots. The structural tubing along the right wing leading edge was fractured. The wing struts were separated about midway between the lower and upper attachment points. The windscreen and its supports were fractured.

The hull was fractured in multiple places. The propeller was separated from the propeller flange, and the flange remained attached to the crankshaft. All three of the composite blades remained attached to the hub; two blades were fractured about midpoint on the blade.

The powerlines directly overhead of the accident site displayed striations consistent with impact. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Tallahassee, Florida, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. The autopsy identified an enlarged heart with left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac muscle fibrosis.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on specimens of the pilot. Gabapentin was detected in the liver and blood. Gabapentin is an antiseizure medication that is also used to treat chronic pain and is marketed under various names, including Neurontin. It carries the warning, "Prescribers and patients should be aware that patients' ability to assess their own driving competence, as well as their ability to assess the degree of somnolence caused by gabapentin, can be imperfect." The level of gabapentin in the blood was well below a level that is considered therapeutic. Testing also detected the non-impairing pain reliever, ibuprofen, in urine.

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA088
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 14, 2017 in Mayo, FL
Aircraft: SHARPE WILLIAM L BUCCANEER II B, registration: N696FT
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 January 14, 2017, about 1715 easter
n standard time, an amphibious experimental amateur-built Buccaneer II B, N696FT, was substantially damaged after it impacted power lines and a river near Mayo, Florida. The sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a friend, the pilot had flown to the Suwannee River in Blue Springs Park to meet him and camp on the river for the night. The friend needed to retrieve his dog's life vest that had floated south, down the river. The pilot told him that he would unload his airplane and then help with the search.

Multiple witnesses in the area of the accident reported seeing the airplane takeoff northbound on the Suwannee River, make a 180-degree left turn, descend below treetop level and fly southbound over the river out of view. Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported hearing a loud "boom" followed by the engine "going quiet" and a power outage.

One witness, who was located about 1 mile from the power lines stated that he saw the airplane flying about 30-40 feet above the river when it "suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water."

The pilot held a sport pilot certificate, an airframe mechanic certificate, and a light sport repairman certificate for three airplanes; none of which were the accident airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on May 17, 2016. He declared 8,000 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The airplane was primarily an aluminum and Dacron structure, with a fiberglass hull. It was powered by Rotax 912 four-cylinder engine mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration.

At 1710, the weather reported at Cross City Airport (CTY), about 30 miles from the accident site, included clear skies with 10 statute miles visibility and wind from 30 degrees at 5 knots. The temperature was 22 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.34 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was located in the river in shallow, fast-moving water, beneath a set of power lines that ran approximately east-west and crossed the river below tree-top level.

The wreckage could not be immediately accessed and was later examined by two FAA inspectors. All major components were accounted for at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.
=======


LURAVILLE — A single-engine plane crashed into the Suwannee River on Saturday evening with one fatality.

According to Suwannee County Fire Rescue, a call came in at 5:08 p.m. that a single-engine plane was in the river in the western part of Suwannee County near the Luraville area. A single occupant was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John and SCFR.

Units from Lafayette County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were notified and assisted.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were communicating with the emergency crews on the scene and will perform an investigation at the scene as to the cause of the accident.


Source:  http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com

LURAVILLE, FL (WTXL) -- One person has died after a plane crashed in the Suwannee River Saturday.

According to Suwannee County Fire Rescue, a single-engine plane crashed in the western part of the county by Luraville. The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office and Suwannee County Fire Rescue were notified just after 5:00 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are currently investigating the crash and communicating with emergency crews on the scene.

Units from neighboring Lafayette County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation were also notified and are assisting.

The individual has not been identified, and the cause of the crash has not been determined.

Source:  http://www.wtxl.com


UPDATE -- One person is dead after an afternoon plane crash in Suwannee County. Crews are on the scene still searching for victims. 

Suwannee County Fire Rescue were notified at 5:08 pm that a plane was in the Suwannee River.

Crews arrived to the scene and began search efforts for any passengers.

An investigation is ongoing.

Suwannee -- A plane has crashed in Suwannee County.

The plane crashed around 5:10 pm Saturday in the middle of the Suwannee River.

Authorities say it's a single-engine plane.

No word as of yet of how many people were on board.

Source:  http://www.wctv.tv
Neal Harris, 61
Kissimmee, Florida


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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N696FT




Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Mayo, FL
Accident Number: ERA17FA088
Date & Time: 01/14/2017, 1715 EST
Registration: N696FT
Aircraft: SHARPE WILLIAM L BUCCANEER II B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 14, 2017, about 1715 eastern standard time, an amphibious experimental amateur-built Buccaneer II B, N696FT, was substantially damaged after it impacted high voltage power lines and a river near Mayo, Florida. 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. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight.

According to a friend, the pilot had flown to the Suwannee River in Blue Springs Park to meet him and camp next to the river for the night. The pilot landed to the north on the river, flying over power lines during the landing approach. About 20 minutes after the pilot landed, his friend arrived. The two spoke briefly; the friend told the pilot that he needed to retrieve a life vest that had floated downstream; the pilot offered to help after he finished unloading his airplane. The friend paddled downstream and subsequently heard the airplane takeoff.

Multiple witnesses in the area of the accident site reported seeing the airplane take off northbound along the Suwannee River, complete a 180° left turn, descend below treetop level, and fly southbound over the river out of view. Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported hearing a loud "boom" followed by the engine "going quiet" and a power outage.

One witness, who was located about 1 mile from the power lines, stated that he saw the airplane flying about 30-40 ft above the river when it "suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water." 




Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
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: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:
8000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a sport pilot certificate, an airframe mechanic certificate, and a light sport repairman certificate for three airplanes, none of which were the accident airplane. His pilot logbook was not located. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on May 17, 2016. He reported 8,000 total hours of flight experience on that date. During his previous medical exam, on March 6, 2014, he reported 982 hours of flight experience. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: SHARPE WILLIAM L
Registration: N696FT
Model/Series: BUCCANEER II B NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: B2B005 582
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/17/2014, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1120 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 765 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 948.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: Neak Harris
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane was primarily constructed from aluminum and Dacron, with a fiberglass hull. It was powered by an 80-horsepower Rotax 912 four-cylinder engine mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration.

The pilot purchased the airplane about 9 months before the accident. FAA records showed that a registration application had been submitted and later extended, but that no current registration information was on file. The most recent entry found in the engine maintenance records was dated June 14, 2015. The airframe records were not located. 




Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CTY, 42 ft msl
Observation Time: 1710 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 168°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 17°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4400 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 30°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.34 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mayo, FL
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Mayo, FL
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

The closest weather reporting facility, Cross City Airport (CTY), Cross City, Florida, was located about 30 nautical miles south of the accident site. The 1710 surface weather observation included broken clouds at 4,400 ft, wind from 030° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 22°C, dew point 17°C, and altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.

A witness reported that, around the time of the accident, grey clouds were in the area as the sun set. He stated that the light and sky conditions made the power lines difficult to see. 

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:  30.121389, -83.225556 

The wreckage came to rest inverted and partially submerged in shallow, fast-moving water beneath power lines that ran roughly east-west and crossed the Suwanee River below treetop level. All major components were accounted for at the site; the airplane was intact with the exception of the left float, which was located downstream.

When recovered, the airplane was set upright on the shore for examination. There was leading edge damage to both wings near the wing roots. The structural tubing along the right wing leading edge was fractured. The wing struts were separated about midway between the lower and upper attachment points. The windscreen and its supports were fractured.

The hull was fractured in multiple places. The propeller was separated from the propeller flange, and the flange remained attached to the crankshaft. All three of the composite blades remained attached to the hub; two blades were fractured about midpoint on the blade.

The powerlines directly overhead of the accident site displayed striations consistent with impact. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Tallahassee, Florida, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. The autopsy identified an enlarged heart with left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac muscle fibrosis.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on specimens of the pilot. Gabapentin was detected in the liver and blood. Gabapentin is an antiseizure medication that is also used to treat chronic pain and is marketed under various names, including Neurontin. It carries the warning, "Prescribers and patients should be aware that patients' ability to assess their own driving competence, as well as their ability to assess the degree of somnolence caused by gabapentin, can be imperfect." The level of gabapentin in the blood was well below a level that is considered therapeutic. Testing also detected the non-impairing pain reliever, ibuprofen, in urine.

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA088
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 14, 2017 in Mayo, FL
Aircraft: SHARPE WILLIAM L BUCCANEER II B, registration: N696FT
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 January 14, 2017, about 1715 easter
n standard time, an amphibious experimental amateur-built Buccaneer II B, N696FT, was substantially damaged after it impacted power lines and a river near Mayo, Florida. The sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a friend, the pilot had flown to the Suwannee River in Blue Springs Park to meet him and camp on the river for the night. The friend needed to retrieve his dog's life vest that had floated south, down the river. The pilot told him that he would unload his airplane and then help with the search.

Multiple witnesses in the area of the accident reported seeing the airplane takeoff northbound on the Suwannee River, make a 180-degree left turn, descend below treetop level and fly southbound over the river out of view. Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported hearing a loud "boom" followed by the engine "going quiet" and a power outage.

One witness, who was located about 1 mile from the power lines stated that he saw the airplane flying about 30-40 feet above the river when it "suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water."

The pilot held a sport pilot certificate, an airframe mechanic certificate, and a light sport repairman certificate for three airplanes; none of which were the accident airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on May 17, 2016. He declared 8,000 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The airplane was primarily an aluminum and Dacron structure, with a fiberglass hull. It was powered by Rotax 912 four-cylinder engine mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration.

At 1710, the weather reported at Cross City Airport (CTY), about 30 miles from the accident site, included clear skies with 10 statute miles visibility and wind from 30 degrees at 5 knots. The temperature was 22 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.34 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was located in the river in shallow, fast-moving water, beneath a set of power lines that ran approximately east-west and crossed the river below tree-top level.

The wreckage could not be immediately accessed and was later examined by two FAA inspectors. All major components were accounted for at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

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