Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lancair Super ES, N817PR: Fatal accident occurred October 26, 2015 in Pascagoula, Mississippi


Pilot Ron Gregory


Dexter Brewer

Gerald Miletello


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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Pearl, Mississippi 

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

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

Aircraft previously registered as N808PX: http://registry.faa.gov/N808PX


Location: Pascagoula, MS
Accident Number: ERA16LA028
Date & Time: 10/26/2015, 1237 CDT
Registration: N817PR
Aircraft: SCHUMACHER Lancair Super ES
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Windshear or thunderstorm
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On October 26, 2015, about 1237 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Lancair Super ES, N817PR, was destroyed when it impacted the Gulf Coast waters of the Mississippi Sound near Pascagoula, Mississippi. The bodies of the commercial pilot and two passengers were not recovered and are presumed fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airplane departed from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT), Gulfport, Mississippi, about 1220, and was destined for Summerville Airport (DYB), Summerville, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to information obtained from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and witnesses, the airplane was based at Monroe Regional Airport (MLU), Monroe, Louisiana. In addition, the pilot rented a hangar for the airplane at South Arkansas Regional Airport, El Dorado, Arkansas. Earlier on the day of the accident, the pilot flew to Ruston, Louisiana (RSN) to pick up one passenger and then to GPT to pick up the second passenger. According to the wife of one of the passengers, the pilot was flying the passengers to South Carolina to attend a business meeting. Before departure from GPT, the pilot stated to air traffic controllers that he intended to take some pictures in the local area and then continue to "Daytona Beach." The controller subsequently stated "D-Y-B is that where you're going?" and the pilot replied "affirmative." The airplane departed from runway 14 at GPT, made a left turn to the northeast at the Gulfport shoreline, and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 ft mean sea level (msl). About 1226, the pilot requested and was approved to terminate air traffic control flight following. There were no further communications between the pilot and air traffic control.

After the pilot terminated flight following, the airplane's transponder code changed to 1200, and the pilot made a right turn to the southeast. The last recorded radar target with an associated altitude was at 1234:37, at an altitude of 2,800 ft msl. Additional primary radar targets consistent with the airplane continued to about 1237; they showed the airplane turn to the northeast and ended with the airplane located over the Mississippi Sound, about 10 miles south of the Trent Lott International Airport (PQL), Pascagoula, Mississippi. The airplane's estimated groundspeed over the last 45 seconds of the primary target data was about 160 knots.

Fragmented debris associated with the airplane was subsequently found on a beach located about 9 miles northwest of the last radar target and along additional coastal areas. The debris included the rudder and a substantial portion of the vertical stabilizer. A section of the empennage was located in the water about 3 miles northwest of the last radar target.

The recovered wreckage was severely fragmented, and significant portions of the airplane, including the engine and propeller were not recovered (see figure 1). The recovered debris was examined by an FAA inspector; however, given the limited wreckage and its condition, the inspector was not able to determine the preimpact mechanical condition of the airplane.


Figure 1. Airplane Wreckage in Hangar. 


The registration number N817PR was visible on the recovered wreckage. A search of the FAA aircraft registry database revealed that the registration number N817PR was not assigned to any airplane. A pilot operating handbook with the registration number N808PX was located among the recovered debris. A representative from the pilot's family confirmed that the airplane had been previously registered as N808PX. FAA records revealed that N808PX was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category on October 9, 2003, and it was purchased by the pilot through a limited liability company in August 2006.

The four-seat, fixed-landing gear, composite airplane was equipped with a 310-horsepower Continental IO-550 engine. According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent condition inspection was performed on March 17, 2015. At that time, the airplane had been operated for about 640 hours.

The weather reported at PQL at 1237 included wind from 110° at 15 knots with 25-knot gusts, visibility 4 statute miles in light rain and mist, scattered clouds at 800 ft above ground level (agl), ceiling broken at 1,200 ft agl, overcast at 2,100 ft agl, temperature 23°C, dew point 22°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.73 inches of mercury.

There were active weather advisories for convective activity and instrument meteorological conditions for the area around the airplane's last known position. The wife of one of the passengers reported that she spoke with her husband while the airplane was on the ground at GPT, and he told her that the pilot intended to fly along the coast to avoid "the worst of the weather."

Overlaying the airplane's flight track on a photograph of the Mobile, Alabama, weather surveillance radar at 1235 (see figure 2) shows that the airplane flew along the leading edge of echoes of 5 to 15 dBZ (light intensity echoes) and was approaching an area of echoes from 40 to 50 dBZ (heavy intensity echoes) when radar contact was lost.


Figure 2. Weather Surveillance Radar with Radar Flight Track Overlay.

There was no record that the pilot obtained an official weather briefing for the accident flight. It could not be determined if the pilot obtained weather information from any additional sources.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's logbook was not located. An airplane flight log was recovered from a seatback that was found on a beach. Several of the pages were water damaged, and the most recent page showed 13 flights recorded by the pilot between June 28, 2015, and September 16, 2015, which totaled 57.3 flight hours. The pilot reported 4,441 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, which was issued on September 26, 2014. He reported no chronic medical conditions and no recent medications to the FAA at that time.

Review of personal medical records for the pilot revealed a history of rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, high cholesterol, and a mood disorder. In 2013, he had a diagnosis of severe coronary artery disease that required stents to reopen the left anterior descending coronary artery. He had a narrowing of the opening to that vessel that was not amenable to stenting and had persistent angina. In addition, he had heartburn and bleeding in his gastrointestinal tract diagnosed in January 2015. At the time of the accident, his prescribed medications that are not generally considered impairing were miralax, naproxen, prednisone, ranexa, esomeprazole, losartan, metoprolol, isosorbide, atorvastatin, donepezil, lamotrigine, and leflunomide. Prescribed medications that are potentially impairing were carbamazepine, cyclobenzaprine, tizanidine, clonazepam, and alprazolam. No autopsy or toxicology testing was performed as the pilot's body was not recovered. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/26/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 4441 hours (Total, all aircraft) 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: SCHUMACHER
Registration: N817PR
Model/Series: Lancair Super ES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: ES106
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/17/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  640 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-N10
Registered Owner: Roofmasters LLC.
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None




Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PQL, 17 ft msl
Observation Time: 1237 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 800 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 22°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1200 ft agl
Visibility:  4 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 15 knots/ 25 knots, 110°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.73 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Mist; Light - Rain
Departure Point: Gulfport, MS (GPT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: SUMMERVILLE, SC (DYB)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1220 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  30.305833, -88.530556 (est)


A photograph of Dexter Brewer, a photo of the Lancair Super ES recovered debris and a map plotting the wreckage are among the items diver Mark Michaud of Slidell has gathered since Brewer and two other men went missing in a plane crash in the Mississippi Sound in October 2015.



NTSB Identification: ERA16LA028
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 26, 2015 in Pascagoula, MS
Aircraft: SCHUMACHER Lancair Super ES, registration: N817PR
Injuries: 3 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 October 26, 2015, about 1237 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Lancair Super ES, N817PR, operated by a private individual, was presumed destroyed after it impacted the Mississippi Sound, in the vicinity of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The commercial pilot and two passengers were presumed fatally injured. The airplane departed from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT), Gulfport, Mississippi, about 1220. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport. No flight plan had been filed for the personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was owned by the pilot and based at Monroe Regional Airport (MLU), Monroe, Louisiana. Earlier in the day, the pilot flew from MLU to Ruston, Louisiana (RSN) to pick up one passenger, and then to GPT to pick up the second passenger. According to the wife of one of the passengers, the pilot was flying the occupants to South Carolina to attend a business meeting. Prior to departure from GPT, the pilot stated to air traffic controllers that he intended to take some pictures in the local area and then continue to "Daytona Beach." The airplane departed from runway 14 at GPT, made a left turn to the northeast at the Gulfport shoreline, and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl). About 1226, the pilot requested and was approved to terminate air traffic control flight following. The airplane's transponder code changed to "1200" and the pilot made a right turn to the southeast. The last recorded radar target with an associated altitude was at 1234:37, at an altitude of 2,800 feet msl; however, additional radar targets consistent with the accident airplane continued to about 1237, with the airplane located over the Mississippi Sound, about 10 miles south of the Trent Lott International Airport (PQL), Pascagoula, Mississippi. Fragmented debris associated with the airplane was subsequently found on a beach located about 9 miles northwest of the last radar target. A section of the empennage was located in the water about 3 miles northwest of the last radar target. 

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