Saturday, June 23, 2018

Airborne Edge XT-912-L, N188M: Fatal accident occurred December 06, 2016 near Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA), California

Matthew Erwin Wilson
1971 - 2016

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Accident Number: WPR17FA033
Date & Time: 12/06/2016, 1018 PST
Registration: N188M
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 6, 2016, about 1018 Pacific standard time, an Airborne Windsports PTY LTD Edge XT-912-L weight-shift control light sport aircraft, N188M, impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), Santa Barbara, California. The pilot was fatally injured, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from SBA about 1016.

Air traffic controllers working in the SBA tower observed the aircraft uneventfully depart runway 15 and make a right turn to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern. The pilot then requested to enter the traffic pattern for runway 25, and the tower controller cleared the pilot to make right traffic for that runway. While turning onto the downwind leg for runway 25, the aircraft entered a rapid descent. The aircraft subsequently impacted the ground near an apartment complex.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age:45, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
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: 07/27/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/13/2015
Flight Time: (Estimated) 65 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, issued March 14, 2013. The pilot received his endorsement for weight-shift control aircraft on June 24, 2016. The pilot's logbook indicated that he had 65 total hours of flight experience, 12 of which were in the accident aircraft make and model. He had no documented flight time in the accident aircraft.

On July 27, 2015, the pilot was issued a third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate with no limitations. During the exam, he reported no medical conditions or use of medications; however, he had reported driving under the influence (DUI), and a conviction for marijuana cultivation more than 20 years earlier. The FAA initially denied the medical certificate because the pilot failed to show evidence of continued sobriety, but after providing the necessary evidence, the FAA issued the medical certificate. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N188M
Model/Series: EDGE XT-912-L
Aircraft Category: Weight-Shift
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: XT-912-0502
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/20/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 992 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912 UL
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The aircraft was approved for a special airworthiness certificate on November 28, 2016. The pilot purchased the aircraft new and took delivery of it 4 days before the accident. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SBA, 13 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 250°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1016 PST
Type of Airspace: Class C 

Airport Information

Airport: Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 13 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6052 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

SBA is located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean at a field elevation of 13 ft. The airport has three hard-surfaced runways. Runway 7/25 is 6,052 ft long and 150 ft wide, runway 15R/33L is 4,184 ft long and 100 ft wide, and runway 15L/33R is 4,180 ft long and 75 ft wide.

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: 34.433333, -119.850556 (est) 

The aircraft impacted terrain in a residential area about 1 mile northwest of SBA. The first identified point of impact was the roof of a carport; beneath the carport were fragments of the fuselage and items from the cabin area. To the north of the carport was one fracture-separated propeller blade. Immediately adjacent and to the west of the carport was a small tree. A branch of the tree came to rest on an unoccupied parked car next to the carport; another tree branch was stuck in the aircraft's down tubes and control bar. Fragments of landing gear and roofing shingles were scattered until the main wreckage, which was about 30 ft west of the carport. The main wreckage came to rest against a vehicle, with the seat and engine of the aircraft on their right sides. The wing was bent in half and was resting above the engine and seat with the trailing edge toward the ground. The right side of the wing was bent downward and was draped across two unoccupied parked vehicles.

During a postaccident examination, the propeller hub would not rotate freely when rotated by hand; therefore, the engine was completely disassembled. The intake manifolds, carburetors, ignition systems, and oil pump were removed and no anomalies were noted. The reduction drive gearbox was removed and undamaged; the magnetic plug was clear of debris. The valve covers were removed; the rocker arms and valve springs exhibited normal operating wear signatures. The cylinder heads, pistons, and hydraulic tappet lifters were removed and exhibited normal operating wear signatures. The crankcase was separated into its respective halves. The crankshaft would still not rotate by hand. The crankshaft's #3 piston web was not aligned with the #2 piston web, consistent with torsional damage. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff - Coroner, Santa Barbara, California, performed an autopsy of the pilot; the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries. No significant natural disease was identified.

The corner requested that NMS Laboratories perform toxicology testing, which identified caffeine, 3.1 ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana), and 6.5 ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH, an inactive metabolite) in subclavian blood.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing as well and identified 4.5 ng/ml of THC and 5.5 ng/ml of THC-COOH in cavity blood. THC-COOH was also identified in urine (67.9 ng/ml) and liver tissue (40.1 ng/gm).

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA033
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 06, 2016 in Santa Barbara, CA
Aircraft: AIRBORNE WINDSPORTS PTY LTD EDGE XT-912-L, registration: N188M
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 December 6, 2016, about 1018 Pacific standard time, an Airborne Windsports PTY LTD Edge XT-912-L weight shift control light sport airplane, N188M, impacted terrain while flying in the traffic pattern at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) in Santa Barbara, California. The pilot (sole occupant) was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from SBA about 1016.

Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane depart runway 15 to conduct touch-and-go takeoff and landings. The pilot took off uneventfully and made a right turn to crosswind. The pilot requested to enter the traffic pattern for runway 25. While making the turn to downwind, the airplane suddenly started to descend rapidly. The airplane descended through the roof of a carport and came to rest against a parked vehicle.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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