Sunday, September 9, 2018

Luscombe 8F, N2007B: Fatal accident occurred March 19, 2017 at Thrall Lake Airport (7MI3), Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, Michigan

Michael A. "Mike, Gilligan" Westveer 

Westveer, Michael A. "Mike" "Gilligan" Passed away March 20, 2017, unexpectedly at the age of 52.  Mike served his country in the United States Navy. He was an avid aviator who loved vintage aircraft and everything aviation related. He proudly earned his pilot's license before his driver's license. He spent many years flying hot air balloons for the Michigan Balloon Corporation. He was a licensed aircraft mechanic and owner of MW Aviation Inc. who specialized in vintage aircraft restoration. He enjoyed ANY time spent in the air. 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

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


Location: Vicksburg, MI
Accident Number: CEN17LA135
Date & Time: 03/20/2017, 1644 CDT
Registration: N2007B
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8F
Aircraft Damage: None
Defining Event: Aircraft propeller contact with person
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 20, 2017, about 1644 central daylight time, the pilot of a Luscombe 8F, N2007B, was struck by the airplane's propeller as he attempted an engine start at Thrall Lake Airport (7MI3), Vicksburg, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane did not sustain damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual 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 for the flight that was originating when the accident occurred, and no flight plan was filed.

According to the local police report, on the afternoon of the day of the accident, the pilot's wife called a friend of the pilot to inquire about the whereabouts of her husband. After attempting to contact the missing pilot, the friend drove to the airport where he observed the pilot lying on the grass under the nose of the airplane with a fatal head injury. The friend reported the accident to the police about 1844.

The airport owner responded to the airport at the request of the police; he thought the pilot was attempting to start the airplane by hand propping it when he was injured. The magneto switch was in the "Both" position; the throttle was at idle; the primer was in the unlocked position; and the fuel tank selector "was in the 'ON' position." Additionally, the owner stated that it appeared that the pilot was intending to fly the airplane given that the airplane was refueled, and the left tire was chocked as the pilot always did when preparing for a flight. According to the airport owner, the accident occurred after his employees left the airport about 1600.

The owner of the airplane stated that the pilot had been flying the airplane for about 15 years. He believed that the pilot "had extensive knowledge of the use and precautionary measures needed" to hand prop the engine, which was the normal starting procedure for the airplane. According to the owner, there were no known malfunctions or failures with the propeller, airframe, or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airplane Flying Handbook states that hand propping an airplane "is a critical procedure never [to] be attempted alone. And propping should only be attempted when two properly trained people, both familiar and experienced with the airplane and hand propping techniques, are available to perform the procedure." The handbook describes the recommended procedure and communication/commands to be used when hand propping.

The Department of Pathology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, performed an autopsy of the pilot and determined that the cause of death was craniocerebral injuries. The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology results were negative for ethanol and drugs.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 52
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: None
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Balloon
Restraint Used: 
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/20/2009
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1180 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LUSCOMBE
Registration: N2007B
Model/Series: 8F E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1948
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 6434
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3086 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: C-90-18F
Registered Owner: VAN LINDER RICHARD A
Rated Power:
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: KAZO, 868 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 348°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2600 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.3 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Vicksburg, MI (7MI3)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: THRALL LAKE (7MI3)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 850 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.116667, -85.516667 (est)

Michael Westveer

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA135
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 19, 2017 in Vicksburg, MI
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8F, registration: N2007B
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 March 20, 2017, about 1844 central daylight time (CDT), a Luscombe 8F, N2007B, experienced a propeller blade strike during an attempted hand prop of the engine at Thrall Lake Airport (7MI3), Vicksburg, Michigan. The airplane did not sustain substantial damage. The commercial-rated pilot, and intended sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was privately registered, and was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no instrument flight rules flight plan was filed.

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