Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rutan VariEze, N944X, registered to and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred February 11, 2018 at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), Los Angeles County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California

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/N944X

Collision with Hangar 

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Accident Number: WPR18LA089
Date & Time: 02/11/2018, 1258 PST
Registration: N944X
Aircraft: SHANKS V ROGER VARI EZE
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On February 11, 2018, at 1258 Pacific standard time, an experimental amateur-built Roger V Shanks (Rutan Aircraft Factory) VariEze airplane, N944X, struck a hangar during its landing rollout at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the nose and canard assembly which detached from the airframe. 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. The flight departed Brackett Field Airport, La Verne, California, about 1240.

The pilot reported that the landing approach to runway 21 was uneventful, and that he landed about 100 ft beyond the runway numbers. As soon as the nosewheel touched down, the pilot applied brake pressure and the airplane began to swerve to the left. He released and reapplied brake pressure, but the airplane continued to veer left. He then proceeded to alternately cycle the brakes and right rudder as the ground roll progressed. The oscillations continued as the airplane slowed down, but aware that the terrain dropped off beyond the runway end, the pilot decided to apply full braking effort, rather than risk descending the drop-off. The airplane then veered violently to the left, crossed over the adjacent taxiway, and struck a hangar (Photo 1).

Skid marks on the runway indicated that the airplane departed the runway surface just before taxiway B2, about 500 ft short of the runway end, and 1,300 ft before the end of the runway apron where the terrain dropped away. The skid mark on the left side was darker in color and more prominent than the mark on the right (Photo 2).


Photo 1 - Airplane in Hangar

Photo 2 - Runway Skid Marks

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/29/2017
Flight Time: 260 hours (Total, all aircraft), 102 hours (Total, this make and model), 179 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 29, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/28/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 100 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SHANKS V ROGER
Registration: N944X
Model/Series: VARI EZE NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1982
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 893
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/18/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 9 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1536.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-200 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 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: KSMO, 174 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1302 PST
Direction from Accident Site: 34°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LA VERNE, CA (POC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1240 PST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: SANTA MONICA MUNI (SMO)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 169 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

The airport consisted of a single runway designated 3/21, which was shortened in December 2017 from 4,973 ft to 3,500 ft. The pilot stated that he was aware of the reduced runway length. Runway 21 slopes downhill, with a gradient of 1.2%.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.012500, -118.453889


Photo 3 - Right Brake Caliper

Tests And Research

Brake System

The airplane was equipped with a free-castering nosewheel, with ground steering accomplished through differential braking once rudder effectiveness diminished at lower speeds. The design did not incorporate conventional toe-brakes, but instead brake pressure was applied directly via the rudder pedals once they had been pushed beyond the pedals' rudder travel limits.

Each rudder pedal was connected via cables to combination rudder and brake bellcrank assemblies mounted on the firewall. The brake master cylinders were also mounted on the firewall and connected directly to their respective rudder bellcrank assemblies. The master cylinders contained integral reservoirs; the cylinders were the 10-35 type manufactured by Parker Corporation. Accessing the master cylinders for fluid check and service required removal of the engine cowl.

The main landing gear were equipped with conventional brake rotors and hydraulic calipers. Each wheel assembly was enclosed within a composite wheel pant, which visually obscured the caliper and brake rotor.

Postaccident examination of the brake master cylinders revealed that the right brake reservoir fluid level was filled to just under half of its capacity. Further examination revealed that the top and rear surfaces of the right caliper were coated with dirt-encrusted fluid, from a leak which appeared to have developed at the inlet fitting of the caliper (Photo 3). No active drips were observed, and examination of the remaining brake system components did not reveal any other fluid leaks or mechanical anomalies, and the left brake reservoir was full.

Maintenance records indicated that the pilot replaced the hydraulic brake lines on the right side in July 2014, 147.3 flight hours before the accident. He reported using "NylaFlow" nylon tubing, in accordance with the airframe kit manufacturers instructions, and although there was no entry in the logbooks, he also replaced the left brake lines a brief time later with the same material. He stated that the right line was replaced because a leak had developed at the fitting on the caliper, such that he found fluid on the ramp during a preflight inspection.

The pilot stated that he last checked the brake fluid reservoir levels at the most recent oil change, which according to the maintenance records, was 50.5 flight hours prior to the accident. He reported that on the morning of the accident, he had departed from two airports and tested the brakes during taxi on both occasions; the brakes performed appropriately, and no anomalies were encountered.

Quartz Mountain Aerospace Inc 11E, registered to and operated by Oracle Aviation LLC and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight, N515BW: Accident occurred January 24, 2018 in Millard, Omaha, Nebraska

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

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


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


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N515BW




Location: Omaha, NE
Accident Number: CEN18LA085
Date & Time: 01/24/2018, 1418 CST
Registration: N515BW
Aircraft: QUARTZ MOUNTAIN AEROSPACE L-11E
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

Analysis 

During an instructional flight, the two pilots—an airline transport pilot giving instruction and a commercial pilot receiving instruction—flew to two airports and made an instrument approach at each airport. Upon returning to the pilots' home airport and while on another instrument approach, the engine lost all power. The pilot giving instruction assumed control of the airplane and made a forced landing in a school baseball field. During the forced landing, the airplane struck trees and a fence, causing substantial damage to a wing spar.

During a postaccident examination, a total of ½ gallon of fuel was drained from both tanks. The airplane's fuel capacity was 42 gallons, of which 40 gallons was usable. The airplane had been serviced with fuel several days before the accident, and the service technician estimated that 34 gallons of fuel was on board the airplane at the beginning of the accident flight. The pilot giving instruction reported that he had visually verified that the airplane was "full of fuel" before the flight, and he expected that there would be enough fuel for 4 hours of flight. The pilot giving instruction planned 3 hours of flight time, and the airplane's Hobbs meter indicated 3.1 hours of flight time.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The instructor pilot's inadequate preflight fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power.

Findings

Aircraft
Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)
Fuel - Not inspected (Cause)

Personnel issues
Preflight inspection - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)
Identification/recognition - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)


Factual Information

On January 24, 2018, at 1418 central standard time, a Quartz Mountain Aerospace (Luscombe) 11E, N515BW, struck trees and a fence during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power in Omaha, Nebraska. The certificated airline transport flight instructor and certificated commercial flight instructor receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The rental airplane was registered to and operated by Oracle Aviation, LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Millard Airport (MLE), about 1100.

According to the instructor's accident report, the airplane was full of fuel (verified visually), which should have provided about four hours of flight time. The planned flight time was 3 hours. They flew to Wayne Municipal Airport (LCG), Wayne, Nebraska, and Central Nebraska Regional Airport (GRI), Grand Island Nebraska, where they made an instrument approach at each airport before returning to MLE. The airplane was on the GPS (Global Positioning System runway) 12 instrument approach, about 5.3 miles from MLE, when the engine lost power. Following the emergency checklist, the engine regained power for about 10 seconds. The instructor assumed control and made a forced landing in a school baseball field near a road intersection. During the forced landing, the airplane struck trees and a fence, causing damage to a wing spar.

The airplane was towed back to MLE where Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Lincoln, Nebraska, Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) examined the airplane. They drained a total of ½-gallon of fuel from both tanks. Both the tachometer and Hobbs meter indicated a flight duration of 3.1 hours.

The instructor noted that a similar incident occurred about two weeks earlier. In that case, the pilots were able to land at the airport. No determination was made as to why the engine lost power, but the instructor surmised that either the tanks did not hold 42 gallons, or the engine was consuming a "significantly greater amount" of fuel.

According to the service technician, when he serviced the airplane a few days before the accident, and it was not full of fuel. He added fuel to a level "just above the tab portion" of the fuel neck. Using another similar airplane, the technician demonstrated to FAA inspectors how he fueled the airplane to his customary level. He then added 6 additional gallons (3 gallons per tank) to reach the full level. It was estimated about 34 gallons of fuel was on board the airplane. 

History of Flight

Approach
Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Off-field or emergency landing

Landing

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/13/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/05/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 16046 hours (Total, all aircraft), 60 hours (Total, this make and model), 13400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 26, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/03/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1420 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model), 1337 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: QUARTZ MOUNTAIN AEROSPACE
Registration: N515BW
Model/Series: L-11E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1006
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/21/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2280 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 276 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-ES
Registered Owner: Oracle Aviation, LLC
Rated Power: 185 hp
Operator: Oracle Aviation, LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MLE, 1051 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1415 CST
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Clearance: IFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1100 CST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Millard (MLE)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 105 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow; Wet
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: Global Positioning System; Practice
Runway Length/Width: 3801 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  41.196111, -96.112222 (est)

Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane, N421KR: Accident occurred May 03, 2017 at Portage County Airport (KPOV), Ravenna, Ohio

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Olmsted, Ohio

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


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


https://registry.faa.gov/N421KR 

Location: Portage County Airport, OH

Accident Number: GAA17CA266
Date & Time: 05/03/2017, 1430 EDT
Registration: N421KR
Aircraft: CESSNA T182
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The solo student pilot reported that, during a touch-and-go, the airplane veered off the runway to the left and impacted a culvert.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing.

The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/26/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 78.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 59.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 78.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 11.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N421KR
Model/Series: T182T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: T18208308
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/08/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 416 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-AK1A
Registered Owner: GRWW AVIATION LLC.
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: GRWW AVIATION LLC.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPOV, 1198 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1816 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 351°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: CLEVELAND, OH (CGF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: RAVENNA, OH (POV)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1330 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: PORTAGE COUNTY (POV)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1197 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3499 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  41.210278, -81.248611 (est)

Columbia LC41-550FG, registered to JMK3 Lands LLC and operated by the pilot, N972JK: Fatal accident occurred January 05, 2017 near Gurdon Lowe Field Airport (5M8), Gurdon, Clark County, Arkansas

James "Jimmy" Kent III 
January 23, 1976 - January 5, 2017

James M. Kent III (Jimmy) was called home to our Lord on January 5, 2017, flying with his cousin and best friend, Bob Kent.  Jimmy was a unique and caring individual who touched the lives of all who knew him. He had a vibrant personality and took fashion cues from no one. No matter where he was, Jimmy lit up the room and had a huge heart. If you knew him, you probably recall getting a text from him that touched your heart. He was a coach in his own right, always encouraging people to “do more and be better”. The way he died is like he lived: he wrote his own rules; he lived life to the fullest, doing everything with a smile, and paving his own way. If you knew him, you loved him.

Throughout his life, he was most proud of marrying the love of his life, Martha Garcia; playing baseball professionally; being a successful land developer; his collection of cars; and getting his pilot’s license and flying his own plane, right until the day he died. He truly embodied the concept of living life to the fullest. 


Robert "Bob" Charles Kent Jr.
November 25, 1980 - January 5, 2017

Robert Charles Kent, Jr. (“Bob”) passed away on January 5, 2017, at the age of 36. A beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend, Bob lived life with a passion that few could match. His brilliant smile and unwavering positivity brought light into the world of every person he encountered. His drive and work ethic enabled him to build a successful commercial real estate company, Kent Realty, from the ground up, and his generous spirit led him to share the fruits of his labor with those he loved. Remembered as sincere, charismatic, and kind-hearted, Bob’s tremendous impact on those around him will never be forgotten.

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Little Rock, Arkansas
Continental Engines; Mobile, Alabama
Cessna Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas

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/N972JK 


Location: Gurdon, AR
Accident Number: CEN17FA071
Date & Time: 01/05/2017, 1239 CST
Registration: N972JK
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 5, 2017, about 1239 central standard time, a Columbia Aircraft 400-LC41 airplane, N972JK, impacted terrain near Gurdon, Arkansas, after a rapid descent. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed from impact forces and postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to JMK3 Lands, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed before the cross-country personal flight. The flight originated from McKinney National Airport (TKI), McKinney, Texas, about 1145 with an intended destination of Macon County Airport (1A5), Franklin, North Carolina. 

According to the air traffic control (ATC) transcript and radar information, the airplane was at a cruise altitude of 17,500 ft mean sea level (msl) when the pilot requested, at 1217:22, an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to climb to 25,000 feet msl to do an "equipment test," but he did not specify what equipment needed to be tested. The pilot also provided the controller with the required information for a "pop up" IFR clearance. Radar data showed that, about 1229, the airplane climbed to 25,000 ft; at 1232:21, the pilot requested to descend back to 17,500 ft. Radar data showed that the airplane had started to descend before the controller could clear the pilot to descend to 19,000 ft. At 1233:03 and 1233:17, the controller asked the pilot "is everything alright"? The pilot responded that the airplane was "having a little bit of an equipment issue" and requested to cancel the IFR clearance. The controller cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 17,000 ft and queried if he needed any assistance. The pilot responded that he was "okay right now." At 1236:39, the pilot declared an emergency, and the ATC controller requested the pilot to state the nature of the emergency. The pilot's response was unintelligible. The controller attempted to contact the airplane but received no response from the pilot. The controller asked other airplanes that were operating in the area to try to contact the pilot, but no responses were received.

Radar data showed that the airplane had rapidly descended from 20,400 ft at 1236:01 to 3,100 ft at 1238:13. No further radar returns were recorded, and no distress calls from the airplane were heard by ATC or other aircraft operating in the area. The airplane impacted terrain about 1239.

According to a report provided by the Clark County, Arkansas, Sheriff's Department, an ATC controller contacted the sheriff's department about an airplane in distress. The controller indicated that, at the time of the airplane's last known coordinates, the airplane was 5.6 miles east of Gurdon, Arkansas. The airplane wreckage was located shortly afterward by the pilot of and spotters in an Arkansas State Police helicopter. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 40, 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: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/01/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 250 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 36
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 450 hours (Total, all aircraft), 10 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate issued on September 6, 2016, with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on June 1, 2016, with no limitations. The pilot's flight logbook was not available, but a family member estimated that he had about 250 hours of total flight experience and about 100 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane. Also, this family member stated that the pilot had recently bought a "full face" oxygen mask for the airplane and that he and the pilot-rated passenger had attended a high altitude/hypoxia training course about 3 weeks before the accident. 

FAA records also showed that the pilot-rated passenger held a private pilot certificate issued on April 30, 2013, with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on September 16, 2015, with no limitations. The pilot-rated passenger's flight logbook was not available, but a family member estimated that he had about 450 hours of total flight experience and about 10 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG
Registration: N972JK
Model/Series: LC41 550FG 550FG
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:  Normal
Serial Number: 41800
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/02/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 93 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 418 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-550-C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane, serial number 41800, was manufactured in 2007. Cessna acquired the type certificate for the airplane model from Columbia in 2009, and the airplane is sometimes referred to as a Cessna Columbia 400. A Continental Motors TSIO550C engine was installed on the airplane, and a Hartzell three-blade propeller was installed on the engine. The engine's and propeller's most recent 100-hour inspections were completed on June 2, 2016. The airplane was also equipped with an anti-ice system and an oxygen system.

According to a family member, the pilot purchased the airplane in August 2016. Before the accident flight, the airplane had accumulated 418 hours of flight time. 

A review of the airplane's available maintenance records did not reveal any outstanding issues. According to the records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 6, 2016, at an airplane total time of 325.5 hours. 

According to TKI fueling records, the airplane received 62 gallons of fuel at 1107 on the morning of the accident. TKI service records showed that the airplane had an oil change and oxygen system service that morning. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ADF, 181 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1156 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 190°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (TKI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR/IFR
Destination: Franklin, NC (1A5)
Type of Clearance: IFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1145 CST
Type of Airspace: Class E

A review of the weather information from of the accident indicated a layer of broken to overcast clouds over Texas into Arkansas. A review of the soundings and the local observation indicated favorable conditions for broken to overcast clouds between 2,000 and 6,000 ft.

Dexter B. Florence Memorial Airport, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, was the nearest weather reporting facility, located about 15 miles south of the accident site. The weather observation for 1256 indicated the following: wind from 360° at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles or more; ceiling broken at 2,400 ft above ground level (agl), overcast at 3,700 ft agl; temperature 3°C, dew point -2°C, altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury. Also, a review of the National Weather Service in-flight weather advisories near the accident site found none that were current for turbulence, icing, or instrument conditions below 24,000 ft. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.899444, 93.037222 (est) 

The airplane wreckage was found in swampy terrain that was densely vegetated with cypress trees. The wreckage was in a 4-ft-deep muddy, water-filled crater. Snowfall after the accident covered much of the wreckage. The cypress trees above the crater showed evidence of broken limbs at the top of the trees. The airplane was severely fragmented into small pieces, some of which were scattered beside the impact crater, and a postimpact fire had ensued. The wreckage evidence was consistent with a high-speed, nearly vertical, nose-down impact. The engine was extracted from the crater along with the propeller, which was attached to the crankshaft propeller flange. The propeller spinner was crushed by impact forces but did not exhibit twisting witness characteristics.

The airplane wreckage, engine, and propeller were recovered from the accident site and transported to a secure location for further examination by the NTSB, Cessna, and Continental Motors.

Airframe

The recovered airframe pieces were laid out to examine the flight controls. Due to the severe fragmentation, flight control continuity could only be established from the rudder surface to overload separations on the control cables leading to the cockpit. The aft elevator push-pull tube was found attached to the elevator torque tube, and the elevator surfaces were found separated from the torque tubes due to impact damage. The elevator trim tab was found in about a 16° tab down angle. One of the two speedbrake modules was deployed. The airframe fuel, environmental, anti-icing, and oxygen systems could not be examined due to the severe impact and postcrash fire damage. Cockpit gauges and instruments also could not be examined due to impact and postcrash fire damage.

Engine

The ignition harness was impact damaged. The engine could be manually rotated, and crankshaft/camshaft continuity was confirmed. All valves opened and closed normally. Thumb compression was achieved on all cylinders. Mud and water were expelled from each cylinder when the engine was manually rotated.

All six cylinders remained attached at their respective mounts. Cylinder No. 1 exhibited a large crack between the induction port and the intake rocker box cover. Cooling fins were impact damaged. The rocker box covers exhibited minor impact damage but remained attached to each cylinder.

The engine-driven fuel pump remained intact and attached to its mount on the rear of the engine. The fuel hose fittings were damaged from the impact and had separated from the fuel pump. The fuel pump drive coupling was found intact. The fuel pump operated smoothly when manually rotated, and a small amount of fuel was expelled. The fuel manifold, throttle body, and metering unit were intact. Fuel lines from the fuel manifold to individual fuel injectors were damaged from the impact, and the fuel injectors remained intact in each cylinder head.

The induction tube for cylinder No. 1 separated during the engine recovery, and the induction tubes for the Nos. 2 through 6 cylinders remained attached with varying impact damage. The right and left after-cooler assemblies were not recovered. The right forward induction tube assembly was impact damaged, and the left forward induction tube had separated. The upper deck pressure air manifold tubes were impact damaged. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and inspected, and each spark plug was contaminated with mud from the swamp water and oil. A lighted borescope inspection was accomplished, and all valves were found to be intact and in place.

The oil cooler was attached, but the mounting base was damaged. The oil sump exhibited upward crushing damage due to impact forces. The oil pick-up tube and screen were impact damaged. The oil filter remained attached to its mount with the safety wire intact. The oil filter was removed and cut open, and the oil filter paper pleats showed no contamination.

The engine was transported to Continental Motors in Mobile, Alabama, for a teardown examination under the supervision of the NTSB and with Continental Motors personnel present. The teardown examination of the engine revealed no mechanical anomalies. For more information, see the engine teardown report in the docket for this accident.

The propeller and turbochargers were transported to Continental Motors for a teardown examination under the supervision of the NTSB and with Continental Motors and Hartzell Propeller personnel present.

The teardown of the propeller and its assembly revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have prevented or degraded normal propeller operation before impact. Preload plate impact marks indicated that the propeller was operating in the normal blade angle range at the time of impact. Blade bending and twisting were consistent with a low power setting and/or windmilling at a high airspeed at the time of impact.

The teardown of the turbochargers revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have prevented or degraded normal turbocharger operation before impact. The right turbocharger compressor housing was bent in a manner consistent with impact forces, and the impeller was impinging on the compressor wheel, preventing rotation. Contact/chatter/rub marks in the compressor housing were consistent with low-speed rotation before impact and a low power condition. All damage to both turbochargers was consistent with high impact forces.

For more information about the propeller and turbochargers, see the teardown report in the docket for this accident.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, Medical Examiner Division, Little Rock, Arkansas, performed an autopsy of the pilot and the pilot-rated passenger. The cause of death for both the pilot and the pilot-rated passenger was multiple injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of the pilot. No ethanol or carbon monoxide was detected. Amphetamines were detected in urine (6.97 µg/ml, µg/g) and blood specimens (0.42 µg/ml, µg/g). Amphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance available by prescription in various forms for the treatment of attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy. It is also a common drug of abuse; peak levels in abuse are typically above 0.04 ug/ml in blood and above 10 ug/ml in urine. However, amphetamine undergoes significant post mortem redistribution which may increase central levels (such as heart levels) by 3-8 times.

Toxicology tests were also performed on the pilot-rated passenger. No ethanol was detected. Carbon monoxide tests were not performed. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marijuana) was detected in liver (0.0827 µg/ml, µg/g) and brain specimens (0.0022 µg/ml, µg/g). Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (THC-COOH), the inactive metabolite of THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) in liver and brain. However, no parent drug (THC) was identified in brain and the liver was unsuitable for further testing.


NTSB Identification: CEN17FA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 05, 2017 in Gurdon, AR
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG, registration: N972JK
Injuries: 2 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 5, 2017, about 1240 central standard time, a Columbia LC41-550FG single engine airplane, N972JK, registered to JMK3 Lands LLC, Charlotte, North Carolina, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in the vicinity of Gurdon, Arkansas. The private pilot and his pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The cross country personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and an IFR clearance was in effect. The flight originated from the McKinney National Airport (TKI), McKinney, Texas about 1145 and was enroute to the Macon County Airport (1A5), Franklin, North Carolina. 

According to preliminary Air Traffic Control (ATC) and radar information, the airplane was cruising level at 17,500 feet MSL when the pilot requested an IFR clearance to climb to 25,000 feet MSL to test some equipment. About 1232, radar showed the airplane climb to 25,000 feet, and shortly afterward, the pilot requested to descend to 17, 500 feet and proceeded to descend. ATC cleared the pilot to descend to 19,000 feet and queried the pilot to ask if he was ok. The pilot responded that the airplane was experiencing equipment issues and requested to cancel his IFR clearance and descend to 17,500 feet. About 1235, ATC cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 17,000 feet and queried if he needed any assistance. The pilot responded that everything was ok. About 1236, the pilot declared an emergency and ATC requested the pilot to state the nature of the emergency. The pilot's response was garbled and not recognizable. As radar showed the airplane in a rapid descent, ATC attempted to contact the airplane without any success. Radar contact with the airplane was lost about 3,100 feet and no distress calls were heard by ATC or other aircraft in the area.

The wreckage of the airplane was located in a dense, tree-populated swamp. Evidence at the accident site showed that the airplane impacted the ground at high speed, almost 90-degrees nose down. The majority of the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire.

The airplane wreckage and the engine/propeller components were recovered from the accident site and transported to Dawson Aircraft, Clinton, Arkansas.