Saturday, April 13, 2019

Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros, owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N580LL: Fatal accident occurred October 08, 2017 near Wilbarger County Airport (F05), Vernon, Texas

Jay William Starr Baxley passed away on October 8th, 2017 in Vernon, Texas. Jay was enjoying one of his many passions, flying.

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Dr. Jay Baxley, a Vernon, Texas dentist, poses with his aircraft. 

In 1984 Jay received his private pilot’s license and over the next several years commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine and instrument airplane, also type rating in the Aero Vodochody L39.  Flying was Jay's greatest passion.  Jay would tell anyone that being in the air above the clouds was the freest and best feeling he had ever experienced.  

Location:  Vernon, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA004
Date & Time: 10/08/2017, 1300 CDT
Registration: N580LL
Aircraft: Aero Vodochody L39C
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 8, 2017, about 1257 central daylight time, an Aero Vodochody L39C, N580LL, collided with terrain 1/2 mile south of Wilbarger County Airport (F05), Vernon, Texas. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned 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 local personal flight, which originated from F05 about 1153.

There were eight witnesses to the accident, and their accounts of the sequence of events varied. All the witnesses agreed that the airplane made a pass over runway 20; estimates of the airplane's altitude varied from 50 to 300 ft above ground level. One witness thought the airplane may be conducting a go-around. The airplane then made a sharp left bank; witnesses estimated the bank angle between 45° and 90°. Two witnesses thought that the pilot was trying to do a "barrel roll." One witness stated that the airplane entered an inverted attitude and "spun to the ground"; other witnesses stated that the left wing hit the ground before the airplane impacted terrain.

Another witness, who was driving north along the highway adjacent to the airport, saw the airplane fly by at low altitude. He stated that the airplane's nose came up slightly and that it entered a steep left bank such that, "you could see the whole profile." He then saw a fireball and black smoke.

A GoPro camera was recovered from the wreckage and sent to NTSB's Vehicle Recorders Division. The GoPro had a 64GB internal microSD card that was catastrophically damaged during the accident; the data was unrecoverable. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/25/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1124 hours (Total, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a type rating in the Aero Vodochody L39. His second-class Federal Aviation Administration airman medical certificate, dated August 25, 2017, contained the restriction, "Must wear corrective lenses." On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot estimated that he had accrued 1,124 total hours of flight experience, 17 hours of which were accrued in the previous six months.

Jay Baxley, DDS

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aero Vodochody
Registration: N580LL
Model/Series: L39C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1984
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 432921
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/08/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 10028 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Fan
Airframe Total Time: 1441 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Ivchenko
Engine Model/Series: AI-25TL
Registered Owner: Bravo Charlie Mike One LLC
Rated Power: 3792 lbs
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane was manufactured in Czechoslovakia in 1984. It was designed as a training aircraft for Warsaw Pact countries. The airplane was equipped with an Ivchenko AI-25-TL turbofan engine, rated at 3,792 lbs of thrust.

The most recent condition inspection of the airplane and engine was completed on August 8, 2017, at an airframe and engine total time of 1,440.5 and 894.7 hours, respectively. At that time, the engine had accrued 107.7 hours since last overhaul. The transponder, altimeter, and encoder were also checked and re-certified.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KF05, 1265 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1255 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.7 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Vernon, TX (F05)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Vernon, TX (F05)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1245 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

The 1255 automated observation at F05 recorded wind from 210° at 14 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 28°C, dew point 6°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.70 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Airport: Wilbarger County (F05)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1265 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 20
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5099 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.211667, -99.289167 

The on-scene investigation revealed a 40-ft long ground scar, consistent with the left wing contacting the ground, which led to a 50-ft long crater. The airplane broke apart, leaving a 580-ft long debris path aligned on a 170° magnetic heading. There was evidence of a flash fire of the surrounding grass likely ignited by vaporized fuel. The airplane itself was fragmented and burned. The right wing separated, and the aileron was missing. The left wing was destroyed. The empennage was identified. The engine compressor showed signatures consistent with rotation followed by sudden stoppage. The guide vanes were broken or crushed, and there was scoring of the engine case. Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact damage, but pushrod movement was identified when the elevators and rudder were moved by hand.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Tarrant County, Texas, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The pilot's death was attributed to "multiple traumatic injuries due to (an) airplane crash." The toxicology report was negative for ethanol and drugs. Carbon monoxide tests could not be performed. Although thermal injuries were present, the trachea showed no soot deposition.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens of the pilot. Testing revealed 24 (mg/dL) ethanol in muscle tissue; however, putrefaction of the samples was noted, and the ethanol was likely from sources other than ingestion. Additionally, ondansetron was detected in liver and muscle tissue. Ondansetron (Zofran) is a non-sedating serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist used mainly as an antiemetic to treat nausea and vomiting.

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