Monday, May 27, 2019

Swearingen SX-300, registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, N42SX: Fatal accident occurred July 05, 2018 at Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida

John D. Wilson
September 15th, 1956 - July 11th, 2018

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA184
Date & Time: 07/05/2018, 1345 EDT
Registration: N42SX
Aircraft: Swearingen SX300
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 5, 2018, about 1345 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Swearingen SX-300, N42SX, was destroyed during a runway excursion while landing at Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was owned by the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Flagler Executive Airport (FIN), Palm Coast, Florida.

The passenger stated that he and the pilot flew to FIN about 1130 for lunch. They purchased fuel at FIN and departed for 7FL6 about 1330. The passenger stated that the return flight was normal, and that, during the approach for landing, he noted that the wing flaps were down and three green landing gear lights were illuminated in the cockpit. He added that the airspeed indicator showed 90 knots while on final approach. Just before landing, he heard the angle of attack indicator alarm and "knew they stalled the airplane." The airplane landed hard and he heard a loud pop and felt the left main landing gear fracture. He told the pilot that the left main landing gear had broken, and the pilot initially applied full power to take off again; however, he then reduced the throttle to idle and applied full braking. The airplane slid off the left side of the runway and collided with the precision approach path indicator lights. The airplane continued to slide across the grass until the right wing dug into the ground; the airplane then flipped over and caught fire. Both occupants tried to open the canopy, but it was jammed. The passenger then tried to kick out the canopy but could not break the glass. Several bystanders ran to the airplane, helped open the canopy, and helped the two occupants egress. The passenger stated that there were no mechanical defects with the airplane before the accident.

A witness stated that he saw the airplane "touch down." He was not sure if it was the initial landing or after it had bounced once. He further stated that the airplane's left main landing gear was "trailing behind," and after it landed, the airplane slid off the left side of the runway, spun around, and caught fire.

An airport security video showed the airplane after it touched down on the runway. The video showed the airplane sliding down the runway with the left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane slid off the left side of the runway, cartwheeled before coming to rest upright, and subsequently caught fire. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/03/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1650 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/27/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 950 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and glider. He held a third-class medical certificate, issued July 3, 2018. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 1,650 total hours of flight experience. His pilot logbook was not recovered. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Swearingen
Registration: N42SX
Model/Series: SX300 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1993
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 42
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/03/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 660 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-L1C5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The two seat, low-wing, retractable gear airplane was built in 1993. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-L1C5, 300-horsepower engine, equipped with a three-bladed Hartzell propeller.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEVB, 10 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1750 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 106°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1800 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 120°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Palm Coast, FL (FIN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1330 EDT
Type of Airspace:

At 1350, the recorded weather at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport, located 5 miles southeast of the accident site, included wind from 120° at 10 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; temperature 30°C; dew point 24°C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Airport: Spruce Creek (7FL6)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 24 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 06
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4002 ft / 176 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 29.079722, -81.048333 (est) 

The wreckage was located about midfield and 60 ft from the left side of runway 6 and was consumed by a postcrash fire. The main wreckage came to rest upright on a heading of 320°. The instrument panel was consumed by fire and no readable instruments were recovered. Both wings separated from the fuselage; the left wing was located beside the fuselage with about 4 ft of the inboard section remaining. The rest of the wing was consumed by fire. The right wing was located under the fuselage and completely consumed by fire. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. Control cable continuity was confirmed.

The engine remained attached to the airframe. The engine, propeller, and accessories were fire-damaged. The spinner dome was melted on one side. The top spark plugs were removed, and the propeller was rotated by hand. Thumb compression was established on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was established by visual confirmation of rocker arm movement and movement of the accessory gears. A lighted borescope was used to observe the pistons and valves inside the cylinders; no anomalies were noted.

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Orlando, Florida. The report listed the cause of death as complications of 50.5% total body surface area burns and inhalation injury.

The pilot succumbed to his injuries in the hospital 1 week after the accident and toxicology testing was not performed.

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