Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Van's RV-4, N4332J: Fatal accident occurred October 14, 2019 near Rooster Field Airport (84NC), Moore County, North Carolina

Charles “Joe” Grant Fitzgerald Jr.


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greenboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
 
https://registry.faa.gov/N4332J


Location: Cameron, NC
Accident Number: ERA20FA009
Date & Time: 10/14/2019, 1156 EDT
Registration: N4332J
Aircraft: Vans RV4
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On October 14, 2019, at 1156 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Vans RV-4, N4332J, was substantially damaged when it impacted wooded terrain while on approach to Rooster Field Airport (84NC), Cameron, North Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. 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. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Woodward Field Airport (CDN), Camden, South Carolina, at 1046, and was destined for 84NC.

According to a friend of the pilot, who was also a flight instructor, the accident pilot departed from 84NC, which was also the site of the accident pilot's residential home, to CDN on Saturday morning, October 12, 2019 to attend an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) fly-in event. Later that day in the afternoon, during the return flight on the climb out, the accident airplane canopy separated from the airframe, and the accident pilot returned safely to CDN. According to the friend, the pilot told him via telephone Saturday evening that the airplane "flew alright" without the canopy, did not sustain any other damage, and when the weather improved on Monday, he planned to complete the return flight to 84NC without the canopy and would wear a motorcycle helmet with a facemask. The pilot's friend advised him not to fly the airplane without the canopy.

According to a private pilot based at CDN, he met the accident pilot for the first time at the EAA fly-in and after discussions, they planned to fly their respective airplanes in a loose formation to 84NC on Monday morning. He reported that they both arrived at CDN about 0930 Monday, fueled their airplanes, which he observed to be a top-off for the accident airplane, and departed; he added that the accident pilot did not seem to have any difficulties flying the airplane with the motorcycle helmet and no canopy. About 20 nautical miles southwest of 84NC, the private pilot reported that the accident pilot continued direct to 84NC, while he flew around the airspace of Mackall Army Airfield (HFF), Camp Mackall, North Carolina. This was the last time the private pilot observed the accident airplane. The private pilot subsequently landed at 84NC.

A Garmin 296 GPS device was found at the accident site and preliminary data from the accident flight were extracted from the unit. The recording began at 1044 and at 1046, data consistent with a takeoff from runway 24 at CDN was recorded. The data subsequently revealed that the airplane proceeded en route on a direct course to 84NC, about 1,100 ft GPS altitude, and about 80 knots groundspeed.

At 1156:06, data revealed that the airplane flew over the 84NC airport center, at 500 ft GPS altitude and 67 knots, and entered a left downwind in the traffic pattern for runway 9. At 1156:29, about .25 mile from the runway 9 threshold, the airplane entered a left base, at 63 knots and an altitude of 455 ft. At 1156:33, the airplane continued on a left base, slowing to 57 knots and maintaining altitude, and 3 seconds later the data showed the airplane headed 139° true, at 54 knots groundspeed, at an altitude of 440 ft. This was the last recorded data and the airplane's position was about .25 mile from the runway 9 threshold, near an extended centerline from the runway, about 480 ft from where the main wreckage was found.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Alert Notice (ALNOT) missing aircraft message was issued at 1744 and the airplane was located about 0045 on October 15, 2019 by first responders.

According to Leidos Flight Service, there was no record that the pilot received a weather briefing and there was no flight plan on file for the accident flight.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate in May 2018. A review of the pilot's logbook contained a record of flights from August 29, 2010 to September 6, 2019. The pilot had logged a total flight time of 581.5 hours, in which 390.5 hours were pilot-in-command and 50.4 hours were in the accident airplane. The pilot logged 7 hours in the past 90 days. His most recent flight review was completed on February 28, 2019.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the 2-seat, single-engine, low-wing airplane was manufactured in 1992. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2A, 150-horsepower engine. The airplane was registered to the pilot in July 2018. According to the maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on March 18, 2018.

The initial impact point and main wreckage were co-located in heavily wooded terrain about 590 ft from the runway 9 threshold. The airplane was found inverted oriented on a 050° heading. All major components of the airplane were found with the main wreckage; flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit. Fuel remained in the left wing and was observed to be leaking; no debris was noted in a fuel sample and it tested negative for water when exposed to water finding paste. The inboard portion of the right wing displayed significant aft crushing and no fuel was present in the wing as the fuel tank had been breached. The left and right flaps were found partially extended. Elevator trim continuity was established from the cockpit to the control surface.

The cockpit, instrument panel, and seats remained largely intact. The ignition was found selected to both, the fuel selector was selected to the right tank, and the primer lever was stowed. The throttle lever was found full forward; the mixture and propeller levers were found full aft (idle-cut-off). An emergency locator transmitter was installed and was found set to the arm position. According to first responders, the pilot was found wearing the motorcycle helmet that had a full-face mask, and the 5-point harness remained buckled and was cut during the recovery.

The engine remained attached to the engine mounts. The majority of the wooden propeller blades separated from the hub and were splintered. During an engine examination, the remnants of the propeller were rotated by hand and valve train continuity was established. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was attained on all cylinders. All spark plugs sparked during engine rotation; each were removed and displayed normal operating and combustion signatures.

The carburetor remained intact and attached to the engine, the butterfly valve remained attached to the throttle arm and moved freely. The carburetor was disassembled; the carburetor floats were intact, and no debris or fuel was observed in the bowl, and the venturi needle was clear of debris. The smell of fuel was present in the bowl. The engine oil was observed to be black in color and no metal or debris was observed.

The 1156 recorded weather observation at Moore County Airport (SOP), Pinehurst/Southern Pines, North Carolina, which was located about 8 miles southwest of the accident site, included wind variable at 3 knots, clear skies, and visibility 10 statute miles. The temperature was 22° C, the dew point was 11° C; and the altimeter setting was 30.10 inches of mercury. The private pilot reported that he landed on runway 9 and the wind was a quartering tailwind from the northwest, about 5-10 knots, and it was gusting.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Make: Vans
Registration: N4332J
Model/Series: RV4 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
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: SOP, 459 ft msl
Observation Time: 1156 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , Variable
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Camden, SC (CDN)
Destination: Cameron, NC (84NC) 

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: 35.271667, -79.254444

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. 

Charles “Joe” Grant Fitzgerald Jr., age 66, died Monday, October 14, 2019, from an aviation accident near his home in Cameron, North Carolina. 

Joe was born on June 10, 1953, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to the late Charles Grant Fitzgerald and Charlotta Ellen Aldridge Fitzgerald. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters Cynthia Elaine Houchin, Francis Felice Clark-Hudson, and Laura Genevieve Fitzgerald-Gordon. Joe served in the United States Army, retiring as a Special Forces Master Sergeant. He loved flying, spending time in nature, making music as a guitarist and pianist, and educating others about aviation. Joe was also known for his sense of humor, self-reliance, and magnetic personality. Above all else he loved his family, a proud father and grandfather who was happiest when surrounded by loved ones.  

He is survived by his two children and one grandchild: Joseph Fitzgerald and husband Joseph Landau of New York, NY and their daughter Sophia Fitzgerald Landau; daughter Anna Fitzgerald of Norfolk, VA; mother of his children Irene Sievers of Fayetteville, NC; brother Toby Burkhart of Ardmore, OK; sisters Donna Hammer and husband Ron of Riverton, WY, and Martha Shadoan of Oklahoma City, OK.  

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 2, 2019, at 11:00 AM in the chapel of Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home in Sanford, NC. There will be no formal visitation after the funeral home service.  

Condolences may be made at https://supportful.com/fitz. In lieu of flowers, donations to support Joe’s homestead, farm and air strip may be addressed to PO Box 10845, Norfolk, VA 23513, or online at https://supportful.com/fitz. 


https://www.supportful.com/fitz

Charles "Joe" Grant Fitzgerald Jr., age 66, died Tuesday, October 15, 2019, from an aviation accident near his home in Cameron, North Carolina.

Joe was born on June 10, 1953, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to the late Charles Grant Fitzgerald and Charlotta Ellen Aldridge Fitzgerald. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters Cynthia Elaine Houchin, Francis Felice Clark-Hudson, and Laura Genevieve Fitzgerald-Gordon. Joe served in the United States Army, retiring as a Special Forces Master Sergeant. He loved flying, spending time in nature, making music as a guitarist and pianist, and educating others about aviation. Joe was also known for his sense of humor, self-reliance, and magnetic personality. Above all else he loved his family, a proud father and grandfather who was happiest when surrounded by loved ones.

He is survived by his two children and one grandchild: Joseph Fitzgerald and husband Joseph Landau of New York, NY and their daughter Sophia Fitzgerald Landau; daughter Anna Fitzgerald of Norfolk, VA; mother of his children Irene Sievers of Fayetteville, NC; brother Toby Burkhart of Ardmore, OK; sisters Donna Hammer and husband Ron of Riverton, WY, and Martha Shadoan of Oklahoma City, OK.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 2, 2019, at 11:00 AM in the chapel of Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home in Sanford, NC. There will be no formal visitation after the funeral home service.


Condolences may be made at https://supportful.com/fitz. In lieu of flowers, donations to support Joe's homestead, farm and air strip may be addressed to PO Box 10845, Norfolk, VA 23513, or online at https://supportful.com/fitz.

CAMERON, North Carolina — The pilot who died in a plane crash in October flew the plane without a canopy and wore a motorcycle helmet and facemask during the open-air flight, according to a new report.

The plane crashed on Oct. 14 in a wooded area near Cameron just before noon. Its pilot, Charles Grant Fitzgerald, Jr., 66, was the lone person in the two-seater aircraft and died in the crash.

An accident report released by the National Transportation Safety Board calls Fitzgerald's plane, an Vans RV-4, "experimental" and "amateur-built."

According to the report, Fitzgerald flew his plane from Woodward Field Airport in Camden, S.C., to a Experimental Aircraft Association meeting two days before the

During his flight back to South Carolina, the canopy of his plane separated from the frame, but the pilot landed safely at the Woodward Field Airport in Camden.

Fitzgerald's friend, who is a flight instructor, told officials that Fitzgerald called him Saturday evening to tell him about the open-air flight.

He said he planned to fly the topless plane again on Monday, this time wearing a motorcycle helmet and facemask to brave the wind. The friend advised Fitzgerald not to fly the plane while it was in that condition.

Another pilot told officials that Fitzgerald met him at the Woodward Field Airport at 9:30 a.m. that Monday. The two fueled their airplanes and left for Rooster Field Airport in Cameron, N.C.

When the planes were about 20 miles from the North Carolina airport, the two pilots took different paths, he said.

The last recorded data from Fitzgerald's plane located it about a quarter mile from the runway, about 480 feet from the crash site, according to the report.

The crashed plane was located around midnight on Oct. 15.

According to FAA airman records, Fitzgerald held a private pilot certificate and had recorded flights from Aug. 29, 2010, to Sept. 6, 2019, logging a total flight time of 581.5 hours in the air. Fitzgerald had logged seven hours in the 90 days before the crash, and his most recent flight review was completed on Feb. 28, 2019.

Just one week later, a Florida pilot and his wife were killed when their plane crashed at Umstead Park on its way to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.


https://www.wral.com


Charles Grant Fitzgerald Jr, a Cameron veteran who died in a plane crash Monday near his home, is being remembered as a personable pilot with a passion for aviation.

Fitzgerald, 66, was found dead early Tuesday in the wreckage of his homebuilt aircraft, a Van’s RV-4, off Cranes Creek Road. He had been traveling from a fly-in event at Woodward Airfield in Camden, South Carolina.

Roland Gilliam, owner of Gilliam-McConnell Airfield in Carthage, said Fitzgerald was “well thought-of in the community.”

“He was a very pleasant guy who liked to talk and never met a stranger,” Gilliam said. “And he was a good mechanic, always tinkering with things.”

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office said Fitzgerald, who had been reported missing by a concerned neighbor, was the only passenger aboard the two-seat aircraft. He was located in a “heavily wooded area” near his private airstrip, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash. According to Gilliam, Fitzgerald reportedly lost his plane’s canopy while departing from South Carolina.

“I don’t know if that contributed to it or not,” Gilliam said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are assisting with the investigation.

Fitzgerald served in the Special Forces, Gilliam said, and “still did some work in conjunction with the military.” Funeral arrangements had not been announced as of Friday afternoon.

“Charles was a nice guy,” Gilliam said. “It’s a shame when you get killed doing something you love.”

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.thepilot.com

VASS, North Carolina (WNCN) – A 66-year-old Moore County man died when his aircraft crashed near a private airstrip near Vass, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said.

Charles Grant Fitzgerald, Jr., of Cameron was flying a two-seater aircraft from Camden, South Carolina to Vass when the plane when down, the sheriff’s office said.

The plane was found around 12:45 a.m. upside-down a few hundred yards from Fitzgerald’s private airstrip.

“After an extensive search of the area, Sheriff’s Deputies, with the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation, located the wreckage in a heavily wooded area off of Cranes Creek Road in the Cameron-Vass area of Moore County,” Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a release.

Fitzgerald was retired from the military and served as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, the sheriff said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been contacted and is investigating.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.cbs17.com

A man from Cameron is dead after his plane crashed Monday in the woods in the Cameron-Vass area, according to a news advisory from Moore County Sheriff’s Office.

Charles Grant Fitzgerald, Jr, 66, was the pilot in the Van's RV-4 experimental aircraft flying from Camden, South Carolina to a private airstrip in Vass when his plane went down by the runway.

“After an extensive search of the area, Sheriff’s Deputies, with the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation, located the wreckage in a heavily wooded area off of Cranes Creek Road in the Cameron-Vass area of Moore County,” said the advisory.

Authorities were searching for the man for several hours when he was reported missing after his departure from South Carolina.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted and their investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://sandhillssentinel.com

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