Saturday, November 9, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Piper PA-32-300, C6-RVT; accident occurred December 13, 2017 near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), Broward County, Florida


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

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: Oakland Park, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA062
Date & Time:12/13/2017, 1215 EST
Registration: C6RVT
Aircraft: PIPER PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries:1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 13, 2017, about 1215 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32-300, Bahamian Registration C6-RVT, experienced a partial loss of engine power and impacted a lake near Oakland Park, Florida. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the Bahamian certificated commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around 1210, and was destined for Lynden Pindling International Airport (MYNN), Nassau, Bahamas.

According to the pilot, the day before the accident, he topped off the fuel in the airplane at the Grand Bahama International Airport (MYGF), Freeport, Bahamas, and flew to FXE. On the day of the accident, the pilot completed a preflight inspection, sumped the fuel, and no anomalies were noted. In addition, he stated that the inboard fuel tanks were "topped off" and the outboard fuel tanks were about one-quarter full. He started the engine, "let it warm up" prior to taxiing, and called the air traffic control tower to request flight following to MYNN.

The airplane departed on runway 27 and about 500 ft above ground level (agl), the pilot initiated a left turn and reduced the engine power to "climb power." Then, about 700 ft agl, the engine started to lose power. It "intermittently came back," the pilot applied full power, and requested to return to the airport. He verified that the fuel boost pump was on, started to set up an approach to runway 31, however, he realized that the airplane would not reach the airport, and he elected to land in a lake just south of the airport. The pilot "secured" the fuel, extended the flaps for landing, and the airplane impacted the water. The pilot egressed just prior to the airplane sinking in the lake.

The airplane was recovered from the lake about 1 month after the accident and taken to a salvage facility. Initial examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage was substantially damaged. In addition, the landing gear were impact damaged aft.

According to the pilot, the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, a 300-hp, engine. According to the airframe maintenance logbook, the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on November 7, 2017, at a total time of 4,076.87 hours. According to the pilot operating handbook, the fuel capacity of the airplane was 84 gallons. The inboard fuel tank capacity is 25 gallons each side and the outboard fuel tanks have a capacity of 17 gallons on each side. In addition, it stated that the maximum takeoff and landing weight was 3,400 lbs.

An examination of the engine by a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator revealed that the engine remained attached to the airframe. The top spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. A boroscope was used to examine the interior of the cylinders, pistons, and valves, and no anomalies were noted. The propeller was rotated through 360° of motion and crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. Compression and suction were confirmed on all cylinders by rotating the propeller by hand. The magnetos exhibited damage from the water submersion. The fuel flow divider was disassembled, and the diaphragm was intact with no tears or obstructions in the valve noted. The fuel injectors were removed from the cylinders and no blockages or obstructions were noted. There were no anomalies noted with the engine that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

During the examination of the engine, the NTSB investigator noted that the cabin of the airplane contained multiple household items that nearly reached the ceiling of the cabin. The items could not be weighed after the airplane was submerged in water, since that weight would be inaccurate. When discussing the accident sequence with the pilot, he stated that he did not perform a weight and balance calculation with the contents of the airplane prior to takeoff. Furthermore, despite multiple requests made to the owner of the airplane to obtain the airplane weight and balance information, no response was ever received.

According to the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B), The pilot should always be aware of the consequences of overloading. An overloaded aircraft may not be able to leave the ground, or if it does become airborne, it may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight characteristics. If not properly loaded, the initial indication of poor performance usually takes place during takeoff. In addition, it stated, weight and balance computations should be part of every preflight briefing."



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Foreign
Age: 34, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/20/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/18/2017
Flight Time:  3500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 700 hours (Total, this make and model), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: C6RVT
Model/Series: PA32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-40067
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/07/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4076.87 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 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: FXE, 14 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 13°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (FXE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Nassau, FN (MYNN)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1210 EST
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: FORT LAUDERDALE EXECUTIVE (FXE)
Runway Surface Type: Water
Airport Elevation: 13 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Water--calm
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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: 26.177222, -80.176111 (est)

Rockwell 112A Commander, N1337J: Accident occurred November 09, 2019 in Exeter, Washington County, Rhode Island

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston

Aircraft experienced an engine failure and landed on Interstate 95.

American Dream Aviation LLC

https://registry.faa.gov/N1337J


Date: 09-NOV-19
Time: 22:05:00Z
Regis#: N1337J
Aircraft Make: NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL
Aircraft Model: AC11
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: EXETER
State: RHODE ISLAND





A miracle on I-95 in Exeter, that’s how police are describing an emergency plane landing on Saturday, that captured the attention of people from across New England.

State Police Lt. Ken Jones was one of the troopers who responded to that landing, “My first reaction was, is anybody injured.”

Incredibly, the answer was no. The pilot was heading from T.F. Green Airport back to New York with his sister, when he noticed engine trouble.

Police say he initially tried to make it to Richmond Airport, but was losing altitude too quickly.

That’s when he made the split-second decision to land on the highway, a decision that likely saved many lives.

“No one was injured there was no accident and the pilot as well as the passenger were not harmed,” Lt. Jones said.

The story quickly went viral on the Internet, as pictures and videos of the landing flooded social media.

State Police shut down the highway, as the plane was towed to a weigh station on I-95 North in Richmond, about a mile away from where the pilot landed.

William Potopowitz III is a student pilot, who has nothing but praise for the man who landed that plane: “It’s something they teach all of us every time we fly. We’re supposed to think about where we’re going to land, no matter what happens.”

As for the mystery pilot, State Police say he’s a New Yorker with over 8-years of experience.

They’re not releasing his name, but fellow pilots Potopowitz say, his miraculous landing will likely be applauded in the aviation world for years to come. “Every pilot should be that good.”

Story and video ➤ https://turnto10.com











EXETER, Rhode Island (WPRI) — A small plane made an emergency landing on a busy interstate Saturday night, but no one on board or on the ground was hurt, according to police.

Rhode Island State Police confirm they responded to a small plane in the breakdown lane of I-95 North at Route 165 in Exeter.

State Police Lt. Col. Kevin Barry says the plane took off from T.F. Green Airport Saturday evening and experienced a power failure on its way to New York.

The pilot managed to safely land the plane in the breakdown lane of I-95 North.

The two people on board the plane were not injured. No one was hurt on the ground.

As of 6:50 p.m. traffic remained backed up in the area. The nose of the plane is partially in the right hand lane and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has the shoulder closed.

According to an FAA database, the plane is registered to American Dream Aviation LLC in Queens.

Story and video ➤ https://www.wpri.com

Loss of Control on Ground: Champion 7EC, N7586E; accident occurred December 01, 2017 at Jackson County Airport (I18), Ravenswood, West Virginia

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charleston, West Virginia 

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/N7586E

Location: Ravenswood, WV
Accident Number: ERA18LA040
Date & Time: 12/01/2017, 1615 EST
Registration: N7586E
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7EC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 1, 2017, about 1615 eastern standard time, a Champion 7EC, N7586E, was substantially damaged while landing at Jackson County Airport (I18), Ravenswood, West Virginia. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

According to the pilot, he performed a circuit in the traffic pattern that was uneventful. The airplane was on final approach, at 50 mph and aligned with the runway centerline. The pilot then performed a three-point landing, and as the airplane's speed decreased, it began to veer to the right side of the runway. The pilot applied left aileron and full left rudder; however, the airplane continued off the right side of the runway. He applied full power to attempt to abort the landing, but after about 60 ft of ground roll, the airplane went down an embankment and came to rest. The pilot then egressed without injury and noted tire marks approximately 200 ft long on the runway and an additional 100 ft in the grass prior to going off the embankment.

Initial examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing, right horizontal stabilizer, right elevator, and fuselage were substantially damaged. In addition, the right main landing gear separated from the airplane.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine and instrument airplane. His most recent second-class medical certificate was issued on July 19, 2016. The pilot reported 1,756 total hours of flight time, of which, 39 hours were in the same make and model of the accident airplane. In addition, he reported no flight hours in the make and model of the accident airplane in the 90 days prior to the accident.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was manufactured in 1958. It was equipped with a Continental Motors C-90 series, 90-horsepower engine that drove a Sensenich fixed pitch propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 13, 2017, at 2,562.4 total aircraft hours, and a tachometer time of 468.5 hours. Each of the last three annual inspections were completed approximately every other year. At the time of the accident, the tachometer indicated 468.5 hours.

The 1615 recorded weather observation at Mason County Airport (3I2), Point Pleasant, West Virginia, located about 13 nautical miles west of the accident location, included calm wind, visibility 10 miles, clear skies below 12,000 ft above ground level, temperature 11°C, dew point -1°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report, the pilot stated that the right brake "seized upon landing." Although the right main landing gear was separated from the fuselage during the accident sequence, examination of the brake system by an FAA inspector revealed that there were no anomalies of the brakes that would have precluded normal operation. Both wheels rotated freely with no indication of brake binding or dragging. Both brake drums were smooth, and no binding was noted. The brake linings were intact, no fluid leaks were noted, and there were no mechanical anomalies. In addition, the main tires did not have any abnormal tread wear or bald spots. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 65, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam:07/19/2016
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  1756 hours (Total, all aircraft), 39 hours (Total, this make and model), 1686 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CHAMPION
Registration: N7586E
Model/Series: 7EC NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 7EC-680
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/13/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 0 Hours
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2562.4 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors Inc.
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: C-90-12
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 90 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: K3I2, 643 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1615 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 265°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.25 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ravenswood, WV (I18)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ravenswood, WV (I18)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1605 EST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: JACKSON COUNTY (I18)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 758 ft
Runway Surface Condition:Dry
Runway Used: 22
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

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: 38.933056, -81.818056 (est)

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 152, N24987; fatal accident occurred November 19, 2017 near Tehachapi Municipal Airport (KTSP), Kern County, California

Kelvin Arayon Javier
 Born on November 13, 1968, in Cavite City, Philippines, passed away November 19th, 2017. Kelvin resided in Cerritos, California, at the time of his passing.
~

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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/N24987


Location: Tehachapi, CA
Accident Number: WPR18FA035
Date & Time: 11/19/2017, 1756 PST
Registration: N24987
Aircraft: CESSNA 152
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 19, 2017, about 1756 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 152 airplane, N24987, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Tehachapi Municipal Airport (TSP), Tehachapi, California. The private pilot received fatal injuries. The airplane was operated by Barnes Aviation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident; the pilot's intended destination was not determined.

The pilot had rented the airplane from Barnes Aviation, a fixed-base operator (FBO) located at General William J. Fox Airfield (WJF), Lancaster, California. According to a representative of the FBO, the airplane fuel tanks were filled, and then the airplane was flown about 1.4 hours before its pickup by the accident pilot. The airplane was not fueled after that flight, or after the flight to TSP.

According to a flight instructor who was employed by the FBO, the pilot had reserved the airplane for a few hours in the afternoon of the accident. About 1522, the flight instructor was asked by another FBO employee to pull the airplane out of a hangar for the pilot. The airplane had been removed from the hangar by about 1530, followed by the meeting of the pilot and that instructor for the first time. In response to the instructor's query, the pilot told the instructor that he planned to fly "to Rosamond then maybe up north for a little while." Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California, was located about 8 nautical miles north of WJF. About 1535, the pilot began his preflight inspection. About 1545, the pilot started the engine of the airplane, and the instructor saw the airplane take off from runway 6 about 1555. The instructor did not mention anything unusual or concerning about the pilot's actions. The pilot's route of flight, or whether he landed at any other airports between the time of his departure from WJF and his arrival at TSP, could not be determined.

TSP was located about 26 miles northwest of WJF. Surveillance imagery from three collocated cameras at TSP captured the airplane taxi into and stop in the transient parking area about 1628. The pilot secured the airplane and walked to a nearby restaurant to eat. He returned to the airplane about 1738, by which time night had fallen. The pilot started the engine about 1749 and taxied from the parking spot about 1 minute later. A set of lights presumed to be the accident airplane could be seen departing from TSP runway 29 about 1755. The surveillance imagery appeared to depict the airplane maneuvering in a manner consistent with a right traffic pattern after takeoff, followed by a rapid descent.

Multiple witnesses saw or heard the descent and/or impact and telephoned 911 to report the accident. A ground search aided by illumination from a law enforcement helicopter searchlight located the wreckage in a ranch pasture just north of TSP. The wreckage was examined on scene. A handheld Garmin GPS II Plus device was recovered on scene and was sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for possible data download. Damage to the device precluded the recovery of any data. The airplane wreckage was then recovered to a secure storage facility for subsequent detailed examination. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
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: 04/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/22/2017
Flight Time:  152 hours (Total, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. At the time of the accident, the pilot had logged a total flight experience of about 152 hours, including about 12 hours of night experience. His most recent flight review was completed in August 2017. On October 8, 2017, he had flown solo in the accident airplane from WJF to TSP and back at night and conducted 3-night landings.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration:N24987 
Model/Series: 152 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 15280496
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/29/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1669 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 11168 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-235 SERIES
Registered Owner: SHOULING & PHILIP ENTERPRISE
Rated Power: 105 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1977 and registered to the current owner in November 2011. The two-place, high-wing airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-235 series engine. Maintenance records indicated that the airplane had accumulated a total time in service of about 11,168 hours and that the engine had accumulated a time since major overhaul of about 2,795 hours. The most recent annual inspection was completed in April 2017, and the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed in September 2017.

According to the airplane manufacturer's published performance data, the typical minimum flight endurance, not including a 45-minute reserve, is about 3 hours. Actual endurance can be increased significantly, primarily as a function of power setting, cruise altitude, and engine leaning procedures. Calculations that accounted for the estimated flight time of the airplane since its last known refueling indicated that the airplane likely had at least 1 hour and 45 minutes' worth of fuel on board at the time of the accident.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: TSP, 4001 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1755 PST
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 320°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Tehachapi, CA (TSP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1755 PST
Type of Airspace: 

The 1755 TSP automated weather observation included winds from 320° at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 7° C, dew point 0° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

Local sunset occurred at 1646, and civil twilight ended at 1713. The moon was a waxing crescent with 2% of its disc illuminated. Local moonset occurred at 1802. 

Airport Information

Airport: Tehachapi Municipal (TSP)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 4001 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown

TSP was located just north of the city of Tehachapi; both were situated in an elevated, wide valley surrounded by mountainous terrain. The area surrounding TSP and the city was primarily ranchland with very sparse illumination. TSP was equipped with a single paved runway, designated 11/29. The runway was 4,040 ft long, and airport elevation was 4,001 ft above mean sea level. TSP was not equipped with an air traffic control tower. Runway 29 was designated as having a left-hand traffic pattern.

TSP was equipped with taxiway and runway lights, and a rotating beacon. The airport lighting was operating at the time of the accident. A peak situated about 3/4-mile beyond the departure end of runway 29 rose about 300 ft above the airport elevation and was marked with a red light.



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.142778, -118.441111 

The initial impact point was located about 350 ft west-northwest of, and offset about 2,050 ft north-northwest of, the runway 11 threshold. The accident site terrain was hard-packed, dry earth, flat and level, with mostly dried grass and some low, dried shrubs. All airplane components were accounted for at the accident site. No evidence consistent with in-flight fire or in-flight structural failure was observed.

Ground scars were consistent with the airplane impacting the terrain in a nose- and right-wing-low attitude. The right wingtip strike was the beginning of the ground scar. The earliest identifiable piece of wreckage was an outboard fragment of the right aileron. A ground scar consistent with the right main landing gear (RMLG) was located about 20 ft beyond the right wingtip strike. Scarring consistent with nose landing gear or propeller contact began about 10 ft beyond the RMLG strike. The ground scars and airplane damage were consistent with the wreckage tumbling and sliding before coming to rest.

The main wreckage consisted of the engine, wings, empennage, and most of the fuselage. The main wreckage came to rest about 250 ft, on a bearing of 138° true, from the initial impact point. Several items, including the propeller, some engine accessories, and some fuselage fragments, formed a debris field between the initial impact point and the main wreckage. The debris field orientation was within about 14° of the runway alignment. Several high-density items such as the battery and the alternator core came to rest several hundred feet beyond the main wreckage.

Both wings exhibited full-span, aft-direction crush damage along their leading edges.

Both lift struts remained attached to their respective wings but were separated from the fuselage. Both wings retained their respective fuel tank caps. Both flaps remained fully attached to their respective wings; the flaps were relatively undamaged and were found in positions consistent with being fully retracted at the time of impact. Both ailerons remained attached to their respective wings.

The vertical stabilizer with rudder and horizontal stabilizers with the elevators remained attached to the aft fuselage. The pitch trim tab remained attached to the right horizontal stabilizer.

All wing and empennage control surfaces retained their respective balance weights. Control continuity was established from both ailerons to the fuselage break in the cockpit. Control continuity was established from both elevators, the pitch trim tab, and the rudder to the fuselage break in the cockpit.

The cockpit/cabin was found torn open. The windshield was reduced to numerous small fragments. Both cabin doors were completely fracture-separated from the airplane. The flap handle was found in the "Up/Retract" position. The elevator trim indicator and trim wheel were impact damaged. The trim actuator measurement indicated a 5ยบ-tab-trailing-edge-up position. The control lock was found stowed in the back pocket of the right seat.

The primer, throttle, and mixture controls in the cockpit were found in their full forward positions; the throttle and mixture cables were continuous to the carburetor. The carburetor heat control was not identified in the wreckage. The fuel selector was found in the "ON" position. The master switch and all circuit breakers were absent from their receptacles.

The ignition switch was found in the "OFF" position with the key installed and bent to the left.

The engine remained partially attached to the engine mount and forward fuselage. The engine was relatively intact, but sustained impact damage in the aft and up directions. There was significant ductile bending of the exhaust system components. Several engine accessories or external components were fracture-separated from the engine. There was no evidence of abnormal external oil streaking observed on any of the airplane skins. No evidence of any pre-impact catastrophic failures was observed.

The vacuum pump remained securely attached to its mounting pad on the engine accessory face. The pump was removed and disassembled. The shear coupling, rotor, and vanes were all intact. The rotor rotated freely by hand, and all vanes moved freely in their slots. The artificial horizon was fracture-separated from its mount and was missing its face. The gyro rotor case was opened for examination and no internal scoring or other damage was observed.

The engine was separated from the attached wreckage for further examination. The top spark plugs were removed and examined; their appearance was consistent with normal operation. The crankshaft was rotated manually and freely in both directions. Thumb compressions was obtained in proper sequence on all four cylinders. Clean, uncontaminated oil was observed at all four rocker box areas. Mechanical continuity and proper operational sequence were established throughout the rotating group, valve train, and accessory section.

The combustion chamber of each cylinder was examined via borescope; all cylinders and valves exhibited normal operational signatures, and no damage was observed. No oil residue was observed in the exhaust system gas path. The oil displayed evidence of metal contamination.

Examination of the gascolator screen and the forward and aft strainers at each wing tank found no visible contaminants. The engine compartment fuel line was found to be in place and secure at its respective B nuts; however, the fitting at the carburetor inlet was fracture-separated, consistent with overload. The carburetor was undamaged and remained securely attached to the engine. Reliable positions of the mixture and throttle settings at the time of impact could not be determined.

No external fuel staining was observed on the carburetor. The carburetor was opened for examination. All internal locking tabs and safety devices of the carburetor were in place and properly secured. The fuel bowl was free of visible contaminants. The float assembly remained secure at the mounting and free of damage. The metal float pontoons exhibited no evidence of rubbing against the wall of the bowl. The right float exhibited slight hydraulic crushing on each side. The left float appeared normal.

The carburetor fuel inlet screen was found properly installed. The fuel inlet screen contained a loosely packed material consistent with lint that constituted approximately 50% of the screen internal volume. The material was submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for identification. The material consisted of two different fibrous materials: one blue, and one reddish-brown in color. A spectrometer was used to collect and process infrared wavelength absorbance spectra of the material; the spectral results indicated that the material was most likely cellulose, which is found in natural plant fibers such as cotton. The material was foreign to the airplane fuel system, and it was not determined when or by what means the lint was introduced into the fuel system.

The left magneto was found securely clamped to its engine mounting pad. Magneto-to-engine timing could not be ascertained due to the destruction of the flywheel. The magneto produced spark at all four plug leads during hand rotation of the drive. The impulse coupler drive was intact and properly safetied.

The right magneto was fracture-separated from its engine mounting pad and impact-damaged. The fracture surface signatures at the magneto mounting flange were consistent with overload. The pieces of magneto flange that remained at the mounting pad were securely clamped. Magneto-to-engine timing could not be ascertained. The right magneto would not produce spark when hand-rotated at the drive due to impact damage. The impulse coupler drive was intact and properly safetied.

The single-piece, all-aluminum, two-bladed, fixed-pitch propeller was fracture-separated from the engine at the crankshaft flange. The fracture surfaces exhibited signatures consistent with overload due to rotation. The propeller blades displayed leading edge gouging, torsional twisting, chordwise striations across the cambered surfaces, and trailing edge "S" bending. The signatures were consistent with significant rotational energy being applied to the crankshaft at the time of impact.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Kern County, Bakersfield, California, Sheriff-Coroner's Office autopsy report indicated that the cause of death was "blunt injuries," and that there were "no signs of natural disease such as to qualify as clues to a cause of the accident."

FAA medical records indicated that the pilot had failed the color vision test on the four medical certificate applications that were on file. His FAA medical examiner(s) did not identify any significant adverse conditions, and his most recent third-class FAA medical certificate was issued in April 2016.

Toxicology testing of the pilot's tissue samples at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory was negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Ranitidine was detected in urine and blood samples. This medication is used to treat intestinal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn associated with acid indigestion, and other conditions where the stomach produces too much acid. The FAA has no limitations on its use by pilots.

Additional Information

TSP Surveillance Camera Imagery

Three surveillance cameras that captured the accident airplane were mounted atop a hangar located on the south-southwest side of the runway, adjacent to the transient parking ramp. The camera views included most of the transient ramp, the eastern side of the fuel pit, portions of the runway and its parallel taxiway, and portions of the highway and non-airport property north-northwest of the airport. All three camera channels were recorded as continuous motion imagery. Captured imagery included the arrival of the airplane at the transient parking area, some of the pilot's post- and pre-flight activities, and portions of the taxi-out and accident flight.

After the airplane taxied from the transient parking ramp, the night conditions, airplane distance from the cameras, and camera resolution caused the airplane image to be reduced to a set of whitish lights. The airplane appeared to taxi for the departure runway via the parallel taxiway, and calculations based on time and airplane position indicated that the taxi speed ranged between 11 and 14 knots. The pilot spent about 3 to 4 minutes near the approach end of runway 29 before beginning his takeoff roll. The airplane traversed about 1,300 ft in about 14 seconds during its late takeoff roll, liftoff, and initial climb, yielding an average calculated speed about 54 knots. Another camera captured the airplane in its initial climb; calculations indicated that the climb speed was about 81 knots.

Two of the cameras captured the airplane maneuvering in a manner consistent with it flying the right crosswind and right downwind traffic pattern legs. A few seconds after it appeared to have entered the downwind leg, the airplane descended rapidly toward the ground, and then disappeared from view. The descent took about 7 seconds, and the descent path was depressed about 30° below horizontal in the camera image frames. None of the captured imagery depicted any flashes consistent with a ground impact explosion or any postimpact fire. The image quality precluded any determination of airplane attitude, altitude, distance from the cameras, or specific heading.

Spatial Disorientation & Situational Awareness

According to the FAA publication Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK, FAA-H-8083-25):

Spatial disorientation specifically refers to the lack of orientation with regard to the position, attitude, or movement of the airplane in space…. During flight in visual meteorological conditions (VMC), the eyes are the major orientation source and usually prevail over false sensations from other sensory systems. When these visual cues are taken away… false sensations can cause a pilot to quickly become disoriented.

The handbook then stated that "Prevention is usually the best remedy for spatial disorientation. Unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible should be avoided."

The handbook defined situational awareness as the "accurate perception of the operational and environmental factors that affect the airplane, pilot, and passengers during a specific period of time." The handbook stated that a situationally aware pilot "has an overview of the total operation and is not fixated on one perceived significant factor." The handbook stated that "some of the elements inside the airplane to be considered are the status of airplane systems," and cautioned that "an awareness of the environmental conditions of the flight, such as spatial orientation of the airplane, and its relationship to terrain… and airspace must be maintained."

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-32-300, N47831; fatal accident occurred November 07, 2017 near Warren County Memorial Airport (KRNC), McMinnville, Tennessee

Larry Gene Banks
After college, Larry enlisted in the Army and went to radar school. While at his first post in New Mexico at the White Sands Missile Range, Larry earned his pilot’s license and later became a flight instructor. 


Tommy Stiles
 After his many years of faithfully worshipping God, caring for and encouraging others, growing as a person, loving and teaching all those around him, learning as much as he could, and of course flying and fishing, he's finally in his eternal abode.
~

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

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/N47831



Location: Morrison, TN
Accident Number: ERA18FA016
Date & Time: 11/07/2017, 1845 CST
Registration: N47831
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 7, 2017, about 1845 central standard time, a Piper PA-32-300, N47831, was destroyed after it impacted terrain near Morrison, Tennessee. The flight instructor and private pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Monroe County Aeroplex Airport (MVC), Monroeville, Alabama, about 1625, and was destined for Warren County Memorial Airport (RNC), McMinnville, Tennessee.

According to a friend of the private pilot, who was also a pilot, he and the private pilot were fishing in Florida the day before the accident. The flight instructor flew to Destin Executive Airport (DTS), Destin, Florida, the day of the accident to pick up the pilot. The friend stated that he tried to convince the private pilot to drive back from Florida with him instead of flying since the weather "was so bad."

A fuel receipt from a fixed based operator at DTS indicated that the airplane was fueled with 27 gallons of fuel before it departed for MVC, an intermediate stop on the way to RNC.

According to air traffic control data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the controller cleared the airplane for the RNAV Runway 23 approach to RNC and issued the airplane a frequency change to the RNC common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The pilots conducted a missed approach and subsequently requested a clearance to Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (SRB), Sparta, Tennessee. The controller radar-identified the airplane, instructed the pilots to climb the airplane to 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl), and cleared the airplane to SRB. In addition, the controller issued the weather for SRB, which included overcast clouds at 300 ft above ground level (agl). One of the pilots asked the controller to verify the overcast cloud conditions at SRB and indicated that he would tune the radio to the SRB automated weather observation service (AWOS) broadcast. About this time, the radar target reached about 4,800 ft and began a right descending turn. While in the descent, one of the pilots declared "mayday" and the target continued to descend at a maximum descent rate about 4,500 ft per minute until radar contact was lost.

According to witnesses, the engine was "loud" and they reported hearing it "throttle up" before they heard the impact. One witness stated that the airplane "sounded like it was doing crazy maneuvers."


Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Gyroplane
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Glider; Gyroplane; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: BasicMed
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/22/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  8312 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2.1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/03/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  40 hours (Total, all aircraft), 24 hours (Total, this make and model)

According to FAA airman records, the flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, glider, rotorcraft-gyroplane, and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine, glider, rotorcraft-gyroplane, and instrument airplane. He received a BasicMed certificate on June 22, 2017. In August 2016, he reported 8,312 total hours of flight experience. According to the flight log found in the airplane, the flight instructor had accumulated about 2 hours of flight time in the accident airplane since October 6, 2017.

According to FAA airman records, the private pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on November 3, 2016. On the application for that certificate, he reported 16 total hours of flight experience; all 16 hours were within the previous 6 months. According to a flight log found in the wreckage, the pilot had accumulated about 24 hours of flight time in the accident airplane since October 6, 2017. According to a friend of the pilot, the pilot was scheduled to take his instrument rating practical test on November 27, 2017. In addition, the pilot "had about 40 hours of actual instrument time since he flew the airplane everywhere for work and would take the flight instructor with him."


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N47831
Model/Series: PA 32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-7840014
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 232 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4365 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K1G5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:300 hp 
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978 and was purchased by the private pilot in September 2016. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540 series, 300-horsepower engine equipped with a Hartzell constant-speed propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, the most recent annual inspection was completed on May 1, 2017, at a total time of 4,133 hours and a Hobbs time of 1,549.3 hours. According to a flight log located in the wreckage, at the time of departure on the accident flight, the airplane Hobbs meter indicated 1,781.3 hours.


Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: RNC, 1032 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1845 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 50°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Thin Overcast / 500 ft agl
Visibility:  2.5 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Mist; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Monroeville, AL (MVC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: McMinnville, TN (RNC)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1625 CST
Type of Airspace:

The 1845 recorded weather observation at RNC, about 5 miles northeast of the accident site, included wind from 350° at 6 knots, 2 1/2 miles visibility, mist, overcast clouds at 500 ft agl temperature 12°C, dew point 11°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of mercury.

The 1845 recorded weather observation at SRB, about 31 miles northeast of the accident site, included wind from 340° at 6 knots, 8 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 400 ft agl, temperature 10°C, dew point 10°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

According to an NTSB meteorologist, the observations surrounding the accident time indicated mainly IFR conditions with brief periods of low IFR (LIFR) conditions in mist. No precipitation was observed around the accident time.

The pilot received Leidos weather briefings at 0605 and 0953 for planned flights on the day of the accident, but not for the accident flight. The pilot had additional contact with Leidos at 0838 and 1556. During the 1556 contact with Leidos, the accident flight route was discussed, and the pilot mentioned that he already had the weather conditions for the proposed destination and that the conditions were LIFR. The accident pilot did not request any weather information or forecast information during the 1556 briefing. All of the standard weather forecast and current weather information were provided to the accident pilot during the 0605 and 0953 briefings.

According to the Astronomical Applications Department at the United States Naval Observatory, sunset was at 1642, the end of civil twilight was at 1709, and moonrise was at 2015. The phase of the moon was waning gibbous, with 83% of the moon's visible disk illuminated.


Airport Information

Airport: WARREN COUNTY MEMORIAL (RNC)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1031 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 23
IFR Approach: RNAV
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Warren County Memorial Airport (RNC) was located 3 miles west of McMinnville, Tennessee, at an elevation of 1,031.9 ft msl. It had one runway designated 5/23, which was 5,000 ft long by 100 ft wide. The airport had one instrument approach; an RNAV (GPS) approach to runway 23. The weather minimums for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 23 approach were 1 mile visibility and a decision altitude of 1,276 ft msl.


Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.652778, -85.916389

The main wreckage was located in a field at an elevation of 1,030 ft msl about 1,500 ft from the last radar return. The airplane impacted the field and came to rest about 100 ft beyond the initial impact point on a 040° heading. A 2.5-ft indentation was noted at the initial impact point. All major components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage.

The wreckage came to rest upright and was partially consumed by postimpact fire. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the flight controls in the cockpit through cuts made to facilitate recovery. The cockpit area was damaged. The electric HSI remote gyro was removed from the airframe, disassembled, and rotational scoring was noted on the housing. The right wing exhibited leading edge damage and sections were consumed by postimpact fire. The inboard section of the right flap remained attached to the right wing. The outboard right aileron remained attached to the right wing at the outboard hinge. The remainder of the right aileron was consumed by fire. The left wing was impact-separated at the spar box and remained attached at the forward fuselage attach point. The leading edge exhibited impact damage and skin separation. Thermal damage was noted on the inboard approximate 5-ft section of the left wing. The outboard approximate 8-ft section of the left wing was impact-separated and located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the fuselage. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The stabilator remained attached at all attach points. The right side of the stabilator was deformed in the positive direction. The trim tab remained attached to the stabilator at all attach points. The trim tab control was measured and corresponded to the near full nose up position.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. All three propeller blades remained attached to the hub. There was leading edge damage noted along all of the blades

The engine remained attached to the firewall but was removed to facilitate examination. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction were obtained on all cylinders. The rocker box covers were removed and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valve train continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360°. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine, but were partially consumed by fire. The oil filter was removed and disassembled. The filter was charred and absent of metallic debris. The oil suction screen was removed from the engine and free of debris. The vacuum pump was removed and disassembled. The vanes and rotor remained intact. The composite vacuum drive was consumed by postimpact fire. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Nashville, Tennessee, performed the autopsies on the flight instructor and pilot. The autopsy reports indicated the cause of death for both pilots as multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing of the flight instructor was performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory. Fluid and tissue specimens tested negative for ethanol. Norverapamil was detected in the liver. Verapamil was detected in the liver and the muscle. Verapamil was a blood pressure medication and norverapamil was the metabolite of that medication. The medication is not considered to be impairing.

Toxicology testing of the pilot was performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory. Fluid and tissue specimens tested positive for 11 (mg/dl, mg/hg) ethanol in the spleen; however, no ethanol was detected in the muscle, thus the ethanol was likely produced postmortem. No other drugs were detected in the muscle.

Additional Information

Airplane Flying Handbook

The pilot must believe what the flight instruments show about the airplane's attitude regardless of what the natural senses tell. The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) can and will confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in airplane attitude, nor can they accurately send the attitude changes which occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated, leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when, in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation.

FAA Advisory Circular 60-4A Pilot's Spatial Disorientation

The attitude of an aircraft is generally determined by reference to the natural horizon or other visual reference with the surface. If neither horizon nor surface references exist, the attitude of an aircraft must be determined by artificial means from the flight instruments. Sight, supported by other senses, allows the pilot to maintain orientation. However, during periods of low visibility, the supporting senses sometimes conflict with what is seen. When this happens, a pilot is particularly vulnerable to disorientation. The degree of orientation may vary considerably with individual pilots. Spatial disorientation to a pilot means simply the inability to tell which way is 'up.'…Surface references and the natural horizon may at times become obscured, although visibility may be above flight rule minimums. Lack of natural horizon or such reference is common on over water flights, at night, and especially at night in extremely sparsely populated areas, or in low visibility conditions…. The disoriented pilot may place the aircraft in a dangerous attitude… therefore, the use of flight instruments is essential to maintain proper attitude when encountering any of the elements which may result in spatial disorientation.