Sunday, March 08, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: BRM Aero Bristell NG 5, N587BL; fatal accident occurred December 22, 2018 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (KLAL), Polk County, Florida

View of the Airplane Wreckage at the Accident Site. 

View of the Debris Path. 

View of the Left Side of the Airplane.

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

Additional Participating Entity:

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lakeland, FL
Accident Number: ERA19LA078
Date & Time: 12/22/2018, 1012 EST
Registration: N587BL
Aircraft: BRM Aero Bristell S-LSA
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On December 22, 2018, at 1012 eastern standard time, a BRM Aero Bristell special light-sport airplane, N587BL, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. The solo student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Industrial Mobile Cranes, Inc., and operated by the student pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated about 0945.

According to a friend of the student pilot who lived with him, the evening before and the morning of the accident were routine. The friend reported that the student pilot told her that he planned to stay in the traffic pattern and practice touch-and-go landings at LAL, which was his home airport.

The student pilot's flight instructor reported that he had not been contacted by the student before the accident flight and was thus unaware that the student had planned to undertake a solo flight. The flight instructor reported that the student pilot had contacted him before all of the student's past solo flights and that they would normally discuss weather conditions and other aspects of planned flights.

Air traffic control communications revealed that the student pilot had completed two touch-and-go landings on runway 27 in a left traffic pattern. Before the third landing, the tower controller instructed the student to fly a right traffic pattern after departure to avoid a potential conflict with another airplane. The student responded, "affirmative, right traffic after this touch and go," which was the last radio transmission from the student.

A surveillance video from a building located at LAL showed the accident airplane shortly after liftoff from runway 27 following the airplane's third touch-and-go landing. After the takeoff rotation and a brief climb, the airplane maintained a level attitude over the runway for about 4 seconds and then resumed a normal climb for about 14 seconds. The video showed that, as the airplane climbed, its pitch attitude further increased, causing the airplane to rapidly gain altitude. The airplane was then out of the view of the camera; when the airplane reappeared, it was in a steep, descending left turn heading about the opposite of the takeoff heading. A surveillance video from a second airport camera showed the airplane impact terrain on the airport in a near-vertical attitude, which was followed by a postimpact explosion and fire. 

Gary Alan Mansell
June 5th, 1954 - December 22nd, 2018

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 64, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
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: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  108.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 32.8 hours (Total, this make and model), 6.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a student pilot certificate. He did not hold a medical certificate and was not required to do so while operating under sport pilot provisions. A review of his logbook revealed that his flight training began in October 2015 and that he had accumulated 108.8 hours of total flight experience. The student's first flight in the accident airplane was on November 16, 2017. He had accumulated 32.8 flight hours in the accident airplane at the time of the accident, of which 6.4 hours were accumulated during solo flights. During the preceding 90 days, the student had logged 8.6 hours, all of which were in the accident airplane. The pilot's logbook contained a valid 90-day solo endorsement, issued on October 18, 2018, for the accident airplane model, with a crosswind limitation of less than 11 knots. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BRM Aero
Registration: N587BL
Model/Series: Bristell S-LSA
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: 087/2014
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 390.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
Engine Model/Series: 912 ULS
Registered Owner: Industrial Mobile Cranes Inc
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: Industrial Mobile Cranes Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA airworthiness records, the single-engine, low-wing airplane was powered by a Rotax 912 ULS engine that drove a three-blade, fixed-pitch propeller. According to airplane logbook entries, an annual and a 100-hour condition inspection were completed in April 2018. The airplane had accumulated a total of 390.8 hours of flight time at the time of that inspection.

The aerodynamic stall speeds listed on flight test documents included stall speeds of 45 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) with no flaps and 38 KIAS with fully extended flaps.

According to the student pilot's flight instructor, the airplane was equipped with a Dynon Skyview primary flight display with an audio and a visual angle-of-attack stall warning indicator. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLAL, 142 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0950 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 360°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1800 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lakeland, FL (LAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lakeland, FL (LAL)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0945 EST
Type of Airspace: Class D

The LAL weather conditions reported at 0950 (about 22 minutes before the accident) included wind from 360° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 1,800 ft above ground level, temperature 12°C, dew point 8°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury. The wind reported at 1053 (about 41 minutes after the accident) was from 310° at 12 knots gusting to 16 knots.

Airport Information

Airport: Lakeland Linder Rgnl (LAL)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 142 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8499 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go; Traffic Pattern

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: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 27.986667, -82.023889 (est)

A review of photographs provided by LAL airport operations personnel showed that the airplane impacted an open field on the airport about 800 ft south of runway 27 and that the airplane came to rest in an upright position. A postcrash fire consumed most of the cockpit, avionics, and the fuselage. The left and right leading edges of the wings displayed significant aft crushing. The empennage remained intact and showed minimal fire damage. The engine, which was located with the fuselage, was impact and fire damaged. All three propeller blades were fragmented.

Postaccident examination of the airplane established control cable continuity from the cockpit area to the respective control surfaces. When the propeller hub was manually rotated, all pistons rotated, and engine continuity was confirmed. The ignition harness was consumed by fire. Both carburetors were examined; one had some foreign material that appeared consistent with extensive postcrash fire damage, and the other was free of debris.

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy of the student pilot was performed by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The autopsy results found that the pilot's cause of death was blunt impact to the head and torso. The autopsy results also showed that the pilot had early coronary artery disease.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified 0.015 gm/dl of ethanol in the student pilot's muscle specimens; no ethanol was identified in the pilot's brain specimens. In addition, cetirizine was identified in the pilot's liver and muscle specimens; no blood was available for testing. Ethanol is primarily a social drug and a central nervous system depressant that is absorbed by and quickly distributed throughout the body. Ethanol can also be produced in the body after death. Cetirizine is a sedating antihistamine that is available over the counter.

Additional Information

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge was unable to travel to the accident site due to the lapse in appropriations funding that occurred from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019.

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