Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Van's RV-8, N800PB: Fatal accident occurred September 21, 2020 Hilliard, Nassau County, Florida

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

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

Location: Hilliard, FL
Accident Number: ERA20LA324
Date & Time: September 21, 2020, 14:37 Local 
Registration: N800PB
Aircraft: Vans RV 8 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:

On September 21, 2020, about 1437 eastern daylight time, a Vans RV8, N800PB, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hilliard, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot’s son, they flew together in the airplane earlier during the day from Flagler Executive Airport (FIN), to the Polk County Airport (4A4), Cedartown, Georgia. They departed around 0900 and landed about 1100. They flew to 4A4 because the son purchased another airplane and was going to fly it back to New Jersey, and his father was going to fly back to FIN. They departed 4A4 around 1330 and his father flew towards FIN and he turned towards New Jersey. He stated that he flew his father’s airplane often and it flew “great” with no anomalies noted.

A witness, standing in her front yard, heard and airplane flying over. She heard the engine “popping” like it was backfiring. She looked up at the airplane and said it was “very low,” maybe 500 ft. The airplane disappeared behind some trees and shortly afterwards she heard the airplane hitting tree branches. She went inside and told her sister; they drove in the car to go look for the airplane. They went down a dead-end road and saw smoke. She called 911 and waited for the fire department.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the engine was consumed by fire. Heavy black soot coated the entire engine compartment. Smoke striations from the cowling into the cockpit were consistent with an in-flight fire. A large hole was observed at the No. 2 cylinder case half. The connecting rod remained attached to the piston and the piston was still inside the cylinder. The connecting rod cap, bearing and bolts were missing.

The top spark plugs were removed, and the engine was rotated by the propeller. Thumb compression was established on cylinders Nos. 1,3 and 4. Engine continuity was established through the engine. The right magneto impulse coupling activated when the propeller was rotated. The left magneto was an electronic style magneto. All the top spark plugs wires were destroyed in the fire. The fuel injection system was consumed by fire. The fuselage was consumed by fire and the instrument panel was destroyed in the fire. No useable instruments were identified. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited leading edge tree impressions on both sides. The aileron and flaps remained attached to the wings. Flight control continuity was established through the torque tubes and through the cut tubes made by recovery personnel.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the two-seat, single-engine, low-wing experimental airplane was manufactured in 2004. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-B1DA2, 180-horsepower experimental engine.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans 
Registration: N800PB
Model/Series: RV 8 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJAX,32 ft msl
Observation Time: 19:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C /18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 22 knots / 28 knots, 30°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2500 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: In-flight
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: On-ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.752777,-81.979164 (est)

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.

HILLIARD, Florida – A pilot died his experimental aircraft crashed Monday afternoon in a wooded area near the Florida-Georgia border, authorities said.

According to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane went down around 2:30 p.m. in the woods off Trinity Lane near County Road 121, north of Hilliard. The FAA said the pilot was the only person onboard the plane, which was registered out of Palm Coast.

A news release that was sent by the Florida Highway Patrol at 11 p.m. stated that the pilot was a 74-year-old man who lives in Palm Coast. He was not identified.

“It’s kind of shocking that something like this could happen right next to your house," said neighbor Robby Sapp.

“The Van’s series of kit-built airplanes have an admirable record, but I have to say the overall safety record of experimental or homebuilt is not as good as that of certificated airplanes," said News4Jax aviation expert Ed Booth.

According to The Weather Authority, sustained wind speeds around the time of the crash were 20-25 mph with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. While it’s too early to say wind played a factor in the crash, Booth said it can’t be ruled out.

“It’s really the gust factor that has the most impact on a small airplane. It makes control difficult. It could cause structural failure," Booth said.

A woman who told News4Jax she saw the airplane right before the crash said it sounded like the engine was stalling as the plane flew over.

“It tells me the investigators will want to look at the engine and determine if it suffered any kind of catastrophic failures such as a broken valve," Booth said.

The witness said the plane was on fire when she walked up to the crash site. Booth said if the plane caught on fire after the crash, that’s a sign the plane was not out of fuel.

He also said the changing unpredictable weather patterns throughout Northeast Florida has made it more dangerous to fly smaller aircraft.

Neighbors said small airplanes are a common sight in the area since there’s an airport roughly five miles away.

“I’ve seen them come by pretty low sometimes,” said neighbor Lender Solomon.

The FAA said it and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate Monday’s crash.

The NTSB tweeted that it’s not traveling to the scene of the crash at this time.

Depending on the extent of the damage to the aircraft, it may take months, if not years, before investigators determine what caused the plane to go down.

1 comment:

  1. FYI interesting read https://www.eaa.org/eaa/news-and-publications/eaa-news-and-aviation-news/bits-and-pieces-newsletter/11-12-2018-post-impact-fires