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N197DE accident description

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Tail numberN197DE
Accident dateJuly 03, 2003
Aircraft typeButler Bowers Fly Baby 1A
LocationLincoln, AL
Near 33.612778 N, -86.117778 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On July 3, 2003, about 1130 central daylight time, a Butler, Bowers Fly Baby 1A, experimental airplane, N179DE, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, registered to a private owner, collided with the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Lincoln, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed, and the private pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Talladega Municipal Airport, Talladega, Alabama, on July 3, 2003, at 1000.

A witness stated he heard an airplane approaching his location flying towards the south-southeast. He looked up and observed the airplane flying over a tree line. The nose of the airplane was observed to pitch up to about a 70-degree nose high attitude. The left wing dropped down and the nose pitched down as if the airplane was in a "stall". The airplane descended to the north and disappeared from view below the tree line and collided with the ground. There was no noticeable change in engine noise as the airplane descended.

Another witness who was working in his yard stated he heard an unfamiliar sound above the noise of his lawnmower and observed the "object" flying in the direction of Gadsden, Alabama. The object was about 100 feet above the trees and was in a steep descent. There was no noticeable change in engine noise before it collided with the ground. The object hit the ground in the east side of his yard followed by a flash of flame. He cut off his lawnmower and ran over to the site. He saw that it was an airplane, ran inside his home and called the 911 operator.

Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the private pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on June 24, 1975, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The pilot was issued an experimental aircraft repairman certificate on August 13, 1999. The pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on April 8, 2002, with the restriction must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's biennial flight review was conducted on April 25, 2002. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed he had logged 170.9 total flight hours. The pilot had logged 87.2 total flight hours as a pilot-in-command of which 17.8 were in the Bowers Fly Baby 1A airplane.

Review of the airplane logbooks revealed the last condition inspection was conducted on May 11, 2003. The Hobbs meter reading at the accident site was 24.7 hours. The total engine time was is 93.9 hours.

The closest weather reporting facility was Anniston Metropolitan Airport, Anniston, Alabama, located 13 miles east of the accident site at an elevation of 612 feet msl. The Anniston, Alabama, surface weather observation at 1053 was, wind from 260 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 3,400 feet, temperature 29 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 22 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.97 inches of Mercury (Hg).

Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with the ground. The wood propeller was destroyed on impact. The fuel tank was ruptured and fuel residue was present at the crash site. The left wing was compressed aft and received accordion crushing from the wing root extending outboard to the wingtip. The left horizontal stabilizer was crushed aft. There was no evidence of an airframe failure. All flight controls were checked for continuity and found operative. The engine assembly was examined on July 17, 2003, and no anomalies were noted.

Review of Fly Baby 1A Ultra light plans revealed that the stall speed for the airplane is 45 mph.

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science Medical Examiners Office conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot on July 6, 2003. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for ethanol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. The specimens were not tested for carbon monoxide or cyanide.

The airplane and pilot logbooks were released to the wife of the deceased pilot on August 7, 2003.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.