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N49LK accident description

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Tail numberN49LK
Accident dateMarch 31, 2001
Aircraft typeVariez 0-235(AF)
Larry R. Kinsey Variez O-235(NTSB)
LocationPinson, AL
Near 33.75 N, -86.61667 W
Additional details: White

NTSB description

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On March 31, 2001, about 0940 central standard time, a Larry R. Kinsey Variez O-235, N49LK, registered to an individual, collided with terrain near Pinson, Alabama, while on a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the private-rated pilot received fatal injuries. The flight originated from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on March 31, 2001, at 0910.

According to members of the pilot's family, the pilot was flying from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Gadsden, Alabama, to visit a friend. The pilot had called the friend about 0900, and stated he would be in Gadsden in about 1 hour. When the flight did not arrive, search operations were initiated. The airplane wreckage was located on April 6, 2001, about 1600.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held an FAA private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings, last issued on May 11, 1994. The pilot additionally held an FAA repairman certificate for the accident airplane. The pilot held a FAA third class medical certificate issued on September 5, 2000, with limitations that the holder wear correcting lenses for distant vision and posses correcting lenses for near vision while exercising the privileges of the certificate. Pilot logbook records show the pilot received a biennial flight review on September 13, 2000, in a Cessna 172, and that at the time of the accident the pilot had accumulated 832 total flight hours and 606 flight hours in the accident airplane. (See logbook records).

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was Larry R. Kinsey Variez O-235, experimental homebuilt aircraft, built by and registered to the pilot. At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated about 606 total flight hours. No logbook records for the airplane were obtained by FAA or NTSB after the accident. It was not determined when the last condition inspection of the airplane was performed. The airplane was not equipped with an emergency locator transmitter.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Birmingham International Airport 0922 surface weather observation was: wind 250 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 2 1/2 statute miles in mist, clouds 500 feet agl overcast, temperature 11 degrees C, dew point temperature 10 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.93 inches Hg.

The Birmingham International Airport 0953 surface weather observation was: wind 260 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 3 statute miles in mist, clouds 500 feet agl overcast, temperature 11 degrees C, dew point temperature 10 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.94 inches Hg.

Birmingham International Airport is located about 15 statute miles south-southwest of the accident site, at an altitude of 636 feet msl.

A witness who lives in the residence adjacent to the accident site, at 5995 Miles Spring Road, Pinson, Alabama,, stated to FAA inspectors that on the day of the accident the weather was overcast and rainy all day, with clouds obscuring the top of the mountain.

Personnel from the FAA Flight Service Station at Anniston, Alabama reported they had no record that the pilot of N49LK had received a weathering briefing from an FAA Flight Service Station.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located at about the 1,000-foot msl level on Village Mountain, behind a residence located at 5995 Miles Spring Road, Pinson, Alabama. The top of the mountain to the east of the crash site is about 1,100 feet msl. The accident site was located at latitude 33 degrees, 44 minutes, 48 seconds North, and longitude 086 degrees, 37 minutes, 40 seconds West.

Postcrash examination of the crash site was performed by FAA inspectors and a representative of Lycoming Engines, the manufacturer of the airplanes engine. The airplane had approached the mountain from the valley to the west and impacted the west side of the mountain in level flight, while on a 060 degree heading. After initial collision with 7-8 inch diameter trees the airplane continued easterly, up the mountain slope, where the main wreckage came to rest about 100 feet past the initial tree impact point. The pilot was ejected from the airplane and located about 50 feet further up the mountain from the main wreckage of the airplane. All components of the airplane which are necessary for flight were located on or around the main wreckage of the airplane. Examination of the aircraft structure and flight control system showed no evidence of precrash failure or malfunction. All separation points were consistent with overstress separation.

Examination of the engine and propeller showed the wooden propeller blades were splintered and separated from the propeller hub at the blade roots. The engine assembly was rotated by hand and continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drives was established. Each cylinder produced compression when the engine was rotated. The engine oil screens were free of contamination and metal deposits. The color of the deposits on the spark plugs was consistent with normal engine operation. Spark plugs from the No. 1 and 3 cylinders, bottom position, had oil contamination from the angle the engine was positioned after the accident. Both magnetos fired at all posts when rotated by hand. Examination of the carburetor showed no evidence of failure or malfunction. The float was found partially collapsed from hydraulic pressure. All passages were clear of contamination. (See Lycoming Report).

The altimeter from the pilot's instrument panel separated during the accident and received impact damage. When found after the accident, the altimeter was reading 43,400 feet and the setting was 30.12 inches Hg. Teardown examination of the altimeter was performed at an instrument overhaul facility, under FAA supervision. No evidence of precrash failure or malfunction was found.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by C. Bruce Alexander, M.D., Medical Examiner Office, Birmingham, Alabama. The cause of death was determined to be severe blunt force trauma secondary to an aircraft crash. No findings which could be considered causal to the accident were reported. Postmortem toxicology studies on specimens obtained from the pilot was performed by Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Manager, FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and C. A. Robinson, Ph.D., Director Forensic Toxicology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham. The studies were negative for ethanol and drugs of abuse. (See Toxicology Reports).

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