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N151JE accident description

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Tail numberN151JE
Accident dateSeptember 21, 1994
Aircraft typeJames B. Edwards Cozy
LocationSkull Valley, AZ
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 21, 1994, at 0930 hours mountain standard time, an amateur built Edwards Cozy, N151JE, crashed while landing at a privately owned dirt airstrip at Skull Valley, Arizona. The certificated private pilot was completing a visual flight rules personal flight. The airplane, registered to and built by the pilot was destroyed by impact forces and the resulting postimpact fire. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Ernest A. Love Field, Prescott, Arizona, at an undetermined time.

The pilot's wife told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the pilot departed his house between 0700 and 0730 hours for the airport (Earnest A. Love Field). She said that the pilot was going to Skull Valley to work on the airplane in his hangar. She did not know what type of work he was going to do.

The Cozy airplane designer said a fellow Experimental Aircraft Association member told him that the pilot said he was going to work on the airplane fuel system. The member said he tried to talk the pilot out of flying to Skull Valley Airport, but without success.

A ground witness, a pilot familiar with the accident aircraft, provided a detailed statement to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. He said that the loud engine sound and apparent closeness brought his attention to the airplane when he was driving across some railroad tracks; his car window was down.

The witness said that he observed the airplane flying toward the northeast " . . . just barely above the cottonwood and weeping willow trees . . . ." The airplane was between 50 and 60 feet above the ground in a nose-high attitude when the engine revved up to full power; both wings were " . . . rocking and (the) nose (was) oscillating side to side . . . ." The airplane was traveling at a slow airspeed.

The airplane disappeared from his view and, moments later, he observed a large cloud of black smoke rising from the trees. He reported his observations to a Yavapai County Sheriff's deputy who was parked at a service station. Both he and the deputy continued to the Skull Valley Airport.

The witness said that the airplane touched down in a nose-high attitude with the left main gear and left wingtip simultaneously contacting the terrain between 30 and 40 feet southwest of the runway threshold. The witness said:

When I observed him (N151JE), he was low and slow in a nose-high attitude, under full power, and wallowing all over the place. He was well outside and below the low speed flight envelope for the craft (airplane).

The deputy reported that he observed the airplane fly over the service station " . . . at treetop level . . . ." The airplane was going toward the Skull Valley Airstrip. Within seconds, he observed a column of black smoke emanating from the vicinity of the airport.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The certificate was issued on October 10, 1985. He also held a third-class medical certificate issued on September 19, 1992; the certificate contained a "Must wear lenses for distant - possess glasses for near vision" limitation endorsement.

Safety Board investigators did not recover the pilot's flight hours logbook. The flight hours reflected on page 3 of this report were obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Medical Records section.

The pilot's wife said he often rented an airplane from Cottonwood Air Services, Inc., Cottonwood, Arizona, to maintain his flying proficiency. The owner of Cottonwood Air Services, Inc., told Safety Board investigators that he had received dual instruction, but never flew the airplane alone. The owner said he no longer has the records available and could not provide the Safety Board with any dates of the flight(s).

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The pilot built the airplane from a kit provided by Cozy Development Corporation, Mesa, Arizona. According to the FAA Aircraft Registry Section, the airplane received its experimental Amateur Built airworthiness certificate on July 17, 1993.

The Cozy Development Corporation president said that the pilot sent a first flight report to the company. The pilot showed that the airplane's first flight was accomplished on May 15, 1994. The president said that according to the pilot, as of September 9, 1994, the airplane accrued 7.5 flight hours.

Safety Board investigators recovered the airplane airframe and engine logbooks. The airframe logbook only contained the initial airplane certification data. The engine logbook showed the last annual inspection was accomplished on April 1, 1993; the engine accrued 7,248.45 hours and 2,068.0 hours since a major overhaul.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

An FAA Flight Standards District Office inspector (airworthiness) conducted the on-site investigation on September 21, 1994, with the president of Cozy Development Corporation. The president and designer of the Cozy submitted an accident report to the Safety Board; the FAA inspector concurred with the report (see Item No. 14.01).

The report shows that the airplane initially struck the right side of the westerly-oriented runway about 54 yards from the threshold in a left wing-down attitude. The designer said he saw the broken limbs of the mesquite tree short of the runway, but noted that the location of the initial ground impact and the broken tree limbs were not consistent with the airplane striking the mesquite tree before impact.

The nose landing gear retraction mechanism was stripped and the nose strut was found retracted. The designer reported that the stripped mechanism was consistent with the nose landing gear being extended and collapsing during the crash sequence. The nose wheel was found off the right side of the runway about 75 yards from the threshold.

The ground scars show the airplane skidded on its nose about 114 yards, off the right side of the runway, in a west-southwesterly direction. The airplane left wing struck a mesquite bush and nosed over onto its back. The airplane became engulfed in flames after the left wing tank ruptured.

ENGINE EXAMINATION

The FAA inspector and a Textron Lycoming representative examined the engine on October 13, 1994. The Lycoming representative submitted a copy of his report to the Safety Board (see Item No. 14.02); the FAA inspector concurred with the report.

The accessories sustained extensive fire damage and, except the engine-driven fuel pump, could not be tested. The pump operated normally.

The examination revealed no evidence of any internal engine malfunctions or failures.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office conducted the post mortem examination on the pilot. The pathologist did not show any findings that would have detracted from the pilot's ability to fly an airplane.

Toxicological examinations were conducted by the FAA, Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The examinations were negative for alcohol and abused drugs. An over-the-counter antihistamine was found.

The pilot's wife told Safety Board investigators that the pilot had a sinus problem and was taking a nasal decongestant for relief. He was not under the care of a physician.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Safety Board did not assume custody of the wreckage.

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