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N1177M accident description

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Tail numberN1177M
Accident dateApril 13, 2008
Aircraft typeDayon Lancair Legacy
LocationLakeland, FL
Near 27.986666 N, -82.018611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 13, 2008, about 1050 eastern daylight time, an amateurbuilt Lancair, N1177M, registered to G-KAS Aviation LLC, and operated by a private pilot, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from runway 27L at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The private pilot was killed and the airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a postcrash fire.

According to witnesses, the pilot was observed to be having difficulty closing the canopy on the airplane prior to takeoff. During the takeoff climb, a witness said he saw the cockpit canopy moving and believed the pilot was pushing it up and down about 6 to12 inches. Another witness stated that shortly after takeoff, the engine lost power, the airplane continued straight and level, and there was no attempt by the pilot to return to the runway. The airplane then nosed down about 40 degrees and the left wing dropped. About 3 to 5 seconds later, a plume of smoke was seen coming from behind a tree line.

Another witness stated that while sitting in her recreational vehicle (RV), she observed a low-wing white airplane take off and pass directly over her RV. She watched as the airplane disappeared over a tree line and within seconds saw a large cloud of black, gray and white smoke coming from the area where the airplane disappeared. At the same time the clouds of smoke appeared, she noticed a large, clear "ziplock" bag filled with some kind of documents, and it floated down from the sky a few yards from her RV. She recovered the bag and read the documents inside. There was a laminated registration form for a Lancair Legacy, a laminated special airworthiness certificate, a weight and balance report, and an operating limitation report. The bag and contents were neat and clean. She notified her husband who reviewed the documents and notify the authorities.

The pilot, age 44, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, updated on May 18, 2007. He also held a third-class medical certificate, issued on August 7, 2007, with a restriction that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot's most recent medical certificate showed that he had accumulated 234 hours of flight time. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination.

The two-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane was registered in 2006. It was powered by a Continental IO-550-N, 310-horsepower engine, and equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed constant speed propeller. The airplane's logbooks were not recovered for examination.

The nearest weather reporting station was located on the airport at LAL. The 1050 surface weather observation was: wind 350 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 15 statute miles, broken ceiling at 3,000 feet, overcast ceiling at 10,000 feet. Temperature was 19 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 8 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of mercury.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane had impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude. The engine was partially separated from its mounts, and portions of the engine and the majority of the airframe were consumed by the postimpact fire, which included the cockpit, canopy and the canopy locking mechanism.

The engine was recovered from the accident site and relocated to the LAL police hangar, where a continuity inspection was performed. The entire engine, components, and all associated parts exhibited extensive thermal and impact related damage. The propeller remained attached and exhibited chordwise polishing and "s" bending.

The accessory components were removed in addition to the rocker covers and a lubricant spray was applied to the entire engine. The engine crankshaft rotated freely by hand with no binding or hesitation noted. Continuity was established to the cylinders, valve train, and accessory gears. Due to the amount of thermal damage to the engine, continuity could not be established for the fuel system or ignition system components.

The inspection of the engine did not reveal any preimpact failures or malfunctions that would have prevented normal operation.

The airplane's electronic flight instrument system was retained and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Due to fire damage, no data could be extracted from the system.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on April 14, 2008, by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The autopsy findings reported the cause of death as multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that no carbon monoxide was detected in the blood, that 2.3 (ug/ml) cyanide was detected in the blood; and no ethanol was detected in the urine, and that diphenhydramine was present in the urine but not in the blood.

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