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N121CW accident description

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Tail numberN121CW
Accident dateAugust 23, 1994
Aircraft typeWatson KR-2
LocationPekin, IL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 23, 1994, at 1040 central daylight time (cdt), a Watson KR-2, N121CW, registered to Charles Watson of East Peoria, Illinois, and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the ground following a witness reported steep diving turn. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Pekin, Illinois, at 1040 cdt.

Two witnesses, the airplane's owner and a local resident, reported the airplane took off on runway 27 (5,000' X 75' dry asphalt) at the Pekin Municipal Airport, Pekin, Illinois. They said the airplane was about 400 feet above the departure end of the runway when it pitched up and descended vertically until it collided with the ground. The airplane owner said the airplane appeared to do a hammerhead stall maneuver to the right. The second witness said the airplane appeared to do a one turn, tight, right spiral before colliding with the ground.

N121CW was constructed from wood, foam, and composite materials. The on-scene investigation was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI). He said he could identify N121CW's rear fuselage section, empennage, mid-span section of the right wing, and instrument panel, and the cockpit landing gear retraction mechanism. According to the PMI, the remainder of the airplane comprised various sized pieces of wood, fiberglass sheeting, and solid foam.

The PMI said metal components and control cables associated with the rudder and elevator systems were found. He stated he established elevator and rudder control continuity. The aileron control system had been destroyed by collision forces. The throttle was found positioned full forward.

N121CW's control stick assembly was mounted to the wing's main spar. The landing gear retraction handle was directly in front of the control stick. The handle is vertically mounted and on the opposite side of the main spar. To retract the landing gear, a trigger on the main handle must be pulled aft. Once this has been accomplished, the handle is pushed forward so that it parallels the cockpit floor. The control stick and retraction handle are manipulated by the pilot's left and right hands during the retraction of the landing gear. The landing gear retraction mechanism found in N121CW's remains did not resemble the one that had been provided by the designer/kit manufacturer.

During a conversation with a representative of the kit manufacturer it was decided that the retracting mechanism installed in N121CW was an after-market product. Illustrations of both mechanisms are appended to this report.

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed he had flown the accident airplane 7.1 hours. The logbook showed 1.4 hours of time in the airplane with "0" in the logbook's "number of landings" column. The pilot's first flight during 1994 was in the accident airplane during July 9, 1994. Before that flight, the pilot flew 1.4 hours on January 23, 1993. This flight was a biennial flight review (BFR) conducted at night in a Cessna 152. According to the logbook, the BFR was the only flight the pilot made during 1993. Most of the pilot's flight time had been in single-engine Cessna and Piper airplanes. His logbook showed he had logged 4.3 hours in a CGS Hawk homebuilt airplane during July, 1984.

The Tazewell County Coroner's Office stated the cause of death for the pilot was the airplane crash. A toxicological report from the Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, Forensic Toxicology Laboratory said that there were no drugs or ethanol found in the specimens examined.

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