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N69ER accident description

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Tail numberN69ER
Accident dateAugust 03, 2008
Aircraft typeOsborne Challenger II
LocationFairdealing, KY
Near 36.826945 N, -88.197222 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 3, 2008, about 1326 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Challenger II, N69ER, was substantially damaged when it impacted private property adjacent to a golf course near Fairdealing, Kentucky. The owner/pilot was killed, and his passenger was seriously injured. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

According to witnesses, the pilot and his son departed for a local sightseeing flight from Pirates Cove Airport (42KY), Benton, Kentucky, which is situated on the eastern shore of an arm of Kentucky Lake. The accident flight was the first flight of the day for both the pilot and the airplane. Just prior to the accident flight, another son of the pilot refused the pilot's offer of a flight, because it was too hot.

A witness, who was working on the golf course, heard the airplane, and saw that it was flying low. He said that it looked as if the pilot was trying to land on the fairway. The airplane passed the witness, and then it made a left turn, "winged over," and "crashed behind the trees." The witness telephoned 911, and then drove to the accident site, where he observed that the engine was still running. He used the ignition switch to shut down the engine. He also stated that despite being cautioned against it, the passenger extricated himself from the wreckage. There was no fire.

The wreckage was located on a grassy area adjacent to trees, approximately 4 miles north of the departure airport. The arm of the lake comprised most of the topography separating the airport from the accident site, and the accident site was less than 1,000 feet from the shoreline. According to an insurance company representative who visited the accident site, the terrain in the area sloped up approximately 20 to 30 degrees, in a direction away from the shoreline.

The airplane was a high-wing, pusher configuration, with the engine mounted above and aft of the cockpit. It was equipped with a Rotax model 503 engine. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was manufactured in 1991, owned by three different individuals between 1991 and 2004, and then jointly purchased by the pilot and another individual. In September 2007, the pilot became the sole owner of the airplane. According to an acquaintance of the pilot, the pilot recently purchased a brand new engine for the airplane, and the acquaintance reported that the engine had less than 10 hours total time in service at the time of the accident.

A review of photographs of the accident scene indicated that the airplane exhibited primarily crush and bending damage. All components, with the exception of the windscreen and the outboard sections of the three composite propeller blades, remained attached to the airplane. The inboard segments of the propeller blades remained attached to the hub, and were all of approximately the same length. The left wing exhibited crumpling in the inboard direction, and the fuselage was crushed in the aft and up directions.

According to the FAA inspector who responded to the accident scene, control continuity for the ailerons and elevator were confirmed. The rudder cables were severed in the plane of rotation of the propeller, and the fuselage exhibited damage in the same location.

Also according to the FAA inspector, the fuel system was not compromised. Approximately 1 1/2 gallons of fuel remained in the fuel tank, and this fuel appeared uncontaminated when inspected visually. Both carburetors contained fuel in their bowls, and the control cables to the carburetors were intact and functional.

According to FAA records, the pilot held flight instructor, ground instructor and commercial pilot certificates. The plot reported 2,040 total hours of flight experience on his most recent application for a third-class medical certificate, which was issued in July, 2002.

The 1353 surface weather observation at Barkley Regional Airport, Paducah, Kentucky, located approximately 31 miles northwest of the accident location, reported winds from 110 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 29 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

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