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N7061K accident description

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Tail numberN7061K
Accident dateSeptember 20, 1994
Aircraft typePiper PA-20
LocationGreenville, MI
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On September 20, 1994, at 1000 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA- 20, N7061K, registered to Glenn Playter of Greenville, Michigan, and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it collided with a tree located about 400 feet north of runway 27 (3,700' X 75' dry asphalt) at the Greenville Municipal Airport, Greenville, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Greenville, Michigan, exact time unknown.

A flight instructor said he had heard a radio call from N7061K while flying near the accident airport. He said the pilot of N7061K reported downwind for runway 27 at the airport. After entering the traffic pattern, the flight instructor said he looked to his left and saw the airplane pushed against a tree.

The on-scene investigation revealed that N7061K had collided head-on with a tree. Tire skid marks on runway 27 were in alignment with tire track marks found in the sod that lead to the airplane. Tire skid marks observed on the runway were made by the airplane's left main landing gear tire and tailwheel. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Principal Maintenance Inspector (POI) representing the NTSB on-scene, the skid marks made a wide arc to the right. The skid mark made by the tailwheel was scalloped.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the flaps in a retracted position. Control continuity was established for all three flight controls. The stabilizer trim was approximately one inch from the top of the fuselage slot (nose down). Fuel was leaking from the right wing fuel tank at its damaged forward fitting. The fuel selector, carburetor heat and magnetos were in the "OFF" position. The mixture control was at the full "RICH" position and the throttle was in the idle position. The carburetor throttle plate was about 75 percent open. Throttle cable continuity was confirmed. One propeller blade was embedded into the tree trunk for almost its entire span.

According to a Montcalm Sheriff's Department accident report, the pilot had been on medication for epileptic seizures. The doctor treating the pilot for this condition was not aware he was a pilot. This doctor had prescribed that the pilot take 100 mg of dilantin three times per day. The pilot had been using the same FAA designated medical examiner since 1985. This doctor said he was not aware of epileptic seizures.

The cause of the pilot's death was severe head and internal injuries. The pathologists conducting the autopsy stated: "The patient suffered significant cardiac disease and was under treatment for a seizure disorder. Either of these maladies could have caused a loss of consciousness-control while in the air resulting in the fatal crash."

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute's toxicology report states, "7.100 (ug/ml, ug/g) Phenytoin [was] deteced in [the pilot's] blood. Phenytoin was deteced in [the] urine." According to the 1993 edition of the Physicians' DEsk Reference, Phenytoin is an antieptileptic drug.

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