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N130DS accident description

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Tail numberN130DS
Accident dateJune 08, 2009
Aircraft typeSorenson Lightning
LocationBrevard, NC
Near 35.270278 N, -82.644166 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 8, 2009, about 1640 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built, Lightning, N130DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees while attempting to land following loss of engine power at the Transylvania County Airport (22W), Brevard, North Carolina. The certificated flight instructor and a private pilot were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the instructional flight that was conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane was owned and built by the private pilot, and was based at 22W.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, a witness at 22W observed the airplane depart between 1430 and 1500. At 1630, witnesses heard a pilot from airplane contact the airport's Unicom operator. One witness observed the airplane fly over the airport from the south, and enter the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 9, a 2,950-foot-long, 50-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The witness stated that the airplane was at the normal traffic pattern altitude and that the engine sounded normal. The witness then went indoors and noticed that he did not hear any further communications from the airplane over the Unicom frequency.

A witness located in the vicinity of the accident site stated that he observed the airplane in a left turn. The engine was "spitting and sputtering" and then quit. The airplane descended behind some trees, which was followed by a "loud thud."

A witness driving in her car stated that she observed the airplane make a "very sharp left turn." It then "began to roll left and right, then it dove straight down into tress and broke apart." She could not hear any sounds associated with the airplane.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that it impacted in a heavily wooded area, about ΒΌ of mile from the runway. The airplane struck an 80-feet tall tree, about mid-span, before coming to rest inverted. The right wing separated and was located approximately 15 feet from the tree. The empennage was separated and remained attached to the airframe via cables. Three pieces of a propeller blade were located at the accident site. The airplane was equipped with a Jabiru 3300cc engine, which was impact damaged.

Both the left and right wing fuel tanks were compromised. The fuel selector was found in the left tank position. Witnesses who observed the airplane shortly after the accident reported that they observed fuel leaking from the left wing.

The wreckage was recovered to storage facility for further examination to be conducted at a later date.

At the time of the accident, the airplane had been operated for approximately 69.2 total hours.

The flight instructor reported 7,270 hours of total flight experience, on his most recent application for an FAA second class medical certificate, which was issued on October 2, 2008.

The private pilot reported 216 hours of total flight experience, on his most recent application for an FAA third class medical certificate, which was issued on April 1, 2004.

A weather observation taken at an airport located about 29 miles southeast of the accident site, at 1653, reported variable winds at 6 knots, gusting to 18 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling 4,000 feet overcast, temperature 22 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 17 degrees C, altimeter 27.74 inches of mercury.

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