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N888PW accident description

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Tail numberN888PW
Accident dateOctober 03, 2003
Aircraft typeWhitty Mustang II
LocationHolly Ridge, NC
Near 34.481111 N, -77.584166 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On October 3, 2003, at 1130 eastern daylight time, a Whitty, Mustang II, N888PW, experimental airplane, registered to and operated by the private pilot, collided with the ground during a go-around at a private airstrip in Holly Ridge, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Topsail Airpark in, Holly Ridge, North Carolina on October 3, 2003 at 1030.

According to a witness, this was the first flight of the recently restored experimental airplane. After a brief engine run up, the airplane took off on runway 03. The takeoff appeared normal with a normal climb out. At about 300 feet above ground level, the airplane made a left turn to a wide downwind and climbed to about 800 feet or pattern altitude. After making a turn to base leg, a gradual descent was made and it seemed that he was going to make a landing on runway 03. On his turn to final he overshot the runway and lined up about 50-feet to the right of the runway. He passed over the intersection of runway 03 and 36 at an altitude of about 50 to 100 feet and added power for a go-around. The engine misfired and his increase in altitude was very slow and at the end of the runway, he started a left turn. During the turn, and at an altitude of about 100 to 200 feet, the witness thought the engine stopped. The airplane rolled to the left, nose dropped sharply and the airplane started to spin to the left. After one turn the airplane dropped out of sight behind some trees.

Examination of the crash site found the airplane about 1/4 of a mile from the end of runway 36, 45-degrees left of the extended centerline in heavy trees and vegetation. Wreckage debris was scatted on a 290-degree magnetic heading. Examination of the airplane found the left wing separated from the fuselage at the wing root. The right wing was found separated outboard of the right fuel tank and separated cleanly at a seam in the wing structure. All flight controls surfaces moved when the flight control cables were pulled from within the fuselage. No airframe malfunctions were noted during the examination. Examination of the engine found that it had separated from the airframe and was 20-feet forward of the main wreckage. The magnetos were found separated from the engine. Fuel was observed from the fuel tank to the engine. The fuel boost pump was found in the off position. A strong smell of aviation fuel was noted in the vicinity of the engine. The propeller separated from the engine with a clean break of the crankshaft. One blade of the propeller was bent back while the other blade remained straight. There was nothing noted during the examination of the engine that would have prevented it from operating properly. According to the icing probability curve, conditions were favorable for the formation of moderate to serious carburetor icing while in cruise or glide power settings.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot October 4, 2003 at the Coastal Pathology Associates, P.A. in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The reported cause of death was "Multiple injuries due to blunt trauma due to aircraft crash". The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. There was no Carbon Monoxide or Cyanide Detected in the blood, there was no Ethanol detected in the Urine, however, there was Diltiazem found present in the blood and urine. Also, Glucose was detected in the urine, and hemoglobin A1C was detected in the blood.

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