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N623BL accident description

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Tail numberN623BL
Accident dateJune 20, 2008
Aircraft typeDennis P. McGurk F1 Rocket
LocationWoodbine, NJ
Near 39.269445 N, -74.866111 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 20, 2008, at 1943 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built F1 Rocket, N623BL, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Woodbine Municipal Airport (1N4), Woodbine, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, just prior to the accident, they saw the airplane in a "steep climb" when they heard the engine "lose power." The airplane then "nosed down," entered a spin, and the witnesses heard the engine resume power. The airplane then struck power lines before it impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude.

Examination of the accident site and airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed both occupants were wearing parachutes. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest inverted, on a 090-degree magnetic heading, and a postcrash fire had occurred. Flight control continuity was established for all flight controls, and no evidence of in-flight structural failure or in-flight fire was discovered.

Examination of the engine revealed that it had been modified from its original design. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunction was discovered. The engine was relatively intact; however, the oil sump, and the push rods for cylinders No. 1 and No. 4 sustained impact damage. Examination of the upper spark plugs revealed that they were of an automotive type. Their electrodes were gray in color.

The crankshaft was rotated by hand, and thumb compression was obtained on cylinder Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6. Thumb compression was not obtained on cylinders No. 1 and No. 4 because of impact damage to the push rods, but movement was observed in both cylinders. There was also movement of the rear accessory gear, and the engine driven fuel pump's operability was verified during rotation of the crankshaft.

The ignition system for the upper spark plugs was powered by an electronic ignition unit. Examination of the unit revealed that it had sustained impact damage and was inoperable. The ignition system for the lower plugs was of standard design, and was powered by a magneto. It was found separated from the engine, and was also impact damaged. It would however, produce spark from all six ignition lead towers when rotated by hand.

Examination of the fuel injection system revealed that the fuel injector had broken off its mounting stub. The fuel injector's inlet finger screen was clear of debris, and had a trace amount of fuel within the injector finger screen chamber. The air impact tubes and venturi were also free of debris, and the throttle linkage and associated air valve mixture arm moved freely.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. He reported 500 total hours of flight experience on his most recent application for a FAA third-class medical certificate, dated December 28, 2006.

According to the FAA and the airplane kit manufacturer, the accident airplane received its experimental airworthiness certificate on September 20, 2007. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued approximately 190 total hours of operation.

The wreckage was retained by the National Transportation Safety Board for further examination.

A weather observation taken about 8 minutes prior to the accident, at Cape May County Airport (WWD), Wildwood, New Jersey, located 13 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, recorded the wind as 180 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 22 degrees Celsius, dew point 16 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.

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