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N8711R accident description

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Tail numberN8711R
Accident dateMay 04, 1997
Aircraft typeMarsh-Turner BG-12A
LocationMarion, OH
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 4, 1997, about 1240 eastern daylight time, an experimental, homebuilt glider, a Marsh-Turner, BG-12A, struck terrain after departure from the Marion Municipal Airport, Marion, Ohio. The glider was destroyed, and the certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the ferry flight which departed Marion Airport about 1 minute prior. No flight plan had been filed for the flight which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91..

The glider was under tow and destined for the museum at Port Columbus Airport, Columbus, Ohio.

The tow plane pilot stated:

"...At approximately 1,000 foot above ground he [the glider pilot] indicated that he wished to slow back a little due to turbulence. I complied. A minute or so later Mark [the glider pilot] got way out of normal tow position and this continued until he went off tow. I radioed Marion [departure airport] that something must be wrong and we were headed back to the airport. When I spotted the glider it was descending at a high rate of speed with some oscillations in the pitch axis. Then it nosed over and went in, impacting the ground nearly vertical."

A witness stated:

"...As the planes continued to climb N/E of field, I noticed Mark's position began to vary., Mark began vertical position changes. BG-12 [glider] appeared to not be able to hold proper tow position. I looked away for a few seconds and when I looked back the BG-12 was extremely high and right of tow plane. BG-12 released, turned northerly, began a return to the airport, nose went down, wing level, descend at approx. 80 degree angle, with a few pitch changes. Descent angle varied between 75-90 degrees...."

Another witness stated, "...I looked up and saw Mark's sailplane start to oscillate with high and low pitches about three times and then the plane pitched nearly full nose down and flew nearly straight into the ground at a high rate of speed."

In a written report, an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who had examined the glider at the accident site stated:

"...Elevator system consisted of push-pull tube, utilizing an inline bellcrank design. The rod end of the elevator/aileron control stick was found pulled out of push rod. The metal casing that the rod end fitted into was crushed. The rod end contained 1 fastener (rivet) core with signs of fretting and scoring, with the remaining attaching fastener core missing. Tow rope revealed that it had broken at an estimate of 2 to 3 feet from the glider attachment point...."

The glider was on a special flight permit. Item 3 of the permit stated, " This permit is not valid unless the aircraft is inspected by a certificated Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, or an appropriately rated Repair Station, and a notation made in the aircraft records that the aircraft is safe for flight."

Additionally, the FAA Inspector's report stated, "...The pilot was not observed preflighting the aircraft and no records were found indicating an inspection being performed prior to departure to validate the issuance of a special flight permit...."

An autopsy was conducted on May 5, 1997, by Patrick M. Fardal, M.D, Chief Forensic Pathologist, Franklin County, Ohio.

Toxicological testing conducted by the FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed verapamil and norverapamil in the pilot's liver fluid. A check of the pilot's most recent airman medical application, dated October 23, 1996, revealed that the pilot had not listed any drugs as being taken.

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