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N22163 accident description

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Tail numberN22163
Accident dateAugust 11, 2008
Aircraft typeDickey RV-6A
LocationMuskogee, OK
Near 35.731389 N, -95.3475 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 11, 2008, about 1324 central daylight time, a Dickey RV-6A experimental airplane, N22163 impacted a vacant lot in Muskogee, Oklahoma, while conducting a cross-country flight. The instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated at Fayette County Airport (FYE), Somerville, Tennessee with an intended destination of Hutchinson County Airport (BGD), Borger, Texas.

According to the pilot's wife, he was flying cross country to his work location and he checked the weather on the internet before departing. She said he had delayed his departure due to marginal weather conditions en route and he "preferred VFR conditions."

Air traffic control radar tracked a 1200 transponder code starting at 1300 and about 29 miles northeast of the accident location at 4,500 feet mean sea level (msl). The radar track proceeded west at 4,500 feet msl until 1310, about eleven miles north of the accident location. The track then began climbing and turned south, then east, leveling at 8,500 msl at 1316. The track then began a level, right turning corkscrew pattern that terminated about one quarter mile northeast of the accident location. The fourth, third, and second to last radar tracks, recorded approximately four seconds apart, depicted altitudes of 8,500, 8,400, and 8,300 msl respectively. The last return was recorded at 18:23:38, 18 seconds after the 8,300 msl return and recorded an altitude of zero. The last return was located about one-quarter mile northwest of the accident location.

Two witnesses saw the airplane just prior to it impacting terrain. One witness stepped outside when he heard the airplane. He said "it sounded like it was having trouble. [About] that time I saw the plane flying low. It was heading southeast. Then [the airplane] came straight down." A second witness said "We heard the plane. It was a loud engine noise that sounded irregular. Not like a solid hum, but maybe a rev. [The] plane appeared out of the clouds. It was headed nose down, it was headed straight down."

PILOT INFORMATION

The 59 year old pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical was issued on February 8, 2008, with the limitation of "Must have available glasses for near vision."

An examination of the pilot's logbook indicated an estimated total flight time of 605.2 hours; of which 132 hours were in this make and model of airplane. He logged 15.2 hours in the last 90 days and five hours in the last 30 days. His last noted flight review was completed February 24, 2007. The pilot had logged 32 actual instrument hours and 41.8 simulated instrument hours. The last entry for actual instrument time was dated October 13, 2003. The last entry for simulated instrument time was .6 hours during his last flight review. The last entry for simulated instrument time prior to his flight review was September 25, 2004.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1997-model Dickey RV-6A, serial number 23396, was a low wing, experimental airplane, with a fixed, tricycle landing gear, and was configured for two occupants. The airplane was powered by a direct drive, horizontally opposed, air-cooled, four-cylinder Lycoming O-320 engine.

The airframe and engine logbooks were not located. The pilot's wife stated she thought the airplane was equipped for instrument flight, but this could not be verified due to the condition of the airplane wreckage.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Surface Analysis and Weather Depiction charts indicated that a warm front was located south of the accident location. Over-running of the front caused widespread IFR/MVFR conditions along and north of the front. Scattered embedded showers and thunderstorms were present north of the front. An Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) for IFR conditions was valid for Oklahoma. The southern boundary of the AIRMET was generally along the warm frontal boundary.

Weather radar data from Fort Smith, Arkansas, indicated scattered light to moderate rain showers over northeastern Oklahoma. A short line of thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain was indicated to the south of the accident location. A light rain shower was indicated in vicinity of the eastern part of the town of Muskogee at the approximate time of the accident. Bases of the lowest cloud layer were generally reported between 800 feet and 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). Satellite images showed cloud tops above 30,000 feet.

Weather at Davis Field Airport (MKO), Oklahoma, at 1253 was reported as winds 120 degrees at 11 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain and overcast skies at 1,100 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The majority of the airplane wreckage was located within a crater on a vacant lot within a residential area. Additional wreckage was located within a circle extending 100 feet from the impact crater. The fuselage was compressed upon itself into the crater. The right wing spar was bent upward (aft as compared to the fuselage mounting position) and the left wing spar was resting on the ground perpendicular to the fuselage. Both wing spars were devoid of coverings. The left and right ailerons were located within the debris circle to the east of the impact crater. The remainder of the flight controls and vertical and horizontal stabilizers were compressed into the fuselage and were not discernible as to condition, security, or position prior to impact.

The cockpit was compressed. The pilot seat frame was distorted and broken, and the pilot's seat belt was found latched. A portion of the engine firewall was found in the crater and a piece of the engine case was attached. The throttle control and a portion of the throttle cable were found separated from the control panel in the crater. The throttle position was full forward.

The engine was buried in the crater to a depth of 4.5 feet. Engine position was nose down and embedded at an 80 to 85 degree angle on a southeasterly heading. All accessories on the bottom of the engine were separated from the engine, including the starter, exhaust, and carburetor. The propeller was found buried in the crater. One blade had broken approximately five inches from the propeller hub. The second blade and hub mount were separated from the engine and the crankshaft was sheared.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Board of Medical Examiners, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, performed an autopsy on the pilot on August 12, 2008. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.

The FAA, Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. Testing for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed. No ethanol was detected in the liver and 19 (mg/dl, mg/hg) ethanol was detected in muscle.

The following drugs were detected during testing: -- Citalopram detected in liver. -- Citalopram detected in kidney. -- Di-N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in liver. -- N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in liver. -- N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in kidney.

The FAA regional flight surgeon stated "citalopram (Celexa) is an anti-depressant medication. Di-n-desmethylcitalopram and n-desmethylcitalopram are metabolites of citalopram. Use of this medication would have precluded medical certification of this pilot. The pilot would have been warned not to fly while taking this medication."

The following medical information was extracted from the pilot's most recent application for 3rd Class Medical Certification. The application indicated "No" in response to "Do you currently use any medication." The application indicated "Yes" in response to "Admission to hospital," and "No" to all other items under "Medical History," including specifically, "Mental disorders of any sort; depression, anxiety, etc." Under "Explanations" is noted, "Previously Reported."

A diabetic test kit was found in luggage removed from the wreckage. According to the pilot's wife, he had recently been diagnosed with diabetes at a routine checkup.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAA advisory circular(AD)60-4A states the following:

"The attitude of an aircraft is generally determined by reference to the natural horizon or other visual references with the surface. If neither horizon nor surface references exist, the attitude of an aircraft must be determined by artificial means from the flight instruments. Sight, supported by other senses allows the pilot to maintain orientation, However, during periods of low visibility, the supporting senses sometimes conflict with what is seen. When this happens, a pilot is particularly vulnerable to disorientation. The degree of disorientation may vary considerably with individual pilots, Spatial disorientation to a pilot means simply the inability to tell which way is up." "The disoriented pilot may place the aircraft in a dangerous attitude."

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