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N91MC accident description

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Tail numberN91MC
Accident dateMay 28, 2006
Aircraft typeSchweizer SGS 1-35
LocationEighty Four, PA
Near 40.130556 N, -80.096111 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 28, 2006, about 1648 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-35 glider, N91MC, was substantially damaged during impact with trees, while on approach to Bandel Airport (22D), Eighty Four, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to witnesses, the pilot was flying a left hand traffic pattern for runway 1 at 22D. While turning from base leg to final leg, the left wing and nose of the glider dropped. The glider subsequently descended nose first into trees, and a house. The glider came to rest against the house, about 1 mile south of the runway. Witnesses further stated that the glider was about 800 feet agl before the rapid descent.

Examination of the glider by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land and glider. His most recent special issuance third-class medical certificate was issued on August 15, 2005. At that time, the pilot reported a total flight experience of 1,200 hours. According to his pilot logbook, about 1,100 of his total flight experience was in gliders. The pilot flew approximately 7 hours during the 30 days preceding the accident, all of which were in gliders.

At the time of the accident, the pilot was 72 years of age. An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Washington County Coroner's Office, Washington, Pennsylvania. The autopsy report noted substantial enlargement of the heart, a mechanical replacement mitral valve, and hardening of the arteries in the kidneys. No other indications of preexisting disease were detected, and substantial hemorrhage was noted in conjunction with blunt force trauma.

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Review of the toxicology report revealed:

"...DILTIAZEM present in Blood DILTIAZEM present in Liver..."

A letter dated August 3, 2005, from the manager of the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division noted:

"...The medical evidence reveals a history of [mechanical] mitral valve replacement [on 9/17/01], atrial fibrillation requiring Coumadin therapy, and hypertension, which requires medication for control. You are ineligible for third-class medical certification...However, based on the complete review of the available medical evidence, I have determined that you may be granted authorization for special issuance third-class airman certification...Since the enclosed medical certificate expires for third-class purposes on August 31, 2005, it will be necessary for you to undergo a current physical examination during that month. The Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) is authorized by this letter to issue you a third-class medical certificate..., provided you are found to be otherwise qualified."

On August 15, the pilot visited an AME. Medications at that time were noted to include Accupril (quinapril), Cardizem (diltiazem) LA, Armour Thyroid (thyroid hormone replacement), Coumadin (warfarin), folic acid, hydrochlorothiazide, and aspirin. In conjunction with the letter dated August 3, 2005, the AME issued a third-class medical certificate. (For more detailed information, see Medical Records Information in the public docket).

According to the Federal Aviation Regulations, the pilot was not required to hold a medical certificate to act as pilot-in-command of a glider.

The reported weather at an airport approximately 10 miles west of the accident site, at 1655, was: wind from 210 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 82 degrees F; dew point 52 degrees F; altimeter 30.17 inches Hg.

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