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N184KS accident description

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Tail numberN184KS
Accident dateJuly 05, 2008
Aircraft typeShannon Kevin RV-8
LocationValera, TX
Near 31.752222 N, -99.556389 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 5, 2008, approximately 2000 central daylight time, a Kevin Shannon RV-8 homebuilt airplane, N184KS, was destroyed when it impacted terrain and automobiles while conducting a low altitude flight demonstration near Valera, Texas. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated at Coleman Municipal Airport (COM), Coleman, Texas, approximately 1945.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot departed Brownwood Municipal Airport (BWB), Brownwood, Texas, and flew to COM on July 3. He then drove from COM to a private ranch near Valera, Texas, to look over the area where he would be conducting a flyover on July 5th. The flyover was to be performed in conjunction with an Independence Day celebration with approximately 1,200 people present. After looking the area over on the ground, he then flew over the performance area and returned to BWB. On July 4th, the pilot fueled the airplane at BWB and purchased 17.4 gallons of 100 octane low lead aviation fuel. A witness observed the airplane flying for approximately one hour after being refueled.

On the day of the accident, the pilot again flew to COM, landed, drove to the performance area, and then returned to his airplane. The pilot planned for and flew three low altitude passes, ending each pass with a pull up. During the pull-up from the third pass, the airplane was seen to roll to the left, followed by a steep dive into a car parking area. The airplane rotated approximately 270 degrees from the start of the pull-up until it impacted the ground.

PILOT INFORMATION

The 38-year old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical was issued on April 12, 2007, with no limitations.

The pilot's logbook was located in the wreckage. It contained an entry for a biannual flight review on June 5, 2008, and indicated an estimated total flight time of 635 hours as of the last entry on October 3, 2005. The pilot indicated 1,000 total hours and three hours in the past six months on his most recent application for third-class medical certificate.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 2005-model Shannon RV-8, serial number 80874, was a low wing, semi-monocoque homebuilt airplane, with a fixed tricycle landing gear, and was configured for two occupants. The airplane was powered by a direct drive, horizontally opposed, fuel injected, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine. The engine was a Lycoming IO-360, serial number L-19772-51A, rated at 200 horsepower at 2,700 rpm, and was driving a two-bladed Hartzell propeller.

The airplane, engine, and propeller logbooks were located in the wreckage. The last entry in the airplane logbook was indistinguishable except for the date of February 23, 2000. The engine logbook revealed that the engine had been removed for storage on January 15, 2006. The propeller logbook indicated the propeller had been overhauled in November of 2005. The airplane Hobbs Meter and tachometer were destroyed.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located in a clear field that was being used as an automobile parking lot. The airplane impacted terrain and two parked cars. There was no evidence of propeller strikes in the ground near the accident site or in either vehicle. One automobile battery caught on fire and was extinguished by nearby firefighters.

The left wing separated from the fuselage and was twisted up and aft. The left fuel tank was compromised and no evidence of fluid movement damage was observed in the tank. The right wing spar was partially separated downward. The tail and empennage were bent over and to the left of the nose section. The engine and propeller were broken upward, in relation to the airframe. According to the FAA accident report, the fire chief, who observed the accident and was one of the first to respond to the accident, noted no odor or liquid evidence of aviation fuel found at the accident site.

Flight control continuity was verified from all control surfaces to the flight controls. The right wing flight controls were separated where the wing separated from the fuselage in a manner consistent with impact damage.

The engine was broken near the nose case in a manner consistent with impact damage. Cylinders 1 and 3 were damaged in the cooling fin area and cylinders 2 and 4 were distorted aft. The engine was partially rotated by hand and continuity to all pistons and accessory gears was observed. No anomalies were noted during the engine exam that would have precluded the engine from making power prior to impact. No fuel was observed during the engine exam.

The propeller was secure on the crankshaft. Propeller blade A was bent aft approximately 30 degrees and showed chordwise marring on the front painted surface. Propeller B was bent aft approximately 20 degrees at mid-blade and showed both chordwise and lengthwise scratches on the front surface. Blade B had a trailing edge gouge near the tip. According to the Lycoming accident investigator, the propeller and engine case damage was consistent with that of an engine not developing power at impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Examiner of Dallas County, located in Dallas, Texas, performed an autopsy on the pilot on July 6, 2008. The cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA, Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. Testing for carbon monoxide, and cyanide was not performed, and testing for volatiles and drugs were negative.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The pilot's wife stated she did not believe the airplane had been fueled the day of the accident because the pilot said he did not want a full load of fuel for the flyover. The pilot's wife also talked to the pilot on the radio between passes and he never indicated anything was wrong with the airplane prior to the accident.

The airplane's builder indicated he installed the standard 42 gallon fuel tanks and there was no header tank on the airplane. He said the airplane had two fuel gauges, one for each wing tank, and there was a three position fuel tank selector (Left-Right-Off) mounted in front of the pilot's seat. He recalled the engine burned approximately 10 gallons of fuel per hour at cruise. The Lycoming Operator's Manual indicated a fuel burn rate of 12.3 gallons per hour (gph) at performance cruise (75 percent rated power) and 9.5 gph at economy cruise (65 percent rated power).

The pilot did not obtain a waiver to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.119 or 91.303 for the aerial demonstration. Those regulations state the following:

"Part 91.119 - Minimum safe altitudes: General.

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure."

"91.303 - Aerobatic flight.

No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight:

(a) Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement;

(b) Over an open air assembly of persons;

(c) Within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;

(d) Within 4 nautical miles of the center line of any Federal airway;

(e) Below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface; or

(f) When flight visibility is less than 3 statute miles.

For the purposes of this section, aerobatic flight means an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight."

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