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N528DH accident description

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Tail numberN528DH
Accident dateDecember 14, 2003
Aircraft typeHackney Vans RV-6A
LocationCarthage, TX
Near 32.175834 N, -94.298611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On December 14, 2003, at 1315 central standard time, a Hackney Vans RV-6A single engine homebuilt airplane, N528DH, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during a touch and go landing from runway 35 at the Panola County Airport (4F2), near Carthage, Texas. The flight instructor and the private pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by Fun Flyers Inc., of Karnack, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from the Harrison County Airport (ASL), near Marshall, Texas, about one hour prior to the accident.

Witnesses at the airport reported that the owner of the airplane purchased the 2001 model airplane from the original builder 11 days prior to the accident. Friends of the pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was for the new part-owner to get checked-out on his airplane. The dual-control tricycle gear airplane was powered by a single 4.3 liter General Motors V-6 carbureted marine engine rated at 180 horsepower.

Personnel at the airport reported that the flight departed ASL airport and stayed in the closed traffic pattern to perform some touch and go landings. After approximately 8 to 10 touch and goes, the flight proceeded southbound to the Panola County Airport (4F2), near Carthage, Texas, where they planned to stay in closed traffic to perform some additional touch and go landings. The flight reported on Unicom being established on the downwind for runway 35.

A witness reported to local law enforcement personnel that following the approach, the airplane appeared to have touched down on runway 35. After full power was applied, the airplane was observed climbing through 300 to 400 feet agl. The airplane then "stalled, the nose dropped to about 30 degrees below the horizon, and the airplane entered a right spin." The airplane subsequently impacted the ground in a nearly level attitude, bounced once and came to rest about 25 feet beyond the point of initial impact on a measured heading of 185 degrees, approximately 1,000 feet to the east of the centerline of runway 35. Another witness at the airport reported during initial takeoff climb, at an estimated altitude of 400 to 500 feet above the ground, the engine appeared to lose power and the flight made a 180-degree right turn to attempt to return to the airport.

Runway 35 at 4F2 was reported to be 4,000 feet in length and 75 feet wide. There were no buildings or major obstructions beyond the departure end of the runway, offering good forced landing options along the takeoff path. The Unicom was operational on 122.8 at the time of the accident. No distress calls were reported on the Unicom from the accident flight.

The FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported that both fuel cells were breached by impact forces. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the damage was consistent with that of a nearly level attitude, at a high rate of descent, in a slight right turn. The inspector stated that the airplane impacted the ground on a heading perpendicular to the takeoff runway, bounced once and came to rest on a heading opposite the direction of takeoff. Flight control and engine control continuity were established at the accident site. All three landing gears collapsed during the accident sequence.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officer that first responded to the accident site, reported that the 500-hour pilot and co-owner of the airplane was occupying the left seat, and the 16,000 hour flight instructor was occupying the right seat. The officer reported that both occupants were wearing their respective seat belts and shoulder harnesses.

The wreckage of the airplane was recovered to Dallas Air Salvage (ASOD) near Lancaster, Texas, where a detailed examination of the wreckage was conducted on January 14, 2004, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The examination revealed that no fuel was found in the carburetor, the gascolator, or the fuel line feeding the engine. Additionally, no residual fuel was found in the fuel lines beyond the carburetor and no anomalies were noted with the fuel system. The fuel pumps were found to be operational. The reason for the suspected fuel starvation could not be determined.

The owner of the airplane reported to the investigator-in-charge in a telephonic conversation, he performed a few flights on the airplane prior to the accident, including one in which he flew with the flight instructor. He added that he had performed 4 or 5 power-off stalls and he found the aircraft to be very docile and the airplane provided consistent "clear breaks" during stalls. He added that due to the relatively short wing span, the airplane "had the propensity to develop a high sink rate" if the airspeed was allowed to decrease below 85 knots on final approach; however, both the flight instructor and his son were well aware of this characteristic.

Autopsies and toxicological tests were requested and performed on both occupants of the airplane. The autopsies were requested by the Office of the Medical Examiner and performed by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, Texas, on 15 December 2004. The cause of death for both pilots was reported as the result of multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicological tests were performed by the Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Both toxicological tests were negative for alcohol or illegal drugs.

The East Texas Regional Airport (KGGG), near Longview, Texas, which is located 24.4 nautical miles northwest (301 degrees) of the accident site was the nearest weather reporting station. Their 1353 METAR reported winds from 150 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 11 degrees Celsius, dew point 02 degrees Celsius, with an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of Mercury. The IIC calculated the density altitude at minus 333 feet.

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