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N8122 accident description

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Tail numberN8122
Accident dateAugust 29, 1998
Aircraft typeJodel F11-3
LocationBeeville, TX
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 29, 1998, at 1530 central daylight time, a Jodel F11-3 amatuer-built experimental airplane, N8122, was destroyed when it impacted terrain and was consumed by a fire following an in-flight collision with a roof-mounted television antenna, near Beeville, Texas. The non-instrument rated private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed from the Sky's-the-Limit private grass airstrip near Beeville, Texas, approximately 1510.

Witnesses were interviewed by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC). They reported that the pilot purchased the tailwheel-equipped airplane in July of 1998. Witnesses stated that the airplane initially took off to the west and then circled the airstrip, executing a low pass ("approximately 100 feet or less") over the parachute "packing hangar." Following communication with the pilot of an airplane carrying skydivers, the Jodel pilot departed the area to the north. Approximately 30 minutes had passed and the skydivers were on the ground, when witnesses, who were inside the packing hangar, heard the pilot of the accident airplane make a radio transmission which communicated his intentions to land. "Shortly thereafter [the people in the hangar] heard the roar of the [accident] airplane pass over the packing hangar. As the airplane passed overhead, there was a loud thud on the roof (later discovered to be a television antenna)."

One eye witness, who was located on the airfield, stated that he observed the airplane flying over the airfield in straight and level flight, in an easterly direction. The airplane "dropped below the Sky's-the-Limit hangar" (packing hangar) and out of his sight. The witness stated that he next saw the airplane climb over the packing hangar and collide with a television antenna, which was mounted on the roof of the packing hangar. He added that a section of the antenna landed 15 feet from him, and he observed "pieces of the antenna flying through the air." The airplane then passed out of his view and within 4 to 5 seconds he observed "black smoke" coming from the vicinity of the accident site. The witness was located 500 feet north of the packing hangar at the time of the accident.

A second eye witness, who was also located on the airfield, reported that the airplane "did a low flyby over the packing hangar." The airplane was observed to descend below the roofline of the packing hangar and then begin climbing over the hangar; while over the hangar, the airplane "clipped the [television] antenna with the left wing." The witness added that the airplane continued turning to the left, entered a "steep" descent, and then passed out of his sight.

According to a pilot, who was flying the jump airplane in the vicinity of the airport, the accident airplane crossed mid-field, from the northwest to the southeast. The airplane then passed out of view. When the pilot next made visual contact with the airplane, it was on the northwest side of the airstrip in a "descending left hand turn crossing trees and wires approximately 30 feet high." He added that the airplane impacted the ground in a left bank and nose low attitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of FAA records, by the IIC, revealed that the pilot obtained his private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating on December 20, 1984. The pilot's most recent FAA medical application, dated October 11, 1996, indicated that the pilot had accumulated a total of 96 hours. The pilot's flight logbook indicated that the pilot completed a biennial flight review on November 1, 1996. According to the logbook, as of August 8, 1998, the pilot had accumulated a total of 260.1 flight hours, of which 18.4 hours were in the Jodel F11-3. On July 13, 1998, the pilot underwent a 1.2 hour aircraft checkout, in the accident airplane, with a certified flight instructor.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The white and red, 1970 Jodel F11-3, serial number F-5264, underwent an annual inspection on June 1, 1998, at a total time of 778.1 hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated 795.8 total flight hours. The airplane was powered by a 135-horsepower Lycoming O-290-D2 engine, which had accumulated 1,222.3 hours at the time of the accident. Additionally, the airplane was equipped with a Sensenich 76AK-2-42 wooden, fixed pitch propeller. The airplane was equipped with two removable gull-wing type doors, which had been removed prior to the accident flight.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Witnesses at the airport reported that at the time of the accident, the skies were clear, it was hot (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and humid, and the winds were out of the east.

At 1456, 34 minutes before the accident occurred, the weather observation facility located at the Corpus Christi International Airport (42 miles southeast of the accident site) reported the following weather conditions: clear skies, visibility 10 miles, winds from 070 degrees at 14 knots, temperature 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and dewpoint 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The entire aircraft wreckage area, including ground impressions and debris, encompassed a linear area approximately 79 feet long and 20 feet wide oriented on a 200 degree magnetic heading. The initial ground impact point was a ground scar, 45 feet northeast of the main wreckage, that contained red paint transfer. Ground scars indicated that the airplane slid forward along the energy path for approximately 45 feet, and the fuselage came to rest upright on a measured magnetic heading of 090 degrees magnetic. The main wreckage consisted of the engine, fuselage, empennage, and wing structures.

Airplane components were located in a ground scar along the debris path (22 feet northeast of the main wreckage) and included a section of the left wing root that measured 3 feet by 3 feet and pieces of the wooden propeller. Another section of the left wing root was located 17 feet northeast of the main wreckage. The last components located along the debris path, approximately 15 feet northeast of the main wreckage, were a section of the leading edge of the left wing (which contained a circular puncture consistent with the diameter of a steel support pipe from the television antenna), the landing light assembly (from the left wing), and a main landing gear sleeve. The engine separated from the airframe and came to rest with the main wreckage in an inverted position and oriented 090 degrees magnetic.

The television antenna, which the airplane struck, was mounted on the top of a building located 785 feet east of the main wreckage. The antenna measured 34 feet above ground level and 17 feet above the roof of the building. The base of the antenna was manufactured from 1 inch galvanized steel and was supported by four guide wires. Sections of the antenna were found along the reported path of the airplane. One section of the antenna, which was found 395 feet southeast of the packing hangar, exhibited white, red, and blue paint transfer. This section of antenna was bent at a 30 degree angle (1 foot 8 inches below the top of the antenna) at the paint transfer markings. Another section of the antenna, which exhibited red paint transfer markings, was located on the roof of a building 428 feet southwest of the accident site.

All of the flight control cables remained intact and control cable continuity was established to all the flight control surfaces. All major structural components of the airplane were identified along the wreckage path. No evidence of an in-flight fire was found. Additionally, no flight instrument readings or cockpit switch positions could be determined due to the fire.

The propeller remained attached to the engine. The spinner assembly was crushed inward. One propeller blade remained intact and the second propeller blade separated at the root of the blade.

The engine remained intact and all of the accessories, except for the carburetor, remained attached to the engine. The engine crankshaft rotated and continuity to the accessory drive gears was confirmed. According to the engine manufacturer representative, the spark plugs had deposit colors consistent with "normal" engine operation. Additionally, each of the four cylinders exhibited "thumb compression." No pre-existing deficiencies were noted and the on-scene examination did not reveal evidence that the engine was not capable of producing power at the time of impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot received a third class medical certificate on October 11, 1996. The medical certificate stipulated that the pilot must wear corrective lenses and use a hearing amplification device while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate. The medical certificate was amended on December 3, 1996, which removed the stipulation that the pilot must use a hearing amplification device when exercising airman privileges.

An autopsy was performed on August 31, 1998, by the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office, Corpus Christi, Texas. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Toxicological findings included a 12% carbon monoxide level detected in a sample of blood. The FAA Southwest Regional Flight Surgeon stated that, according to the pathologist, the elevated carbon monoxide level was a result of "inhalation of superheated air and toxic gasses during the course of a fire."

FIRE

Witnesses reported that a postaccident "flash" fire commenced within 90 seconds and consumed the entire fabric covered airplane. A 50 foot by 50 foot area of vegetation surrounding the wreckage was destroyed by the fire. According to a report provided by local authorities, the first emergency response vehicle arrived at the scene 6 minutes after the accident occurred.

ADDITIONAL DATA

The airplane was released to the owner on August 30, 1998, following the on-scene examination.

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