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N95CE accident description

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Tail numberN95CE
Accident dateJune 08, 2006
Aircraft typeLCIV LLC Lancair IV-P Propjet
LocationProvo, UT
Near 40.234444 N, -111.758889 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 8, 2006, approximately 2345 mountain daylight time, a Lancair IV-P Propjet, N95CE, was destroyed when it impacted the waters of Utah Lake during final approach to land on runway 13 at the Provo Municipal Airport, Provo, Utah. The amateur-built experimental airplane was manufactured by LCIV LLC of Brasstown, North Carolina, and was registered to and operated by Copia Leasing LLC of Springville, Utah. The commercial pilot and the two passengers aboard the airplane were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed and activated for the 14 CFR Part 91 cross-county flight from St. George, Utah to Provo. The flight departed St. George about 2253, and the pilot cancelled the IFR flight plan about 2338 when the airplane was about 10 miles south of the Provo airport.

According to information provided by Lockheed Martin Flight Services, at 2224, the pilot called the Cedar City Automated Flight Service Station by telephone and obtained an abbreviated preflight pilot weather briefing for a flight from St. George to Provo. The pilot told the briefer that he "just want[ed] to know about the convective activity for northern Utah." The briefer replied stating, "I do have airmets for mountain obscurement and icing, mountain obscurement for the whole area and icing for the northern Utah area, V F R flight is not recommended, the current weather conditions, Provo is reporting wind three thirty at eighteen gusting to twenty seven, visibility one zero, few clouds at thirty eight hundred, ceiling niner thousand broken, temperature two zero, altimeter three zero zero four, lightning distant east..."

According to information provided by FAA air traffic control personnel, after departing from St. George, the pilot contacted air traffic control and requested an IFR clearance to Provo. At 2305, the flight was cleared to Provo. At 2326, the pilot asked the controller if there was any weather painting on the radar in front of the aircraft. The controller responded that the weather would be east of Provo by the time the airplane would arrive there. At 2338:22, the pilot stated, "I have Provo in sight like to cancel IFR." The pilot did not ask for and was not issued the current Provo weather.

Shortly after the pilot cancelled IFR, radar contact with the flight was lost due to the airplane's descending below the floor of radar coverage in the area. No distress calls were received. Concerned family members contacted local authorities about 0350 on June 9, and a search was started. About 0630, debris from the airplane was spotted floating in Utah Lake. An extensive search of the lake was conducted, and on June 12, 2006, the main wreckage of the airplane was located in about 10 feet of water approximately 1 mile west of Utah Lake State Park, which is located on the shore of the lake directly north of the Provo airport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with instrument, single engine land, and multi-engine land airplane ratings. Additionally, he held a flight instructor certificate with instrument, single engine land, and multi-engine land airplane ratings. His most recent medical certificate was a first class medical issued on June 9, 2005, with the limitation, must wear corrective lenses. On the application for this medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 1,400 hours total flight time with 450 hours flown in the previous 6 months.

On an insurance application dated May 11, 2006, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 1,714 total hours with 110 hours flown in the previous 90 days. He reported having 0 hours previous experience in the accident airplane make and model.

According to the flight instructor who provided the training, between May 11, 2006, and June 7, 2006, the pilot completed a Lancair IV-P Propjet familiarization training course. During the course, the pilot received 30.5 hours of ground instruction and 18.3 hours of flight instruction, all in the accident airplane. The flight instructor's notes for the ground lesson on June 3, stated, in part, "discussion of pilot limitations imposed after training in a corporate use environment and the human factors involved in such an operation and the need for SOP's etc. in a corporate flight department. Flight route and planning based on their frequent use from St. George area to the Provo airport." The notes for the ground lesson on June 7, stated, in part, "further discussion of pilot limitations imposed after training in a corporate use environment and the human factors involved in such an operation."

A course syllabus provided by the flight instructor included the following list of pilot limitations imposed following course completion:

1. No flights in Instrument Meteorological Conditions until the pilot has a minimum of 100 hours in type. 2. No night flights until the pilot has a minimum of 50 hours in type. 3. No instrument flights without a fully operational Autopilot and used during flight. 4. 10 hours solo night 5. The above limitations are not a substitute nor shall they override applicable FAR's or AIM recommendations.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane's maintenance records were not located during the investigation. FAA records indicated that the airplane was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate in the amateur built category on September 21, 2004. The airworthiness certificate application stated that the airplane was powered by a Walter XM601E turbine engine driving an Avia V508E/84/B2 propeller. Records obtained by the FAA inspector from the pilot's family indicated that the airplane was returned to service on December 2, 2005, following completion of a condition inspection at a total time of 107.8 hours. The records indicated that as of May 10, 2006, the airplane had accumulated a total time of 143.6 hours.

According to information provided by Lancair of Redmond, Oregon, the avionics and instruments installed in the airplane included, in part, a primary flight display (PFD) and a multifunction display (MFD) manufactured by Chelton Sierra. The PFD was identified as a Synthetic Vision Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) with an Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS). Additionally, a Trutrak DFC-250AS autopilot system with altitude preselect was installed in the airplane.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The following weather observations were recorded by the unaugmented Automated Weather Observing System-3 (AWOS-3) at the Provo Municipal Airport.

At 2255, wind from 260 degrees at 8 knots with gusts to 19 knots, visibility 9 statute miles, thunderstorm, few clouds at 100 feet, scattered clouds at 2,300 feet, broken clouds at 4,400 feet, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point 11 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.11 inches Hg, remarks lightning distant southeast, thunderstorm began at 2249.

At 2315, wind from 100 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 9 statute miles, few clouds at 200 feet, broken clouds at 1,800 feet, overcast at 4,700 feet, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point 11 degrees C, altimeter 30.11 inches Hg, remarks lightning distant north, thunderstorm ended 2309.

At 2335, wind from 120 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 100 feet, scattered clouds at 1,800 feet, broken clouds at 2,800 feet, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.10 inches Hg, remarks lightning distant north, thunderstorm ended 2309.

At 2355, wind from 140 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 200 feet, broken clouds at 11,000 feet, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 13 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.09 inches Hg, remarks lightning distant north, thunderstorm ended 2309.

Examination of Salt Lake City Doppler radar data surrounding the accident time revealed scattered level 5 to 6 thunderstorm cells north through northeast of the Provo area. No echoes were indicated along the airplane's flight track during the final two minutes of flight. For further meteorological information see the Meteorology Factual Report contained in the public docket for this accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On July 28, 2006, the recovered wreckage was examined by the NTSB investigator-in-charge at the facilities of Spanish Fork Flying Service in Spanish Fork, Utah. The wreckage was fragmented into multiple pieces. Major identifiable sections included the engine/propeller assembly, the left and right winglets, the tail section, the nose wheel, the left wing, and the main landing gear assembly. The fuselage was destroyed, and the largest recovered piece was a section of cabin roof. The right wing separated from the fuselage and was broken into multiple pieces. The largest identifiable piece was a portion of the main spar to which a small section of wing skin remained attached. Two pieces of the right aileron were identified in the recovered wreckage. The inboard section of the right aileron and the right flap were not identified in the wreckage. The left wing separated from the fuselage, but sustained relatively less damage than the right wing. It was nearly intact with the entire flap and a portion of the aileron still attached. The remaining portion of the left aileron was separated into two pieces. The tail group separated from the fuselage and remained intact with the exception of the outboard tip of the right horizontal stabilizer and portions of the right elevator which were separated.

The main landing gear assembly was recovered with one of two actuators attached. This actuator appeared to be in the extended or "gear down" position. The nose gear wheel and fork assembly was recovered, and it had broken away at the base of the nose gear strut. Control continuity and flap position could not be determined due to the extent of the damage to the airplane. All three propeller blades were bent and twisted. The forward portion of the engine case was twisted in the direction of propeller rotation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the State of Utah's Office of the Medical Examiner in Salt Lake City, Utah. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force injury. Toxicology tests were conducted by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The toxicology report noted that the samples received were putrefying, and ethanol was detected. Carbon monoxide and cyanide were not detected. Ibuprofen was detected in blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Following recovery of the wreckage, the two Chelton displays were removed from the airplane's instrument panel and an attempt was made to recover the data recorded on the internal flash memory cards of each unit. Data from the accident flight was successfully recovered from one of the two cards. Review of the recorded data indicated the following:

The data began at avionics power up on June 8, at 22:46:18, during engine start. Takeoff roll began at 22:53:25 and the flight proceeded nominally. Throughout the flight, fuel pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature remained within limits, and the engine and electrical systems showed no abnormal indications.

At 23:40:07, the aircraft passed due south of the Fairfield VOR (FFU) with a heading of 027 in a right turn (58 degrees per minute), level at a pressure altitude of 14,107 feet, and an indicated airspeed of 214 knots.

At 23:41:32, the aircraft increased the turn rate and performed a descending right 360-degree turn, beginning at 11,737 feet and ending at 23:43:14 at 7,007 feet.

At 23:43:33, the N2 (propeller) speed increased from about 1,850 to about 2,030 RPM without a change in torque or fuel flow, indicating a change in the commanded propeller pitch to a flatter pitch/higher drag setting.

At 23:43:54, the aircraft was aligned for landing on runway 13 and was approximately 1.5 miles from the threshold at a pressure altitude of 5,247 feet (about 750 feet above the threshold elevation of 4,497 feet) with an indicated airspeed of 210 knots and a descent rate of 1,900 foot per minute (fpm).

At 23:44:06, the aircraft began a right turn. Altitude was 4,977 feet, airspeed 197 knots and descent rate 1,300 fpm. As the right turn continued, the airspeed decayed.

The final data point was at 23:44:43, latitude 40:14.064 N, longitude 111:45.540 W. Heading was 332 degrees, altitude 4,567 feet, airspeed 123 knots and descent rate 1,300 fpm.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner on September 18, 2006.

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