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N4535N accident description

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Tail numberN4535N
Accident dateApril 19, 2007
Aircraft typeGrumman American AA-5B
LocationDanville, VA
Near 36.572778 N, -79.336111 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 19, 2007, about 0910 eastern daylight time, a Grumman American AA-5B, N4535N, was destroyed when it impacted trees while on approach to Danville Regional Airport (DAN), Danville, Virginia. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was in radio and radar contact with air traffic control (ATC) at 7,000 feet mean sea level (msl), when the pilot declared a medical emergency and requested to divert to DAN. During the diversion, the pilot (a dentist) advised ATC that he believed his passenger, who was diabetic, was experiencing "tremors." In a subsequent transmission he advised ATC that he was "wrestling with the other guy." The pilot later advised that he had the airport in sight and ATC cleared him for a straight in visual approach to runway 13; however, the pilot did not acknowledge the clearance, and moments later, radar contact was lost.

The wreckage was located in a wooded area, approximately 1 mile northwest of DAN.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on September 2, 2005. At that time, the pilot reported a total flight experience of 609 hours.

The passenger did not hold any FAA certificates.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979. The original engine had been replaced with an overhauled engine on April 2, 2001. At the time of the accident it had accrued approximately 299 hours of operation. The airplane received its last annual inspection on June 29, 2006, and at the time of the accident, had accrued approximately 2,134 hours of operation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation taken at DAN, about 14 minutes before the accident, recorded the wind as calm, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,400 feet, ceiling overcast at 5,500 feet, temperature 9 degrees Celsius, dew point 4 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact failures or malfunctions of the airframe or engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Passenger

A postmortem examination was performed on the passenger by the State of Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The passenger's body was noted to be fragmented, and the presence of an insulin pump was noted on the abdominal wall.

Toxicological testing of the passenger was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The passenger's forensic toxicology report indicated:

">> QUININE detected in Liver"

The Pilot

A postmortem examination was performed on the pilot by the State of Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Toxicological testing of the pilot was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The pilot's forensic toxicology report indicated:

">> 1.625 (ug/ml, ug/g) BUTALBITAL detected in Liver >> 0.997 (ug/ml, ug/g) BUTALBITAL detected in Kidney >> VENLAFAXINE detected in Liver >> VENLAFAXINE detected in Brain >> VENLAFAXINE detected in Kidney >> VENLAFAXINE detected in Lung >> DESMETHYLVENLAFAXINE detected in Liver >> DESMETHYLVENLAFAXINE detected in Brain >> DESMETHYLVENLAFAXINE detected in Kidney >> DESMETHYLVENLAFAXINE detected in Lung >> IBUPROFEN detected in Liver >> IBUPROFEN detected in Kidney"

During a review of medical records maintained by the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division, it was discovered that on the pilot's most recent application for a third class medical certificate, the pilot answered "No" in response to "Do You Currently Use Any Medication." The application noted "No" in response to all medical conditions listed under "Medical History," including specifically "Frequent or severe headaches" and "Mental disorders of any sort; depression, anxiety, etc." The application also noted "No" in response to "Visits to Health Professional Within Last 3 Years."

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