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N78BJ accident description

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Crash location 33.313889°N, 84.772500°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Sharpsburg, GA
33.339284°N, 84.648542°W
7.4 miles away

Tail number N78BJ
Accident date 14 May 2006
Aircraft type Taylor Skybolt
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 14, 2006, at 1845 eastern daylight time, a Taylor, Skybolt, N78BJ, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees and ground while performing aerobatic flight in the vicinity of Sharpsburg, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Newnan Coweta County Airport, Newnan, Georgia, on May 14, 2006, at an undetermined time.

A friend of the pilot was in his yard when he observed the airplane approach his location. The airplane circled his house to the left about 3 or 4 times at about 500 feet. The witnesses observed the airplane begin a high speed pass by lowering the nose to the ground and descending down to 200 to 300 feet at a very high rate of speed. When the airplane reached the vicinity of a tree line heading east bound, the airplane was observed to initiate a pull up maneuver, and made a snap roll to the right. The airplane went inverted and disappeared from view behind the tree line followed by an impact sound.

Another witness stated he was in his front yard when he observed a bi-plane make a low pass over the trees just behind his house at a high rate of speed. The witness observed the airplane start a climb to a higher altitude followed by a barrel roll. At the bottom of the roll, the airplane leveled out at a high rate of speed, and went inverted as if it was attempting another roll. The witness described the turns as controlled and similar to an air show maneuver. The airplane disappeared from view followed by the sound of an impact.


Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on April 22, 2005, with ratings for airplane single engine land. In addition, the pilot held a mechanic certificate with ratings for airframe and power plant issued on October 4, 2005. The pilot held a third class medical issued on March 10, 2006, with no restrictions. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed the pilot had accumulated 280 total flight hours of which 81 hours were in the skybolt. The pilot's last flight review was conducted on March 31, 2006. The pilot recorded one dual training flight with an aerobatic instructor on September 24, 2004, for .8 hours. Further review of the logbook revealed the pilot had conducted aerobatic flights consisting of aileron rolls and loops on August 27, 2004, September 12, 2004, December 21, 2004, April 4, 2005, July 20, 2005, September 11, 2005, and January 28, 2006, for a total of 8.5 hours of solo aerobatic flight. The pilot's last flight in the Skybolt before the accident was on February 28, 2006. The pilot's last recorded flight in the logbook was on April 24, 2006, in a Cessna 525A.


Review of the airplane logbooks revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on January 14, 2005. The tachometer time at the annual inspection was19 hours. The tachometer time at the crash site was 43.1 hours. The Hobbs meter at the crash site was 51.0 hours, and the airframe total time was 51 hours. The altimeter encoding system and static system check was performed on December 28, 2005. The Airport manager at Newnan Coweta Airport stated the airplane was refueled on May 11, 2006, with10 gallons of 100 low lead fuel.


The 1852 surface weather observation at William B. Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, located 20.1 nautical miles northeast of the crash site was wind 340-degrees at 14 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 6,500 feet scattered clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 29.85.


The wreckage was 200 feet from the power line located at the end of Shelly Lane in the vicinity of Sharpsburg, Georgia. The airplane collided with the top of several trees in a descending 45-degree nose down attitude on a heading of 180-degrees magnetic. The propeller spinner received damage. The propeller assembly remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. Both propeller blade tips were bent aft 6-inches inboard of the propeller tips. One propeller blade exhibited "s" bending. The engine assembly was damaged. The starter impacted the engine oil sump and a 4-inch hole was present. The fuel lines were disconnected and fuel was present in the fuel lines.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the fuselage was on its left side. Continuity of all flight controls was confirmed from the cockpit aft to all flight control surfaces. Both wings, horizontal stabilizers, and the rudder assembly separated from the airframe. The fuel tank was ruptured and the main landing gear was damaged.

The engine assembly was examined by the FAA on May 17, 2006. Both magnetos were rotated and no anomalies were noted. The rocker covers were removed and the propeller was rotated by hand. Compression and suction was obtained on all cylinders. Continuity was confirmed from the crankshaft to the rear gears.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot, on May 15, 2006. The reported cause of death was "blunt force trauma." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine of an undetermined quantity was detected in the blood.


The wreckage was released to the family of the deceased pilot on May 15, 2006.

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