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N853CZ accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 43.622223°N, 82.573334°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 Algonac, MI
42.618367°N, 82.531018°W
69.4 miles away
Tail number N853CZ
Accident date 01 Apr 2010
Aircraft type Czech Aircraft Works Spol Sro Mermaid
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On April 1, 2010, at 1305 eastern daylight time, a Czech Aircraft Works Mermaid amphibious airplane, N853CZ, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with a boat dock near Algonac, Michigan. The local flight was being conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The local flight departed Oakland-Troy Airport (VLL), Troy, Michigan, about 1200.

A firefighter observed the accident airplane from his location at the fire station. He estimated the airplane’s altitude at 500 feet above ground level (agl) and reported that it entered a turn over the river. The airplane’s nose subsequently dropped and it descended upside-down toward the river. He lost sight of the airplane prior to impact.

Local residents observed the airplane flying low along the river. They reported that it entered a bank in the direction of their residence and at one point the wings were perpendicular to the water. The nose of the airplane suddenly dropped and it descended, ultimately striking the dock and shallow water.

The airplane came to rest inverted, partially supported by the boat dock and partially in the river. The water depth was about 1 foot at that location.


The pilot, age 80, held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land and sea airplane ratings. He was issued a third-class airman medical certificate on June 18, 2009, with a restriction for corrective lenses.

The pilot’s flight time logbook was not available to the NTSB. On his most recent application for a medical certificate, the pilot reported 2,200 hours total flight time, with 40 hours flown within the past 6 months.


The accident airplane was a 2007 Czech Aircraft Works Mermaid, serial number 06MM008. It was a two-place, amphibian design and certified as a light sport airplane. It was powered by a 120 horsepower Jabiru 3300 reciprocating engine, serial number 33A-1065.

The most recent annual inspection was completed on November 3, 2009, at 4.0 hours total airframe time. An engine oil change was accomplished on March 23, 2010, at 13.9 hours. There were no subsequent entries contained in the logs. There was no record of unresolved maintenance issues related to the airframe or engine.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the airplane was imported from the Czech Republic, and was issued an FAA Airworthiness Certificate in December 2007. The accident pilot purchased the airplane on October 30, 2009.


Conditions at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base (MTC), located approximately 13 miles west of the accident site, at 1255, were recorded as: Wind from 160 degrees at 11 knots, visibility 12 miles, broken clouds at 22,000 feet above ground level, temperature 22 degrees Celsius, dew point 8 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.87 inches of mercury.

Conditions at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport (DET), located approximately 24 miles southwest of the accident site, at 1253, were recorded as: wind from 200 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 22 degrees Celsius, dew point 8 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.88 inches of mercury.


The airplane impacted a boat dock along the St. Clair River. It came to rest inverted with the left wing supported by the boat dock and the right wing in the river. The accident site was about 60 feet from the shoreline/retaining wall. The water depth was approximately 1 foot.

The nose of the aircraft was crushed and the cockpit area was compromised. Both wings remained attached to the airframe. The right wing was dislocated aft approximately 15 degrees. The wings exhibited leading edge crushing (impact) damage, and the wing skins were deformed and buckled. The right aileron was partially separated. The right flap remained attached to the wing, but it was rotated against the lower wing skin, past its normal extended position. The left flap and aileron remained attached to the wing. Aileron control continuity was confirmed. However, the rod ends common to both the left and right aileron push-pull tubes at the inboard wing roots were separated consistent with overload.

The empennage was partially separated from the aft fuselage. The rudder, horizontal stabilizer and elevators remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Elevator and rudder control continuity was confirmed to the empennage separation. The elevator control push-pull tube was separated at the aft fuselage separation point. The tube was deformed at the separation point and the appearance of the fracture surface was consistent with an overload failure. Elevator continuity was confirmed from the aft fuselage separation point to the cockpit area.

The left side of the engine and engine shroud exhibited damage consistent with impact. The engine appeared to be otherwise intact. Internal engine continuity was confirmed through crankshaft rotation. The carburetor contained fluid consistent in odor and appearance with fuel. No sediment or water was observed. The throttle body and air induction assembly appeared intact.

The propeller blades and hub appeared intact. (The propeller blades had been removed from the hub prior to the post accident examination.) One propeller blade exhibited cracking of the finish surface on the aft face of the blade.


An autopsy of the pilot was performed on April 2, 2010. The pilot’s death attributed to a neck fracture sustained in the accident.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute forensic toxicology report noted the presence of Diphenhydramine and Metoprolol in the submitted samples. Specifically, the report noted:

Diphenhydramine detected in Liver;

0.081 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in Blood;

Metoprolol detected in Urine;

Metoprolol detected in Blood.

The pilot had a Special Issuance of his FAA Medical Certificate due to a history of prostate cancer in remission and high blood pressure controlled with medication (metoprolol and valsartan). He had undergone cataract surgery with intraocular lens replacement, and a recent opthalmologic evaluation had noted a history of elevated blood sugar controlled with diet and age-related macular degeneration with normal visual acuity.

Diphenhydramine is an over-the-counter antihistamine that can have sedative effects.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s loss of control resulting from an aerodynamic stall/spin while maneuvering at low altitude.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.