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N535Y accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Blackduck, MN
47.733010°N, 94.548579°W
Tail number N535Y
Accident date 03 Jul 1999
Aircraft type Larson Smith Miniplane DSA-1
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On July 3, 1999, at 2020 central daylight time, a Larson Smith Miniplane DSA-1, owned and piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during an in-flight collision with the terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering near Blackduck, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The local flight departed a private airstrip near Blackduck, Minnesota, at 2000.

A witness to the accident stated that the pilot arrived at the private airstrip around 1940 and mentioned that he would be going for a local aerobatic flight. The witness stated that the pilot departed the airstrip approximately 20-minutes after he arrived. The witness stated that the aircraft had completed a series of loops, rolls, and hammerheads prior to the time of the accident. The witness stated that the aircraft was conducting the maneuvers around 3,000 feet above ground level (agl). The witness reported that during one of the recoveries from a hammerhead maneuver the aircraft stalled and entered a nose-low spiraling path towards the ground.


The pilot, born March 1, 1963, was the holder of a private pilot certificate with privileges for single engine land airplanes.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicate that the pilot's last aviation medical examination was preformed on May 5, 1995. The pilot possessed an expired third-class medical with no limitations or restrictions associated with its issuance.

According to FAA records, the pilot received his private pilot certificate on June 15, 1995. FAA records indicate that when the private pilot certificate was issued the pilot had logged 52.3 hours, of which 32.1 hours were dual and 20.2 hours were solo.

During the course of the investigation, the pilot's flight logbook was not located.


The aircraft was a Larson Smith Miniplane DSA-1, N535Y, serial number M-1. The Smith Miniplane DSA-1 is a built-by-plans, single seat, open cockpit, biplane. The aircraft has a fabric covered steel-tube fuselage and a fabric covered wing constructed from wood.

The aircraft was constructed by a previous owner and was certified as an experimental/amateur-built airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on May 20, 1964.

The engine was a Lycoming O-290-G, serial number 987-24. According to the engine manufacturer, the engine was originally manufactured as a ground-power-unit.

According to a family member of the pilot, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane, although a bill-of-sale was not located and the aircraft was not registered with the FAA.

During the course of the investigation, the aircraft, engine, and propeller logbooks were not located.


A weather observation station, located at the Bemidji-Beltrami County Airport, 21 nautical miles from the accident site on a 237-degree magnetic heading, reported the weather as:

Observation Time: 1955 cdt Wind: 150-degrees at 7 knots Visibility: 10 statute miles Sky Condition: Scattered Clouds at 2,500 feet above ground level Broken Ceiling at 4,000 feet above ground level Temperature: 26-degrees centigrade Dew Point Temperature: 21-degrees centigrade Pressure: 29.64 inches of mercury


The aircraft impacted a 3-4 feet deep, heavily vegetated, swamp near Blackduck, North Dakota. A global positioning system unit identified the accident location as:

47-degrees 41-minutes 41-seconds North Latitude 94-degrees 30-minutes 31-seconds West Longitude

The aircraft was found nose-down, partially submerged in the swamp. The upper wing was found forward of the aircraft approximately 2-feet. Emergency personnel informed the NTSB investigator that the upper wing had been cut-away to extract the pilot from the wreckage. All of the remaining control surfaces and aircraft structures were found still attached to the fuselage.

Examination of the wreckage was conducted and the control system was examined. The control system for the elevator and ailerons consists of push-pull rods/tubes. The push-pull tubes and rod end bearings for the elevator and ailerons were present and exhibited continuity from the control surfaces to the pilot's control stick. The rudder cables were found and continuity was established from the rudder to the pilot's pedals.

No anomalies, relative to the airplane or its systems, were found that could be associated with a preexisting condition.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the North Country Regional Hospital Laboratory, Bemidji, Minnesota, on July 6, 1999.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology report indicated the following results:

* No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood * No Cyanide detected in Blood * No Ethanol detected in Vitreous * Atropine detected in Blood * Atropine detected in Urine * 2.9 (ug/ml, ug/g) Lidocaine detected in Blood * Lidocaine detected in Urine

Atropine and Lidocaine are commonly utilized by emergency medical service personnel for heart related trauma.


A party to the investigation was the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, Fargo, North Dakota.

The wreckage was released to a representative of the Beltrami County Sheriff Department on July 5, 1999.

NTSB Probable Cause

Aircraft control not being maintained by the pilot. Factors to the accident were the aerobatic maneuvers being flown by the pilot and the encountered spiral.

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