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N78DT accident description

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Crash location 44.992500°N, 95.162500°W
Nearest city Willmar, MN
45.098296°N, 95.075287°W
8.5 miles away
Tail number N78DT
Accident date 16 Aug 2003
Aircraft type Holden Pulsar
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 16, 2003, about 1230 central daylight time, an amateur-built Holden Pulsar, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted into a corn field under unknown circumstances near Willmar, Minnesota. The airplane had departed from the Willmar Municipal Airport, Willmar, Minnesota, on a local flight about 1200. The airplane was reported missing and a search conducted. The airplane was found on August 17, 2003, about 1200. The pilot and his one passenger were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan.

It was reported that the flight was initiated to demonstrate the airplane for the passenger.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The pilot's most recent medical certificate was issued on June 13, 2003. The medical certificate was restricted to a 6 month duration following the date of examination. According to FAA records, the pilot reported having 220 hours of flight experience as of the date of his most recent medical examination.


The airplane was an amateur-built, single-engine, low wing airplane with conventional fixed landing gear and composite primary structure. The airplane could accommodate 2 occupants in a side-by-side arrangement. The airplane was powered by a Rotax model 582 engine rated at 65 horsepower. FAA records indicate that the airplane was completed in March of 1998.


The weather reporting station located at the departure airport listed the conditions at 1217 as: Wind - 040 degrees at 7 knots; Visibility - 10 statute miles; Sky Condition - Clear; Temperature - 31 degrees Celsius; Dew Point - 17 degrees Celsius; Altimeter Setting - 30.03 inches of Mercury.


The FAA conducted an on-scene examination of the accident site. The airplane came to rest in a agricultural field with corn that was about 6 to 7 feet tall. All components of the airplane were located in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. No wreckage path, or crop destruction was found outside of the immediate vicinity of the wreckage. The tail section of the airplane aft of the cabin was intact with the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces still attached. The elevators and rudders remained attached. The forward fuselage including the cabin was crushed. The wings exhibited extensive impact damage. No anomalies were found during the examination that could be attributed to a pre-impact defect.


An autopsy was conducted on the pilot at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office on August 18, 2004.

A Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report listed the following findings:

23 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in muscle

2 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-PROPANOL detected in muscle

The report noted that the ethanol found was from postmortem ethanol formation and not from the ingestion of ethanol.


The FAA was a party to the investigation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in an inadvertent stall/spin.

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