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N40SW accident description

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Crash location 40.208611°N, 92.007778°W
Nearest city Knox City, MO
40.143651°N, 92.009342°W
4.5 miles away
Tail number N40SW
Accident date 23 Apr 2007
Aircraft type Bird Seawind 3000
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On April 23, 2007, about 1535 central daylight time, an amateur-built Bird Seawind 3000, N40SW, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire near Knox City, Missouri. The Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger received fatal injuries and one passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from Winter Haven, Florida, and was en route to Willmar, Minnesota, when the accident occurred. Fueling records indicated that an intermediate stop was made in Malden, Missouri, where 45.9 gallons of fuel were added to the airplane's fuel tanks. The exact time of departure from Malden was not determined.

Witnesses reported seeing and hearing the airplane shortly before the accident. Several of these witnesses reported that the engine was "sputtering", or "popping" as the airplane flew overhead.


The pilot, age 64 years, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea ratings. He also held a third class medical certificate issued on August 8, 2005. The medical certificate listed no limitations or restrictions. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot had accumulated 1,500 hours total flight experience as of the date of his medical examination.


The airplane was a 4-seat amateur-built Seawind 3000, amphibious airplane. The airworthiness certificate for the airplane was issued on May 30, 2003. The airplane was a single-engine monoplane of predominately composite construction. The fuselage of the airplane also served as the hull for water operations. The airplane was equipped with retractable tri-cycle landing gear. The engine was mounted above the fuselage on a mount that extended forward from the vertical stabilizer. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming model IO-540-K1B5 engine rated to produce 300 horsepower.


The weather reporting station located at the Kirksville Regional Airport, Kirksville, Missouri, about 23 miles west of the accident site, recorded the weather conditions at 1555 as: winds 340 degrees at 5 knots gusting to 14 knots; visibility 10 miles; scattered clouds at 3,700 feet; temperature 19 degrees Celsius; dew point 9 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.04 inches of mercury.


The airplane came to rest in a field east of Knox City. The terrain was rising in the direction of the forced landing with vegetation about 8 to 12 inches tall. The wreckage path was oriented about 210 degrees and the initial impact point was about 150 feet from the main wreckage. The initial impact point ground scars consisted of 3 parallel marks about 9 feet in length. Further along the wreckage path, a deep ground scar was found along with one of the nose landing gear doors. The airplane was inverted and was consumed by fire except for the forward 4 feet of the fuselage/hull. The nose landing gear was found in the retracted position within this nose section. The right nose landing gear door and a portion of the left nose landing gear door were separated from the airplane. The bulkhead aft of the nose landing gear was impacted with dirt and vegetation. The left wing had folded on top of the fuselage.

An examination of the wreckage was conducted. Control system integrity could not be established due to the extent of the fire damage. However, no anomalies were found that could be determined to have existed prior to the impact. The cockpit instruments and switches were consumed by the post-crash fire and yielded no useable evidence. The integral fuel tanks were consumed by fire and fuel system fuel lines were broken and torn apart during the impact sequence. No evidence of a pre-impact fire was found. Examination of the engine revealed that the engine was not seized and was free to rotate. One of the propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratching on the cambered side near the tip. Significant fire damage was evident on the engine, accessory section, and accessories. No determination regarding the operational status of the engine or its accessories could be made due to the extent of the fire damage.


The pilot initially survived the accident and was transported to a Quincy, Illinois, hospital. Subsequently, the pilot was transported to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, where he died on April 25, 2007, as a result of his injuries. According to the Coroner's Inquest, the pilot perished due to cardiopulmonary arrest due to shock, due to burns covering 60 percent of his body.

NTSB Probable Cause

The loss of engine power for an undetermined reason. Contributing to the accident was the unsuitable terrain that was encountered by the pilot during the forced landing.

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