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N360KK accident description

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Crash location 41.570278°N, 101.691666°W
Nearest city Arthur, NE
41.571654°N, 101.691565°W
0.1 miles away
Tail number N360KK
Accident date 11 Jun 2009
Aircraft type Peterson Allen L Dragonfly Ii
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 11, 2009, at 1233 mountain daylight time, an amateur-built Peterson Dragonfly II airplane, N360KK, piloted by a non-instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with terrain near Arthur, Nebraska. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, without a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight departed Miller Field Airport (VTN), Valentine, Nebraska, at 1139. The intended destination was not determined.

Data obtained from a global position system (GPS) receiver recovered from the airplane indicated that the pilot departed Thief River Falls Regional Airport (TVF), Thief River Falls, Minnesota, at 0438 on the morning of the accident. He subsequently proceeded to VTN where he landed at 0817.

An individual associated with the fixed base operator (FBO) at VTN recalled meeting the accident pilot. He noted that the inbound flight landed normally and nothing appeared unusual. The pilot purchased fuel, which he pumped himself, and remained at the FBO for a few hours. The pilot commented to the individual at the FBO that he was waiting out some weather en route to Tucson. The individual was at lunch from 1200 until about 1310, and did not see the pilot depart.

The GPS data indicated that the accident pilot departed VTN at 1239 and proceeded south-southwest. About 1327, the flight abruptly reversed course and proceeded north. The GPS altitude was 3,963 feet at that time. The track data indicated that the aircraft entered a left turn about one minute later. The airplane flew nearly three complete 360-degree turns, each with a successively smaller turn radius than the one prior, and climbed to approximately 5,100 feet GPS altitude during those turns. The track data indicated that airplane then entered a right turn about 1232:30. The final data point was recorded at 1233:15 and noted a GPS altitude of 3,602 feet.

The accident site was located on open terrain in a rural, sparsely populated area about 13 miles east-northeast of Arthur, Nebraska.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 51, held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine airplane rating. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that he did not have an instrument rating. He was issued a third-class airman medical certificate on May 11, 2009, without limitations. The pilot also held a repairman certificate.

The pilot’s logbook was recovered at the scene. The final page of the log contained 7 entries. The first was dated January 1, 2009, and the seventh was dated May 28, 2009. The entries totaled 20.0 hours. The flight time total brought forward to the last page of the log was 467.7 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was an amateur-built Peterson Dragonfly II, s/n 3600. It was a two-place, canard configured, single engine airplane. According to FAA records, the airplane was powered by a Continental O-200 reciprocating engine. The accident pilot was the builder of the airplane and held a repairman certificate related to that aircraft. An airworthiness certificate was issued for the airplane on August 9, 2005.

The aircraft maintenance logbook was recovered on-scene. The most recent entry was dated November 13, 2009, and noted completion of a conditional inspection. The entry noted the aircraft total time as 206.9 hours at the time of the inspection. The entry was unsigned; however, the certificate number associated with the entry corresponded to the accident pilot’s repairman certificate. There were no entries subsequent to the conditional inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The nearest weather reporting facility to the accident site was located approximately 35 miles southwest at Searle Field Airport (OGA), Ogallala, Nebraska. At 1230, the Automated Weather Reporting System (AWOS) recorded conditions as: Wind from 100 degrees at 5 knots; 10 miles visibility; overcast clouds at 700 feet agl; temperature 12 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 10 degrees C; and altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions were reported as early as 0600 at OGA.

North Platte Regional Airport (LBF), North Platte, Nebraska, was located about 48 miles southeast of the accident site. At 1253, the LBF Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) recorded conditions as: Wind from 090 degrees at 4 knots; 10 miles visibility; overcast clouds at 600 feet agl; temperature 13 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury. IFR conditions were reported as early as 0600 at LBF.

Thomas County Airport (TIF), Thedford, Nebraska, was located about 43 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1230, the TIF AWOS recorded conditions as: Wind from 120 degrees at 9 knots; 10 miles visibility; overcast clouds at 1,400 feet agl; temperature 13 degrees C; dew point 10 degrees C; altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury.

The weather depiction chart current at 1300 depicted two areas of IFR conditions over Nebraska. An area of marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions extended over most of Nebraska. Reporting stations in the vicinity of the accident site depicted instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions due to low ceilings. Visible satellite images depicted an extensive layer of stratiform clouds over Nebraska. No cumulonimbus clouds were identified in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. Infrared satellite images indicated that the cloud tops were approximately 18,000 feet.

The area forecast current for the time of the accident was issued at 0345 and was valid until 1600. The forecast for western Nebraska called for overcast clouds at 3,500 feet agl, with isolated light rain showers and thunderstorms. The forecast outlook from 1600 through 2200 was for visual flight rules (VFR) conditions to prevail.

An Aeronautical Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory for IFR conditions was issued at 0845 and was in effect at the time of the accident flight. The AIRMET advisory area covered most of Nebraska, including the route of flight and the accident site. It warned of ceilings below 1,000 feet and/or visibilities below 3 miles in precipitation and mist. The conditions were expected to end between 1200 and 1500. There were no Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) advisories or convective SIGMET advisories current over Nebraska during the period.

IFR conditions are defined as cloud ceilings of less than 1,000 feet agl and/or visibilities less than 3 statute miles. MVFR conditions are defined as cloud ceilings of 1,000 feet to 3,000 feet agl and/or visibilities of 3 to 5 miles. VFR conditions are defined as cloud ceilings greater than 3,000 feet agl and visibilities greater than 5 miles.

There was no record of the pilot obtaining any briefings or services from flight service or the Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS).

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located on open, marshy terrain in a sparsely populated, rural area. The airplane came to rest upright. The main wings and canard had separated from the fuselage. They were located at the accident site adjacent to the fuselage. The engine remained attached to the firewall. All three of the wooden propeller blades were fragmented. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure.

The airplane was equipped with an artificial horizon and a compass; it was not equipped with directional gyro. It was also equipped with a basic wing-leveler autopilot with an altitude hold function.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was performed on June 12, 2009, at the Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.

The FAA toxicology report stated: 0.076 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in Blood, and Diphenhydramine detected in Urine. Staff at the pathology department where the autopsy was performed confirmed that the blood sample tested was taken from the heart. Diphenhydramine, commonly known by the trade name Benedryl, is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects, often used to treat allergy symptoms.

The pilot's most recent application for an airman medical certificate indicated "No" in response to "Do you currently use any medication" and for all items under "Medical History," including "Hay fever or allergy."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A Garmin 296 GPS unit, s/n 67009731, was recovered from the wreckage and successfully downloaded. In addition to the accident flight, the data contained a 4-leg flight on May 28, 2009, originating from Marana Regional Airport (AVQ) near Tucson, Arizona, to TVF. The flight departed AVQ at 0528, and arrived at TVF at 1915, with intermediate stops at Socorro, New Mexico; La Junta, Colorado; and Aberdeen, Minnesota. There were no flights recorded by the GPS unit between May 28th and June 11th.

All times reflected in this report are mountain daylight with exception of the time of departure from VTN, and the flight previous to the accident flight, TVF to VTN, which were in the Central time zone.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment due to the use of a over-the-counter medication with sedative effects and spatial disorientation.

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