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N4293S accident description

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Crash location 40.440000°N, 74.811667°W
Nearest city Ringoes, NJ
40.428994°N, 74.867665°W
3.0 miles away
Tail number N4293S
Accident date 30 Jul 2006
Aircraft type Burleigh SeaRey
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 30, 2006, about 1100 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built SeaRey, N4293S, was destroyed shortly after takeoff from the pilot's private airstrip in Ringoes, New Jersey. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a witness, he heard the airplane's engine start and the airplane taxi. The airplane, which the witness had heard "many times previously," sounded "normal." The witness then heard the airplane take off toward the north. Shortly thereafter, he heard the engine "misfire and sputter," which caused him to look up. He then saw the airplane in a "vertical dive," with the underside facing him. The airplane subsequently disappeared behind trees, and the witness heard it impact the ground.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector provided photographs of the accident scene. As seen in several photographs, the wreckage was mostly confined to one spot, with no obvious ground scarring leading up to it. The high-wing, pusher-configured airplane was upside down and the nose section was destroyed. The engine, which remained attached to its normal above-wing location, was also upside down, resting on the ground. The top of the rudder, along with the horizontal stabilizer and elevator, were also in contact with the ground. Both wings were upside down and still attached to the fuselage, with the right wing almost flush with the ground, and the left wing sticking up at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Both wings displayed leading edge crushing.

The wooden propeller was fractured about mid-span on both blades. Both blades and their corresponding remnants displayed fractures in a direction opposite rotation. Ground scars were also present in the plane of rotation.

A photograph of the engine rpm gauge revealed that the faceplate was missing, and that the face was bent in several places. The indicator needle was pointing to the 2,900 rpm marking.

The inspector did not note any mechanical anomalies which would have precluded normal operation. The photographs and a satellite image of the area indicated that several fields were available for a forced landing.

The pilot, age 63, held an airline transport pilot certificate, with airplane multiengine land and B-727 ratings. He also held a commercial certificate with glider, single engine land, single engine sea, and lighter-than-air free balloon ratings. In addition, he was a certificated flight instructor for airplane single and multi-engine, instrument airplane, and glider, and held a certificate for airframe and powerplant mechanic. On his latest FAA third class airman medical certificate application, dated June 19, 2006, the pilot indicated he had 16,800 hours of flight time.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Hunterdon County Medical Examiner's Office, Flemington, New Jersey, which reported the cause of death to be blunt force trauma. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with no drugs detected.

Weather, reported at an airport 12 nautical miles to the northeast, at 1053, included clear skies, winds from 010 degrees true at 6 knots, temperature 84 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Factors included a partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

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