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N45500 accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 32.286945°N, 106.789445°W
Nearest city Mesilla, NM
32.270094°N, 106.800838°W
1.3 miles away
Tail number N45500
Accident date 15 Dec 2007
Aircraft type Garniss STOL 701
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 15, 2007, at 1641 mountain standard time, a Garniss STOL 701, N45500, piloted by a sport pilot, was destroyed when it struck terrain while maneuvering near Mesilla, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated approximately 1600 from Las Cruces (LRU), New Mexico.

According to FAA inspectors, the pilot purchased the airplane approximately 2 months prior to the accident. His wife and daughters, who were witnesses to the accident, told the inspectors that the pilot flew over his home on a "daily basis." Each time, he would "buzz" his house and "wig wag" his wings. On the afternoon of the accident, they observed the airplane circling over a vacant field behind their house in a constant descending left turn. Other witnesses said the pilot began to rock his wings as he made a "lower than normal" pass. As the pilot wig wagged his wings, he "lost control" of the airplane. The left wing tip contacted the ground and the airplane cartwheeled. The accident site was approximately 100 yards east of 2031 Old Farm Road, and 350 feet west-southwest of the pilot's residence.

A toxicological screen performed by FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, found Chlorpheniramine in the pilot's blood and urine. Since it could not be quantified, it could not be determined how much was in the pilot's body or how long he had taken the antihistamine before flying. According to the Regional Federal Air Surgeon, the drug is contraindicated because it may cause drowsiness.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during an intentional low altitude maneuver due to impairment, resulting in the in-flight collision with terrain.

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