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N528HZ accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 45.619445°N, 121.168334°W
Nearest city The Dalles, OR
45.594564°N, 121.178682°W
1.8 miles away
Tail number N528HZ
Accident date 01 Aug 2016
Aircraft type Sperling Richard G Lancair 360
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 1, 2016, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair 360, N528HZ, impacted terrain while landing on runway 31 at Columbia Gorge Regional/The Dalles Municipal Airport (DLS), The Dalles, Oregon. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from DLS about 1030.

Two witnesses, located on the ramp adjacent to the refueling area, observed the airplane west of the runway in a nose-low, steep-left-bank attitude with the left wing pointed directly towards the ground. A second later, the airplane impacted the terrain. One witness reported that, following the impact, the airplane cartwheeled and slid on its belly before it came to rest.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multi-engine land ratings. He held a third-class airman medical certificate issued on April 28, 2014, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. At the time of his last medical exam, the pilot reported flight experience that included 1,860 total hours and 104 hours in the last 6 months.


The two-seat, single-engine, low-wing, retractable landing gear airplane was manufactured by the pilot in 2014. It was powered by an experimental Textron Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine, rated at 240 horsepower. The airplane was equipped with a Hartzell two-bladed variable-pitch propeller, model HC-E2YR-1BF/F7068-2. A review of available maintenance records showed that the engine was disassembled and inspected on March 4, 2014, due to low oil pressure. The engine was subsequently rebuilt and installed on the accident airplane at an undetermined date. The airframe records were not available to investigators during the investigation.


At 0953, the weather conditions at DLS included wind from 340° at 10 knots, 10 miles visibility, temperature of 21°C, dew point temperature of 11°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury.


A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the accident site and the surrounding area. The examination revealed 6 equally-spaced propeller slash marks on runway 31 about 1,800 ft from the approach end. A ground scar and a part of the left-wing tip were observed in a grassy area located 385 ft from the propeller marks on a heading of about 296o magnetic. The airplane wreckage debris path was about 200 ft in length on a heading of about 235o magnetic. The airplane came to rest upright with its nose oriented northeast.

The left wing and its respective carry-through structure had separated from the fuselage, and parts were dispersed along the debris path. All airframe components were found with the main wreckage along with all flight control surfaces, which had remained attached to their respective hinges. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to all primary flight control surfaces. Multiple separations were observed in various control cables, consistent with impact.

During the wreckage recovery, the FAA inspector observed that both main and the nose landing gear were in a retracted position. The left and right main landing gear doors and the fuselage bottom skin exhibited numerous scratches and paint transfer consistent with the airplane's lower surface contacting the runway with the landing gear retracted. No evidence of pre-impact anomalies was found with the landing gear system.

The two-bladed propeller assembly remained attached to the crankshaft's propeller flange. Both blade tips were bent and curled aft, and the blades displayed numerous span-wise scratches from about mid span to the blade tips consistent with the propeller blades contacting the runway.

The engine remained attached to the airframe, and the engine mounts were intact. All engine accessories remained attached to the engine. The air filter remained attached to its bracket and exhibited signs of impact damage. The fuel pump and the fuel lines remained attached to the engine and to their respective cylinders. The fuel selector handle was found in the "RIGHT" tank position. Fuel was present in the airplane; however, the fuel quantity was not determined. The needle on the fuel gauge indicated 1/2.

The top sparkplugs were removed from their respective cylinders and exhibited signatures consistent with normal operation. The electrode areas displayed no mechanical deformation. A compression test was conducted and cylinder Nos.1, 3 and, 4 produced compression and suction during the propeller rotation. The No. 2 cylinder did not produce any compression or suction due to impact damage. The throttle and mixture controls remained attached to their respective cockpit controls and their control levers. The throttle, mixture, and propeller control levers were positioned full forward.

The examination revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction that would have precluded normal operations.

The complete accident site summary and the examination report are available in the public docket for this accident.


Klickitat County Coroner's Office, Goldendale, Washington, completed an autopsy on the pilot and concluded that the cause of death was blunt force injuries. The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology on specimens from the pilot. No ethanol was present in urine; ketamine was detected in urine and blood. Ketamine is an injectable, rapidly acting general anesthetic agent that was administered during the pilot's postaccident transport to the hospital.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's loss of control during an aborted landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to extend the landing gear before touchdown.

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