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N101GP accident description

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Crash location 36.305556°N, 88.453889°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Paris, TN
36.302002°N, 88.326711°W
7.1 miles away

Tail number N101GP
Accident date 21 Apr 2008
Aircraft type Dragon Fly Aviation GT-500
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 21, 2008, about 0950 central daylight time, an amateur-built Quicksilver GT-500, N101GP, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near Paris Tennessee. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. The local aerial application flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed.

According to witnesses, about 0800 on the day of the accident, the pilot departed from his private home airstrip, flew to a wheat field approximately 5 miles to the southwest, and completed one aerial chemical application flight. The pilot then returned to his airstrip. About 0845, a witness who was farming the subject wheat field saw the pilot depart from the airstrip the second time, and awaited the pilot's return. About 0915 the pilot returned for refueling and chemical replenishment. According to the witness, the pilot was concerned about the engine oil pressure, and stated that it was approximately "20 pounds less than it should be." The pilot and the witness checked the oil quantity, and confirmed it was "full." The pilot began loading the chemical, and the witness left.

About 0930 the airplane returned to the same wheat field, and resumed the aerial application. According to another witness located west of the wheat field, about 0950, the airplane was flying south, when the engine "sputtered" approximately mid-way through a spray run. The chemical spray stopped, and the airplane began a climbing right turn to the north. The engine stopped when the airplane was approximately 800 feet above the wheat field on a northerly heading. The engine was restarted, and the airplane began to climb, still on its northerly heading. When the airplane was at approximately 900 feet, the engine "sputtered" and stopped a second time. The airplane descended while it continued on the northerly heading, which took it over a wooded area.

Another witness located north of the wheat field also heard the engine stop, restart, and stop a second time. She and the previous witness both saw the airplane disappear from view while it was in an engine-out glide over the wooded area, and heard the sounds of impact shortly thereafter.

First responders to the accident indicated that the pilot occupied the front seat, and that he was not wearing a helmet. His five-point restraint harness was buckled, but the shoulder straps were found behind/under his arms and shoulders.

The accident site was located in a wooded area approximately 1 mile north of the subject wheat field. There was no wreckage path, the wreckage was tightly contained, and the surrounding trees exhibited minimal damage. All airplane components were found at the site. The fuselage was oriented on its left side, approximately 20 degrees nose down. The forward portion was partially separated and crushed. The wings and tailboom exhibited significant impact damage. The fuel system was not compromised, and there were no fuel leaks. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and recovery personnel estimated that approximately 2 gallons remained in each fuel tank. The engine and propeller did not exhibit any impact damage. Residual chemical remained in the hopper. There were no indications of pre or postimpact fire.

The accident pilot held commercial pilot, flight instructor, and 14 CFR Part 137 (Private) operating certificates, and he had accumulated approximately 9000 total hours of flight experience. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued in December 2006. According to several witnesses, the pilot did not have crops of his own, but was known to conduct aerial applications of others' crops for compensation.

FAA records indicate that the airplane was initially built by and registered to another individual, and that it was first registered to the accident pilot in December 2005. The Hobbs meter installed in the airplane indicated a time of 88.6 hours. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912 ULS non-certificated engine.

The Quicksilver GT500/912 Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) specified that the engine was to use either "premium grade" or "Euro-Super RON 95" automotive gasolines. It also approved the use of 100LL aviation gasoline, but with an advisory to "Only use aviation fuel when the listed automotive fuels are not available." According to the AFM, the total fuel quantity was 16 gallons, contained in two 8-gallon tanks. The total unusable fuel quantity was cited as 2.25 gallons. Each fuel tank was equipped with a shutoff valve mounted at the tank outlet. The fuel lines from each shutoff valve were routed to a fuel selector valve, and from there, a single fuel line was routed to the fuel pumps and engine.

According to the pilot's sons, the pilot had previously experienced engine stoppage problems, and had conducted at least one forced landing due to engine stoppage. Subsequent to the forced landing, and in the weeks just prior to the accident, the pilot installed an additional, electrically-driven fuel pump. This pump was plumbed in series with, and prior to, the engine-driven pump.

Downstream of the engine-driven pump, the fuel line was routed to a fuel pressure regulator, and from there, separate lines were routed to each of the twin carburetors. The Rotax Installation Manual and the Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) for the 912 series engines both specified a fuel return line from the fuel pressure regulator to the fuel tank(s). The Installation Manual also contained the following caution: "For prevention of vapour locks, all the fuel lines on the suction side of the fuel pump have to be insulated against heat and fire in the engine compartment and routed at distance from hot engine components…"

Examination of the engine and airplane revealed that none of the fuel lines, all of which were clear, flexible plastic material, were insulated. The engine was not equipped with a fuel return line from the fuel pressure regulator to either of the fuel tanks. The fuel lines from the pressure regulator to each of the carburetors were routed within approximately 1/2 inch of the exhaust pipes.

The 0955 weather observation at an airport located approximately 47 miles northeast of the accident location reported winds from 100 degrees at 5 knots, 7 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 18 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

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