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N1209J accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 35.820834°N, 84.536389°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 Dayton, TN
35.493959°N, 85.012454°W
35.0 miles away
Tail number N1209J
Accident date 26 Aug 2004
Aircraft type Hawkins William Searey
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On August 26, 2004, at 2000 central daylight time, a William Searey experimental airplane, N1209J, registered to and operated by a private owner, nosed over during a water landing on the Hiawassee River, Dayton, Tennessee. The instructional flight was operated under the provision of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The experimental airplane sustained substantial damage. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot reported minor injuries. The flight departed Dayton, Tennessee, on August 26, 2004 at 1900.

According to the CFI, while they were practicing a series of glassy water landings, and while on the step of the eight landing, the airplane "pitched down violently" and nosed over into the water and sank. According to the private pilot, after touchdown on the river, while on the step traveling at approximately 40 mph, the nose of the airplane "jerked downward". The airplane then violently pitched down under the water, and the cockpit filled with water. No flight control or mechanical problems were reported by the pilot's prior to the accident.

The post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the forward section of the nose was missing, and the hull was delaminated. The forward bulkhead and stringers of the hull were made with lumber with multiple knots in the wood, and some evidence of pitch. There was low adhesion of fiberglas to the bulkhead and stringers. Fibers were broken away from the bulkhead and stringers revealing low adhesion to the wood supportive structure. The examination of the fiberglas hull also disclosed evidence of air voids under the bi-directional bonded fiberglas.

Review of the maintenance records revealed that the airplane had an annual inspection on June 7, 2004, and had accumulated a total time in service of 143.7 flight hours. The airplane received its special airworthiness certificate on December 17, 1996, and completed its flight test hours on September 21, 1997.

NTSB Probable Cause

The delamination of the fiberglass hull of the airplane.

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