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N5164J accident description

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Crash location 35.200556°N, 90.053889°W
Nearest city Memphis, TN
35.149534°N, 90.048980°W
3.5 miles away
Tail number N5164J
Accident date 06 May 2005
Aircraft type Earnest Jodel D-9
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 6, 2005, about 1240 central daylight time, an Earnest Jodel D-9 amateur-built experimental airplane, N5164J, registered to an individual owner and operated by the private pilot, collided into the ground during approach to General Dewitt Spain Airport, Memphis, Tennessee. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The private pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed General Dewitt Spain Airport about 1210 on May 6, 2005.

The seller of the airplane reported the pilot purchased the one-seat airplane on May 6, 2005 and wanted to fly it home. A witness standing at the airport's midfield reported the airplane's takeoff from runway 34 appeared normal, and the airplane entered a left pattern for runway 34. The witness stated the airplane was flying low on the downwind leg, and it made a tight turn to the final approach. Witnesses reported the airplane appeared to touch down in the grass short of the runway 34 threshold, and then it bounced into the air and made a go-around. Witnesses stated the airplane then proceeded to make several left traffic patterns for runway 34, and each time around the airplane got lower and slower, and each time the airplane made a pass over the runway without touching down. A witness stated that, on the last pattern, the airplane appeared to be about 200 feet above the ground on the downwind. The witness stated the airplane turned base and was very slow with the nose high. He stated that when the airplane turned final, it spun about half a turn to the left and dove straight into the ground. The witnesses telephoned the local 911 operators and drove to find the airplane and try to help.

Review of pilot records revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on May 29, 1994, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on January 1, 2002, valid when wearing corrective lenses. Review of the pilot experience indicated that the pilot accumulated a total of 404 flight hours with no known flight hours in the Earnest Jodel D-9 amateur-built experimental airplane.

Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane came to rest nose-down approximately 500 feet short of the runway 34 threshold. The propeller and powerplant were embedded in the ground, the wings were at an approximate 70-degree angle to the ground, and the cabin and empennage were separated and inverted on the ground forward of the wings.

Post accident examination of the airplane revealed continuity of the cable system from the rudder to the bell crank to the rudder pedals. The elevator surface was moved up and down, and the torque tube in the cockpit was observed moving. Aileron cable continuity was established to the flight controls in the cockpit.

Post examination of the engine revealed compression was developed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated by hand. The carburetor was intact, and the mixture and throttle controls were attached to the carburetor. Examination of the propeller revealed one blade was bent aft. The air intake and air filters were free of obstructions.

The Regional Forensic Center, Memphis, Tennessee, performed the postmortem examination of the pilot on May 6, 2005. The reported cause of death was "multiple blunt force trauma." The postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs, and alcohol.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's misjudgment of distance/altitude, and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in a stall and subsequent undershoot.

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