Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N9CA accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 35.052778°N, 85.008611°W
Nearest city Collegedale, TN
35.053130°N, 85.050228°W
2.4 miles away
Tail number N9CA
Accident date 02 Dec 2012
Aircraft type Cassutt Sport Racer
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 2, 2012, at an unknown time, an experimental amateur-built Cassutt Sport Racer, N9CA, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Collegedale Municipal Airport (FGU), Collegedale, Tennessee. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed FGU around 1600. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A line worker at the airport stated that he provided a radio check to the accident pilot around 1600, and several minutes later, he observed the accident airplane depart normally from runway 21. He heard no further radio transmissions from the accident pilot, and stated that the airplane had not returned by the time the he left for the evening around 1730. An alert notice was issued the following day when the airport manager observed the pilot's car still parked at the airport. The wreckage was discovered by local authorities on December 4, 2012, in a wooded area approximately one-quarter mile north of the FGU runway 21 threshold.

According to the pilot's daughter, a friend of the pilot indicated that the pilot emailed him prior to the accident flight, stating that he was going to practice takeoffs and landings in the accident airplane. The pilot's daughter stated that the pilot did not fly long distances and "never" flew at night. Although her father had some health issues, he would not fly when he was not feeling well. She further stated that her father sounded well and stated to her that he was feeling "ok" prior to the accident flight.

The pilot, age 82, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He also held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate for the accident airplane. No pilot logbooks were located after the accident, and no determination could be made of the pilot's total and recent flight experience, or experience in the accident airplane made and model. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical records indicated that the pilot applied for a third-class medical certificate in April 2004, at which time he reported 400 total flight hours. The application was deferred due to the pilot's history of severe heart disease with bypass surgery in 1998. The pilot's reported medications at the time of the application included an anticoagulant and several high blood pressure medications.

The accident airplane was an experimental amateur-built, single-seat, single-engine airplane of wood, tube, and fabric construction. It was equipped with one Continental Motors Inc., C85, 85-hp reciprocating engine. The airplane was registered to the accident pilot in May 1972, and was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate in October 1991. A determination of the airplane's maintenance history could not be made, as no maintenance logbooks were recovered.

The 1553 weather observation at Lovell Field Airport (CHA) Chattanooga, Tennessee, located about nine miles west of the accident site, included wind from 170 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, broken clouds at 5,500 feet and 25,000 feet, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 9 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.23 inches of mercury. Visual flight rules (VFR) conditions generally prevailed throughout the evening and into the following day.

The accident site was located among trees and several inches of standing water and mud. Broken tree branches were located in the vicinity of the wreckage, and continued from the wreckage in a northwest direction. The airplane came to rest inverted on an approximate northeast heading. First responders indicated that there was no odor of fuel at the site, and no sheen of fuel in the standing water surrounding the wreckage. Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that both wings remained attached to the fuselage, and the right wing exhibited damage consistent with impact with trees. The wooden wing spar was cracked. The empennage displayed crush damage and was bent about 45 degrees to the right just forward of the horizontal stabilizer. The vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator remained attached to the empennage. Both blades of the two-bladed wooden propeller were fractured near the hub. The fuselage fabric was cut to facilitate examination of the flight control system, and control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces.

The carburetor was separated from the engine. The gascolator remained attached and intact, and was absent of fuel, water, or other contamination. The airplane was equipped with a single fuel tank located aft of the engine, and examination of the tank and fuel lines revealed continuity throughout. The drain plug was removed from the fuel tank and no evidence of fuel was observed inside. The fuel tank cap was in place and secure. The engine cowling was removed, and engine control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the engine. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear. The engine rotated freely by hand at the propeller hub, and compression was established on all cylinders. The magneto impulse coupling could be heard engaging during engine rotation.

A Garmin 296 handheld GPS was removed from the airplane and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download. The unit powered on normally; however, there was no track log data available for the date of the accident or that could be correlated to the accident flight.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Hamilton County, Tennessee, Medical Examiner. The listed cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The autopsy also revealed a significantly enlarged heart with mechanical mitral valve in place, and coronary artery disease that included 90% occlusion of the left anterior descending, circumflex, and right main arteries. The three bypass vessels were completely occluded. The report noted the presence of old scarring in the left ventricle, but no evidence of a new heart attack.

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing detected the presence of the blood pressure/cardiovascular medications carvedilol and losartan; the antidepressant fluoxetine and its metabolite, norfluoxetine; dextromethorphan, a cough medication; diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine; promethazine, a sedating anti-nausea medication; and warfarin, an anticoagulant. The diphenhydramine (0.109 ug/ml) detected in the blood was within the normal therapeutic range of 0.0250 to 0.1120 ug/ml. The promethazine (0.133 ug/ml) detected in the blood exceeded the normal therapeutic range of 0.0060 to 0.0990 ug/ml. Both drugs carried the warning, "may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery)."

NTSB Probable Cause

Impact with trees and terrain during the landing approach likely due to the physiological incapacitation of the pilot.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.