National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

Cross Lake, MN

Accident Number:

CEN12LA466

Date & Time:

07/22/2012, 0951 CDT

Registration:

N602JT

Aircraft:

TOMAN JACK JR SKYSTAR KITFOX 4

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Loss of control in flight

Injuries:

1 Fatal, 1 Serious

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The airplane was observed flying low and slow over a lake. The airplane stalled and entered a spin before it impacted the water. The passenger was able to exit the airplane on his own, but the pilot was pinned in the wreckage. A first responder was able to keep the pilot's head above the water until an ambulance arrived, but the pilot later succumbed to his injuries. Examination of the airplane and engine found no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The medical examiner found drug paraphernalia in the pilot's shirt pocket. Postaccident toxicology testing was consistent with impairment of the pilot due to his use of marijuana prior to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment due to marijuana.

Findings

Personnel issues

Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Illicit drug - Pilot (Factor)

Factual Information

On July 22, 2012, at 0951 central daylight time, an experimental-amateur built Sky Star Kitfox 4 sustained substantial damage after it lost control and impacted Upper Whitefish Lake near Cross Lake, Minnesota. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. No flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed from Pine River Regional Airport (PWC), Pine River, Minnesota, at 0938. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The passenger stated the purpose of the flight was to look for fishing spots in the lake and check out some property on the shoreline. The passenger said that as they headed toward the shoreline, the airplane was in a slight nose up attitude and climbing, but he did not recall how fast they were going. The doors of the airplane were open, and the passenger was looking outside "watching everything." Up to this point, it was a normal flight. He said that the airplane then suddenly jerked violently to the left, rolled, and spun down toward the lake. As soon as they hit the water, the passenger unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of the airplane. Almost immediately, a boat pulled up and he was lifted onto the boat.

There were several eyewitnesses who saw the airplane spin toward the water. One witness, who had taken flight lessons, was in his boat when he first observed the airplane. He said it was flying about twice the height of the tree tops and was headed east. The witness said the airplane's attitude was tail down and nose high. The airplane appeared to be "wallowing" and about to stall. The witness momentarily took his eyes off the airplane, but when he looked back up, the airplane was spinning nose down toward the water. He immediately drove his boat to the accident site and assisted the passenger and the pilot.

A handheld Garmin global positioning system (GPS) was found in the airplane and sent to the Safety Board’s Research and Engineering laboratory in Washington DC to be downloaded. The accident flight was recorded from the time it departed Pine River Regional Airport at 0938.28 up until 0951.13 when the unit stopped recording. A review of the last minute of the flight revealed that at 0950:20, the airplane was at an altitude of 1,624 feet mean sea level (msl), or approximately 328 feet above the water headed southeast at a ground speed of 39 knots. Over the next 53 seconds, the airplane began to make a shallow descent to 1,496 feet msl (approximately 200 feet above the water) and slowed to a ground speed of 34 knots before the data ended just northwest of the shoreline.

Examination of the airplane by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors revealed the airframe sustained substantial damage from impact with the water. No pre-impact mechanical anomalies were noted.

According to the pilot's autopsy report, the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries resulting from an airplane crash. No significant natural disease was identified, but the medical examiner identified an object found in the left shirt pocket as a “one hit” pipe.

The toxicology results from an independent lab used by the medical examiner found evidence of tetrahydrocannabinol (Marijuana) in the urine and performed a test that quantified the amount in the pilot’s peripheral blood with a result of 0.0056 ug/ml ,along with 0.0059 ug/ml of its primary metabolite, tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid.

Femoral and heart blood was sent to the FAA's Civil AeroMedical Institute’s toxicology lab in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, along with tissue specimens. The CAMI lab found the blood unsuitable for the quantification of tetrahydrocannabinol. However, 0.046 ug/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol was found in lung and tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, the primary metabolite, was found in urine (0.0952 ug/ml), liver (0.0873 ug/ml), lung (0.0094 ug/ml), and blood (0.0111 ug/ml).

 

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

55, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/28/2010

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

1350 hours (Total, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

TOMAN JACK JR

Registration:

N602JT

Model/Series:

SKYSTAR KITFOX 4

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

Yes

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

CUU-007

Landing Gear Type:

Tailwheel

Seats:

2

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

 Unknown

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

ROTAX

ELT:

 

Engine Model/Series:

912ULS

Registered Owner:

TOMAN JACK R JR

Rated Power:

100 hp

Operator:

TOMAN JACK R JR

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

PWC, 1296 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

5 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

0953 CDT

Direction from Accident Site:

270°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

7 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

150°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.94 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

28°C / 20°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

 

Departure Point:

Pine River, MN (PWC)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Cross Lake, MN

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

0938 CDT

Type of Airspace:

 

 

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

1 Serious

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Fatal, 1 Serious

Latitude, Longitude:

46.401389, -94.134722 (est)

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Leah D Yeager

Report Date:

08/13/2013

Additional Participating Persons:

Kevin Morris; FAA/FSDO; Minneapolis, MN

Publish Date:

08/13/2013

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=84410