National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

Los Alamos, NM

Accident Number:

CEN14FA077

Date & Time:

12/08/2013, 0810 MST

Registration:

N80MF

Aircraft:

AVIAT AIRCRAFT INC A-1C-200

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Defining Event:

Loss of control in flight

Injuries:

2 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot and passenger were on a cross-country flight and stopped at an en route airport. After waiting for weather to improve, they took off to the west. A witness reported seeing the airplane depart the runway and then enter a steep left turn, before descending and impacting terrain. The airport directory noted that all landings are to the west, and all takeoffs to the east. A commuter pilot reported that the accident pilot asked him if east takeoffs and west landings were mandatory. The commuter pilot responded that he believed it was but that the commuter crew had permission from the airport manager to depart to the west, if needed. The commuter pilot added that if they departed to the west, they would make a turn before the terminal building. The automated weather reporting station, located on the field recorded about 5 minutes after the accident, the wind from 270 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 23 knots. An examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact abnormality with the engine or airframe.

 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s loss of airplane control while maneuvering after takeoff in gusty wind conditions.

 

Findings

Aircraft

Performance/control parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues

Action - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues

Gusts - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 8, 2013 about 0810 mountain standard time (MST), an Aviat Aircraft Inc., "Husky", A-1C-200 airplane, N80MF, impacted terrain near the Los Alamos County Airport (KLAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico. The private pilot rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Blackhawk Leasing LLC, Harmony, Minnesota, and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 cross-country flight. The flight was originating from KLAM at the time of the accident.

The flight originally departed from Harmony, Minnesota, three days earlier, with a planned stop in Iowa, to pick up the passenger, before going to Denver, and then to their final destination of Chandler, Arizona. The flight landed at KLAM due to poor weather en route.

Refueling records indicated that the airplane was filled with 32 gallons of fuel on the afternoon of December 7, 2013.

The crew of a small commuter plane reported talking to the accident pilot and passenger the morning of the accident flight. The commuter crew reported arrived on the morning of December 8, and that the runway had ½ to 1 inch of snow on it. While getting ready for their departure, the commuter pilot recalled that accident pilot asked via radio, if the east takeoff and west landings were mandatory. The commuter pilot responded that he believed it was, but that the commuter crew had permission from the airport manager to depart west, if needed. The commuter pilot added if they departed to the west, they would make a turn before the terminal building. The accident pilot responded, "that makes sense, thank you". Shortly after their departure, the commuter crew heard the accident pilot announce his taxi on runway 27.

There were no reported distress calls from the pilot.

Two witnesses reported seeing the airplane. The first witness reported seeing the airplane appear out of whirling snow and then make a 180-degree turn. The other witness reported seeing the airplane about 100 feet in the air; it then made a steep left bank turn before disappearing from sight.

 

 

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot's last class 3 medical exam was conducted on January 7, 2011, and had the limitation "must have available glasses for near vision." At the time of the exam, the pilot reported his flight experience as 500 total and 100 hours in last six months.

The passenger held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The passenger's last class 3 medical exam was conducted on June 5, 2013. At the time of the exam, the passenger reported his flight experience as 151 total hours and 2.5 hours in last six months.

 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Aviat Husky is a tandem two-seat, high wing airplane. The structure is steel tube frame and fabric covered fuselage. The airplane was powered by 200 horsepower (hp) Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 reciprocating engine, driving an MT, 3 bladed constant speed propeller. Flight controls are installed at each seat. The accident airplane was manufactured in 2012, and received its standard airworthiness certificate on July 2, 2012. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records revealed the pilot purchased the airplane on July 2, 2012.

 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0815, the automated weather observation facility located at KLAM, reported wind from 270 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 23 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 26 Fahrenheit (F), dew point 14 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.78 inches of mercury.

 

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Los Alamos (KLAM) airport is a public-use, non-towered airport. Pilots are to use the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), for communications. The airport has a single 6,000 feet by 120 feet runway aligned east-west (09 and 27). The facility directory notes all landings are to the west and all takeoffs to the east. The airport also has a restricted area (R-5101) on the south side that is continually active from the surface to 12,000 feet mean sea level; as a result, west go-arounds or missed approaches are to turn right, to avoid the restricted area.

 

WRECKAGE and IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located about 900 feet south of the airport's runway, in a lightly wooded ravine. The wreckage area consisted of several impact/ground scars about 25 feet in front of the wreckage. The airplane came to rest in an upright position, turned about 180-degrees and facing the first impact point; on a westerly heading. A post-crash fire consumed much of the airplane. Control continuity was established at each control surface, except the left side flap cable was broken. The broken section was removed for further examination. Each blade from 3-bladed wood propeller was splintered and separated before the propeller hub. After initial documentation and examination of the wreckage site, the engine was removed for examination at a nearby facility.

 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Investigator, Albuquerque, New Mexico conducted an autopsy on the pilot and pilot rated passenger. The cause of death on both occupants was determined to be, "blunt force injuries".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicologically testing on the on both occupants. The specimens were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The test on the pilot was positive for diphenhydramine in the urine and blood (0.198 ug/ml, ug/g).

Diphenhydramine is a nonprescription antihistamine and is generally used to treat the symptoms of allergies and the common cold. The drug contains a warning that is may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery). Diphenhydramine is marketed under the trade name Benadryl.

 

TEST and RESEARCH

The section of broken flap cable was sent the NTSB Materials Lab, in Washington, D.C. for examination. The exam found the fractured ends were frayed; some of the cable wires exhibited necking and other wires a slant facture. The broken cable was consistent with a tensile over stress fracture, under a high strain rate.

The engine was removed from the airframe wreckage and examined off site. The engine had sustained both impact and fire damage. Both magnetos were thermally damaged along with the fuel pump, and could not be examined. The engine was rotated by hand; a thumb compression test was done on each cylinder. Engine and valve train continuity was confirmed. Each cylinder was borescoped; no preimpact abnormalities were no found with the engine that would have prevented normal operation.

 

History of Flight

Takeoff

Other weather encounter

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

51

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Front

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 3 Unknown

Last FAA Medical Exam:

01/07/2011

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

(Estimated) 500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model)

 

 

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

52

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Rear

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/05/2013

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

(Estimated) 151 hours (Total, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

AVIAT AIRCRAFT INC

Registration:

N80MF

Model/Series:

A-1C-200

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

3156

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:

LYCOMING

ELT:

Installed

Engine Model/Series:

IO-360-A1D6

Registered Owner:

BLACKHAWK LEASING LLC

Rated Power:

200 hp

Operator:

BLACKHAWK LEASING LLC

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KLAM

Distance from Accident Site:

 

Observation Time:

0815 MST

Direction from Accident Site:

 

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Clear

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

12 knots / 23 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

270°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.78 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

-3°C / -13°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

 

Departure Point:

Los Alamos, NM (KLAM)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Unknown

Destination:

Chandler, AZ

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

0810 MST

Type of Airspace:

 

 

Airport Information

Airport:

Los Alamos Airport (KLAM)

Runway Surface Type:

Asphalt

Airport Elevation:

7171 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Snow

Runway Used:

27

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

6000 ft / 120 ft

VFR Approach/Landing:

None

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Passenger Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Fire:

On-Ground

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude:

35.877500, -106.269167

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Craig Hatch

Report Date:

11/17/2014

Additional Participating Persons:

Howard R Dunn; FAA FSDO; Albuquerque, NM

Troy Helgeson; Lycoming Aircraft Engines; Denver, CO

Publish Date:

11/17/2014

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=88525