Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary DEN06FA018

Calhan, CO, USA

Aircraft #1


American Champion 8KCAB


According to radar data, the airplane appeared to be maneuvering and its altitude varied between 4,990 feet above ground level (agl) and 1,390 feet agl. The airplane impacted the ground, in a right wing low attitude, on a heading of 230 degrees and was destroyed. Both the left and right wings exhibited accordion crushing along the entire span of the leading edge of the wing. An on scene examination of the airplane's systems revealed no anomalies.

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT On November 21, 2005, approximately 0830 mountain standard time, an American Champion 8KCAB, N70MT, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted terrain 7 miles east of Calhan, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The private pilot was fatally injured. The local flight departed Meadow Lake Airport (00V), Colorado Springs, Colorado, approximately 0750. National Track Analysis Program radar data indicated the airplane was maneuvering just east of Calhan Airport (5V4), Calhan, Colorado. The airplane's altitude varied between 11,600 feet mean sea level (msl) (4,990 feet above ground level (agl)) and 8,000 feet msl (1,390 feet agl) and the change in altitude and direction was consistent with aerobatic maneuvers. The last radar return was located at a global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of 39 degrees, 04 minutes, 00 seconds north latitude, and 104 degrees, 09 minutes, 16 seconds west latitude, at an encoded altitude of 8,000 feet. The wreckage was located 1.4 miles southwest of the GPS coordinates. Concerned family members reported the airplane overdue on the afternoon of November 21, 2005. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert notice (ALNOT) at 1949. A local rancher discovered the wreckage about 0830 on November 22. PERSONNEL INFORMATION The pilot, age 54, held a private pilot certificate issued on July 13, 1987, with an airplane single engine land rating. The pilot held a third class airman medical certificate issued on April 28, 2005. The certificate contained the limitation; "Holder shall wear lenses that correct for distant vision and possess glasses for near vision." At the time of the medical application, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,127 hours. The family provided a notarized copy of the pilot's most recent logbook to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC). A review of the logbook indicated that the pilot had logged 1,340 hours total time; 82 hours in the past 90 days and 24 hours within the past 30 days. The Safety Board IIC estimated that the pilot had logged no less than 400 hours total time in the accident airplane. On March 8, 2004, the pilot successfully completed the requirements of a flight review. This flight was conducted in the accident airplane and included the following maneuvers: "steep turns, slow [flight], stalls, loops, rolls [right and left], and spins." AIRCRAFT INFORMATION The accident airplane, an American Champion 8KCAB (serial number 916-2003), was manufactured in 2003. It was registered with the FAA on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal acrobatic operations. The airplane was equipped with a Textron Lycoming AEIO-360-H1B engine rated at 180 horsepower at 2700 rpm. The engine was equipped with a two-blade, constant speed Hartzell propeller. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. The maintenance records indicated that the airplane underwent an annual inspection on April 20, 2005. The airplane had flown approximately 153 hours between the last inspection and the accident and had a total airframe time of 590.3 hours. METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS The closest official weather observation station was Colorado Springs Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was located 30 nautical miles (nm) west of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 6,184 feet msl. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for COS, issued at 0854, reported, wind, 340 degrees at 8 knots, visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature 11 degrees Celsius; dewpoint, minus 09 degrees Celsius; altimeter, 30.41 inches. WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION The National Transportation Safety Board IIC and two FAA airworthiness inspectors arrived on scene approximately 1200 on November 22, 2005. The accident site was located in an open field. A GPS receiver reported the location as 39 degrees, 03.058 minutes north latitude, and 104 degrees, 10.263 west longitude. The airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 230 degrees at a terrain elevation of 6,610 feet msl. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was located to the east of the main wreckage. The FIPC consisted of a ground scar 20 feet long and 20 inches at its widest point. Green lens fragments were located within the ground scar, at the northeast end of the scar. Red and white paint flecks were located along the length of the ground scar. The IIC identified a second ground scar that was 6 feet 2 inches long and 16 inches at its widest point and intersected perpendicular to the initial ground scar at its southern most point. The initial and second ground scars both intersected at a ground crater, measuring 7 feet 10 inches long and 6 feet 2 inches at its widest point. The ground crater was 9 inches deep and contained Plexiglas, torn metal, torn fabric and paint flecks. Soil within the crater had been displaced in the direction of impact. A debris path followed the ground crater and extended to the main wreckage. Fiberglass from the left and right wing tips, a wing strut, inspection panels, torn fabric, radios, and engine components to include hoses, belts, the propeller assembly, and the right magneto, were all located within the debris path. The main wreckage was located 150 feet from the FIPC and came to rest on a magnetic heading of 125 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the left and right wings, the empennage, the fuselage, and engine assembly. The right wing came to rest inverted to the west of the fuselage, oriented in a north/south direction. The engine assembly came to rest on top of the wing at midspan. Examination of the right wing revealed accordion crushing along the entire span of the leading edge of the wing. The fabric was torn and the wing spar and ribs were bent, buckled, and wrinkled. The IIC established flight control continuity to the right aileron. The left wing came to rest to the south of the fuselage, oriented in an east/west direction. Examination of the left wing revealed accordion crushing along the leading edge of the wing. The fabric was torn and the wing spar and ribs were bent and wrinkled. The IIC established flight control continuity to the left aileron. The fuselage was crushed aft, bent, and twisted about the longitudinal axis. The instrument panel was destroyed. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage and remained upright. The outboard edge of the right elevator was bent up and the tip of the rudder was crushed down and to the right. The horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, left elevator and rudder were unremarkable. The two-bladed propeller assembly separated from the engine at the propeller flange and was located within the debris field. The blades were arbitrarily labeled "A" and "B" for identification purposes only. Blade "A" exhibited leading edge nicks and 90-degree chordwise scratches along the face of the propeller blade. The blade was bent aft and 7 inches of the blade tip had separated. Blade "B" exhibited 90-degree chord wise scratches along the face of the blade and was bent aft, 4 inches from the blade tip. On scene examination of the engine and airframe, conducted by NTSB IIC and FAA inspectors, revealed no anomalies. MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION The autopsy was performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 22, 2005, as authorized by the El Paso County Coroner's Office. According to the autopsy, the cause of death was due to multiple blunt trauma sustained in the accident. A toxicology was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aviation Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tests for ethanol and drugs were negative. Tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The Federal Aviation Administration, represented by two airworthiness inspectors from the Denver Flight Standards District Office, was party to this investigation. The wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company on February 23, 2006.

Probable Cause and Findings

the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors contributing to the accident were the low altitude, and the resultant stall/spin.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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