Accident Cassutt Sport Racer N9CA,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 150996
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Date:Sunday 2 December 2012
Type:Silhouette image of generic CASS model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cassutt Sport Racer
Registration: N9CA
Year of manufacture:1991
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Collegedale Municipal Airport (FGU/KFGU), TN -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Collegedale Municipal Airport, TN (KFGU)
Destination airport:Collegedale Municipal Airport, TN (KFGU)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
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.

The pilot indicated to a friend that the purpose of the flight was to practice takeoffs and landings in the airport traffic pattern. An airport employee reported that he observed the airplane depart normally from runway 21 but that he did not see the airplane return to the airport before he left for the night about 1.5 hours later. An alert notice was issued the following day when the airport manager observed the pilot's car still parked at the airport. Local authorities found the wreckage the day after that. The airplane was found inverted among trees on an approximate northeast heading about 1/4 mile north of the runway 21 threshold, consistent with an approach for landing on the runway. Broken tree branches were located near the wreckage and continued in a northwesterly direction from the wreckage. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot did not hold a valid Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate. He applied for a third-class medical certificate 8 years before the accident, but it was deferred due to a history of severe heart disease. The pilot's autopsy results revealed a significantly enlarged heart with a mechanical mitral valve in place and severe coronary artery disease that included 90-percent occlusion of the left anterior descending, circumflex, and right main arteries and complete occlusion of the three bypass vessels. These conditions put the pilot at high risk for a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, which could result in sudden incapacitation and would not be evident during an autopsy.

Toxicological testing detected the presence of two blood pressure/cardiovascular medications, an antidepressant and its metabolite, a cough medication, an anticoagulant, a sedating antihistamine (diphenhydramine), and a sedating antinausea medication (promethazine). The diphenhydramine detected in the blood was within the normal therapeutic range; however, the promethazine detected in the blood exceeded the normal therapeutic range. 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)." The use of diphenhydramine together with promethazine, particularly in the elderly (the pilot was 82 years old) or those with a debilitating condition, may increase side effects such as drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and memory problems.

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



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA13LA076
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years 1 month
Download report: Final report


Photos: NTSB

Revision history:

04-Dec-2012 23:29 gerard57 Added
05-Dec-2012 00:14 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Phase, Source, Damage, Narrative]
05-Dec-2012 00:21 Geno Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
21-Dec-2014 17:22 Flier1 Updated [Damage]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
28-Nov-2017 14:01 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Jul-2022 18:36 rvargast17 Updated [Damage]
13-Oct-2022 11:01 Captain Adam Updated [Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Damage, Narrative, Photo]
13-Oct-2022 11:01 Captain Adam Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Photo]

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