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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20831
Last updated: 15 January 2020
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Date:08-JUN-2008
Time:12:56
Type:Silhouette image of generic C206 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna U206C Stationair
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: N29122
C/n / msn: U206-1092
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Fremont, OH -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Unknown
Departure airport:Fremont, OH (14G)
Destination airport:Fremont, OH (14G)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
On the day of the accident, the 86-year-old accident pilot was providing rides in his single-engine, six-seat airplane at the airport that he owned and managed. Passengers purchased tickets for the rides in the airport office. The rides were given concurrently with a Lions Club International charitable “fly-in breakfast” at the airport, which had been advertised in the local newspaper. According to a representative of the Lions Club, the air rides were a separate activity, and the money collected for the air ride tickets was not given to the charity (evidence indicates that the pilot retained the money). The accident flight was the fifth or sixth airplane ride the pilot gave that day. Videotapes of previous flights and of the beginning of the accident flight indicated that the pilot was performing nonstandard takeoffs. Rather than beginning a normal climb after lifting off from the ground, the pilot would maintain an altitude just above treetop level until reaching the departure end of the runway, at which point he would initiate a steep pitch-up maneuver followed by a pushover maneuver. Also, a witness, who was a pilot, reported that the accident pilot commonly performed a nonstandard maneuver called a “buttonhook turn” to align the airplane with final approach for landing. The maneuver involved flying the airplane at an altitude of about 300 feet above ground level perpendicular to the final approach course and then executing a 270-degree turn to the final approach. The witness stated that he observed the pilot perform this maneuver during one of the passenger-carrying flights preceding the accident flight.

About 30 minutes after the airplane departed on the accident flight, witnesses observed it returning to the airport. Witnesses near the accident site reported that the airplane was flying at a low altitude toward the runway when it banked, descended, and impacted the ground. One witness stated that the airplane “appeared to be flying very slow, almost on the edge of a stall.” This witness heard the engine “throttle up” and observed the airplane stall, with the left wing “dipping,” and then descend below the tree line.

The accident site was about 0.75 mile east of the approach end of runway 27. Ground scarring and wreckage distribution covered a relatively small area, consistent with an accident due to an aerodynamic stall. Examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. During a test cell run, the airplane’s engine performed within the manufacturer’s specifications.

Review of the pilot’s personal medical records indicated that he had been treated for age-related macular degeneration in both eyes for over 2 years. About 3 weeks before the accident, his distant visual acuity without correction was recorded as 20/200 for each eye. On at least two occasions, the pilot’s retinal specialist advised him not to drive. However, the pilot continued to drive and was involved in a traffic accident, in which he turned in front of an oncoming vehicle, 10 days before the aircraft accident. The pilot’s visual deficiency would have made it difficult for him to decipher the readings on cockpit instruments and to distinguish objects on the ground. This lack of visual acuity increased the likelihood that the pilot would fly at an inappropriate speed or altitude, thus increasing the chances of a stall.

About 1 year before the accident, the pilot applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman Medical Certificate and provided false information about his eye condition (he did not report his visits to the retinal specialist). Even so, the pilot’s visual deficiency, given its severity, should have been detectable during the vision examinations required before issuance of such an Airman Medical Certificate. However, the pilot's aviation medical examiner (AME) reported normal eye test results, including 20/20 uncorrected vision, and issued the pilot a second-class medical certificate. About 7 months after the accident, the FAA decertified the AME for improper is
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control for an undetermined reason, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's poor judgment in continuing to fly with his severe visual deficiency. Also contributing to the accident was the aviation medical examiner’s failure to accurately assess and report the pilot’s visual deficiency.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20080613X00862&key=1


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
08-Jun-2008 21:04 drjmarkov Added
09-Jun-2008 10:54 harro Updated
10-Jun-2008 12:31 Anon. Updated
12-Jul-2008 23:20 Fusko Updated
23-Oct-2009 05:05 slowkid Updated
21-Dec-2016 19:14 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
03-Dec-2017 11:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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