ASF Accident Details
NTSB Number: LAX99FA162
Aircraft and Flight Information
Make/Model TEMCO / GLOBE GC-1
Tail Number N80720
Airport L72
Light Conditions Night/Bright
Basic WX Conditions VMC
Phase of Flight Maneuvering
AOPA Members can click on the airport identifier (if provided) to see the airport diagram and approach charts.

   

Narrative Type: NTSB FINAL NARRATIVE (6120.4)
The pilot flew over a campground at an altitude that was less than 100 feet. The pilot and several friends subsequently visited the campground. One of the female campers asked for an airplane ride, and this pilot volunteered. The airplane made three passes directly over the campground; each pass was successively lower. The altitude was estimated at less than 100 feet for all three passes. The sun had set, and the airplane appeared in silhouette as it passed by. After the third pass, the airplane was observed to make a hard right turn and angle down. A sun and moon computer program determined there was 75 percent illumination of the moon and civil twilight was at 2033. No discrepancies were found with the airplane or engine. Positive results for amitriptyline and nortriptyline were obtained from blood and liver samples. The doctor who prescribed this medication was not the pilot's Aviation Medical Examiner. The doctor told the Safety Board Medical Officer the patient had not reported any daytime sedation due to this medication. The doctor was not aware his patient was a pilot. FAA Aviation Medical Examiners are instructed (1996 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, page 21) to defer certification to the FAA Aeromedical Certification division for any airman on "mood-ameliorating" medication. A certified copy of the pilot's application for a medical certificate did not list amitriptyline in block 17 "Do you currently use any medication (Prescription or Nonprescription)."
Narrative Type: NTSB PRELIMINARY NARRATIVE (6120.19)
HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 24, 1999, about 2130 hours Pacific daylight time, a Globe GC-1B, N80720, was destroyed when it collided with terrain near Trona, California. The personal flight was operated by the private pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane departed the Trona airport approximately 8 to 10 minutes earlier with the intent to fly over the female passenger's campground. Both occupants sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) interviewed a friend of the pilot. He stated that they departed Sacramento (California) Executive Airport that morning and stopped in Porterville, California, to refuel around 1130. They departed Porterville around noon and arrived in Trona about 1330.

A group of people camped near the Trona airport, and several members of the group witnessed the airplane fly less than 100 feet over their campground about 1900. Later that evening, the pilot and several friends visited the camping group. A female member of the camping group asked for an airplane ride; this pilot volunteered. Her friends told the Safety Board IIC that they admonished the pilot to not fly as low as he had done earlier.

The witnesses observed the lights of the airplane as it departed Trona and began flying over the dry lakebed where they were camped. They said the airplane came over the campground three times. They stated the engine sounded smooth and strong as it passed overhead, at no more than 100 feet. Witnesses noted the passes were successively lower. Also noted was that in the darkness, they only recognized the airplane as a silhouette. After the third pass they observed the airplane begin a hard right turn before losing sight of it.

A Safety Board sun and moon computer program determined there was 75 percent illumination of the moon, and civil twilight occurred at 2033.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. A review of pages from the pilot's logbook number 3, with a beginning date of November 9, 1997, indicated total flight time accumulated was over 790 hours, all in single engine aircraft. In the last 90 days, 10 hours were logged in the accident airplane. A biennial flight review was completed on January 2, 1999. A third-class medical certificate with no limitations or waivers was issued on May 28, 1998.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a 1946 Globe GC-1B, serial number 123. An annual inspection was entered in the airplane logbook on March 17, 1998, at a total airframe time of 2,845 hours. Tachometer time at the annual was listed as 2.3. During the wreckage examination, a tachometer time of 67 was observed.

A 145-horsepower Teledyne Continental Motors O-300-A, serial number D-14036-D-8-A, was installed. Total time derived from the engine logbook was 2,910 hours, with 778 hours since major overhaul.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage came to rest approximately 177 feet from the first identified point of contact (IPC). The IPC was an impression in soft, moist dirt; contained within this impression were green lens fragments and a lens cap. An 18-foot-long furrow, 1-foot wide and 3-inches deep, led to the principal impact crater (PIC). This furrow was along a heading of 180 degrees.

Forty-four feet from the IPC and 15 feet right of the centerline of the wreckage path was the right slat. The bottom side of its leading edge was dented. Approximately even with the right slat, but several feet left of the debris centerline, was the right aileron. Fifteen feet outboard of the aileron was the right flap. The outer third of the aileron buckled aft. The outer half of the flap was bent up approximately 40 degrees and the leading edge was crushed aft.

The propeller and its hub separated from the end of the crankshaft; the fracture surface was angular and irregular in shape. They were found approximately 49 feet from the IPC and 15 feet right of the centerline of the wreckage path. The spinner was crushed flat on the hub. One blades had an S-bend; the other was bent aft about 45 degrees and twisted toward the cambered side.

Seventy-five feet from the IPC, and 7 feet right, was a gouge in the dirt; 5 feet outboard of this gouge was the leading edge section of the left wing tip. At 85 feet from the IPC and 10 feet right were red lens fragments.

Both wings separated at the wing root. The inverted right wing was on the centerline of the wreckage path at 96 feet. The left aileron was 10 feet past the right wing along the debris path. The upright left wing was 133 feet from the IPC and 12 feet right. Both wings fractured at their juncture with the box frame. Both wings exhibited leading edge crush damage. The right wing buckled aft approximately 20 degrees at the fracture. The left wing buckled aft at the fracture and the tip crushed up approximately 30 degrees. Twenty feet beyond the left wing was the left slat. It was crushed aft several inches along its entire length and exhibited more damage than the right slat.

The main wreckage consisted of the engine, fuselage, and empennage. The fuselage came to rest on its right side on a magnetic bearing of 100 degrees. The empennage partially separated ahead of the horizontal stabilizers and twisted so that the leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer was pointing up vertically. The vertical stabilizer was on a magnetic bearing of 320 degrees. The fuselage fractured behind the cabin area and separated around the left side. The cabin rotated about the right side to a heading of 245 degrees. The cabin split open along the top, and was crushed and twisted. Plexiglass shards were found in the debris field from the PIC to the main wreckage. The right seat was outside of the cabin area about 10 feet prior to the main wreckage on the wreckage centerline. The female passenger was next to it. The seat crushed downward and to the right. The pilot's seat was in the cabin area. Rescue personnel released the seat belt to free the pilot's legs. The pilot's seat crushed downward and to the right.

All control surfaces were accounted for in the debris field. Control cables for the right aileron fractured at the wing root in a bomb burst pattern. The left wing control cables fractured at the aileron attachment rod end; the rod end was bent and the fracture surface was uneven. Control cables for the rudder and elevators were traced to the cabin area. One cable separated in a bomb burst pattern. One attach fitting separated; it's fracture was angular and the surface was granular. The cables could not be traced through the cabin to the control yoke due to the extensive cabin deformation. All cables were cut in front of the empennage to facilitate retrieval.

The top of the engine was packed by more than an inch of dirt with the right side more heavily coated than the left. The oil pan had several large pieces missing. Through these holes, the crankshaft, camshaft, and connecting rods were observed connected with no deformation. The top spark plugs were removed. They were dry, oval in shape, and showed no indications of mechanical damage. The starter separated from the engine and the magnetos were damaged.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were completed by the medical examiner for Inyo County. Toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of analysis of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. Positive results for amitriptyline and nortriptyline were obtained from blood and liver samples. Two bottles of the prescription medicine amitriptyline were located in the pilot's personal effects. One bottle was dated January 8, 1996, and the other February 27, 1999. Directions on the label indicated the 100-milligram tablets were to be taken by mouth at bedtime. The doctor who prescribed this medication was not the pilot's Aviation Medical Examiner. The Safety Board Medical Officer interviewed this doctor by telephone. The doctor stated the patient had not reported any daytime sedation due to this medication. The doctor was not aware his patient was a pilot. FAA Aviation Medical Examiners are instructed (1996 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, page 21) to defer certification to the FAA Aeromedical Certification division for any airman on "mood-ameliorating" medication. A certified copy of the pilot's application for a medical certificate did not list amitriptyline in block 17 "Do you currently use any medication (Prescription or Nonprescription)."

Block 17 did indicate the pilot was taking 1,500 milligrams per day of Azulfidine, IBD. The pilot's physician told the Safety Board Medical Officer he had been treating the pilot for well controlled IBD (Inflamatory Bowel Disease) since 1993. The 1996 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiner, page 51, limited guidance for Aviation Medical Examiners regarding such conditions to: "the episodic occurrence of symptoms and the need for medications and the type of medications used for the treatment of regional enteritis are of concern to the FAA."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the Trona airport manager.
Narrative Type: NTSB PROBABLE CAUSE NARRATIVE
The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate terrain clearance altitude while performing intentional low altitude passes over a campground.