Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Palmer Lake: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 2, 2016 at 0800 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N6464
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Longmont – Casa Grande
MSN:
785
YOM:
1928
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
5000
Circumstances:
The commercial pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were flying the biplane to a fly-in gathering in another state. Witnesses saw the airplane flying over a frozen lake at a low altitude and low airspeed. One witness saw the airplane "listing" left and right before it entered a left turn, and he lost sight of it. Other witnesses saw the airplane turn left and nose-dive into the ground. A postimpact fire consumed most of the airplane. Damage to the wreckage indicated that the airplane impacted the ground in a nose down attitude. The examination did not reveal evidence of any preimpact anomalies with the airframe, engine, or the control system of the airplane. A witness reported that, at the time of the accident, the wind was from the south about 30 miles per hour. However, a burnt area extending east from the airplane's impact point indicated the wind was from the west. Additionally, although wind information from nearby weather stations varied in direction and intensity. One station, about 14 miles west-northwest of the accident site reported calm wind., However, another station, located about 11 miles south of the accident site, recorded wind from the west at 11 knots with gusts to 27 knots about the time of the accident and wind from the west at 33 knots with gusts to 48 knots about an hour after the accident. Further, the forecast for the accident area called for wind gusts to 40 knots from the west-northwest. Therefore, it is likely that strong gusty west winds prevailed in the accident area at the time of the accident. Although some witnesses speculated that the pilot may have been attempting to land the airplane on the frozen lake, the airplane was not equipped to land on ice, and the reason the pilot was maneuvering at a low altitude in strong gusty winds could not be determined. Based on the witness observations and the damage to the wreckage, it is likely that the pilot allowed the airspeed to decrease to a point where the critical angle of attack was exceeded, and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall/spin. Although the pilot was known to have heart disease, it is unlikely that his medical condition contributed to the accident. The witness observations indicate that the pilot was actively flying the airplane before the loss of control. Toxicology testing showed the presence of chlorpheniramine in the pilot's blood at a level that was likely in the therapeutic range. Chlorpheniramine is a sedating antihistamine available in a number of over the counter products, and it carries the warning, "May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery)." Because of its sedating effect, chlorpheniramine may slow psychomotor functioning and cause drowsiness. It has also been shown in a driving simulator (after a single dose) to suppress visual-spatial cognition and visual-motor coordinating functions when compared to placebo. Such functions would have been necessary for the pilot to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering close to the ground in the strong gusty wind conditions. Therefore, it is likely that the pilot's ability to safely operate the plane was impaired by the effects of chlorpheniramine.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed while maneuvering at low altitude in strong gusting winds, which resulted in exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment due to the effects of a sedating antihistamine.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Fort Myers

Date & Time: Nov 14, 2009 at 1018 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N3823
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Fort Myers - Fort Myers
MSN:
306
YOM:
1927
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1789
Captain / Total hours on type:
60.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5284
Circumstances:
During approach, the pilot of the tailwheel-equipped biplane flew along at 20-30 feet above the runway until he was at midfield. The biplane touched down, bounced back in to the air, touched down again, and bounced once more prior to touching down for a third time in a nose-high attitude. The biplane then veered to the right, the right wing dipped, and the biplane cartwheeled, coming to rest inverted. The pilot had 60 hours of flight experience in the biplane. The previous owner had advised the pilot that landing the biplane took patience to land it perfectly and that attempting to land the biplane on asphalt with low experience could cause the biplane to bump repeatedly. He also advised that if the pilot pulled back on the control stick too soon during landing it could result in ballooning and porpoising.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper recovery from a bounced landing and failure to maintain directional control, which resulted in a ground loop. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's minimal experience in the airplane make and model.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Marlboro: 2 killed

Date & Time: Aug 7, 1993 at 1850 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
NC365M
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Marlboro - Marlboro
MSN:
1297
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
2636
Captain / Total hours on type:
336.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6276
Circumstances:
This flight was the ninth sightseeing flight of the day for this airplane and pilot. No problems had been reported on the earlier flights. After takeoff and at an altitude of approximately 150 feet, the engine lost power and it began to sputter. The pilot initiated a left turn to land on a field north of the airport. During this turn, the pilot lost control of the airplane, and it impacted the ground in a nose low attitude. A post-impact fire destroyed the airplane and severely burned the engine. An examination of the engine revealed no discrepancies. The pilot was seriously injured while both passengers were killed.
Probable cause:
The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and inflight collision with the terrain.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Lodi

Date & Time: Jul 25, 1989 at 0715 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N1592
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Lodi - Lodi
MSN:
288
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
8000
Captain / Total hours on type:
1300.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6413
Circumstances:
According to the operator of the spray operation, the pilot became distracted, when he was watching the grower drive out of the field he had sprayed. While he was watching the vehicle, he inadvertently allowed the aircraft to collide with power lines. There was no reported mechanical malfunction.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to see and avoid power lines, while distracted by a moving vehicle on the ground.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in San Miguel: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jul 15, 1984 at 1845 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N8719
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Paso Robles - San Miguel
MSN:
1003
YOM:
1929
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
146
Captain / Total hours on type:
14.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3491
Circumstances:
Ground witnesses reported that this and another aircraft were engaged in a mock 'dogfight'; both aircraft were circling the accident area between 500- 800 feet agl and neither aircraft was negotiating any aerobatic maneuvers. The pilot stated that during a descending 30° right banking turn, the aircraft entered into a right spin. Control inputs, including 'aft stick pressure,' could not arrest the spin. The pilot had not received any spin/spin recovery instruction from a cfi in the aircraft. However, the pilot's father stated he had given the pilot spin/spin recovery instruction. The passenger was killed and the pilot was seriously injured.
Probable cause:
Occurrence #1: loss of control - in flight
Phase of operation: maneuvering
Findings
1. Maneuver - performed - pilot in command
2. (c) airspeed - inadequate - pilot in command
3. (c) stall/spin - inadvertent - pilot in command
4. Remedial action - inadequate - pilot in command
5. (f) inadequate training - pilot in command
----------
Occurrence #2: in flight collision with terrain/water
Phase of operation: descent - uncontrolled
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Tolleson

Date & Time: Jul 12, 1978 at 1900 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N609H
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Tolleson - Tolleson
MSN:
1180
YOM:
1929
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
4077
Captain / Total hours on type:
18.00
Circumstances:
After takeoff from Tolleson, the single engine airplane encountered difficulties to gain height, struck power cables and crashed. The pilot was seriously injured and the aircraft was destroyed.
Probable cause:
Collision with wires/poles during initial climb after the pilot failed to obtain flying speed. The following contributing factors were reported:
- High density altitude.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Alamo: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jul 22, 1965 at 1130 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N8140
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Alamo - Alamo
MSN:
914
YOM:
1929
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
The pilot was engaged in a crop spraying mission on cotton fields. While flying at low height in marginal weather conditions, the single engine aircraft went out of control and crashed in flames. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot was killed.
Probable cause:
Loss of control caused by local whirlwind.
Final Report:

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Columbus: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jun 30, 1929
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NC5435
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
524
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
While performing a mail flight, pilot encountered poor weather conditions and the visibility was low due to fog. Aircraft hit a radio antenna, stalled and crashed in flames in a field, killing the pilot.

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Morgantown: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jan 31, 1929
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
NC6480
Survivors:
No
MSN:
800
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
After landing in Morgantown, aircraft did not decelerate as expected, overrun and hit a fence before coming to rest. The pilot was killed.

Crash of a Travel Air 4000 in Lebanon: 1 killed

Date & Time: Nov 25, 1928
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NC5436
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
525
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
Pilot lost control of the aircraft while flying in heavy snow falls. Aircraft crashed in an open field and the pilot was killed.