Departure stall kills two

This September 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: DeLand, Fla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot, 90, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. At the time of the accident he did not have a medical certificate although one was legally required for the flight. In April 2010 the pilot’s request for a medical was denied because of a stroke that left him with difficulty walking and double vision.

The passenger, 86, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on Sept. 29, 1998, and on that application he indicated that he had 1,500 total hours of flight experience.

According to witnesses, the airplane took off and began to climb, then pitched nose down, crashing into powerlines.

The post-accident examination did not detect any pre-crash mechanical issues. The pilot’s autopsy revealed severe disease of the coronary arteries and heart valves. Postmortem toxicology testing suggested the relatively recent use of a multi-symptom cold or allergy preparation containing an impairing and sedating antihistamine. Investigators theorized that the pilot’s judgment and performance may have been impaired by the medication and/or his medical conditions, but the role of potential impairment in the accident could not be conclusively determined.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and control during the initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall, wire strike, and subsequent impact with the ground.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10FA464

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