July 8, 2009, Sanderson, Fla., Vans RV7A Experimental


The airplane collided with the ground at about 0905 Eastern time, receiving substantial damage. Instrument conditions prevailed. The non-instrument rated private pilot was killed. The pilot did not file a flight plan or receive a weather briefing before departing on a VFR flight.

A witness heard a small airplane northeast of his home. The engine was at a very high rpm and sounded like it was under “a lot of strain.” The engine noise lasted about three seconds, and then there was complete silence, followed by an impact sound which he attributed to thunder. The clouds were overcast about 200 feet agl with light rain and distant thunder. Radar data obtained from the U.S. Air Force depicted a target with a 1200 transponder code near the accident site at 4000 feet, at 0902:29. At 0903:41, the target was at 2800 feet in a left descending turn. The last radar hit was at 0904:29; the target was at 1600 feet.


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