The Airplane Flew Over The Top Of A Mountain And Was “Smoking” Prior To Ground Impact

Location: Van Cleve, KY Accident Number: ERA21FA229
Date & Time: May 24, 2021, 13:30 Local Registration: N284RM
Aircraft: MUNSON ROGER J RV-8 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On May 24, 2021, about 1330 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built, Rans RV-8, N284RM, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Van Cleve, Kentucky. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight originated from Green Cove springs, Florida (7FL4), with a fuel stop at Pickens County Airport (LQK), Pickens, South Carolina. According to air traffic control) data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, after departure from LQK, the airplane made a climbing left turn and a series of turns gradually climbing en route until reaching about 9,000 ft mean sea level. When the airplane reached the vicinity of Van Cleve, Kentucky, the pilot declared an emergency, stating that “he had lost oil pressure and the engine failed.” Air traffic control advised the pilot of an airport at his “2 o’clock and 3 miles;” the pilot stated he did not have the airport in sight and opted to perform a forced landing to a field. The airplane was observed on radar in a 270° turn while descending with decreasing ground speed until flight track data was lost.

According to a witness, the airplane flew over the top of a mountain and was “smoking” prior to ground impact. The airplane was in a left bank and the nose of the airplane hit the ground with the engine area on fire. Shortly after the airplane came to rest, the witness started to walk toward the airplane. He then heard an explosion and observed the airplane on fire.

The airplane came to rest on a heading 353°. All four corners of the airplane and all flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The fuselage from the firewall to about 2 ft forward of the empennage was destroyed by the post impact fire. Flight control continuity was observed from the flight control surfaces to the fire damaged area within the cockpit. The flight instruments and flight controls within the cockpit were destroyed by fire. Initial examination of the engine revealed that the accessory section was fire damaged. The airplane was recovered for further examination.