A 67-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot, Fairley Ray Gooch of Roswell, Ga., died on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. when his experimental kit-built Lancair IV light aircraft, tail number N1126V, crashed while attempting to land at Winnsboro Municipal Airport in La., as reported by the Aviation Safety Network, The News-Star, KIVE-TV, and other media sources.
The airport, FAA designation F89, is located 1 mile east of Winnsboro, La. in Franklin Parish, a small community with a population of 4,910 people. It has a single 3,000-foot asphalt paved runway. There are 60-foot high trees located 1,200-feet from the runway, and 250-feet to the left of centerline.
Average airport operations are 74 flights per day. There are 20 planes based at the facility, including 1 jet, 1 multi-engine aircraft, and 3 ultralight planes.
The 4-seat, low wing home-built aircraft came to rest in a grassy field near the runway. It had apparently impacted nose first, breaking off the engine and destroying most of the cockpit, as well as fracturing the fuselage near the tail of the plane.
According to Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb, the pilot died at the scene from blunt force trauma. There was no fire following the impact. Weather at the time of the accident was sunny and clear, with light winds under 5 miles an hour. A photo of a wind sock at the airport showed it hanging limp and undisturbed.
The pilot had reportedly been running tests on the aircraft for several days prior to the accident. The Lancair IV, which Mr. Gooch built himself from a kit costing from $400,000 to $500,000, is powered by a 350 horsepower twin-turbocharged Continental TSIO-550 engine. The plane uses composite materials and has retractable landing gear. The kits are manufactured by Lancair International, Inc. in Redmond, Oregon.
The high performance aircraft has a cruising speed of 330 miles an hour, a stall speed of 75 miles an hour, a range of 1,550 miles, and a rate of climb of 1,500 feet per minute.
There are 48 separate accidents of the aircraft listed in the Aviation Safety Network database from May 25, 1995 to the present, 32 of which involved fatalities.
Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the fatal aviation crash.
We offer our sincere condolences to all those who were impacted by this tragedy.
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