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Summary

Summary

After take-off from a property strip near the Silvan Reservoir, the aircraft was flown at a low height above the calm, smooth surface of the water. A left turn was completed at low level, but shortly thereafter the aircraft struck the surface near the middle of the dam. On initial contact, water entered the front of the cabin and the engine ceased running. The aircraft then bounced back into the air and the pilot attempted, unsuccessfully, to re-start the engine. The aircraft lost height and skidded along the surface to a halt before the nose began to sink. The three occupants evacuated the aircraft but only one passenger succeeded in reaching the shoreline. The wreckage was recovered, and an examination revealed no evidence of any pre-impact defect or malfunction which might have accounted for the accident. Water impact damage sustained by the engine cowling indicated that the aircraft struck the water at a shallow angle of descent, with the wings level. Damage sustained by the propeller assembly and crankshaft indicated that substantial power was being developed at the time of impact. Impact speed was estimated to be about 100 knots. While flying at a low height above the expanse of calm water, the pilot had very few visual cues to gauge his clearance from the water. It was also determined that the pilot had a blood/alcohol level such that impairment of his visual acuity was possible.

 
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