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Sun, Apr 26, 2009

Epic LT Turboprop Flames Out, Ditches In OR River

Two Aboard Safe In Ditching Near Shore

ANN is monitoring the details of a Friday afternoon accident in which an Epic LT Experimental Turboprop lost power at a reported altitude of 8000 feet and subsequently executed a forced landing in the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon.

The incident occurred at approximately 1640 local time and appears to have been a well-controlled affair. While the aircraft started sinking pretty swiftly, local Coast Guard and Law Enforcement efforts recovered both people on board and got them to medical attention. Both are reported to be in good condition and expected to recover from their injuries, completely.

Epic LT SN #25, registered as N653SB was enroute to KBFI (Boeing Field Intl) from KAST (Astoria Rgnl) when the aircraft flamed out, ditching in the river some 50 yards out from Astoria's 17th Street Pier. The rescue was conducted by Guard cutters Fir and Steadfast, which are both based in Astoria, while the Coast Guard Station at Cape Disappointment, WA, supplemented the effort with additional small boat crews. The Clatsop County Sheriff's Office also had a boat on the scene.Early reports indicate that there were minor injuries to the pilot and his passenger, the former Mayor of Astoria and the Pilot's Mother Edith Henningsgaard. Bill Henningsgaard was reported as Pilot In Command and had been flying the aircraft barely six months when the bird went down.

The Epic LT is normally configured for six seats and uses a single Pratt & Whitney PT6-67A for power. The LT's empty weight is 4200 lbs., the max take-off weight is  7329 lbs. and the aircraft has a full fuel payload of 1,200 lbs. Maximum cruise is quoted at 350 KTAS, and the Economy cruise is 289 KTAS. The pressurized aircraft's design service ceiling is 28,000 ft. The LT is an experimental design, relying on a company builder service center approach to see the very complex aircraft through to completion. This approach has come under scrutiny by the FAA in recent years and is specified as one of the reasons that the FAA pursued a review of the "51%" Amateur-Built-Experimental criteria for homebuilt aircraft.

Local news reports indicate that the Pilot is a retired Microsoft engineer while Ms. Henningsgaard was Astoria's Mayor from 1983 to 1990. The aircraft is registered to Ellumax Leasing LLC, of Medina, Washington and was placed on the civil registry December 1st of 2008. The aircraft has reportedly been flying well and recently boasted a flight in which the pilot reported an enroute ground speed of 516.35 mph on a run from Boeing Field to Bend, Oregon.  

FMI: www.epicaircraft.com

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