Preliminary report released on Lake Palestine plane crash - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

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Preliminary report released on Lake Palestine plane crash

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Texas Parks and Wildlife says the pilot, Fred Scholz, died from hypothermia, not drowning. Below is the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report.

Special Note: The report says the pilot's body was found on February 10. Texas Parks and Wildlife reports to KLTV that Scholz's body was actually found during the early morning hours of February 11.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA152
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 08, 2012 in Frankston, TX
Aircraft: VARGA AIRCRAFT CORP. 2150A, registration: N8293J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On February 8, 2012, approximately 1200 central daylight time, a Varga 2150 airplane, N8293J, impacted Lake Palestine, while approaching the Aero Estates Airport (T25), Frankston, Texas. The private rated pilot, sole occupant, was fatality injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the Cherokee County Airport (JSO), Jacksonville, Texas.

Initial reports indicate that the pilot departed T25 earlier in the day, with the intent of refueling the airplane. Fuel records at JSO reveal that the accident pilot received about 17 gallons of fuel, and then was seen departing the airport, headed north. When the pilot did not return home, an ALNOT (Alert Notice) for a missing aircraft was issued, and a search was initiated. The airplane was located on 9 February, just off shore of Lake Palestine, in approximately 18 feet of water. The pilot was not located until 10 February.

Once the airplane was retrieved from the lake, the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge (IIC), and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), examined the airplane wreckage on site. The airplane's canopy was found locked in the open position and the pilot's seat belts were unlatched. Additionally, the exam revealed that the fuel shut-off valves and ignition switch were in the "OFF" position, the battery and avionics switches were also in the off position. A visual examination of the airplane and engine revealed relatively minor damage to the airplane, and no visual discrepancies with the engine.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.
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