N94WB Seawind Crash
The report which follows has been reviewed and approved by the Family of
Dan Wood. Our Condolences go out to all of Dan's and Jim's families and friends.
Please note, this was a horrible and tragic crash, some of the pictures included below are graphic.
Everyone who builds and flies their own airplane needs to review this article thoroughly,
Dan Wood and his beautiful Seawind.
Photo taken February 5th in Sebring Florida.
February 12th 2000. On Friday the11th of
February at approximately 2:30 pm a Seawind (94WB) carrying Dan Wood and Jim
Srock, both of Michigan, crashed in Virginia . No one survived. This aircraft
belonged to Dan & Bill Wood.
February 14th, 2000. Preliminary report
issued by the FAA.
Reg.No.: 94WB M/M: EXP Desc: EXP/HOMEBUILT: SEAWIND 3000
Activity: Unknown Phase: Unknown GA-A/C: General Aviation
Descr: EXPERIMENTAL ACFT CRASHED IN A HEAVILY WOODED AREA IN CUMBERLAND GAP
NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND WAS DESTROYED, THE 2 POB SUFFERED FATAL INJURIES,
OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES ARE UNKNOWN, LEE COUNTY, VA.
WX: UNKN Damage: Destroyed
C2. Injury Data:
# Crew: 1 Fatal: 1 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Pass: 1 Fatal: 1 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Grnd: Fatal: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
D. Location City: LEE COUNTY State: VA
E. Occ Date: 02/11/2000 Time: 20:00
F. Invest Coverage. IIC: Reg/DO: EA09 DO CTY: CHARLESTON
DO State: WV Others: NTSB
G. Flt Handling. Dep Pt: UNKN Dep Date: / / Time:
Dest: UNKN Last Radio Cont: UNKN Flt Plan: UNK
Last Clearance: UNKN WX Briefing:
Note: Dan Wood and Jim Srock were reported to have been aboard. Location is at
southwestern tip of Virginia. Near Ewing VA.
February 15th, 2000. After a long day of
discussions with Bill Wood (Dan's Son) ,The FAA, and Park Rangers the following
was learned: First, the aircraft is deep in the woods and seems to have hit
trees destroying the airplane. Both wings are separated from the airplane but
the flying surfaces, flaps & ailerons are somewhat intact. The stabilizer
and elevator are at the wreckage, one horn is torn off, some skin damage. They
are separated from the tail. The fuselage is heavily damaged. The engine is
still on the tail but at an acute angle with three motor mounts broken. There
were three witnesses. They are talking to the FAA and NTSB. Investigation is on
On Wednesday, an ISPA member drove to Kentucky to meet with Bill Wood and a
Park Ranger to hike into the site. The insurance company planned to extract the
airplane on Thursday or Friday.
Some background of the previous week:
Dan Wood was at the Lake Flyers Convention in River Ranch, Florida since
Saturday night the 5th of February. He landed at Sebring on Saturday night (the
5th) and took a cab to River Ranch. On Sunday Morning Dan, Jim Srock and Russ
Kotlarak flew to Sebring from River Ranch in a friend's Seawind so that Dan
could bring his airplane back to River Ranch.
On Monday Dan went to fly with Art Stifel (instructor) to get some water time
in the Seawind. They found, during the run-up that a magneto had a miss. Harry
Shannon of Amphibians Plus was called to check out the mag. Harry decided to
change the mag with a new one. It was installed on Tuesday evening and the
engine ran fine.
Wednesday was a very windy day so not many people flew their airplanes.
On Thursday the convention was over and everyone was leaving. Dan was flying
with Art Stifel to do some water work. His airplane was running perfectly. After
flying with Art, Dan and Jim flew to Jack Gilson's house in Ocala to spend the
On Friday, Dan left about 8:45 in the morning and landed at Dunellin Florida
for fuel, where he got 70 gallons. He then flew north. The crash was at about
2.30 p.m. in Kentucky.
February 17th, 2000. No information was
released to the news media until Tuesday the 15th. Everything the media had
prior to that was supposition, as both the park rangers and the FAA were not
releasing information except to the family.
This was a terrible crash. Here is what happened according to witnesses, Park
Rangers (who were at the site within 1 hour) and the FAA. To know where this
happened, look at a road map where Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee meet. In the
point of Virginia there is the Cumberland Gap national park. The closest city is
Middlesboro Kentucky. The closest airport to the site was 3 miles away in the
town of Middlesboro (KY65).
The aircraft was seen by 4 people flying up the valley on the east side of
the Cumberland Gap. It seemed to be following the approximate route of highway
63. One gentleman (that had not spoken to the FAA) was working at a school where
highway 63 meets highway 25E. He saw a blue and white airplane go overhead. He
said the airplane was strange because the engine was on the top. The airplane
was traveling northeasterly following the mountain line. He saw it turn left
like it was going to go through the gap to the other side. (On the other side of
the Gap is the airport KY65.) He then lost site of it. Weather at the time was
1200 overcast, mountains obscure at times, light rain showers occasionally.
The next witness, who was located at the junction of highway 25E and 58, just
about below the crash site, said that he heard the airplane but did not see it.
He heard the engine RPM go higher then a sound like BANG, BANG, BANG. (The FAA
and the Ranger think that was the sound of trees breaking.) He then heard the
engine stop and called 911.
The Cumberland Gap is a pass through a long line of mountains. The Gap is
about 1/4 of a mile wide and has straight up walls over 1000 feet. The surface
elevation in the valley is 1400 ft msl and the top of the Gap is [shown on the
charts at] 2440 ft msl at
the pinnacle. The airplane hit the first tree at 2460 feet. Right at the top of
the pinnacle. The airplane was either in a hard right turn, 90 degrees or more,
or it was inverted. Under
the first tree was the right float, broken off clean at it's attach point to the
wing, 8 feet of the top skin of the right wing, in two pieces. One piece about 4
feet and included 2 fuel caps. The other piece was from the main fuel tank cap
inboard. Both pieces separated from the leading edge to the spar cap. Also found
were two shattered pieces of the Canopy Plexiglas. One piece was of the curve
where the canopy ends at the back of the right side. A piece of a headset was
also found, and a baseball cap with the Seawind logo. Also found was a small
piece of the stabilizer about 5 inches square. It was a piece of carbon fiber so
it could not been from any other part. It was sent it to Craig Easter to confirm
it's location. Other small items were found, landing light, Plexiglas from the
lens, wires, etc.
The rest of the airplane was located about 300 feet down the mountain. It was
too steep to climb, so the remainder of the crash site had to be reached by
another route around the side of the mountain. There was no debris between the
place where the first tree was struck, and the main site. Above
the resting place of the aircraft is a tall tree, over 50 feet, and the left
wing perched in the branches of a tree. It had the aileron attached and looked
to be complete. It broke off at the wing root. In fact, both spars broke outside
of the fuselage. The right spar cap, which is about 10 feet long, peeled off and
delaminated from the I beam of the spar, and is still attached to the fuselage.
The elevator and stabilizer sheered off at the root where it joined the
fuselage. The elevator was still attached to the stabilizer with the right horn
de-attached, and some top skin missing. The trim is in the neutral position
according to the motor location. The engine is still attached to the motor mount
with one lug. The bottom lugs are broken where they attach to the motor. The
engine looks to be in one piece but had a slight oil leak from a crushed valve
cover. The oil caught on fire as it ran down the large rock it was sitting on,
and when the Park Rangers got to the site the small fire was going out.
the Park Ranger did not see any fuel, but the FAA man said that they did have a
fuel smell about 50 to 100 feet up the mountain. The fittings to the header tank
were opened, no fuel was found, although in the position it was in, it could
only hold about 10 tablespoons if there was any. The aircraft was so damaged
that it was very hard to surmise the fuel situation. The only fuel tank that
would be intact was in the left wing, up in the tree, which would have to be
removed by helicopter.
They did purchase 70 gallons of fuel in Dunnellin Florida about 3.5 hours
away at a cruise speed of 170 mph. That fuel was purchased at 8:45 in the
morning and the crash occurred at 2:30 pm. The fuel switches were on the main
tanks. The throttle , Prop control and mixture were all full forward. Strangely,
the propeller suffered little damage. Although it is bent , it is not bent the
way a prop usually is when under power hitting objects. The fuselage from
bulkhead 141 forward is completely demolished. The front seat rails and the seat
roller attachment failed and the seats came out of the fuselage. The seat belts
pulled out from the stringer on the passenger side and the fuselage bottom on
the pilots side. Neither person was found in the wreckage.
is not repairable. The NTSB requested the engine and it was to be shipped to
Lycoming by the insurance company.
SUMMARY: The aircraft was traveling in a northeasterly direction when
witnesses saw it turn westerly (left) like it was heading through the Gap. The
debris is in a west to east direction, opposite to the direction in which the
plane was heading, from the top of the mountain down the east side.
two possible scenarios. Either the pilot was turning to the right, hard (90 +
degree bank) , trying to avoid the mountain and he struck the tree. A more
plausible scenario is he was pulling up , very steeply in a right turn and
stalled. The airplane started to go into a spin to right and hit the tree
inverted. The reason for saying this, is because an 8 foot section of the top of
the right outboard wing skin, right glass from the canopy, right float, and a
small part of the top of the stabilizer or elevator were all found at the first
tree. The left wing separated at about the 6th or 7th tree hit and remains in
the tree. The fuselage impacted a large rock on the right side .
February 20th, 2000. The following is
shared from Dan:
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies of laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared
And swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting
Wind along, and flung my eager craft
Through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with
Easy grace where never lark, or even
Eagle flew - and, while with silent
Lifting mind I've trod the high
Un-trespassed sanctity of space, put
Out of my hand and touched the face of God
February 29th, 2000. Preliminary NTSB
NTSB Identification: IAD00LA021
Accident occurred FEB-11-00 at CUMBERLAND GAP, VA
Aircraft: Wood SEAWIND 3000, registration: N94WB
Injuries: 2 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
On February 11, 2000, about 1435 eastern standard time, a homebuilt Seawind
3000 amphibian airplane, N94WB, was destroyed after colliding with trees and
mountainous terrain while maneuvering over Cumberland Gap National Historic
Park, Cumberland, Virginia.
The certificated private pilot/owner/builder and student pilot passenger were
fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight
originated in Douglas, Georgia destined for Pontiac, Michigan. No flight plan
was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
A witness who lived near the park was in his house when he heard the
airplane. He was interviewed via the telephone by a Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Inspector. According to the record of conversation, the
witness said: "Approximately 3:00 pm - no sight - only heard airplane from
indoors. The engine was sputtering, and was coming on and off. He ran outside to
the back deck and looked up. There was a lot of fog but he did not see the
airplane. He still heard sputtering for about five seconds, then heard the sound
of the airplane hitting trees, then silence."
An engineer who also lived near the park heard the airplane. In a written
statement, he said: "I heard a small plane with the engine at full
throttle, about 7 to 10 seconds with no missing sound, but full rev. Also, what
sounded like a crash and the cracking of timber and then the engine went silent.
I noticed the possible strong wind gusts at 1,300 feet and the accident site was
approximately 2,400 feet.
Another witness, an auto mechanic, lived near the park and was in his yard
working when he observed the airplane flying over his home. He was interviewed
via the telephone by an FAA Inspector. According to the record of conversation,
the witness said: "It was approximately 1430 when he first saw and heard
the airplane heading towards the Middleboro airport, Middleboro, Kentucky. The
airplane was white in color. The airplane went directly over his home and made a
right turn toward the Pinnacle, which is the highest peak in the park. When the
airplane turned right, he heard the airplane go full power towards the Pinnacle
which was fogged in. The airplane disappeared over the ridge into the cloud
cover and then heard a cracking noise of trees then silence. He stated the
weather was very cloudy and the Pinnacle area was socked in with heavy fog. He
was confused as to why the airplane turned off his original heading toward the
The airplane crashed inside the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
approximately 5 nautical miles southeast of Middleboro Airport (1A6),
Middleboro, Kentucky. The airplane was examined on-site by two FAA Inspectors.
They reported the wreckage path was approximately 250 yards long, at an
approximate elevation of 2,200 feet msl. Both wings were sheered from the
airplane at the wing root. The fuselage came to rest on the right side, and the
engine separated from the pylon. The inspectors noted that there was no odor of
fuel at the accident site.
The airplane originally departed from Dunellon, Florida, earlier that day.
Prior to departure at 0844, a fuel receipt indicated the airplane was serviced
with 70.2 gallons of 100 LL fuel. The pilot then flew to Douglas, Georgia, and
purchased some oil. While on the ground, around 1125, the pilot contacted the
Macon Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) via telephone and stated he was
VFR (visual flight rules) from Douglas, Georgia to Pontiac, Michigan. The AFSS
provided weather information to the pilot. The pilot did not purchase fuel in
Douglas, Georgia. A preliminary survey of other potential fuel stops along the
intended route of flight revealed that N94WB was not serviced with fuel. Weather
conditions at Middleboro Airport (field elevation 1,554 feet msl) at 1501, were
ceiling 1,300 feet overcast, visibility 10 nautical miles, wind 330 degrees at 7
knots. The pilot held a private certificate for single-engine land airplane. He
did not possess an instrument rating. According to the FAA, the airplane had
been flown approximately 55 total hours prior to the accident.