Monday, July 14, 2014

Culver Cadet LFA, N41716: Fatal accident occurred July 12, 2014 in Limington, Maine

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA337 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Limington, ME
Aircraft: CULVER LFA, registration: N41716
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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 12, 2014, about 1645 eastern daylight time, a Culver LFA, N41716, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during takeoff from Limington Airport (63B), Limington, Maine. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Twitchell Airport (3B5), Turner, Maine.

The pilot purchased the airplane in September, 2013 and it was based at 3B5. According to a witness at 63B, the airplane departed on runway 29, a 2,973-foot-long, 50-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The airplane took off in a nose-high attitude, which was followed by a stall to the left and impact with trees off the left side of the runway. Two other witnesses, who lived next to the departure end of the runway, stated that they heard a momentary sputter of engine noise, followed by a return to power. The engine noise then seemed normal for 5 to 10 seconds, which was followed by the sound of an impact. They did not see the impact, but noted that the airplane was not as high as it should have been at the end of the runway.

The airplane came to rest in an area of trees in a nose-down, upright attitude, on a northerly heading about 250 feet south of the runway. The 20-gallon header fuel tank was compromised during impact and a strong odor of fuel was present at the site. Both main landing gear were extended and partially separated during impact. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited leading edge crush damage. The empennage remained intact and was canted left. Examination of the cockpit revealed that the throttle and mixture controls were in the full-forward position. The magneto switch was on both, the carburetor heat was off and the primer was in and locked.

The airplane was equipped with a Continental Motors C-85-12F, 85-horsepower engine, which was retained for further examination. Additionally, a Garmin 396 GPS was recovered from the cockpit and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C., for data download.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane multiengine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration first-class medical certificate was issued on April 30, 2014. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 5,995 hours; of which, 195 hours were flown during the previous 6 months.

Clarke W. Tate 

GRAY -- Clarke W. Tate passed away on July 12, 2014, around 4:45 p.m. His private plane went down moments after takeoff from the Limington Airport.

He was born in Chicago on April 7, 1962, to Don Tate and Marilyn Tate. He graduated from Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn, Ill., class of 1980. He went to art school and worked many years in the art field before becoming a pilot.

He graduated from Flight Safety Academy in Vero Beach, Fla. He last worked for Maine Aviation flying charter in private jets. His passion was planes and he was a member of the EAA and AOPA. He is survived by his wife, Lucyna Jurewicz whom he married on Aug. 16, 1991. Also surviving are both parents, Don and Marilyn Tate of Gridley, Ill.; his brother James and wife Carrie of El Paso, Ill.; and four nieces and nephews.

He will be sorely missed by all. There is a hole in our hearts that now needs to be filled with the happy memories of the past.

Visitation will be at Wilson Funeral Home in Gray from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, 2014, with a celebration of life to follow.  

Donations may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.

Investigators are trying to find out what caused an antique plane to crash Saturday in the woods, killing Clark Tate.

CAPE ELIZABETH — On Saturday evening members of the Limington chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association were trying to absorb the news that one of their members had died that day when his antique plane crashed in the woods near the Limington-Harmon Airport.

More than 12 hours later, they were serving up a pancake breakfast to the hundreds of people who showed up for the chapter’s annual fly-in at Spurwink Farm, part of the 2,100-acre Ram Island Farm owned by the Sprague family.

Meanwhile, federal investigators arrived in Limington to begin their probe into the fatal crash.

The pancake line passed by a small easel displaying three photos of a smiling man and a red single-engine 1942 Culver Cadet. The display was one of a few outward signs that chapter members were grieving for Clarke Tate, 52, of Gray. Chapter members declined to comment on Tate’s death as they fed the crowd of aviation enthusiasts who turned out for one of the more popular fly-ins in the region.

Tate had planned to attend the fly-in and pancake breakfast, a chapter fundraiser, and spent Saturday helping to get ready for the event.

Many of those present on the sprawling grounds at the mouth of the Spurwink River were hearing about Tate’s death for the first time at the fly-in Sunday morning.

“When I came here this morning, I learned about it,” said Jason Wise, of Kennebunk, a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol’s Portland squadron who was helping to oversee the 30 planes land and take off.

Tate, who flew charter executive jets for Maine Aviation in Portland, died when his plane crashed at 4:45 p.m. Saturday shortly after takeoff from Limington-Harmon Airport.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the Limington airport Sunday morning to begin an investigation into the crash’s cause. The York County Sheriff’s Office said the investigators arrived at the airport shortly after 7 a.m. and examined mechanic logs and other documents. York County Sgt. Steven Thistlewood said he did not expect any results Sunday.

He said traffic had returned to normal Sunday at the small private airport owned by Mahmoud Kanj.

Tate was a two-year member of the Limington chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He was helping the chapter prepare for the fly-in Saturday before he took off toward the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, where the FAA said he was bound.

Some of those attending Sunday’s fly-in said the accident was felt by the larger experimental aircraft community.

“But for them (the Limington chapter) it is a loss of a friend. They are a pretty close family,” said Willy Lewis, of Cumberland.

Lewis keeps his amphibious ultralight plane in the hangar at Spurwink Farm’s private air strip, where the black-and-white air sock matches the Belted Galloway cattle that graze in the surrounding fields.

Others said while the accident was tragic, it did not make them question the safety of experimental aviation.

“The most dangerous part is driving to the airport,” said Marty Tetu of Silver Lake, N.H.

Story and Photos:

Clarke W.  Tate: 

Culver Cadet:   

1942 Culver Cadet, N41716:

Limington Harmon Airport:


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