Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thorp T-18, N25VP: Accident occurred December 20, 2014 at San Rafael Airport (CA35), Marin County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR15CA066
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 20, 2014 in San Rafael, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/11/2015
Aircraft: FERDON THORP T 18, registration: N25VP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that prior to the flight in the experimental airplane, he unbolted and rebolted the pilot's seat from its middle position to the forward position. He did not check to see if the flight control stick movement would be restricted in this new configuration. 

During the takeoff roll, the airplane would not rotate when he moved the flight control stick aft. Not realizing the seat prevented the flight control stick movement to the full aft position, the pilot adjusted the elevator trim and the airplane subsequently lifted off, however, it would not climb. The pilot then aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane did not have sufficient distance to stop. It departed the runway surface and traversed through a field, impacted trees, and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, rudder, and vertical stabilator. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's delayed decision to abort the takeoff. Contributing to the accident are an inadequate modification to the seat position, and the pilot's failure to check flight controls for freedom and correct movement.

The unidentified pilot of this plane was able to walk away from the crash from the end of the runway at the San Rafael Airport on Saturday. 
(Courtesy San Rafael Fire Department)

A small plane flipped upside-down, crashing into the ground near a San Rafael Airport runway after a failed takeoff Saturday afternoon. 

The pilot, who was the only person in the plane, had minor injuries but refused treatment, said Jeff Rowan, battalion chief at the San Rafael Fire Department.

There was no fuel leaking or fire, but “I would say it looked like major damage to the plane,” Rowan said. “It looked like, taking off from the airport, he didn’t get enough lift and flipped over his plane just off the edge of the runway.”

The plane was a Thorp T-18, which Rowan described as a small experimental plane. The department got a call about the crash at the airport on Smith Ranch Road at 12:43 p.m.

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — A small-engine plane crashed as it was taking off from the San Rafael Airport Saturday afternoon, a fire chief said.

The crash happened around 12:45 p.m. at the private airport located at 400 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael fire Chief Chris Gray said.

The red single-engine plane flipped over but the pilot was not injured in the accident, Gray said.

Besides the pilot, no one else was inside the plane, he said.

The accident did not spark a fire and no fuel leaked from the plane, according to Gray.

As of about 1:10 p.m., paramedics were assessing the at the scene, the fire chief said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the crash, Gray said.

Gray did not know where the plane was heading to or any other additional information on the pilot.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and Marinwood Fire Department also responded to the scene, Gray said.

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