Friday, March 11, 2016

Loss of Control in Flight: Beech D17S Staggerwing, N9290H; accident occurred March 11, 2016 at Van Aire Airport (CO12), Brighton, Colorado

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Delta Enterprise

Location: Brighton, Colorado
Accident Number: GAA16CA146
Date & Time: March 11, 2016, 08:25 Local 
Registration: N9290H
Aircraft: Beech D17 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped biplane reported that shortly after the biplane lifted off the runway during takeoff, he diverted his attention and reached for the fuel selector which was located on the lower right wall of the cockpit. He further reported that the biplane drifted to the left of the runway and impacted a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the upper and lower right wings, and the fuselage.

According to the pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain the runway course during takeoff, resulting in the airplane drifting to the left and impacting a fence. A contributing factor to the accident was the pilot's diverted attention during the takeoff.


Aircraft Heading/course - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Personnel issues Attention - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 26, 2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 7, 2014
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3691 hours (Total, all aircraft), 433 hours (Total, this make and model), 3589 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N9290H
Model/Series: D17 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1944
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 6726
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tailwheel 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 1, 2015 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 38467 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: C91A installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: R-985-14B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 450 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDEN, 5414 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 167°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 14000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  / None
Wind Direction: 250° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / -6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Brighton, CO (CO12)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Brighton, CO (CO12)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 08:20 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: VAN AIRE CO12 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5055 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3700 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.982776,-104.702224(est)

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A small plane skidded off the runway and crashed in a field at Van Aire Skyport on Friday morning, Brighton Fire Rescue said.

The pilot was on board the plane when it crashed. 

There were no injuries.

A Brighton Fire spokeswoman said the pilot looked down to adjust the fuel when it skidded off the runway.

The pilot told officials the plane is worth $500,000.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.

Original article can be found here: 

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — A small plane skids off the runway and crashes in a field at Van Aire Skyport in Brighton.

The Brighton Fire Department says no-one was hurt. 

he pilot was alone in the plane which skidded when the pilot looked down to adjust fuel. 

Neighbors called in the crash.

The FAA will handle the investigation.

Original article can be found here:

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