Sunday, May 22, 2016

Czech SportCruiser, Santa Monica Flyers Inc., N1111X: Accident occurred May 22, 2016 at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), Los Angeles County, California


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA El Segundo (Los Angeles) FSDO-23

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA115
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 22, 2016 in Santa Monica, CA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 22, 2016, at 1332 Pacific daylight time, a Czech Aircraft Works SPOL SRO, Sportcruiser, N1111X, departed the runway after a loss of engine power during takeoff from Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California. The light-sport airplane was registered to, and operated by, Santa Monica Flyers, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The student pilot was not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed Santa Monica at 1330. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The student pilot had just completed two uneventful takeoffs and landings while remaining within the traffic pattern. As he approached the hold short line for runway 21 in preparation for his third takeoff, an airplane in the traffic pattern declared an emergency, and tower controllers temporarily suspended all takeoffs. The pilot remained in the airplane with the engine still running at idle. While waiting, he monitored the engine's cylinder head temperatures and intermittently increased the engine speed to keep the engine cool.

After holding short for 20 minutes the student pilot was given a takeoff clearance. The takeoff roll and initial climb were uneventful, however, once the airplane reached an altitude of about 500 ft agl, the engine began to lose power, and the airplane began descending. The pilot stated that he did not have sufficient altitude to perform trouble shooting steps, and immediately rolled the airplane into an 180-degree right turn for a landing back on runway 3. The airplane became realigned with the runway centerline about midfield, and after touchdown the pilot applied full brake pressure, but was unable to slow the airplane down sufficiently. The airplane passed through northeast run-up area taxiway, and departed the elevated section of the runway, dropping down onto the airport perimeter road 10 ft below.

Both the nose and main landing gear struck the curb, and the airplane came to rest on a grassy knoll within the airport perimeter, about 180 ft beyond the threshold of runway 21. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and lower fuselage structure during the accident sequence, and both wings, along with their integral fuel tanks, were intact and undamaged.

At 1:34 PM Santa Monica Fire Department was notified of a single engine private aircraft crash, at the east end of the Santa Monica Airport Runway.

4 Engines, a Ladder Truck, a Hazardous Materials Unit, and a Chief Officer responded. The first arriving unit found the aircraft of the end of the runway, fairly intact, with no ensuing fire.

The pilot was out, and uninjured. Santa Monica Fire Units remained on scene, along with Santa Monica Police, awaiting an NTSA representative, to investigate the cause of the crash. --Dale Hillock, Public Affairs Officer, Santa Monica Fire Department.

Santa Monica airport is controversial. Many neighbors who want to shut down the century old airfield, complain that in case of such events, the runway is just too close to housing.

It has been said that no U.S. airport is as close to housing as Santa Monica airport. Historically, dense housing was constructed near the airport hurriedly in the 1940's, to house wartime employees of Douglas Aircraft.

After World War II ended, Douglas continued to produce DC-3's and DC-10's at Santa Monica's Cloverfield, until the company merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1970. Santa Monica's largest employer folded shop and moved to St. Louis, leaving high density housing right next to the 227 acre airport.

Small plane aviation periodically produces crashes. Noise and crashes equal a local political movement to permanently close the airport, and turn it into a park.

Original article can be found here:

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