Saturday, July 16, 2016

Zenith CH-801, N801G: Accident occurred July 16, 2016 at Beaumont Hotel Airport (07S), Butler County, Kansas

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Wichita FSDO-64

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA379
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 16, 2016 in Beaumont, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: JESSE SAINT/TROY TOWNSEND/ETHA CH-801, registration: N801G
Injuries: 1 Minor, 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 of an experimental amateur-built airplane reported that during the landing flare he encountered a wind shift and gust that resulted in a direct crosswind. The pilot further reported that he applied additional rudder to compensate for the wind shift, but the airspeed decayed and the airplane bounced hard on the grass runway. After the bounce, the pilot reported that he continued to apply left rudder to compensate for the wind, but the airplane would not respond. Subsequently, the airplane touched down in a crab configuration, the nose landing gear collapsed, and the airplane nosed over.

The vertical stabilizer, firewall, and right wing sustained substantial damage.

During a postaccident examination, the pilot reported that the nose landing gear "support bungee" had failed and the nose landing gear strut jammed upward during the hard landing. He further reported that oil residue was found on the inner strands of the bungee. The pilot reported that this bungee had been in service for 21 months with 195 hours and about 400 landings on the part.

According to the airplane kit manufacturer, the rudder should still be controllable, even with a failed bungee. However, the manufacturer further reported that if the nose landing gear strut were to become stuck or lodged into place due to a hard landing, the rudder would also become stuck and uncontrollable. The airplane kit manufacturer does not publish service life limitations for bungees. 

Because the pilot reported not having rudder authority after the first touchdown, it is likely that the nose landing gear support bungee failed during the first hard touchdown, which resulted in the nose landing gear becoming jammed upward at the upper strut limit resulting in the loss of rudder authority.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's incorrect pitch control during the landing flare in gusty crosswind conditions, which resulted in a hard bounced landing and a nose over.

BEAUMONT, Kan. (KSNW) – The mystery of a plane crash in Beaumont, Kan. Saturday appears to have been solved. For now.

KSN received a photo of a plane upside down that apparently had crashed near the small Butler County town sometime Saturday. 

We contacted Butler County dispatchers to find out more about the crash and were told they hadn’t received a report of a plane crash.

When emergency crews were subsequently dispatched to the scene the found the plane abandoned upside down at the end of the runway but no one around.

A check with staff at the Beaumont Hotel revealed the pilot and a passenger had left the scene, apparently uninjured.

The Beaumont Hotel is a popular destination for pilots of small planes.


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