The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Teterboro FSDO-25
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
NTSB Identification: ERA17LA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 16, 2016 in Morristown, NJ
Aircraft: LOOFBOURROW JOHN W RUTAN DEFIANT, registration: N770JL
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 not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On November 16, 2016, about 1530 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Rutan Defiant; N770JL, was substantially damaged during landing at Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey. The private pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed South Bend International Airport (SBN), South Bend, Indiana, about 1200.
The accident airplane was centerline thrust, twin-engine, and canard equipped with a retractable nose landing gear. It also incorporated a ventral, starboard offset, forward mounted rudder ( rhino rudder), which was mounted to the bottom of the fuselage, on the left side of the retractable nose landing gear. As with a conventional rudder, it was used by the pilot to control the airplane about the yaw axis through the rudder pedals.
According to the pilot, the flight from SBN to MMU was uneventful until he landed at MMU, when during the touchdown, on Runway 23, the retractable nose landing gear suddenly collapsed.
Examination of the airplane revealed that it incurred damage to the front propeller, the bottom of the front engine's cowling, the front engine's tailpipe, and the rhino rudder.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate for the Rutan Defiant. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 19, 2016. He reported that he had accrued 5,905 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,245 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.
According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in 2003. Its most recent condition inspection was completed on January 16, 2016. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued approximately 1,075.6 total hours of operation, and 1,338 landings.