Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sea & Sky Cygnet, N59AT: Accident occurred June 01, 2015 in Panama City, Bay County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA230
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 01, 2015 in Panama City Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/20/2017
Aircraft: SEA & SKY INC DBA KRUCKER ACFT CYGNET, registration: N59AT
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial airplane pilot reported that, during his first solo flight in his new weight-shift-controlled aircraft, he experienced an unstable feeling when he started a right turn. While attempting to roll the aircraft straight and level, it rolled into an uncontrollable, "steep" left turn and entered an aerodynamic stall before crashing into the water below. It is likely that when the pilot attempted to correct the initial roll to the right, the aircraft rolled past 90° of bank, to a condition where the pendulum stability, which kept the fuselage below the wing, ceased to act, resulting in the loss of control. Postaccident examination of the aircraft revealed that several of the hardware components attaching the wing to the trike had fractured; however, examination of the fractures revealed that they all exhibited features consistent with overstress due to impact, and no evidence of preexisting damage was observed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of aircraft control, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N59AT

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA230
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 01, 2015 in Panama City Beach, FL
Aircraft: SEA & SKY INC DBA KRUCKER ACFT CYGNET, registration: N59AT
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 June 1, 2015, about 1905 central daylight time, a Sea & Sky INC Cygnet weight-shift-control aircraft, N59AT, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water near Panama City, Florida. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight, which departed Panama City Beach, Florida at 1905.

According to the pilot, this was his first solo flight in his new aircraft after a sign off by his instructor. He stated that after takeoff, he climbed the to approximately 300 feet and leveled off. He began a turn to the right and noted an "unstable" feeling in the flight controls. He attempted to roll the aircraft to straight and level, it continued to the left and rolled into an uncommanded "steep" left banking turn. The pilot was unable to maintain control of the aircraft; subsequently it entered an aerodynamic stall and impacted the water.

According to the pilot's son he watched as the aircraft departed St. Andrews Bay. He said that as the aircraft began a slight right turn, it began to oscillate from left to right while descending. At about 50 feet above the bay the aircraft turned to the right in a 90° bank before "crashing" into bay. A review of a video recording revealed that the pilot was in stable flight prior to the accident. In a statement made to the NTSB; the pilot's son assisted with the postaccident recovery of the aircraft and noted the wing assembly was separated from its fuselage attachment point, and was being held on by cables before the aircraft was recovered.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane after the accident. According to the inspector, the wing and fuselage (trike) were buckled, and the aluminum hang block attachment and three attachment bolts had fractured. The hang block assembly was forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination.

The hang block assembly consisted of a strap and saddle. The saddle was attached to the strap by three flush-head bolts on each side of the strap. The strap for the saddle was fractured on both sides through the three saddle attachment holes on the right side and the forward saddle attachment hole on the left side. Bolts for attaching the right side of the saddle to the strap were sheared. The lower fracture surfaces through the strap at the left and right had an overall twisting deformation, and both fracture surfaces had a uniform rough matte gray appearance consistent with ductile overstress fracture. The saddle attachment bolts on the right side of the saddle were fractured. The fracture features and associated deformation and contact damage were consistent with shear fracture.

The United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) commissioned a safety study of the tumble mode, a peculiarity of weight-shift-control aircraft. This safety study described the inherent spiral instability of the aircraft type. According to the report, "Many weightshift microlight aircraft are spirally unstable (particularly at higher power settings); thus, an initial small bank angle is likely to increase without (unless horizon reference is available) the pilot's ability to control it. The aircraft would roll, potentially past 90° of bank to a condition where the pendulum stability which keeps the trike below the wing ceases to act – inevitably causing some loss of control."

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