Sunday, December 17, 2017

Golden Circle Air T-Bird II, N5619Z: Accident occurred December 17, 2017 at Wiscasset Municipal Airport (KIWI), Lincoln County, Maine

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:  Wiscasset, ME
Accident Number: GAA18CA105
Date & Time: 12/17/2017, 1430 EST
Registration: N5619Z
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot in the tailwheel-equipped, experimental airplane, the airplane bounced to the left side of the runway during the takeoff roll.

He thought that the airplane would "straighten itself out", however, the airplane's tail lifted, and the airplane continued to the left. The left main landing gear impacted a snowbank, and the airplane exited the left side of the runway. The airplane came to rest in the safety area.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage.

The METAR at the accident airport reported that about the time of the accident, the wind was variable at 4kts and the sky was clear.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Sport Pilot
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/08/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/21/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1186.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 120 hours (Total, this make and model), 1070 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GOLDEN CIRCLE AIR
Registration: N5619Z
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 001
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 582DCDI
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 60 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIWI, 68 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 8°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: -5°C / -16°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wiscasset, ME (IWI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Wiscasset, ME (IWI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1430 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 70 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3397 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 43.961389, -69.712500 (est)

Gusty wind apparently forced an airplane taking off from Wiscasset Municipal Airport Sunday back down and into the snow near the runway, interim airport manager Rick Tetrev said.

Longtime pilot Charlie Gabelmann, the ultralight plane’s lone occupant, was not hurt, Tetrev said in a phone interview Sunday evening. He described Gabelmann as shaken up after the accident, which Tetrev said cracked the plane in half. The plane was later hauled to Gabelmann’s hangar at the airport, Tetrev said.

Tetrev was called to the airport. Wiscasset Airport Advisory Committee Chairman Steve Williams  called the Portland tower to alert the Federal Aviation Administration, Tetrev said. Williams confirmed he did and said he believed Wiscasset police did, as well.

Williams, a pilot, said in a phone interview, he arrived at the airport shortly after the incident on other business. He hadn’t heard about the accident; when he got there and saw an emergency vehicle, he thought it might be there for a Lifelight transport. Then he saw two police cruisers and the aircraft. By then Gabelmann was in a truck that was being set up to haul the aircraft, Williams said.

Despite the damage to the plane, he was not surprised the pilot was unhurt because the cockpit was intact, Williams said. He also was not surprised about the damage, for two reasons: The plane was an ultralight and the snow near the runway didn’t allow the plane to roll as it might have on grass, he said.

The FAA barred all aircraft from landing in Wiscasset; the ban was later lifted and access to the runway returned to normal, he said.

The FAA did not respond to the scene, he said. He expects it will as part of the investigation.

Asked about the incident’s handling, Tetrev said, between the pilots’ professionalism and the town’s response with emergency crews, “It was marvelous. It went smoothly, like clockwork, and that’s how it’s supposed to go.”

The response was stellar, Williams said.

Wiscasset Fire Chief T.J. Merry said the department was dispatched to the airport shortly after 3 p.m. and checked to make sure the craft was not at risk of catching fire; fuel did not leak from the aircraft, Merry said. No ambulance was called to the scene because it was known there were no injuries, he said.

Williams said Gabelmann is a certified flight instructor and an excellent pilot. “He’s very safe and takes extensive retraining,” Williams said.

Story and photo ➤

No injuries were reported after a small aircraft slid off the runway during takeoff at Wiscasset Municipal Airport on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 17.

According to Sergeant Craig Worster of the Wiscasset Police Department, the aircraft was on the runway when a crosswind grabbed the small plane pushing it off the paved area and into the snow.

Worster said no injuries were reported as a result of the crash and the pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft when it slid off the runway.

Worster said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board had been contacted regarding the incident.

Worster said he believed the aircraft would be removed from the runway shortly.

Lincoln County Communications paged out the Wiscasset Fire Department at 3:23 p.m.

Joining the fire department at the scene were units from the Wiscasset Police Department.

The identity of the pilot was not immediately available at the scene.

Story and photo ➤

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