Thursday, February 22, 2018

Aeroprakt A-20 Vista Cruiser N55US: Accident occurred July 16, 2017 near Brookhaven Airport (KHWV), Shirley, Suffolk County, New York

Pilot Yuri Koziy grinning broadly as he leans against a First Responder’s van.

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Shirley, NY 
Accident Number: ERA17LA247
Date & Time: 07/16/2017, 2010 EDT 
Registration: N55US
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The private pilot reported that he was conducting touch-and-go landings and that, while on final approach, the experimental, light sport airplane encountered a downdraft, and the engine lost total power. The pilot was unable to restart the engine or glide the airplane to the runway, and it impacted trees.

The engine was test run successfully several times, and no anomalies were noted. The engine's choke control was located near the throttle lever. During the test runs, the engine lost total power if the choke control was moved about halfway (1 inch). It is likely that the pilot's hand was on the throttle lever and that it inadvertently bumped the choke control during the downdraft encounter, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadvertent activation of the engine's choke control during a downdraft encounter, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.


Engine controls - Unintentional use/operation (Cause)

Personnel issues 
Action - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Downdraft - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

On July 16, 2017, about 2010 eastern daylight time, an experimental light sport Aeroprakt A-20 Vista Cruiser, N55US, was substantially damaged during a forced landing into trees, following a total loss of engine power on final approach to Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York. The private pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

The pilot reported that he was performing touch-and-go landings to runway 24 at HWV. About 700 feet above ground level, the airplane encountered a downdraft and the engine lost all power. The pilot was unable to restart the engine and realized that the airplane would not glide all the way to the runway. He elected to land in the tops of trees approximately .3 mile from the runway threshold. The airplane subsequently contacted the tree tops and descended left wing low to the ground.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912 S, 100-horsepower engine. Subsequent examination and successful test-runs of the engine by the pilot and FAA inspectors did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The engine operated continuously at multiple power settings, including full power.

The engine's choke control was located in the vicinity of the throttle lever. During one of the test-runs, the pilot and FAA inspectors noted that when the choke control was moved approximately halfway (1 inch), the engine lost all power. The pilot and inspectors believed that during the downdraft/turbulence encounter, the pilot's hand on the throttle accidentally bumped the choke control, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final
Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Off-field or emergency landing

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/12/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/11/2016
Flight Time:  400 hours (Total, all aircraft), 110 hours (Total, this make and model), 10 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AEROPRAKT
Registration: N55US
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 047
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/25/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 22 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 430 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912 S
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 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: HWV, 81 ft msl
Observation Time: 1956 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 19°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 200°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Shirley, NY (HWV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Shirley, NY (HWV)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2000 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Brookhaven Airport (HWV)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 81 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 24
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4200 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern 

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: 40.821944, -72.866944 (est)

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