Friday, May 04, 2018

Denney Kitfox Model 3, N73BH: Accident occurred May 02, 2018 at Stovall Ranch Number 4 Airport (6TX9), Marathon, Brewster County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Marathon, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA157
Date & Time: 05/02/2018, 1100 CDT
Registration: N73BH
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 2, 2018, about 1100 central daylight time, an experimental homebuilt Hartline Kitfox III, N73BH, registered to a private individual, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing immediately after takeoff from the Stovall Ranch Nr 4 Airport (6TX9), marathon, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot and 1 passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The personal local flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91.

The pilot reported that during takeoff, about 15-feet above the ground, the airplane rolled violently to the right. He applied full aileron and rudder opposite the roll, but the airplane continued to roll to the right. The airplane struck the ground with the right wing and then impacted a mesquite tree.

After the accident, it was discovered that 3 of the 4 hinges connecting the right flaperon hangar rib had come loose. The wooden (spruce) material of the flaperon appeared to by dry rotted where the hinges connected. According to records provided by the owner, the airplane had last flown about 6 months prior to the accident flight. Records showed that the airplane had about 3 hours of flight time since its most recent conditional inspection which was performed on May 23, 2017.

Denny Aerocraft Company Service Bulletin #9, dated September 12, 1991, had identified flaperon hangar rib failures on Kitfox models I, II, and III. The service bulletin identified the area of the attachment to be reinforced with a metal fixture. The accident airplane did not have the fixture installed. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: HARTLINE J BON
Registration: N73BH
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: KE38
Observation Time: 1055 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 100 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / -1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 21 knots/ 34 knots, 230°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Marathon, TX (6TX9)
Destination: Marathon, TX (6TX9) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  29.855000, 102.791667 (est)

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