Sunday, June 24, 2018

Unregistered Tukan Trike: Fatal accident occurred August 27, 2017 in Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

 John Collins 


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky

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

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



Location: Nicholasville, KY
Accident Number: ERA17LA297
Date & Time: 08/27/2017, 1330 EDT
Registration: Unreg
Aircraft: Tukan Trike
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 27, 2017, about 1330 eastern daylight time, an unregistered amateur-built experimental light-sport Tukan Trike aircraft was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during takeoff in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The noncertificated pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight.

According to a witness, the pilot purchased the weight-shift-control aircraft several months earlier, and the accident flight was the pilot's first flight in the aircraft. After the pilot completed a few taxi tests down the grass field, the aircraft took off but failed to gain airspeed or altitude. According to the witness, the aircraft climbed to about 20 ft above the ground, veered left, and impacted a dumpster. He reported that the engine ran "fine" during the takeoff.

A search of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot did not hold a pilot certificate, nor did he possess a sport pilot certificate with a weight-shift-control trike rating. (Pilots of the accident aircraft make and model must possess a sport pilot certificate with a weight-shift control trike rating.) His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in conjunction with a student pilot certificate on February 23, 1989. He reported 40 total hours of flight experience at that time. No pilot logbooks were recovered. It could not be determined whether the pilot obtained any instruction in the operation of the aircraft before the accident flight.

The aircraft was configured with a second seat and a NorthWing M-Pulse 2 wing. A 12-gallon fuel tank on a plywood board was underneath the passenger seat, and the aircraft was powered by a two-stroke, 40-horsepower Rotax 447 engine. A Rotax placard on the engine stated, "This engine is for use in experimental and ultralight uncertified aircraft only." No maintenance records were found. According to an FAA inspector, the accident aircraft exceeded the limitations contained in 14 CFR Part 103 for an ultralight vehicle and was required to be registered as a light-sport aircraft.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed that it came to rest nose-low on its left side. Except for structural tube bending, it remained largely intact. The wing remained attached to the main structure and was heavily damaged.

Weather reported at Blue Grass Airport (LEX), Lexington, Kentucky, about 9 nautical miles north of the accident site, included variable winds at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 26°C, dew point 15°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

The Jessamine County Office of the Coroner, Nicholasville, Kentucky, performed an examination on the pilot; an autopsy was not performed. Toxicology testing was performed by Axis Forensic Toxicology. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH) was detected at 5 ng/ml. THC-COOH is one of the nonpsychoactive, nonimpairing compounds produced by the body following use of marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary impairing psychoactive compound in marijuana, was not detected above the reporting level of 1 ng/ml.

Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/23/1989
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 40 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: Tukan
Registration: Unreg
Model/Series: Trike
Aircraft Category: Weight-Shift
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: 
Serial Number: unknown
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 447
Registered Owner: Unregistered 
Rated Power: 40 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: KLEX, 989 ft msl
Observation Time: 1254 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 1°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 15°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Nicholasville, KY
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Nicholasville, KY
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1330 EDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 37.884167, -84.608056

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA297
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 27, 2017 in Nicholasville, KY
Aircraft: Tukan Trike, registration: Unreg
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 August 27, 2017, about 1330 eastern daylight time, an unregistered, amateur-built, Tukan Trike, collided with terrain during takeoff in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The two-place, weight shift-control special light-sport aircraft was substantially damaged. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight. The flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

According to a witness, the pilot purchased the aircraft last fall, and the accident flight was the pilot's first flight. He observed the aircraft take off from a grass field and it did not appear the pilot gained enough airspeed or altitude. The aircraft climbed to about 25 ft above the ground, then veered left and impacted a dumpster. He reported the engine ran "fine" during the takeoff.

Examination of the aircraft by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed it was equipped with a second seat and a NorthWing M-Pulse 2 wing. The aircraft was also equipped with a 12-gallon fuel tank on a plywood board that was underneath the passenger seat.

The fuselage came to rest nose low on its left side. Except for some structural tube bending, it remained largely intact. The wing remained attached to the main structure and was heavily damaged.

The aircraft was equipped with a Rotax 447, two-stroke, 40-horsepower engine. A Rotax placard on the engine stated, "This engine is for use in experimental and ultralight uncertified aircraft only." According to an FAA inspector, the accident aircraft, as equipped did not meet the requirements contained in 14 CFR Part 103 to be considered an Ultralight Vehicle.

No maintenance records or pilot logbooks were located. A search of FAA airman records revealed that the pilot did not hold a pilot's license. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in conjunction with a student pilot certificate on February 23, 1989. He reported 40 total hours of flight experience at that time.

Weather reported at the Blue Grass Airport (LEX), Lexington, Kentucky, about 9 miles north of the accident site, included variable winds at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 26° C, dew point 15° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

How can this be registered as ELSA Trike when it has an engine that is not ASTM compliant ???

Chris Kilgus said...

How often do we have to read where someone kills themselves on the very first flight in an aircraft they have received no instructions. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Similar to the accident at Blackwood airpark back in September 2017