Sunday, July 08, 2018

Best Off Skyranger, N4329R: Accident occurred July 08, 2018 near Houghton Lake State Airport (5Y2), Roscommon County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Houghton Lake, MI
Accident Number: CEN18LA280
Date & Time: 07/08/2018, 0643 EDT
Registration: N4329R
Aircraft: Best Off SKYRANGER
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 8, 2018, at 0643 eastern daylight time, a Best Off Skyranger experimental light-sport airplane, N4329R, made a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Houghton Lake State Airport (5Y2), Houghton, Michigan. The pilot sustained serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area personal flight that was departing at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he did not observe any anomalies with the airplane or its engine during his preflight inspection and the fuel tank contained about 12 gallons of automotive fuel before the flight. The pilot did not observe any anomalies during his before-takeoff engine runup. The pilot reported that the takeoff roll, rotation, and initial climb from runway 16 was uneventful; however, as the airplane climbed through 150 ft above ground level the engine speed rapidly decreased from 6,200 rpm to 4,700 rpm. He verified that the throttle was full forward, the ignition switch was selected to "Both", the fuel valve was open, and that there was available fuel in the tank. The pilot also turned on the electric fuel pump. Despite the pilot's corrective actions, the engine continued to operate at a decreased power setting and the airplane was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot reported that there were trees ahead of the airplane's flight path, so he made a turn into the wind and maneuvered to land on a nearby golf course fairway. The pilot stated that the airplane had insufficient altitude and airspeed to flare normally, which resulted in a hard landing on the fairway. The pilot sustained multiple spinal injuries during the hard landing.

A postaccident examination was completed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector with the Grand Rapids Flight Standards District Office. The FAA inspector reported that both wings and the empennage sustained substantial damage during the forced landing. The engine, a Rotax 582, serial number 5544720, did not exhibit any crankcase or cylinder fractures. No oil leaks were observed on the exterior engine components. The engine remained attached to the fuselage mounts and firewall; however, the mounts and firewall had buckled during impact. The three-blade propeller remained attached to the engine and exhibited blade damage consistent with rotation at impact. The firewall-mounted oil reservoir contained ample engine oil. Two spark plugs, one from each cylinder, were removed and exhibited normal wear signatures. The remaining two spark plugs were damaged during the accident and were not removed. Both carburetors had separated from their respective induction tubes during impact; however, both carburetor throttle arms remained attached to the control cable that was continuous to the cockpit throttle. A partial disassembly of both carburetors revealed ample automotive fuel in their respective bowls. No contamination was observed in the carburetor bowls or the fuel screens. The FAA inspector rotated the propeller by hand and confirmed mechanical continuity of the internal drivetrain components. The dual electronic ignition system appeared undamaged. The postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation during the flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Best Off
Registration: N4329R
Model/Series: SKYRANGER No Series
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: HTL, 1150 ft msl
Observation Time: 0653 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.32 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Houghton Lake, MI (5Y2)
Destination: Houghton Lake, MI (5Y2) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  44.326111, -84.788333 (est)

A small plane crashed on hole 4 prior to 7am this morning. 

We're happy to report that there were no major injuries. 

Hole 4 will remain closed until the plane is removed later this afternoon 

The Quest Golf Club 
Houghton Lake

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