Wednesday, July 3, 2019

AliSport SRL Silent 2 Targa, N602SL: Accident occurred July 24, 2016 near London-Corbin Airport (KLOZ), Laurel County, Kentucky

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee 

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

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


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N602SL

Location: London, KY
Accident Number: ERA16LA274
Date & Time: 07/24/2016, 1037 EDT
Registration: N602SL
Aircraft: ALISPORT SRL SILENT 2 TARGA
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

Earlier on the day of the accident, the private pilot flew the motor glider in the airport traffic pattern and, after an uneventful landing, secured the glider. The pilot did not report any discrepancies with the canopy during that flight. Before starting another flight later the same day, the pilot noted that the right side of the canopy did not latch properly, which he corrected. The pilot reported that, while on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the right side of the canopy raised, followed by the left side and nose. He continued flying the glider and secured the engine, but did not retract the engine. After turning from the base to final leg of the traffic pattern, he realized that the glider was too far from the runway. The glider subsequently impacted trees short of the runway then impacted the ground. Postaccident examination of the canopy and canopy latch system revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Examination also revealed that the canopy could be offset from its normal position during the closing process and that the respective latch rod in that situation would be outside the airframe receiver hole, not allowing the canopy to secure properly. Additionally, there was no visual indication to indicate that the canopy was properly secured. It is likely that the pilot did not engage the latch rod into the airframe receiver hole when he closed the right side canopy latch before departure, which resulted in the in-flight canopy opening. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to properly secure the right side of the canopy before takeoff, and an in-flight collision with trees while maneuvering with an open canopy. Contributing to the pilot's failure to properly secure the canopy was the lack of a visual indication that each side of the canopy was properly secured.

Findings

Aircraft
Flight compartment windows - Incorrect use/operation (Cause)
Passenger/crew doors - Not specified (Factor)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action performance - Pilot (Cause)
Incomplete action - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Organizational issues
Equipment design - Manufacturer (Factor)

Factual Information 

On July 24, 2016, about 1037 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated AliSport SRL Silent 2 Targa motor-glider, N602SL, collided with terrain during an attempted landing at London-Corbin Airport-Magee Field (LOZ), London, Kentucky. The private pilot sustained minor injuries and the motor-glider was substantially damaged. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a local, personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed, for the flight that originated about 7 minutes earlier from LOZ.

The pilot stated that earlier that day, he flew the motor-glider around the traffic pattern at LOZ, and landed uneventfully then secured the motor-glider. There were no discrepancies associated with the canopy during the first flight. When attempting to close the canopy in advance of the accident flight, he noted the right latch did not seat properly. He cycled the right canopy latch and noted it was then seated OK, and then started the engine. He taxied onto runway 24, and initiated takeoff.

After becoming airborne he turned crosswind and then onto downwind leg where while flying at 700 feet above ground level (agl) and 50 mph, he heard a thump on his right knee. He reported the right canopy latch released allowing the right side of the canopy to raise about 1 inch along its full length, though the right canopy lever was full forward at the time (latched). He thought he could close the canopy, but the left side then released. While holding the rear of the canopy down with both hands as best he could, the canopy twisted which released the front latch. He thought about jettisoning the canopy but elected not to, making the decision to attempt to save the canopy. He secured the engine but he did not center the propeller nor retract the engine. He wrestled to keep the canopy closed and when he slowed the glider, the nose of the canopy came up. While wrestling to hold the canopy closed he turned base to final but realized he had drifted too far from the runway. While descending at 50 mph, he was forced to fly the glider into trees short of the runway. The left wing impacted a tree about 15 feet agl, then the motor-glider impacted the ground. He exited the motor-glider, walked to the airport, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injury. He further indicated that at no point either in-flight or after coming to rest did he jettison the canopy.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the motor-glider at the accident site, and found the canopy in close proximity to the main wreckage. Some of the canopy acrylic material was missing but the canopy frame was intact. Further examination of the canopy revealed the left and right latch handles and rods, and also each rod receiver hole in the airframe were intact with no damage noted. Operational testing of the left and right canopy latches and the canopy emergency jettison system revealed no discrepancies. It was noted by the FAA inspector that the canopy could be offset from its normal position during the closing process and that the respective latch rod in that situation would be outside the airframe receiver hole not allowing the canopy to secure properly. It was also noted that there was no visual indication to indicate that the canopy was closed properly, and in the event that the canopy would raise in-flight due to being improperly secured, it would likely lift from the rear initially, but once the air pressure equalized with a forward airspeed, the canopy would stabilize in forward flight.

The accident pilot purchased the motor-glider in June 2014, and since owning it he accrued 2.5 hours. During those flights excluding the accident flight, there were no reported problems with the canopy latch mechanism.

A review of the maintenance records revealed the airplane's last condition inspection occurred on April 20, 2016. The entry associated with the inspection indicated the canopy eject system was functionally checked. The motor-glider had accrued about 2 hours since the inspection was performed.

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind
Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 71, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:No 
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/19/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/07/2015
Flight Time:   438 hours (Total, all aircraft), 5.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 329 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ALISPORT SRL
Registration: N602SL
Model/Series: SILENT 2 TARGA
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 2024
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/20/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 660 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 480.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Alisport Srl.
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: A302efi
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 28 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: LOZ, 1212 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1053 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: London, KY (LOZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: London, KY (LOZ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1030 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: London-Corbin (LOZ)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1212 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 24
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5751 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 37.093056, -84.067500 (est)

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