Sunday, August 11, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Rans S-17, N117BE; accident occurred August 21, 2017 at Erie Municipal Airport (KEIK), Weld County, Colorado

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

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/N117BE

Location: Erie, CO
Accident Number: CEN17LA327
Date & Time: 08/21/2017, 1845 MDT
Registration: N117BE
Aircraft: GREENE R/GREENE S RANS S 17
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis

The noncertificated pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane reported that, during the initial climb, the engine did not seem to be producing full power, so he attempted to reject the takeoff and land back on the runway. During the landing, the wind pushed the airplane to the right, the left wing rose, and the right wing contacted the ground. The airplane spun around and came to rest upright. The pilot had not flown since 2010 and had no more than 2 hours of recent flight experience. The pilot stated that he had checked the spark plugs before the accident flight and thought that he did not properly install the plugs; however, following the accident, the pilot ran the engine several times and the engine appeared to produce power.

The wind conditions at the time of the accident would have resulted in a left quartering tailwind during landing. This, coupled with the density altitude of about 7,300 ft, would have significantly decreased the airplane's performance and could have given the perception to the noncertificated, inexperienced pilot that the engine had experienced a partial loss of power.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain control following a rejected takeoff for a perceived loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of training and experience in the airplane.

Findings

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Total experience - Pilot (Factor)
Training with equipment - Pilot (Factor)
Qualification/certification - Pilot

Environmental issues
Tailwind - Effect on operation (Cause)
High density altitude - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information 

On August 21, 2017, about 1845 mountain daylight time, a Rans S-17 airplane, N117BE, ground looped at the Erie Municipal Airport (KEIK), Erie, Colorado. The uncertificated pilot sustained minor injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federals Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to information provided by the pilot, after departing on runway 15, during the initial climb, the engine did not seem to be producing full power. The pilot reduced engine power, attempted to reject the takeoff, and land back on the runway. Wind pushed the airplane to the right, the left wing rose, and the right wing contacted the ground. The airplane spun around on the ground and came to rest upright. Substantial damage was sustained to the fuselage and right wing.

Information, gathered by the responding Federal Aviation Administration Inspector, revealed that the pilot did not possess a pilot certificate. In addition, the pilot had not flown since 2010, and had no more than 2 hours of recent flight experience.

The pilot stated that he had checked the spark plugs before the accident flight. He felt that he did not properly install the plugs. Following the accident, the pilot ran the engine several times and the engine appeared to produce power. A review of meteorological data revealed that the density altitude at the time of the accident was about 7,300 ft.

At the accident time, the automated weather reporting facility at KEIK reported a wind from 040° at 3 knots. The wind would have been a left quartering tailwind. 

History of Flight

Takeoff
Loss of engine power (partial)

Takeoff-rejected takeoff
Other weather encounter
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 80, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):  None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  2 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GREENE R/GREENE S
Registration: N117BE
Model/Series: RANS S 17 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1202040
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: 447
Registered Owner: SALE REPORTED
Rated Power: 416 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: KEIK, 5132 ft msl
Observation Time: 1845 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 348°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 3°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 40°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Erie, CO (EIK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Erie, CO (EIK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  MDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: ERIE MUNI (EIK)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 5119 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 15
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4700 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

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:  40.010278, -105.048056 (est)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What? This had to be a yolo moment; at 80yo. Dude missed the thing where he died doing what he loved to do. SMH.