Friday, October 25, 2019

Aerodynamic Stall / Spin: SlipStream Genesis, N3449; fatal accident occurred July 02, 2017 near Merrys Pymatuning Airport (PA01), Linesville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Harry A. Ross
January 18th, 1947 ~ July 2nd, 2017

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Linesville, PA
Accident Number: ERA17FA223
Date & Time: 07/02/2017, 1923 EDT
Registration: N3449
Aircraft: SLIPSTREAM Genesis
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


On July 2, 2017, at 1923 eastern daylight time, an experimental light sport SlipStream Genesis, N3449, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Merrys Pymatuning Airport (PA01), Linesville, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was owned by the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses at or near PA01 reported that the airplane took off from runway 4, after which it climbed on runway heading to about 500 ft above ground level (agl). It then turned to the right, the right wing dropped, and the airplane descended to ground contact. One witness reported that the airplane appeared to make one complete revolution as it spiraled down before impacting a field.

One of the witnesses thought that it was "strange" that the pilot was taking off with a tailwind on runway 4. He watched the flight from takeoff until impact, noting that the wind was about 5 knots. He stated that the airplane took a bit longer to get airborne, consistent with a downwind takeoff, but that the pilot was eventually able to gain enough altitude to clear the power lines and climb out to 400 to 500 feet agl before initiating a left turn; the airplane seemed to slow down in the turn before it turned right and descended. The pilot regularly discussed his discomfort flying the airplane. During a previous flight, the pilot landed long before overrunning the end of the runway into the weeds.

An additional witness stated that, before the accident flight, he overheard the pilot state that he "didn't trust his aircraft" and that the airplane had an inoperative airspeed indicator. The witness offered the pilot use of a temporary airspeed indicator, but he turned down the offer and proceeded to fly.


The pilot, age 70, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land and additional certificates for repairman-experimental and repairman-light sport. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on February 14, 2006, with a limitation for having available glasses for near vision. His medical was expired and not required to operate the airplane. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed 424.5 total hours of flight experience. The pilot's logbook reflected only one entry in the accident airplane, for 5.0 hours, dated September 16, 2016.


According to FAA records, the pilot purchased the airplane on November 15, 2014. The airplane was a two-seat, strut-braced, high-wing airplane powered by a two-cylinder Rotax 582, 65-horsepower engine driving a three-blade, carbon fiber propeller in a pusher configuration. It held 14.5 gallons of usable fuel in wing-mounted tanks. The airplane was issued an FAA experimental light-sport aircraft special airworthiness certificate on July 4, 2007. According to maintenance records, the tachometer indicated 127.0 hours as of a condition inspection dated October 21, 2015. Additional records were missing or incomplete. The total airframe and engine time at the time of the accident could not be determined.


The 1953 weather observation at Port Meadville Airport (GKJ), Meadville, Pennsylvania, 10 miles east of the accident site, included wind from 270° at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 24°C, dew point 16°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury.


The field elevation at PA01 was 1,203 ft mean sea level. The single turf runway, oriented 04/22, was 1,815 ft long by 150 ft wide with 85-ft-tall trees 450 ft from the departure end of the runway.


The airplane impacted the ground in a right-wing-low, steep nose-down attitude about 1,800 ft from the departure end of runway 4. The fuselage, cockpit, and instrumentation were consumed by a postimpact fire. The accident site was compact and localized, and all major components were accounted for at the scene.

Three-quarters of the outboard portion of the left and right wings remained intact and were still attached to their respective struts. The empennage was damaged by fire but remained attached to the frame. All control surfaces remained attached to their respective hinge mounts. Continuity was established between all flight control surfaces and the cockpit controls.

Two of the propeller blades were splintered and remained partially attached to the propeller hub; they exhibited significant thermal and impact damage. One 3-ft section of a propeller blade was broken off at the hub and was discovered 30 ft from the wreckage.

The 2-cylinder, 2-stroke, liquid-cooled engine exhibited significant thermal and impact damage. Thermal damage to the engine prevented engine rotation to establish continuity. Crankshaft and rotary valve continuity were confirmed through disassembly and examination. The crankshaft, valves, and bearings appeared to be well lubricated and exhibited no anomalies. The piston assembly, cylinders and sleeve exhibited signs of thermal damage through discoloration, but appeared relatively intact and freely moved once the case was opened.

The carburetors and all internal components were damaged by impact and heat; functionality could not be determined. The engine was equipped with dual ignition; there were two spark plugs per cylinder and all four spark plug electrodes appeared normal.


No autopsy was performed due to the condition of the pilot.

The FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot; results were negative for tested-for drugs and ethanol.


According to the Airplane Flying Handbook, FAA-H-8083-3B, Chapter 4, Maintaining Aircraft Control:

A stall is an aerodynamic condition which occurs when smooth airflow over the airplane's wings is disrupted, resulting in loss of lift. Specifically, a stall occurs when the AOA—the angle between the chord line of the wing and the relative wind—exceeds the wing's critical AOA. It is possible to exceed the critical AOA at any airspeed, at any attitude, and at any power setting.

A pilot must recognize the flight conditions that are conducive to stalls and know how to apply the necessary corrective action. This level of proficiency requires learning to recognize an impending stall by sight, sound, and feel. Stalls are usually accompanied by a continuous stall warning for airplanes equipped with stall warning devices. These devices may include an aural alert, lights, or a stick shaker all which alert the pilot when approaching the critical AOA.

Certification standards permit manufacturers to provide the required stall warning either through the inherent aerodynamic qualities of the airplane or through a stall warning device that gives a clear indication of the impending stall. However, most vintage airplanes, and many types of light sport and experimental airplanes, do not have stall warning devices installed.

Even so, the pilot should remember the most important action to an impending stall or a full stall is to reduce the AOA. …Pitch nose-down control. Reducing the AOA is crucial for all stall recoveries. Push forward on the flight controls to reduce the AOA below the critical AOA until the impending stall indications are eliminated.

Roll wings level. This orients the lift vector properly for an effective recovery. It is important not to be tempted to control the bank angle prior to reducing AOA.

Both roll stability and roll control will improve considerably after getting the wings flying again. It is also imperative for the pilot to proactively cancel yaw with proper use of the rudder to prevent a stall from progressing into a spin.

Add thrust/power. Power should be added as needed, as stalls can occur at high power or low power settings, or at high airspeeds or low airspeeds.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/14/2006
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:05/28/2006 
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 424.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 5 hours (Total, this make and model), 0 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SLIPSTREAM
Registration: N3449
Model/Series: Genesis
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 17
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/21/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 582
Registered Owner:On file 
Rated Power: 65 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: KGKJ, 1399 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition:Clear 
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:270° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LINESVILLE, PA (PA01)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: LINESVILLE, PA (PA01)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1920 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 1203 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 1815 ft / 120 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.683056, -80.433056

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