Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Flight Design CTLS, N771TX; accident occurred October 17, 2019 at Monument Valley Airport (UT25), San Juan County, Utah


Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

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

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

Location: Monument Valley, UT
Accident Number: GAA20CA032
Date & Time: 10/17/2019, 1045 MDT
Aircraft: Flight Design CTLS
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during takeoff with a quartering tailwind of 10 knots, gusting to 20 knots, and as soon as the wheels lifted off, the airplane's tail was pushed to the left. He straightened the tail and maintained wings-level flight; however, the airplane continued drifting left. The pilot reported that, due to the tailwind and high altitude, the airplane was getting very little lift. The airplane subsequently impacted a sandy berm off the left side of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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 lateral control and to attain adequate altitude during takeoff with a quartering tailwind in gusting wind conditions, which resulted in impact with a sandy berm left of the runway.


Lateral/bank control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Gusts - Effect on operation (Cause)
Tailwind - Effect on operation (Cause)
Object/animal/substance - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 73, 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: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/13/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 201 hours (Total, all aircraft), 116 hours (Total, this make and model), 143 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Flight Design
Registration: N771TX
Model/Series: CTLS Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: F-10-01-03
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 756.3 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912 ULS
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 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: KBDG, 5865 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 48 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 20 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 110°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Monument Valley, UT (UT25)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Page, AZ (PGA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0730 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Monument Valley (UT25)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5192 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 34
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 37.016667, -110.200556 (est)

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