Sunday, October 11, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Van's RV-4, N15WL; accident occurred October 12, 2019 at Chesapeake Ranch Airport (MD50), Lusby, Calvert County, Maryland



Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Herndon, Virginia 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lusby, MD
Accident Number: GAA20CA026
Date & Time: 10/12/2019, 0945 EDT
Registration: N15WL
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, while taking off and just after rotation, the right wing dropped, and the airplane started to drift right. The right wing struck the runway, followed by the nose and the left wing. The airplane cart wheeled and came to rest in grass adjacent to the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. 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 during takeoff, which resulted in impact with terrain and a subsequent cartwheel. 


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

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
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: 10/01/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/17/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 608 hours (Total, all aircraft), 452 hours (Total, this make and model), 544 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N15WL
Model/Series: Vans RV-4 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1868
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/23/2019, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 790.02 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: KNHK, 40 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1352 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 189°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 18000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lusby, MD (MD50)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lusby, MD (MD50)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0945 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Chesapeake Ranch (MD50)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 116 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2500 ft / 50 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: 38.361111, -76.405278 (est)

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