Sunday, November 29, 2020

Loss of Lift: Van's RV-6, N327WB; accident occurred July 25, 2020 in Imperial, Chase County, Nebraska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Imperial, NE

Accident Number: CEN20CA307
Date & Time: 07/25/2020, 1249 MDT
Registration: N327WB
Aircraft: Vans VANS RV 6
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot stated that this was his third passenger carrying flight of the day and he determined his takeoff weight was about 146 lbs below max gross weight. For the takeoff from the grass strip, he elected not to utilize flaps or the full length of the runway, leaving about 100-200 ft behind him. During the takeoff roll, the pilot had the sense that the roll was taking longer than normal, and he began to be concerned about powerlines at the end of the runway. When about 10-25 ft above the ground, he began a shallow bank turn to the right. Immediately after starting the turn, he flew over a corn field and experienced a loss of lift. The airplane then impacted the corn, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot noted that he listened to the density altitude reported on the Automated Weather Observing System for a nearby airport but did not process the effects it would have on the accident flight. The density altitude was about 6,184 ft.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate preflight performance planning and his decision not to utilize all available runway during high density altitude operations which led to an inflight loss of control and subsequent collision with terrain.


Personnel issues Performance calculations - Pilot
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Aircraft Climb capability - Not specified

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb Loss of lift (Defining event)
Initial climb Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private

Age: 66, 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: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/20/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/22/2019
Flight Time: 247 hours (Total, all aircraft), 58 hours (Total, this make and model), 247 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans

Registration: N327WB
Model/Series: VANS RV 6 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 24169
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/07/2020, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 20 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 754 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer:Lycoming 
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-H2AD
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:160 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: KIML, 3273 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1053 MDT
Direction from Accident Site: 359°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Imperial, NE (PVT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Imperial, NE (IML)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1145 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information


Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 3460 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor

Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.406944, -101.617500 

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