Saturday, February 29, 2020

Fuel Contamination: Tecnam P-2004 Bravo, N319TA, fatal accident occurred August 18, 2017 near New Kent County Airport (W96), Quinton, Virginia












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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

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


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


http://registry.faa.gov/N319TA

Location: Quinton, VA
Accident Number: ERA17LA280
Date & Time: 08/18/2017, 1100 EDT
Registration: N319TA
Aircraft: COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE TECNA P2004 BRAVO
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel contamination
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 18, 2017, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam P-2004 Bravo, N319TA, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain and a fence during a forced landing near Quinton, Virginia. The flight instructor was fatally injured and the commercial pilot receiving instruction received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Mid Atlantic Air Adventures, Inc. and was operated by New Kent Flight Center as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed New Kent County Airport (W96), Quinton, Virginia, about 1030.

The commercial pilot reported that the accident flight was his first instructional flight in the airplane make and model. The pilots checked the weather and performed a preflight inspection using the checklists, which revealed no anomalies. Both fuel tanks were checked and were indicating 1/2 full on the left and slightly more than 1/2 full on the right. The instructor informed the pilot that they would stay in the airport traffic pattern until the weather improved. After completing a runup and pretakeoff checklist, they departed runway 29. The commercial pilot reported he "was pretty sure we did three takeoffs and touch and goes" on runway 29. Following the last takeoff, all indications appeared normal, but as the commercial pilot started a left climbing turn to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern about 600 ft mean sea level (msl), the "power just quit."

The flight instructor took control of the airplane and attempted to restart the engine, however, the propeller was "frozen in place" and the engine did not restart. The airport was over 1 mile away and there was no possibility of return, so they attempted a forced landing on a horse pasture. The flight instructor performed the landing to an area that was bordered by two 5 foot fences; the airplane collided with the first fence before landing in the field, then collided with an additional fence before coming to a rest on a gravel road.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane; a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine and instrument airplane; and a mechanic certificate with powerplant rating. His most recent first-class FAA medical certificate was issued on December 6, 2016, with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the application for that certificate, the pilot reported 4,800 total hours of flight experience with 350 hours in the previous 6 months.

The pilot receiving instruction held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent second-class FAA medical certificate was issued on August 2, 2017, with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the application for that certificate, he reported 256 total hours civilian flight experience. He also reported over 6,050 hours of military flight experience.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a special light sport airplane and received its airworthiness certificate on April 24, 2008. It was a two-place, internally braced, high-wing airplane, with a two-blade fixed pitch propeller that was driven by a Rotax 912 100 horsepower, four-cylinder, four-stroke liquid/air cooled engine.

Review of maintenance records indicated that, at the time of the most recent 100-hour inspection on July 10, 2017, the airplane had accumulated 1,164.5 hours total time; the engine had 599.3 hours total time and the tachometer registered 240.4 hours. During the inspection, all cylinder compressions were normal, the oil was changed, and the oil filter was inspected. In addition, the spark plugs were removed, inspected, and reinstalled; there were no discrepancies noted.

The previous 100-hour inspection was accomplished on June 15, 2016; the tachometer time and engine total time was 176.5 hours and 535.5 hours, respectively. During the inspection, the spark plugs were replaced and the carburetors were rebuilt.

The powertrain section of the airplane maintenance manual detailed interval operating hours. It stated that spark plug inspection was required every 100 hours with replacement every 200 hours unless leaded fuel was used more than 30% of the airplane's operational time, which reduced the replacement interval to 100 hours. It also stated that the engine oil must be drained and replaced every 50 hours, and the oil filter replaced every 50 hours and cut open to examine the filter for contaminants. Airplane records indicated that these maintenance actions were completed as required by the reduced intervals set forth in the maintenance manual

The owner of the airplane could not confirm if the operator was using 100LL aviation fuel on a regular basis. He did report that, in May 2017, the operator purchased 25 gallons of 100LL on two separate occasions. In addition, 100LL (blue) fuel was recovered from the airplane after the accident. Between the most recent inspection and the flight log for the day of the accident flight, 38.3 hours had elapsed; the 50-hour inspection and oil change was due in 12.3 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1055 observation at W96, 1 mile east-northeast of the accident site, included wind from 180° at 5 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 1,400 ft above ground level, temperature 28°C, dewpoint 26°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a wooden fence just before touchdown, which sheared off one of the landing gear. The airplane slid for about 200 ft after touchdown before striking another wooden fence, which resulted in impact damage to the fuselage, empennage, engine, and wings. The left wing fuel tank was compromised during the impact. The airplane continued another 50 ft, where it came to rest on a gravel road on a magnetic heading of 315°. A section of fence board entered the engine compartment, punctured the firewall and instrument panel, then entered the cockpit .

One of the propeller blades was separated and shattered about 14 inches from the hub. The opposing propeller blade was cracked in several locations, but remained intact.

The engine was examined at a salvage facility following recovery from the accident site. The engine remained attached to its mounts, which were deformed. Several components, including the number 2 (No. 2 and No. 4 cylinder) carburetor, were found displaced; several wires and hoses, including the fuel return line, were found separated. The exhaust pipes were separated at the muffler.

The engine could not be rotated by hand and could not be operated by the starter. The ignition system was examined and was in good physical condition.

The spark plugs were removed and examined. The No. 1 cylinder top and bottom spark plugs displayed rust colored material between the insulator nose and inner bore of the thread. The bottom Nos. 1 and 2 spark plugs were filled with a rust-colored liquid. The No. 3 cylinder top and bottom spark plugs exhibited rust between the insulator nose and inner bore of the thread. The bottom No. 3 spark plug was filled with a soapy liquid. The No. 4 top and bottom spark plugs appeared normal in color and in good condition. When compared to the Champion-Aviation Check-a-Plug chart, the spark plugs exhibited signs of significant lead fouling on the Nos. 1, 2, and 3 cylinders.

The fuel pump was removed and tested by hand, and produced a liquid consistent with water when the plunger was activated. The fuel return line was found disconnected at its attachment point. No anomalies were found with the fuel lines.

The carburetor for cylinder Nos. 1 and 3 and its float bowl were removed and examined. The float bowl contained a liquid consistent with water. The top of the carburetor was disassembled and examined. The rubber diaphragm was found incorrectly installed, as the tab was protruding from the side. The diaphragm was removed and was found to be 180° from its proper location.

The carburetor for cylinder Nos. 2 and 4 and its float bowl were removed and examined. The float bowl contained a liquid consistent with water. The main jet was removed and examined for obstruction and proper size. No additional anomalies were found with the carburetor or its components.

The airframe fuel lines located forward of the firewall exhibited no anomalies. The gascolator was disassembled and inspected. The internal filter and bowl contained an unknown contaminant that lined the interior surface of the bowl, consistent with corrosion.

A clear plastic container was placed under the electric fuel pump to capture any contents. A liquid consistent with water poured out of the fuel pump upon removal. The liquid was tested with water-finding paste, which indicated the presence of water. The fuel filter was removed and found to be partially blocked (30%) with unknown sediment contamination on the filter.

The fuel from the right wing tank was drained and placed in a clear plastic container to facilitate examination. A liquid consistent with water was found sitting at the bottom of the container as seen in figure 1.

Figure 1. Drained fuel showing water.

Removal and examination of the reduction gearbox revealed no anomalies, and the internal gears easily rotated within the gearbox. Rotation of the engine was attempted following removal of the gearbox; however, the engine would not rotate.

The No. 2 cylinder head was removed, and examination of the combustion chamber revealed significant combustion residue adhering to the top of the No. 2 piston and the bottom of the No. 2 cylinder, which prevented rotation of the crankshaft. With the No. 2 cylinder head removed, the engine crankshaft could be rotated by hand.

Analysis of the spark plug and piston contamination samples revealed that the material was composed of 95% lead, 3% zinc, and 2% bismuth.

The airplane was equipped with an Advanced Flight Systems AF-3000 Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS). The memory card was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Division and read out using laboratory hardware. No accident-related data was found on the memory card.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the instructor was performed by Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of The Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. The cause of death listed injuries that were consistent with being struck by the portion of fence board that entered the cockpit.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified ketamine and its metabolite, norketamine; etomidate; and midazolam. The identified substances were consistent with postaccident medical treatment. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 38, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/06/2016
Occupational Pilot:Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 4800 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/07/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/18/2015
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6300 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE TECNA
Registration: N319TA
Model/Series: P2004 BRAVO NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport; Normal
Serial Number: 125
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/10/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 38 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1164 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912
Registered Owner: MID-ATLANTIC AIR VENTURES INC
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: New Kent Flight Center LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: W96, 121 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1055 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 245°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 180°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.9 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 26°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Quinton, VA (W96)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Quinton, VA (W96)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1030 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: NEW KENT COUNTY (W96)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf; Gravel
Airport Elevation: 120 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Rough; Soft; Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 37.497222, -77.149167


Andrew Jones 
 Flight Instructor
































Controlled Flight Into Object: Piper PA-28R-180, N7430J; fatal accident occurred August 31, 2018 in Kaplan, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana










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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Piper Aircraft Inc; Vero Beach, Florida

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


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

https://registry.faa.gov/N7430J

Location: Kaplan, LA
Accident Number: CEN18FA359
Date & Time: 08/31/2018, 0756 CDT
Registration: N7430J
Aircraft: Piper PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 31, 2018, about 0756 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28R airplane, N7430J, impacted a tower near Kaplan, Louisiana. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by Space City Aviators under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which departed without a flight plan from Abbeville Chris Crusta Memorial Airport (IYA), Abbeville, Louisiana, about 0746.

The pilot and his daughter were returning toward their home state of Texas following a vacation to Florida. They arrived to IYA on the afternoon before the accident and stayed overnight at a hotel in Abbeville. According to a hotel surveillance camera, they departed this hotel at 0708.

Following departure from IYA, an uncontrolled airport, the airplane flew about 15 miles to the northwest, where it struck a television/radio tower in a rural area. The tower's height was 1,793 ft above ground level and the airplane impacted about 200 ft below the apex of the tower. The highly fragmented wreckage was dispersed over an area about 700 ft wide. The tower collapsed and the buildings at the base of the tower, which were unoccupied, caught fire and were destroyed. No ground injuries occurred.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/27/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot, age 45, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings, as well as a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land and multi-engine landing ratings. On February 27, 2017, the pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate with no restrictions and reported a total flight time of 6,000 hours. The pilot was employed as an FAA operations inspector. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7430J
Model/Series: PA28R 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-30774
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/18/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 36 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3980 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-B1E
Registered Owner: Private
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Space City Aviators
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane was manufactured in 1968 and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine, serial number L-5225-51A, and a Hartzel two-blade, all-metal propeller. The airplane underwent an annual inspection on July 18, 2018. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated 3,980 hours, with a total engine time of 4,726 hours and time since engine overhaul of 1,782 hours. The airplane was one of four in a fleet offered for rent at a flight club based at La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), La Porte, Texas. The pilot was a member of the flight club.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIYA, 50 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0755 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 104°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 50°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Abbeville, LA (IYA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0746 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G  

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.038889, -92.370833 

The wreckage was in four principal sections: fuselage, empennage and cabin; engine and propeller; right wing; and left wing. Near the base of the tower, which collapsed on heading of 255°, a 20 ft wide area of fuel blight was noted to the grass. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage and lay on its right side with the cabin underneath. Buckling was noted throughout the empennage skin.

The aileron control tee bar was impact damaged and the chain was displaced, with the left aileron drive cable attached to the chain. The chain was pulled down into the cabin floor tunnel and a broomstraw separation occurred inboard of the turnbuckle barrel. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and rudder cables retained continuity from the pedal bar in the cockpit to the rudder. The vertical stabilizer and stabilator remained attached to the empennage, with normal cable continuity from the tee bar in the cockpit to the stabilator balance weight.

The transponder was found in the off position. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal flight operations.


Medical And Pathological Information

On August 31, 2018, a forensic pathologist from the Louisiana Forensic Center, Youngsville, Louisiana performed an autopsy on the pilot and passenger. The cause of death for the pilot and passenger was blunt force injuries. Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory on the pilot was negative for drugs and alcohol.

According to the pilot's second wife, she and the pilot were in the process of getting a divorce following several family-related challenges. She had been very concerned when the pilot left with their daughter without notice and until the evening before the accident, she had not seen or spoke with her daughter since July 27, 2018. According to his FAA supervisor, the pilot's behavior became erratic before the accident. He was unresponsive to phone calls and made purchases for personal items with his work credit card while in Florida, which was not authorized. On the day before the accident, the pilot was informed by his attorney that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Additional Information

The impacted tower was correctly depicted on the FAA sectional chart. Surveillance video of the tower taken during the early morning hours before the accident revealed lighting anomalies. Instead of blinking in unison, the tower's lights would illuminate in a chaotic, random manner. Due to sun glare, video surveillance was not available after 0607 on the morning of the accident.

A witness who lived near the tower stated the lights were often erratic. An aerial application pilot who frequently flew near the tower stated the intensity of the tower's lights ranged from very bright to dim. This pilot flew during the morning of the accident and recalled the tower's lights as bright. A direct course from IYA to the pilot's home airport at T41 would have positioned the flight over five miles south of the tower.

Loss of Visual Reference: Rans S-9 Chaos, N519TB; accident occurred August 04, 2017 at Hackney Airpark (ID05), Athol, Kootenai County, Idaho








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


Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington


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


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

http://registry.faa.gov/N519TB

Location: Athol, ID
Accident Number: WPR17LA181
Date & Time: 08/04/2017, 0900 PDT
Registration: N519TB
Aircraft: RANS S9
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of visual reference
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 4, 2017, about 0900 Pacific daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Rans S-9 Chaos light sport airplane, N519TB, was substantially damaged in a hard landing during an aborted takeoff from Hackney Skypark (ID05), Athol, Idaho. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot 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 that was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's son, who was part of the ground crew for the flight attempt, this was the maiden flight of the kit-built airplane. Because the winds were "very light," the pilot decided to use runway 21, which afforded multiple flat fields beyond the runway end. The airplane was fueled with about 12 gallons, and the canopy was left off (a configuration "approved" by the kit manufacturer) for the initial flight. The pilot conducted a "thorough pre-flight and control checks," and radio communication with the ground crew was confirmed. The elevator trim tab was set to neutral, the engine was started and warmed up, and the pilot taxied out uneventfully. He then conducted a "high speed taxi test," which included application of full power, acceleration to about 55 mph, followed by power reduction and rollout. This too was uneventful, and the pilot taxied back for his planned takeoff from runway 21.

The pilot announced his departure on the radio and applied full power. According to the pilot's son, the airplane accelerated well, and liftoff occurred about 300 to 400 ft down the runway. About 2 seconds after liftoff the airplane was observed pitching up to a "fairly nose high attitude" of about 15o to 20o, as it reached an altitude of about 50 ft, prompting the son to radio to the pilot about the excessive pitch attitude. When the airplane was at an altitude of about 150 ft, and less than halfway down the runway, the other ground crew member observed it to be descending rapidly. The airplane landed hard, collapsed the main landing gear, and came to rest upright near the right edge of the turf runway.

The forward and lower fuselage sustained substantial crush damage. There was no fuel leakage or fire. The ground crew helped the pilot exit the airplane. He sustained head injuries despite his shoulder harness, and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The pilot initially reported to the ground crew that he had difficulty controlling the pitch attitude of the airplane, and that the engine performed normally. In a later statement, the pilot reported that he attempted a steep climb in order to ensure that he cleared trees at the end of the runway. Due to the mid-wing configuration, he lost sight of the horizon in the initial climb, and then had difficulty judging his pitch attitude due to the lack of a cockpit attitude indicating instrument.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 74, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/16/2016
Flight Time:   6000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2 hours (Total, this make and model), 5800 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a commercial certificate with airplane single-engine, multiengine, and instrument ratings. He had about 6,000 hours total flight experience, including about 2 hours in the accident airplane make and model. He had also successfully built and conducted first flights of two other make and model airplanes. His most recent flight review was completed in July 2016. At the time of the accident, he no longer held a current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate, and was operating under the light sport provisions via his driver's license. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: RANS
Registration: N519TB
Model/Series: S9
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 0802177
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/01/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 710 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 503 DCDI
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 50 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was equipped with a 52 Hp Rotax 503 DCDI series engine, and airplane construction was completed a few weeks before the accident. The pilot spent a few weeks conducting engine, propeller, taxi, and ground handling tests, and making minor adjustments to correct noted issues. A data sheet that documented the measured flight control travel ranges indicated that all travel ranges were in accordance with the kit manufacturer's specifications.

Prior to the flight, the pilot accomplished multiple weight and balance calculations, including extreme forward and aft CG (center of gravity), as well as the test flight conditions case. The kit manufacturer's CG range was 53 to 62 inches, and the calculated CG for the accident flight was 59.7 inches. For that flight, the airplane was calculated to weigh 677 lbs. The kit manufacturer specified only two maximum takeoff weights; one for airplanes equipped with a 65hp engine (710 lbs) and one for 80/100 hp engines (810lbs). The kit manufacturer did not respond to an NTSB query regarding installation of the lower hp engine. However, the builder/pilot reported that he was told by the kit manufacturer that kit was offered with the 52 hp engine until that engine (Rotax 503) went out of production. The pilot's weight and balance calculations were verified by investigators, but the actual weights and distances were not verified by investigators.

The kit manufacturer recommended that for takeoff, the airplane be flown off the ground in the "three-point attitude" (tail wheel still on the ground) instead of the typical procedure of lifting the tailwheel during the takeoff roll. Post accident, the pilot's son reported that during the final high speed taxi test, the airplane "became light" at about 55 mph; he thought this was unusual because the stall speed was cited as 41 mph, and that the airplane should have begun lifting off at a speed below 55 mph.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: COE, 2320 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0856 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 190°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hackney, ID (ID05)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Athol, ID (ID05)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0900 PDT
Type of Airspace:

The 0856 automated weather observation at an airport located about 12 miles south of the accident site included winds from 080o at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 24oC, dew point 12oC, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: Hackney (ID05)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 2445 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: 

ID05 was a private use airport, equipped with a single turf runway that measured 3,500 by 150 ft. Runway orientation was designated 3/21. Field elevation was 2,445 ft. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 47.956944, -116.677500 (est)