Sunday, April 18, 2021

Abnormal Runway Contact: Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, N84PF; accident occurred April 04, 2020 in Hickory, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hickory, North Carolina 
Accident Number: ERA20CA144
Date & Time: April 4, 2020, 17:30 Local
Registration: N84PF
Aircraft: Lake LA4
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Abnormal runway contact 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of the amphibious airplane was conducting a takeoff from a lake when he rejected the takeoff because there were power lines and a bridge in the direction of takeoff and he was unsure whether the airplane would be able to clear them. During the rejected takeoff, he reduced engine power; however, the airplane became airborne. He initiated a slight right turn toward more open water. After touching down, the airplane "water looped." The aft portion of the fuselage was substantially damaged during the accident sequence. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures of 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 inadequate preflight planning and attempted takeoff with obstacles in the direction of departure, and his failure to maintain control of the airplane during the rejected takeoff.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues (general) - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff-rejected takeoff Abnormal runway contact (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: January 21, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: June 17, 2018
Flight Time: 3062 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1726 hours (Total, this make and model), 3062 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 28 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Lake 
Registration: N84PF
Model/Series: LA4 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1984
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 1100
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 11, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2690 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 17 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5975 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A1B6
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 200 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s)
Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHKY,1175 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 17:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 230°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 9000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 60° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hickory, NC 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hickory, NC
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 17:30 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.801109,-81.30278(est)

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