Saturday, May 15, 2021

Challenger Special, N97KV: Accident occurred May 16, 2020 near Titan Field (TN23), Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Location: Clarksville, TN
Accident Number: ERA20LA188
Date & Time: May 16, 2020, 09:20 Local
Registration: N97KV
Aircraft: VAUGHN Challenger
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On May 19, 2020, at 0920 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Challenger Special, N97KV, was involved in an accident near Titan Field (TN23), Clarksville, Tennessee. The commercial pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, the pilot provided a written statement and discussed the accident with him. The pilot stated that he completed a 30-minute local flight and returned to TN23 for landing. He described the descent and the arrival over the river that ran perpendicular to the approach end of the landing runway, which had ponds bordering both sides at the departure end. The pilot said he planned a "tight" base turn and then a low approach down the turf runway to alert fisherman along runway's edge.

The pilot performed the descent, the approach, aligned his airplane with the runway and flew the length of the runway at a power setting of approximately "70 percent." At the completion of the low pass, and "2-3 seconds into the climb" the pilot said he noticed a "lack of climb performance with full power applied."

The pilot initially turned to avoid powerlines and trees at the departure end of the field but selected the trees as his forced landing site.

When asked about the performance and handling of the airplane, the pilot said "Everything was fine until …" he increased throttle for the climb.

The airplane was powered by a Rotax 503 50-horsepower that was not equipped with carburetor heat.

At 0956, the temperature recorded at Fort Campbell Army Airfield (KHOP) was 25°C, and the dew point was 20°C. Interpolation of an icing probability chart revealed that atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to "serious icing at descent power."

After the accident, continuity of the flight control system was confirmed by the FAA aviation safety inspector, and a successful post-accident engine run was performed on the airframe with no anomalies noted that would have precluded normal operation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: VAUGHN
Registration: N97KV
Model/Series: Challenger Special 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHOP,571 ft msl 
Observation Time: 14:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C /20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 20000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 120°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Clarksville, TN (TN23)
Destination: Clarksville, TN (TN23)

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: 36.494445,-87.321945 (est)

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