Friday, August 13, 2021

Czech Sport Aircraft PiperSport, N643JK: Accident occurred August 12, 2021 at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), California

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; Los Angeles, California

Santa Monica Flyers Inc


Location: Santa Monica, CA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA317
Date & Time: August 12, 2021, 10:35 Local 
Registration: N643JK
Aircraft: CZECH SPORT AIRCRAFT AS PIPER SPORT
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CZECH SPORT AIRCRAFT AS
Registration: N643JK
Model/Series: PIPER SPORT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.015822,-118.4513 (est)


19 comments:

  1. Not properly closed and locked prior to the flight.

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    1. Yep. I love the “anonymous” all over here defending the pilot. Gee I wonder who that is.

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  2. Somebody missed an item on the checklist...or didn't do it properly with embarrassing results.

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    1. I know this pilot and can assure you this is not what happened. The canopy latch in this PiperSport is notoriously sketchy and prone to doing this, despite multiple checks and tests to ensure it does not. It is common enough that the canopy pooping open after being secured is on the checklist.

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    2. I know this pilot and can assure you this is not what happened. The canopy latch in this PiperSport is notoriously sketchy and prone to doing this, despite multiple checks and tests to ensure it does not. It is common enough that the canopy pooping open after being secured is on the checklist.

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  3. Lift cylinders on the canopy are nifty until decreasing airspeed at flare for landing lets them raise the unsecured canopy like a sail. Bad design.

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    1. Well anything on the planet can be categorized as a "bad design" if you don't handle it properly. One can argue that a tree is a "bad design" for climbing because he lost his footing and fell and broke his legs because a branch wasn't in the perfect spot for his foot. The bed of a pickup truck can be a categorized as a "bad design" because some moron was riding in the back of it unsecured then got thrown out of it after the driver hit a pothole in the road. The outboard or inboard/outboard motor on a boat can be considered a "bad design" because someone got too close to the prop and chopped his foot off. The arched roof of a house can be considered a "bad design" because someone loses his footing on it and slides off breaking his neck on the concrete driveway below.

      See where we can go with this?

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    2. wow....you missed the point entirely

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    3. No the point was interpreted and countered. A "bad design" does not mean you screw up and don't follow procedure and suffer the consequences!

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  4. Hello.... you put your elbow on the canopy rail to stop it opening when going slower. If it opens all the way you loose all elevator control. Dont ask how i know this !

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  5. Replies
    1. Having flown this plane may times, I can guarantee you this is not true. The canopy on this is prone to unlatching itself after thoroughly securing it. This is absolutely a design flaw in the Pipersport, and tends to be more common on some than others. This pilot was not the type to blow through checklists, and certainly not something known to be an issue.

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  6. A week ago on August 6th student and CFI comment on broken left canopy latch; "Student: Canopy?" CFI: Looks over at left latch. "Yes. I think on that left side. I think the fiberglass is broken and there is no material for that latch to hold onto". I was pretty stunned when I heard it last week. I wouldn't have been in that aircraft and nor should the CFI. When I heard about this event I knew the tail number and flight school from this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW9nWCA60Ss&t=7s

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  7. Years ago, on the last day of Sun&Fun, the pilot of a Glassair suffered the same problem on takeoff. He struggled to hold the canopy down but when he lost his grip and it flew full open. With the tail now blanked the plane started to skid off to the left but it was no longer climbing.
    I lost sight of him as he passed over the trees. I kept watching to see if he would climb back up. Instead, it was a column of smoke that rose up.
    I was the second person to arrive at the crash site and found, among other things, the pilot’s temporary airman's certificate and aircraft data card that the pilot threw out of the cockpit at the last minute.
    I looked him up on Internet and it turned out he was a very accomplished aeronautical engineer and the head of research & development for Gulfstream’s supersonic bizjet.

    Blanking the tail is a known problem with the forward hinged canopy and if it can happen to someone that has dedicated his life to aviation it is particularly dangerous for LSA pilots.
    Airplanes used to be wood and fabric; unstable; open cockpit; tail draggers; with a compass for navigation; and a string for airspeed and weather.
    They say the FARs are written in blood and so is aircraft design. All aircraft are compromises and that is especially true for experimentals.
    LSAs were regulated into existence to lure younger people into aviation not to kill them but most LSA pilots are older guys with the normal health and memory issues.
    In either case forgetting one item should not lead to your demise especially on a certified aircraft.

    In Florida, the very last thing you do is latch the door or you die of heat stroke. I am sure that is also true in Cali. It should also be the last thing on the checklist (I write it in). Maybe a post-it on the compass would be a good idea for forward hinged canopies so when you line up and check it to make sure you are on the right runway it is right in front of you.

    Congratulations for getting it back on ground alive.
    Hopefully both the pilot and plane will fly again.

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    1. It is on the checklist for this specific plane twice, and everyone who flies these knows full well they are prone to unlatching, nd takes extra steps securing them.

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  8. Seems to me, if the canopy lift causes a potentially catastrophic situation, then a series of simple pressure switches trigger a safe/unsafe light that sits right in front of pilots scan. Sounds simple enough to me.

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  9. Seems to me, if the canopy lift causes a potentially catastrophic situation, then a series of simple pressure switches trigger a safe/unsafe light that sits right in front of pilots scan. Sounds simple enough to me.

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  10. Seems to me, if the canopy lift causes a potentially catastrophic situation, then a series of simple pressure switches trigger a safe/unsafe light that sits right in front of pilots scan. Sounds simple enough to me.

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  11. There is a “canopy open” light on the dash on many SportCruisers but it’s also on written on EVERY SportCruiser checklist to verify it’s down and locked. If one latch was broken then the flight school is at fault here. All they care about is money, not the plane that is a leaseback or the student.

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