July 2005 Accident Reports

These July 2005 accident reports are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, they are intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Mini-Max.

Location: Covington, Ga.

Injuries: 1 Fatal.

Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot was the builder of the airplane. He did not have a valid medical certificate and was not current in any aircraft at the time of the accident flight.

The maximum gross weight of the aircraft was listed as 560 pounds. The empty weight of the aircraft was recorded as 335 pounds, and the pilot weighed 229 lbs., which put the aircraft over gross weight by four pounds.

According to witnesses, the accident flight was the airplane’s first flight after the completion of construction. The pilot took off and climbed to an altitude of 100 to 200 feet above the ground, then executed a turn to the downwind. Witnesses said there were audible engine power adjustments during the short flight.

The aircraft suddenly banked and dove straight to the ground. No evidence of pre-impact flight control malfunction was observed, and damage precluded engine testing.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and uncontrolled descent and subsequent collision with the ground.

Aircraft: Comp Air.

Location: Winter Haven, Fla.

Injuries: 1 Fatal.

Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had a total of 1,091 hours at the time of the accident; 35 hours had been logged in the accident aircraft. Of that time 7.5 hours was logged as instruction received.

Several witnesses stated that after takeoff, the aircraft pitched to a steep nose-up attitude and climbed to about 150 to 200 feet above the ground. Witnesses told investigators that the airplane appeared to be yawing as it climbed out. The steep nose-up angle continued until the aircraft stalled and entered a spin to the left. The pilot did not have sufficient altitude to recover and the aircraft hit the ground and exploded in flames. One witness reported that the engine appeared to be developing full power throughout the entire event.

The post-crash examination of the engine revealed no obvious signs of an in-flight malfunction.

Due to the extent of the damage caused by the fire, control continuity for the electric pitch and roll trim systems could not be established. Investigators noted that after a nose-over incident approximately a year before the fatal crash that the pitch and roll servos for the aircraft were replaced.

Probable cause: The abrupt steep pitch-up during the initial climb for undetermined reasons, resulting in an inadvertent stall, uncontrolled descent and in-flight collision with terrain.

Aircraft: Taylorcraft BC12-D.

Location: Palmyra, Wisc.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: A student pilot and instructor were practicing touch and goes. The accident flight was the student’s fourth flight lesson. The student had logged approximately three hours in the aircraft.

The landing was normal. Then, according to the instructor, during landing rollout, with the tailwheel on the ground, the airplane drifted to the right. The student applied right rudder and brakes. The airplane nosed over.

Probable cause: Loss of directional control by the student and the delayed remedial action by the flight instructor, resulting in the airplane nosing over.

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