Taxi test takes off

This March 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Long-EZE.
Location: St. Charles, Mo.
Injuries: 1 Minor.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The airplane had a registration certificate but had not been issued an airworthiness certificate. The pilot said that the airplane was not finished when he decided to conduct high-speed taxi tests.

He knew that the rotation speed of the airplane was about 50 mph. During the taxi tests the airplane reached that speed and lifted off. The pilot decided to continue the takeoff because he was afraid that if he aborted the takeoff he would not be able to bring the airplane to a stop before going off the end of the runway.

The pilot said the airplane performed well in the pattern. When he turned on final approach he noticed that there was another airplane on the runway so he decided to perform a go-around. When he advanced the throttle, the engine lost power. Attempts to restore power were not successful. The airplane crashed on a dirt mound near the runway.

Probable cause: A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. The inadvertent lift-off that occurred during the high speed taxi checks was a factor.

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