First flight, last flight for pilot

This April 2010 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: Kolb Mark3X. Injuries: 1 Fatal Location: Charleston, S.C. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The accident flight was the first flight for the airplane. A review of the pilot’s records revealed that he did not have any flight time in the accident airplane make and model, nor had he ever logged any flight time in a tailwheel-equipped airplane.

He did not have a tailwheel endorsement to act as pilot-in-command of a tailwheel-equipped airplane.

According to witnesses, after starting the engine, the pilot completed a high-speed taxi before taking off. The airplane lifted off in a couple hundred feet, then airplane pitched up steeply, leveled off about 75 feet above ground, then pitched up again until it reached about 200 feet AGL.

The airplane made a right turn onto the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern at 300 to 400 feet AGL, and then turned onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern at 700 to 800 feet AGL. The airplane turned to the right, pitched nose down, and spun in to the ground.

The post-accident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent loss of control. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of experience in the make and model airplane.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10LA199


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  1. Rod Beck says

    If  (tri-gear trained) you’ll learn to use your FEET real quick – and make better coordinated turns in the air!

  2. Scottaeroap says

    Jerry…  As a new tailwheel pilot I can tell you that the tailwheel training will probably be more beneficial than the ultralight… they can be very challenging to get used too, once you got it they are a joy but will test your skills to start…

    • Jerry Stole says

      Thanks Scott,

      I am finding it difficult to get training in a tailwheel type ultralight. It sounds as though this is important so I will keep looking.

      Thanks agian

  3. Jerry Stole says

    This article was a wake-up call to me. I am in the process of building an ultralight and even though I have many hours of flying, none of it is in a taildragger or in an ultralight. This accident re-enforces my plan to get at least ten hours of ultralight instruction before the initial flight of my plane. Having an expert pre-fly my plane my not be a bad idea either.

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