This August 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: Long EZ Injuries: None. Location: Afton, Wyo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot performed a normal preflight inspection of his airplane, loaded baggage into the back seat and placed a canvas canopy cover on top of the baggage. He did not securely lock the canopy.
The pilot initiated a takeoff. After accelerating to about 70 mph, the canopy partially opened, and the canvas cover flew out of the airplane. It hit the pusher propeller and a blade shattered.
The pilot aborted the takeoff but, due to vibrations, the nose wheel broke off before he was able to stop. The airplane then caught fire.
The pilot opined that a fuel line may have broken due to the severe engine vibration or an impact from the nose wheel.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to securely lock the canopy prior to takeoff, which allowed the contents of the cabin to exit the airplane and damage the propeller. Contributing to the severity of the damage was the subsequent fire that ensued.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR10CA437