First flight, last flight

Aircraft: Rans S18. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Fayetteville, Tenn. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot was making his inaugural flight in the recently purchased, recently reassembled, but as of yet unregistered, experimental airplane.

He had not flown in about six years. His latest medical certificate was issued June 6, 2005, and at the time, he indicated 640 hours of flight time.

Family members said he had taxied the Rans airplane a few times to familiarize himself with the controls.

On the accident flight, witnesses on the ground watched the pilot takeoff from his home airstrip, climb out, then turn back, disappearing behind a tree line. They continued to hear the airplane’s engine operate until hearing the airplane hit the ground.

The structural damage indicated that it had hit the ground in a stall/spin to the right.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. The pilot’s lack of recent flight experience was a factor.

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA435

This August 2011 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.


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