Aircraft: Beech Mentor. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Williston, Fla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot, a CFI, took off from a turf runway surrounded by trees. Witnesses said the airplane became airborne within a couple of hundred feet, ballooned up, then leveled off just above the runway and accelerated. When the airplane passed abeam the witnesses, the airplane’s smoke system was active and the airplane’s wings were rocking up and down.
When the airplane reached the end of the runway, it pitched to an altitude of about 200 feet AGL, yawed and rolled left, then pitched nose down. The nose oscillated up and down before the plane hit the ground.
Investigators noted that at the time of the accident, once an airplane was beyond the tree line, it would have been subjected to a 30° crosswind of 10 to 16 knots.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any pre-impact malfunctions of the airplane or engine.
However, examination of the tungsten filaments from the light bulbs in the stall warning indicator lights revealed that they were stretched and distorted, indicating they were likely illuminated during impact.
According to investigators, the pilot was described as knowing airplane energy management very well, however, they speculated that on the day of the accident, he may have been surprised after he cleared the top of the trees surrounding the airport and encountered the 30° crosswind and wind gusting from 10 to 16 knots. This would have affected the airplane’s flight path and resulted in a loss of energy, possibly resulting in the loss of control and stall.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed in changing wind conditions during a steep climb after takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s ostentatious display close to the ground.
NTSB Identification: ERA12FA062
This November 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.