This November 2008 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: RV-6. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Martinsville, Va. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot, who had logged about 800 hours in a similar type airplane, had landed at the airport on numerous occasions. The airplane bounced during the landing attempt. The pilot added full power to abort the landing. The airplane yawed to the left during the climb out and went into trees on the left side of the runway. The pilot corrected back toward the right. The airplane was still in a nose-high attitude when it began a slow left yaw and roll. The airplane cartwheeled onto the runway.
Examination of the airplane did not reveal evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. However, toxicological testing revealed an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine in the pilot’s blood. In typical doses, the medication has adverse effects on performance of complex and cognitive and motor tasks. The pilot’s system contained a level that was several times higher than the level expected with a typical maximum single over-the-counter dose.
Probable cause: The failure to maintain control during the initial climb after an aborted landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment from an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine.
For more information: NTSB.gov