This January 2009 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: Lancair 360. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Joliet, Ill. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The 3,425-hour pilot, who held a commercial certificate with an instrument rating, was at the end of a four-and-a-half-hour flight on New Years Day. The airplane landed with approximately four to five gallons of fuel on board. After landing, he made numerous attempts to locate fuel in order to continue the flight so that his passenger could be at work in the morning, but discovered that fuel services were not available at the airport because it was a holiday. Unable to find a fuel pump at his location, the pilot siphoned fuel from another airplane parked at the airport, leaving a note and money for the fuel he took. With the help of the Internet and a friend on the telephone, the pilot attempted to find fuel at nearby airports. By the time the airplane took off again it was dark. There were no witnesses to the accident, but based on the impact marks investigators determined that the plane stalled during takeoff. The left wing hit the ground and the airplane flipped over and caught fire.
The post-accident investigation revealed that at the time of the accident the airplane was slightly over the maximum gross takeoff weight and the center of gravity was slightly aft of the aft limit. A pilot of another single-engine airplane, who took off around the time of the accident, reported that he had to wipe frost off his wings and tail with a towel prior to takeoff. Investigators could not determine whether the slight frost, slight over-gross condition, or slight aft CG contributed to the aerodynamic stall. Additionally, several people reported that it was not uncommon to see deer on the airport property and one person reported seeing many deer on the runway earlier in the day prior to when the pilot landed, however the investigation could not determine whether deer were present on the runway at the time of the accident.
Probable cause: The failure to maintain adequate flying speed during the night takeoff for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall and subsequent loss of control
For more information: NTSB.gov