The private pilot taxied out and took off for a personal flight from a private grass runway in Bennington, Kansas, in an unregistered homebuilt airplane.
A witness reported that, when the airplane reached 150 feet above the ground, the engine stopped.
The pilot then turned the plane back toward the runway, and it then dropped and hit terrain. He was killed in the crash.
The airplane did not have an airworthiness certificate, and no maintenance records were found.
Examination of the engine pistons found evidence of scoring, consistent with piston seizure. The accident is consistent with a loss of engine power due to piston seizure and with the pilot subsequently losing airplane control while maneuvering back to the runway.
Probable cause: The unregistered airplane’s loss of engine power due to piston seizure. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s loss of airplane control while maneuvering back to the runway.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA022
This October 2015 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.