The accident happened during a sales demonstration of the CubCrafters CCX-2000 by the rear seat pilot, an employee of the airplane manufacturer, for the front seat pilot.
At the time, the rear seat pilot held a private pilot certificate and had accumulated 1,000 total flight hours in the airplane make and model. The front seat pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, but his most recent flight review had expired at the time of the accident flight. He reported that he had no experience in the airplane make and model.
The rear seat pilot reported that during their final landing attempt with the front seat pilot on the controls, the airplane touched down normally at the airport in Heber City, Utah, and started to veer to the left. The front seat pilot corrected to the right and the rear seat pilot then attempted to recover the airplane with left rudder and right aileron, but the airplane ground looped to the right.
According to the front seat pilot, the rear seat pilot interfered with the rudder controls during the rollout, which impeded his attempts to maintain directional control after the airplane veered to the right.
The left wing and fuselage were substantially damaged.
According to the rear seat pilot, at the time of the accident, the company did not have a formal policy to learn a prospective buyer’s qualifications prior to a sales flight. Instead, they required a conversation with the prospective buyer about their recent flight history based on “trust and judgment.”
He added there could have been better communication, as he did not formally ascertain the front seat occupant’s level of proficiency and experience. The rear seat pilot further stated that both occupants were wearing face masks, which interfered with their communication.
The front seat pilot reported that they never discussed his flight experience, qualifications, or proficiency in the airplane prior to the accident flight. He was also never advised that he would assume the role of pilot-in-command.
Probable Cause: The front seat pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll, and the rear seat pilot’s delayed remedial control inputs that subsequently resulted in a ground loop. Contributing to the accident was a lack of communication by both pilot’s to establish clearly defined pilot-in-command roles prior to the accident flight.
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This May 2020 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.