The owner of the F1 Rocket had recently purchased the airplane, and a pilot had ferried the tailwheel-equipped, tandem seat airplane across the country and delivered it to him the day before the accident.
The purpose of the accident flight was for the ferry pilot to familiarize the owner with the airplane’s avionics. The owner was seated in the front seat, while the ferry pilot (who did not hold a flight instructor certificate) was seated in the rear.
The rear seat was equipped with a limited set of flight controls that included a control stick, rudder pedals, and throttle. The rear seat was not equipped to control the airplane’s brakes.
The pilots departed and flew to a nearby airport with a 4,000-foot-long runway, where the owner flew an approach to landing that terminated in a go-around. The ferry pilot then demonstrated a touch-and-go landing.
On the third approach attempt the owner was unable to extend the airplane’s flaps, so they aborted the approach to troubleshoot the problem. The pilots were ultimately unable to extend the flaps and elected to return to the owner’s home airport in Finleyville, Pennsylvania, and land on the 2,500-foot-long runway there.
When the ferry pilot initially attempted to land the airplane, it bounced during both attempts and he aborted the landings.
The owner said that during the final landing attempt, the ferry pilot approached the runway at a “slightly faster speed” and that the airplane “landed long.” The airplane continued down the runway with its tail in the air.
The ferry pilot, unable to see the runway due to his vision being obstructed by his position in the rear seat, did not realize the airplane was approaching the end of the runway until the owner called out to him.
The owner began applying the airplane’s brakes with about 400 feet of the runway remaining. The airplane overran the departure end of the runway. During the excursion both main landing gear collapsed, and the forward portion of the fuselage and engine mount area were substantially damaged.
Following the accident, an FAA inspector turned on the master switch and extended the airplane’s flaps. The flaps extended normally.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s misjudgment of the airplane’s speed and altitude during the landing approach, and his failure to attain the proper touchdown point during landing, which resulted in a runway overrun. Contributing to the accident were his access to a limited set of flight controls, his obstructed vision due to his seating position, and the pilot’s decision to return to the relatively constrained runway following a perceived anomaly of the airplane’s flaps.
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This August 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.