Fatal Accidents, 1996

January, 1996

Where:Guayaquil, Ecuador
When: January, 1996
What:Unspecified 2-place ultralight
How: Pilot and passenger were taking off in an open type UL, during take off at about 50 ft.the plane stalled and fortunatelly crash landed on top and thru a roof. After deep investigation the answer was that the prop had been installed with too high pitch and the engine was putting out about 5800 at the most. since he was fully loaded with 12 gallons of fuel, and had to clear some big trees, he keept on pulling back the stick to try to clear the trees, not realizing he did not have enought RPM to climb, hence he stalled the UL. You should perform a full RPM ground test before taking off with a newly installed prop.
Injuries: fatal to pilot and passenger
Training & Experience of Pilot: Pilot had approximately 70 hours

February, 1996

Where:Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
When: February or March, 1996
What: RANS S-12
How:Pilot was practicing touch-and-goes at a GA (uncontrolled) airport in winds gusting as high as 20MPH. Witnesses reported the pilot was in control and was making excellent landings. Another aircraft in the the pattern ahead of him made an emergency stop and he turned away on final approach. As he was setting up to re-enter the pattern he apparently turned and stalled at low altitude (estimated at 200' by a witness (himself a balloon pilot). The aircraft hit the ground in a nose-first attitude. The pilot had deployed the BRS (brand-name unknown) approximately 100' AGL and the chute deployed as the plane hit.
Injuries: Pilot suffered massive closed head trauma and died instantly
Experience & Training of Pilot:Approximately 15 hours in a Rans S12 (enclosed). Trained by USUA-certified BFI. Pilot was also working on a GA PPL.
Notes:The FAA and local pilots agreed that he was 'too low and too slow'. The terrain in this location rises 200'/minute at 55MPH thus making it very easy to be deceived as to your altitude AGL. Additional_Information: A USUA instructor and reporter of incident were in the aircraft that made the emergency landing ahead of the pilot in this report. We had decided that the winds were now too high to fly safely and were making one final t-a-g when the accident occurred.

March, 1996

Where:Mercedes, Texas USA
When: March 22, 1996
What:Buckeye 2-place
How:Pilot was flying a Buckeye 2-place over a live stock show promoting his chiropractic business when according to a witness his engine began to run roughly and at about 100 feet he performed a sharp turn and the chute collapsed and did not recover
Injuries: fatal

April, 1996

Where:Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Texas - United States
When: April 9, 1996
What:2-place Kolb
How:Engine failure on take-off, at approximately 100 feet AGL. Witnesses say the ultralight was on climb-out when the engine quit. It was re-started, but by then the pilot was too low to pull up.
Injuries: One fatality. Serious injury to other occupant, including broken back.
Notes: The pilot/owner was a newly certified BFI
Selected from discussion of incident, causes, and possible solutions from the ultralight mailing list, FLY-UL:
(nitefly@cybercomm.net) I just put up an article on HIGHLIGHTS pages that deals with engine outs and how to train for them. Not many people want to talk about the dangers and how to minimize them. This may be the place to do it http://www.cybercomm.net/~nitefly/deadstk.html any help, comments, whatever will be appreaciated. [Note: I don't know if this site is still on the web.]
(anchored@gte.net) Thanks for the info on the Texas crash, sounds like a BRS could have been useful here.
(jre@campus.mci.net) I own a QS, and have kept putting off buying a parachute. The guy who sold it to me claims it isn't necessary, as most accidents happen near the ground, and a chute won't do you any good near the ground. I'm more worried about an accident like the one I mentioned above. $1600 for a chute is more than I can afford at the moment. But then again, how much would you pay for one on the way down??
(Beesticker@aol.com)....200 feet, to my understanding, is a bit low for a "save". I think a BRS needs a minimum height of 500 to 1000 feet to work reliably (BRS owners help me out here). On the other hand, why NOT pull the handle? What have you got to lose at that point? I think there *have* been some very low saves. But aside from the altitude question, that kind of structural failure is exactly what the 'chute is for.
(bweber@micom.com)Au Contraire! There was an incident at my club field a few months ago. A member was flying a recently completed biplane kit in the pattern when (he says) the control ceased responding. He popped the chute at pattern altitude, which is about 200' agl here. It worked perfectly and he plopped into a farm field. There was significant landing gear and other damage, but no injuries. In general, if you have any control left, you would want to pop it at a fairly low altitude to minimize wind drift which could end up putting you anywhere, like a powerline or into the side of a cliff. In most of the discussions on this subject, there are two situations to use the chute: structural failure or engine out over unlandable terrain. In the first case, I think everyone would pop it as quickly as possible. However, in the second, most pilots said they would glide over the least threatening site and pull the chute at a low altitude, say 200-300' agl. I also read a recommendation (in the USUA magazine, I think) that if landing in trees, the chute should be popped just before hitting them. Hopefully, the lines will entangle and keep you from dropping through to the ground. Save the skin, then the tin.
(benny@soda.csua.berkeley.edu)... according to the article "[the pilot] turned the engine back on but was too low to pull out of the dive in time to avoid the crash." I thought that we had collectively decided on this list that the first thing to do when you have a problem is FLY THE AIRPLANE. Not troubleshoot the engine. It sounds like he did a great job of troubleshooting the engine problem (since he got it restarted), but he forgot to fly the airplane- and crashed. Does this seeem like an accurate injterpretation of the accident?
(GARYWMEEKS@MSN.COM)Are you able to speculate as to what caused the engine out? Was the fuel old? Mixed before the flight?
(ha030@sheridanc.on.ca)This past week I had the opportunity to fly in seven ultralights at Sun-N-Fun in Lakeland. Most guys turned on the Rotax and away they went with little or no warm up. One pilot however run up the Rotax to over 6,000 rpm with me leaning hard on the brakes. Was this a check to see if the engine would make it through the take off? Can this help prevent an engine out on take off? I don't know the answer, perhaps others can comment on this.
(dramsey@ro.com)Another thing a longer run up might do is catch those few occasions when people accidently leave their fuel cut-off in the off position and take off with just the fuel in their fuel line.
(BRUNYON%CMSUVMB@UKCC.uky.edu)....mechanics tell me that a gradual warm up is the single most important thing you can do on an air cooled engine. If you fail to do this parts of the engine heat up at different rates and can cause serious long term damage. I think they said that the piston heats & expands faster than the cylinder jacket, thereby causing a piston to be traveling up & down in a cylinder that is smaller than it. It can cause the engine to seize up

Where:Denton, Texas - United States
When: April 9, 1996
What:Ultralight (type not reported)
How: Unknown. Witnesses report loss of control at take-off
Injuries: Pilot killed
Notes: This is from a very sketchy report - if anyone has any knowledge of what went wrong please e-mail me.

Where:Baden-Wuerttemberg - Germany
When: April, 1996
What:RANS Coyote XL with 503 Rotax engine
How:Just after take-off the nose lifted to about 30 degrees then fell. The plane went into a near-vertical dive.
Injuries: Pilot and passenger killed on impact
Training & Experience of Pilot:Pilot was a private pilot, licensed instructor, former jet pilot with a great deal of experience.
Notes: The plane was equipped with a ballistic parachute, but it was not activated. Preliminary investigation indicates the connecting screw of the elevator pushrod was broken, but at time of report investigation was not yet complete.

May, 1996

Where:Forest Grove, Oregon, USA
When: May 10, 1996
What:Phantom I
How:We suspect that he was doing loops and became unaware of his proximity to ground and impacted without enough altitude to pull out his last loop.
Injuries: Fatal.
Training & Experience of Pilot:Pilot had 135 solo hours in ultralights, 17 hours dual GA.
Notes: Local pilots who knew the victim are familiar to the feats that he claimed to have done with his Phantom I. Attempting aerobatics can be dangerous.

Where:Sumperk, Czech Republic
When: May 26, 1996
What:Unspecified trike with SVS1400 engine
How:Pilot attempted to perform a loop in the trike. The wing separated from the rest of the trike at approximately 3,000 feet.
Injuries: Fatal.
Training & Experience of Pilot:Highly experienced pilot, 3rd in '94 World Championship, had flown over the Himalayas at 7200m (23,000+ feet) in a trike, and had experience in other aircraft and in aerobatics in non-trike aircraft.
Notes: Prior to this accident, he had attempted a loop in a trike, which was unsuccessful although he survived. A trike is not suited to loops as this pilot proved. There was no emergency parachute on either the trike or the pilot although ironically the pilot was a dealer for a Czech ballistic parachute maker. Not all aircraft are suited to aerobatics.

Where:Saskatoon - Canada
When: May 26, 1996
What:Cubby II
How:While returning home from a fly-in pancake breakfast at North Battleford to Saskatoon the plane went down.
Injuries: Pilot and passenger killed
Training & Experience of Pilot:Legal ultralight under Canadian regulations. The pilot had had his license approximately 6 months. Passenger was a more experienced pilot who had test-flown the Cubby II after it was built.
Notes: Cause of crash undetermined

June, 1996

Where:Longview, Texas - United States
When: June 9 or 10, 1996
What:Challenger II
How:Collision with farm machinery while landing
Injuries: Pilot and passenger killed
Training & Experience of Pilot:Pilot had just completed his training. Passenger was a private pilot.
Notes: Unclear whether this was a legal flight (to be legal either this was a training flight or the Challenger was N-numbered as an airplane) or not. Because two people were involved, the FAA is supposedly investigating this crash. Be alert for obstacles in your flight path, especially when close to the ground.

Where:Niles, Michigan - United States
When: June 10, 1996
How:Vertical dive followed by impact with the ground
Injuries:Pilot killed
Training & Experience of Pilot:The pilot had been flying since 1960 and had over 200 hours in this plane.
Notes: Witnesses report that the engine was racing as the plane dove vertically into the ground. As the pilot was in his 70's, there is speculation that he may have suffered a heart attack during flight.

Where:Woodland, Washington - United States
When: June 22, 1996
What:Possibly a Caspar wing or look alike - person reporting was unclear due to how mangled the wreckage was
How:Loss of control on take-off. Plane climbed to 100-300 feet, then "lost its lift" according to report
Injuries:Pilot killed
Training & Experience of Pilot:Minimal - no prior experience in aircraft of any kind, just learning to fly
Notes: Elderly gentleman just learning to fly. Had no previous experience in any kind of a/c. Was seen taxiing his grandson up and down the field. A local pilot felt this pilot did not have enough skill yet and suggested (he said he was nice about it) that the gentlemen get more experience. The local pilot later advised he was told to "mind his own business"...which he said he did. The next flight the a/c "left the runway, climbed much too quickly, and then stalled into a spin which it looked like the pilot was trying to come out of when he hit, almost vertically" per the eye-witness report on tv

Where:Santa Paula Valley, California - United States
When: June 22, 1996
What: Quicksilver GT400
How: [The pilot] was flying his recently purchased used QS GT400 low and slow along a river bed when he hit some power lines. It was not clear immediately whether he died in the crash as some farm workers who were first on the scene found the pilot under water. The "river" is only a few feet deep at its deepest, but that would be enough to drown in.
Injuries:Pilot killed
Training & Experience of Pilot:Had just completed the USUA ultralight training course
Notes:Be alert for obstacles in your flight path, especially when close to the ground.

July, 1996

Where:Union Bridge, Maryland - United States
When: July 14, 1996
What:Quicksilver Sprint
How:Pilot had completed 2 loops and was attempting a 3rd when the wing collapsed. A ballistic parachute was deployed, but the lines became tangled in the prop.
Notes:Aerobatics are risky and parachutes do not always work as intended. Friends of the deceased say that he was well aware of the risk he was running, hence the parachute. Unfortunately, there are no garauntees. FAA investigation (see below) found a corroded steel structural member was a key part of this accident. Inspections and pre-flights are vital to your safety
Selected from discussion of incident, causes, and possible solutions from the ultralight mailing list, FLY-UL:
(from Jcasper@woodbridge.dynatech.com) "I just went to the meeting of USUA Club #1 on Aug. 1st, and all members received an update on the FAA investigation into the crash of [the pilot's] Quicksilver.... According to the findings, the cause was a structural failure of the STEEL seat support tube that runs under the seat, and up to the root tube. This is, according to the other members, the only steel tube in the entire QS frame. Apparently what had happened is that the tube filled up with water, and rotted from the inside. The tube was solid/plugged at the bottom, and rain or condensation built up inside, corroding it so badly that it the Inspectors could deform the tube by pushing on it with one finger in spots. Anyone with a Quicksilver who leaves it outside, might want to do a thorough inspection on this part. Apparently there is no drain hole drilled at the bottom end of the tube, which will allow rain/condensation to build up inside. One person on the list wanted to know why the 'chute went thru the prop. Well, when this tube failed, it allowed one wing to fold upwards, pulling the whole wheel axle assembly up with it, deforming the entire frame, and apparently redirecting the BRS upwards into the prop, instead of staying pointed downwards. The parachute deployed, but never fully opened. Apparently, all Quicks have this steel underseat support tube, so anyone who parks theirs outside should probably double-check this part for softness. And maybe drill a small weep hole at the bottom end."
(from truex@ncweb.com) I don't know about the Quick part you're discussing, but there are places that one more hole in a tube(or other member) will cause it to be less than the desired strength. Check with the designer or manufacturer before drilling any unspecified holes in a structural member.
(from SYSDCW@atscv1.atsc.allied.com) "Given what I have heard so far (in -one- posting on this group), I think a careful inspection of the steel tubing of -any- craft would be in order. Structural degradation from the inside out is not a new problem in aviation, steel, aluminum, wood, all can have bad things going on under a smooth, shiney coat of paint. Piper ragwings have an AD requiring original struts to be punch- tested every two years. Certain Beechcraft V-tails had alloy sheeting on the tail surfaces that would corrode in the grain of the metal, turning it to a crumbly rotted paper consistancy. So now we know that a plane doesn't have to be old or complex to fall victim. Do your pre-flights. Do your annual (or more frequent) full inspections. Suspect -any- low areas where moisture can collect. Suspect -any- areas where dissimilar metals join. Suspect any area that is subject to vibration or wide temperature variations. BTW - the NTSB -preliminary- report on the accident, found at http://www.ntsb.gov/Aviation/IAD/96A116.htm, says the craft was a Quicksilver Sprint. Also take note of the fact that they view the craft as being "unregistered" operating under Pt91, not Pt103, supposedly due to a gas jug amoung the baggage."
(from rbennett@oasis.novia.net) This is just my 2 cents worth on the possible problem with the steel cross over tube on Quicksilvers. I am not an expert but it seems to me a simple cure would be to 1st: inspect the tube for rust, water, and strength, second: if found to be still usable I would clean the inside of the tube with compressed air and or a brush, rag tied to a rope or what ever, and finally: seal the ends of the tube with silicon or some other type of water proof sealant. If you are not concerned about a few ounces of weight you could even fill the tube all the way with the sealant. This should not weaken the tube, but it would protect it from any further damage by moisture.
(from czarnijc@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu) An FAA approved method of doing this would be to use "Tubeseal," an internal tubing corrosion inhibitor marketed by Stits. This stuff is a blend of oil that you pour into one end of the tubing and it climbs the walls to spread over the internal surface of the structure. It's about $7/quart, one of which would probably do dozens of quicks (1.5 cc/lin foot 1" dia tubing). Ideally, the structure should be sealed after treatment. Probably not possible with all the bolt holes, though.
(from "Cautionary Tales Feedback", mpmrc@nbnet.nb.ca)Reading accident report on the "Quicksilver Spirit" I disagree with the comments about silicon being used to help prevent corrosion. Silicon promotes rust in steel and electrical connections and I don't think it would be wise to use it to fill a structural tube to help prevent corrosion. The special oil "Tubeseal" or similar product suggested would be a much safer solution.

August, 1996

Where:Huete airfield, Cuenca, Spain
When: August 8 (approx), 1996
What: Renegade Spirit
How:The pilot started a loop while flying only 50 m above the strip. He successfully completed two consecutive loops and was trying the third. He didn't have enough altitude to complete the maneuver and nose dived hiting the ground perpendicularly at the end of the strip.
Injuries: Fatal
Notes:Pilot had a history of doing dangerous aerobatics in front of the public.

Where:Norwalk, Ohio USA
When: August 24, 1996
What:Trike (particular type not specified)
How:Pilot had been performing loops cleanly and consistently. As he exited his last loop, he appparently planed out, flying straight, dropping slowly and gaining a bit of speed. Then, according to witness, the nose SLOWLY rose and rose and rose with no apparent pilot input and no attempt to turn the wing. Once the trike climbed to vertical, the trike went into a tail slide, tumbled, and broke up. The altitude was about 1800' when he entered the tail slide. There was no attempt to deploy the recently installed parachute.
Experience & Training of Pilot:Pilot had been flying since he was 16, held multiple ratings including multiengine and instrument ratings, former hang gliding instructor.
Selected from discussion of incident, causes, and possible solutions from the ultralight mailing list, FLY-UL:
(from AVISAUTO@aol.com) [This] accident is certainly a tragedy for all ultralighters, and hits very close to home for me. This, by my recollection, is the third trike fatality mentioned on this list in the last few months. Two of the three involved the performance of aerobatic maneuvers, and two involved steep ascents agravating stalls. In my estimation, the only conceivable way a trike could initiate a vertical ascent from level flight, would be under full power, and with some positive pitch input (bar out). I cannot see how this could be construed as "no...pilot input"....It might also be of interest to know how widespread the practice of trike loops is. My understanding has always been that trikes are inherently unsuitable for aerobatics.
(from H.G.Denton@lboro.ac.uk) I fly a Flash 1 with a Fuji Robin 440 here in the UK. I have it on a reliable authority that this type has been looped. I can't see how it could be done from level flight - but I do remember in my early post-qualification flying in a moment of exuberance (dangerous stuff) I put the nose down and then did what I thought would be a "little swoop". The nose went up like it had never done before - well beyond the max pitch advised for the machine. I just managed to hold it at the top - but I was very close to either a very sharp stall or a tail slide. Terrified the life out of me - I have always flown very sensibly since! If I had really built the speed and had the guts to keep that nose up I suppose it would have gone round. Some of the more modern trikes over here have engines on them that allow quite incredible rates of climb - I would have thought the potential for fun/trouble might be increased - though I do not mean that powerful engines are inherently dangerous. I note that the tike fatalities I have read about often follow the pressure on the control bar building so rapidly that it is snatched from the pilot's hands and hits the front downtube so hard both break. This has even broken internal back-up wires and the sudden stress on the main vertical tube to the wing has broken it - wing and trike part company. Could something be done to prevent massive and sudden bar pressure other than the obvious - flying sensibly?
(from R.A.Benson@tees.ac.uk) I am a low hours trike pilot currently undergoing solo training in the UK an have never heard of a trike performing loops. All our machines have notices forbidding aerobatic manoevres at all times. Is it normal for trikes to be flown in this way in the US. If so, how on earth do you manage to maintain positive wing loading and avoid the trike unit falling through the wing - are we talking seriously high speed entries here? Also, regarding the nose rising to vertical with no apparent pilot input, The only way that I can envisage anything like a vertical climb is by using full throttle and control bar pushed *Hard* forwards. Again a vertical climb could only be attained by a very high speed entry to this manoevre. I can't see how this situation could occur without significant pilot input.

Where:Ein Vered, Israel
When: August, 1996
How:Pilot stalled after take off.
Injuries:Fatal (I assume - not stated explicitly)
Notes:Very sketchy report - more information would be welcome.

Where:Victoria, Australia
When: August, 1996
What:Drifter, 2-place
How:When attempting to take off in the 270 metres available to him the tail wheel failed to leave the ground at any time. He hit the trees at the end of the runway at full power whilst still on the ground. went through a fence, still under full power and down in to a small ravine.
Injuries: Fatal to pilot, passenger injuered
Notes:A very experienced "Guru" type pilot that did everything right before take off. Paced out the paddock, told passenger when they would be airborne and when they would abort. Seems that when they tried the take off he ignored his previous passenger briefing and told him "we are going hang on" All previous indications are that he was a very skilled and cautious pilot. In this event he obviously made some major errors of judgement. The paddock had long wet grass and a lot of water in it. This may have helped the accident. However at this time it seems to be cause, undeniably by pilot error.

September, 1996

Where:Chicago, Illinois area, USA
When: September 1, 1996
What:Titan Tornado, 2-place (legally registered as homebuilt with N-numbers)
How:According to his passenger who survived the crash, they had been flying along the shoreline doing aerobatic maneuvers for the crowds on the beach. The passenger said that he just kept getting crazier and crazier with his maneuvers -- probably in response to the crowd. During a hammer head stall, his engine quit and he was too low to recover. Upon impact with the water, the wing separated from the plane, allowing the passenger to escape. He either died from a broken neck or by drowning or both - the cause of death hasn't been determined yet.
Injuries:Fatal to pilot, passenger survived
Training & Experience of Pilot:Pilot had a PPSEL (private pilot) and was taking aerobatic lessons.
Notes:He had a history of performing low-level aerobatics and had been cited by his flying club twice in the past year for this.

Where:Perris, California, USA
When: September 14 or 15, 1996
What: Quicksilver
How:Sails (wing fabric) was deteriorating and the instructor had been told to replace them over the past year. Sails failed while in flight. Ballistic recovery system also failed.
Injuries:Fatal to intructor and student
Experience & Training of Pilot:USUA instructor with 1,000+ hours. Had been instructing for three years
Notes: There is no substitute for proper care of your machine.

October, 1996

Where:Maple Lake, MN, USA
When: October 3, 1996
What:T-Bird Tandem, legal ultralight trainer under US regulations
How:Local television reported the crash and had helicopter footage of the crash site. The left wing was flat on the ground and obviously destroyed. The right wing and tail were up in the air and appeared to be un-damaged. The extent of cockpit damage was not evident from the film footage.

The FAA was called by the Sherrif's office to investigate the crash. Since our ultralight community has a good working relationship with our local FSDO they went out to look at the crash even knowing that it involved an ultralight. [Note: in the United States, the usual aviation authorities - FAA and NTSB - are not obligated to investigate an ultralight crash and frequently don't.] First accounts were that there was only about a 20 foot circle of corn knocked down around the ultralight indicating a high angle of impact. Witnesses say that the ultralight "fell out of the sky". Some said they heard the engine surge, get quiet, and then surge again.

The training ultralight was based out of a nearby airport and was probably out on a routine training flight. The instructor and student wore a standard headset with no helmet. They were equipped with an intercom and VHF radio. This ultralight was not equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute. After navigating to the Maple Lake airport the instructor and student maintained normal radio communication and were following a right-hand traffic pattern. They had just announced a turn from base to final approach just before the crash. They went down in a corn field approximately 500 feet short and 100 feet left of the runway threshold. It's possible that they had turned from base to final about 100 feet left of the runway centerline and made a tight turn to get back on track. The tight bank could have caused an accelerated stall resulting in a spin. The crash site and wreckage support a spin and near vertical descent theory. Wind could have also been a contributing factor. We examined the wreckage for possible control failure and found none. All linkages were intact except for an elevator connection at the rear control stick which appeared to have been sheared off on impact. The engine was probably running on impact due to one broken propeller blade about a third of the way down from the hub. It was equipped with a two-blade Warp Drive propeller. The left wing obviously impacted the ground first bending the outboard leading edge at about a 45 degree angle back for about the first two feet. The outboard trailing edge was broken off from the tip to the first compression strut. The entire wing was bent in a curved manner right up to the root. The inboard leading and trailing edges were broken off but the struts were still attached. The right wing and tail were virtually untouched except for one bent tail tube on the left side. The left landing gear was bent underneath the fuselage and had a very flat spot on the aluminium rim. The front tire and fork assembly were broken off but not visibly damaged. The cockpit was very badly damaged. Nearly every support tube, including the steel tubes, were either broken off or completely gone. We don't know how much of this could have been caused by rescue crews but most connection points appeared to have been sheared off by the impact. Four-point harnesses were in use but the impact broke off most of the connection points. Both instrument panels were missing as well as most of the windshield, doors, and fibreglass pod. Both plywood seat supports were broken. The gas tank was ruptured and was found away from the wreckage. We presume the tank was moved away by rescue crews fearing a fire. Overall the cockpit was squashed down and mostly to the left side.
Injuries:Fatal (presumed, not stated explicitly in report)
Experience & Training of Pilot:Experienced instructor described as "by the book"
Notes: It is possible this was caused by too tight a turn in a landing pattern, leading to a stall/spin at low altitude. As a tandem, with one person sitting in front of the other, each with their own controls, it is possible that the student and instructor got into a "tug-of-war" with the controls. However, all this is speculation. Although a crash unquestionably occurred, it is not at all certain what happened to cause it.

December, 1996

Where: San Matero State: Nuevo Leon, Mexico
When: December 7, 1996
What: Rans S12-XL with a Rotax 582 engine
How:Pilot made a steep bank (60+ degrees, possibly as great as 80 degrees) right after take off. Plane went into a spin too low to the ground (50-60 feet) to permit recovery.

Witnesses said at the time of the crash there were 10-15 knot (11-17 mph) cross-winds, but the pilot had been flying just before the accident for about an hour without any problems due to metereological conditions.
Injuries:Pilot killed on impact. Co-Pilot injured
Experience & Training of Pilot:2,200 hours experience. Held private pilot license with instrument, twin engine, and jet certification. Flew a Citation on a regular basis. One report said 10 hours experience in the RANS, another said 5 hours. In any case, little experience in type.
Notes: Pilot was not using a shoulder harness. It was unclear if that would have prevented death, but it might have helped.

Niether pilot nor co-pilot was wearing a helmet. This may or may not have affected the type or degree of injuries suffered.

There was no ballistic recovery parachute (BRP) on the plane. Although some very low "saves" have been made with such 'chutes, given the very small amount of time it would have to deploy at such an altitude it is by no means certain that BRP would have been of use.

Back to Cautionary Tales