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N914SL accident description

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Tail numberN914SL
Accident dateApril 21, 1998
Aircraft typeStar-Lite Engineering Ltd WARP 1A
LocationLakeland, FL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 21, 1998, about 1054 eastern daylight time, a Star-Lite Engineering LTD, N914SL, registered to Star-Lite Engineering LTD, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while maneuvering in the vicinity of Lakeland-Linder Regional airport, Lakeland, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Lakeland-Linder Airport, about 4 minutes before the accident.

Witnesses stated they observed the airplane on takeoff from runway 09 at the ultralight strip and on initial climb out flying towards the south-southwest in the vicinity of the GEICO Insurance Building. A witness who observed the takeoff stated it appeared that the pilot departed with a little bit of a tailwind and forced the airplane off the runway. He climbed out at a very slow airspeed on the verge of a stall. He leveled off at about a 100 feet, started a shallow turn to the right, and the bank increased between 60 to 90 degrees. The nose pitched down and the airplane disappeared below the tree line and buildings. Another witness stated the airplane rolled over inverted in a descending attitude before the airplane disappeared from view. No change in engine noise was heard.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, 1054 surface weather information was: 1,500 scattered, 4,000 broken, visibility 8 miles, temperature 76 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 66 degrees Fahrenheit, wind from 040 degrees at 5 knots, and the altimeter was not recorded.

Postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Alexander M. Melamund, Associate Medical Examiner, District Ten, Bartow, Florida, on April 22, 1998. The cause of death was multiple injuries. Postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot was forwarded to the Wuesthoff Memorial Hospital, Rockledge, Florida. These studies were negative for neutral, acidic, and basic drugs.

Examination of the crash site revealed the right wing tip collided with the corner of the GEICO Insurance building located at 3535 Medulla Road Lakeland, Florida. The airplane was inverted on a heading of about 220 degrees magnetic. The nose of the airplane pitched down and collided with the ground 14 feet from the initial point of contact with the building,, and cartwheeled backwards. The left wing collided with the ground, the cockpit area separated, and the airplane came to rest upright 67 feet from the initial point of impact on a heading of 070 degrees magnetic.

Examination of the airframe, flight controls, propeller system, engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. Fuel was present in the left and right carburetor bowl, header fuel tank, and left and right fuel tank. Continuity of the drive train was confirmed and compression was present on all cylinders. Continuity of the flight control system was confirmed for pitch, roll, and yaw.

Review of the pilot's logbook revealed no recorded flight time in the Warp 1A airplane.

The wreckage of N914SL was released to the registered owner, Mr. Melvin A. Woting, Vice President, Star-Lite Engineering LTD, on April 21, 1998.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.