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N795JL accident description

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Tail numberN795JL
Accident dateJuly 02, 2005
Aircraft typeLongtin Kitfox Model III
LocationNew London, NH
Near 43.404444 N, -71.950278 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On July 2, 2005, at 1503 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Kitfox Model III, N795JL, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after taking off from runway 14 at Eagles Nest Airport (NH40), New London, New Hampshire. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a witness on a nearby golf course, the airplane took off toward the south, and the engine was "laboring." Once the airplane cleared some trees, it "turned hard" to the right, the nose rose, and the witness could see the underside of the airplane. It then appeared that the airplane continued to turn harder to the right, then entered a spin, and subsequently impacted the ground on the golf course vertically.

Another witness, who was also on the golf course, stated that the first witness told her to look up, and when she did so, she saw the airplane spinning to the right until it impacted the ground.

A third witness "saw the plane rise and bank right above the tree line. Lost airspeed and spiraled down nose first."

A retired airline pilot stated to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that winds at the time were from the west, gusting to about 30 mph, and the windsock was "straight out." The airline pilot, who also had an airplane based at Eagles Nest, further stated that the pilots normally took off from runway 14 and landed on runway 32 because of the slope of the runway, but the policy wasn't "cut in stone."

The accident pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with single engine land, multi-engine land, glider, and instrument commercial ratings. He also held ratings in the DC-3 and DC-B26. On his latest application for an FAA third class medical certificate, dated March 13, 2003, the pilot reported 3,200 hours of flight time.

According to the FAA registration data base, the accident pilot and another pilot built a first Kitfox III in 1997. The other pilot confirmed that the first Kitfox was substantially damaged about 2001, when a heavy snow build-up collapsed a hangar roof on it.

According to the registration, the accident pilot purchased the already-completed accident airplane on May 28, 2005. The co-builder of the original Kitfox stated that he thought the accident pilot had accrued an estimated 15-20 hours of flight time in the new airplane prior to the accident. He also felt certain that a failure of the new airplane was not a cause of the accident, and thought the accident pilot may have been distracted or disabled. He further noted that the accident pilot was well acquainted with the takeoff wind conditions, having taken off under similar conditions "many times" previously.

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the State of New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Concord. New Hampshire. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A review of FAA medical, autopsy and toxicological records revealed that the pilot had a "history of heart condition," and had been taking atenolol, but there was no evidence that the heart condition contributed to the accident.

An on-scene FAA examination of the wreckage confirmed that the entire airplane was in one location, with the exception of one propeller blade that was 90 feet to the east of the main wreckage. Control continuity was also confirmed, and there was a strong odor of automobile fuel, as well as fuel leaking from the airplane when it was lifted by a tow truck. Photographic evidence revealed that all three propeller blades had separated from the hub, with one having been split near its hub. FAA inspectors did not note any mechanical anomalies with either the airframe or engine.

The airport, a private use facility, was not listed in the Airport/Facility Directory. However, an internet source listed runway 14 as asphalt, 2,800 feet in length and 30 feet wide, at an elevation of about 998 feet.

Weather, reported at an airport about 17 nautical miles to the southeast at 1451, included clear skies, winds from 310, variable 290 to 360 degrees true, at 10 knots, and temperature 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather, reported at an airport about 22 nautical miles to the northwest at 1453, included clear skies and winds from 330 degrees true at 8 knots.

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