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N160HA accident description

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Tail numberN160HA
Accident dateAugust 09, 2009
Aircraft typeMAXAIR Drifter
LocationBumpass, VA
Near 38.038333 N, -77.759167 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 9, 2009, about 1344 eastern daylight time, an experimental Maxair Drifter floatplane, N160HA, was substantially damaged following a loss of control after takeoff from the surface of Lake Anna, near Bumpass, Virginia. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger sustained a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, that was departing at the time, and was destined for Tappahannock-Essex County Airport (KXSA), Tappahannock, Virginia. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In several written statements, witnesses described 3 float planes in the cove where their boats were anchored. Several described two floatplanes departing “towards the water,” while the accident airplane taxied out toward open water and then “turned around and took off towards land.” One witness described the application of full power, and all of the witnesses described a steep left bank almost immediately after takeoff before the airplane descended nose down into the water, and submerged.

One witness was "alarmed" by how close to shore the airplane was before it lifted off the water. He said, "As the aircraft banked left along the shoreline to head out into open water, I saw the aircraft attempt to make what looked like a very sharp turn to avoid the approaching tree line." The witness took photographs of the airplane in sequence during the accident flight. They illustrate the initial take off run; lift off, low-level banking turn along the lake shore, and the impact with the water. The curve of the shoreline tightened along the airplane's route of flight, and the airplane impacted the water where the shore was perpendicular to the flight path, and lined with tall trees.

Many of the witnesses stated that the airplane “appeared to stall” before striking the water. The passenger egressed the airplane under her own power, but several minutes elapsed before the pilot could be freed from the wreckage.

PILOT INFORMATION

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine. He held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane. The pilot also held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine sea.

The pilot’s first class medical certificate was issued August 28, 2008, and he reported 10,000 hours of total flight experience on that date.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 2003. The maintenance records were not immediately recovered.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1340, the weather reported at Louisa County Airport (LKU), Louisa, Virginia, about 8 miles west of the accident site, included clear skies and winds from 290 degrees at 6 knots. The temperature was 34 degrees Celsius (C), and the dew point was 19 degrees C. The altimeter setting was 30.10 inches of mercury. The calculated density altitude was 2,701 feet.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

Examination of the airplane by FAA inspectors on the day of the accident revealed substantial damage to the airframe. The airplane was submerged and a detailed examination of the airplane could not be immediately performed. It was then moved to a recovery facility for examination at a later date.

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