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N227EK accident description

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Tail numberN227EK
Accident dateSeptember 06, 2008
Aircraft typeAirborne XT-912
LocationChelan, WA
Near 47.866111 N, -119.942777 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On September 6, 2008, about 1100 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Airborne XT-912 weight-shift aircraft, N227EK, impacted the ground following a loss of control during initial takeoff climb from the Lake Chelan Airport, Chelan, Washington. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was killed, and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local solo instructional flight. The Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight originated from the Lake Chelan Airport about 1020.

On the day of the accident, the pilot received his solo endorsement from his instructor and made a 1-hour solo flight. After resting for about an hour, the pilot began his second solo flight. The accident occurred about 40 minutes into this flight. According to the instructor, he was flying with another student and was in radio communication with the pilot during his flight. Just prior to the accident, the flight instructor heard the pilot announce he would be making a full stop landing.

According to witnesses, the pilot performed several touch-and-go landings on runway 02 without incident. During initial takeoff climb following another touch-and-go landing, the aircraft climbed at a "steep" angle, and at an altitude of about 100 to 200 feet above ground level, the aircraft rolled left, nosed down, spiraled, and descended to ground impact. One witness stated that the engine remained at takeoff power throughout the entire event.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector conducted an on scene examination of the wreckage. The inspector reported that his observations indicated the aircraft impacted in a near vertical attitude on the taxiway west of the runway. His inspection revealed no evidence of any pre-impact damage or discrepancies.

Examination of the aircraft's maintenance records by the FAA inspector indicated that the aircraft was certificated in the experimental category for the purpose of operating light sport aircraft on January 28, 2008. At the time of certification, the aircraft had a current condition inspection. At the time of the accident, the aircraft had accumulated about 35 to 40 hours of flight time. The pilot was reportedly in the process of purchasing the aircraft from the flight instructor.

The pilot, age 74, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. His last FAA medical certificate was issued in November 1970. According to the FAA inspector, who reviewed the pilot's flight logbooks, the pilot had accumulated about 265 total flight hours, with 215 of those hours acquired prior to 1968. The pilot began flying again in October 2007, receiving instruction in weight-shift aircraft with the goal of obtaining his sport pilot endorsement. In February 2008, he received about 10 hours flight instruction in a Cessna 172 and successfully completed a biennial flight review. Following the flight review, the pilot had flown about 30 hours, most of it in the accident aircraft.

According to the flight instructor, on the morning of the accident, the pilot appeared to be well rested, alert, and in a positive frame of mind. Witnesses reported that between flights, the pilot had several conversations and no abnormal observations were made.

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the Chelan County Coroner's Office. The cause of death was reported as "multiple internal injuries due to blunt impact to the head, trunk and extremities." The findings in the autopsy report did not include any notations of pre-existing disease. Toxicology tests were conducted by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. Ethanol was detected at 10 mg/dL in muscle and 22 mg/dL in liver. The drugs amlodipine and atenolol were detected (unquantified) in liver and kidney.

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