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N939CB accident description

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Crash location 40.158611°N, 105.158056°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Longmont, CO
40.167207°N, 105.101928°W
3.0 miles away
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Tail number N939CB
Accident date 30 Jan 2009
Aircraft type Hall Steven C Lancair Le
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On January 30, 2009, about 1750 mountain standard time, an amateur built Lancair LE, N939CB, registered to Fahren Corporation, Golden, Colorado, and operated by a private pilot, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from Vance Brand Airport (LMO) Longmont, Colorado. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he did a "normal" run-up and then initiated the takeoff run. When the airplane was at rotation speed, the airplane's "tip-up" canopy opened "slightly." The pilot, not certain he'd be able to stop on the remaining runway, elected to continue the takeoff. The pilot climbed to pattern altitude without further event, and reduced power. The pilot said the canopy then "assumed a much more open position, and started to oscillate up-and-down (6 to 12 inches)." The pilot said the canopy caused the airplane to become very difficult to control in pitch, and that he was getting "at least 6-inch [control] stick movements (normal movement is 1 to 2-inches)." The pilot then tried to resume a full-power climb attitude, hoping to alleviate the situation; however, he reported that it "only exaggerated the situation." The pilot reported that the large oscillations of the canopy, restricted forward visibility, and the violent pitch changes made the landing approach to the runway difficult. In order to get as much control as possible ,the pilot said he tried to maintain 110 knots with "significant power." The airplane impacted the ground short and to the left of LMO's runway 29.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the scene, reported that the airplane had been substantially damaged during the collision with terrain.

The kit manufacturer stated the airplane should be controllable when the canopy comes open. The kit manufacturer's representative stated he had experienced an open canopy, and knew of other incidents where an unlatched canopy did not affect the control of the airplane.

In the "RECOMMENDATION" section of the NTSB Pilot/Operator Report, form 6120.1 the pilot stated;

1. The airplane should be tested/modified to make sure the canopy (oscillations) do not impair the pilot's ability to control the airplane, 2. a canopy latch warning system, [should be installed] or 3. [there should be] the installation of a secondary [safety] latch .

The NTSB is investigating two similar accidents involving the Lancair Legacy.

In NTSB case MIA08LA089, witnesses saw the pilot having difficulty closing the canopy on the airplane prior to takeoff. During the takeoff climb, a witness said he saw the cockpit canopy moving and believed the pilot was pushing it up and down about 6 to 12 inches

Another witness observed a low-wing white airplane take off and pass directly over her recreational vehicle (RV). She watched as the airplane disappeared over a tree line and within seconds saw a large cloud of black, gray and white smoke coming from the area where the airplane disappeared. At the same time the clouds of smoke appeared, she noticed a large, clear "ziplock" bag filled with some kind of documents float down from the sky a few yards from her RV. She recovered the bag and read the documents inside. There was a laminated registration form for a Lancair Legacy, a laminated special airworthiness certificate, a weight and balance report, and an operating limitation report. The bag and contents were neat and clean.

In NTSB case WPR09LA016, witnesses reported that the airplane departed from runway 04 and climbed to an estimated 400 to 500 feet above ground level. The witnesses said that initially they thought that the airplane was a cropduster because it remained at such a low altitude. The airplane then entered a left turn and witnesses saw objects fall, "...off of or out of the airplane." The airplane continued in a left turn and lost altitude until the left wing tip impacted the ground.

Law enforcement personnel responding to the accident site went to the area specified by the witnesses as the location where the objects departed the airplane. They found several personal effects including clothing at the location.

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