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N437T accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 37.747500°N, 97.221111°W
Nearest city Wichita, KS
37.692236°N, 97.337545°W
7.4 miles away
Tail number N437T
Accident date 17 Feb 2006
Aircraft type Spane RV-4
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On February 17, 2006, approximately 1514 central standard time, a Spane RV-4, N437T, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during takeoff from the Colonel James Jabara Airport (AAO), Wichita, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR part 91 without a flight plan. At the time of the accident, the pilot and passenger on board the airplane suffered serious injuries. Nine days after the accident, the passenger, also the pilot's wife, died. The cross country flight to Mexico, Missouri, was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses reported that during takeoff roll, the canopy came open. The pilot tried to close the canopy. The airplane got airborne, went into a nose high attitude, and then came down hard. The airplane subsequently went off the right side of runway 36 (6,100 feet by 100 feet, dry concrete).

The pilot said that he did his run-up check and took the runway for takeoff. The airplane rotated, took off, and was climbing when approximately 80 feet above the ground, the canopy opened. The pilot said the canopy went to the full open position and the airplane subsequently yawed 45 degrees right. The pilot lowered the airplane's nose, applied full left rudder, and reduced engine power to idle. The pilot said he then switched hands on the control stick and with his right hand, reached up and pulled the canopy closed. He said his airspeed was just above the stall speed and his wings were level. The airplane was approximately 20 feet above the ground when it "pancaked perfectly flat to the side of the runway."

An examination of the airplane showed the left and right main landing gear pushed upward through the wings. The airplane's fuselage skin showed heavy wrinkling. The horizontal stabilizer was bent downward. The propeller showed torsional bending and chordwise scratches. Flight control continuity was confirmed. An examination of the canopy latching mechanism and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

At 1454, the wind conditions at AAO were reported as 030 degrees at 12 knots, gusts to 19 knots.

According to the pilot, his wife's body was unable to recover from the post-accident surgeries, and "she expired 9 days after the accident."

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preparation prior to takeoff, and his failure to maintain control of the airplane resulting in a stall and subsequent crash. Factors contributing to the accident were the unsecured canopy latch, the pilot's diverted attention, and the stall mush.

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