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N41716 accident description

Maine map... Maine list
Crash location 43.762500°N, 70.677500°W
Nearest city Limington, ME
43.733689°N, 70.702559°W
2.4 miles away
Tail number N41716
Accident date 12 Jul 2014
Aircraft type Culver Lfa
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On July 12, 2014, about 1619 eastern daylight time, a Culver LFA, N41716, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees following a loss of control during initial climb from Limington Airport (63B), Limington, Maine. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Twitchell Airport (3B5), Turner, Maine.

According to a witness, who was a private pilot and based his airplane at 63B, the accident airplane departed runway 29, a 2,973-foot-long, 50-foot-wide, asphalt runway. He observed the accident airplane low, approximately 60 feet above ground level (agl), about 2,000 feet down the runway. It was very slow with the nose high and looked like it could stall at any time. The engine noise sounded normal and he did not hear any sputtering. The airplane then stalled to the left and impacted trees off the left side of the runway. Two other witnesses, who lived next to the departure end of the runway, stated that they heard a momentary sputter of engine noise, followed by a return to power. The engine noise then seemed normal for 5 to 10 seconds, which was followed by the sound of impact. They did not see the impact, but noted that the airplane was not as high as it should have been at the end of the runway.


The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He also held a commercial pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on April 30, 2014. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 5,995 hours; of which, 195 hours were flown during the previous 6 months.

Review of the pilot's electronic logbook revealed that he had flown 22.7 hours in the accident airplane. Further review of the logbook revealed the pilot had flown 20.4 hours and 0 hours during the 90-day and 30-day periods preceding the accident, respectively; however, the last entry was dated June 6, 2014 and it was likely that the pilot had not yet entered subsequent flights into the electronic logbook.


The two-seat, low-wing, retractable tailwheel airplane, serial number 433, was manufactured in 1942. It was powered by Continental Motors C-85-12F, 85-horsepower engine, equipped with a McCauley two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller. According to the aircraft logbooks, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 5, 2013. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 1,757.15 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 87.16 hours since major overhaul, which was completed in 1978. The airplane had flown about 28 hours from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident.

The pilot had purchased the airplane on September 27, 2013.


Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine, was located about 20 miles southeast of the accident site. The recorded weather at PWM, at 2051, was: wind from 170 degrees at 8 knots; visibility 10 miles; broken ceiling at 25,000 feet; temperature 23 degrees Celsius; dew point 16 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.15 inches of mercury.

Review of an FAA Carburetor Icing chart for the given temperature and dewpoint revealed, "Serious Icing (glide power);" however, the throttle would have been set to full power for takeoff and was found in the full power position.


The airplane came to rest in an area of trees in a nose-down, upright attitude, on a northerly heading about 250 feet south of the runway. The 20-gallon header fuel tank was compromised during impact and a strong odor of fuel was present at the site. Both main landing gear were extended and partially separated during impact. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited leading edge crush damage. The left and right aileron remained attached to their respective wing. The empennage remained intact and was canted left. Control continuity was confirmed from the elevator, rudder, and ailerons to the cockpit controls. Continuity of the elevator trim was confirmed from the tab, through a trim box, to the cockpit area.

The cockpit was crushed, but the lapbelts remained intact. The throttle and mixture controls were in the full-forward position. The magneto switch was on Both and the key was broken. The carburetor heat was off and the primer was in and locked. The fuel valve was safety-wired in the open positioned. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade exhibit an s-bend near the tip while the other blade was less damaged.

The engine was removed from the airframe and examined at the manufacturer's facility, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. The examination revealed that the engine exhibited substantial damage to the propeller flange and therefore could not be test run. The engine was then disassembled and no other anomalies or mechanical malfunctions were noted that would have precluded normal operation (for more information, see Report of Engine Examination in the NTSB Public Docket).

A handheld Garmin GPSMAP 396 was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Data were successfully downloaded from the unit and plotted. Review of the plots revealed that that airplane was on the takeoff roll at 25 knots groundspeed, at 1619:04. The airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway at 51 knots, with a 7-foot gain in GPS altitude at 1619:21. At 1619:28, the airplane was about 73 feet agl and over the runway at 51 knots, approximately 2,200 feet down the runway, before it began to drift left. At 1619:35, the airplane was left of the runway at 46 knots about 135 feet agl, which was the highest altitude recorded. The next and final data point indicated 39 knots at 63 feet agl, which was recorded over the accident site at 1619:39 (for more information see GPS Device Factual Report in the NTSB Public Docket).


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of Maine Medical Examiner's Office, Augusta, Maine, on July 14, 2014. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries."

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for drugs and alcohol.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed during initial climb, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.

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