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N1488 accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 44.836666°N, 123.200833°W
Nearest city Independence, OR
44.851230°N, 123.186766°W
1.2 miles away
Tail number N1488
Accident date 06 Nov 2015
Aircraft type Thorp T 18
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 6, 2015, at 1530 Pacific standard time, an experimental Thorp T-18, N1488, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing in a field near Independence State Airport, Independence, Oregon. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

In a phone interview following the accident, the pilot stated that the airplane was climbing after takeoff when the canopy partially disconnected from the airplane and the airplane violently vibrated. The pilot landed in a cow pasture and the right wing impacted a fence post during the landing roll. He further reported that the airplane was serial number 303 and his father had built the airplane. The airplane had an early canopy design that had been modified in later designs. The canopy ran on a track. On each side of the canopy there are two fiberglass rollers and the back was secured through a track. The rear track separated and allowed airflow underneath to lift up and vibrate the canopy. The pilot believed that the separation occurred due to repeated use over time.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane following the accident. The canopy mechanism allowed the canopy to move fore and aft, as well as retain the aft portion of the canopy during flight. The rear portion of the mechanism separated at a weld.

The Thorp T-18 type club was contacted regarding the canopy mechanism design. The mechanism was reported as a unique design and uncommon to the fleet.

NTSB Probable Cause

A separation of the canopy mechanism during flight, which resulted in the pilot’s precautionary landing and the airplane’s subsequent collision with a fence post.

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