ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 134928
Last updated: 21 April 2014
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Date:18-JUL-2004
Time:1351
Type:Silhouette image of generic RV4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Van's RV-4
Owner/operator:Ronald R. Calhoun
Registration: N996NC
C/n / msn: 1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Latexo, TX -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:8TS3
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On July 18, 2004, at 1351 central daylight time, a Calhoun RV-4 single-engine homebuilt airplane, N996NC, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control after take-off from the Bruner Airport (8TS3), near Latexo, Texas. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

One witness, standing near the approach end of runway 17 (a 2,500 feet long by 50 feet wide turf runway), stated that the pilot went through his pre-flight checklist and began his take-off roll. The witness further stated that the tailwheel-equipped airplane veered off to the left and into some tall grass to the left of the runway. The airplane became airborne for a moment and then settled back down in a level attitude. The airplane again lifted off of the runway and it was at this point the witness noticed the pilot "trying to close" the canopy on the airplane. The airplane remained airborne at what appeared to be "just above stall speed." Subsequently, the airplane banked to the left and stalled. The witness lost sight of the airplane as it went down behind some trees, short of the departure end of runway 17 and "several hundred feet" to the left.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, stated that ground signatures and ground scars revealed that, after the airplane impacted the ground, the airplane "pivoted" on the left wing and traveled approximately 150 feet before coming to rest in the upright position, facing approximately 280 degrees. Examination by the FAA inspector revealed that the left wing was wrinkled and the left main spar was bent. The right wing was wrinkled. The left wing fuel tank exhibited signs that the fuel had spilled out, and the right wing fuel tank was leaking fuel. The fuselage was folded at the cockpit, and cocked to the left approximately 12 degrees.

The private pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, and the most recently completed third class medical certificate was issued on May 2, 2003, with the limitation of "MUST HAVE GLASSES AVAILABLE FOR NEAR VISION." A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total of 180 hours in single-engine airplanes, with 25 being logged in the accident airplane.

The automated surface observing system (PSN) at Palestine, Texas, located approximately 26 miles southeast of the accident site, reported winds from 330 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 14 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky scattered at 4,900 feet msl, temperature 35 degrees Celsius, dew point 17 degrees Celsius, and a barometric pressure of 29.94 inches of Mercury.
PROBABLE CAUSE:The pilot's failure to maintain directional control and attain adequate airspeed resulting in a stall. Contributing factors were the pilot's diverted attention with closing the canopy, and the quartering crosswind.

Sources:
NTSB id 20040720X01010


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