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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 172610
Last updated: 22 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CH65 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Zenith CH 650 Zodiac
Owner/operator:Mds Flying Llc
Registration: N419PE
MSN: 65-10008
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:St Lucie County Int'l Airport (KFPR), Fort Pierce, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Fort Pierce, FL (FPR)
Destination airport:Fort Pierce, FL (FPR)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The private pilot conducted a preflight inspection of the experimental amateur-built airplane, and before the engine run-up, he locked the canopy by pushing the two canopy latches forward against the latch bolts. The pilot also verified the locked position of the canopy again before departing for a local flight, during which he planned to perform several touch-and-go landings. He reported that there were no in-flight abnormalities, but on short final approach for landing, the canopy unexpectedly opened. The airplane pitched nose down, and the pilot attempted to correct the abrupt maneuver by applying engine power and pulling back on the control stick; however, the airplane continued to descend and impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude.
Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the cockpit canopy’s locking system had been modified from the design provided by the airframe kit manufacturer. Functional testing revealed that the canopy latching mechanism was difficult to operate and to close fully and lacked a positive indication for determining if it was securely closed and locked. It is likely that, during the accident flight, while on final approach to land, the inadequate modification to the canopy latching mechanism allowed the canopy to open in flight, which rendered the airplane uncontrollable.

Probable Cause: The inadequate modification of the airplane’s canopy latching mechanism, which resulted in the inadvertent opening of the canopy while on final approach to land and a subsequent loss of pitch control.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 4 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

31-Dec-2014 18:41 Geno Added
16-Jan-2015 04:39 Geno Updated [Time, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
22-Mar-2019 19:07 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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