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Cause of Seales Protech PT-2B Air Crash in Crestview, FLORIDA, USA on 8/9/2006





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Final Report on Probabable Cause of Crash

On August 9, 2006, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a tailwheel-equipped amateur built Seales Protech PT-2B, N333PT, an experimental certificated airplane, sustained substantial damage from impact and a postimpact fire when it collided with trees and a power line following a loss of control during takeoff from the Bob Sikes Airport, Crestview, Florida. The airplane was operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) Title 14, CFR Part 91 personal flight, when the accident occurred. The private certificated pilot received serious injuries, and the sole passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on August 15, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector, Birmingham Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), Birmingham, Alabama, reported that he responded to the accident scene on August 10. He found the airplane inverted, with postcrash fire damage to the fuselage, and inboard ends of both wings. His examination of the flight controls revealed continuity with the exception of the left rudder cable, which was broken. About 1/2 of the cable strands had a broom-straw appearance.

The inspector said he interviewed the pilot, who stated that during a high-speed taxi, the airplane became airborne, and immediately began a left turn. The pilot's attempts to correct the turn with right aileron application, right rudder and elevator, failed to change the airplane's direction. The airplane continued in a left turn until colliding with several trees and a power line. The pilot told the inspector that he recently purchased the airplane, and he had received about 1 hour of instruction in the airplane. The inspector noted that the pilot did not have a tailwheel endorsement. The airplane had been inspected by the seller about three days prior to the accident. All of the airplane's records were destroyed in the postcrash fire.

In a written statement from the pilot to the FAA inspector, the pilot said that his goal for the flight was a maximum taxi speed of 30 mph. Upon reaching 30 mph, the pilot said he pulled the control stick slightly aft, at which time the airplane became airborne to about 50 feet, and began a left turn. His efforts to make a control correction were unsuccessful. He then proceeded to pull the control stick aft to gain altitude and airspeed. The airplane climbed to 160 feet before descending into the trees.

In a written statement from the passenger to the FAA inspector, the passenger indicated that a preflight check was performed to include a check of the ailerons, rudder, elevator, and brakes. The pilot then entered runway 17 for takeoff. About 65 mph, the airplane lifted off and started banking to the left, and the pilot's control inputs to the right had no effect. The passenger said that with the engine power about 75 percent, and 100 to 125 mph, the airplane began to yaw toward the ground, and then collided with trees.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, on August 16, the pilot reported that his intent was to practice taxiing, to lift off the ground to between 1 and 12 inches, and then land. He said about 30 mph indicated airspeed, he pulled aft slightly on the control stick, and the airplane lifted off to about 50 feet. The airplane then went into about a 20 degree left bank, and his attempts to change the direction were unsuccessful. The airplane collided with trees and the power line, and came to rest inverted. A small fire erupted at the front of the airplane, and after he and the passenger got out of the airplane, a larger fire began burning in and around the airplane and surrounding trees.

In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) submitted by the pilot, the pilot indicated that the airplane did not have a mechanical malfunction/failure.

Several witnesses at the airport reported to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department that prior to the accident, they saw two people at the accident airplane attempting to hand-prop the engine. The airplane was then observed to takeoff. About tree-top height, the airplane banked to the left and descended into trees. Witnesses ran to the scene and assisted the pilot and passenger away from the burning airplane.

On August 22, 2006, the previous owner, a certificated aviation mechanic, reported that he owned the airplane for about two months before trading it with the pilot on August 7, for a Piper Colt airplane. During his ownership, he flew the airplane once, from one end of the runway to the other. The mechanic stated that the airplane was manufactured in 1991 as a Protech PT2B, but later converted at the factory to a PT2C. The modification included replacing the original flaperons with separate flaps and ailerons, and installation of a larger vertical stabilizer. The wings were foldable for storage, and the flight controls were push-pull control tubes, except for the rudder cables. The airplane's empty weight was 950 pounds, gross weight was 1,550 pounds, and it was equipped with a 150 horsepower engine. The mechanic reported that the wing design had a concave bottom for short takeoff and landing (STOL) abilities, and reflex flaps for higher cruise speeds.

At the time of the sale on August 7, the pilot taxied the airplane with the mechanic as passenger, during which the mechanic said he told the pilot to slow his taxi speed, or the airplane would takeoff. The mechanic said he told the pilot that he needed about 10 hours of instruction in the airplane to gain a tailwheel endorsement. The mechanic said the pilot then contacted a flight instructor, who arrived to fly with the pilot, but the instructor subsequently broke the passenger seat. The instructor then flew the airplane solo, and reported to the pilot that the airplane was hard to control during climb-out, the airspeed indicator was inoperative, and the tailwheel had a shimmy.

On August 8, the mechanic said he removed a wasp from the pitot tube, and inspected the tailwheel assembly, which functioned properly. At that time, the mechanic said he warned that pilot about the torque produced by the large engine, and adverse yaw at slow speeds.

Initial Report

The private certificated pilot, with one passenger, began to taxi down a runway in a tailwheel-equipped, amateur built experimental airplane during a Title 14, CFR Part 91 flight. The pilot said he only intended to taxi the airplane, and lift off to about 2 inches, but when he applied aft control pressure at 30 mph, it lifted off to about 50 feet and began to turn left. The pilot indicated he applied right aileron and right rudder to correct the turn, but no change in direction occurred. He then pulled the control stick aft to gain altitude. The airplane climbed to 160 feet before descending into trees and a power line, still in a left turn. A postcrash fire erupted after impact. The pilot and passenger exited the inverted airplane, and the fire destroyed all aircraft records. In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) submitted by the pilot, the pilot indicated that the airplane did not have a mechanical malfunction/failure. The pilot said he received 1 hour of instruction in the airplane, but did not have a tailwheel endorsement. An FAA inspector examined the airplane at the crash scene and reported that all flight controls were connected, with the exception of a broken left rudder cable. About 1/2 of the cable strands had a broom-straw appearance. The airplane's former owner, a certificated mechanic who owned the airplane for 2 months and had flown it once, reported that the airplane only weighed 950 pounds, and was equipped with a 150 horsepower engine for good short takeoff and landing capabilities. The mechanic reported that the day before the accident, in response to a call from the pilot, he removed a wasp from the pitot tube, and inspected the tailwheel assembly, which functioned properly. At that time, the mechanic said he warned that pilot about the torque produced by the large engine, and adverse yaw at slow speeds.
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2006 - Seales FLORIDA

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