Cause of CORLEY LANCAIR Air Crash in RAMONA, CALIFORNIA, USA on 9/24/1994





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Final Report on Probabable Cause of Crash

HISTORY OF FLIGHT:

On September 24, 1994, at 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Corley Lancair, N6RC, operated by its builder/owner, collided with terrain about 500 feet south of runway 27 at the Ramona (uncontrolled) Airport, Ramona, California. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the planned flight to Sedona, Arizona. The homebuilt airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

Several persons witnessed the accident flight. In summary, none reported observing anything unusual during the start of the airplane's takeoff ground roll. The witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to lift-off at an airspeed slower than normal. One witness reported seeing the airplane "jump up prematurely" during the lift-off sequence, and then it settled back down without touching the runway. Another witness reported seeing the airplane's wings "bobbling slightly" when it was 20 to 25 feet in the air. Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane climbing slowly with a high or very high nose-up pitch attitude.

A commercial pilot, who was a passenger in an airplane holding on runway 27 for takeoff, made the following statement regarding his observations of the accident flight: "I noticed the Lancair begin its climb and soon started to see more and more of the top of the aircraft, beginning to realize he appeared to slow, with too much nose-up pitch attitude. From my vantage point the increase in pitch attitude seemed smooth and it did not at that point sink in that they were in trouble. The aircraft started to slowly drop its left wing and begin to alter its flight path toward the south as it crossed over to the left in what I best describe as a smooth wingover and left wing low/nose low decent."

The commercial pilot further reported that about 15 seconds after the airplane descended behind a small rise on the south side of the runway, a smoke column was observed coming straight up from the wreckage area.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordinator reported that a review of the pilot's flight training and airplane records indicated the pilot had not received flight instruction in the Lancair. Also, the pilot was known to use abrupt rotation techniques during takeoff at lower than correct airspeed. During the accident flight the airplane had likely been operated 340 pounds over the recommended maximum gross weight of 1,400 pounds.

Initial Report

WITNESSES REPORTED OBSERVING THE AIRPLANE LIFT-OFF AT A SLOW AIRSPEED, AND THEN BEGIN CLIMBING AT AN UNUSUALLY HIGH NOSE-UP PITCH ATTITUDE. THE AIRPLANE'S WINGS ROCKED, THE PITCH ATTITUDE DID NOT DECREASE, AND THE AIRPLANE STALLED. THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH TERRAIN ABOUT 500 FEET SOUTH OF THE RUNWAY AND BURNED. THE FAA REPORTED THAT THE AIRPLANE WAS OPERATED AT 340 POUNDS OVER ITS RECOMMENDED MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT.
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1994 - CORLEY CALIFORNIA

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