NTSB Identification: LAX95LA121.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 26, 1995 in HAYWARD, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/1995
Aircraft: Thunder and Colt GA42, registration: N28SQ
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
THE BLIMP HAD A HISTORY OF UNRESOLVED ELECTRICAL SYSTEM CHARGING PROBLEMS. THE GROUND CREW WERE GIVEN RIDES AFTER THE LAST REVENUE FLIGHT. AS ONE OF THE GROUND CREW GOT IN FOR HIS RIDE, HE ACCIDENTLY MOVED THE MIXTURE AND KILLED THE ENGINE. THE PILOT RESTARTED THE ENGINE THEN SAID HE HAD A LOW-BATTERY WARNING LIGHT, BUT THOUGHT HE HAD ENOUGH OF A CHARGE TO MAKE ONE MORE CIRCUIT. THE PASSENGER SAID THE LOW-BATTERY LIGHT REMAINED ON FOR THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. ON APPROACH, THE PILOT WENT AROUND DUE TO A WIND GUST. ON THE SECOND DOWNWIND, THE VOLTAGE DROPPED TO 4 AND THE PILOT TURNED DIRECTLY TOWARD THE LANDING AREA. AT THAT POINT, THE ELECTRICAL SERVOS WHICH MOVE THE CONTROL SURFACES STOPPED WORKING DUE TO THE LOW VOLTAGE. THE BLIMP HIT THE GRASS SHORT OF THE LANDING ZONE AND BOUNCED ALONG THE GROUND UNTIL IT STOPPED NEAR THE TOP OF A BERM. THE PILOT TOLD THE PASSENGER TO GET OUT AND HOLD THE BLIMP DOWN. THE PASSENGER TRIPPED AS HE GOT OUT AND ROLLED DOWN THE HILL. WHEN HE GOT BACK ON HIS FEET, THE BLIMP WAS RISING WITH THE PILOT HOLDING ON TO A HOLD DOWN RAIL. THE PILOT LOST HIS GRIP AND FELL FROM 200 FEET. POSTACCIDENT TESTS OF THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM REVEALED THAT A SHORT IN THE STARTER SWITCH WAS CONSTANTLY DRAINING THE BATTERY. THE SWITCH WIRING WAS NOT INSTALLED IN ACCORDANCE WITH FACTORY STANDARDS OR THE MAINTENANCE MANUAL.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's decision to operate the blimp with a known and unresolved deficiency in the electrical system, which led to a loss of the flight controls and the pilot's improper remedial actions after the blimp came to rest on the ground. Full narrative available
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