NTSB Identification: CHI96FA264.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 31, 1996 in WAUKEGAN, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/03/1997
Aircraft: Hoffman, Wolf, Flugzeugbau H-36, registration: N86PS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Shortly after the pilot of a motor-glider took off, he informed the tower that his engine cowl had come loose and he wanted to return to the airport for landing. The tower told the pilot he could land on any runway, and the pilot indicated he would land on runway 05. Subsequently, the aircraft impacted the airport infield near the intersection of runway 32 and 05. Witnesses reported the left engine cowling was flapping and making noise. The pilot flew a tight downwind for runway 32 at about 150 feet AGL, then he turned back to the west after crossing the intersection. When he came out of the turn, the altitude was about 100 feet and the wings were rocking. The motor-glider made a sharp left turn, entered a steep descent, and crashed with the left wing hitting first. Examination of the aircraft revealed flight control and engine continuity. The cylinders had compression and spark. Fuel was present. The prop hub indicated rotational scoring. The left engine cowling exhibited about a 14 inch tearing from the rear of the cowling to the front.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

failure of the pilot to maintain adequate airspeed, while maneuvering to land, which resulted in an inadvertent stalled and collision with the terrain. A factor relating to the accident was: the loose engine cowling.

Full narrative available

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