NTSB Identification: LAX00LA023.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 22, 1999 in BOULDER CITY, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/2001
Aircraft: Luhnau BD-5B, registration: N62765
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 pilot of the amateur-built airplane took off and entered the traffic pattern. A witness heard the pilot announce his position in the pattern. About 10 seconds later, while the airplane was maintaining a level flight cruise attitude, the airplane began descending, and it turned toward the runway. The witness further reported that the airplane's descent rate increased and the pilot broadcast, "I've got a problem." The airplane appeared to descend at a 30- to 40-degree nose down angle. It impacted a berm about 1 mile short of the landing threshold. This was the first flight following the pilot's installation of the new propeller assembly. Prior to taking off, a witness observed the pilot make a wiring change to the propeller's pitch control electric drive motor. The change was intended to reduce the time necessary to vary the pitch through its full range of travel from 15 to between 7 and 8 seconds. The on-scene examination of the assembly revealed that the wire was disconnected, and the blade pitch was found about the 2-degree (flat blade) position, which would produce considerable drag in flight. No internal malfunctions to the propeller assembly were noted. The pilot, a retired airline captain, was not the builder of the airplane. He did not possess either a repairman or a FAA Airframe & Powerplant certificate.

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

The pilot's failure to secure an electrical wire terminal in the propeller pitch control circuit following a maintenance adjustment, which resulted in the propeller malfunctioning and going to a flat pitch. The flat pitch of the propeller produced a high drag which precluded the aircraft from maintaining flight.

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