NTSB Identification: SEA00LA089.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 20, 2000 in WENATCHEE, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Gifford TR-4, registration: N1757
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While taxing his aircraft back to the hangar after having it on display at his home airport, the pilot changed his mind and decided to take a short local flight. Prior to takeoff, he failed to ensure that he had performed all action items contained in the aircraft checklist. As a result, he inadvertently failed to engage the right clam-shell door aft locking mechanism. Just after takeoff, the door came open, and instead of continuing around the pattern in order to make a precautionary landing, the pilot attempted to close the door while in flight. While reaching across to the far side of the cabin and struggling to close the door, the pilot's seat pan shifted, resulting in restricted movement of the control stick. The pilot then executed a forced landing in an open field, but during the roll out, the aircraft entered an orchard of fruit trees where it sustained substantial damage.

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

The pilot's improper decision to attempt to close the canopy (entry door) after it inadvertently opened in flight, instead of making a precautionary landing with it open. Factors include the pilot's failure to follow all items on the checklist, his failure to fully secure the canopy/door prior to takeoff, the movement of the pilot's seat pan while in flight, the restriction of the control stick movement by the displaced seat pan, and the pilot/builders failure to adequately secure the seat pan to the airframe.

Full narrative available

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