NTSB Identification: MIA00LA234.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 08, 2000 in LAKELAND, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2001
Aircraft: EACHON TIME WARP SPITFIRE 9, registration: N355DE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

This was the first flight of this airplane after being built. The airplane was seen departing from runway 9, climb at a steep nose high attitude to an altitude of about 150 to 200 feet above the ground; fall flat to the ground, impacting right side up, and flat. Videotape, made by a relative of the pilot, revealed that the pilot was heard saying he was having difficulty in getting the tail up. He told the people present, '...it's a bugger back there,' referring to the tail coming up. In addition, he said, '...I should have more elevator authority.' He said that he had the speed up to 70 knots, the stick full forward, the tail would not come up, and '...that the aircraft may need a larger horizontal stabilizer and elevator to attain sufficient elevator authority.' No work to correct this problem was accomplished prior to the attempted flight. The videotape indicated that the airplane might have been overweight or tail heavy, or perhaps both. Inspection of the wreckage revealed no apparent airframe failure. The control surfaces were heavily coated with bondo to smooth them out. A piece of bondo was chipped from the aileron that measured 3/16 of an inch thick. The listed empty weight was 1,300 pounds, and the gross weight was 2,000 pounds. The actual weight shown for certification was empty weight 1,779 pounds, and gross weight 2,400 pounds. Continuity was established through the elevator cables, but the tail section and cables were cut to extract the pilot from the wreckage. Control continuity was established to all the flight controls.

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

a loss of control which resulted in an inadvertent stall at too low an altitude to allow recovery. Factors in this accident were, the pilot/owner did not verify that the airplane was balanced before the flight, and he did not perform any weight or balance checks.

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