NTSB Identification: LAX03LA004.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, October 09, 2002 in Los Banos, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Rans, Inc. S-12 XL, registration: NONE
Injuries: 2 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 unregistered airplane lost power during takeoff from a clearing in a wildlife refuge, impacted terrain, cartwheeled, and came to rest inverted. A buffeting in cruise flight had caused the pilot to make a precautionary landing. The pilot knew that the engine would exceed red line (overspeed) each time that he applied full power. He attributed this to the propeller pitch setting that he had made before a previous flight. He thought that the blades might have come loose due to the engine vibrations. The propeller blades were ground adjustable, but he did not have the proper equipment to make the adjustments with him. After a 30-second engine run on the ground and observing nothing abnormal, he proceeded with the takeoff. A Department of Interior officer responding to the airplane's landing in a wildlife refuge reported that the pilot took off downwind. A post accident examination revealed no discrepancies that could account for the loss of power.

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

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in a stall. A contributing factor was the pilot's decision to conduct a downwind takeoff.

Full narrative available

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