NTSB Identification: LAX04CA316.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 12, 2004 in Lancaster, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Smith S-51D, registration: N51VS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane impacted the runway in a 3-point attitude, the main landing gear forks fractured, and the airplane skidded off the right side of the runway. The pilot/owner/builder had just recently completed fabricating the airplane, and the purpose of the flight was to develop emergency procedures for engine out landings. The pilot configured the airplane with the landing gear down, flaps up, and the engine at 3,800 rpm (1,784 propeller rpm). He would perform the maneuver at 110 knots. The first attempt left him rolling onto final 1/4 mile short of the runway, so he added power and did a touch-and-go. During the second attempt the pilot overshot the runway extended centerline and executed a go-around. On the third attempt the pilot had the airplane on final, at 200 feet agl, on the runway extended centerline, and about 100 knots. He pulled the stick back to arrest the sink rate. He noted that the angle of attack (AOA) indicator was reading three red dots (indicating that the airplane was within 10 percent of stalling), and the airplane impacted the runway in a 3-point attitude. The main landing gear forks fractured, and the airplane skidded off the right side of the runway, traveling some 600 feet beyond the impact point.

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

the pilot's misjudged landing flare, failure to correct the descent rate, and failure to execute a go-around during an unstablized landing approach.

Full narrative available

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