NTSB Identification: NYC06CA021.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 31, 2005 in Ashland, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Craig Sonerai II LT, registration: N204WC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 pilot had completed construction of the amateur built airplane, and was in the process of initial flight testing. The pilot had accumulated 4 hours of total flight time in the accident airplane. Prior to the accident flight, the pilot secured the side-opening canopy by engaging three interconnected 1/4-inch pins, into three 1/4-inch mating sleeves. Except for a significant amount of friction between the pins and mating surfaces, there was no locking mechanism for the canopy. Although the pilot did not experience any difficulties during several prior flights, the canopy opened during the initial climb of the accident flight, about 500 feet agl. When the canopy opened fully, the airplane became uncontrollable. Due to airflow over the canopy, the pilot was unable to refasten the pins, and had to hold the canopy closed with his hands. The pilot was able to partially control the airplane, and perform an emergency landing on a 5,602-foot-long, 100-foot-wide, asphalt runway. During the landing, the airplane departed the left side of the runway and struck a berm.

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

A loss of directional control during an emergency landing. A factor in the accident was an unlatched canopy requiring the pilot to hold it closed to maintain aircraft control.

Full narrative available

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