NTSB Identification: SEA07LA163.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 17, 2007 in Tonopah, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Beech B24R, registration: N6511R
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During the takeoff initial climb, at approximately 30 feet above ground level and halfway down the runway, the pilot initiated the landing gear retraction. The landing gear legs retracted at different rates, inducing "momentary, but noticeable yaw." Simultaneously with the induced yaw, the pilot side cabin door opened approximately 3 to 4 inches and the pilot felt "a loss of lift" in the aircraft. The aircraft rolled to a right bank of 30 degrees and a nose down attitude of 20 degrees. The pilot attempted to correct for the roll and pitch, but did not have sufficient altitude. The aircraft impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude approximately 300 feet to the right of the runway. Winds reported at the airport at the time of the accident were from 290 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 25 knots. The density altitude at the time of the accident was 8,400 feet. Post accident inspections by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed nothing remarkable with the aircraft. Both sets of the left and right door latches were found to operate freely and retracted fully when using the internal and external door handles. In 1990, Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation issued a Safety Communique concerning cabin door operation/openings. The Communique states that an open cabin door does not change an airplane's flight characteristics. However, it does state that an aircraft's climb performance can be decreased up to 130 feet per minute from handbook values, and that the decrease in climb performance can be more significant at high density altitudes.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall during the takeoff initial climb. The pilot's diverted attention to an open door, high density altitude, and wind gusts were contributing factors. Full narrative available
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