NTSB Identification: LAX07LA148.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 16, 2007 in Livermore, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Hill Europa XS, registration: N214KS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Witnesses observed the airplane reach about 300 to 400 feet above ground level (agl) in the initial climb as it approached the departure end of the runway. The airplane then descended about 100 feet as one witness heard the engine begin to sputter, and then lost power. The airplane made a hard left turn and continued to descend while reversing course, consistent with the pilot attempting to return to the runway. As the airplane came close to completing a 180-degree turn, the airplane stalled and dove toward terrain. The airplane impacted in a near-vertical attitude and erupted into flames. The pilot, who was the airplane's builder, had amassed about 300 hours in the accident airplane. The terrain at the end of the departure runway was characteristically flat, stretching over 6,500 feet beyond the runway, and consisted of a golf course and open fields. Investigators found no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures during the examination; however, the extremely impact damaged and thermally consumed wreckage precluded many components and systems from being inspected. An article in the EAA Sport Aviation newsletter detailed the flight characteristics of an Europa that was configured similar to the accident airplane. In pertinent part, it stated that stalls, both with level flight and idle power, are abrupt with a 5- to 10-degree nose drop accompanied by a 5-degree right wing drop. The article reported that there is virtually no traditional stall warning, such as airframe buffeting.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the loss of engine power for an undetermined reason during the initial climb, and the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while attempting a return to runway maneuver, which resulted in a stall/spin.
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