NTSB Identification: ERA10LA199
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 01, 2010 in Charleston, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2011
Aircraft: RATCLIFFE JOHN A KOLB MARK3X, registration: N3181L
Injuries: 1 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.

The accident flight was the airplane's first flight and the pilot's first flight in the airplane make and model. According to witnesses, after starting the engine, the pilot completed a high speed taxi before taking off; the airplane lifted off in "a couple hundred feet." The witnesses stated that at first, the airplane pitched up "steeply" then leveled off about 75 feet above ground level (agl). It then pitched up "steeply" again until it reached about 200 feet agl and then it returned to a "less steep" climb angle. The airplane was next observed to make a right turn onto the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern at 300 to 400 feet agl, and then turned onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern at 700 to 800 feet agl. The airplane then turned to the right, pitched nose down, and continued rotating to the right until it impacted nose first in a marsh located near the end of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wing spar and the fuselage. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. A review of the pilot's records revealed that he had never logged any flight time in the accident airplane make and model. He had never logged any flight time in a tailwheel-equipped airplane, nor did he possess a tailwheel endorsement to act as pilot-in-command of a tailwheel-equipped airplane.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent loss of control. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the make and model airplane.

Full narrative available

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