NTSB Identification: ERA10LA318
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 18, 2010 in Penn Yan, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: Glenn H Curtiss Museum Hudson Flyer, registration: N910GC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 fourth test flight of the airplane, which was a historical replica of an airplane built in 1910, and it was the first time that the pilot planned to perform a traffic pattern flight around the airport before returning to land. The pilot reported that the airplane's controls were responsive and effective during the first three flights, which had a total duration of about 5 minutes. While the first three flights had been conducted under calm wind conditions, there was a crosswind from the west at the time of the accident. A witness to the accident flight stated that the airplane took off on runway 19, climbed to about 100 feet above ground level, and turned left (downwind) about two-thirds of the way down the runway. The airplane entered a controlled descent and impacted the ground in a right-wing-low attitude. The pilot did not report any mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane. He stated that the airplane began to descend after beginning the left turn and that he thought that the airplane experienced a decrease in lift as a result of the tailwind. Although an airplane does not lose aerodynamic lift when turning from a crosswind to a tailwind, the pilot may have misperceived the increased ground speed as an increase in airspeed and increased the airplane’s pitch angle to compensate, resulting in a descent due to increased drag.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain altitude after takeoff.

Full narrative available

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