NTSB Identification: CEN11FA324
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 07, 2011 in Conroe, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: WOODWARD HAROLD L RAVIN 500, registration: N913RA
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Airport tower personnel gave the pilot clearance to depart with a right turn on course. The airplane departed, and as the pilot began the initial right turn, he reported to the tower that he had smoke in the cockpit. The airplane was cleared to land on any runway and was told the wind was from 160 degrees at 8 knots. A witness observed the airplane perform a 240-degree right turn and crossed back over the departure runway before the airplane entered a left downwind leg for runway 14. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the witness stated that the airplane was flying “slow” with its wings level at an estimated altitude of 700 to 800 feet above the ground. While about 4,500 feet on the downwind leg, the landing gear was extended. Shortly thereafter, the airplane started a descending left turn toward the closer runway 19. The airplane overshot the extended centerline to runway 19 and the airplane’s bank angle increased. The airplane continued in the descending left turn toward the runway until about 300 feet above the ground, at which point the airplane appeared to “stall” and disappear in the trees. Tower personnel reported that during the event, they did not observe any smoke or flames coming from the airplane until impact. A pilot-rated eyewitness located near the crash site reported hearing what he described as an engine that was “screaming” and varying in rpm. When he saw the airplane, it was flying “very slow” at an estimated altitude of 300 to 500 feet above the ground. As the airplane made a high bank angle turn back toward the airport, the witness observed the nose and left wing drop before the airplane went out of sight. Seconds later, he heard it impact trees followed by an explosion. A postimpact fire ensued, which consumed the airplane’s structure. An examination of the remainder of the airplane confirmed control continuity and no apparent anomalies to the airplane’s engine or systems. The examination failed to reveal the origin of the reported in-flight smoke.

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

An in-flight smoke event on takeoff and the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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