NTSB Identification: CEN11FA597
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 25, 2011 in Heath, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/05/2014
Aircraft: NICHOLS LANCAIR 235, registration: N777BN
Injuries: 1 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.

The accident occurred during the pilot's first flight in the experimental amateur-built airplane since he purchased it about 1 year earlier. A witness stated that the airplane appeared to be "very unstable" after it became airborne. He stated that the airplane continued to fly erratically, with continuous attitude changes, and cleared a row of airport hangars by about 10 feet. The airplane then continued the climb to between 100 and 150 feet above the ground before it banked sharply left and entered a nose-down descent into trees. The witness stated that the engine sounded normal throughout the entire flight. A postaccident examination of the airport property revealed that the airplane had veered off the left side of the runway before it became airborne. The postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that, because this was the pilot's first flight in the airplane and he had not logged any flights in a similar airplane, he failed to maintain directional control during takeoff and did not subsequently gain control.

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

The pilot's failure to obtain adequate familiarization with the accident airplane type before the accident flight, which resulted in his failure to maintain airplane control during takeoff.

Full narrative available

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