NTSB Identification: WPR12LA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 14, 2012 in Hollister, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: BEECH G18, registration: VH-NWB
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 pilot was preparing the airplane for a transpacific flight. The day before the accident, he conducted two test flights, and he noted that, during each flight, the oil temperature for the right engine was slightly higher than expected but that it remained within normal operating limitations. On the day of the accident, he decided to perform another test flight and brought a mechanic to assist with identifying any engine issues. The pilot reported that, just after liftoff, the airplane’s right wing dropped, which he believed was due to a loss of right engine power. The pilot decided to reduce the left engine’s power in an attempt to return the airplane to a wings-level attitude. The airplane then rolled left and pitched nose down. The airplane landed hard in a left-wing-low attitude, and the left main landing gear tire ruptured. The pilot was unable to maintain directional control of the airplane, which subsequently ground looped, departed the runway surface, and came to rest in a ditch. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing tip and aileron. The mechanic-passenger reported that the pilot did not align the airplane with the runway centerline during the takeoff, and, as a result, when the tailwheel lifted, the airplane veered left. As the pilot attempted to realign the airplane with the runway centerline, the airplane became airborne in a left-wing-high configuration. The airplane lifted off and began to climb and then the nose and left wing dropped. The mechanic reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures to the right engine that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot, in attempting to maintain runway alignment and a wings-level attitude, failed to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and a subsequent hard landing, loss of directional control, and ground loop.

Full narrative available

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