NTSB Identification: ERA12CA333
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Kingstree, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, the accident flight was to familiarize himself with the recently purchased airplane. He conducted a few high-speed taxi runs before taking off to practice in the traffic pattern. After takeoff, the pilot turned downwind and set the airplane up for a full-stop landing. While on final approach, about 50 feet above a tree line, the airplane’s right wing dropped downward. The pilot attempted to level the wings but lost control, and the airplane collided with the ground short of the runway. Postaccident examination revealed that both wings were separated from the airplane and the fuselage was fragmented. According to the pilot, there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot reported that he had 1 hour of total flight experience in the accident make and model airplane.

In a 2012 safety study on "The Safety of Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft," the NTSB concluded that "purchasers of used [experimental amateur-built] (E-AB)aircraft face particular challenges in transitioning to the unfamiliar E-AB aircraft. Like builders of new E-AB aircraft, they must learn to manage the unique handling characteristics of their aircraft and learn the systems, structure, and equipment, but without the firsthand knowledge afforded to the builder." Thus, the NTSB recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration and the Experimental Aircraft Association "complete planned action to create a coalition of kit manufacturers, type clubs, and pilot and owner groups and (1) develop transition training resources and (2) identify and apply incentives to encourage both builders of experimental amateur-built aircraft and purchasers of used experimental amateur-built aircraft to complete the training that is developed."

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control during the approach to landing, which resulted in a collision with terrain short of the runway. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the airplane.

Full narrative available

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