NTSB Identification: ERA12FA387
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2012 in Plant City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: PHILLIPS WILLIAM L CHALLENGER, registration: N2571T
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.

According to the airport manager, the purpose of the flight was for the student pilot/owner to get “one last flight” in the airplane before he sold it. The pilot had experienced health issues and undergone surgery in the years prior to the accident, and had not flown the airplane in about 1 year. The manager watched the entire flight and described the takeoff as “normal.” The first landing approach was “fast and long,” and the pilot performed a go-around and entered the traffic pattern for a second approach. The manager and other witnesses stated that the airplane descended on the base leg of the traffic pattern to about 500 feet, and that the airplane turned and aligned with the runway. During the descent on final approach, the airplane pitched up, leveled off, descended, and pitched up multiple times with corresponding changes in engine power. The airplane “wandered” to the west and was briefly flying parallel to the runway as it headed toward the witnesses on the grass apron and the hangars on the west side of the field. The airplane then pitched up, the nose dropped, and the airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude of about 25-30 degrees. During the descent and at ground contact, the engine was running “at cruise power,” according to the airport manager. The engine continued to run after the accident, and first responders had to pull one of the carburetors from its mount in order to stop the engine. The 79 year-old pilot/owner had never obtained a pilot certificate. Over the 60 years that he documented his flight time, the pilot reported 122 total flight hours. The accident airplane was purchased almost 20 years before the accident but was not registered until 5 years before the accident. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 19 total airframe hours.

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

The non-certificated pilot’s loss of control during approach and landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of both total and recent flight experience.

Full narrative available

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