NTSB Identification: ERA12FA491
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 01, 2012 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: SILVAIRE LUSCOMBE 8A, registration: N2761K
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 sport pilot had recently purchased the accident airplane and was working with a flight instructor for familiarization because he had not flown during the past 30 years. The flight instructor stated that he and the pilot had flown seven or eight flights together before the accident flight and that the pilot had previously flown about 5 hours with another flight instructor. During the accident flight, the pilots took off from a runway intersection. The flight instructor stated that the engine seemed to be producing full power until the airplane reached an altitude of about 100 feet above the ground. At that point, the flight instructor noted an audible loss of rpm that was confirmed by the tachometer. The airplane began to descend, the pilot applied carburetor heat, and the flight instructor assumed control of the airplane. With insufficient runway remaining on which to land and obstacles at the end of the runway that made a straight-ahead off-airport landing hazardous, the flight instructor attempted to maneuver toward the ramp area adjacent to the runway. The airplane subsequently stalled, impacted the runway in a nose-down attitude, and came to rest inverted.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The flight instructor stated that the takeoff was initiated with the carburetor heat off, despite a placard in the airplane requiring the use of carburetor heat during takeoff and landing. Although the weather conditions at the time of takeoff were conducive to the formation of carburetor ice at glide and cruise power at the time of the accident, it was not possible to determine whether carburetor ice was a factor in the accident. Weight and balance calculations revealed that the airplane was loaded about 68 pounds over its maximum allowable gross weight, and calculated density altitude at the airport about the time of the accident was more than 2,000 feet. Despite these factors, both of which would have adversely affected both the distance required for takeoff and the airplane’s rate of climb once airborne, the pilots elected to conduct an intersection takeoff, which reduced the available runway takeoff distance by nearly 20% and also reduced the diversionary options available in the event of a loss of engine power.

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

The flight instructor’s and the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed after a partial loss of engine power after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and loss of airplane control. Contributing to the accident were the pilots’ decisions to operate the airplane above its maximum allowable gross weight and to perform an intersection takeoff.

Full narrative available

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