NTSB Identification: CEN12LA634
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 14, 2012 in Vermillion, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: NORTH WING DESIGN APACHE SPORT, registration: N850GB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Witnesses reported seeing the weight-shift-control light-sport aircraft shortly after takeoff in a steep climb before it rolled left and entered a near-vertical descent into terrain. Two witnesses reported that the engine was not operating normally before the aircraft departed controlled flight. The aircraft was subsequently destroyed during a postimpact ground fire. An examination of the remaining airframe components and the engine revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Although the propeller was partially consumed by fire, it exhibited impact damage consistent with rotation at the time of impact. However, a functional test of the engine was not possible because both carburetors and the dual electronic ignition system were destroyed during the postimpact fire.The pilot had a history of coronary artery disease, an aortic heart valve replacement, a craniotomy following a skiing accident, and multiple episodes of transient ischemic attack. However, insufficient evidence existed to determine if the pilot had become impaired or incapacitated at the time of the accident. The pilot had never applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate. According to FAA regulations, a pilot operating a light-sport aircraft does not need to apply for nor possess an FAA medical certificate. In lieu of a medical certificate, a pilot can operate light-sport aircraft if they possess a valid driver’s license; the pilot had a valid driver’s license when the accident occurred. Per FAA regulations, a pilot must not know of or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make them unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner. The pilot’s documented medical conditions would likely have precluded him from holding an FAA medical certificate of any class. Additionally, the pilot had been diagnosed with dizziness by his personal physician who counseled him against driving and flying. The pilot’s spouse reported that her husband had no recent complaints of fatigue, shortness of breath, or chest pain. On the day of the accident, the pilot was reportedly alert with no noticeable fatigue or complaints and was looking forward to his upcoming cross-country flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the weight-shift-control aircraft during initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin.
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