NTSB Identification: ERA13FA109
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Sarasota, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: BENTON FRED D SEAWIND 3000, registration: N829GS
Injuries: 2 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.
The purpose of the flight was to demonstrate the amphibious airplane for a potential buyer. A witness stated that the pilot had difficulty starting the engine before the accident flight. Witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be climbing slowly after takeoff, then stopped climbing and appeared to be on the verge of a stall. One witness heard a backfire or popping noise before the accident. The airplane collided with trees and then the ground, and a postcrash fire consumed most of the wreckage.
The investigation revealed that, about 4 months before the accident flight, the accident pilot performed a forced landing on water due to a loss of engine power, after which maintenance personnel found and repaired a broken fuel injector line. During that maintenance, the airplane’s propeller was removed, overhauled, and replaced. The airplane had not been flown in the interim. However, maintenance personnel reported that the pilot performed high speed taxi tests before the accident flight and told them that the engine and propeller were performing satisfactorily. Further, postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller did not reveal evidence of a preexisting malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. Smooth cuts in tree limbs indicated that the engine was operating at the time of impact. The reason for the pilot's inability to establish a normal climb rate could not be determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inability to establish a normal climb rate after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Full narrative available
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