NTSB Identification: ERA13LA263
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 01, 2013 in Doylestown, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2014
Aircraft: WILSON WILLIAM M CRICKET MC12, registration: N2SZ
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.

Although the gross weight at takeoff could not be determined, the airplane was a minimum of 30 pounds above the design gross weight (375 pounds), but 15 pounds under the builder-designated gross weight. Because the airplane was an experimental amateur built airplane, the builder can waiver from the design criteria, including gross weight; however, decreased performance will likely occur. After rotation, the airplane flew several feet above the runway until about 2,100 feet down the 3,004-foot-long runway. The airplane then began a shallow climb and proceeded about ½ nautical mile west-northwest from the departure end of the runway flying at a low altitude. Two witnesses reported hearing sounds consistent with an engine(s) malfunction, while another witness located less than 200 feet from the accident site did not hear sputtering sounds. As the airplane approached a road for a forced landing with traffic ahead, it pitched up, rolled to the left, and collided with power lines then the ground. While two explosions were noted, the first likely occurred when the airplane collided with the power lines and would not have likely caused any burn injury to the pilot, while the second occurred at ground contact and was likely the result of rupture of the fuel tank, which resulted in the pilot’s burn injuries. The drugs detected in the toxicology testing were consistent with those administered by medical personnel. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction was noted to the flight controls, and examination of the heat-damaged engines revealed good compression in each cylinder. Both propeller blades of the right propeller were fractured, consistent with the engine developing power at impact, while both propeller blades of the left propeller were not fractured, which was consistent with the engine not developing power at impact. The reason for the lack of power from the left engine could not be determined during the postaccident examination of the engine. Though it could not be determined whether the pilot intentionally remained close to the runway for more than 2/3’s of its length, this would have been different from his past practices. Further, a prudent pilot would have initiated a normal climb after rotation for safety purposes. Therefore, the lack of climb performance should have been a clear indicator to the pilot to abort the takeoff, which he could have safely performed within the remaining runway distance. Accounting for environmental conditions but excluding any issue related to inefficiency of the accident airplane’s engines, propellers, or airframe, the single-engine and both-engine rate-of-climb at design gross weight would have been about 160- and 960 feet per minute, respectively. No determination could be made as to the actual values for the accident airplane. The operation of the airplane above the design gross weight would have further decreased the single-engine climb performance, although the exact decrease in performance could not be determined.

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

The pilot's failure to abort the takeoff after detecting the airplane’s degraded performance. Contributing to the accident were the likely loss of power from the left engine for reasons that could not be determined during the postaccident examination of the engine, and the operation of the airplane above the design gross weight, which resulted in decreased single-engine performance.

Full narrative available

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