MIA94LA195
MIA94LA195

On August 14, 1994, about 1343 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7GCAA, N9669S, registered to Andrew P. Burfitt, operated by Air Words, crashed shortly after pickup of a banner from the Merritt Island Airport, Merritt Island, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The flight originated about 5 minutes earlier from the Merritt Island Airport, Merritt Island, Florida.

The flight landed after towing a banner for about 1 hour and another tow rope was added. The flight departed and after takeoff the pilot threw the tow rope out of the airplane during which it became wrapped around the left rudder horn. The pilot picked up the second banner and during the climb, the rudder was fully deflected to the right. The pilot was unable to release the banner. The flight was observed by witnesses to turn right crosswind, downwind, and base. The flight was about 1/4 mile northwest of the airport when the airplane stalled and spun to the right completing about 1/2 turn before impact with the ground in a residential area.

According to the owner of the airplane, a mirror is installed on the left wing strut for viewing the "D" ring to verify that the tow rope is not wrapped around the rudder horn.

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