On September 18, 1994, about 1513 eastern daylight time, N4123N, a Rans S-12 Airaile, experimental, homebuilt airplane, crashed in Clearwater, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 local, personal flight. The airplane was registered to the pilot, Mr. Robert Harding. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot received fatal injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses stated they observed the airplane take off, turn crosswind, slow down and enter a spin. The witnesses reported that they thought the engine quit. The airplane came to rest in a tree, and a fire erupted in the tree almost immediately. The pilot fell from the tree on fire, and residents of the area rushed to him and extinguished the fire on him. The fire department arrived and put out the tree fire. The pilot was evacuated to a local hospital and expired 6 days later.

FAA inspectors attempted to examine the airplane and engine after it was removed from the tree, but were not able to determine if there was any preexisting failures of the engine or airframe due to almost total destruction of both.

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