CHI96LA054
CHI96LA054

On December 16, 1995, at 1038 eastern standard time (est), a Bitonti-Wittman WT-8, N88TK, was destroyed during a collision with the ground shortly after takeoff from Canton-Plymouth Mettetal Airport, Plymouth, Michigan. The private pilot reported minor injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on filed.

According to the pilot's written statement, he said when he started the engine that morning he had a hard time keeping the engine running below 1100 RPM. After takeoff at about 300 feet, the pilot observed the engine's cylinder head temperature had reached the red zone, so he pulled back on the throttle. When he pulled back slightly on the throttle, total power loss occurred. The pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid houses and noticed a small clearing in a storage lot so he decided to land there. On descent, the pilot lost control of the airplane and the right wing struck two trailers and two boats. The airplane was consumed by post crash fire. The pilot was found sitting under the left wing and was pulled to safety.

A Federal Aviation Administration Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI), represented the NTSB on-scene. The PMI said the engine examination revealed that the #1 cylinder had no compression because of a stuck open exhaust valve and the compression in cylinder #3 was weak. The exhaust valve springs were very weak. The pilot told the PMI that in the past he has had hot cylinder head temperatures before and that pulling back on the throttle had worked previously.

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