On July 2, 1996, at 0707 eastern daylight time, an unregistered Titan Tornado, was destroyed when it impacted the ground while on approach to a private grass strip near Richland, New York. The certificated student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at the Richland Airport, about 0630. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

During a telephone interview, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector stated that the student pilot/owner departed the Richland Airport to fly to his co-owner's farm, about 4 miles from the airport. Witnesses stated to the FAA Inspector that they observed the airplane circle the co-owner's cut grass strip and start an approach. One witness reported that when the airplane flew over a hedge row, the nosed pitched and the airplane climbed to about 150 feet. The nose of the airplane was then observed to drop, and the airplane descended and struck the ground at a 45 degree nose down angle.

The co-owner stated to the FAA Inspector that he and the student pilot (SP) had purchased the airplane from Titan Aircraft, the manufacturer of airplane kits. The airplane had been assembled and flown for about 80 hours by Titan, before it was purchased by the pilots. The co-owner stated that it had been purchased as an ultralight. It had been equipped with a 10 gallon fuel tank, and without an airworthiness certificate. Examination of the airplane revealed no pre-impact failure of the airframe of engine.

A certified flight instructor stated to the FAA Inspector that the SP had been issued his SP certificate during October 1994, and had received about 10 hours of dual flight instruction. The SP had not flown with the flight instructor since 1994, and had not soloed.

There were no maintenance records available for the airplane.

A review of the purchase agreement provided by Titan Aircraft revealed that the airplane was sold as a "single place, ready to fly, used aircraft as is."

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