HISTORY OF FLIGHT On September 11, 1996 at 1125 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Pitts S-1, N27DD, impacted the ground during takeoff at Markham Municipal Airport in Meriden, Connecticut. The private pilot/owner, builder of the airplane and the sole occupant, received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot/owner stated afterwards that he had just repaired an oil leak and wanted to fly in order to check the engine and to get a day VFR flight. The pilot stated that he was doing "S" turns as he taxied down the taxiway for visibility purposes. The pilot stated that he taxied from the taxiway right onto the runway without stopping and gave it "a lot of power so as to get the tail airborne as soon as possible". The pilot stated that the tail got airborne and before he knew it, the trees, which are approximately 100 feet to the left of the runway, were coming towards him. The pilot stated that he was not sure if he was airborne, but felt he must have been and could have made a successful takeoff if the trees were not there. The pilot stated that he corrected to the right and the airplane's right wing hit the grass and the next thing he knew he was looking straight down at the runway. The pilot stated that he does not remember what happened after that. There were no witnesses to the accident. The biplane came to rest upright with all four wings damaged and the engine separated from the airframe and lodged between the ground and the lower right wing.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION The private pilot had a total of 1056 flight hours with a total of 596 hours in this make and model. The airplane was built by the pilot/owner and received approval for flight in 1975. The private pilot stated that he averaged approximately 25 hours a year flight time in the airplane. The private pilot did not complete the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report in the area of flight time for the last 24 hours, 30 days, and 90 days.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION The FAA Inspector stated that all the correct documentation was in the airplane. The Inspector stated that all airplane's records were available and after reviewing the airplane's maintenance logbooks, no anomalies were found with the airframe or engine. The Inspector stated that there was continuity of all flight controls after the accident and the pilot did not report a loss of power at any time. The Inspector wrote that both the spinner and the propeller were grounded into the runway which showed that the engine was producing power at the time of impact.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION Since there were no witnesses to the accident, using the pilot's recollection of how he hit the ground, and looking at the ground scarring, the damage done to the airplane and the location and attitude of the wreckage on the runway, it appeared that both right wings struck the ground approximately 15 feet left of the runway. The next nearest ground scar was the propeller striking the runway evident by the marks in the pavement and bending and twisting of the propeller. Once on the runway, the airplane came to rest in approximately 100 feet. Matching the damage incurred by the airplane and the attitude and location of the wreckage on the runway from the propeller strikes, the airplane mostly likely did a cartwheel type maneuver striking both left wings on the runway. Some time into this cartwheel/rolling maneuver, the engine separated from the airplane and fell under the right side of the airplane. The engine became lodged under the right lower wing as the airplane came to a stop in an upright position.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS The pilot in command was wearing a seat belt and shoulder harness along with a helmet and goggles. It was noted by the FAA Inspector that the pilot's head struck the left windscreen and instrument panel. The pilot suffered a broken left collarbone and bruises to his left foot and side. Though these injuries were serious, the FAA Inspector felt that the pilot was saved from serious head injuries and even death by his utilization of a helmet.

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