SEA97LA068
SEA97LA068

On February 24, 1997, approximately 1245 Pacific standard time, a homebuilt Hemingway Varieze, N36P, registered to and being operated by the builder, a private pilot, was substantially damaged during a loss of control while executing a high speed taxi run on runway 34 at the Arlington airport, Arlington, Washington. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was a test taxi/flight, was to have been operated under 14CFR91, and was to have been local.

The pilot reported to an FAA inspector that he intended to conduct high speed taxi tests of the aircraft, and then transition directly to a flight test. During the first taxi test run down the runway the pilot rotated and "the aircraft lifted off rapidly and steeply." The pilot reported that he was able to successfully re-land and felt that he had "over-controlled" the aircraft.

The pilot returned to the threshold of runway 34 and initiated a second taxi run down the runway. He reported that "just before I planned to shut down the engine it (the aircraft) lifted off just as abruptly as the first time at a very steep attitude, also higher than before, about 20 feet." The aircraft struck the runway nose down and left wing low and slid to a stop.

The pilot reported approximately 132 hours of flight experience of which one and three-quarters hour were in this make/model aircraft.

An observer to the accident located near an adjacent taxiway reported a wind gust coincident with the time of the second nose rotation. Winds at the Arlington airport were reported as 300 degrees magnetic at 10 knots at 1253 hours.

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