FTW97LA351
FTW97LA351

On September 16, 1997, at 1115 mountain daylight time, a Brashears Monerai-S motorized glider, N5575S, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during takeoff from the Artesia Municipal Airport, near Artesia, New Mexico. The private pilot, sole occupant of the aircraft, was seriously injured. The glider was jointly registered and operated by the pilot and another individual. The aircraft was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to witnesses at the airport, the homebuilt glider was observed on takeoff roll from Runway 21. As soon as the aircraft broke ground, the witnesses reported that "the aircraft assumed a very nose high attitude and stalled." The aircraft impacted the ground in a left banking turn, in a nose low attitude. Witnesses further stated that the 22 horsepower above the wing pusher engine continued to operate at high RPM after the aircraft impacted the ground.

The co-owner of the airplane, a seasoned pilot with over 30,000 hours, told the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), that he had flown the motorized glider 3 times since they purchased the glider in April 1997, and found it to "have extremely sensitive flight controls." He further stated that the flight controls in the powered glider are operated by a side stick located on the left side of the cockpit. During his 3 flights in the aircraft, he noted that he had a tendency to overcorrect the control inputs, specially at low airspeeds in close proximity to the ground.

During a telephonic interview, the pilot told the IIC that for the last few years he had been flying gliders and prior to the accident, he had not flown a powered aircraft for over 13 years. The pilot added that he should have at least performed several high speed taxi runs to gain some proficiency in the aircraft prior to attempting a flight.

The FAA inspector examined the wreckage and confirmed continuity of the flight control system. The examination revealed that the aircraft incurred structural damage to the left wing and the forward section of the fuselage.

The winds at the time of the accident were reported as calm. Based on the reported weather conditions (temperature of 84 degrees and a dew point of 64 degrees Fahrenheit), the IIC calculated that the density altitude was approximately 5,700 feet.

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