CHI98LA002
CHI98LA002

On October 1, 1997, at 1830 eastern daylight time (edt), a Mikowski Challenger II S, N19006, owned and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it collided with the terrain shortly after takeoff. The pilot reported serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The flight departed Home Acres Sky Ranch Airport, Lake City, Michigan, at 1828 edt.

In the pilot's written statement he said he took off to fly over a farm field. The pilot said he "throttled back a little and started a shallow left turn." He stated as he tried to get out of the bank, the airplane would not respond. The pilot said he then "tried to give it more power and the engine quit." He said the airplane "continued in the downward left spiral until it hit a tree."

Several witnesses saw and heard the crash. One witness stated he "...observed an airplane that was flying really low to the trees and then [he saw] the airplane make a U-turn..." and crash into trees. Other witnesses only heard the aircraft engine quit and heard the tree impact.

The owner/pilot of the aircraft reported putting a Challenger II door kit on his aircraft the day prior to the accident. A notice that comes with the kit states that there will be right rudder trim necessary when flying the aircraft with the doors installed. The manufacturer of the kit recommends adding a 6-inch by 3-inch trim tab on the rudder, which should be "deflected to the left about 20 to 30 degrees." No trim tab was found on the aircraft.

A test of the engine by Optimus Aircraft Service of Lake City, Michigan, witnessed by two inspectors with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Grand Rapids FSDO, found the fuel in the tank had an "excessive oil to fuel ratio." An attempt to run the engine was not successful with the original spark plugs. New spark plugs were installed in the engine and the engine ran normal.

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