On December 22, 1997, about 1745 eastern standard time, a homebuilt Lutz Michael A. EAA Biplane P-2, N913AM, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from Wellington Aero Club Airport, Wellington, Florida. The airplane was operated by the owner/pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airline transport pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated from the same airport at 1715. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to a witness, the airplane took off and flew in the pattern one time. On the second takeoff, the airplane reached an altitude of approximately 200-300 feet where the engine began to sputter. The witness stated the airplane then made an aggressive left turn back towards the runway during which the engine surged briefly. The airplane then disappeared from view, but the witness did hear the engine for 3 to 5 more seconds before it stopped abruptly.
Another witness stated the airplane made a 180 degree turn back towards the runway before it spun into the ground.
According to a pilot who had flown the airplane the day before the accident, the airplane had experienced carburetor icing . Upon adding carburetor heat, the engine sputtered and quit. The pilot was able to restart the engine and land safely. Upon landing, he replaced the air filter, jump started the battery, and adjusted the carburetor heat cable. According to the pilot, the airplane then performed fine. The pilot also stated he flew the airplane for 35 to 40 minutes the day prior, and the airplane was flown 35 minutes on the day of the accident. The pilot believed the airplane held 22 1/2 gallons of fuel. The front fuel tank held 14 1/2 gallons, and the rear tank holds 8 gallons. He estimated the fuel consumption was 8-9 gallons per hour.
The pilot of the accident flight was an airline transport pilot with an airplane multiengine land rating. He was also a private pilot with a single engine land rating. The pilot in command had type ratings in the Boeing 757, Boeing 767, and McDonnell Douglas MD-11. His last medical certificate, a first class, was issued June 18, 1997. A witness stated he did not believe the first pilot was comfortable or confident in the airplane.
The airplane was purchased by the pilot on December 4, 1997. The last engine inspection, an annual, was completed November 29, 1997. The airframe also had an annual inspection on that day. No discrepancies were noted during either inspection.
The FAA inspector stated that during the on-scene examination it was noted that the fuel selector was set to the three o'clock stop, which was the front fuel tank setting. The fuel lines were then checked, and it was determined that there was no fuel in the line from the front fuel tank to the engine. There was fuel in the line from the rear fuel tank to the engine.
A post mortem examination of the pilot was completed by the Palm Beach Medical Examiner's Office on December 23, 1997. A copy was requested, but it was not received at the time of this report. A toxicological examination was completed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory. The results were negative for alcohol and drugs. Although a toxicology report by the FAA was requested, the samples were never sent to the FAA Toxicology Laboratory.