FTW98LA102
FTW98LA102

On January 19, 1998, at 1632 mountain standard time, a Martin Varieze experimental airplane, N27CP, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while landing at the Artesia Municipal Airport, near Artesia, New Mexico. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was seriously injured. The airplane, owned and operated by the Royal Aero Club of Tenerife, Spain, was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight for which no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed from the Artesia Airport approximately 15 minutes prior to the accident.

According to the airport manager, the 1979 model airplane was assembled at the airport by its new owner and other members of the flying club after the airplane was transported on a trailer from Carlsbad, New Mexico. An FAA certified flight instructor was to conduct airplane check outs for the new owner and other club members that traveled from Tenerife, Spain. After being provided with some dual instruction, the Argentine pilot was endorsed by the flight instructor to solo the airplane.

According to witnesses at the airport, the airplane was observed executing 4 or 5 approaches to attempt to land on runway 12. On the fifth attempt to land, the airplane touched down hard and bounced back up in the air. The airplane was reported to have landed on the nose gear, collapsing the nose landing gear. The witnesses reported that the pilot added full power and the airplane slid for 1,125 feet down the active runway with the brakes locked. The airplane came to a stop after impacting a taxiway marker head-on.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) conducted telephone interviews with the pilot during his recovery at the Columbia Medical Center in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The pilot stated that he did not recall many details about the accident. When asked by the IIC for the reason for the 4 or 5 balked landing attempts prior to the accident, the pilot stated that either the wind was stronger than reported or the crosswind was closer to a 90 degree crosswind. The 200 hour private pilot, who had never flown a similar airplane, added that the flight controls on the homebuilt airplane "were very sensitive."

The pilot was sent a copy of NTSB Form 6120.1/2 to the hospital to be completed by him. He acknowledged receipt of the form, but stated that he was unable to write due to his injuries, but agreed to complete the form as soon as he was able. The pilot was transferred to a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 7, 1998, for further treatment. Hospital personnel reported that the pilot left the United States immediately after his discharge. A completed Form 6120.1/2 was not received from the pilot.

The FAA inspector that traveled to the accident site confirmed that the airplane sustained structural damage to the forward section of the airframe. The inspector further stated that flight control continuity was established and the throttle, mixture and carburetor heat cables were found to be functional. The maintenance records for the airplane were not made available to the inspector.

The reported winds for the landings on runway 12 at the time of the accident were reported from 160 degrees at 14 knots.

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