On June 27, 1998, about 1535 eastern daylight time, an Aviat A-1A (Husky), N32HU, registered to Aviat Aircraft Inc., operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91, demonstration flight, impacted with the ground at the Spruce Creek Airport near Daytona Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airline transport pilot in the rear seat (pilot-in-command) reported serious injuries, and airline transport pilot/passenger in the front seat reported minor injures. The flight was originating at the time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the front seat pilot/passenger, the pilot in the rear seat, an Aviat Husky dealer, asked him on the day of the accident, if he wanted to go for a ride, and he told him "sure." The pilot/passenger said he told the pilot-in-command (PIC), "...[he] had minimal tailwheel experiance and...would get into the back seat...he [PIC] said, no get in the front seat so you can fly." He said the PIC told him, "...I would have control of all switches since they were not duplicated in the rear seat. We started the engine while he was standing outside the cockpit, reaching across in front of me he gave me a short cockpit briefing and then got into the rear seat." The PIC then helped the front seat pilot hook up the five point seat harness and they taxied to runway 5.
The front seat pilot said, "...as I was taxing...we chatted about how he became a Husky dealer and when I asked how long he had owned the airplane, he told me about 2 months...as we reached the run-up area I swung the airplane around into the wind to do a run-up...[the PIC] said there was no need for a run-up since he had already checked the mags [sic], unless I wanted to do it again. I said, 'If you're okay with it I am.' He then told me to taxi out onto the runway centerline. As we did he said, 'Stop it on the arrow.' I did and he said, 'I want to show you a max [sic] performance takeoff.' I was holding the stick in my right hand and the throttle in my left. I felt the stick come straight back to the stops and [the PIC] said to hold the stick all the way back for takeoff. He advised that there was a slight right crosswind and that I should hold a little aileron into the wind, as I felt the stick move to the right. He said, 'I'll talk you through it,' and told me to just keep it going straight down the runway. He said, 'Are you ready?' and when I said yes and was about to add throttle, I felt the throttle move all the way forward, and we were on our way...it took very little rudder correction and within seconds we had lifted off and were climbing at an unbelievable angle...[the PIC] had not said anything at this point...I eased the stick forward a couple of inches. I remember being awe struck by the pitch angle we were maintaining and said something like jeez cripes. The attitude of the airplane was so high that I felt uncomfortable and even though [he] had not said a word as yet, I eased the stick forward to the neutral position. I was surprised to find that the attitude did not change at all. Within a few seconds the nose of the aircraft began swinging to the left and as it did, it fell and I realized we were in a deep stall. As the nose came down [the PIC] yelled, 'I got it, I got it, I got it!'...we rolled slowly back and forth as we were settling towards the ground and I saw a large pine tree immediately in front of us. I remember thinking, this plane is still trying to fly...the next thing I knew we hit the ground hard in almost a flat attitude."
The pilot that was sitting in the rear seat said he was approached by the other pilot [front seat], and he "requested a Demonstration flight." The other pilot told him, he was a "retired" airline pilot, with 20,000 plus hours, an ATP rated pilot, and was a "former military instructor pilot." Together they did a pre-flight of the airplane, and "I [PIC]...explained the cockpit and equipment operation including airspeeds and flap operation. I let him fly from the front seat with the understanding he could and would operate these and all equipment during the flight. I also agreed I would say 'I have the aircraft' and I would take over. The taxi out and run up was normal and performed by [the front seat pilot]...takeoff was also normal for a short field takeoff until around 50 feet. I told [the front seat pilot] to lower the nose as I tried to ease the stick forward, but it would not move. I yelled. 'I have the airplane,' and pushed with both hand on the stick. It would not move and felt like I was pushing on a spring. I reached for my left shoulder harness release so I could reach forward and tap him on the head to get his attention and release control of the aircraft. Just as I had loosened my left shoulder harness the aircraft stalled...I yelled I have the airplane...grabbed the stick...brought up the left wing and pushed the nose down. We were sinking in a deep stall when I pushed the nose forward. I estimate we were about 50 feet above the ground. I flared the aircraft just before touchdown with a very high sink rate...the power was cut I believe when the aircraft was stalled...it was at that very moment I was looking at my left shoulder harness strap trying to loosen it up...the stall speed power-off is 42 mph with it dropping to 33 mph power-on. We stalled at full power...I did not have time to look inside the aircraft to determine any accurate throttle position." In addition, it was his opinion that he "...should not have loosened my shoulder harness up...I should not have allowed [the other pilot] to fly from the front seat on his first takeoff in the Husky, no matter what his previous experience in other aircraft was...."
The FAA Inspector who went to the crash site said, "...the pilot [PIC] was demonstrating a short field takeoff. The aircraft pitched up approximately 25 to 30 degrees and climbed to an altitude of 100 to 125 feet, as observed by ground personnel. The...left wing dropped...the aircraft pitched forward...struck the left side of the runway 500 feet from the departure end on the right cowling and right main landing gear...spun on the nose and ended up 100 feet from the runway centerline, pointing towards departure point."
The Inspector said, he had interview the rear seat pilot, in the hospital, on June 28, 1998, and he said, "...he was the PIC and responsible for the aircraft." In addition, the FAA Inspector said, "...the front seat occupant, who was a passenger, stated he was following through on the controls during the demonstration of the short field takeoff."
Confirmation of the position of the airplane's controls, immediately after the accident, could not be determined, because the airplane was removed from the crash site before the FAA had arrived.
The pilot-in-command was sent an NTSB Form 6120.1/2, on June 30, 1998. The form and his statement were returned to the NTSB Southeast Regional Office, Miami, Florida, on November 9, 1998.