FTW99LA062
FTW99LA062

On October 1, 1998, at 1230 central daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA 20-A1 single-engine airplane, N527SS, was substantially damaged when the canopy separated during takeoff from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport near Tomball, Texas. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to MDFC Equipment Leasing Corporation of Long Beach, California, and operated by Flight Academy International of Spring, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight, which was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot did not explain to the passenger that the right side of the canopy needed to be latched before takeoff. The pilot stated that he did not observe the canopy warning light during taxi to the runway, nor did he complete the "Canopy-Secure" portion of the pre-takeoff checklist. The pilot also stated that after takeoff from runway 17L, at about 400 feet, he heard a "rapid-sounding noise for several repetitions, followed by the canopy disengaging itself from the fuselage."

Following the separation of the canopy, the pilot's headset was lost from the "burst of wind." As a result, tower communication was not possible. The pilot turned the aircraft back towards the airport and landed on runway 35L "without further damage to [the] aircraft."

The canopy was recovered approximately 1/4 mile south of the localizer antennas for runway 17R.

According to the FAA inspector, the main structural spar behind the cockpit, to which the canopy was attached, sustained damage.

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