LAX94LA060
LAX94LA060

On November 26, 1993, at 1000 Pacific standard time, an experimental homebuilt Albrecht Polywagon aircraft, N320PW, collided with trees and the ground during an attempted go-around at the Nutree Airport, Vacaville, California. The aircraft, owned and operated by Robert T. Albrecht of Suisun, California, was on its initial test flight following a complete rebuilding. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the operation. The aircraft was destroyed in the collision sequence. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The flight originated at Vacaville, California, on the day of the mishap at 0945 hours as a local area test flight.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations inspector from the Sacramento, California, Flight Standards District Office, witnessed the accident. He reported observing the aircraft on a go-around near the midpoint of runway 20 when the left wing suddenly dropped. The aircraft turned to the left, collided with trees bordering the airport, and cartwheeled into a field. The inspector reported that the winds were from the northwest at 12 knots with higher gusts in the 15-to-20 knot range. He stated that trees line the runway which, in his experience, can create wind shear conditions in crosswind situations.

On November 30th, the FAA inspector was able to interview the pilot in the hospital. The pilot reported that he flared high and bounced on the runway during the landing approach, and he subsequently initiated a go-around. The pilot said he thought he struck the tail, damaging the rudder hinges. During the go- round, the pilot said he could not control the aircraft and the left wing dropped. The aircraft then turned and collided with trees. The pilot also speculated that, since he had flown about one-half hour on the left fuel tank, a possible fuel imbalance may have contributed to the inability to control the aircraft.

The responding FAA inspector reported that about 18 months ago the pilot crashed the aircraft during its first test flight following initial construction. The pilot rebuilt the aircraft and obtained FAA approval for a new test flight. Airworthiness inspectors from the Sacramento FAA Flight Standards District Office examined the empennage and its associated control system for damage. According to the inspector, no evidence was observed to indicate that the tail of the aircraft struck the runway during the initial landing bounce.

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