On April 29, 2000, at 1515 central daylight time, a Lake LA-4-200, single-engine amphibian airplane, N5023L, struck a fence and trees during a go-around from a private grass airstrip near Claremore, Oklahoma. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The two private pilots and the aft seat passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed the Claremore Municipal Airport approximately 1445. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During the demonstration flight, the pilot-in-command/owner of the airplane occupied the right front seat, and the prospective buyer occupied the left front seat. After re-fueling at Claremore, the pilots flew over Lake Oolagah and then proceeded to the Avian Country Estates airstrip, a 2,400-foot grass airstrip near Claremore.
On the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the left seat pilot reported the following information. Upon approaching the airport from the north, they circled the airport to confirm windsock position and that the runway was clear of obstructions. Subsequently, on final approach for runway 17, the pilots noted that the airplane was low on the approach, and the left seat pilot added power. The power was left on too long, the airplane traveled too far down the runway, and the airspeed was too fast for the landing. The pilot-in-command called for a go-around, and the left seat pilot added full power. The airplane flew in ground effect, about 5 feet above the runway, for several hundred feet. Subsequently, the airplane climbed to about 20 feet agl, and the left seat pilot retracted the landing gear. The pilot-in-command raised the flaps, and the airplane settled to 5 to 10 feet agl, traveled through trees, and continued traveling approximately 200 feet before it struck a tree and came to rest.
One witness observed the airplane touchdown and bounce. Subsequently, the witnesses observed the airplane slightly airborne until it hit [the] trees. One witness described the engine as "loud." Witnesses reported the winds were calm with the windsock "motionless."
According to the Pilot/Operator Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot-in-command had accumulated a total of 3,200 flight hours, of which 1,200 hours were in the make and model of the accident aircraft. The pilot/prospective buyer had accumulated a total of 1,105 flight hours, of which 10 hours were in the make and model.
Local authorities and the FAA inspector responding to the site found that the right wing struck a barbed wire fence and a tree. The FAA inspector stated that the tree "was broken off approximately 4 feet from the ground." The airplane came to rest inverted with the fuselage split aft of the front seats. The left main landing gear was found up and locked, the right main landing gear partially extended, and the nose landing gear in the wheel well with the gear doors half closed. The left flap was found in the retracted position, and the right flap was found separated at the outboard attachment points.
A review of the aircraft maintenance records by the FAA inspector revealed that the last annual inspection was performed on October 8, 1999, at an accumulated total aircraft time of 1,841.0 hours.
The operating procedures manual for the airplane states in part: All take-off and landings should be made flaps down.
On May 10, 2000, the prospective buyer and his mechanic examined the airplane. During a compression check, they found cylinder #2 compression at 20 psi. They removed the #2 cylinder and poured solvent into the intake ports for the valve assembly and observed solvent leaking into the cylinder.