On July 13, 2000, at approximately 1700 eastern standard time, an amateur built Chilian Kitfox, 1200 IV, N456RC, piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged following a loss of control after takeoff on runway 18 (3,050 feet by 100 feet, turf), from the Lowell Airport, Lowell, Indiana. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot was seriously injured. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness reported the following information:
"The airplane rolled about 150 feet down the runway and it seemed to me the pilot pulled the plane into the air at minimum airspeed. The plane continued to fly straight for about 100 feet and leveled. It seemed to become more stable in the air."
"At this point the pilot pulled the plane into what I considered to be an excessive climb angle of about 45 or 50 degrees. [Another pilot] standing near me said something about that being a very high angle of attack. I remember thinking the pilot was making a short high take off to 'hot dog' or make an impression of his planes performance for us."
"The plane continued to climb at this very high angle and the pilot began to bank the plane about 10 degrees to the left or East. He also raised the nose to an even higher angle of climb than before. Perhaps 60 degrees of climb now seemed to be the case."
"Either [the other pilot] or I said something out loud about the angle of climb and the bank and that it looked like he might stall the airplane."
"The plane was now heading East in a very high angle of attack and the pilot continued to increase the bank angle to about 30 degrees. The airplane was slowing considerably and [other pilot] said out loud, 'I think he is going to stall it'."
"At almost that exact moment the plane stalled and the left wing dropped sharply, turning the nose of the plane to the North. The plane began to fall very sharply downward and it was clear it was going into the ground from an altitude I would guess to be around 100 to 125 feet A.G.L. (above ground level)"
The witness continued, "By this time the plane had impacted the ground making a very loud dull thud sound. It came down about 250 feet into a cornfield on the East side of the runway and about 600 or so feet from the North end of the runway."
According to a Lake County Police Department report, "The pilot...was transported to St. Anthony's Medical Center for treatment of injuries. Paramedics and medical staff advised officer...that the victim smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages; medical records obtained by subpoena indicated that [the pilot's] blood alcohol level was .159%."
14 CFR Part 91.17(a)(4) states, "No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood."