On August 14, 2000, approximately 1030 mountain daylight time, an unregistered homebuilt Ladd Nieuport 11, being flown by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain following a loss of control during the takeoff/initial climb from a non-airspaced private airstrip near White Pine, Montana. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91.

According to an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the owner of the private airstrip, the pilot was conducting the aircraft's first test flight and had reported unresolved directional control problems during previous taxi tests. The aircraft was not equipped with any restraint system (seat belt or shoulder harness), and the airstrip owner had cautioned the pilot about this condition.

During takeoff to the south on the 3,500 foot grass field, the aircraft became airborne, veered off the west side of the field, impacted terrain and came to rest inverted.

The pilot subsequently reported, "It was extremely hard to keep [the] plane on [the] runway because of [the] tail skid digging into the earth. [An] attempt was made to get the tail off the ground. When the tail came up, the airplane began to climb to[o] fast. The tail dropped and the airplane stalled, looping to the right and hitting the ground nose first then flopping over on its back." (Refer to NTSB Forma 61201.1/2 attached)

The pilot/builder reported that there was no mechanical malfunction with the aircraft and also reported in the "Recommendation" section of his report that an "unexp[er]ienced pilot should not of been operating on [the] first flight."

Documentation from the kitplane distributor (an invoice) showed the design plans for the Nieuport 11 being ordered by the pilot/builder on March 26, 1999. Records maintained by the FAA showed the pilot obtaining a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land rating on July 21, 1964. His most current medical (third class) was issued May 4, 1966. The FAA showed no record of flight time at the pilot's most recent medical, and the pilot reported that his "license was not kept current" and that he had misplaced his flight log book and did not know what his total flight experience was.

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