On April 9, 2001, at about 1840 eastern standard time, a Pelican 912 PL experimental airplane, N696DH, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight crashed on take off from the ultra light grass strip at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses stated the pilot departed from runway 09 down wind. The airplane was observed to become airborne at midfield at about 2 to 3 feet high, veered to the right and settled to the ground. One witness stated the airplane appeared to be sluggish as if it were underpowered or over loaded. The airplane continued down the runway, an increase in engine power was heard, followed by a decrease in engine power, and then the absence of any engine noise. The airplane passed their location traveling between 45 to 55 mph, went off the end of the runway and collided with a ditch.

The passenger stated he was a volunteer working on the flight line. The pilot of N696DH had parked his airplane in his area. The pilot walked up to him and asked him if it was ok to park there. The passenger jokingly informed him that he could as long as he gave him a ride. The pilot informed him that he would give him a ride, but he would have to sign a release and waiver form. He completed the release form, and his grandfather signed as a witness. They walked over to the airplane and the pilot informed him that the seatbelt did not work on his side, because the buckle was missing, and that he would have to use the shoulder harness as a restraint. The pilot did not conduct a passenger briefing or perform any performance planning for the flight. Once they were inside the airplane the pilot asked him how much he weighed and he informed him 190 pounds. The pilot stated he weighed about the same. The pilot started the engine and they taxied down the runway to the west in preparation for takeoff. Upon reaching the end, one of the flight line personnel asked the pilot if he had a yellow form. The pilot stated that it was in another airplane. The pilot pulled over to the side, shut the airplane down, and exited the airplane. They pushed the airplane back, and the pilot left to get the yellow form. The pilot returned a short time later and showed it to the flight line personnel. They went to the airplane, the pilot started the airplane,, and they waited their turn to takeoff. They took off from runway 09 at about 1839. The pilot applied full power and they started their takeoff roll. A short time later the pilot pulled back on the controls to rotate, and the tail collided with the ground slowing the airplane down. The pilot lowered the nose to regain airspeed and attempted to rotate again. The tail collided with the ground again. The pilot lowered the nose, continued the takeoff, and attempted to rotate again with the same results. The passenger stated he observed the end of the runway approaching and saw the ditch. He tightened his shoulder harness and grabbed on to the harness. The pilot said something, but he could not understand him. The pilot pulled the throttle back, but did not apply any brakes. The airplane went off the end of the runway and collided with the ditch.

Review of the pilot's airman certificate issued by Transport Canada safety and security revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate, certificate number PA71134 on August 31, 2000. The license was valid for "all single pilot non high performance, single engine land aeroplanes, valid daylight only, 2-way radio required at controlled airports licence restricted." The pilot held a medical category 3 medical certificate issued by Transport Canada Safety and Security on June 10, 2000, with the following limitations, advisory notes-restrictions: "Glasses must be worn licence restricted." The pilot did not hold an FAA Airman Certificate or FAA Medical Certificate. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed his last recorded flight was on April 2, 2001, and he had recorded as logged 374 total flight hours of which 198.3 hours were as pilot-in-command. He had flown 151.8 hours in the last 90 days, and 48.1 hours in the last 30 days. No flight time from N696DH had been recorded in the pilot's logbook and there was no recorded entry for a biennial flight review. According to the pilot's wife he had a total of 9.5 hours in the Pelican 912 experimental airplane. She stated her husband received a 1-hour instructional flight from the previous owner on April 6, 2001. He then flew to Auburn, Alabama, and the flight took 2.5 hours. He departed Auburn on April 7, 2001, and flew to Lakeland. The flight lasted 5 hours. He flew the airplane on April 8, and April 9, 2001, for 30 minutes each day.

Review of information on file with the FAA revealed the experimental amateur-built Pelican aircraft was built by Richard C. Henry, in 1996, and a special airworthiness certificate was issued on February 23, 1996. A certificate of aircraft registration was issued by the FAA on August 23, 1999. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912, 80 horsepower, four-cylinder liquid cooled engine, with a ground adjustable fixed pitch three-bladed propellers. According to the registered owner on file with the FAA the last recorded annual inspection was conducted on or about February 20, 2001. He went over the aircraft logbooks with the deceased pilot which were kept in a canvas bag. The engine tach time at the crash site was 259.6 hours. Family members of the deceased pilot could not locate the aircraft logbooks. The aircraft was purchased by the pilot's wife on April 6, 2001. Review of weight and balance records revealed the gross weight of the aircraft was 1,250 pounds and the empty weight was 764 pounds. The aircraft did not exceed the gross weight limitations at the time of the accident.

The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport. The 1850 surface weather observation was: 1,200 scattered, visibility 10 miles, temperature 82 degress Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit, wind from 330 degrees at 4 knots, and altimeter 30.02 inHg. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

A sales manager for Belfort Instrument Company located in Baltimore, Maryland, stated he had a digital weather station set up about 100 feet from the ultralight runway at the time of the accident. The weather station had been calibrated two days before the accident. The sales manager wrote in a letter to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, "I noted a direct steady tailwind blowing from 270 West to 090 East. The wind speed ranged from 7 to 11 knots on the date and time noted above. Airplanes were taking off/landing on Runway 9 with a direct tailwind." (For additional information see letter dated April 24, 2001, an attachment to this report.)

The wreckage of N696DH was located east of ultra light runway 09 in a ditch in the vicinity of 4175 Medulla Road Lakeland, Florida, on a heading of 045 degrees magnetic.

Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane went of the departure end of runway 09 and collided with about a 9-foot ditch. The left wing was pushed aft and the leading edge of the right wing was compressed inward 36 to 48 inches from the wing tip attach point. The left fuel tank fuel line was ruptured. The left fuel tank was not ruptured and about 6 gallons of aviation fuel was removed from the fuel tank. The flaps were fully extended. The engine assembly was displaced to the right. The cockpit was compressed aft to the forward spar. The throttle was in the idle position. The pilot's lap belt was used by the pilot. The shoulder harness was not used. The passenger lap belt was not useable due to a missing belt buckle. The shoulder harness was in use by the passenger at the time of the accident. The nose gear, and left and right landing gear collapsed. The right wing sustained minor damage, and the flaps were extended. The right fuel tank was not ruptured, and about 6 gallons of aviation fuel was removed from the fuel tank. The fuselage aft of the baggage compartment was not damaged, and about 10 pounds of baggage was located in the airplane.

Examination of the airframe and flight control assembly revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site. Continuity of the flight control system was confirmed for pitch, roll and yaw.

Examination of the engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. Continuity was confirmed through out the drive train, and fuel was present in both carburetors. The propeller assembly remained attached to the propeller flange. One propeller blade separated from the propeller hub and was cracked (impact damage.) There was no evidence of chordwise scarring, torsional twisting or "s" bending on all three propeller blades.

Dr. Alexander Melamud, Associate Medical Examiner, District 10, Bartow, Florida, conducted the postmortem examination of the pilot on April 10, 2001. The pilot weighed 199 pounds. The cause of death was multiple injuries. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The studies were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Fluoxetine often known by the trade name prozac, a prescription antidepressant drug, and norfluoxetine, a metaoblite of fluoxetine was detected in the blood and liver. Lidocaine and atropine which is commonly administered during resuscitation was found in the blood and lungs. (For additional information see FAA final forensic toxicology fatal accident report an attachment to this report.)

The passenger was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Lakeland, Florida, with serious injuries. The passenger reported weighing 190 pounds. Toxicology samples were not requested.

The wreckage was released to Mrs. Gloria Legare, wife of the deceased pilot on April 11, 2001.

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