On August 3, 2001, at 0830 central daylight time, a Curtis-Travel Air 4000 vintage bi-plane, N5433, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power during takeoff from a private grass airstrip near Morrilton, Arkansas. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual. The airline transport pilot and his two passengers, one of whom was the owner, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 positioning flight. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident from the Hetrick Ranch Turf Strip, and was destined for McAlester, Oklahoma. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The day prior to the accident, the pilot received flight training and a checkout in the accident airplane at Dennis F Cantrell Field Airport in Conway, Arkansas, from the airplane's previous owner, who was a certificated flight instructor. Due to mechanical problems, the pilot and previous owner flew the airplane back to the previous owner's ranch grass strip to make repairs.
The morning of the accident, the pilot calculated the weight and balance of the airplane to be 40 pounds under maximum gross weight. The airplane's new owner, who did not hold a certificate to act as a pilot-in-command, and his son occupied the two front seats. The pilot occupied the rear seat.
During the takeoff roll, at 50-60 knots, the pilot raised the tail to a takeoff attitude. The right main landing gear hit a bump, the airplane became airborne and banked left. The pilot over corrected back to the right, and the right wingtip hit the ground. The right wingtip drug along the ground, which "caused a directional change to the right," and the airplane went through a barbed wire fence. The pilot "chopped power" to abort the takeoff, and the airplane "pan caked in from about 8 feet," separating the main landing gear. The airplane slid forward, and the left wing struck a "large heavy steer handling implement." The airplane then pivoted to the left impacting a fence post with the right wing before coming to rest upright.
Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident, revealed that the upper and lower wings sustained structural damage.
As of the day of the accident, the pilot had logged a total flight time of 2300 hours of which 500 hours were in tail-wheel equipped airplanes. The pilot had 0.6 hours in the accident airplane.
At 0853, the weather observation facility at the Little Rock International Airport, Little Rock, Arkansas, located 37 nautical miles southeast of the accident site, reported the wind from 210 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 88 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point at 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of Mercury.
The pilot estimated the wind to be from 190-210 degrees at less than 5 knots at the time of the accident.