On October 7, 2001, at 1356 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Bushby Mustang II, N224HP, was substantially damaged when it was struck by a taxiing homebuilt Lazer, N230HB, at The Francis S. Gabreski Airport, Westhampton Beach, New York. The Lazer received minor damage. The certificated commercial pilots of both airplanes, and the passenger on the Mustang II were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for both personal flights. No flight plans had been filed for the flights that were conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot of the Mustang:

"Upon reporting downwind, I was told to report base 33. On base leg there was a lot of chatter and finally reported on base just starting to turn final. Tower cleared me to land runway 33. I touched down on the numbers and rolled to the 1000' marker. Tower said he couldn't see me but he needed me off the runway and to taxi to Charlie and proceed to ramp. At this time I was rolling to Charlie and requested to go to the North Hangers (where I keep my Plane). This is standard procedure when I arrive FOK. By this time I was approaching Charlie. I noticed the tower frequency was full of chatter. Tower said something about holding short of 15 but this transmission was unclear and stepped on. I was hearing about "the box" had to be closed, a Falcon Jet launched on 24, and then heard what seemed like the tower speaking to me but had me at a different location on the airport. At that point I decided to hold short of 1-19 at the hold short line and transmit to tower my location and await instructions for taxi. There was no response and more chatter on the frequency. When there was a break I transmitted again "Gabreski tower 224HP holding short 19". Ten seconds later I was struck from behind. I looked to see what had happened. Then transmitted to tower that I had been struck by another aircraft and believe I could taxi to the ramp. A pause and then instructions to taxi in front of the tower."

According to the pilot of the Lazer:

"...The tower cleared me to enter on a left downwind for runway 33 and to contact them on downwind. I proceeded to establish myself on downwind but I could not contact the tower due to the tower's communication with other aircraft until I was in position to turn on the base leg. The tower instructed me to continue to downwind leg and to follow an aircraft on right traffic. As I passed over the shoreline, the tower instructed me to turn base leg. I established base to final with the Mustang II in sight. The Mustang II landed on the numbers on runway 33 and had to taxi a long distance to get to a taxiway. The tower instructed the Mustang II to expedite the clearing of the runway at taxiway Charlie as there was traffic (N230HB) on short final. I had considered to request a 360 degree turn or a go around as the Mustang II was proceeding slowly down the runway. The Mustang II finally cleared the runway when I was on a 1/2 mile (approximate) final. I landed long rather than on the numbers to minimize my time on the runway getting to taxiway Charlie. Once on taxiway Charlie, the tower cleared me to cross runway 01 and proceed to the ramp. Due to the strong, gusting wind, I made gentle S turns rather than aggressive S turns. I did not see the Mustang II holding short of 01 until I was very close to him. I was not expecting to see the Mustang II holding short of runway 01 as I had already been cleared to cross runway 01 and to proceed to the ramp. Once I saw the Mustang II, I stepped hard on the brakes. Stepping hard on the brakes caused the tail of the Lazer to came up and the prop hit the ground. At about the same time, the left wing of the Lazer hit the rudder of the Mustang II. I immediately shut down the engine of the Lazer and both the Mustang II pilot and I attempted to contact the tower. The Mustang II proceeded to cross runway 01 and taxied to the ramp. I started the engine to the Lazer and followed the Mustang II to the ramp and shut down the engine.

In a follow-up telephone interview, the pilot of the Mustang II reported that his airplane was near the centerline of the taxiway, and that he had been stationary for at least 30 seconds when his airplane was struck from behind.

In another follow-up telephone interview, the pilot of the Lazer reported that he was taxiing with the tailwheel locked due to a crosswind. However, he did have limited tailwheel movement even when it was locked and he was performing what he described as slight "S" turns. He also reported that the smaller size and low profile of the Mustang II made it more difficult to see. When he did become aware of the Mustang II ahead of him, he immediately applied the brakes. However, he was unable to stop his airplane in time, and the left wing struck the tail of the Mustang II.

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reported there was a horizontal indentation in the rudder of the Mustang II which extended forward to the vertical stabilizer. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were bent forward towards the upper fuselage, which was depressed down behind the cockpit. There was minor impact damage to the left wing of the Lazer.

The FAA inspector further reported that he had requested a copy of the recorded air/ground communications between the two pilots and the air traffic control tower. When the tape arrived, it did not cover the time of the accident. The data was requested again, and at that time, he was told that the tape had been recycled, and it was no long available.

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