On May 12, 2002, about 1615 Pacific daylight time, an amateur-built Mulligan RV4 airplane, N6579B, collided with the ground during an attempted go-around from runway 26 at the Santa Ynez, California, airport. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and sole passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal local flight departed Santa Ynez airport about 1545. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The accident was initially reported by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, which has a station close to the Santa Ynez airport. The captain on duty at the time of the event stated that they observed the accident airplane approach runway 26 "flying nearly sideways." The firefighters at the station then lost sight of the airplane as it descended from their view. The station responded to the reported accident and secured the scene from fire ignition danger. The captain reported that the fuel tanks contained "lots of fuel." At the time of the accident he estimated that the winds were from the west about 10 mph. The captain noted that the "entire airplane" including the wings, engine compartment, firewall, and tail surfaces sustained damage.

The pilot was interviewed by telephone on May 12, 2002. He reported that he had recently purchased the airplane. He was on final approach to runway 26 when a gust of wind caused the airplane to balloon up. He elected to go-around and added full power, then retracted the flaps. During this time, the airplane was drifting off the left side of the runway. The pilot stated that for "undetermined reasons" the airplane settled to the ground. The left wing contacted the ground, followed by the airplane's nose. He estimated that the winds were from 260 degrees at 10 mph, with gusts to 15 to 20 mph. The pilot said he is not aware of any mechanical problems with the airplane before the accident sequence.

In a written statement received May 22, 2002, the pilot stated a gust lifted the aircraft after the tailwheel had touched down. Full throttle was applied and the aircraft proceeded slowly without gaining speed in level flight at about 25 feet agl. The speed did not increase so the pilot raised the flaps; however, the speed did not increase. The airplane was in level flight, just above ground level, with full throttle when it "apparently stalled."

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