LAX03LA081
LAX03LA081

On February 1, 2003, about 1050 Pacific standard time, a Pitts S-2B, N300PS, experienced a loss of control and stalled while practicing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings at Long Beach Daugherty Field (LGB), Long Beach, California. Hart Air, Ltd., was operating the rental airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local, personal flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated about 1020 from Long Beach.

The pilot told a certified flight instructor that he "touched down at an angle to the centerline and bounced." He further stated that he "lost control" of the airplane. He added power to initiate a go-around and pulled up.

An airline pilot, who reported having approximately 11,500 hours total time with about 250 hours in the Pitts S-2B, witnessed the accident. In a written statement, he said that he was unsure if the airplane touched down but when it came into view it was on a divergent course to the left side of runway 25R at an altitude of 5 feet. He felt the airplane had a higher than normal approach speed. As the airplane came to the left edge of the runway it made a pull up, resulting in the nose coming up about 60 degrees. It continued on its upward path while rotating right. At approximately 25 feet, the nose passed vertical; at the 180-degree point of rotation, the right wing struck the ground followed by the nose. The airplane remained on its nose for approximately 2 seconds and then "burst into flame" from the nose back. The flames moved rearward engulfing the left side of the airplane. The airline pilot further reported that the airplane landed with a left, quartering tailwind of an estimated 8 knots.

A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector examined the airplane. The brakes and tailwheel steering were found in working order. Flight control continuity could not be established because of the post impact fire. The airplane came to rest facing east, 180 degrees from its original flight path.

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