IAD03LA030
IAD03LA030

On February 2, 2003, about 1730 eastern standard time, a homebuilt Challenger II, N851MY, was substantially damaged during a collision with trees and terrain while landing at Robert Newlon Field (I41), Huntington, West Virginia. The certificated private pilot/owner was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the personal flight that departed Lawrence County Airpark (HTW), Huntington, West Virginia, about 1715. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, the airplane performed "beautifully" as he flew the short distance from Lawrence County Airpark to Robert Newlon Field, his home airport.

As he approached the base leg of the traffic pattern for landing, the pilot turned off the ignition, and shut down the engine. His intention was to perform a "dead-stick" landing, and glide the airplane to touchdown, as he had done several times in the past.

When it became apparent that the runway could not be reached, and that trees on the approach end of the runway could not be cleared, the pilot restarted the engine. When the engine restarted, and he added power, the pusher-prop configuration of the airplane resulted in a sudden nose-down pitch as thrust was added. The airplane then "nosed-over" into the trees and the ground.

The pilot stated there were no anomalies in the handling and performance of the airplane. He added that, "My mistake was cutting the engine, and then waiting too long to restart. The airplane was great, no engine problems. When I hit the ground, the engine kept running."

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He reported about 175 hours of flight experience, 37 hours of which were in the Challenger.

The pilot/owner was the registered manufacturer of the airplane. The registration certificate showed an airworthiness date of November 8, 2002. The pilot's 37 hours of experience in the airplane was the total time on the airframe.

The weather reported at an airport 10 miles southwest of Newlon Field, included clear skies and wind from 170 at 4 knots.

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