DEN04LA089
DEN04LA089

On June 12, 2004, at 0717 mountain daylight time, a Hispano Aviacion HA-200 SAETA, N611HA, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after taking off from Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB), Pueblo, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's fiance, the purpose of the flight was to take photographs of the airplane for a promotional brochure that was being prepared for the upcoming air show season. The airplane was serviced with 71 gallons of Jet-A fuel, and a Prist additive was added to an undetermined amount of fuel that was already on board the airplane (total fuel capacity is 152 gallons). At 0712, the pilot was cleared to taxi to runway 26L and was issued a transponder code of 0333. At 0716, after requesting touch and go landings, the pilot was cleared for takeoff and to "make left closed traffic runway 26L."

The consensus of witness' interviews and statements indicated the airplane made what appeared to be a normal takeoff, lifting off about halfway down runway 26L (4,073 feet x 75 feet, asphalt). It then rolled steeply to the left and the nose fell through the horizon. The airplane struck the ground, exploded, and burned. The pilot's fiance took two pictures of the takeoff before her attention was diverted by the accident.

The pilot's HA-200 flight instructor was interviewed by an FAA air safety inspector. He said the pilot was "above average...an aggressive pilot in command, [who] knew the aircraft systems well." About the fifth hour of instruction, the pilot expressed a desire to do some aerobatics. The instructor asked him to demonstrate a barrel roll at 12,000 feet. The instructor said that during the maneuver, the pilot lost 6,000 feet and rolled out 70 degrees off heading. The instructor then demonstrated a Cuban-8, an aerobatic maneuver. The lesson ended by the instructor advising the pilot not to perform aerobatics in the HA-200. He suggested that he take basic aerobatic instruction in a slower, more forgiving airplane.

The instructor submitted a written statement (see EXHIBITS) in which he said the pilot "flew well, flew safe, and had a good command authority for his new jet. I was impressed with his command ability and attention to detail." When the pilot said he planned to fly the airplane in air shows, the instructor told him that "low level air show work had huge unforgiving risks involved," and that "aerobatics was totally out of the question." The pilot said he would seek another instructor.

The instructor described the ex-Spanish Air Force trainer as "very docile." The two Turbomeca Marbore II turbojet engines, mounted side by side and forward of the pilot, gave the airplane almost centerline thrust, making an engine failure unremarkable. In his 50 years of experience, the instructor said he could not recall a single Turbomeca Marbore II engine failure. He said the HA-200 takeoff profile was "fairly flat," with landing gear retraction occurring between 100 and 110 knots. Gear retraction was slow, with the main gear retracting first, followed by the nose gear.

The FAA inspector described to the flight instructor the pictures taken by the pilot's fiancé, and the proximity of the runway lift-off point to the accident site. The instructor said he doubted the airplane could have climbed more than 200-300 feet, and air speed would have been no more than 130-140 knots. This speed would allow for shallow turns. If, however, the airplane were to make a steep bank, as witnesses described, a 180-knot airspeed would be required to sustain a 60 degree bank. If the airplane stalled, it would always roll towards the low wing. With its "almost perfect c.g. (center of gravity)," the airplane would recover from an accelerated stall after the pilot unloaded the wings.

On June 30, 2004, the engines were disassembled and examined at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Service in Greeley, Colorado. In attendance were investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and Turbomeca Engines of France. No discrepancies were noted that would have precluded the development of power. Autopsy and toxicological protocols were unremarkable.

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