On October 7, 2004, at 1415 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Murphy Renegade, N210SQ, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees during the initial climb from Minute Man Air Field (N87), Stow, Massachusetts. The certificated airline transport pilot and the passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight destined for the Westerly State Airport (WST), Westerly, Rhode Island, and conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During a telephone interview, the pilot/builder said that he flew the airplane from the Westerly State Airport to the Minuteman Air Field earlier in the day. He said the airplane performed "fine" during the flight with no deficiencies noted. The pilot refueled the airplane and performed a preflight inspection prior to takeoff for the return flight to Westerly.
After taking off from runway 03, the airplane " ...just didn't have the power it normally has." The airplane could not climb above a stand of trees in the takeoff path, but the pilot was able to maneuver around it. A second stand of trees in the takeoff path could not be avoided, and the airplane could not climb over it. The airplane struck the trees and came to rest suspended in them without injury to the occupants.
The pilot reported that the entire flight and the accident sequence lasted about 1 minute, and that his attention was outside the airplane the entire time. He said that he never looked at the instruments, and couldn't estimate the engine rpm, although he thought the engine sounded "normal."
The airplane was moved to a hangar at the Westerly Airport, and examined by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors on October 13, 2004. The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912-UL engine, with a reduction gearbox to which the propeller was attached. The wooden propeller blades were intact and displayed some tip damage. Examination of the reduction gearbox revealed a crack across the lower section of the case. The examination was suspended, and the engine was shipped to Sebring, Florida for a detailed examination.
On April 27, 2005, the engine was examined by a representative of the engine manufacturer under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The engine was rotated by hand, and continuity was established through the powertrain, valvetrain, and accessory section. Compression was confirmed using the thumb method. Spark was produced at all spark plugs, and the electrical system values met the manufacturer's specifications.
The fuel pump and the oil pump were operational. Except for impact damage to the propeller gearbox, all gears and bearings were intact with no abnormal wear.
The pilot reported 25,000 hours of total flight experience, 160 hours of which were in make and model.
At 1356, the weather reported at Bedford, Massachusetts, 10 miles east of Stow included scattered clouds at 25,000 feet with 10 miles visibility. The wind was from 220 degrees at 4 knots. The temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dewpoint was 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
The airplane was a homebuilt Murphy Renegade, registered in the experimental category. The airplane had accrued 160 total hours of flight time. It's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 30, 2004, and the airplane had accrued 10 hours since that date.
According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-20-27D, Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft:
"FAA inspections of amateur-built aircraft have been limited to ensuring the use of acceptable workmanship methods, techniques, practices, and issuing operating limitations necessary to protect persons and property not involved in this activity."