LAX05LA141
LAX05LA141

On April 20, 2005, at 1113 Pacific daylight time, a Bailey Lowing Loadster, N8058Q, collided with a fence and storage facility while on final approach for a precautionary landing at Bakersfield Municipal Airport, Bakersfield, California. The experimental airplane was operated by the private pilot/builder under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was seriously injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. The local test flight originated at Bakersfield, about 1109.

During a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that the accident flight was the fourth test flight of the airplane after he completed building it. He utilized a Volkswagen engine that he overhauled himself to power his airplane. According to the pilot/builder, the engine should be "broken in" with 25 hours of flight operations in the air. However, since he had to conduct high-speed taxi tests in the airplane first, the engine was not receiving a proper break in.

The pilot took off runway 34 and flew around the pattern once. On the downwind leg for the second approach, the engine began to "shut down" gradually and would not produce adequate power to sustain flight. The pilot attempted to make it to the airport, but clipped the storage facility and fence.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident site, witnesses observed the airplane take off from runway 34 and mush around to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern. The airplane did not obtain any significant altitude and it appeared to the witnesses as though the pilot was attempting to return to runway 34. While in the turn back toward the runway, one of the wings clipped a building (the storage facility). The pilot was transported to a local hospital.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both of the wings, the forward fuselage, the lower portion of the engine, and the propeller. The pilot did not install shoulder harnesses in the airplane. Following the accident, the pilot's family moved the airplane back to the pilot's property. Post accident discussions with the pilot revealed he examined the airplane following the accident and found no additional anomalies with the airplane and believed the engine just didn't get an adequate break in. He based this on the fact that he found the pistons scored. The pilot was unable to test the carburetor due to damage sustained in the accident.

The pilot was also a mechanic for 50+ years and was previously nominated for the Charles Taylor master mechanic award.

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