DFW05LA129
DFW05LA129

On May 21, 2005, about 1600 central daylight time, a single-engine Miller Rand Robinson KR-2 turbo-prop powered experimental airplane, N684LM, was destroyed following a loss of control during the initial takeoff climb from the South Lafourche Airport (L49), near Galliano, Louisiana. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A witness and friend of the pilot reported that the accident airplane had been flown once since a Solar turbo-prop engine, which was overhauled by the pilot, had been installed. On that occasion, the pilot had flown the airplane for about 15 minutes. Upon completion of that flight, the pilot reported he had experienced a problem with the hydraulically adjustable propeller, which was not allowing for the correct propeller blade pitch. The witness reported that the pilot had determined that the propeller governor arm was not able to produce full travel and he manufactured a new arm to solve that problem. The pilot had also talked to the witness about a possible fuel system problem and, the night before the accident, had drained the fuel from the left and right fuel tanks. The pilot then filtered the fuel before returning it to both fuel tanks. The pilot was reported to have completed this process about 0200 on the morning of the accident.

The witness further reported that on the day of the accident he was fueling his own airplane when the pilot of the accident airplane approached him and mentioned that he "might fly the airplane today." Later, the pilot gave the witness a handheld radio to allow for communications between them as he flew the airplane. According to the witness, the pilot proceeded to conduct a high speed-taxi check down Runway 18 and then turned around and performed another high-speed taxi check back on Runway 36. Turning around again, he departed from Runway 18 and shortly thereafter the witness heard the accident pilot call his name on the radio. The witness's radio then went dead so he proceeded back into the line shack to get on the office radio. While the witness was inside the office, the airplane impacted the ground.

Another witness to the accident reported that he observed the airplane performing high speed taxi checks back and forth on the runway. On the last pass down the runway it appeared as if the airplane gained too much airspeed and began to lift off the runway. After liftoff, the airplane was observed to enter a slow left bank. Shortly thereafter, the witness observed the airplane's left wing drop and the airplane spin down and impact the ground.

The main wreckage was located in a field, approximately two miles southeast of the airport. A Lafourch Parish Sheriff Deputy reported the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates recorded at the accident site were 29 degrees 25.550 minutes North latitude and 091.553 minutes West longitude, at a field elevation of approximately one foot mean sea level (msl).

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, the airplane was destroyed by post-impact fire. All major components were accounted for at the scene of the accident; however, due to the fire damage a control continuity check could not be performed.

The accident pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for single-engine land airplane. According to the FAA inspector who reviewed the pilot's logbook, the pilot had logged a total of approximately 55 hours. This logged flight time occurred between 1976 and the date of the accident.

The KR-2 is a low wing two-seat airplane constructed of wood, foam and fiberglass. When manufactured in 1993, the airplane was equipped with a Volkswagen 1835 engine of approximately 70 horsepower (HP). According to a friend of the pilot, the pilot had replaced the Volkswagen engine with a Solar T62 turbine propeller engine, converted from a ground power unit (GPU). The Solar T62 was de-rated from 160HP to approximately 90HP. The propeller was a hydraulic adjustable type. The pilot also converted the airplane's landing gear from tail-wheel to a tricycle wheel configuration. The airplane's logbooks were not available for review during the course of the investigation.

Fueling records at South Lafourche Airport established that the airplane was last fueled on the day of the accident with the addition of 21.810 gallons of Jet A fuel.

The Lafourche Parish Coroner completed an autopsy. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. The results of analysis of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, or ilegal drugs.

At 1550, the automated weather observing system at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport (HUM), near Houma, Louisiana, located 22 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, reported wind from 360 degrees at 5 knots, 7 statute miles visibility, broken clouds at 2,500 feet, temperature 89 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.80 inches of Mercury.


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