NYC06LA220
NYC06LA220

On September 10, 2006, at 0924 eastern daylight time, a Flight Design CTSW, N126CT, registered as a special light sport aircraft, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain following an aborted landing at Skyhaven Airport (76N), Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector interviewed the pilot. The pilot reported that during the landing on runway 01, the airplane bounced, and he aborted the landing. He added full power, "pulled it up into a nose-high attitude, stalled, rolled left, and impacted the ground."

In a telephone interview, a witness stated that he heard the airplane contact the runway, and turned his attention in that direction. The airplane bounced, the engine noise increased, the nose pitched up to "about 35 degrees," and the airplane rolled left and collided with terrain.

The airplane was examined at the scene by the FAA inspector, and no mechanical discrepancies were noted. The pilot also reported there were no deficiencies with the performance and handling of the airplane during his initial interview.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His medical certificate was expired, and he used his private certificate to exercise the privileges of a light-sport pilot. The pilot reported 990 total hours of flight experience, with approximately 4 hours of experience in make and model.

At 0937, the weather reported at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, 15 miles southeast, included a broken ceiling at 1,100 feet, and winds from 330 degrees at 4 knots. The temperature was 16 degrees Celsius and the dew point was 13 degrees Celsius.

The pilot did not file a completed National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Form 6120.1, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report.

In several emails, the pilot's flight instructor suggested that the accident may have been related to design deficiencies in the 2005 model Flight Design CTSW airplane, that were "corrected" by the manufacturer in model year 2006.

A review of the NTSB accident data base revealed no similar accident scenarios in pre-2006 model Flight Design CTSW airplanes.

In a telephone interview, a representative of Flight Design USA described the changes to the airplane for the 2006 model, and that owner/operator feedback led to the changes. He then forwarded those descriptions and photographs to illustrate the changes. According to the representative, the airplane remained unchanged from the 2006 to 2007 model years. He outlined the following changes:

1. The vertical tail area was increased. The rather unpleasant green tail is the 2005, the white tail is the 2006. This was done both for aesthetic and aerodynamic reasons. This yielded a small amount of increased directional stability.
2. The trim tab was widened to full span to increase the stick force-feedback for the pilot.
3. The main landing gear legs were strengthened.
4. The loaded CG range for the 2005 CTSW is 13.1" forward, 18.7" aft.
5. The loaded CG range for the 2006 CTSW is 13.2" forward, 18.7" aft.

"In my opinion the trim tab change would make the biggest difference in this incident. The full span stabilizer would give the pilot more feedback on landing. We do as a matter of record; perform static system-ASI certification on all planes we sell."

"We recognized that our biggest problem was the transition of GA pilots into Light Sport Aircraft (along with currency issues, and transition of aging pilots as well). We created on our website a transition training syllabus, a sample pattern and a primer for Light Sport Aircraft."



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