On August 12, 2007, at 1430 eastern daylight time, a Falcon XP amateur-build experimental airplane, N223FS, collided with trees during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from the Orange County Airport (MGJ) in Montgomery, New York. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight was operated as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, during an interview in the hospital, that he was on runway 21, and was conducting what he termed as “test hops.” When asked what he meant, he explained that he would go to takeoff power on the runway and lift off to an altitude of about 5 feet above ground level (AGL), then land on the runway and taxi back to do the same thing again. He stated he had done three or four of these “test hops” and was asked by the airport manager to not do any more on the main runway and to use the shorter runway (26) if he needed to continue. He said he would like to have performed many more “test hops” but that it was not practical on the shorter runway. He then took off to pattern altitude and said the engine went to half power for about 5 seconds, then back to full power for 5 seconds, and then the engine went to “zero power.” The pilot executed a forced landing and collided with trees.

Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector found the left wing folded over and lying on the right wing. The fuselage came to rest on a tree limb, bowing the fuselage up under the first seat position. Examination of the engine found that when rotated, there was continuity through to the accessory section. Additionally, the airplane had not operated in over a year and there was no current condition inspection on the airplane. At the conclusion of the examination of the airframe and engine, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions were identified.

The pilot, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, issued on December 4, 2001. He also had an expired third-class medical certificate, issued on February 28, 2000, with a restriction that he must wear corrective lenses, valid for student pilot purposes only, and other miscellaneous restrictions assigned. The pilot’s most recent medical certificate showed that he had accumulated 37 hours of total civilian flight time. The pilot’s logbook was requested but not provided.

The pilot/owner was asked to provide the airplane’s logbooks. The pilot stated that if they were not in the airplane then he did not know were they were located. The airplane logbooks were not located in the airplane.

The pilot/owner was sent a National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator report form 6120.1, but it had not been received at the time of this report.

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