ERA09LA079
ERA09LA079

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 5, 2008, approximately 1635 eastern standard time, a Flight Design CTSW special light sport airplane (S-LSA), N370CT, was substantially damaged during landing at Charlotte County Airport (PGD), Punta Gorda, Florida. The certificated sport pilot was the sole occupant of the airplane and received no injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

In a written statement the pilot reported that he had been practicing touch and go pattern work and he was in the process of making his third departure. As the airplane was approaching take off speed, a gust of wind caused the airplane to veer to the right. The pilot utilized the flight controls to stay pointing straight and on the centerline of the runway. The wind gust subsided and the airplane started "fishtailing" on the runway. The pilot then reduced power and applied brakes, while attempting not to "oversteer" the airplane. The airplane was nearly stopped when the nose gear of the airplane departed the left edge of the runway, sank into the sand, and airplane nosed over.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 58, held a sport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, issued November 15, 2007, which was also the date of his most recent biennial flight review. The pilot reported no medical certificate and utilized his driver's license in lieu of a medical certificate. The pilot reported 146 hours of total flight experience, 103 hours were in airplane make and model as pilot in command.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


The accident airplane (serial number 05-10-01), was manufactured in Germany, in 2005. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a special airworthiness certificate for light sport operations on December 29, 2005. The airplane was powered by a 100 horsepower Rotax 912ULS engine. The engine was equipped with a 3-blade fixed pitch, Neuform CR3-65-47-101.6 propeller. The two-seat, single-engine land airplane was equipped with a fixed tricycle landing gear and had accrued 176 flight hours. The maximum gross weight of the airplane was 1,320 pounds and the weight at the time of the accident was 1,020 pounds.

Examination of the airplane was conducted by an FAA inspector and control continuity was confirmed to all control surfaces from the control column and rudder pedals.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on August 4, 2008 and it had accrued 175.9 hours time in service at the time of the accident. The engine had accrued 175.9 hours total time in service at the time of the accident and 9 hours since the last inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1353 recorded weather at PGD included variable winds at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 25 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

The weather reported an hour prior to the accident and an hour after the accident showed calm winds.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport has no air traffic control tower and the runway that was utilized was runway 33 a 5,688-foot-long, 150-foot-wide, asphalt runway. Runway 33 was equipped with a precision approach path indicator (PAPI) system located on the left side of the runway. The runway utilized a left hand traffic pattern and the runway markings were considered non-precision markings in good condition.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The nose gear strut was bent aft and to the left at its base. The firewall was buckled and the airplane skin under the engine was crumpled. The composite structure of the wing tip was damaged exposing the wing spar. The vertical stabilizer was damaged and the rudder was separated at the top hinge attachment point. The propeller tips exhibited damage torsional bending consistent with ground contact while the engine was developing power. Examination of the passenger compartment revealed no breech in the support structure of the frame. The seat pan and shoulder harness showed no evidence of stress or fractures. Damaged was observed on the nose wheel, wing, vertical stabilizer, and fire wall.

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions prior to the accident.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

CFR Part 61.303 (a)(2) and (b)(1) states in part "a sport pilot may operate any light sport aircraft for which you hold the endorsements required for its category, class, make and model. A person using a current and valid U.S. driver's license must comply with each restriction and limitation imposed by that person's U.S. driver's license and any judicial or administrative order applying to the operation of a motor vehicle."

According to the pilot of the accident flight, the pilot operating handbook is "reasonable" with information about the airplane and its systems. There have been occasions when the pilot had further questions and was able to find the necessary information by utilizing either the manufacturer's website or a flight instructor to gather the needed information.

According to personnel at the maintenance shop that worked on this airplane, and other LSAs, they obtained training from both Rotax and Flight Design on task specific areas in the applicable Maintenance manual. However, one mechanic did state that normally airframe manufacturers do not require training specific to their product, only training on the documentation required.

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