On April 15, 2009, at 1400 central daylight time, an experimental light-sport T Bird II, N154ZX, collided with a person while taking off from a farm field in Carlock, Illinois. The pilot, who did not hold a pilot certificate, was not injured. The person on the ground received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight was being operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported to local authorities that a cameraman was in the field to film him taking off directly over the cameraman. He stated he was not able to gain enough altitude and the right main gear contacted the cameraman during the takeoff. He stated he was traveling approximately 40 miles per hour when the airplane contacted the cameraman.

A witness reported the cameraman was sitting on the ground with his legs crossed when the accident occurred. The witness stated the right main gear contacted the camera, pushing it back into the cameraman’s face, and knocking the cameraman to the ground. He stated the cameraman was unconscious after the impact.

The cameraman does not recall the impact. He reported that he was going to film the airplane taking off and the next thing he recalls is waking up in the ambulance. According to a relative of the cameraman, he required spinal surgery as a result of his injuries and is currently experiencing paralysis of the arms and legs.

The camera being used was examined. The camera did not contain a recording of the accident sequence.

The pilot purchased the airplane approximately 2 months prior to the accident. The pilot's logbook showed 2 entries for a total of 3.3 hours of dual flight time in another make and model airplane. The pilot told the flight instructor that he purchased the airplane and the instructor reported that he told the pilot he needed a pilot certificate in order to fly it.

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