On October 30, 2009, at 1650 Pacific daylight time, a Hallbauer Dragonfly Mark II, N555RX, collided with a runway light during takeoff from the North Las Vegas Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, and subsequently crashed into an automobile. The student pilot sustained minor injuries and the certified flight instructor (CFI) was seriously injured. The airplane, owned by the student pilot, sustained substantial damage during the crash sequence. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local instructional flight, and a flight plan had not been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During a telephone interview with a Safety Board investigator, the student pilot reported that the CFI was flying the airplane while he monitored the cockpit gauges. After departing, and during the initial climb, the CFI maneuvered the airplane in a right turn. The airplane was not able to climb and the airplane crashed near a street. He recalled that the engine instruments appeared normal and there was no audible detection of a malfunction.
In a written statement, the student pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident, the CFI requested to remain in the traffic pattern and received a clearance for takeoff about 1645. While on the departure roll, the airplane veered off the runway surface into an adjacent dirt area and collided with a runway light. The pilot continued the takeoff and the airplane lifted off about 1,500 feet down the runway. The Air Traffic Controller on the radio with the pilot warned that the airplane needed to start climbing, due to power lines directly ahead. He then issued a clearance to land on any runway, based on the observations of abnormal maneuvering. The airplane banked to the right (south) and struck a utility pole, sheering the left wing from the airframe. The airplane subsequently impacted the roof of a vehicle and skidded across six lanes of traffic before coming to rest near a parking lot.
In an interview with the FAA inspector, the CFI reported that he was at the controls during the entire flight and that this was his first experience in the accident make and model airplane. He stated that he thought that there was a malfunction with the rudder, which prohibited him from maintaining the runway centerline; he additionally, stated that he could not reduce the throttle input because the controls were stuck. The CFI did not hold a current medical, as his application was denied in June 2003.
Several witnesses observed the airplane on the departure roll from runway 12R. They reported that the airplane collided with a runway light and bounced down the surface, eventually becoming airborne. The airplane reached about 200 feet above ground level (agl) and rolled/banked right. They did not observe the impact sequence.
According to the FAA inspector who visited the airport following the accident, an approximate 10-inch portion of the airplane's canard was found in the vicinity of a broken runway light. The FAA inspector stated that skid marks were observed on the runway leading up to the broken light.
A post accident examination by an aircraft mechanic revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure. He established flight control continuity on all three axes.