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On August 10, 2010, about 1100 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Hunnicutt Hobo, N884WH, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following takeoff from Cane Creek Airport (4NC6), Fletcher, North Carolina. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The pilot stated that he departed from runway 4, and the airplane began losing altitude approximately 100 yards past the end of the runway. He stated that the engine tachometer read 2,500 rpm, but the airplane would not climb. The pilot applied carburetor heat, and flew into trees and bushes approximately one-quarter mile from the end of the runway, where the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. The pilot "turned off all switches" and exited the airplane.
In an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot stated that the engine was running rough after takeoff, and that upon application of carburetor heat, the roughness worsened, so he removed the carburetor heat. He stated that he flew the airplane into trees at an estimated speed of 30 knots.
The pilot covered the airplane with a camouflage tarp, cut the registration numbers out of the fuselage, and did not report the accident to authorities. The wreckage was discovered by the property owner and reported to local authorities on August 15, 2010. The pilot stated that he did not think he needed to report the accident, and that he planned on removing the airplane once the corn crop was harvested. The pilot also removed the airplane's data plate, several of the flight instruments, and the airplane's wings prior to the FAA's examination of the airplane at the accident site.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He reported 2,181 hours total flight experience, 80 hours of which were in the accident airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in August 2008.
According to FAA records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate in July 2008, and was equipped with a Continental O-300C, 145 hp engine. The airplane's most recent conditional inspection was conducted on September 6, 2009. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total time of 81 hours.
Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest inverted in a wooded area. There was substantial damage to both left and right wings, fuselage, and vertical stabilizer. An odor of fuel was present at the scene.
A cursory examination of the engine by the FAA revealed no evidence of damage or visible anomalies. The gascolator bowl was removed and no evidence of fuel contamination was observed. No internal examination of the engine was performed.
4NC6 was a private airport located at an elevation of 2,100 feet above mean sea level (msl). The airport was equipped with one turf runway, oriented 04/22, and measuring 2,680 feet in length and 160 feet in width.
The 1454 weather observation at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), located approximately 3 nautical miles west of the accident location, included winds from 340 degrees at 4 knots, 9 statute miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 28 degrees C, dew point 21 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury. The calculated density altitude was approximately 3,900 feet. Review of the FAA Carburetor Icing Probability Chart revealed conditions conducive to serious carburetor icing at glide engine power setting.
Information contained in Teledyne Continental Motors C125/C145/O-300 Series Operator's Manual revealed a rated takeoff rpm of 2,700, and recommended cruise rpm of 2,450. The engine tachometer in the accident airplane displayed a red line indicator marking at 2,700 rpm, with 2,500 rpm in the "green arc" operating range. Interpolation of engine data revealed that, at 2,500 rpm, the engine would produce about 133 hp at sea level in standard atmospheric conditions.