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On September 3, 2010, about 1605 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Kwech GLASAIR RG SUPER 11S airplane, N333HK, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during initial climbout from runway 32 (2,850 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) at Lake Elmo Airport (21D), near Lake Elmo, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. An instrument flight rules flight plan was on file and was activated. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The flight was originating from 21D at the time of the accident, and was destined for the Pine River Regional Airport, near Pine River, Minnesota.
Witnesses in the area of the accident reported to Washington County Sheriff’s Office representatives that they observed the low-flying yellow airplane. According to the witnesses, the airplane climbed over a tree line, passed over Manning Avenue, encountered wind, and banked. The airplane subsequently descended during the turn and impacted terrain in a field south of 40th Street and east of Manning Avenue.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector interviewed the pilot in a physical rehabilitation center. The pilot indicated that he did not recall anything regarding the accident flight.
The 39-year-old pilot held a FAA private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued to him on February 1, 2010, without limitations. An endorsement in his logbook showed that he completed a flight review on March 2, 2009 and that he completed an instrument competency check on September 3, 2009. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was dated December 18, 2009, and his total recorded flight time was 446.9 hours. A family member supplied a list of flights that the pilot was reported to have taken between January 6 and August 15, 2010.
N333HK was an experimental amateur-built Kwech GLASAIR RG SUPER 11S, single-engine, low-wing, retractable tri-cycle landing gear, two-place airplane, with serial number 2313. A Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine, rated at 205-horsepower, with serial number L-11581-51A, custom built by DeMars Aero LTD, powered the airplane.
Maintenance records for the airplane were requested and were not located.
At 1553, the recorded weather at the St. Paul Downtown Airport / Holman Field, near St Paul, Minnesota, about 240 degrees and 10 miles from the accident site, was: Wind 300 degrees at 19 knots gusting to 28 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition broken 3,400 feet, overcast 4,300 feet, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 9 degrees C, altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane wreckage came to rest in a field about one half mile north of the departure runway. Pictures of the wreckage path showed that the propeller separated from the engine and the engine separated from the fuselage. The propeller and engine were found in the northwest portion of the debris field and the airframe in the southeast portion of the debris field. The propeller had chordwise abrasion and leading edge nicks on its blades. The fuselage exhibited deformation and crushing consistent with substantial damage. FAA Inspectors examined the wreckage and did not find any pre-impact anomalies.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engine was recovered and sent to a local fixed base operator for a test run. Damaged parts that included a cracked oil sump, a magneto with a broken flange, a fuel injector line, and damaged ignition leads were replaced with exemplar parts. The engine was installed in a test cell and it was observed by the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator In Charge to be operational during the test run. The damaged magneto was mounted on a lathe and it produced spark when the lathe rotated.