On June 10, 2011, about 1835 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Kitfox II, N915PK, was substantially damaged during takeoff from a private airstrip near Scarborough, Maine. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The passenger, who was also the owner of the airplane, was not a certificated pilot. He stated that the accident flight was the airplane's first flight since he had purchased it approximately 4 months prior. Since the pilot owned and flew an airplane similar to the accident airplane, the owner asked the pilot to conduct the flight.
The pilot and passenger conducted a preflight inspection and taxied up and down the turf runway, which was oriented in a westerly direction, so that the pilot could familiarize himself with the flight controls. The pilot stated that they conducted an engine run-up prior to takeoff, which indicated no abnormalities, and the airplane became airborne approximately 500-800 feet down the runway. The airplane reached an altitude of about 100 feet before it turned right, descended, and then impacted the ground.
According to the pilot, the airplane felt "sluggish" after takeoff and may have encountered a gust of wind, but he could not recall the specific accident sequence.
Postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the engine firewall, fuselage structure, and both left and right wings. Continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. Visual inspection of the engine revealed no anomalies.
According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1993, and was equipped with a Rotax 582UL, 65 hp, reciprocating engine. The airplane had accumulated a total airframe time of 90 hours. Its most recent condition inspection was completed on February 18, 2011. The owner stated that the previous owner of the airplane had not flown the airplane in over one year.
Additional examination of the engine was performed by a representative of the engine manufacturer under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The crankcase was impact-damaged, and the crankshaft could not be rotated by hand due to impact damage of the planetary gear rings located inside the gearbox. After removal of the gearbox, the crankshaft rotated freely. All four spark plugs displayed gaps that were slightly outside of the specifications set forth in the engine's maintenance manual. The carburetor bowls, filter, and fuel lines were absent of contamination and in good condition. The fuel and oil injection pumps exhibited no anomalies; however, the fuel mixture control was non-standard. The ignition system was found to be within specifications. A piece of steel wool was located inside the rotary valve, however, according to the engine manufacturer, it would not have had an adverse impact on engine performance.
The pilot reported 620 hours total flight experience, and no experience in the accident airplane make and model. He reported no flight experience in the 90 days preceding the accident, and his most recent flight review was conducted in September 2005.
The 1851 weather observation at Portland International Jetport (PWM), located about 7 nautical miles northeast of the accident site, included winds from 160 degrees at 12 knots with gusts to 20 knots.