On August 1, 2011, about 0820 central daylight time, an Edwards Sky Ranger, experimental light sport airplane, N7501Y, owned and operated by a sport pilot, impacted terrain following a loss of control during initial climb after takeoff from the Wautoma Metropolitan Airport (Y50), Wautoma, Wisconsin. The sport pilot was seriously injured and the sole passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the cross-country flight destined for a private airstrip near Maquoketa, Iowa.

The pilot stated that he took off heading east from the grass runway at Y50 and climbed to about 200 feet over the east end of the runway. He said he circled around to do an over fly of the airport. He said that after he “straightened out there was no control over the horizontal tail.” He pulled back on the control stick several times “with no result.” The airplane then “dove straight down” impacting the ground 100 feet from the end of the runway.

An eyewitness to the accident reported that he had owned three Sky Rangers at different times, had logged hundreds of hours instructing in them, and had taught the accident pilot to fly 15 to 16 years ago. According to the eyewitness, following a preflight which included topping off the 20 gallon fuel tank and checking the oil, the pilot began his takeoff roll along runway 08. After liftoff, the pilot leveled the airplane just above the runway and built up airspeed before performing a “sharp” pull up. The airplane climbed to 100 to 150 feet before the airplane began a left hand turn as if the pilot was going to fly back over the eyewitness. While in the turn, the airplane appeared to stall, and dropped out of the eyewitness’s view. Seconds later he heard the airplane impact the ground. The eyewitness further reported that the airplane’s engine sounded really smooth during the flight and that it sounded like it was at full power as the airplane was descending towards the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge conducted an examination of the airplane at the accident site. The crash site began with an impact scrape followed by an eight foot long, three foot wide impact crater that preceded the airplane main wreckage. The impact crater contained pieces of the propeller and Fiberglas from the cowling and windscreen. The accident site proceeded along a 242-degree heading. About 62 feet from the initial ground impact scrape was the airplane main wreckage. The main wreckage came to rest upright in a 35-degree nose down attitude and was oriented on a 142-degree heading. All of the airplane components were accounted for.

The cowling with the engine, engine mounts and firewall underneath and behind were crushed aft and twisted about 30 degrees counterclockwise. The forward cockpit area and main landing gear were crushed and bent aft and upward.

Both wings remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing rear spar was fractured at mid span and bent upward. The left wing strut was bent upward. The right wing was undamaged. The fuselage, aft of the cockpit, and empennage showed no damage.

All three blades of the carbon fiber propeller were found broken aft and splintered. The propeller spinner was crushed aft and twisted.

Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit control stick and rudder pedals to each respective flight control surface. An examination of the engine and other airplane systems showed no preimpact anomalies that would have contributed to the accident.

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