On July 30, 2011, about 0825 Pacific daylight time, a Beech 76 (Duchess), N6718X, impacted terrain during initial climb seconds after takeoff from runway 15 at the Perris Valley Airport, Perris, California. Of the four occupants on board the airplane, the private pilot was seriously injured, one passenger received minor injuries, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane's fuselage and wings were deformed during the impact, and the airplane was substantially damaged. California Flight Center, Inc., Long Beach, California, operated the airplane and had rented it to the pilot for his personal flight. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the planned cross-country flight to Paso Robles, California. The flight was originating at the time of the crash. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and was familiar with the airplane's takeoff performance and runway distance requirements. According to the pilot, he loaded the airplane to near its maximum certificated gross weight, and he elected to depart from near the 5,100-foot-long runway's mid-field location. The pilot stated that he adhered to the prescribed procedures written in the airplane's check lists. During the engine run-up, no mechanical discrepancies were noted. Full engine power was attained, the brakes were released, and the takeoff roll commenced. However, prior to reaching the prescribed rotation airspeed, the airplane's nose pitched up, and the airplane became airborne. The pilot further reported that he continued attempting to maintain control of the airplane while in ground effect. The airplane climbed over one wingspan above the ground. When the left side cockpit door inadvertently opened, he was able to close it. Thereafter, the airplane stalled, impacted an estimated 6-foot high dirt berm, and crashed into an open field about 1,000 feet south of the runway's departure end.
The winds at a nearby airport 6 miles away was from 330 degrees at 6 knots a the time of the accident.
FAA inspectors from the Riverside, California, Flight Standards District Office responded to the accident site. The Chief Pilot for the operator also responded to assist in the recovery and removal of the aircraft from the site. About 40 gallons of fuel were found in each of the two wing tanks, for a total of 80 gallons onboard at the time of the accident. The elevator trim tab was found in the full nose up position, and examination of the system disclosed normal function. The FAA inspectors removed all the items from the baggage compartment and weighed them on a scale; the baggage compartment contents weighed 288 pounds. The baggage compartment structural limit is listed as 200 pounds in the airplane flight manual (AFM).
Utilizing the aircraft empty weight and center of gravity listed in the weight and balance section of the AFM, the actual weights of the occupants, the fuel load found on the airplane, and the weight of the baggage compartment contents, the inspectors determined that the aircraft gross weight at the accident site was 4,173.41 pounds with a center of gravity at 117.9 inches aft of the datum. The AFM and the FAA approved Type Certificate Data sheet lists the maximum allowable gross weight as 3,900 pounds with an aft center of gravity limit at 117.5 inches.