WPR12LA225
WPR12LA225

On May 22, 2012, about 1640 mountain daylight time, a Waggonner Excalibur, N165AW, collided with terrain during an approach to the runway at the Buhl Municipal Airport, Buhl, Idaho. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed from Buhl about 1630. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he arrived at the airport earlier in the morning and assembled the airplane; he had never flown it prior. After the fuel pump was replaced, he had an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic examine the airplane and received verbal confirmation from him that it was in airworthy condition. The mechanic did not sign the airplaneā€™s logbooks due to inadequate records from the previous owner. The pilot then taxied the airplane for about an hour.

The pilot further stated that during taxi, a gust of wind lifted the airplane airborne and he decided to add engine power. He maneuvered the airplane for about 10 minutes and decided to return to the airport. The first approach to the runway was unsatisfactory and he performed a go-around. On the second approach, with the airplane about 30 feet above ground level (agl), he experienced a loss of control and the airplane dove in a nose-low attitude into terrain. He was transported to a nearby hospital.

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

According to witnesses, the pilot was performing a series of high speed taxi tests on the parallel taxiway located south of the runway. After several times of traversing the length of the taxiway, the airplane taxied onto the active runway at the midfield point. The airplane then accelerated down the runway and became airborne in the gusty winds. The witnesses heard the engine power increase and the airplane continued to ascend. The airplane maneuvered near the airport for about 10 minutes and then approached back to the runway. While on final approach, the airplane appeared unstable and the pilot performed a go-around.

The witnesses further stated that the airplane made several turns and the pilot appeared to be attempting to return back to the runway. With the airplane about 20 feet agl, the airplane stalled and descended into the terrain. The airplane came to rest near the approach end of runway 27 with the engine still running.

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at Magic Valley Regional Airport, Twin Falls, Idaho (located 15.5 nautical miles west from the accident site), indicated that about 15 minutes after the accident the wind was variable from 260 to 330 degrees at 9 knots with wind gusts at 19 knots.

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