CEN12LA331
CEN12LA331

On May 29, 2012, about 1915 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Baldwin Skybolt airplane, N24EB, impacted terrain following takeoff from a private airstrip near Stuttgart, Arkansas. The private pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the landing and post impact ground fire. 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 flight rules conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was originating from the private airstrip at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot’s accident report, he landed at a private agricultural airstrip and filled the airplane up with 100 low lead aviation gasoline (avgas). He indicated that the airplane contained 35 gallons of avgas. He started a shallow climb at 120 knots indicated airspeed and 1,000 feet per minute climb at full engine power. The pilot stated that he started a standard rate turn to the west and upon entering the turn, the airplane felt as if it “settled” and lost lift. He proceeded with emergency procedures and checked all instrumentation. The airplane was still indicating a shallow climb attitude, 120 knots airspeed, and a vertical speed of 1,000 feet per minute descent. The pilot started a turn back to the airstrip and realized that the airplane was not going to be able to make the airstrip. He elected to land in a plowed unplanted field. He flared and impacted the field at 100 knots. The landing gear folded under the airplane and the airplane came to rest in about 20 yards from the impact point. After the airplane came to rest, a fire started in the engine compartment, which spread to the cockpit. Approximately two minutes later, the fuel tank caught on fire and the aircraft was consumed by fire.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage on-scene and took pictures. Reviewing the images did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. Additionally, the pilot reported that there were no airplane mechanical malfunctions. According to the inspector, the airplane was reported to make a 180-degree turn back toward the runway. However, a nearby road, perpendicular to the takeoff heading, was available for a forced landing.

At 1853, the recorded weather at the Grider Field Airport, near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, about 31 nautical miles and 215 degrees from the accident site, was: wind 250 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 32 degrees C; dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 29.82 inches of mercury. The calculated density altitude there was 2,376.9 feet.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a medical certificate dated May 30, 2012. On the application for medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 7,250 hours of total flight time and 250 hours of flight time in the six months prior to that medical certificate. It further indicated that his weight was 259 pounds.

According to the pilot, the airplane’s empty weight was 1,249 pounds and its reported maximum weight was 1,900 pounds. However, the airplane plans designer listed the airplane’s maximum gross weight as 1,800 pounds. The airplane’s 35 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline weighed about 211 pounds. According to information stated to the FAA inspector, the passenger weighed about 220 pounds. The calculated total weight of the accident airplane based on those reported details was 1,939 pounds.

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