Safety Study: The Safety of Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft Onboard Data Recording

 

Albany, Oregon
February 8, 2008


The animation is in Flash video format with an alternate Windows Media format version.

This three-dimensional animated reconstruction shows the fatal accident involving an experimental amateur-built Lancair ES that occurred on February 8, 2008 approximately four miles northeast of Albany Municipal Airport, Albany, Oregon.

The animation shows and the flight path and aircraft performance parameters extracted from the Chelton Flight Systems primary flight display and multi-function display. (The data download contained 21 log files, each corresponding to a power cycle. The accident flight power-on time was approximately 28 minutes. Parameters recorded include: date, time, latitude, longitude, MSL altitude, density altitude, calculated wind direction and speed, pitch, bank, heading, course, indicated airspeed, true airspeed, ground speed, rate of climb, vertical acceleration, left and right fuel tank quantity, fuel flow, fuel pressure, engine RPM, cylinder and exhaust gas temperatures, oil temperature and pressure. All parameters were sampled once per second.). Weather information at the time of the accident showed that icing conditions were forecast along the route of flight, however the animation does not depict the weather or visibility conditions at the time of the accident. The animation does not include audio.

The animation shows a three-dimensional model of the airplane and the airplane's motions during the accident sequence. Data obtained from instrumentation on board the airplane indicated that after reaching approximately 10,400 feet, the airplane entered a rapid spiral descent. The flight path is indicated with a red line and the black vertical lines are spaced 100 feet apart. Indicated airspeed and altitude above mean sea level are indicated as text on the lower left area of the screen. Pacific Standard Time is shown on the upper left side of the screen.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of this accident to be the pilot-in-command's failure to maintain aircraft control while in cruise flight. Contributing to the accident were inadequate planning/decision, icing conditions, and continued flight into known icing conditions.