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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: MIA88LA203
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 36339.
Accident occurred Friday, March 04, 1988 in MERRITT ISLAND, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/1989
Aircraft: HUNTER VELOCITY, registration: N128JM
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

WHILE CHECKING THE STALL CHARACTERISTICS OF A HOMEBUILT ACFT, THE ACFT DESCENDED IN A STALLED CONDITION UNTIL CRASHING INTO A RIVER. THE PLT WAS UNABLE TO LOWER THE NOSE. INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT HE IMPROPERLY POSITIONED BAFFLES IN THE FUEL TANKS RESULTING IN AN INCREASE OF 20 GALLONS. IF THE ANGLE OF ATTACK WERE NOSE HIGH FUEL WOULD SHIFT AFT RESULTING IN AN OUT OF LIMIT AFT C.G. THE FUSELAGE HAD BEEN IMPROPERLY LEVELLED RESULTING IN A NOSE HIGH ATTITUDE. AS A RESULT THE POSITION OF THE AIRFOIL SHAPED TANKS LOCATED FWD OF EACH WING & BONDED TO THE FUSELAGE WERE IMPROPERLY POSITIONED. THE FUEL TANKS ARE PART OF THE WING & PROVIDE LIFT. THIS MOVED THE CENTER OF LIFT FWD, & WITH THE AFT SHIFTING OF FUEL RESULTED IN THE NOSE HIGH DESCENT. ACCORDING TO A PLT WHO HAS FLOWN A SIMILARLY DESIGNED ACFT, DURING FLT TESTING IT STALLED & DESCENDED IN THE SAME ATTITUDE OF THE ACCIDENT ACFT. RECOVERY OCCURRED WHEN HE ADDED AND MAINTAINED FULL POWER.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

  • FUEL SYSTEM,TANK..IMPROPER
  • MAINTENANCE,MODIFICATION..IMPROPER..MANUFACTURER
  • REMEDIAL ACTION..NOT POSSIBLE

Contributing Factors:
  • STALL..PERFORMED..PILOT IN COMMAND
  • INADEQUATE TRAINING(EMERGENCY PROCEDURE(S))..PRODUCTION/DESIGN PERSONNEL
  • INADEQUATE CERTIFICATION/APPROVAL,MANUFACTURER..MANUFACTURER
Full narrative is not available