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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ANC11LA060
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 07, 2011 in Sterling, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2012
Aircraft: Sonex / John D. McCarter WAIEX, registration: N18YX
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.

The pilot reported that he was on a postmaintenance check flight. Witnesses reported that after takeoff, when the airplane was about 200 feet above the ground, it lost all engine power and entered a rapid, nose-low descent. The witnesses said that the engine appeared to restart just before the airplane collided with the departure end of the runway. External engine and airframe examinations revealed no mechanical anomalies. An internal engine examination was not accomplished. Due to injuries sustained in the accident, the pilot was unable to remember anything about the accident.

Although the initiating event for the loss of engine power was not discovered, sufficient altitude was available for the pilot to effect a recovery and make a controlled forced landing after the power loss. His delay in responding to the loss of engine power likely precipitated a rapid decay in airspeed and subsequent aerodynamic stall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid an aerodynamic stall following a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.