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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA11FA504
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 25, 2011 in Sanford, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: HUTCHINSON KENNETH A VELOCITY RG, registration: N360TV
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Examination of pilot, airplane, and fueling records revealed that the pilot/owner had flown the airplane about 24 total hours over the 7 years since he purchased it. He had last flown the airplane 18 months before the accident, and, on his most recent application for a medical certificate made 10 days before the accident, he reported that he had not flown at all in the preceding 6 months. Two pilots operating in the traffic pattern of the departure airport at the time of the accident described a takeoff roll for the airplane that was twice as long as expected. They observed the airplane at “very low” altitude, in a continuous, descending left turn in the vicinity of the crosswind to downwind legs of the traffic pattern. The airplane then disappeared from view, and a fireball appeared from the woods. Examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies in the flight control system, but it did reveal that the turbocharger waste gate was frozen in a nearly full-open position due to corrosion. This discrepancy resulted in a loss of available boost pressure and significantly reduced the available power. The most recent annual inspection of the airplane was completed 3 years before the accident, and, 5 months before the accident, the pilot requested that the local maintenance facility draft a list of discrepancies that would require correction in order to return the airplane to an airworthy condition. The discrepancy list included the frozen turbocharger waste gate. A review of the pilot's medical records revealed that the pilot was treated for medical and psychological conditions that he failed to report on his most recent medical certificate application. It could not be determined if the medical conditions or medications present at the time of the accident posed a significant hazard to flight safety. If the pilot had flown more recently, it is possible that he may have recognized that the airplane was not performing normally and aborted the takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot/owner's intentional flight of his airplane with known mechanical discrepancies (frozen turbocharger waste gate), which resulted in a partial loss of engine power and subsequent collision with trees and terrain shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of recent experience.