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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA13LA024
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 16, 2012 in Crossville, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/04/2013
Aircraft: CASHMER PHILIP M SONEX, registration: N198PC
Injuries: 2 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.

Three days before the accident, a witness heard the airplane’s engine stop while the airplane was taxiing for departure and then restart before the airplane departed uneventfully. On the morning of the accident flight, another witness heard the airplane attempting to depart from the accident airport. During the departure, the engine power reduced suddenly while the airplane was at an altitude of about 15 feet. The airplane then continued to fly at that altitude until reaching the midpoint of the runway, before the engine power again increased, and the airplane began an abrupt climb. Shortly thereafter, another witness reported seeing the airplane in a spin just before it impacted the ground beyond the departure end of the runway.

Postaccident examination of the airplane showed damage signatures consistent with the airplane being in a left-turning aerodynamic stall/spin at impact. Additionally, a witness report, the condition of the cockpit canopy, and the postaccident position of the pilot’s restraints suggested that the pilot was likely not wearing the restraints at impact. Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of any obvious mechanical deficiencies. A definitive determination of the engine’s operational state at impact could not be established based on available evidence; however, the manufacturer of the airplane kit advised pilots to discontinue a takeoff if there were any signs of abnormal engine operation and to investigate the cause before attempting another takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane, which resulted in a low-altitude aerodynamic stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was a loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination and the pilot’s decision to depart with a known deficiency. Contributing to the pilot’s injuries was his failure to use the installed restraint system.