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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA14CA408
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 16, 2014 in Baltimore, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: DAY WILLIAM L MINICOUPE, registration: N853WD
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot/owner/builder of the airplane, he conducted taxi tests, and then a final engine run-up and flight control check prior to takeoff on the airplane's second flight. After rotation, the airplane reached approximately 3 feet above the runway when the nose dropped, and application of full up elevator had no effect. The airplane struck the runway nose first, which resulted in substantial damage to the firewall. This was the identical outcome as the first flight several months prior. An FAA inspector estimated that the builder had added about 63 pounds with his modifications to the original airplane plans. The pilot performed the weight and balance on the airplane using bathroom scales and stated that there were no mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. His NTSB Form 6120.1 Operator/Owner Safety Recommendation was: "Re-weigh aircraft with calibrated scales to determine weight and balance. Fix apparent nose heavy aircraft with appropriate movement of the battery or additional weight in the tail section."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot/owner/builder's improper weight and balance calculations, which rendered the airplane uncontrollable in the pitch axis.