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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR17LA015
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 21, 2016 in Mesa, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2018
Aircraft: RYAN W Gross Arion Lighting, registration: N235SC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 280-hour student pilot had just purchased the experimental, light sport airplane in which he had no experience or training. The pilot declined a suggestion from a mechanic who assisted with the sale to perform a familiarization flight with another pilot who had operational experience with the airplane. The mechanic stated that the pilot started the engine to depart on the flight home; however, he experienced problems taxiing, shut down the engine, and stated that the nosewheel steering was not working. The mechanic explained that the airplane was steered by differential braking and again suggested that the pilot conduct a familiarization flight. The pilot again declined, restarted the engine, and taxied the airplane to the runway for takeoff. The pilot stated that, just after rotation, the engine surged and the left wing subsequently dropped and impacted terrain.

The mechanic watched the airplane take off and stated that the engine sounded "strong and even" and that the airplane became airborne in a relatively flat attitude. He heard several reductions and increases in engine power as the airplane sank, climbed, rolled, and yawed until the left wing impacted the ground off the left side of runway.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot failed to maintain airplane control during the takeoff and initial climb and that his lack of experience in the accident airplane and his refusal to obtain familiarization training before attempting to fly it directly resulted in his failure to maintain control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during takeoff/initial climb due to his inexperience in the airplane make and model and his refusal to obtain training in the airplane.