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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA17LA067
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 10, 2016 in Franklin, VA
Aircraft: MATHIAS LINDA B LIGHTNING, registration: N59JL
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 10, 2016, about 1215 eastern standard time, a privately owned and operated experimental amateur-built Lightning, N59JL, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering in the traffic pattern at Franklin Municipal-John Beverly Rose Airport, Franklin, Virginia. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger sustained a serious injury. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal, local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight which was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that she performed an engine run-up before takeoff with no discrepancies noted. During the initial climb when the airplane was at 100 feet above ground level (agl), she felt a vibration which soon stopped. She continued the takeoff and noted that all exhaust gas temperature (EGT) readings were higher than normal, the No. 2 cylinder EGT was over the maximum red line limit, and the airplane had experienced a partial loss of engine power. She kept full throttle applied and informed her passenger that something was not right. She turned crosswind and then downwind, where while maintaining 80 mph, she made a radio call announcing her intention to return. The flight continued in the traffic pattern, and received a terrain warning indicating that the airplane was less than 500 feet agl. She turned onto base leg, and while flying about 200 feet agl, she reduced the throttle to slow the airplane from 80 to 75 mph in preparation to turn onto the final approach leg of the traffic pattern. At that moment, the left wing dropped immediately. She indicated that she did not feel any airframe buffet, and reported the airplane impacted trees while in the left-wing low attitude, and remained suspended in the trees. Both occupants exited the airplane, and were taken to a hospital for treatment of their injuries. Examination of the airplane was pending recovery from the accident site.