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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR17LA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 15, 2017 in Firebaugh, CA
Injuries: 3 Minor, 2 Uninjured.

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 May 15, 2017, about 1630 Pacific daylight time, an Evolution Aircraft, Lancair Evolution, N846PM, was substantially damaged during a forced landing attempt at Firebaugh Airport (F34), Firebaugh, California. The private pilot and one rear seat passenger did not sustain any injuries. A front seat passenger and two rear seat passengers received minor injuries. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that departed Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), Livermore, California at approximately 1400. The personal flight was destined for Marana Regional Airport (AVQ), Marana, Arizona.

The pilot reported that he and 4 family members were en route to their home airport following a recent stay in Northern California. The departure, climbout, and most of the cruise flight was smooth and uneventful; however, further into the flight, at an altitude of 25,000 feet, the windshield "exploded" instantaneously without any pre-indication. The airplane instantly lost cabin pressure and the pilot's headset departed the airplane, so he activated the ancillary oxygen and donned his oxygen mask. During his subsequent steep descent, the pilot found a nearby airport with the requisite landing distance. He entered the airport's identifier into the onboard global positioning system and followed the course line. At 12,000 feet, the pilot leveled off and made visual contact with the airport. He was unable to locate the airport's windsock during the descent, but chose to land on runway 12. While on the downwind leg, the pilot deployed one notch of flaps and attempted to maintain a target airspeed of 110 knots. After he turned to the final leg of the airport traffic pattern, the pilot deployed the landing gear, but the left main landing gear did not show a green indication. The pilot recycled the landing gear, but received the same indication. He then decided to land with the landing gear in the UP position, as his available flight time was decreasing. According to his recount, although the airplane made contact with the runway at a high rate of speed, the touchdown was smooth and level. The airplane then overran the runway, impacted a fence, and traversed a road before it came to rest in a field.

Postaccident examination by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to both wings.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.