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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR18FA201
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 21, 2018 in Burnet, TX
Aircraft: Douglas DC3, registration: N47HL
Injuries: 6 Serious, 1 Minor, 6 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 21, 2018, about 0915 central daylight time, a tailwheel equipped Douglas DC-3 twin-engine airplane, N47HL, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during takeoff from the Burnet Municipal Airport, Burnet, Texas. The airplane was registered to American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum Inc., and operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The airline transport captain, crew chief, and 4 passengers sustained serious injuries, 1 passenger sustained minor injuries, and the airline transport co-pilot and 5 passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Sedalia Regional Airport (DMO), Sedalia, Missouri.

Representatives from the CAF reported that the intention of the flight was to travel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to attend an airshow, with an intermediate fuel stop at DMO.

The co-pilot, who was the flying pilot (FP) reported that prior to the flight, it was briefed that he would perform the takeoff. He stated that the captain taxied the airplane to the runup area, where all pre-takeoff checks were completed; the captain then taxied the airplane onto runway 19. The co-pilot further stated that he then took control of the airplane, provided a pre-takeoff brief, and initiated the takeoff sequence. About 10 seconds into the takeoff roll, the airplane drifted right, at which time he applied left rudder input. This was followed shortly by the captain saying that he had the airplane.

The captain, who was the non-flying pilot (NFP), reported that during the initial stages of the takeoff roll, he didn't recall the airplane swerving to the right, however, recalled telling the co-pilot not to push the tail up because it was heavy; he also remembered the airplane swerving to the left shortly thereafter. The captain stated that he yelled "right rudder" three times before taking control of the airplane. He said that as he put his hands on the control yoke, he noticed that either the tail started to come down or the main wheels were either light or were just coming off the ground as it exited the left side of the runway. The captain said that he knew the airplane was slow as he tried to ease it [the airplane] over [to the runway] and set it back down. Subsequently, he felt the 'shutter of a stall," and the airplane turned to the left and impacted the ground. After the airplane came to a stop, a postimpact fire ensued, during which all the occupants of the airplane egressed through the aft left door.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane came to rest upright on a heading of about 113° magnetic, about 145 ft east of the left side, and 2,638 ft from the approach end of runway 19. The postimpact fire consumed the fuselage from the nose cone aft to about 3 ft forward of the left side cargo door along with a majority of the wing center section. No evidence of any flight control locks was found installed. The tailwheel locking pin was found in place and was sheered into multiple pieces. Vegetation (grass) within about 200 ft of the main wreckage was burnt from the postimpact fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.