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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN19FA138
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 07, 2019 in Schlater, MS
Aircraft: Champion 7GCAA, registration: N7665S
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 May 7, 2019, about 1945 central daylight time, a Champion 7GCAA airplane, N7665S, impacted terrain during a takeoff from a private airstrip near Schlater, Mississippi. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial wing and fuselage damage. The airplane was registered to Hedge Hoppers LLC and was operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating from the private airstrip at the time of the accident.

According to initial information from a witness at the airstrip, the airplane was departing to the north on the airstrip's north/south runway. The airplane lifted off the ground about 1,500 ft down the runway and flew about another 500 ft before it pitched up. The airplane was about 100 ft above the ground when it was observed in a left bank towards the west and it came around to the east. The airplane was not climbing, it had a slow sink, the nose broke down, and the airplane subsequently impacted terrain in a dive. He did not hear any anomalies in the engine sound.

The 27-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He held a second-class medical certificate dated March 7, 2019. The medical certificate was issued with no limitations. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 250 hours of total flight time and 100 hours in the six months before the medical examination.

N7665S was a 1976 model Champion 7GCAA, production built, dual strutted high-wing airplane with serial number 331-76. The airplane was designed with a fabric covered steel-tube fuselage and a fabric covered wing. The airplane had fixed landing gear and could accommodate a pilot and a single passenger. The airplane had accumulated a total time of 2,300.8 hours at the last annual inspection dated May 2, 2018 and its tachometer indicated 1,040.0 hours. The engine was a Lycoming IO-320-E2A, serial number L-4984-55A, and it was overhauled on January 11, 2019 and mounted on the airplane with tachometer indication of 1,082.9 hours.

At 1953, the recorded weather at the Greenwood-Leflore Airport, near Greenwood, Mississippi, was: Wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 23° C; dew point 19° C; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury. According to a witness at the airstrip, there was a light wind from the south present at the time of the accident.

According to aerial images on Google maps, the prepared runway surface was about 1,700 ft long by about 18 ft wide. The runway orientation was about 359°.

The airplane came to rest on its nose on a heading about 100°, about 175 ft north of the runway's prepared surface on a grass overrun. A postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed that the engine was embedded in terrain and the outboard section of one propeller blade was visible. First responders cut through airframe items to include the aileron balance cable. The left aileron cable exhibited a separation with a broom straw appearance consistent with overload. All other flight control cables were traced back to the cockpit flight controls from their respective flight control surfaces. The front control stick and an attached section of its stick socket separated from its stick socket assembly. Both stick socket separation surfaces of the casting exhibited a dull grainy appearance consistent with overload. The ground under both wings leading edges exhibited depressions consistent with the structure and shape of the leading-edge structures. The fuel tanks contained a liquid consistent with fuel. No blighting was observed on the grass around the wings. The hour meter indicated 681.5 hours and the tachometer indicated 1,138.1 hours. No preimpact anomalies were found with the airframe that could be associated with a preexisting condition.

The Leflore County Coroner was requested to conduct an autopsy on the pilot and to take toxicological samples.

Due to adverse weather moving in the area during the postaccident examination, the recovery company was asked to recover the airframe and engine to a secured location where a subsequent detailed examination will be conducted on the engine.