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Mon, Sep 19, 2011

NTSB Prelim Report Released In Idaho Kitfox Fatal Accident

Pilot Landed On Remaining Runway After First Takeoff Attempt, Went Down On Second

The NTSB's preliminary report for an accident involving a Kitfox in which two people were fatally injured offers few clues as to what may have gone wrong. A witness told investigators that the pilot said he would be making a "short landing" following a takeoff attempt, and later heard the same pilot announce a "straight out" departure from Caldwell Industrial Airport (KEUL), in Caldwell, ID. That second takeoff resulted in the pilot and his wife being fatally injured when the Kitfox, which the pilot had built in 2008, went down. The couple had attended a fly-in for Kitfox builders and owners.

File Image

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA428
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 04, 2011 in Caldwell, ID
Aircraft: Veatch Kitfox, registration: N624JS
Injuries: 2 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.

On September 4, 2011, about 0832 mountain daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Kitfox 7, N624JS, was substantially damaged when it impacted airport property shortly after takeoff from Caldwell Industrial Airport (EUL), Caldwell, Idaho. The certificated private pilot/owner and the passenger received fatal injuries. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The pilot and airplane were based at Rio Vista Municipal Airport (O88), Rio Vista, California. The pilot and his wife departed O88 on September 2 for Idaho, where they visited relatives, and attended a Kitfox fly-in. According to information provided by Lockheed Martin Flight Services (LMFS), the pilot planned to depart EUL at 0830 on September 4, with a planned stop in Lovelock, Nevada, and a final destination of O88. A pilot in a Cessna who taxied out behind N624JS stated that at "exactly 0800" he observed N624JS takeoff from runway 12, climb to about 50 feet, and then heard the pilot announce he was making a "short landing" on the remaining runway. He observed N624JS land and turn off onto the runup area for runway 30. The Cessna pilot then departed runway 12. About 30 minutes later, the Cessna pilot heard the pilot of N624JS announce a "straight out" departure from runway 30.

The airplane came to rest in a near-vertical attitude, about 750 feet northeast of the threshold of runway 12. The wreckage was tightly contained, and except for the propeller and hub, no major components, including flight controls and surfaces, were found separated from the wreckage. The propeller reduction gearbox was fragmented, and the propeller hub was under, but separated from, the engine. All three blades of the composite propeller were cracked, but remained attached to the hub. The engine cowl, nose gear, cockpit, and the leading edges of the wings exhibited significant crush damage in the aft direction. The aft fuselage exhibited moderate buckling. Both wing fuel tanks were ruptured. The positions of the flaps and the pitch trim tab could not be determined. When the aft fuselage was lowered to the ground, the airplane was aligned on an approximate magnetic heading of 270 degrees.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the airplane was built by the pilot in 2008. It was equipped with a Rotax 912ULS 100 hp engine. FAA records indicated that the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in December 2010. Review of the pilot's personal flight log indicated that his most recent flight review was completed in the accident airplane in February 2011, and that as of the date of the accident, he had about 160 hours in the airplane.

FAA records indicated that the EUL elevation was 2,432 feet above mean sea level, and that the single asphalt runway measured 5,500 feet by 100 feet. The EUL 0835 automated weather observation included winds from 110 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear skies; temperature 9 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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