Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR10LA274

Prairie, ID, USA

Aircraft #1




According to witness accounts, the unlicensed pilot of the experimental weight-shift-controlled airplane was performing practice takeoffs and landings. During the last departure the airplane banked to the left and collided with trees. Global Positioning System (GPS) flight track data recovered from a handheld GPS device within the airplane (which did not include altitude information) indicated that this turn was flown at a rate and groundspeed comparable to the prior turns performed during the flight. The data further revealed that a few seconds after the final turn the airplane made an abrupt course reversal back to the runway; however, this sudden change of heading was more than likely a GPS anomaly. The pilot did not provide either a written or verbal statement to the NTSB and did not respond to multiple requests to make the airplane or engine available for examination.

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT On May 30, 2010, at 0839 mountain daylight time, a Smithwick/Treidel, Tukan, N7513W, collided with trees during takeoff from the Smith Prairie Airport, Prairie, Idaho. The unlicensed 52-year-old pilot was operating the experimental weight-shift-controlled airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and cabin structure. The local flight departed Smith Prairie at 0816. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. According to witnesses, the accident pilot and passenger had been performing practice takeoffs and landings during the accident flight. Having completed a touch-and-go takeoff, the airplane was observed to veer left to the north and impact trees. The airplane came to rest in the trees about 170 feet north of the runway centerline, 25 feet above ground level. A handheld global positioning systems (GPS) Garmin GPS III was recovered from the airplane. The unit did not record altitude information. Data extraction revealed that the airplane departed, and flew a track consistent with multiple approaches and touch-and-go takeoffs in both directions on the accident runway. During the last departure, the airplane continued on a runway heading of 050 degrees, covering a distance of about 400 feet in 6 seconds. Over the next 4 seconds it turned left onto a heading of about 040 degrees true, traveling about 280 feet. The rate of turn and groundspeed data appeared comparable with the prior turns performed during the flight. The airplane then continued on a northbound track for the next 6 seconds covering a distance of 475 feet; the next and final recorded GPS fix occurred 28 seconds later, 530 feet to the south, with the airplane wreckage located 30 feet south of this position. The closest official weather station, located 35 miles southwest of the accident site at Mountain Home Air Force Base, reported at 0855, clear skies, calm winds, with a visibility of 10 miles. Review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, indicated that the airplane was equipped with a two-stroke Rotax 582 series engine. Despite numerous attempts, the pilot did not provide either a written statement, or a copy of the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, Form 6120.1/2. Additionally, the pilot did not respond to multiple requests to make the airplane or engine available for examination by the National Transportation Safety Board or the FAA.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot's loss of control of the weight-shift-controlled airplane during takeoff for undetermined reasons.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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