Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN14LA221

Peyton, CO, USA

Aircraft #1




During the second takeoff on a maintenance test flight following an annual inspection, the airplane accelerated on the main landing gear with the tail wheel off the ground. The airplane then "aggressively veered left," and the pilot applied full right rudder to correct the path. However, the airplane continued to veer left, exited the runway, impacted runway signs and terrain, and a postcrash fire ensued. The fire precluded examination of the airplane systems.

Factual Information

On April 21, 2014, at 1422 mountain daylight time, an American AA-1, N481HY, veered off runway 15 and impacted runway signs and terrain at Meadow Lake Airport (FLY), Colorado Springs, Colorado. The airplane was destroyed by a postcrash fire. The airline transport pilot was uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91 as a maintenance test flight. The flight was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated at FLY about 1422 and was to remain in the airport traffic pattern for the flight. The pilot, who was also the airplane owner, stated he performed preflight and pre takeoff checks of the airplane prior to a post owner-assisted annual inspection test flight. He departed from runway 15 for the first takeoff and remained in left closed traffic for touch and go landings. He performed the first landing to a full stop to test the airplane brakes and then taxied back to runway 15. He did not notice any anomalies with the airplane and tried to stay off the brakes during the taxi. He rechecked the magnetos and completed takeoff checks prior to a second takeoff on runway 15. During the second takeoff, the airplane accelerated on the main landing gear with the tail wheel off the ground. The airplane "aggressively veered left," and he applied full right rudder. The airplane struck a runway/taxiway sign before he was able to reduce the engine throttle. The airplane bounced and impacted terrain between runway 15 and a parallel taxiway while striking additional airport signs. The airplane came to a stop in a drainage ditch between the runway and taxiway and immediately caught fire. The airplane exploded about one minute after he evacuated the airplane. The pilot said that he did not know what caused the post-accident fire, but that the fuel tanks were ruptured during the collision with the airport signs/terrain. The pilot stated that the brake calipers were not removed during the owner-assisted annual inspection and when asked by the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge what maintenance work was performed, he said that he replaced the landing gear wheel bearings, tire tubes, and tires. He then said that the calipers were removed when asked if the calipers had to be removed to perform the maintenance items related to the wheel bearings, tire tubes, and tires. The brake fluid was last changed when he purchased the airplane about January 2011. He said that the annual inspection was performed in the hangar belonging to the mechanic with inspection authorization that certified the inspection. He said that the mechanic was present while the inspection work was performed. The airplane, serial number 0048, was powered by a Lycoming O-320-A2B, serial number L-49225-27A, engine. The airplane underwent an owner-assisted annual inspection that was performed by the pilot. The airplane logbook entry for the annual inspection was made by an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization at American Aviation Inc., Peyton, Colorado, and was dated April 2, 2014. The entry stated: "Aircraft inspected IAW FAR 43 Appendix D. Replaced vacuum regulator filter B3-5-1. Stop drilled 2 small cracks on top canopy. Checked controls for travel and condition. Checked sears, belts and rails. C/W AD 72-06-02 on rudder and elevator control cables by inspection. No broken strands noted. C/W AD 72-07-10 on elevator bungee by inspection. C/W AD 75-09-07 mixture control wire by inspection. Replaced ELT Battery, next change date March 2016. C/W FAR 207D and checked good. See owners entries for cowl, wheels, brakes, tires, etc. Returned to service. Applicable AD's thru 04-02-14." According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the Denver Flight Standards District Office, the logbook entry for the inspection was not in accordance with regulatory requirements because there were no additional entries relating to "See owners entries for cowl, wheels, brakes, tires, etc." The inspector stated that all maintenance work must be entered and the authorizing mechanic must ensure that such entries are made. Post-accident fire damage of the airplane precluded examination of the brake and landing gear systems.

Probable Cause and Findings

The loss of directional control during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined due to the extent of fire damage.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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