Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Light-Sport Safety Record
Tracking 2009 incidents
In April 2009, the NTSB issued safety recommendations after several LSA accidents. The NTSB called on ASTM International, the industry organization that sets LSA standards, to enhance standards regarding protection from flutter, to be sure required control stick forces minimize the possibility of pilots inadvertently overcontrolling an airplane and to provide better airspeed data in handbooks and on airspeed indicators.
A two-seat weight-shift aircraft was flying from north to south over the Shawnee Field Airport at Bloomfield, Ind. The sky was clear and the wind was calm. An instructor and builder of the accident airplane make and model observed the aircraft, which was equipped with a pusher propeller, “initiate a steep climb and then an approximate 60-degree-bank turn.” Another witness reported that while maneuvering for the landing, the airplane entered a “hard left bank at low altitude and went into the ground.” The sport pilot and passenger were killed. Investigators found nothing wrong with the airframe or engine. The published stall speed for the airplane is 32 miles per hour.
Toxicology test results on the pilot revealed the recent use of diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter antihistamine that can have sedating effects. The extent to which pilot impairment from the medication may have played a role in the accident couldn’t be determined. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering.
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Labels: Accident Statistics, Columns, FAA Regulations, Features, NTSB Reports, People and Places, Pilot Skills, Pilot Talk, Proficiency, Pilot Safety