Witnesses Reported Hearing The Airplane’S Engine Popping And Sputtering

Location: Hayward, CA Accident Number: WPR21LA019
Date & Time: October 21, 2020, 11:48 Local Registration: N1YX
Aircraft: Glasair III Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 21, 2020, about 1148 Pacific daylight time, a Glasair III airplane, N1YX, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hayward, California. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was being operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot stated that he was going to return the airplane to Oregon. The airplane had been stored at Hayward Airport (HWD) for many months, but the pilot would occasionally start it and run it so that it didn’t sit for long periods of time. He taxied the airplane to runway 28L and conducted multiple run ups at varying RPM’s. He then taxied the airplane to a fuel island where he added 15 gallons of aviation gasoline to the main tank, bringing the total to 30 gallons in the main tank. He then taxied back to runway 28L, with a plan to fly “one big traffic pattern”. He reported a normal, smooth take off and observed a positive rate of climb, then felt the airplane not making power after reaching about 200 feet above ground level. He performed a forced landing to a golf course but struck two trees during the landing.

The airplane came to rest upright on a golf course, on a heading of about 255° magnetic. An area of flattened grass was observed extending back from the airplane about 100 ft on a bearing of 075°. Numerous components, consisting of the left wing and left main landing gear, the left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator, the right-wing tip, and windshield acrylic, were located within the debris field.

The pilot reported that the airplane had recently had a three-blade propeller installed, and this was the first flight with the new prop. The pilot reported there were no mechanical anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

Multiple witnesses reported hearing the airplane’s engine popping and sputtering during the runups. One witness reported that it sounded like a deep thumping that lasted for about 20 to 30 seconds. Another witness observed the take off and said the engine sounded normal and the airplane “lifted off fairly early”. He then heard 5 to 7 pops and observed black smoke trailing form the airplane. He observed the airplane’s angle of attack increase while it turned left and descend out of sight behind trees.

The airplane was relocated to a secure facility for future examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov