Witness Observed The Tail Drop Down And The Left Wing Roll Hard Over
Location: Basehor, KS Accident Number: ERA22FA320
Date & Time: July 18, 2022, 10:00 Local Registration: N6170
Aircraft: Knight AA Nieuport 28 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On July 18, 2022, at 1000 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built AA Nieuport 28, N6170, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Basehor, Kansas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
According to a witness, the pilot built the kit biplane in 2016 and equipped it with a Volkswagen engine. He stated that since 2016, the pilot had operated the airplane about 30 hours. During that time there were several problems with the engine operating correctly and oil leaks. In 2020, the pilot experienced a hard landing and fractured the main landing gear.
During the next 2 years, the pilot repaired the airplane and installed a Lycoming O-320 engine on the airframe. The work was completed in April 2022. Several slow speed taxies were performed over the next few weeks and on the day of the accident, the pilot intended to fly the airplane for the first time. The witness met the pilot at 0900 to help him with the preflight inspection and pull the airplane out of the hangar.
The witness added that there were no issues with the preflight inspection and the 12 gallon capacity fuel tank was full. The pilot stated that he planned to climb straight-out to about 500 ft above ground level (agl), then turn left and stay close to the runway while he checked the airplane. The pilot started the engine and warmed it up for about 10 minutes. He then gave the witness a “thumbs-up” and applied full throttle. During the takeoff roll, the airplane veered to the left and the witness thought the airplane was going to hit a large round hay bale next to runway. The airplane lifted off the ground and cleared the hay bale by 6 ft. The pilot flew back toward the runway centerline to maintain runway heading but was going “very slow.” After the airplane cleared the treetops, the pilot started a slow left turn about 200 ft agl.
The witness observed the tail drop down and the left wing roll hard over. The airplane then spun to the ground.
The accident site was located in a field about 1,600 ft east of the runway. The airplane impacted in a nose down attitude. The wooden propeller blades were splintered into numerous pieces at the impact point. The main landing gear separated, and the airplane slid about 60 ft before it came to rest upright on a 15° magnetic heading.