Immediately After Rotation, The Airplane Entered A Left Roll

Location: Hartford, CT Accident Number: ERA23LA121
Date & Time: January 28, 2023, 15:42 Local Registration: N550LX
Aircraft: Richard Brinkman Lancair 4P Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On January 28, 2023, about 1542 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair 4P airplane, N550LX, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident at the Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD), Hartford, Connecticut. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by the pilot as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Review of airport surveillance video found that the entire accident flight, from the engine start to the impact with terrain, was captured. The video showed that the airplane taxied from the ramp to runway 20 and initiated a takeoff. The airplane accelerated and subsequently aborted the takeoff before becoming airborne. The airplane returned to the ramp and completed a 360° right taxiing turn, and then proceeded back to runway 20 a few minutes later.

During the second takeoff, the airplane accelerated and after about a 1,000 ft takeoff roll, a rotation was observed. Immediately after rotation, the airplane entered a left roll, climbed momentarily, and then entered a steep left roll and left turn toward the terrain to the left of the runway. The airplane continued in a 90° left roll and subsequently impacted terrain in a left turn. The airplane cartwheeled and an explosion and postcrash fire was immediately ignited.

Review of preliminary air traffic control communications found that following the pilot’s first takeoff attempt, he reported to the tower that there was a “little shimmy” with the landing gear, and he wanted to “check it out.” The subsequent communications were routine. 

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector performed a visual examination of the airplane and photographed the accident site. The initial impact ground scar was about 475 ft from the runway and the fuselage came to rest about 260 ft forward from the initial impact. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the composite airframe structure. The engine was located in the debris path and was thermally damaged. The 4-bladed propeller exhibited torsional twisting, bending, and chord-wise scratching. The airplane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada T74-CP-700 turbine engine.

The airplane was retained for further examination.