Witness ‘Advised The Pilot That The Rear Seat Belt Was Securing The Rear Control Stick’

Location: Mandan, ND Accident Number: CEN20LA227
Date & Time: 06/13/2020, 1400 CDT Registration: N836JC
Aircraft: Vans RV8 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

On June 13, 2020, about 1400 central daylight time, a Vans RV8 airplane, N836JC, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Mandan, North Dakota. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to initial information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a witness observed the airplane on the ramp prior to the flight and advised the pilot that the rear seat belt was securing the rear control stick. The pilot subsequently departed in the airplane on runway 13 at the Mandan Municipal Airport (Y19), near Mandan, North Dakota. The takeoff was a 3-point takeoff and the airplane subsequently had a steep climb. The airplane descended, impacted terrain, and a ground fire occurred.

The pilot held an FAA private pilot certificate and a third-class medical certificate. N836JC was a two-seat, low-wing, tailwheel airplane with fixed-gear. The airplane was equipped with tandem seats and tandem flight controls.

FAA inspectors subsequently examined and documented the wreckage site. Sections of the inboard left wing, inboard right wing, the engine, and sections of the fuselage were thermally damaged consistent with a ground fire. The left side of the airplane was more thermally damaged than the right side and the nearby windsock indicated the wind present was blowing across the airplane to its left. The trim tab on the left elevator was displaced downward, which is consistent with nose up trim. The interior in the cockpit was discolored, deformed, and charred. Webbing for the seat belts was not identified in the charred cockpit.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov