(Aircraft) …Pitched Up, Climbed About 300 Ft, Then Descended Nose-Down In A Right Spiral
Location: Titusville, FL Accident Number: ERA22FA015
Date & Time: October 14, 2021, 15:51 Local Registration: N755V
Aircraft: Velocity SE RG Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On October 14, 2021, about 1551 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Velocity SE RG, N755V, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Titusville, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot owned the airplane and based it at Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida.
According to witness statements, radar data and airport surveillance video, the airplane flew uneventfully from TIX to Sebastian Municipal Airport (X26), Sebastian, Florida during the day of the accident. While at X26, at the airplane kit manufacturer’s facility, the pilot replaced a landing gear up switch fuse as the landing gear was not retracting. The replacement corrected the issue and then the pilot removed the pilot seat and rear seat behind the pilot seat. He left the rear seat at the facility so that maintenance technicians could match color and specifications as the pilot planned to have the interior aesthetics renovated the following month. He then reinstalled the pilot seat and departed X26 uneventfully at 1528 for the return flight.
As the airplane approached runway 9 at TIX, on short final approach, it pitched up, climbed about 300 ft, then descended nose-down in a right spiral. The airplane impacted a grass area about 400 ft right of the runway centerline, and about 2,000 ft from the beginning of the runway. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the wreckage.
The wreckage came to rest upright, oriented about a 230° magnetic heading, and no debris path was observed. The cockpit and cabin were mostly consumed by fire. The wreckage was further examined following recovery to a salvage facility. The flight control stick was not recovered. The pilot’s seat was identified, and the four bolts and their respective hard points remained attached. The pilot’s seat pin was also identified, but the seat frame was bent and separated, consistent with impact forces. A Grand Rapids primary flight display and multifunction display were recovered and retained for data download. The left aileron separated from the wing and was recovered near the wing.
The right aileron also separated from the right wing and was recovered near its wing. Aileron control continuity was confirmed from the separated ailerons through cables, to a bellcrank, to torque tubes, to the cockpit. The canard spar remained intact and fire damage; however, the left and right elevators were not recovered and presumed destroyed in the fire. The elevator pushrod section that connected to the control stick was recovered with no threaded rod end engaged, and the rod end was not recovered. The pushrod section was retained for metallurgical examination. Continuity of the elevator was confirmed through torque tubes, with the exception of the retained pushrod section, to the cockpit. The elevator trim actuator was destroyed, and the preimpact elevator trim setting could not be determined. The left rudder was identified, and the right rudder was not recovered and presumed destroyed. The left rudder bellcrank remained intact and its cable exhibited a broomstraw separation.
The engine came to rest upright, separated from the airframe. The three composite propeller blades remained attached to the hub and all three blades separated about 12 inches from their respective roots. The top spark plugs were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. Borescope examination of the cylinders did not reveal any anomalies. The rear accessory section sustained thermal damage. The engine was retained for further examination.