The pilot/builder of the accident airplane stated that the takeoff and initial climb were normal until the airplane reached about 200-300 feet, when the engine began “losing compression.” He further stated that the airspeed began to bleed off, so he lowered the nose to maintain 80 knots and turned the airplane back toward the runway. He said that he was unable to reach the runway, so he decided to land in the grass on the airport property. According to the pilot the landing flare and touchdown were normal, but during the rollout the airplane struck a taxiway sign, became airborne, impacted the ground again on the main landing gear, and then came to a sudden stop in a ditch. It then caught fire and was mostly consumed in the flames. According to the pilot/builder, the airplane had a General Motors automobile conversion V-6 engine, and the accident flight was the first flight after the airplane had been built. Prior to the flight only ground taxi operations had been performed. During takeoff on the first and accident flight, the pilot said he noticed the engine temperature gauge needle showing that the engine was operating at a very high temperature. The pilot/builder said that postcrash examination of the engine could not be accomplished because it had been constructed largely of aluminum and the intense heat of the postcrash fire mostly consumed the engine and melted the aluminum.
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Posted By: Brett FerrellSaturday December 10th, 2005 at 10:54 AM