I’m not yet sure about the tail number, but based on the color scheme, and the fact this airplane was for sale, it seems right. I’ll update this when the NTSB report drops. It looks like from the reporting that the copilot door opened on takeoff, and he tried to return to the airport. I’m not sure which way he turned, but pilots have reported that it’s extremely difficult to control the plane unless you turn AWAY from the open door. I wonder if Andrew had just finished transition training and forgot to latch the door fully as he switched seats? Andrew was hurt, but was released the next day. This airplane was previously in this accident.
According to the chief pilot of Velocity Aircraft, the airplane was recently purchased by the pilot. The sale was brokered by the previous owner, and the airplane was flown to the Velocity facility for a conditional inspection, the installation of new door latches, and delivery to the new owner. The pilot was provided with 3.6 hours of familiarization training in a Velocity company airplane over the two days prior to the accident.
The accident flight was witnessed by the chief pilot and others, and their descriptions of the event were consistent throughout.
The airplane departed runway 28 after a ground roll of approximately 1,000 feet and passing the intersection of runway 05/23. Immediately after rotation, the witnesses watched the right cabin door open. The airplane maintained runway heading briefly, then began a “slow, lingering” left turn back towards runway 05. One witness described the engine sound as increasing and decreasing between idle and full power. The airplane would alternately roll left, then wings level, and roll left again before it ultimately descended to ground contact south of runway 05. The airplane impacted trees near the airport perimeter, where the right wing separated and the fuselage was substantially damaged.
Immediately after the accident, a responding police officer asked the pilot what happened. The pilot reported that he was taking off, and when the airplane reached about 50 feet, at approximately 80-90 knots, “the door blew open.”
In a subsequent interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, the pilot said the airplane “pitched up violently” on takeoff, and wouldn’t respond to nose-down pitch trim.
Posted By: Brett FerrellFriday February 13th, 2015 at 8:56 AM