The fatal aircraft crash near Oliver Springs Airport occurred shortly after takeoff on Saturday, July 13, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The crash of the Quicksilver MXII was reported at 5:18 p.m. July 13, the NTSB said. The airplane was an experimental, amateur-built model, the board said. It was a two-place, open cockpit, high-wing airplane made of aluminum tubes and fabric with a 50-horsepower Rotax 503 engine and three-blade propeller.
The non-certified pilot, who owned the plane, was fatally injured in the crash, which was on the other side of a tree line east of the airport. The pilot has been identified as Patrick Lucas, 45, of Morristown.
The Quicksilver took off headed mostly north on runway 33. But after takeoff, the airplane appeared to “crab into the wind,” the NTSB said, citing a witness. That would generally mean that it was turned somewhat sideways from its forward direction of travel in order to counteract winds from the side, or crosswinds.
After crabbing into the wind, the airplane then started turning right, toward the trees on the east side of the airport, the NTSB said. The witness reported that the wings were rocking.
The airplane climbed over the trees, turned left, and descended out of view, the NTSB said.
“He (the witness) then heard the airplane impact the terrain,” the report said.
The Quicksilver hit the ground with its nose down, the NTSB said, about 800 feet northeast of runway 33 on flat, grassy terrain.
Another witness said Lucas had purchased the airplane several weeks before the crash and might have flown the aircraft “once or twice” before the final flight, the NTSB said.
“In addition, he (the second witness) was surprised that the pilot elected to fly at the time of the accident because the air was becoming unstable and breezy,” the report said.
A mobile phone video dated July 7, six days before the crash, showed two people in the airplane as it moved along a taxiway toward the camera, the NTSB said. After the airplane stopped, the person in the right seat was asked, “What do you think about that?” the report said. The man responded, “It still…pulls hard to the right,” the NTSB said.
It’s not clear from the report if the person who said the plane pulled hard to the right was Lucas.
Lucas did not have a pilot or medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, the NTSB said.
The NTSB said a weather station about four miles east of the crash site about 30 minutes after the crash observed variable winds at 4 knots, a visibility of 10 statute miles, and clear skies.
The Quicksilver had been issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental amateur-built category on May 11, 1983, the report said.
See the NTSB preliminary report here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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