PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The National Transportation Safety Board has completed a factual report on an August plane crash that killed the pilot of the experimental airplane. 69-year-old Paul Lee of Pierre died in the August 28 accident, which occurred while Lee’s plane was taking off from the Pierre Regional Airport. The report indicates that when the aircraft was about 50 feet above the ground-as it was leaving the airport-two witnesses observed that the left “gull-wing” entrance door was open and the airplane then went into a series of four up and down pitches. During the last descent, the plane impacted the runway at a steep angle. It slid about 500 feet, stopped on the edge of the runway and started on fire.
The NTSB says the aircraft Lee was piloting was a KLS Composites (Kit) SQ-2000, which Lee bought in 2001. Last April, the NTSB says Lee completed the installation of a Continental IO-360C engine for the craft. In Lee’s construction records, he wrote that it was easy to open the doors during flight, so he had constructed a door lock “clip” to help avoid inadvertent opening of the entrance door. He also in the records said that the aircraft was very pitch sensitive.
The NTSB says several parts of the wreckage were examined. Both “gull-wing” entrance doors were pulled from the plane in the crash. A check of the left entrance door showed a “witness” mark which investigators believe points at the door closing mechanism being in a “partially closed” position. Extensive fire damage on the fuselage around the left door prevented examiners from determining whether the door on that side failed.
An autopsy indicated that Lee died of blunt force injuries. In addition, drugs, carbon monoxide or other substances were not found to be present in his blood.
Now, the factual report is being forwarded to NTSB headquarters where the report will be finalized and a probable cause for the accident will be determined.
Click HERE for NTSB Report
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