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|Couple Survive Canopy Loss In Wichita|
|Author:www.av8r… NewsSource:www.av8r.net Hits: Update Time:2006-2-21|
RV-4 Loses Canopy On Take-Off, Crash Landing Follows
Roger and Stella Spane of Wichita are recovering from injuries suffered in a harrowing crash landing at Wichita's Jabara Airport Friday afternoon.
They were taking off in Spane's modified RV-4 at about three PM, when the canopy, which did not appear to be a standard RV kit part, let go at about 50' AGL, injuring both of the occupants and -- some press reports say -- causing Spane to lose control. (Considering the outcome, that's not certain).
He put the plane down hard and it slid about 100 feet on its belly.
News reports from Wichita say that he landed "gear-up," but the normal RV-4 is a fixed, conventional gear airplane, and it is more probable that the gear simply failed but were not visible to onlookers. The airport was closed for approximately two hours, until the damaged RV could be removed from the runway.
Aero-News was able to examine, but does not have permission to reprint, a photo of the mishap aircraft. The light grey or silver RV lay upright on the runway, with no sign of the canopy, and the engine mount failed about 15 degrees down from the airplane's normal axis (another indicator of a possible failure of the RV's Wittman-type landing gear).
The injuries to the Spanes are reported to be "not life-threatening," and damage to the airplane, while substantial, does not seem likely to be irreparable. The O-320 powered plane, N437T, was given the serial number 84 by Spane when he registered it with the FAA. Some RV builders observe the convention of using the RV kit number as their serial number, in which case Spane's RV-4 is quite an early RV-4 kit.
He completed the kit and received his Certificate of Airworthiness in April, 2004.
A lost canopy sounds like an almost trivial problem, but it has led to fatal mishaps in the past. On January 24, 2001, a pilot and passenger perished when the rear canopy of their Aero L-39 failed, possibly from a bad seal or improper cleaning fluids, leading the pilot to lose control of the aircraft.
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