Loss of control Accident Van's RV-12 N212ZF,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 199302
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Date:Thursday 31 August 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic RV12 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Van's RV-12
Registration: N212ZF
MSN: 120136
Year of manufacture:2011
Total airframe hrs:153 hours
Engine model:Rotax 912ULS
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport (KUMP), Fishers, IN -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Indianapolis, IN (UMP)
Destination airport:Indianapolis, IN (UMP)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A private pilot departed on a local flight in his experimental, amateur-built airplane equipped with a tip-up (forward-opening) canopy. A witness saw the airplane during its initial climb after takeoff and stated that it descended "straight down and burst into a ball of flames" upon impact. Examination of the accident site revealed that items from the cabin were found on the ground near the runway threshold and before the impact site. There were no preimpact anomalies of the airframe or engine and kit manufacturer fuel tank Service Bulletins were compiled with.

The airplane's before takeoff checklist stated, "Canopy – CHECK Latched." However, the metal canopy latching mechanisms on the roll bar frame exhibited soot-colored discoloration and its polyethylene latch block was not present, and the latch handle on the canopy was intact, not deformed, and not discolored, consistent with the latch being unsecured at the time of impact. Additionally, the presence of items from the cockpit before the impact site is consistent with the canopy opening in flight.

About 9 months before the accident, the kit manufacturer published a service letter regarding the in-flight opening of tip-up canopies. The letter stated that, based on previous events, the aircraft will most likely pitch nose down abruptly if the canopy opens in flight. The severity of the pitching moment can depend on speed, attitude, and weight and balance. The letter further stated that most instances of in-flight canopy openings were the result of the pilot forgetting to latch the canopy properly before takeoff, and cautioned pilots to ensure that the latching mechanism fully engaged as designed. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the accident pilot failed to properly latch the canopy before takeoff, did not maintain airplane control following the canopy opening, and the airplane subsequently impacted terrain to the extent that the incorporated service bulletins remedies did not keep the fuel tank from breaching, causing the ground fire.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to latch the canopy before takeoff, and his failure to maintain pitch control following the in-flight opening of the canopy during the initial climb resulting in a subsequent impact with terrain and ground fire.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CEN17FA334
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

01-Sep-2017 00:15 Geno Added
01-Sep-2017 07:51 Anon. Updated [Damage]
01-Sep-2017 17:14 harro Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]
15-Sep-2017 15:29 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Nov-2019 17:39 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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