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Summary

Summary

On 19 September 2006, at approximately 1630 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Boeing Stearman, registered N-73410, experienced a control problem while taxiing. The pilot reported that while conducting engine and power checks the aircraft inadvertently became airborne after hitting a bump on the airstrip that coincided with a gust of wind. He decided to continue with the takeoff intending to complete a circuit and return the aircraft to the airstrip. The pilot reported that after banking to the left, he lost aileron control and the aircraft impacted the ground, flipped over and came to rest in an inverted position. The passenger received minor injuries and the pilot was uninjured. The aircraft was substantially damaged.

The pilot stated that prior to the accident he had engaged the flight controls lock on the aircraft while it was stationary on the airstrip. He reported that during the taxi runs he discovered that the flight controls lock was still engaged so he unlocked it. He subsequently believes that this action was unsuccessful and was why he was unable to control the aircraft during the takeoff.

Five witnesses, who had earlier in the day assisted the pilot to move furniture, reported that they understood from the pilot that if the weather conditions were suitable, three of them would get a flight in the Stearman. The aircraft did not have a current maintenance release and was not airworthy.

The investigation was unable to reconcile the discrepancies between the pilot and witness reports.

 
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