General Aviation

Published on April 16th, 2015 | by Mark Dwyer


AAIU publish report into Rans S-6 take-off Accident

The aircraft was attempting to take-off from Cloongoonagh Airfield in Co. Mayo, with two occupants on board. It became airborne but then failed to climb away. It landed in a field adjoining the airstrip, sustaining substantial damage. There were no injuries.

The Pilot informed the Investigation that he was attempting to take-off from Runway 02. He stated that RWY 02 was 280 metres (m) in length. There was one passenger on board and the weather was good with a light breeze straight down the runway. He described how, just after the aircraft became airborne, “it seemed to lose the ability to climb out.” It touched down in an adjoining agricultural field, just past the far end of the runway. The Pilot stated that the level of the field was approximately 5 m lower than that of the runway end. The aircraft suffered substantial damage.

The RANS S6-ES Coyote II is a single-engined, two-seat high-wing monoplane microlight. The structure consists of a welded steel cockpit cage, with a bolted aluminium tube rear fuselage, wing and tail surfaces which are all covered in fabric. It had a maximum permitted empty weight of 268 kg and a maximum permitted gross weight of 450 kg.

The runway has a northeast/southwest orientation with a hill towards the centre. The runway orientation is 045°M in the direction of take-off, with the hill about 2/3 of the way along it. The Pilot described how the aircraft became airborne at the top of the hill and the aircraft seemed to descend afterwards. His assessment of the cause of the accident was “possible windshear”, as he was aware that the weather aftercast from EIKN reported wind from variable directions.

The data provided by the LAA shows no evidence of a decline in engine performance over five annual inspections in the years prior to the accident. The Pilot considered that the inability of the aircraft to climb away once it had become airborne may have been due to “windshear”. The wind direction at nearby EIKN was variable around the time of the accident. It is possible that, due to a shifting wind gradient encountered during the take-off run, the aircraft may have encountered a downdraft as it became airborne at the top of the hill. Another potential factor is ground effect. It is possible that the aircraft lifted off in ground effect at the top of the hill, but that due to the topography of the runway, it came out of ground effect before the aircraft had achieved flying speed.

The report makes no safety recommendations. Click HERE to view the latest Air Accident Reports.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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