Please don't do this in your Lazair

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Postby Dale Kramer » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:58 am

The "New accident report from Transport Canada" home page link does not portray the Lazair fairly. The Lazair as designed will not behave the way the TC report says. If it did indeed happen that way, there are only a few possible causes that TC did not even mention. Some of these are, a CG way out of range, modifications to the design or pilot error.

I have never been able to spin a Lazair and believe me I have tried, one engine, no engine any attitude. Also, even with the stick full back, I have always had control of my heading. They give no date or place of accident to refute the claim.

The only accident I heard of like this was in Kingston. Our dealers brother was killed. There was an inquest and TC provided their results. Amazingly, they said the elevators separated from their hinges in flight. This was ludicrous. The TC investigator's photos of the crash site clearly show the ruddervators attached after the impact that flattened the entire 36 foot leading edge to less than 1 inch thick. When I asked him how this could be he said that they had bounced back in place after impact. The TC investigator's credibility was totally destroyed and the inquest jury accepted my explanation of the cause.

This is what happened:

The pilot was practicing gliding and in air restarting as discussed prior to flight. The pilot had low Lazair time and a full face shield helmet. 500 feet is too low to practice these maneuvers. He turned the engines off with the kill switches and started gliding. The ground was approaching fast so he needed to restart. He leaned out and started pulling the starter rope. As he was pulling and pulling, he inadvertently pushed the stick forward (very easy to do). The engine would not start (he forgot to turn switches back on). His helmet prevented him from feeling the increasing airspeed. His total concentration on the engine that wouldn't start simply focused his vision on it. He simply dove straight in.

The 6 causes:

1. Too low an altitude to practice engine out by a low time pilot.
2. Failure to turn switches back on immediately after engines stop turning.
3. Full face helmet prevented speed sensation.
4. Pushing the stick forward when starting the engines.
5. Tunnel vision on a task that is not important.
6. Failure to FLY the airplane.

I believe that if any one of these causes were removed from the equation, the pilot would be alive today.

I hope in relaying this sad story, a future accident may be avoided.

Dale Kramer
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Postby Shannon » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:07 pm

I agree completely. The reported cause of this crash is pure fantasy. You don't simply stall a Lazair at 500' and perish in an unrecoverable dive.

Lazair Crash in Aviation Safety Letter from Transport Canada. 02.2004 A

Stall at Pattern Altitude Claims Another Life

The pilot of a Lazair ultralight aircraft had taken off to practice touch and go. He was proceeding on a wide left-hand circuit downwind for landing. He had been sequenced number one and as he turned base, witnesses heard both engines stop. The aircraft continued on what looked like a power-off glide back to the airport. As the aircraft approached final, the wings were seen to rock from side to side. The aircraft then nosed over to about a 90° angle and the pilot was unable to recover from the dive, even though the altitude from which it was begun was reported to be close to 500 ft.
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Postby lazair » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:52 am

Hi- I was just reading your posts Dale and Shannon and searched the database for you.

Try these two
article 1

Article 1 -original

Hope this helps and if you have more info you need put up on the site --please let me know.
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Postby Guest » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:42 am

It's pretty frustrating the way that Transport Canada treats ultralights. From different functions that I have attended, it would appear that transport does not do a formal investigation for any ultralight incident. For General Aviation aircraft, all accidents resulting in death, are fully investigated. For Ultralights, only a brief inspection is done. Apparently, whatever the investigator assumes happened becomes the documented fact.
I've thought about that same crash many times. There is no way that a lazair stalled and spun in on final. Unfortunately, this is a common occurance for G.A. fatalities on final approach. The investigator obviously simply chose to treat the Lazair as a G.A. aircraft and that was that.
It's very sad for the ultralight community because we should all have the opportunity to learn from incidents such as these in order to prevent them in the future. Transport doesn't seem to care.
Keep this in mind whenever you read about an ultralight incident. The report you see is most likely based more on speculation than actual fact.

Brian D.

Postby xgary » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:12 am

brian ,, good post there .

Thing is transport canada is the ones who said spin trianing not necessary.

to me that is wrong.
noww can a lazair spin ? i never been able to do it but a spiral can be done and that is what has happened on lazairs befre

lose right engine on takeoff or just after to ater 200 feet and turn right --
now you got a few more things against you
and you try to make it back to runway
===YIKES i smella stall coming and possbily spiral starting.

i seen a lazair do this last year --so let that be a lesson

I think Trans canada should make better pilots all round and have less beuorcratic BS j

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Postby tommyb » Thu Oct 27, 2005 6:34 pm

Yeah well the FAA treats UL and Experimental aircraft like a different class citizens also. I know this first hand being a survivor of a home built plane crash. No matter what evidence they found it was my fualt. And there was a structural defect that cause the incident. Luckily for me I had a friend in hte FAA that got involved and set them straight or it would have been recorded as pilot error- which never looks good in your history
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Postby yankeflyer » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:06 pm

The description below, of a fatal accident is instructive to the ultralight airplane pilot, in that the speed and altitude is similar to ours and the fact that it happened in the airport landing pattern where for the most part, ultralight and experimental aircraft, with a few notable exceptions experience their crashes. One more thing,
I knew this pilot and he has about 20 hours logged in my log book as my instructor.

The report is very kind to him; in that it does not address his actions after the engine failure. Paul was always wheeling and dealing for an inexpensive plane with high hours. I knew Paul for about 10 years, and would rent his current plane project on occasion. Grumman AA1A one hundred horsepower and seriously underpowered but still fun to fly - to the Cessnas and Piper's - Cub`s to Comanches.

The reason I'm adding to this thread is because of the benefit that the engine out training that I applied to my own regime, provided me with the skill and presence of mind to execute successful landings after an unplanned engine out. And a cautionary tale about my personal experience with with a 17,000 hour pilot instructor, commercial and instrument training and ratings on his certificate and in his log books.

During our many flights together Paul was dismissive of all ultralight airplane experience. And as the instructor, Paul seemed to take a special enjoyment in engaging carburetor heat and pulling the throttle back to idle and saying " okay now what are you going to do." As a 500 hour plus ultralight airplane pilot I always had a place to go somewhere underneath me and a plan - Paul's main criticism was that I can't always be headed for the road or highway and that they would probably take my license if I did actually execute an emergency landing on the public road.

In all those exercises Paul seemed to take everything right in stride, right down to treetop level before we applied the power, a man confident in his engines. But on a few occasions I tried to demonstrate to Paul some of the interesting things I learned about ultralights and practicing stalls and working what little control there was while in a full stall.

Riding in that airplane with the stall buzzers screaming and the airplane wings level but desending in an almost out of control experience; absolutely terrified Paul.
Paul was 78 years old with 17,000 hours of flying time, I don't write this to be little or criticize Paul and I'm sure my log book will not have a thousand hours in it by the time my flying time has come and gone. But practicing landings in the pattern with your engines out - saved me and my plane several times. I've had the engine seize up on me just as I was clearing telephone lines and I've had the engine seize at 5000 feet above ground level with just enough altitude and distance to make it to the runway.

I'm looking forward to the new challenges that a twin-engine presents in one engine out situations from either side and with both engines out in glide.

When I read this report that an ultralight stalled at 500 feet and then spiraled in resulting in the death of the pilot-it just seems to leave so many unanswered questions. So my point is just to add to the dialogue, promoting rigorous regime for practicing the engine out emergency situation in your particular aircraft so that -if the situation comes up - your training and automatic responses will overcome the first moments of panic and fear that grabs all of us in those first moments.

Paul's mistake was trying to do the 180 and return to the runway. Assuming that his speed was right at the stall as the engine quit running, the 180 maneuver immediately placed him in a tail wind condition and cost him 9 kn of airspeed. You're lucky if you have that much speed over and above stall speed on takeoff in 140 hp general aviation aircraft. In general aviation training the 180 to return to the runway is in fact described as an action that you never do.

And the same rule would apply in ultralights.

Practice that critical stuff it will keep you alive.

NNTSB Identification: CHI02LA159.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Public Inquiries <>
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 11, 2002 in Hot Springs, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 5/13/2003
Aircraft: Galbraith Piel Emeraude, registration: N71PE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
The amateur-built aircraft sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a loss of power and subsequent loss of control on initial climb. An eyewitness observed the aircraft takeoff and climb to approximately 200 - 300 feet agl. He reported that the aircraft made a sharp right turn and went nose down for one and a half turns before impacting the field. Another witness to the accident observed a white streak behind the airplane after takeoff. The witness reported that the aircraft appeared to turn back to the airport before the engine noise decreased and the airplane went nose down toward the ground. The number three cylinder was removed during an engine teardown and the connecting rod was found broken at the crank journal. The number three cylinder connecting rod sections and rod cap, including the connecting rod bolts and nuts, were submitted to NTSB Materials laboratory for examination. The two connecting rod sections located at the base of the rod caps exhibited fractures that had thumbnail shapes and arrest marks indicative of fatigue propogation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of engine power due to the connecting rod fatigue failure during takeoff climb.
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