Pilot Reported He Was Unable To Steer The Aircraft
The NTSB's preliminary report on a powered parachute accident in Plant City, FL earlier this month includes testimony from the pilot that not everything was right with the aircraft as he and a passenger took off on an instructional flight. Both people on board survived the accident, and a video camera mounted on board has been retained by investigators for further examination.
NTSB Identification: ERA12LA264
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 01, 2012 in Plant City, FL
Aircraft: POWRACHUTE LLC AIRWOLF 912ULS, registration: N415BA
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On April 1, 2012, about 0800 eastern daylight time, an Powerchute LLC Airwolf 912ULS, N415BA, incurred minor damage when it struck trees and terrain during an attempted takeoff from Blackwater Creek Ultralight Flight Park (9FD2), Plant City, Florida. The certificated sport pilot/flight instructor incurred minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to the flight instructor, he was conducting an introductory powered parachute flight with the passenger. The powered parachute had been on display at an air show the previous day, so the flight instructor had taken "extra care" in conducting his preflight inspection. After completing the preflight inspection and briefing the passenger, the flight instructor prepared to depart. The flight instructor had set up the powered parachute adjacent to a turf runway, and eventually planned to depart to the south.
After starting the engine, the flight instructor "kited" the parachute, checked to ensure that it had properly inflated, and checked for other traffic inbound to the turf runway. After applying the throttle, the powered parachute took off, but when the flight instructor attempted to steer the vehicle, he realized that the foot bars were not responding and that he could not directionally control the powered parachute. As the vehicle continued to climb, it struck the tops of a stand of trees located to the east, and ran parallel to the runway. The powered parachute subsequently impacted the ground resulting in serious injury to the passenger.
The powered parachute was equipped with an onboard video camera, which recorded the events that transpired during the accident flight. The recording was retained for further examination.