Accident CZAW SportCruiser N797BS, Tuesday 6 January 2009
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Date:Tuesday 6 January 2009
Type:Silhouette image of generic CRUZ model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
CZAW SportCruiser
Registration: N797BS
MSN: 08SC115
Total airframe hrs:105 hours
Engine model:Rotax 912ULS
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Casa Grande, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Casa Grande, AZ (KCGZ)
Destination airport:Falcon Field, AZ (KFFZ)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot followed the manufacturer’s before-takeoff checklist, but failed to ensure that the canopy was latched prior to takeoff. The canopy of the Special Light Sport category airplane popped open during the initial climb, about 500 feet above ground. The canopy is hinged in front of the cockpit and rotates upward when open. The pilot said that he tried to keep the canopy closed with his free hand but the canopy continued to rise higher and higher. The pilot turned back to the airport and made an off-field landing. Inspection of the canopy latch mechanism revealed no mechanical anomalies, and the canopy latch hooks aligned with the canopy frame latch slots. When the airplane is static, the canopy will remain in the closed position with the canopy lever in the ‘open’ (unlatched) position. By design the canopy latch lever is positioned behind the pilot’s right elbow, and not in direct view when looking forward or at the instrument panel. The manufacturer does not provide a ‘canopy unlatched’ warning device, and the Pilot Operating Handbook does not include a checklist step to check that the canopy is latched. It also it does not provide procedures for the pilot to execute if the canopy is unlatched or becomes unlatched in flight. The ASTM standard that guides Light Sport Aircraft design does not address canopy latching/locking systems or the associated Pilot Operating Handbook information.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to ensure that the canopy was latched prior to takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the inadequate guidance in the Pilot Operating Handbook regarding canopy procedures.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR09LA075
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 years and 3 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

22-Apr-2020 17:02 ASN Update Bot Added

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