May 1, Salem, Ore. / Christavia Mark I


At 08:18 PDT, a homebuilt Christavia Mark I kitplane pitched down and crashed while on short final to runway 34 at McNary Field. The pilot was uninjured. The pilot reported that he took off from runway 13 for the initial test flight following installation of a new engine. The airplane was nose-heavy during climb out and the pilot declared an emergency and turned back toward the field. During the approach the nose of the aircraft abruptly pitched down when the pilot reduced power for landing. He was unable to recover control. The center of gravity at the time of the accident was found to lie one-half inch forward of the forward-most cg limit for the airplane. The pilot/builder reported that he had made two changes within the aircraft after having worked up the basic aircraft cg calculations. He had replaced the aircraft battery, which was located forward of the cockpit, with a larger unit weighing 7 pounds more than the former battery. He had also replaced the engine exhaust assembly with a newer, stainless steel system, which weighed 2 to 3 pounds more than the former one.


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