Nov. 12, Somerset, Pa. / Sea Hawk


At about 13:45 EST, the pilot of an amateur-built Sea Hawk lost control during high-speed taxi tests and inadvertent flight after the engine quit. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft had not been flown in several years. The pilot performed several high speed taxi runs. Later that afternoon, the pilot wanted to perform the same taxi tests, using different increments of flaps. The pilot taxied about a third of the way down the runway, applied power and the airplane lifted about 10 feet off the ground. Then the engine quit and the airplane descended to the left. The engine then regained power, and the pilot decided to land. During the landing, the airplane made numerous contacts with the ground over a distance of 75 feet. The pilot said he had no intention of flight on the day of the accident. An inspector drained fuel from the main tank, located on the upper wing, and discovered red particles, bigger than pepper flakes, similar to the lining of the fuel tank. When he drained fuel from the auxiliary tank, located on the lower wing, it resembled pond scum, and contained an odor consistent with a mixture of aviation fuel and automobile gasoline.


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