High-performance homemade planes like the one that killed a beach jogger last week in South Carolina are prone to stall, especially when going slower while waiting to land, and have been involved in a disproportionately large number of fatal accidents, federal officials warned Thursday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a safety advisory to pilots that the Lancair, which is built from kits, and others like it have design characteristics that allow the planes to fly much faster than most small planes. However, the agency says, those characteristics can also "expose pilots to additional risk during slowspeed operations while close to the ground and with little time to recover from an unintentional stall."
The agency also cautioned that since the planes are built by amateurs each one "may have unique flight handling characteristics."
An FAA analysis found that the planes have experienced fatal accident rates substantially higher than other small, personal use planes, including other types of planes made from kits, the advisory said.
Lancair kits are made by Lancair International Inc. of Redmond, Ore.