29 Nov Updated Information about the Bugatti 100P Crash
On November 22, 2017, the NTSB released the final report on the crash that occurred on August 6, 2016. The report is publicly available on the NTSB website. The Accident ID number is CEN16FA307.
With the release of the report, we are now able to comment on the many questions we have received about the cause of the accident.
It is clear that there was a loss of power to the forward propeller, this is documented by the GoPro cameras that were mounted in the cockpit and is consistent with the eyewitness accounts. Having analysed the cockpit video, the external video and the wreckage, the only reasonable conclusion is that the power failure in the forward engine drive train was the result of a clutch failure in the forward engine.
The degradation in the power transfer from the engine to the propeller is demonstrated clearly by the engine RPM increasing while the air speed and rate of climb remained steady at first and then degenerated. To be clear, the NTSB did not analyse the engines or their integral clutches, so it is our own team that has drawn this conclusion as the only logical explanation.
The power failure occurred gradually, just after the aircraft became airborne, but appeared to become progressively worse (possibly to the point where there was no thrust provided by the forward propeller) leaving Scotty no choice but to attempt to clear the perimeter fence at the end of the runway or face crashing into it head-on. We can infer from the video, where Scotty’s actions are clearly visible, that he was calm, clearly in control, and clearly aware that he was experiencing a power failure. We can further deduce that, as soon as Scotty cleared the perimeter fence, he began attempting to maneuver for an emergency landing in the field where the crash occurred. He had only 80-100 feet of altitude, no ability to climb, and no room to maneuver the plane into the proper attitude. These events took place in just under two seconds as he fought off one apparent stall, turn the airplane into safe landing area, with the air speed dropping below the stall speed.
To an individual, those that have viewed the data and have the flight experience agree that sadly there was absolutely nothing Scotty could have been done to avoid the crash.
Frank has written document with a chronological evaluation of the accident. You may download the report using the link below.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has assisted in the investigation, for the support we have all received over the past 15 months, and to you all for your continued patience whilst we awaited the formal outcome.
Once again we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many tens of thousands of people that we have over the years shared emails with, met, shared stories, laughed, worked, travelled continents, and made history with. Please take a moment to join us in remembering with honour and humility the man that pioneered, built, and was the only person in the world to ever fly the Bugatti100p – Scotty Wilson.