An experimental, build-it-yourself Velocity 173 RG aircraft crashed into the living room of a house in Las Vegas Friday morning shortly after takeoff from the North Las Vegas airport, killing the pilot and two people inside the home, the AP reports. The pilot and one resident of the house died at the crash site, while the other died after being taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. The names of the victims have not been released.
The AP reports the Velocity that crashed was certified for flight by the FAA in 2002. The Velocity—which costs between $55,000 and $150,000 depending on the kit—is constructed in sections and can be dismantled by removing about 10 bolts and some screws. The maximum width of the fuselage, without the wings attached, is 12 feet.
The Velocity's body is made from fiberglass and can be built without power tools, such as spray guns, sanders, saws, or an air compressor, the company's Web site says. Even with a larger engine, the company's recommended load is about 1,100 pounds (with 70 gallons of fuel on board, that leaves 580 pounds for passengers and luggage). The more the plane is weighted down, the more runway it needs for takeoff and landing.
The company's Web site claims it has "never had any type of structural failure in the Velocity." The site further says that most of the accidents or incidents in the Velocity are "of the fender bender variety where a small amount of damage and no injuries occur" but still encourages builders to have their aircraft checked at a Velocity facility prior to the first flight.
The Velocity's crash comes less than two weeks after a homebuilt Titan Tornado ultralight aircraft—capable of hitting 90 mph—crashed into an oncoming car after landing on the highway near San Bernardino County’s Mojave Valley. The pilot successfully executed an emergency landing onto the roadway but collided with the car when he tried to take off again.
(Image courtesy of Velocity, Inc.)