Clutch Failure Eyed In Bugatti Crash

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Although the NTSB has yet to offer its own judgment, the builders of a replica of the Bugatti 100p that crashed in 2016, killing its main proponent, say they’ve concluded a clutch failure on the forward propeller assembly of the unusual aircraft led to its crash. Scotty Wilson, 66, died when the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Burns Flat, Oklahoma, on Aug. 6, 2016. It was only the third flight of the aircraft, which was a replica of a plane designed and built for racing by famed car designer Ettore Bugatti but never flown. The aircraft had two engines behind the cockpit, each driving single counterrotating props with shafts on either side of the cockpit. The NTSB issued a factual report on the crash this week noting one of the engines revved to nearly redline during the takeoff.

The pilot reduced power to that engine and the aircraft first banked left, then right less than 100 feet above the ground before banking left again and crashing inverted in a field. The wooden aircraft was consumed in a post-crash fire. On its Facebook page, the people behind the unique project said their analysis of the data assembled by the NTSB points to only one possible explanation. “The only reasonable conclusion is that the power failure in the forward engine drivetrain was the result of a clutch failure in the forward engine," the group said in a post.

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