NTSB Identification: WPR11FA268
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 19, 2011 in Tehachapi, CA
Aircraft: TRUSTY THORP T-18, registration: N851LT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 19, 2011, about 1720 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Trusty Thorp T-18 airplane, N851LT, impacted a mountain near Tehachapi, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured, the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Santa Ynez Airport (IZA), Santa Ynez, California, about 1630. The flight was destined for Tehachapi Airport (TSP), Tehachapi, California, and no flight plan had been filed.

When the pilot had not checked in with family members upon his expected arrival time at Tehachapi, they called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and an ALNOT (alert notification) was issued at 1900. Family members reported that the pilot had been at his second home, and that the day of the accident he was flying back to Tehachapi. The pilot was dropped off at Santa Ynez airport about 1620; the flight normally takes about 35 to 40 minutes.

The crash site was located in a residential area by a local who was driving home about 2030. The resident stated that debris was on the road (a portion of the door and some Plexi-glass), which caused him to stop. He got out of his car, and looked over the edge of the mountain spotting the wreckage. The resident then called the Stallion Springs Police Department.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (NTSB IIC), and an operations and airworthiness inspectors from the FAA responded to the accident site the following day. The airplane came to rest on a 45-degree slope about 200 feet below the ridgeline of the 4,400-foot mountain. The entire airplane came to rest upright at the accident site. The propeller assembly separated from the airplane and was embedded in the hard dirt about 20 feet below the main wreckage.

The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further inspection.

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