NTSB Identification: ERA14FA093
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Holland, NJ
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 8KCAB, registration: N469J
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 January 15, 2014, about 1615 eastern standard time, an American Champion Aircraft 8KCAB, N469J, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near Holland, New Jersey. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight, which departed De Kalb County Airport (GWB), Auburn, Indiana, and was destined for Alexandria Airport (N85), Pittstown, New Jersey, was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to representatives of the airframe manufacturer, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane, and had departed from their factory in Rochester, Wisconsin, on the morning of the accident to return to his home airport of N85. A fuel receipt recovered from the wreckage noted that the pilot serviced the airplane with 21 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel at GWB at 1143.

A witness reported that while working on a tractor at her dairy farm, she was startled by the sound of a low-flying airplane. She stated that despite the noise of the operating tractor, she heard the airplane overfly her position directly, heading to the east. The airplane sounded "very loud," and the engine sound was smooth and continuous. She looked up and saw the silhouette of an airplane, but due to the dense fog in the area, she could not discern its type or configuration. She believed that the airplane was flying at an altitude above the ground that was less than the nearby high voltage transmission towers, which were estimated to be about 150 feet tall. The elevation at the point where the witness observed the accident airplane was 232 feet mean sea level (msl).

After losing sight of the airplane, she dismounted her tractor and attempted look for the airplane, but again could not see farther than about 125 yards due to the fog. Several seconds later she smelled a unique odor, that she later realized was likely aviation fuel, after having heard reports that an airplane was missing in the area. She subsequently contacted local authorities and advised them that she believed that the airplane may have crashed somewhere near her farm.

The accident site was subsequently located about 2,800 feet east of where the witness last observed the airplane.

The initial impact point (IIP) was identified as an area of tree strikes near the crest of a hill, at an elevation of 417 feet msl. The tree strikes were about 50 feet above ground level. A wreckage path extended beyond the initial tree strikes on a magnetic heading of 100 degrees for about 460 feet.

An examination of the airframe and engine were scheduled for a later date.

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