NTSB Identification: WPR14FA165
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 2014 in Mariposa, CA
Aircraft: WILLIAMS MYRON G BOWERS FLY BABY 1A, registration: N6054Q
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 April 11, 2014, at 1007 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Bowers (Williams Myron G) Fly Baby 1A, N6054Q, collided with wooded terrain near Mariposa, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, Mariposa, about 0930. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A witness, located about 2.8 miles northwest of Mariposa airport, was outside and observed an airplane approaching from the southeast, flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). It began a left turn as it approached, and appeared to be descending. He described the engine as making a "missing" sound, as if power was intermittently being interrupted. The airplane then began a right turn, arcing around his location, and by the time it had passed behind him it had reached an altitude of about 300 feet agl. It then gradually rolled out of the turn, and proceeded to fly towards the hills to the northeast. By then the engine sound appeared muffled, and the airplane appeared to have slowed down considerably. The nose began to pitch up to about 30 degrees, almost parallel with the slope of the hill as it disappeared out of his view behind trees. He did not hear any other sounds, but assumed the airplane had crashed. He then asked a family member to call 911; dispatch records from the Mariposa County Sheriff department revealed that the call was made at 1008.

The airplane came to rest at the base of an oak tree, within densely wooded terrain at an elevation of 2,250 feet mean sea level (msl), on the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 3 miles northwest of Mariposa-Yosemite Airport. The terrain surrounding the accident site was comprised of grasses, and poison oak, interspersed with rocky out croppings and oak varieties ranging from saplings to 20-feet-tall trees. The general direction of the airplane was 60 degrees magnetic, facing uphill on a 20-degree slope. Directly above the airplane, a swath of freshly cut branches projected from the location of the wings upwards at an angle about 10 degrees past vertical. Although the airplane was surrounded by trees, no other damage to limbs or branches was noted.

The wings came to rest inverted, with the forward fuselage and engine located underneath the wing root. The tailcone and empennage structure had separated aft of the seat, was found on its right side, and appeared undamaged. Both wings sustained forward crush damage to their leading edges. The entire structure forward of the tailcone was completely fragmented, with the firewall becoming compressed against the rear of the engine. All flight controls within the cockpit exhibited varying degrees of bending damage, but remained functionally intact. The fuel tank had sustained multiple breaches, and was detached and located within the center section of the wreckage.

The airplane was not equipped with an electrical system; as such neither a transponder, nor any form of communications device was installed. The airplane was not equipped with an ELT.

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