On March 19, 1997, at 1530 hours Pacific standard time, an experimental Passadori Norman Breezy, N16KB, collided with trees while maneuvering at a low altitude near Gilroy, California. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured, one passenger was seriously injured, and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight which departed about 1510 from the Hollister, California, municipal airport.

In an interview with inspectors from the FAA San Jose Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) on March 26, 1997, the passenger, also an airline transport pilot, reported that the pilot had fueled the aircraft to capacity before takeoff from Hollister. The passenger was in the rear seat of the 125-horsepower aircraft as they climbed from takeoff toward a ridge line separating them from their sightseeing destination, Coyote Reservoir. They were climbing slowly up a canyon at low altitude when the pilot acknowledged that the aircraft was not climbing fast enough to clear the ridge. The pilot attempted to reverse course to the right, but during the turn the aircraft mushed and the right wing struck a tree. The aircraft then cartwheeled onto the ground. The passenger stated that there were no mechanical problems with the aircraft.

The pilot's son told the same FSDO inspectors that this was the third aircraft of this type that his father had owned. His father had commented that this airplane was under-powered and that he was considering installing a 150-horsepower engine.

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