On June 8, 1998, at 0915 hours mountain standard time, a Fones Z-Max 1300, N140FF, collided with the terrain during an off-airport landing approximately 10 miles east of the Buckeye, Arizona, airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The local flight originated from the Buckeye airport at 0600. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that as he was flying, the engine temperature began to increase and he decided to make a precautionary landing in an open field for safety reasons. The pilot later stated to the Fire Department personnel that he decided to land in that area so he could buy a drink at the local grocery store. During the final approach, the pilot banked the aircraft to the right to avoid a barbed wire fence and the aircraft touched down approximately 1,200 feet short of the landing zone. The aircraft impacted an area of high brush, nosed over, and broke in half aft of the cockpit.

The pilot holds a student pilot certificate/third-class medical dated December 3, 1993. The pilot reported that he has approximately 67 hours of total flight time, including 37 hours in the accident aircraft. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the pilot's logbook. He reported that the logbook showed approximately 30 hours of flight instruction dating back to 1993, as well as a tail wheel endorsement from a certified flight instructor made approximately 5-6 months prior to the accident. The aircraft has no airworthiness certificate, nor is there an application for one, according to the pilot. The pilot reported that he thought the airplane was considered to be an ultralight, and therefore, not subject to airplane regulations.

The FAA inspector conducted an examination of the airplane and reported that the aircraft was constructed primarily of plywood and fabric. The seat belts were out of a Chevy van and were held together with wooden screws. The shoulder harnesses were backpack straps. There was a coffee can welded to the exhaust with holes poked in it. The inspector found no evidence of engine overheating.

The pilot stated that he did not have the drawing plans or logbooks for the aircraft.

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