On August 16, 2001, at 0825 hours Pacific daylight time, an experimental Humphreys Stitts SA6B, N5628, impacted mountainous terrain and burned in the Ruby Mountains, 20 mile east of Elko, Nevada. The commercial certificated pilot was seriously injured and the student pilot certificated second pilot received minor injuries. The amateur-built airplane was destroyed. The local area personal flight was operated by the owner under 14 CFR Part 91, and departed from Elko at 0728. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The second (student) pilot had recently purchased the airplane and planned to fly it solo on the morning of the accident. He told an inspector from the Reno, Nevada, Flight Standards District Office that the first pilot landed in Elko that morning in an air taxi/cargo aircraft and asked if he could go flying with the student pilot. According to the student pilot/owner, he was letting the other pilot fly the airplane. The first pilot maneuvered into a mountain canyon and the owner/student pilot expressed his reservations. The canyon was a "box" canyon and the terrain rose faster that the 100-horsepower airplane could climb. The first pilot attempted, too late, to reverse course and, as they were turning to fly back down the canyon, the airplane shook in pre-stall buffet while about 5 feet above ground level. The pilot lowered the nose and they crashed.
In his report to the Safety Board, in the section on recommendations for preventing the accident, the first pilot wrote "more familiarity with terrain and aircraft performance." The pilot reported there were no mechanical malfunctions with the aircraft, and that the accident site elevation was approximately 7,200 feet msl.