On September 9, 2013 about 1300 Alaska daylight time, an experimental light sport (E-LSA) homebuilt Whedbee Kenneth Mikel, Zenith CH-701 airplane, N701MG, sustained substantial damage after it impacted the ground, following a loss of control, about 4 miles northwest of Big Lake, Alaska. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the sole passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to, and operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal local flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Kucera Residence Airport, Big Lake, Alaska about 1218.

According to a family member of the pilot, a large male grizzly bear had been leaving tracks on the family's private runway over the last several years. When a report came in that the grizzly had been seen protecting a moose kill in the area, the pilot decided to take the airplane, and see if he could locate the bear.

The surviving passenger was not available for an interview, and did not provide a statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC).


The pilot, age 66, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He did not hold a FAA medical certificate, nor was he required to while operating an E-LSA airplane.

No personal flight log books were located for the pilot.


The accident airplane was an experimental amateur built, Zenith CH-701. The airplane was purchased by the pilot from an amateur builder as a partially completed kit in June of 2009, and was completed by the pilot, and issued an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate with experimental limitations on June 17, 2010.

The airplane was equipped with a Rotax 912 ULS engine, capable of producing 100 horsepower.

Maintenance logbooks for the airplane were not available for review.


The closest fully operational weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was the Birchwood Airport, about 17 miles southeast of the accident site. At 1256, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: wind 230 degrees at 3 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, clear; temperature, 55 degrees F; dew point, 50 degrees F; altimeter, 29.70 inches Hg.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) reached the accident site on the afternoon of September 10.

The on-scene examination revealed that the airplane impacted in a near vertical attitude, in an area of sparsely populated dead spruce trees that were once consumed by forest fire, at an elevation of about 200 feet mean sea level. The airplane came to rest upright, in a nose-low attitude, and was resting on a tangled mass of dead fallen trees and branches. The nose of the airplane was on an approximate 290 degree heading (All headings/ bearings noted in this report are magnetic).

All of the airplanes major components were found at the main wreckage site.

The cockpit area was extensively damaged. The engine, firewall, and instrument panel were displaced upward and aft. The throttle was found near the full-forward position. The ignition switch was in the "both" position.

The airplanes left wing exhibited extensive spanwise leading edge aft crushing. Both the inboard and outboard flaperons remained attached to their respective attach points. The inboard portion of the inboard flaperon was crushed against the side of the fuselage.

The right wing was displaced forward about 45 degrees forward of its normal orientation with the fuselage, and had separated near the rear wing attach point. The inboard flaperon separated at the inboard attach point, but remained attached at the outboard attach point. The outboard flaperon remained attached to its respective attach points.

The horizontal and vertical stabilizer, elevators, and rudder remained attached to the empennage, and were free of impact damage.

The propeller hub assembly remained attached to the engine crankshaft. One of the three composite propeller blades remained attached to the hub assembly, was straight and relatively free of impact damage. The second propeller blade separated near the hub assembly, was bent forward about midspan, and exhibited leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. The third propeller blade separated near the hub assembly, and exhibited light chordwise scratching.

All the primary flight control surfaces were identified at the accident site, and flight control continuity was verified from all of the primary flight control surfaces to the cockpit.

The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


A post mortem examination was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on September 10, 2013. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Civil Aeromedical Institute performed toxicology examinations for the pilot on October 22, 2013, which was negative for carbon monoxide, and ethanol. The toxicological examination revealed unspecified levels of Yohimbine in the pilot's blood and urine, and unspecified levels of Isoproterenol in the urine.

Yohimbine (trade name Aphrodyne) is a prescription medication commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. Yohimbine is also sold in health food stores as a dietary supplement.

Isoproterenol is typically used as an intravenous therapy to treat patients in shock, consistent with clinical treatment used during resuscitation events. Rarely, the drug is used in the treatment for asthma.

No personal medical records were located for the pilot.


On November 7, the NTSB IIC, along with two FAA air safety inspectors from the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and a representative of Rotax Aircraft Engines, performed a test run on the accident engine at the facilities of Kucera Residence Airport, Big Lake, Alaska. The engine remained attached to the fuselage, and fuel was introduced to the engine through the fuel inlet line just prior to the engine driven fuel pump. The engine started without hesitation or stumbling, and ran to full throttle.

No anomalies were noted that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated horsepower.

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