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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA19FA200
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 26, 2019 in Fletcher, NC
Aircraft: RANS S6, registration: N661PF
Injuries: 2 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 June 26, 2019, about 1030 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Rans S-6S, N661PF, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near the Six Oaks Airport (NC67), Fletcher, North Carolina. The commercial pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by PF Flyers Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

According to the owner of the airplane, the commercial pilot had asked to use the accident airplane for the purpose of a flight review. The owner reported that the commercial pilot had flown the airplane the day prior to the accident about the same time of day and he did not report any issues with the airplane. The owner reported that the airplane was topped off with non-ethanol automobile gas the day prior to the accident.

According to a witness, who was also a private pilot, he reported that he was in his truck and observed the accident airplane flying "erratic." He pulled his truck over at a gas station, which was about 1/2-mile from the accident site, and subsequently observed the airplane enter two "cascading [aerodynamic] stalls" and then enter a "classic spin." The airplane completed one and a half turns in the spin, before it descended out of his view. He further reported he could not hear the engine, as the windows in his truck were closed.

A Garmin 496 GPS device was found at the accident site. Preliminary data from the accident flight containing flight track, GPS altitude, time, heading, and groundspeed information were extracted from the unit. The recorded data began at 0955:25 and at 1004, groundspeed and GPS altitude data consistent with a takeoff from runway 6 at NC67 was recorded. The flight track then showed the airplane flying about 7 miles northeast of NC67, where the airplane performed a variety of maneuvers and then navigated back to NC67. At 1022, the flight track showed the airplane complete a series of spiral descending turns, enter the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, and land on runway 24 about 1025.

At 1026:08, data consistent with another takeoff on runway 6 was recorded. The data continued and revealed that the airplane gained about 500 ft in altitude, climbing northeast, about 57-65 knots groundspeed. At 1027:57, the groundspeed decreased to 49 knots, then 7 seconds later a groundspeed of 10 knots was recorded, and subsequently the GPS altitude decreased rapidly. The last data point recorded was at 10:28:38 and the location was about 10 ft from the main wreckage site.

The initial impact point was located in a flat open cow pasture about 65 ft from the main wreckage and the wreckage path was oriented on a 070° heading. Fragments of propeller and engine cowling were co-located with the initial impact point. The airplane sustained extensive impact damage and came to rest upright on a heading of 245°, partially laying on its right side, with a portion of the left wing elevated above the fuselage. There was no evidence of fire.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The left flap was found retracted, and the right flap was found partially extended. The left wing fuel tank was found empty, the tank was not breached, and the left fuel cap remained installed tight. When low pressure air was blown through the forward and aft fuel ports, air flowed freely. The right-wing fuel tank was full and the fuel cap was found installed tight. When the forward and aft right tank fuel ports were cut by recovery personnel, fuel flowed freely. A sample of fuel from the right tank appeared unremarkable with no debris observed and it tested negative for water when water finding paste was submerged in the fuel sample.

The cockpit section sustained significant impact damage. The two seats remained attached to the airframe. The seatbelts and shoulder harnesses had been cut by first responders. The flap handle was found in the "first notch" (first position from retracted). The airspeed indicator read 0 knots. The g-meter instrument had three indicator needles. The first needle indicated 3/4 positive G's. The second needle indicated negative 2.5 G's, and the third needle indicated negative 4 G's.

The throttle lever was found full forward. The engine choke lever was stowed. All circuit breakers were found in. The trim indicator needle was found in the takeoff position. The ignition switches were both found in the on position by the first responders and were moved to off during their activities. The on/off fuel shut off valve (SOV) was found on and was moved to off by the first responders. Low pressure air was blown through the fuel SOV with the valve open, and air flowed freely.

The engine remained attached to the firewall and sustained impact damage. During an engine examination, the crankshaft was rotated by hand and valve train continuity was established. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was attained on all cylinders. All spark plugs were removed and displayed normal operating and combustion signatures. The left and right carburetors remained intact. When both were opened, fuel was observed inside the bowls and no debris was found. The propeller hub contained fragment splinters of the propeller blades, and the majority of the blades had separated from the hub.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen records, the pilot receiving the flight review held a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on February 27, 2018. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 13,560 total hours.

Review of his most recent logbook revealed that he accumulated 18 hours of flight time in the past 30 days, 37 hours in the past 90 days, and 72 hours in the past 6 months. In the past two years, the logbook contained 3.3 hours of flight time in the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was completed in June 2018 with a different flight instructor than he was flying with for the accident flight review.

According to FAA airmen records, the flight instructor providing the flight review held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot completed the Basic Medical certification on September 4, 2018. He was issued an FAA special issuance third-class medical certificate on September 28, 2017. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 8,500 total hours.

Review of his most recent logbook revealed that he accumulated 8.7 hours of flight experience in the past 30 days, 25 hours in the past 90 days, and 56 hours in the past 6 months. His most recent flight review was completed in July 2018. Review of the pilot's logbooks dating back to the accident airplane's manufacturer date of 2007 revealed the pilot had not logged any flights in the airplane. The owner of the airplane also reported he was unaware of any flight time that the flight instructor proving the flight review had in the accident airplane.

The single-engine high-wing airplane was powered by a Rotax 912 UL four-cylinder engine, that drove a Warp Drive fixed pitch propeller. According to airplane maintenance records, a condition inspection was completed on June 10, 2019. At the time of inspection, the Hobbs meter indicated 158.8 hours. The Hobbs meter read 161.4 when viewed at the accident site.

The 1054 the weather conditions reported at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Asheville, North Carolina, about 5 miles southwest of the accident site, included visibility 10 miles, clear skies, wind 350° at 10 knots, temperature 25°C, dew point 16°C, barometric pressure 30.26 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.