Friday, July 04, 2014

Zenith CH601-HDS Super Zodiac, N4263: Accident occurred July 04, 2014 near Aero Estates Airport (T25), Frankston, Texas 

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA342 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 04, 2014 in Frankston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/2015
Aircraft: SLAUGHTER MIKE CH601-HDS, registration: N4263
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and passenger were returning home after attending a fly-in at another airport. The passenger reported that, during the descent to land, the pilot spotted a boat on the lake that they were overflying and began to follow it at low altitude. The pilot then made a steep turn, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. The pilot then lost airplane control, and the airplane subsequently impacted the water. The pilot and passenger were rescued by nearby boaters. The airplane wreckage was not recovered from the water; neither the pilot nor passenger reported any anomalies with the airplane before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering at low altitude, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to make a steep turn at low altitude.

On July 4, 2014, at 1405 central daylight time, a Slaughter CH601-HDS ultralight airplane, N4263, impacted Lake Palestine, Texas, near Frankston, Texas, while maneuvering at low altitude. The pilot was seriously injured and the passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Mineola Airport (3F9), Mineola, Texas, and was en route to Aero Estates Airpark (T25), Frankston, Texas.

According to statements provided to FAA Inspectors and law enforcement officers, the pilot and his son were returning to T25 after attending a fly-in at 3F9. The son said that during their descent to T25, the pilot spotted a boat and began to follow it at low altitude. The pilot then made a steep turn and stalled the airplane, lost control, and impacted the water. The pilot and passenger were rescued by nearby boaters.

The wreckage remained in the lake and was not available for examination. Neither occupant indicated there were any system malfunctions with the airplane prior to the accident and indicated fuel exhaustion did not occur.

 Gary Buster recovering in hospital.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The pilot who crashed his plane into Lake Palestine on the Fourth of July is singing praises from his hospital bed. Father and son, Gary and Aaron Buster crashed into the lake and were saved by nearby boaters. Tuesday, from the hospital, Gary is still counting all of the ways that the crash turned into a blessing.

"All things considered, this is a pretty good outcome," says Gary Buster.

While cooped up and recovering in a Tyler hospital, Buster has replayed what went wrong over and over in his mind.

"I just missed it by that much," says Buster while pinching his fingers together. "I ran out of airspace. When you're too low, you're too slow for the airspeed and you have a quartering air wind... I needed to increase the speed before doing any maneuvers," he explains.

Buster says he and his son, Aaron, hit the water at 120 miles per hour. The crash was a momentary scare, followed by a series of blessings.

"[Aaron] immediately turned around and became my blessing and said, 'Dad, you need to undo your seat belt right now,' so I said, 'Ok.' I undid my seat belt and realized I better take a breath first," recalls Buster.

Seconds later, the men were surrounded by holiday boaters who also happened to be nurses and scuba rescue divers.

"They were all at the right place at the right time," says Buster.

Now he says says it's only right that he tells them how thankful he is.

"For all of the people that lent a hand, that pushed [on my head to stop the bleeding], that held an umbrella over us, that had a boat, that threw out a life jacket, that helped me get onto a backboard, that held my toe up so my foot was in the right position so I wasn't screaming --because my foot was flippity floppity-- all of those people... I need to pat on the back and say, 'Oh, thank you so much for being there,'" says Buster.

Buster believes it's "painfully obvious" God still needs him here.

"He'll let me heal up and however I heal up, off I'll go marching in that direction," Buster says. He plans to go off in whatever direction he's supposed to go, doing whatever it is, he says, he must still be here to do. Aaron Buster had a serious sprain but was released from the hospital days ago. Gary Buster suffered a compound fracture in his right leg. Doctors are monitoring his injuries to prevent an infection. Buster says he'll have another plane soon and when he's well, he'll be back up in the sky. The Zenith Zodiac Buster was flying was an experimental plane with a $35,000 value and it was not insured.

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