Sunday, July 3, 2016

Aeronca 11AC, N86078; fatal accident occurred July 03, 2016 near William "Tiny" Zehnder Field Airport (66G), Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Michigan -Kathryn's Report

Eugene L. Root:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Grand Rapids FSDO-09

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA240 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 2016 in Frankenmuth, MI
Aircraft: AERONCA 11AC, registration: N86078
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 July 3, 2016, about 1720 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca Chief AC11, airplane, N86078, impacted terrain near Frankenmuth, Michigan. The private rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal fight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The local flight was originating from the William 'Tiny' Zehnder Field Airport (66G), Frankenmuth, Michigan, at the time of the accident.

Several witness reported seeing the airplane earlier. One witness said the wind was calm, and the pilot was doing "touch-n-goes"; departing to the east and then landing to the west. The witness added that they heard the crash and saw smoke. 

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted about a quarter mile, east of the 66G airport. A post-crash fire consumed much of the airplane. 

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane's engine was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

FRANKENMUTH, MI — Police have identified one of the victims who died in a plane crash that happened in Frankenmuth on July 3.

Police, firefighters and paramedics responded at about 5:22 p.m. on Sunday to the William "Tiny" Zehnder Air Field for the report of a plane crash, according to a press release from Frankenmuth Police Department.

Officers who arrived on the scene found the aircraft completely engulfed in flames, according to police Chief Don Mawer.

The pilot of the aircraft was Eugene Root, 55, of Millington. Root's 9-year-old grandson, also of Millington, was also killed in the crash.

Witnesses said the pilot had kept the aircraft at the air field and was holding a birthday get together at his hanger.

Witnesses also said that the pilot had been performing a maneuver described as "touch and goes," and last observed the aircraft banking right, before losing sight of the aircraft and hearing the impact.

The William "Tiny" Zehnder Air Field is a privately-owned airport run by Frankenmuth Airport Inc. that features a 2530-foot-long turf runway marked by yellow cones.

This investigation has now been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, Mawer said.

Story and video:

A small plane crashed Sunday evening in a field near Frankenmuth, killing two people, the FAA said.

Police responded to an emergency call just before 5:30 p.m. They came upon wreckage near the Curtis Road/Block Road intersection, southeast of Frankenmuth.

A post Monday on the Frankenmuth Police Department Facebook page identified the two victims as Eugene Root, 55, of Millington, and his 9-year-old grandson, who is also from Millington.

Police said Root, the pilot, was holding a “birthday get together” at his hangar at “Tiny Zehnder Air Field.”

“Witnesses stated that the pilot had been performing a maneuver described as ‘touch and goes,’ police said in a statement. “Witnesses last observed the aircraft banking right, before losing sight of the aircraft, and hearing the impact.”

Roland Herwig, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane involved in the crash was a Piper PA 22, described as a “general aviation small airplane.”

The FAA registry indicates the “fixed wing single-engine plane” is based at William “Tiny” Zehnder Field, which is close to the crash site.

Original article can be found here:

FRANKENMUTH TOWNSHIP — A plane crash in Frankenmuth Township has left two dead, according to the Frankenmuth Police Department.

The crash happened around 6:00 p.m. in a field by Curtis Road near Block Road, near the Tiny Zehnder Airfield located along South Block Road in Frankenmuth Township.

The Frankenmuth Police Department says that the 55-year-old pilot, Eugene Root of Millington, was killed in the crash.

Also killed was Root's 9-year-old grandson. The grandson's name was not released.

Police say Root kept his plane at the airfield and was having a birthday party. Police were told Root was performing a maneuver called the "touch and goes" when the crash took place.

The FAA and the NTSB are both now handling the investigation.

Story and video: 

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