Friday, January 13, 2017

Steen Skybolt, N94RG: Fatal accident occurred January 12, 2017 in Era, Cooke County, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Lycoming Engines; Arlington, Texas
NTX FDSO; Irving, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  Fort Worth

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA075
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 12, 2017 in Era, TX
Aircraft: FIELDS Steen Skybolt, registration: N94RG
Injuries: 1 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 January 12, 2017, between 1100 to 1200 central standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Fields Steen Skybolt airplane, N94RG, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain after a loss of control near Era, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight departed from the pilot's private grass airstrip located less than 1/2 mile from the accident site at an unknown time.

A witness reported that he was outside his house when he heard an airplane flying aerobatics. He said that he heard the airplane do 2 to 3 passes and he could hear the engine "cycling under load as they do in airshows." He went to the other side of the house where he could observe the airplane. He said he saw the airplane in a Hammerhead climb (going straight up in a climb), and then it entered a slow spiraling descent straight down. He did not hear the engine noise while the airplane was in the descent. He was certain it was spiraling down and not in a flat spin, but he was less certain if it was in a right or left spiral. He said he saw the airplane do about 4 spirals before it went out of sight behind the rising terrain. It did not appear to him that there was any attempt to recover from the descent. He clearly heard the engine during the climb, but did not hear the engine rev up during the descent. He was uncertain about what altitude the airplane was at when it was at the top of the hammerhead maneuver. He said he observed the airplane sometime between 1100 and 1200, and that the temperature outside was very warm and the sky was "incredibly" clear.

The accident site was in a pasture and the wreckage was located about 1,100 feet from the departure end of the north runway of the pilot's grass airstrip on a 350-degree bearing. The damage to the engine cowling, cockpit, and wing surfaces indicated that the airplane collided with the terrain in about a 45-degree nose down attitude. The engine compartment, fuselage, wings, and empennage exhibited crushing and buckling from the ground impact, but the airplane remained intact. There was no post-impact ground fire. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The elevator trim continuity was confirmed from the elevator trim control to the elevator trim tabs. The rudder trim tab was a fixed, non-adjustable trim tab. 

One of the propeller blades was visible at the accident site. It was bent backwards about mid-span and it exhibited minimal damage on either the chambered surface or the flat side of the blade. The propeller hub was located in 14-inches of soft clay soil. The second blade was underneath the wreckage in the clay soil. It exhibited blade twist, extensive chordwise scratching along the entire span of the blade, and gouges and nicks to the leading edge of the blade. 

The engine was a six-cylinder Lycoming IO-540-B1A5 engine, serial number L-634-48, that produced 290 horsepower at 2,575 rpm. The examination of the engine revealed drive train continuity of the crankshaft and camshaft when the propeller was turned. The accessory gears and the fuel pump gear rotated, and all six pistons moved up and down. The top spark plugs exhibited normal signatures and appeared to be almost new. Both the left and right magnetos were separated from the engine. The left magneto fired on all six towers. The right magneto was damaged from impact and no spark was produced. The fuel servo was broken at the throttle plate. The fuel servo had residual fuel in it and all fuel lines connected to the fuel servo had fuel in them. 

At the accident site, the airplane's engine rpm gauge indicated 2,450 rpm with 407.86 hours recorded. The airspeed indicator needle was found at 338 knots. The airplane's G-meter needle moved freely, but the G-meter indicators that recorded acceleration showed +10 and -5 Gs. The airplane's rpm gauge, airspeed indicator, and G-meter were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Materials Laboratory for examination. 

At 1053, the surface weather observation at the Denton Enterprise Airport (DTO), Denton, Texas, located 20 nm south of the accident site was: wind 190 at 9 knots; visibility 10 miles; cloud condition 4,000 ft broken; temperature 22 degrees C; dew point 17 degrees C; altimeter 30.10 inches of mercury. 

At 1153, the surface weather observation DTO was wind 220 at 10 knots; visibility 10 miles; cloud condition 2,600 ft broken; 4,500 ft overcast; temperature 22 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury. 

At 1235, the surface weather observation DTO was wind 341 at 14 knots; visibility 10 miles; cloud condition 2,400 ft broken; 3,300 ft broken; 4,700 ft overcast; temperature 15 degrees C; dew point 8 degrees C; altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury. Remarks: wind shift at 1215.

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

Tyler Barnes Foster
November 09, 1989 - January 12, 2017

Tyler Barnes Foster passed away Thursday morning, January 12, 2017 doing what he loved most, flying at his home in Era Texas. He entered this world on November 9, 1989 to Thomas Wayne Foster and Valerie Ann Bowles Foster, and becoming baby brother to Sara Nichole Foster. 

He is survived by both his parents of Sanger, sister, Maternal Grandmother, Lois Bowles of Lewisville, Uncles; Lewis Foster & family of Brennen, Texas, Robert Foster & family of Coppell, Texas, John Foster & family of Flower Mound, Texas, Mike Bowles & family of Valley View, Aunts; Kim Beller & family of Coalgate, Oklahoma, Lauren Weliver of US, numerous cousins across the U.S., Great Uncles; Jim Anderson & family of Flower Mound, Texas, Jerry Anderson & family of Reidsville, North Carolina, Great Aunt, Faye Taylor of Denton, Texas, Great Aunt Ethel Lemon of Lewisville, Great Uncle Dick Bowles and family of Kansas City, MO and Dr. Hugh and Sandi Pruett more affectionately known to Sara and Tyler as Daddy Hugh and Mammy Sandi, who were like their own grandparents.

Tyler graduated from Sanger High School in 2008, having already earned his wings, soloing at age 17. His interest in all things mechanical and flying was apparent his entire 27 years. His passion lead into working and learning from his very first job at Tomlinson Avionics of Texas, where he flew his own plane to Gainesville Airport after school each day, followed by Napa Auto parts of Sanger, Nortex Cycles of Sanger, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Bulloch Manufacturing and Corple Corral. He attended NCTC working on his undergraduate classes and advanced onto flight school attending and earning additional flight certifications at ATP Flight School in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Upon completion Tyler began working at US Aviation as a test pilot, and Pumpco Services. All of which lead to him reaching his dream of flying full time for a commercial airline. Currently Tyler was a First Officer flying Regional Jets for Sky West Airlines based in Denver, CO. Tyler had just completed the National Homeland Security Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) certification program and earning a medal for the Top Marksmanship Award.

We would like to acknowledge the many individuals that influenced Tyler and helped him to attain a level of expertise in general and aviation maintenance. From those at Sanger ISD, Tom Eiland and Airemasters, Chris and Gina Faircloth of Napa, Zack Zielinski of Nortex Cycle, Maj. (R) Mike Phillips, Daniel and Chris of O'Reilly's, Scott Bulloch and Rocky Tisdale of Bulloch Manufacturing, Tim, Chris and Lupe of US Aviation, Ronny Ortowski and Jake Shoemake of Pumpco. We would also like to acknowledge the men that encouraged and developed Tyler's flying skills and helped to guide in his flying career. Commercial airline Captains Jeff Rowland, Ben Huston, Wes Huston, Benjamin Huston, Dale Hendrickson, Don Maxwell, Daryn Maxwell, David Martin (USAF Ret. and US Team Captain for the World Aerobatics Championship) and Dave Enebo.

Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 10am at the Sanger Church of Christ, 400 Locust St. Sanger, TX 76266.

In lieu of flowers we ask that you make a donation to the Sanger Education Foundation for the Tyler Foster Endowment to further the dreams of those pursuing mechanics and/or aviation.

Sanger Education Foundation
PO Box 429
Sanger, TX 76266

Memorial Service
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
10:00 AM

Church of Christ 
100 N 5th Street 
Sanger, Texas


Tyler Foster

GAINESVILLE, Texas (AP) - The pilot of a single-engine plane has died after the aircraft crashed into a field north of Fort Worth.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Steen Skybolt departed a private airstrip near Denton on Thursday for what was supposed to be a one-hour flight.

The wreckage was found late Thursday after family members reported the aircraft was missing.

Texas Department of Public Safety staff Sgt. Mark Tackett on Friday identified the pilot as 28-year-old Tyler Foster, who had only purchased the plane a few months earlier. He was the lone occupant.

FAA investigators were en route to the crash site and the National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation.

The cause of the crash is unclear.

Tyler Foster, a 27-year-old Era man, died Thursday night after crashing his bi-plane in a pasture near County Road 325 and FM51 in Cooke County, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Foster was a graduate of Sanger High School, according to Sanger ISD officials.

DPS troopers were called to assist in locating the pilot at about 8:30 p.m. The cause of the crash remains unknown. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently investigating the matter, along with the National Transportation Safety Board.


COOKE COUNTY --  The pilot of a small plane died Thursday after his plane crashed into a pasture in Cooke County.

Tyler Foster, 28, of Era was identified by the Texas Department of Public Safety as the pilot of the single-engine experimental Skybolt aircraft. The Skybolt is described by its maker, Steen Aero Lab, as an aerobatic biplane.

The plane left from a private grass strip just north of Denton around 4:30 p.m. and was expected to land an hour later. The family reported the plane missing Thursday after it did not return, said Lynn Lunsford, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The aircraft was found by authorities around 10:30 p.m. near Farm Road 51 and County Road 325 just outside the town of Era, about 30 miles north of Denton.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.


COOKE COUNTY, Texas (KXII) -- An Era man is dead after a plane crash in Cooke County on Thursday.

After a several hour search for a missing pilot, authorities were able to locate the wreckage near County Road 325 and FM 51 in Cooke County.

Texas DPS Trooper Mark Tackett says they were called out to help locate the missing pilot, Tyler Foster, around 8:30 Thursday night.

Two hours later, deputies found Foster dead in the wreckage.

An FAA spokesman said Foster was flying an Steen Skybolt from a private grass airstrip north of Denton for what should have been a one-hour flight.

Foster and the wreckage from the plane was found near CR 325 and FM 51, hours after family members reported him missing.

Officials say the plane was purchased a few months ago.

"We have a young pilot, who for unknown reasons, crashed the plane in the middle of the pasture," Tackett said.

A friend of Foster's says the his location was last known at around 4:30 Thursday evening near Era.

The National Transportation Safety Board will take over the investigation as soon as they arrive.


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