Thursday, December 21, 2017

Zenith Zodiac 601XL, N929GB, registered to and operated by the private pilot: Fatal accident occurred December 21, 2017 in Thompson's Station, Williamson County, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Thompson's Station, TN
Accident Number: WPR18FA053
Date & Time: 12/21/2017, 1307 CST
Registration: N929GB
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 21, 2017, about 1307 central standard time, a Gregory S. Browning Zodiac 601XL experimental, amateur-built airplane, N929GB, was substantially damaged following a loss of control and impact with terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude near Thompson's Station, Tennessee. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot, the sole occupant, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight departed Bomar Field-Shelbyville Municipal Airport (SYI), Shelbyville, Tennessee about 1230, with an intended destination to Whifferdill Airport (TN77), Chapmansboro, Tennessee. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to a family member, the pilot had flown the airplane from TN77 to SYI a few weeks earlier to have an autopilot installed. On the day of the accident the family member drove the pilot to SYI to retrieve the airplane and return it to TN77. Personnel at the maintenance facility where the work had been completed were surprised to see the pilot when he arrived for the airplane, as he had not informed them of his plans to pick the airplane up that day. Additionally, the pilot was asked if he was sure that he wanted to make the flight, as the weather was not good, with low ceilings and limited visibility; the pilot elected to proceed with the flight to his home base. Maintenance personnel reported that after the pilot had settled his bill, he started the engine, taxied to the parallel taxiway, and then departed to the south on the taxiway, rather than on Runway 18. The witness then observed the pilot make an excessive left banking turn after liftoff at a low altitude before heading toward the northwest.

About 35 minutes into the flight, the airplane impacted a stand of trees and terrain about 35 nautical miles northwest of SYI, on a magnetic heading of about 120o . A first responder, who resides about 250 ft south of the accident site, reported that she heard a very loud noise outside of her residence, after which she observed that an airplane had crashed. The responder reported that when she arrived at the accident site, she detected the presence of fuel, and that there was no indication of fire. The responder revealed that the weather in the area at the time of the accident consisted of low clouds about tree top level, with very limited visibility.

Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration surveyed the accident site the day following the event. The airplane came to rest upright on a magnetic heading of about 120o . With the exception of the main landing gear and some small pieces of fuselage, the airplane was intact. The initial impact point with the stand of trees, which were about 60 ft high, was about 115 ft northwest of the main wreckage site. The second impact point was with additional trees about the 40-foot level. The airplane subsequently came to rest in an open field next to a residential rural dirt road.

At 1253, the weather reporting station located at the Nashville International Airport (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee, about 25 nm northeast of the accident site, reported wind 220° at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds at 900 ft, temperature 13° C, dew point 11° C, and an altimeter reading of 30.03 inches of mercury.

The airplane was recovered to a secured storage facility for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BROWNING GREGORY S
Registration: N929GB
Model/Series: ZODIAC 601XL XL
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BNA
Observation Time: 1303 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Thin Overcast / 1000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 120°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Shelbyville, TN (SYI)
Destination: Chapmansboro, TN (TN77) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.819167, -87.046944

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

Obituary for Jerry Travis

Jerry Elton Travis, age 79, of Chapmansboro, died Thursday, December 21, 2017 from injuries sustained in an airplane accident. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 o’clock am, Wednesday, December 27th at Austin & Bell Funeral Home in Pleasant View with Bro. Johnny Trail officiating. Burial will follow in EverRest of Cheatham with family & friends serving as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 3:00-7:00PM on Tuesday, December 26th, and again on Wednesday beginning at 10:00AM until the hour of service.

Mr. Travis was born on September 9, 1938 in Nashville, Tennessee to the late Ed and Bea Beeler. He was a retired pipeline welder and was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Jerry was an airplane enthusiast and was a pilot of his own airplanes for well over 50 years.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his former wife, Beverly Travis; son, Dan Travis; and step-grandsons, Joshua Petty and Tony Petty, Jr.

He is survived by his wife Carolyn Travis; sons, Lee (Sharon) Travis, and Tony (Ann) Travis; step-sons, Tony Petty, and Scott (Tammy) Petty; step-daughters, Misty (Stanley) Guess, Mittzi Baker, and Angie Taylor; brother, Roy Beeler; sisters, Joyce Stewart and Dessie Carrol; four grandchildren; 4 step-grandchildren; 2 step-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

AUSTIN & BELL FUNERAL HOME in PLEASANT VIEW is in charge of these arrangements.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WZTV) — Williamson County officials say one person was killed in a small plane crash Thursday afternoon.

The FAA said a Zenith Zodiac 601XL, amateur-built aircraft collided with trees and crashed in a field in Thompson Station at about 1 p.m.

Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long said the plane crashed in the driveway of a home along Casparis Road. There was only one person on the plane, that crashed about 40 to 50 yards from the home.

A witness, Trisha Reed, heard the plane fly over her house and slam into the ground.

“I heard the plane coming over," Reed said. "You could hear the engine full blast. You didn’t hear it slow down or anything, but it sounded different because it was so low. I heard it hit the trees and hit the ground. You can hear the metal crunch together."

William Gray was outside when he heard the plane crash.

"The plane was still buzzing," Gray said. "It had an ignition key, and I turned it off. The man was still breathing when I got there. He was grunting. I cut the seat belt and raised him up. He was all slumped down in it."

Reed said people jumped into help after seeing the crash, but attempts to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.

“It’s kind of shocking and very sad," Long said. "I feel for his family. Christmas will never be the same again for them."

“It’s a tragedy," Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long said. "Anytime you have a fatality, it is a tragedy especially this time a year. When you have a loved one who’s not going to be able to be there with their family, it really strikes home to all of us."

The plane will be guarded until Friday morning when the NTSB plans to arrive to figure out what caused the aircraft to go down. Officials have not yet released the identity of the deceased pilot.

The FAA is investigating.

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Leiper's Fork resident William Gray said he was working in his backyard Thursday afternoon when he heard a loud noise, looked up and saw a small plane crash into trees near his home.

"I heard something, and I looked up and the plane was going at about a 45 degree angle and real low and all at once it hit the trees and bang it hit the ground," he told reporters gathered near the crash. 

He responded and said he saw the pilot slumped down inside the plane.

"I cut the seat belt, his arm was all hanging down," he said. "I didn’t know anything else to do."

Gray said the man was breathing at first, then he stopped.

Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long confirmed that one man died in the crash Thursday. He said law enforcement are still working to determine the man's identity.

He said during a press conference that law enforcement were notified around 1 p.m. of the possible crash off Casparis Road.

Law enforcement and emergency medical responders arrived to find a small, personally-constructed plane  in a driveway on the 3900 block of Caparis Road.

"At this time, the (Federal Aviation Administration) has been notified," Long said. "They will be here this afternoon to conduct their investigation."

Long said the plane was made from a kit, but was a registered aircraft. 

He also said that one of the residents of the home whose driveway the plane crashed in, responded to the crash and tried unsuccessfully to revive the pilot.

Law enforcement are trying to determine where the plane was coming from.

Neighbor Tricia Reid, said she didn't see anything, but heard the plane crash into some trees.

She said she heard the sound of wood snapping and the grinding of the engine, but that when she responded with another neighbor it was too late for the pilot.

"Christmas will never be the same again for (the pilot's family)," she said. "I'm so sorry this happened."

Williamson County Emergency Management Agency Director Mac Purdy said, he sheriff's department was the first on the scene, then the fire department and emergency management services."

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) - Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long said one person was killed in a small plane crash in the Leiper's Fork area on Thursday.

The crash was reported just before 1 p.m. at 3999 Casparis Road. The sheriff said a neighbor saw the plane and heard it crash.

The crash happened about 50 yards from someone's home. A neighbor tried to help the pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board is responding to the crash.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

LEIPER'S FORK, Tenn. - A pilot was killed in a plane crash in a remote part of Williamson County. 

The crash was reported around 1 p.m. Thursday in an area south of Interstate 840, about ten miles west of Thompson’s Station, in the Boston community.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said the plane was a Zodiac 601XL, amateur-built aircraft. They confirmed only the pilot was on board. Local officials confirmed he passed away.

A witness said she heard a loud boom near Mobley's Cut and Casparis Road in Leiper's Fork. She told NewsChannel 5 a small aircraft crashed into a tree then a field, not far from a barn. 

Officials from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they were called out to investigate, but additional details were not available.  

The National Transportation Safety Board was sent to determine the probable cause of the crash.

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THOMPSON’S STATION, Tenn. (WKRN) –The Williamson County sheriff said one person was killed in a small plane crash in Thompson’s Station Thursday afternoon.

It happened on Casparis Road, just south of Interstate 840, around 1 p.m.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the amateur-built aircraft collided with trees before crashing into a field. Sheriff Jeff Long said the crash site is about 40 to 50 yards away from a home. No one inside the home was injured.

According to Long, a neighbor saw the plane going down and called 911 before rendering aid to the victim.

“It’s a tragedy ... Someone has lost their loved one and that hits home for all of us,” he said.

The crash victim’s identity has not been released.

Long said there was no indication the pilot tried to land the plane prior to the crash. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Long said it’s been at least eight or nine years since the last plane crash in Williamson County.

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