Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rans S-16 Shekari, N741WT, registered to and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred March 21, 2018 in Pierce County, Nebraska

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

James A. Fritz d/b/a Fritz Sales 

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report 

Location: Pierce, ND
Accident Number: CEN18FA126
Date & Time: 03/21/2018, 1845 CDT
Registration: N741WT
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 21, 2018, about 1845 central daylight time, a Nannarone Rans Inc S-16 Shekari, N741WT, impacted terrain about ¼ mile from the approach end of runway 11 at a private airstrip, owned by the pilot, near Pierce, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, which was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight departed Norfolk Regional Airport/Karl Stefan Memorial Field, Norfolk, Nebraska, after obtaining fuel, and was returning to the private airstrip. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: NANNARONE RANS S-16 SHEKARI
Registration: N741WT
Model/Series: S-16 SHEKARI
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OFK, 1573 ft msl
Observation Time: 1856 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 130°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Norfolk, NE (OFK)
Destination: Pierce, ND

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:  42.238611, 97.597222

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

Jim A. Fritz
(March 1, 1949 - March 21, 2018) 

Funeral services for James A. Fritz age 69 of Osmond will be held at 10:30 Wednesday, March 28th at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Osmond with burial in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-8 PM. Tuesday at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Rosary at 7 PM. Military Honors will be conducted by the Osmond American Legion and VFW. Jim Fritz passed away March 21, 2018.

Read more here ➤



A crash of a small airplane in Pierce County, Nebraska last evening took the life of the pilot.

Now unfortunately for the Fritz family, this isn't the first time that they've had to deal with this type of situation

The plane crash site is on the East side of Highway 12, and across the street on the West side, is the home of the Fritz family where they are grieving for the second time for this kind of accident.

Shortly after 6:15 p.m. Wednesday night, a 2-person plane carrying pilot, 69-year-old James Fritz crashed into a field.

Back in 2001, Fritz's son, 23 year old Brian J. Fritz was also killed in an airplane crash near Columbus, Nebraska. 

The plane clipped a power line and crashed into the Loup River.

Authorities say the aircraft was engulfed in flames on impact.

Pierce County Sheriff Rick Eberhardt, explains that James Fritz's crash, was all too similar Wednesday night- to his son's nearly 18 years later.

"Between the hours of 6:30 and 7:45 there was a single-engine, experimental airplane crash 5 miles northwest of Pierce," said Pierce County Sheriff Rick Eberhardt. "And after law enforcement responded, the pilot was found deceased."

An autopsy will be performed to see how 69-Year-Old James Fritz died, and the investigation is on-going. 

Authorities have not yet confirmed the cause of the crash.

Previous Story:

Authorities responded to a plane crash in rural Pierce County Wednesday night. The Pierce County Sheriff Rick Eberhardt said 69-year-old James Fritz of rural Pierce County died in the crash. 

A Pierce County 911 dispatcher received a call at 7:45 p.m. five miles northwest of Pierce near the intersection of Highway 13 and Highway 121 of a plane crash.

Sheriff Eberhardt said emergency responders arrived scene and found a two seat single engine plane with the pilot, Fritz deceased. 

Authorities believe the crash occurred sometime after 6:15 p.m.

Officials from the Nebraska State Patrol, Pierce Fire and Rescue and Pierce Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene. 

Original article can be found here ➤

OSMOND — Residents here are mourning the death Wednesday night of one of its quiet community stalwarts.

Jim Fritz, the owner of Big John Manufacturing in Osmond, died in connection with a plane crash, said Rick Eberhardt, Pierce County sheriff.

“He was heavily involved in the community in a quiet way. He never sought the center stage,” said James Bessmer, Osmond’s mayor.

Big John Manufacturing is one of Osmond’s leading employers and is well-known across the nation and in parts of the world for its long list of agricultural-related products it researches, manufactures and sells.

At the age of 69, Fritz remained extensively involved with Big John operations along with his wife, Candy, and their son, Daniel, a company representative said Thursday morning.

The company has been supplying its agricultural customers with quality products for more than 40 years. Big John has strived to maintain its leadership role in sprayers, ag electronics, detassling equipment and custom manufacturing, the company’s website indicates. The companies, which has about 15 employees, markets its products in 48 states and several foreign countries.

Eberhardt said the plane crash is believed to have occurred about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Highways 13 and 122 in Pierce County, which is where Fritz lives. A longtime pilot, he had a private landing strip near his residence.

Eberhardt said a 911 call about a plane crash was received at about 7:45 p.m.

He said on Thursday  morning that the Federal Aviation Administration has arrived and is in the process of inspecting the plane and removing it.

The sheriff's department, Pierce Police Department and Pierce fire and rescue were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, Eberhardt said a two-seat, single-engine plane was located and the lone male occupant of the plane was found to be dead.

An autopsy is being conducted, and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash scene.

Services for Fritz were pending Thursday morning with Ashburn Funeral Home of Osmond.

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No fire and the plane held up quite well, kind of surprised with the fatality. Wonder if something happened prior to the crash landing in the field.

Either way, talk about bad luck for this family.