Friday, April 20, 2018

Kolb Twinstar Mk III, N9123R: Fatal accident occurred April 20, 2018 at Collegedale Municipal Airport (KFGU), Apison, Hamilton County, Tennessee

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel 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: 
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Collegedale, TN
Accident Number: ERA18LA134
Date & Time: 04/20/2018, 1830 EDT
Registration: N9123R
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 20, 2018, at 1830 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Kolb Mark III, N9123R, was destroyed when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from, Collegedale Municipal Airport (FGU), Collegedale, Tennessee. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In interviews with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane's owner explained that the pilot was supposed to perform high-speed taxi testing of the airplane, and that the takeoff and subsequent flight were a surprise to him. The owner stated that the pilot completed two high speed taxis during which he had "crow-hopped" the airplane; lifting off to approximately 10 feet above ground level (agl) and then settling back to the runway.

On the third taxi, he heard the pilot apply "full power" and the airplane departed runway 03, turned right "over the trees" adjacent to the runway, and then "leveled, banked left, and dove into the ground." According to the owner, there appeared to be no attempt to correct the dive.

A homeowner on the northeast end of the runway witnessed the accident and reported to the FAA inspector that the airplane was over the departure end of the runway about 500 feet agl when it "turned left and dove straight…" into a slope below the grass runway-overrun area. When asked about the sound of the engine, the witness said it sounded as though the pilot had reduced power prior to the turn, but increased power in the descent. He said the airplane went "screaming" into the ground. The witness added that he heard a "flapping" sound from the airplane similar to a banner-tow as it passed overhead.

The owner subsequently provided video recordings of the airplane during ground taxi in the parking area, and the takeoff. The takeoff recording ended before the airplane's descent into terrain. The video was recorded from the point of takeoff and oriented in the direction of flight.

The takeoff roll was approximately 400 feet long. The engine sound was smooth, continuous, and remained unchanged throughout the takeoff roll and the 45 seconds of climb that was recorded. After takeoff, the video depicted a high angle of attack and a steep angle of climb. The tops of each wing were visible throughout the recording. The airplane drifted to the right of the runway centerline, but remained flat in the roll axis.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on November 1, 1999, and he reported 71 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1995 and registered to the owner on January 4, 2017. It was powered by a Suzuki 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine from a Geo automobile.

According to the owner, the airplane was purchased disassembled and "half restored" from what appeared to be accident damage. He and the pilot completed the repairs and assembly of the airplane using a "build manual" and a set of plans. The airplane had no airframe logbook, no engine logbook, and a condition inspection had not been completed. The owner said the condition inspection was to be completed "before the first flight."

At 1853, the weather reported at Chattanooga Lovell Field (CHA) included few clouds at 25,000 feet, 10 miles visibility, and winds were from 010° at 10 knots. The temperature was 20° C, the dewpoint was -4° C, and the altimeter setting was 30.28 inches of mercury.

Examination of photographs provided by the FAA revealed the airplane came to rest uphill of the initial ground scar, and the wreckage path was oriented about 300°magnetic. Impressions in the grass on either side of the scar were of the same approximate dimensions as the leading edge and span of each wing.

Both wings were uniformly crushed aft in compression, and the fabric covering of each wing was shredded. The empennage remained largely intact. Control continuity could not be established due to the extent of the damage to the remainder of the airframe, and the entanglement of structure and control cabling. Breaks and fractures in cabling and bellcranks examined all presented the appearance of overload failure.

The cockpit area was destroyed, and the instrument panel was separated. The engine cradle was separated and remained attached only by wires and cabling. A nylon "come-along" cargo strap was found entangled with the wreckage. According to the owner, the strap secured sand bags and a board used for ballast.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: STANLEY ERNIE SIGURD
Registration: N9123R
Model/Series: KOLB MARK III
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: KCHA, 688 ft msl
Observation Time: 2253 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / -4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 10°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Collegedale, TN (FGU)
Destination: Collegedale, TN (FGU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.044444, -85.020000 (est)

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

Robert's Obituary

Gillisse, Robert
10/16/1955 - 4/20/2018 
Ooltewah, Tennessee 

Robert P Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah, Tennessee, passed on Friday 20th, 2018. Robert was born in Bay City Michigan. He is a 20 year veteran in the Army. He had a passion to fly and with Jenne traveled to world for their retirement. Robert had a passion for the Lord. He is survived by his wife of 32 years Jenne Nowak Gillisse, his parents Joseph and Joyce Gillisse, brother Roger and Sister Susan Gillisse. No memorial service is planned.

Airport officials said the pilot was killed. He has been identified as 62-year-old Robert Gillisse, of Ooltewah.

UPDATE April 21 at 2:12 p.m.: The man killed in the plane crash Friday evening has been identified as Robert Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah. 

One person was killed early Friday evening in a single-engine plane crash at the Collegedale Municipal Airport.

Airport officials said the pilot, who has yet to be identified by authorities, was alone and taking off when the two-seat plane crashed a couple dozen yards off the airstrip. Emergency responders at the scene put up sheets over a portion of the crash as the body was removed later Friday.

"It's always sad when something like this happens," said Chris Swain, director of operations at the airport.

Previous crashes at the Collegedale Airport:

September 2014: Don Edens was killed when his plane crashed in a nearby field as a result of equipment failure.

March 2013: Local resident David Richardson, 77, fell out of an aircraft and was killed after the canopy came loose in flight. The instructor pilot landed the plane.

December 2012: Clarence Andrews, 82, of Signal Mountain, crashed his home-built aircraft and died.

December 2004: A single-engine plane crashed but the lone pilot walked away.

December 2004: Five leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tennessee and Georgia died when their twin-engine plane crashed just after takeoff.

Details are limited about the circumstances behind the crash, but this is not the first fatal incident at the Collegedale airport. Five other planes have crashed at the airport since 2004 resulting in 11 fatalities.

Three of those deaths came in a particularly tragic incident in 2016 when a pilot tried to recover from a botched landing just before hitting the ground, according to a report compiled by the National Transportation Safety Board. The pilot, Todd Silver, was killed along with his mother and his son. His daughter was seriously injured but survived.

The Times Free Press reported previously that a flight instructor who was flying with a student nearby witnessed the crash. He told NTSB investigators that he saw the plane coming in on a short final approach.

The plane made a climbing turn to the left near the departure end of the runway, about 100 feet off the ground, and then made a steep bank to the right with the nose pulled high.

During that turn, the plane's nose dropped and the whole aircraft rotated as it rapidly descended into the ground.

The plane then slammed into the ground, leaving a 70-foot-long scar in the ground, according to the NTSB.

Swain said both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified about Friday's crash and investigators were expected to work through the night to unpack what happened.

COLLEGEDALE, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: One person was killed in a plane crash at the Collegedale municipal airport Friday evening.

The crash happened just before 6:30 p.m.

Channel 3 spoke to the director of airport operations about the crash. At this time the identity of the pilot has not been released and what caused the crash is under investigation.

We do know that the pilot was the only one in the aircraft and frequently used the Collegedale airport.

Channel 3 spoke with an eyewitness who lives about 150 yards from the crash site.

Morty Lloyd says he is also a pilot. He says today was nice day to be flying and he couldn’t see anything wrong with the plane. He says there was no smoke coming from the aircraft and the engine was running smoothly.

He describes what he saw from his back porch.

“He made a downwind turn and as he continued downwind he made a base turn as if he were turning towards the runway," Lloyd tells Channel 3. "The airplane had a steep dive, the engine was producing power, but the airplane never came out of the dive and it ended up hitting the hillside next to the runway.”

The FAA will begin investigating the crash Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

There will be security on the scene throughout the night.

Story and video ➤

APISON, Tenn. (WTVC) - One person is dead after a fatal plane crash in Hamilton County.  

Chris Swain, director of the Collegedale Municipal Airport, confirmed a person has died after the plane crashed on the runway Friday. 

Dispatch said the crash happened around 6:30 p.m. near 5100 Bess Moore Road in Apison, Tennessee.  

Swain said the single-occupant plane was taking off when it crashed. The plane is considered a total loss. 

The FAA and NTSB have been notified and are on the way to the scene. 

The identity of the person killed has not yet been released.  

Director Swain says that the victim has often flown from the airport. 

Original article can be found here ➤

APISON, Tenn. — UPDATE (8:40 p.m.):  Chris Swain, director of the Collegedale Municipal Airport, says a person has died after a plane crash on the runway Friday.

Swain says the aircraft was taking off when it crashed. The plane is considered a total loss.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified, and will investigate the crash. Swain says the FAA will be on the scene around 10 a.m. Saturday

We do not yet know the identity of the person killed in the crash. Director Swain says that the victim was a frequent flier from the airport.

This isn't the first plane to crash at the Collegedale Municipal Airport.

In June 2016, a small plane crashed while trying to land there, killing a man, his wife and son.

Original article can be found here ➤

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