Monday, April 16, 2018

Unknown or Undetermined: Bordiuk Challenger II, N635DT; fatal accident occurred April 15, 2018 in Friona, Parmer County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Rotech Flight Safety Inc; Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Friona, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA140
Date & Time: 04/15/2018, 2100 CDT
Registration: N635DT
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On April 15, 2018, about 2100 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built David Bordiuk Challenger II Special airplane, N635DT, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain near Friona, Texas. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by the student pilot and was being operated by the flight instructor as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Hefner Farms Airport (7TS9), Bovina, Texas, about 2020.

The flight instructor's wife reported that the flight departed "right at sunset" from an airstrip located immediately north of their home. About 2045, the flight instructor's sister was about 3 miles north of the airstrip and observed the airplane fly over a couple of times. She noted that the airplane was low, but that nothing seemed unusual. Both the flight instructor and the student pilot waved.

When the pilots did not return from the flight, the flight instructor's wife called both pilots' cellphones with no response. She checked the airstrip and the hangar/garage area, but the airplane was not there. She then contacted the local authorities to report the flight overdue. The airplane was subsequently located about 0100 the following morning. There were no known witnesses to the accident. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 24, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/09/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/11/2017
Flight Time:  632.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model), 599.7 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 25, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

The flight instructor's most recent logbook entry was dated March 31, 2018. His logbook did not include any entries related to a Challenger airplane. However, he had logged 11.1 hours in a Kolb Twinstar Mark III airplane. An entry dated April 10, 2016 included the remark, "Flight with [the student pilot] to get his Challenger."

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the student pilot was issued a third-class airman medical certification in February 2012, with a restriction for night flying and color signal control. The medical certificate expired for all classes on February 28, 2017. The student pilot reported no civil flight experience at the time of the application. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BORDIUK
Registration: N635DT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: CH20295CW1294
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 503
Registered Owner: None
Rated Power: 52 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane was issued an FAA experimental, amateur-built special airworthiness certificate in August 1996. FAA records indicated that the registration was cancelled in August 2012 following a reported sale of the airplane. The necessary documentation to complete the registration process as required by the FAA had not been submitted. No additional documentation was on file with the FAA and the airplane remained unregistered at the time of the accident.

An individual reported that he had owned the airplane from 2006 until early 2016. He flew the airplane once in the spring of 2007. He recalled that during that flight he encountered turbulent wind conditions and he never flew the airplane again. He had several friends that would fly it occasionally. There were no issues with the airplane at that time. He stated that the airplane was sold to the flight instructor in early 2016. He did not file any paperwork with the FAA related to either the purchase or the sale of the airplane.

The flight instructor's wife stated that the student pilot purchased the airplane in early 2016. Her husband worked on the airplane re-wiring the electrical system and performing routine maintenance on the brake system. The first flight under the student pilot's ownership was on April 5, 2017; about one year after the airplane was purchased. The accident flight was the second flight since it was purchased by the student pilot.

A review of the available airplane maintenance records revealed that the most recent logbook entries were dated December 2004. A bill of sale, dated December 2006, was included with the airplane records. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: CVN, 4216 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1956 MDT
Direction from Accident Site: 224°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR): 
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / -8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Bovina, TX (7TS9)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Bovina, TX (7TS9)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2020 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

The flight instructor's sister described the weather that evening as "very nice." It was clear and "not windy."

Sunset occurred at 2024 on the day of the accident, with civil twilight ending at 2050. The moon set at 2011 and was in a new moon phase. 

Airport Information

Airport: Hefner Farms (7TS9)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 4159 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: 22
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1700 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.608333, -102.866111 

The accident site was located in a harvested corn field about 0.4-mile northwest from the departure airstrip. The airplane came to rest upright and was oriented on a south heading. An irrigation boom was located about 400 feet north-northwest from the airplane; however, no obvious signs of impact to the boom were observed.

Postaccident airframe and engine examinations were conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge with the assistance of a technical representative associated with the engine manufacturer. The examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. A detailed summary of the examination is included in the docket associated with the investigation. 

Medical And Pathological Information

South Plains Forensic Pathology, Lubbock, Texas, performed autopsies of the flight instructor and the student pilot. Their deaths were attributed to blunt force injuries sustained in the accident. The FAA's Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the flight instructor and the student pilot. The flight instructor's toxicology testing was negative for all substances in the testing profile. The student pilot's toxicology testing was positive for dextrorphan and doxylamine in liver tissue but not in cavity blood.

Doxylamine is an over-the counter, antihistamine medication that can be used in combination with decongestants and other medications to relieve sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion caused by the common cold and allergies. This medication could impair the mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, flying, and operating heavy machinery). Dextrorphan is a metabolite of dextromethorphan, which is a cough suppressant.

Jake Hefner, 24, of Bovina, Texas passed away Monday, April 16, 2018 in Bovina. Celebration of Life Services will be Saturday at 11:00 AM at the First Baptist Church of Friona with Rev. Brett Hoyle officiating, burial to follow at the Friona Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Colonial Funeral Home of Dimmitt. Family and friend visitation will be Thursday evening from 5:00-7:00 PM at the funeral home.

Jake was born May 17, 1993 in Hobbs, New Mexico to Tommy and Jill (Barbour) Hefner. Jake grew up in Friona. Jake was an Eagle Scout and a National Merit Scholar. He attended and graduated from LeTourneau University with a Bachelor of Science and Mission Aviation Concentration Degree and was the Distinguished Graduate of his class. He met the love of his life Amanda Ratliff while in college and they married on May 24, 2015. He and Amanda moved back to Bovina in 2015 where Jake farmed, ranched and was an Aircraft Mechanic and Flight Instructor. He enjoyed guns, farming, ranching, flying but his greatest above all these were spending time with his family and Clayton Sides. Jake was looking forward to being a great father. 

Those left to cherish Jake’s memories are his wife, Amanda Hefner of Bovina, a soon to be son, T. Rex Hefner of Bovina; his parents, Tommy and Jill Hefner of Friona; a sister, Callie Mae Hefner Clark of Friona; his grandparents, Tom and Jackie Hefner of Friona; Mary Lea Hefner of San Marcos and Fredericka Barbour of Quanah, Texas, Jake’s in-laws, Garvon and Ann Ratliff of Cypress, brothers-in-law, Thomas and William Ratliff both of Cypress, Texas. He is survived by uncles, aunts and cousins. 

Jake is preceded in death by a brother, Joshua Hefner and his grandfathers, Larry Barbour and Robert Hefner.

In lieu of flowers the family has set up an account with InterBank of Friona named, “The Thomas Rex Hefner Account”, 1105 Cleveland Avenue, Friona, TX. 79035

You may go online and sign the guestbook at 

Clayton “Mo” Sides, 25 of Dimmitt passed away Monday, April 16, 2018 in Parmer County. Celebration of Life Services will be Friday at 11:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church of Dimmitt with Rev. T.C. Broom and Eliezer Garrido officiating.  Arrangements are being handled by Colonial Funeral Home of Dimmitt. Family and friend visitation will be Thursday from 5:00-7:00PM at the funeral home.

Clayton was born March 6, 1993 in Lubbock, Texas to Gregg and Lynn (Irwin) Sides. He graduated from Springlake High School and Texas Tech University. Clayton was in the Army Reserve, 974th Quarter Master Unit in Amarillo, Texas for six years. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Dimmitt. Clayton enjoyed playing All Star Little League Baseball, aviation, snowboarding, working with his father, Gregg and Grandfather George, welding, woodworking, farming and the cattle industry.

Those left to cherish Clayton’s memories are his parents, Gregg and Lynn Sides of Dimmitt; a brother, Benjamin Sides of Austin, a sister, Kathleen Sides of Ft. Worth; his grandparents, George and Carolyn Sides of Dimmitt and his step-grandmother, Carol Irwin of Royal City, Washington, numerous uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Clayton is preceded in death by his grandparents, Lee and Verna Irwin and his aunt, Laurie Hill. 

In lieu of flowers the family has set up an account with InterBank of Friona named, "The Thomas Rex Hefner Account", 1105 Cleveland Avenue, Friona, TX 79035

You may go online and sign the guestbook at 

PARMER COUNTY, TX (KFDA) -  Two men are dead after the Quad City Challenger II they were flying in crashed in to a field in Parmer County.

The Quad City Challenger II took off from a grass airstrip on a private piece of property roughly 5 miles east of Friona.

Parmer County Sheriff Randy Geries says reports indicate the Quad City Challenger II may not have been in the air too long before it crashed.

"We believe they hadn't been flying long," said Sheriff Geries. "It was just a little bit before dusk [when they took off.] We were told they hadn't been gone that long, but then they became overdue, and after it got dark they began to worry about them.

The plane came to rest in the middle of a wheat field.

The FAA was out investigating in the early morning, tearing through every piece of this wreckage trying to piece together exactly what happened.

The top of the plane had to be weighed down by an engine and a big tire due to the heavy winds.

Reports say the plane was last spotted around 8:30 p.m.

Two hours later, a 911 call was placed, reporting the aircraft and its two passengers had gone missing.

Multiple agencies aided in the search including: the Bovina Fire Dept., the Friona Fire Dept., Friona Police Dept., Parmer County Sheriffs Office and Department of Public Safety.

"We had local fire departments, from both Bovina and Friona come in [to] assist us with the ground search," said Sheriff Geries. "We involved the Department of Public Safety, they sent officers and we also had their aircraft out of Amarillo come and help us."

Sheriff Geries credits advanced technology on a DPS helicopter for helping to locate the downed plane around 1:00 a.m.

The FAA and NTSB are still investigating what caused the crash, but both men were reportedly experienced pilots.

Sheriff Geries called the incident a tragedy.

"We have a lot of people that have small aircraft around in the area," said Geries. "We don't have this happen, its a tragedy when it does happen. We don't know what happened, but we have a couple young men that lost their lives. Our hearts go out to the family. Now it's just trying to figure out what happened so we can educate ourselves and move forward for the family." 

The two passengers onboard the plane have been identified as 25 year-old Clayton Sides from Dimmitt, and 25 year-old Thomas Hefner from Bovina.

A family friend said both men were outstanding citizens and will be missed dearly.

PARMER COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - Two people have died after a plane crashed in Parmer County Sunday evening.

Department of Public Safety officials say an aircraft failed to return after taking off from the owner's home. 

The plane was last seen around 8:30 p.m. in flight west of Friona.

Around 10:43 p.m., 911 was called to report the plane missing. 

A ground search was conducted, and a Department of Public Safety aircraft located the plane around eight miles west of Friona.

Both occupants of the aircraft were found dead.

They have been identified as 25-year-old Clayton Sides of Dimmitt and 25-year-old Thomas Jacob Hefner of Bovina.

At this time, Department of Public Safety troopers are securing the scene until Federal Aviation Administration arrive.  The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

PARMER COUNTY, TX - Two people are dead following a plane crash in Parmer County Sunday evening. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety, the plane crashed in a cornfield approximately 8 miles west of Friona. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Quad City Challenger II took off from a private airstrip around 8:00 p.m.

The Department of Public Safety said the plane was reported missing around 10:30 p.m.

Authorities located the downed aircraft around 1:00 a.m. Monday.

The Department of Public Safety identified the victims as Clayton Sides, 25, of Dimmitt and Thomas Jacob Hefner, 25 of Bovina.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the victims were reported to be a flight instructor and a student. 

Federal Aviation Administration investigators are on their way to the crash site and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. 

The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation.