Friday, June 8, 2018

Zodiac 601 HD, N318MH: Accident occurred August 21, 2014 at Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fredericksburg, TX
Accident Number: CEN14LA447
Date & Time: 08/21/2014, 1450 CDT
Registration: N318MH
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


After a cross-country flight and as the pilot approached his destination airport, he checked the wind. After flying a normal traffic pattern for runway 14, he made two unsuccessful landing attempts. On the third attempt, the airplane experienced a wind gust, and the airplane banked 90 degrees. The pilot applied power; however, the left wing impacted the runway. The airplane cartwheeled twice and then came to rest inverted next to the runway. There were no reported malfunctions with the airplane before the accident. A review of the airport's automated weather reporting station report indicated that, about the time of the accident, the airplane would have experienced about a 15-knot crosswind gusting to 20 knots. The accident is consistent with a loss of control during windy conditions.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's loss of airplane control during a gusting crosswind landing.



Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Gusts - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information 

On August 21, 2014, about 1450 central daylight time, a Zodiac 601 HD airplane, N318MH, impacted terrain near the Gillespie County Airport, (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas. The private rated pilot, sole occupant, was seriously injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a Saavy Biz, Inc, Roanoke, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan.

According to the pilot, as he approached T82, the wind was 18 to 22 knots. He flew a normal traffic pattern to runway 14, but made two unsuccessful attempts to land. On his third attempt to land, while 100 feet above the runway at 55 knots, a wind gust hit the airplane and banked the airplane 90-degrees. The pilot reported that he applied power; however, the left wing impacted the runway. The airplane cartwheeled twice before coming to rest, inverted next to the runway.

There were no reported malfunctions with the airplane prior to the accident, and examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. A review of the automated weather reporting station report, about the time of the accident, revealed that the pilot would have experienced a crosswind of about 15 knots gusting to 20 knots. 

History of Flight


Other weather encounter

Approach-VFR pattern final

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 64
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/14/2014
Flight Time: 380 hours (Total, all aircraft), 145 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: HERDER MICHAEL
Registration: N318MH
Model/Series: ZODIAC 601 HD
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 6-7356
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/13/2013, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: JABIRU
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 3300
Registered Owner: SAAVY BIZ INC
Rated Power: 120 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: T82
Observation Time: 1455 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 34°C / 15°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots/ 21 knots, 210°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hamilton, TX (KMNZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fredericksburg, TX (T82)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1330 CDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: Gillespie County Airport (T82)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1695 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 14
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5001 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Go Around; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  30.248889, -98.913333

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