Sunday, July 15, 2018

Loss of Control in Flight: Kolb Twinstar II, N3135J; fatal accident occurred July 15, 2018 near La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), Harris County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 


https://registry.faa.gov/N3135J 


Location: La Porte, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA267
Date & Time: 07/15/2018, 0900 CDT
Registration: N3135J
Aircraft: Kolb TWINSTAR
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On July 15, 2018, about 0900 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Kolb Twinstar III airplane, N3135J, impacted terrain while maneuvering for landing at the La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), La Porte, Texas. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was owned by the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed T41 about 0855.

According to witnesses and local authorities, the airplane departed T41 and remained in the airport traffic pattern. While the airplane was on approach for landing to runway 23, several witnesses heard the engine power decrease then and immediately increase. Other witnesses stated that the airplane appeared to "stall" from a low altitude and impact terrain in a nose-low attitude. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 64, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: BasicMed
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/14/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2400 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model) 

According to acquaintances, the pilot had purchased the airplane about 1 or 2 months before the accident. The pilot would conduct "taxi tests" at T41 with the airplane. The day before the accident, the pilot and an unknown passenger experienced a runway excursion while conducting a high-speed taxi. It was unknown if any damage occurred during the excursion.

The pilot's logbooks were not located during the investigation. Based on the airplane purchase date, airplane logbook information, and witness accounts, the pilot likely accumulated about 7 hours in the accident airplane.

The pilot was also the owner of a Cessna 210 airplane. Whether the pilot obtained any transition training in the accident airplane could not be determined.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kolb
Registration: N3135J
Model/Series: TWINSTAR III
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 3-12
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/21/2018, Cndition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 8 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 582
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 64 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The two-seat, high-wing, tailwheel equipped airplane was powered by a 64-horsepower Rotax model 582 engine, equipped with a three-blade ground-adjustable propeller. The airplane met the light sport airplane requirements, and the airplane was not equipped with a stall warning system, nor was one required. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and maintenance records, the airplane was built in 1992 and certified in the experimental amateur-built category. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was completed on March 21, 2018. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 7.9 hours since the condition inspection.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: EFD, 32 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0950 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 210°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft agl
Visibility:  8 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: 
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: La Porte, TX (T41)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: La Porte, TX (T41)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0855 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: La Porte Municipal Airport (T41)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 25 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.674444, -95.056389

The initial ground impact scar contained portions of the forward fuselage and instrument panel. The main wreckage came to rest inverted about 20 ft from the initial impact point. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, both wings, empennage, and engine. Both wings exhibited forward-to-aft accordion-type crush damage, and the flap and aileron control surfaces remained attached to each wing. The three-blade composite propeller assembly remained attached to the engine and fragmented blade sections were located in the debris field. The engine remained partially attached to the fuselage structure (see figure 1.).

Figure 1. Main wreckage

Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls to the flight control surfaces. The propeller assembly was rotated by hand, and mechanical continuity was established throughout the engine.

The instrumental panel was destroyed and several fragmented instrument components were located in the debris field near the initial impact. The seat assemblies were bent and deformed, and both seat restraints were found secured by rescue personnel.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operations. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Harris County - Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, Texas, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified diphenhydramine in urine and liver, 4.36 (ug/mL, ug/g) Tramadol in urine, 0.256 (ug/mL, ug/g) Tramadol in liver, 2.475 (ug/mL, ug/g) Desmethyltramadol (O-) in urine, and 0.145 (ug/mL, ug/g) Desmethyltramadol (O-) in liver. Testing was not performed for carbon monoxide or cyanide, and no ethanol was detected in vitreous.

Tramadol is a prescription medication used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. The medication has the potential to impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, e.g., flying, driving, and operating heavy machinery. O-desmethyltramadol is an active metabolite of tramadol.

Diphenhydramine is an over-the-counter, first-generation antihistamine used to treat allergic conditions and helpful as a sleep aid. This medication could impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, e.g., flying, driving, and operating heavy machinery. Because of adverse side effects that include somnolence, decreased alertness, and impaired concentration, attention and memory, the FAA recommends waiting at least 60 hours after the last dose before performing safety-related duties.

Additional Information

According to FAA Advisory Circular 90-109A, Transition to Unfamiliar Aircraft, Appendix 2, the Kolb airplane is considered a low-inertia and/or high-drag airplane, with nontraditional configuration and/or controls. Appendix 4 describes low-inertia and/or high-drag as airplanes that rapidly lose energy (airspeed and/or altitude) when there is a loss or reduction of power.

In addition, Appendix 4 d. Other Hazards, states,

Hazards of low-inertia/high-drag airplanes are not limited to power management issues. While all airplanes experience an increase in stall speed with an increase in load factor, such as during turns, these airplanes may also experience significant airspeed decay with increased load factor. This, coupled with low cruise speed to stall speed margin, make these airplanes particularly susceptible to unintentional stalls.

Location: La Porte, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA267
Date & Time: 07/15/2018, 0900 CDT
Registration: N3135J
Aircraft: Kolb TWINSTAR
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 15, 2018, about 0900 central daylight time, a Carpenter Kolb Twinstar III, N3135J, impacted terrain while maneuvering during a visual approach to the La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), La Porte, Texas. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed T41 about 0855.

According to witness and local authorities, the airplane was observed to depart T41 and remained in the traffic pattern. While on visual approach to runway 23, the airplane appeared to "stall" from a low altitude and impact terrain in a nose low attitude.

Postaccident examination of the accident site revealed the initial ground impact scar contained portions of the forward fuselage and instrument panel. The main wreckage came to rest inverted about 20 ft from the initial impact. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, both wings, empennage, and engine. Both wings exhibited forward to aft crush damage. The three-blade composite propeller remained attached to the engine and fragmented sections were located in the debris field. The engine remained attached to the fuselage structure. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kolb
Registration: N3135J
Model/Series: TWINSTAR 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: EFD, 32 ft msl
Observation Time: 0950 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 25°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  8 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: La Porte, TX (T41)
Destination: La Porte, TX (T41)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  29.674444, -95.056389



An elderly man and his son from The Woodlands died in an experimental plane crash in La Porte on Sunday, according to police.

John Stewart Boyd, 93, and Gary Stewart Boyd, 64, were confirmed by the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office as the occupants of the plane that crashed at 9 a.m. July 15.

The Experimental Kolb Twinstar III was approaching the north side of the La Porte Municipal Airport when it crashed about 300 yards from the end of the runway, the Federal Aviation Administration previously told Chron.com.

Sgt. Bennie Boles of the La Porte Police Department said the plane went into a pipeline easement, causing no damage to ground structures or injuries to people other than the two occupants.

The La Porte Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and FAA are supporting the National Transportation Safety Board as that agency investigates.

Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency completed an on-scene investigation on Monday. Investigators are now collecting evidence before issuing a factual report for the accident. A final report determining the probable cause of the accident usually takes between 12 and 18 months.

"Our investigator completed his on-scene investigation and a preliminary report should be out by the end of the week," Weiss said.

Mark Bertram, who lives in La Porte, said he saw the plane Sunday when he rode his motorcycle past the airport just a few minutes after the crash.

"The tail was straight up in the air," he said. "The front was smashed flat like a pancake."

Now marketed as the Kolb Mark III, the plane involved in the crash is a kit-built light sport aircraft, designed for speed, according to the Kolb Aircraft website. "Although Kolb aircraft are easy to fly and have gentle flight characteristics, they are also high performance aircraft," the website states.

If the National Transportation Safety Board investigation finds a safety issue with the aircraft, the agency would issue safety alerts or urgent safety recommendations about that particular model.





LA PORTE, Texas (KTRK) -- Two people are dead after an aircraft crashed near the La Porte airport, officials said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. about 300 yards from the runway.

The small experimental aircraft attempting to return to the runway came down in a field near the 11000 block of North H Street.

The FAA described the plane as an Experimental Kolb Twinstar II, telling Eyewitness News it was built by a private citizen and not by a certified manufacturer.

"Thousands of aircraft owners prefer to build their own planes from kits or plans," said Lynn Lunsford, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jill Mancha, a neighbor who lives nearby, said she was in her home when she heard the plane sputtering in the air.

"As I opened the front door, the plane hit the ground with a thud. Didn't sound like the engine was running," Mancha said.

She tells Eyewitness News she grabbed her phone and ran to the wreckage while calling 911.

When she got to the plane she says it was clear both the pilot and passenger were deceased.

"I prayed over them. I do want the families to know that I prayed and I felt the peace of God around their plane and those men inside there," she said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending investigators to the crash site, and the Federal Aviation Administration will be assisting with the investigation. The names of the victims have not been released.

Story and video ➤ http://abc13.com




Two people are dead after a small aircraft went down Sunday morning in La Porte, Texas according to KHOU-TV. 

The La Porte Police Department said at about 9 a.m. they received reports of a plane crash near the 11000 block of North H Street.

The plane was making an approach to the north side of the La Porte Municipal Airport when it went down in a pipeline easement.

The aircraft is a small experimental type plane, according to Sergeant Bennie Boles.

The plane's tail number, N3135J, is registered under a Breaux Bridge address.   

So far, KLFY has not been able to confirm who was on the plane. 

Police said no ground structures were damaged.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is on scene and investigating. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have also been notified.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.klfy.com



LA PORTE, Texas - According to police, a small experimental aircraft went down in La Porte killing two people.

Officials with La Porte police department say that shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday the aircraft left the La Porte Municipal Airport, circled back around and went down near the 11000 block of North H Street.

Officials confirm there were two people deceased.

No ground structures or other people were injured in the crash.

Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Aviation Administration are handling the investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.fox26houston.com

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