Friday, July 20, 2018

Loss of Control on Ground: Zenith STOL CH 701, N127VV, accident occurred July 04, 2018 at San Saba County Municipal Airport (81R), Texas

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: San Saba, TX
Accident Number: GAA18CA393
Date & Time: 07/04/2018, 0915 CDT
Registration: N127VV
Aircraft: Zenair ZENITH STOL CH 701
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during takeoff, he applied right rudder to counteract the left turning tendencies of the airplane, but the airplane continued left of the runway centerline. He was unable to correct back to the runway centerline when the airplane was about 5 to 10 ft above the ground, so he decided to abort the takeoff and land on the grass left of the runway. During the landing, the airplane landed hard, the nose landing gear "dug" into the grass, and the airplane nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and empennage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper landing flare during the aborted takeoff, which resulted in a hard landing and a nose-over.


Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Soft surface - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Attempted remediation/recovery

Hard landing

Takeoff-rejected takeoff
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 60, Male
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: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/18/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 581.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 6.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 469.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Zenair
Registration: N127VV
Model/Series: ZENITH STOL CH 701 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 74326
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/08/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 816.5 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912ULS
Registered Owner:On file 
Rated Power: 100 hp
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: KAQO, 1102 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 27 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1410 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 174°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: San Saba, TX (81R)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Llano, TX (AQO)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0915 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1255 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 13
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4205 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 31.237222, -98.719167 (est)

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