Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Van’s RV-6, operated under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, N90LK: Fatal accident occurred April 29, 2019 in Ridgefield, Clark County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon

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


Location: Ridgefield, WA
Accident Number: WPR19FA124
Date & Time: 04/29/2019, PDT
Registration: N90LK
Aircraft: Vans RV 6
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 29, 2019, at an unknown time, an experimental, amateur-built Van's Aircraft RV-6 airplane, N90LK, impacted in shallow water near Ridgefield, Washington. The private pilot/owner and flight instructor were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was operated under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Grove Field Airport (1W1), Camas, Washington at 1402.

According to representatives of the Clark County (WA) Sheriff's Office, a pilot telephoned them about 1611 to advise that he observed a crashed airplane in a body of water just south of Daybreak Airport (W46), La Center, Washington. A ground check by law enforcement personnel located the wreckage about 1,000 ft south-southeast of the approach end of runway 31, and the two occupants were deceased. No witnesses to the accident have been located. According to the pilot/owner's wife, the purpose of the flight was to conduct the pilot's biennial flight review.

No radio communications between the airplane and any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control facilities have been located. A review of FAA ground tracking radar data revealed a series of radar returns that appeared to be associated with the accident airplane and flight. The first radar return was captured at 1404:28, and indicated that the airplane was located about 0.6 miles northeast of 1W1. No altitude data was associated with that return, but the next return (at 1404:33) indicated an altitude of 1,100 ft. The airplane climbed to and leveled off at about 1,500 ft for about 4 minutes. It then descended to about 1,300 ft for about 30 seconds, then climbed to about 2,400 ft for about 2 minutes, and then entered a steady descent to the end of the data. The last radar return was recorded 1413:42. At that time the airplane was at an altitude of 500 ft. The radar data indicated that the airplane tracked north-northwest towards W46, and then entered a track similar to a left downwind leg for runway 13 that was offset about a half-mile to the east. The airplane then flew a left 180° turn, and flew a track approximating a close-in (about 0.2 miles) left downwind leg for runway 31. The last recorded return was situated on this leg, approximately midfield.

The field elevation of 1W1 was listed as 429 ft, and W46 as 25 ft. Published data indicated that right traffic patterns were to be used for both runway 13 and 31 at W46.

FAA records indicated that the accident airplane was built in 1990 by the accident pilot, and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in March 2017, at which time he reported a total flight experience of 1,500 hours. He also held an FAA Repairman Certificate for his RV-6 airplane.

FAA records indicated that the instructor held airline transport and flight instructor certificates with airplane instrument, airplane single-engine, and airplane multi-engine land ratings. He also held type ratings in six different turbojet models. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in August 2018, at which time he reported a total flight experience of 20,000 hours.

The automated weather observations at an airport located about 10 miles west of the accident site, for the period 1353 to 1453, included winds from 060° at 6 knots or less, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

The automated weather observations at an airport located about 13 miles south of the accident site, for the period 1353 to 1453, included winds between 200° and 300° at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans
Registration: N90LK
Model/Series: RV 6 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Unknown
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Camas, WA (1W1)

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: 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Dennis Kozacek, 70, pictured in April 2018, worked part-time as a certified flight instructor in Camas. He was killed, along with pilot Milo Luther Kays, 73, on April 29th, 2019 in a Van’s RV-6 crash southeast of La Center. 

Dennis Ray Kozacek, 70, from Ridgefield, WA, passed away on Monday, April 29, 2019 in nearby La Center in an airplane accident. 

Dennis was born in Nampa, Idaho on November 27, 1948 to Edward and Olga Kozacek. Married to Laural Lynn Stephens at Lake Tahoe on October 26, 1974. Following an honorable and full career, Dennis retired as a Commander from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service as a carrier pilot and fighter pilot instructor. Dennis continued his flying career as a commercial Captain for People Express Airlines and FedEx. His passion for flying was closely followed by hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing and raising Brittanys. Dennis’ highest priority and most lasting impression was always his exemplary parenting of his three children. He is survived by his wife, Laural, and children, Kyler, Madison and Carter; parents, Edward and Olga and brother Don. 

His time in recent years was filled with teaching aviation, volunteer work and many projects for his family, friends and church community. While constantly being a skilled, willing and most dependable husband, father and friend. 

He flew with passion, taught with purpose and loved without condition. 

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family asks that donations be made to a college aviation scholarship fund through Camas Washougal Aviation Association (CWAA) where Dennis devoted and volunteered his time.

June 4th, 1945 ˜ April 29th, 2019 

Luther was born June 4, 1945 to Helena and Milo Kays. He is the eldest of 6 children and lived his entire life in Camas, WA. Graduating from Camas High School in 1964, Luther was known for his laughter, his motivating personality on the football field and his singing voice as part of the school choir. 

He was hired just out of High School to work at the Camas paper mill. In 1966, he enlisted in the United State Air Force and served two tours in Vietnam. After being discharged in 1969, he returned to a job at the paper mill. For most of his 33 years, he worked in the electrical shop starting out as a journeyman and working his way up to supervisor. Within the walls of the paper mill, he was often known as “Lex”. 

Luther married Janet Claypool in 1969 and shared 49 years of laughter and love together. They had two children, Brian and Melanie, and three grandsons whom he loved very dearly. 

Luther was quick to offer a helping hand and had a talent for problem solving. Never afraid of hard work and always one to do things right the first time. He touched the lives of many with his genuine and heartfelt friendships. 

He will be missed for his whistled tune which would announce him every time he walked into the house and could be heard echoing from his hangar or the garage while he worked. He whistled happily while building 2 family homes and an airplane. 

Luther spent the last 22 years enjoying life to the fullest: riding motorcycles, flying airplanes, golfing, hiking, traveling, running marathons and laughing. 

Luther was killed in an airplane crash on Monday, April 29th, 2019. As the first person to say that you just never know if you have a tomorrow, he lived a life full of love and without regret. 

Luther is survived by his wife, Janet; son and daughter in law, Brian and Mindy Kays; grandsons Easton and Evan Kays; daughter and son in law, Mel and John Jensen; and grandson Rory Jensen.

Luther was an active member of St. John’s Presbyterian Church. 

At his request there will be no service. Please remember him fondly in your own way. Donation in his name, if so desired, can be made to: The Interfaith Treasure House; PO BOX 815, Camas, WA 98607 


Dennis Ray Kozacek

Dennis Kozacek shows a Post-Record reporter the inside of a Cessna 150 used by flight instructors at ATC Camas during an April 2018 photo shoot. Kozacek, 70, of Ridgefield, was killed on April 29th, 2019  in a Van’s RV-6 crash near La Center.

The Camas pilot who crashed his plane Monday afternoon southeast of La Center was flying for a mandated test required every two years.

Milo Luther Kays, 73, was taking part in a biennial flight review when his plane crashed, killing him and his passenger, 70-year-old Ridgefield resident Dennis R. Kozacek, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson. Kozacek was a certified flight instructor, Knudson said.

“Every two years, pilots are required to go up with an instructor and go through flight procedures, things like that,” Knudson said. “That was the purpose of this flight.”

A pilot flying over a marshy area south of the East Fork Lewis River reported seeing the crash site at 4:11 p.m. at the end of Bjur Road off Northeast 269th Street, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. While circling overhead, the pilot directed emergency personnel to the scene.

Clark County Fire & Rescue and sheriff’s deputies found a Vans RV-6 — a small, single-engine, two-seater aircraft constructed from a kit — in about 2 feet of water.

The men found inside, later identified as Kays and Kozacek, both seasoned pilots, appeared to have died on impact, the sheriff’s office said. Both men died of multiple blunt-force injuries, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, and their deaths were ruled an accident.

It’s still unknown why the airplane crashed.

An NTSB investigator finished their on-scene inspection and analysis Wednesday. The fuselage of the plane was intact, Knudson said. An insurance company coordinated the removal of the plane from the pond before it was hauled to the Seattle area for another examination, he said.

No witnesses to the crash were found. In general, an NTSB investigator reaches out to people who called local authorities after having witnessed a plane go down. That didn’t happen in this instance, Knudson said. Anyone who may have seen the plane crash should email witness@ntsb.gov.

The preliminary report should take about two weeks to complete. The NTSB will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies to determine what led to the crash.

The Vans RV-6 plane was registered to Kays, and FAA records indicate he built it in 1990.

Kozacek had been flying since age 19, according to a 2018 story in the Camas-Washougal Post-Record, and had a successful career as a Navy pilot and with FedEx for 31 years.

Both Kozacek and Kays were members of the Camas-Washougal Aviation Association, the group’s president, Kent Mehrer, said Thursday. They both owned hangars at Grove Field Airport in Camas, where the association is based.

Mehrer said he’s received numerous phone calls from the more than 40 members of the association since the crash. In January, the airfield grappled with another fatal crash when the body of George Regis, 63, of Battle Ground, was found on Mount Hood near his downed plane. He had flown out of Grove Field days earlier.

The last time the airfield had a similar event, Mehrer said, was in 2012 when his father, Wilbert “Skeets” Mehrer, 84, died after his 1960 Piper Comanche crashed near Grove Field.

“It actually is a very rare event,” Kent Mehrer said.

Group members have speculated about the cause of Monday’s crash, Mehrer said. Some have mentioned that a strong, high-altitude storm presented perilous conditions. The lengthy, grassy area at Daybreak Field, near where Kays and Kozacek were found, is one of the most popular spots locally for practicing landing, Mehrer said.

Kays, commonly referred to as Luther, flew out of Grove Field for more than 40 years. Mehrer didn’t know Kays well but said he was respected by other pilots.

“He was an excellent pilot, very safe and conscientious,” Mehrer said.

Kozacek was a regular at Grove Field. During the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017, Kozacek and his son, Carter Kozacek, flew food to residents stranded behind the fire wall, Mehrer said.

“A lot of flying experience there and a great personality with it,” Mehrer said. “It’s going to be a big gap that’s been created, and it’s going to be hard to fill it.”

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

CAMAS, Washington -- Two experienced pilots were identified as the people who died in a small plane crash Monday afternoon near La Center.

Milo Luther Kays was flying for his biennial flight review when he crashed into a pond south of the East Fork Lewis River off NE 269th Street. Flight instructor Dennis R. Kozacek was in the passenger seat.

Kays, 73, and Kozacek, 70, both died from blunt force trauma suffered in the crash, authorities said.

The men were described as good pilots with a lot of knowledge and experience.

"It's been a stressful week," said Kent Mehrer, president of the Washougal Aviation Association. "It's a little unusual because they were both competent, experienced pilots with a lot of flying time in airplanes that we wouldn't expect to see anything happen." 

Mehrer knew Kozacek well and said the loss has left a "huge void" in the community.

Kozacek was a huge part of the Washougal Aviation Association, which has about 55 members. He loved flying and frequently volunteered for events.

Kozacek and his son helped fly supplies to Cascade Locks during the Eagle Creek Fire.

"He would do that type of thing all the time," Mehrer said. 

"He was very much into [flying]. I mean, between the Navy and FedEx and private flying and instructing, he was always out here," Mehrer said. "Beautiful day like today, he would probably be out here." 

The plane, which was registered in Clark County, was a small single-engine 2-seater built from a kit. The crash happened less than a mile from the Daybreak Airstrip.

"It was a nice grass runway to practice landings at," Mehrer said. "So what they were doing was very much a normal thing to be doing ... so it was quite a surprise."

Mehrer said people are speculating about what may have happened -- plane failure, human error and weather are all potential factors. 

"Flying has a little bit of a risk of this but it's actually quite low," he said. 

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration said a preliminary report into the crash should take about two weeks.

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

Authorities have not released the names of two men who died in a homebuilt plane crash near La Center on Monday afternoon, nor the cause of the crash.

The men crashed the plane into a shallow wetland area on Clark County property, off of Bjur Road and Northeast 269th Avenue. Their bodies were recovered shortly after the crash, but the plane was still in the water as of Tuesday morning.

The National Transportation Safety Board described the plane as a Vans RV-6, a small plane built from a kit.

Clark County Sheriff’s deputies and county public works employees were on the scene Tuesday morning. Deputy Robert Byrd said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were supposed to be at the site that day.

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

RIDGEFIELD, Washington  – Two people were found dead Monday in a Van’s RV-6 experimental aircraft that crashed into a marshy area near an airfield in Southwest Washington, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.

The crash was reported at about 4:15 p.m. when another pilot spotted the crash off of Bjur Road, near Daybreak Airport in La Center and just south of the east fork of the Lewis River.

"The pilot stayed airborne and and alerted authorities and was able to lead to emergency responders into the scene down to the scene," said Sgt. Fred Neiman of CCSO. 

Clark County Fire & Rescue worked with sheriff's deputies to locate the downed plane from the ground, later confirming that the two people on-board were deceased.

The crash happened right behind Barry Young's backyard.

"The bottom is a flood plain, and the area that they landed in is a seasonal swamp pond," said Young.

Young says he got home right after it happened. He and his son-in-law let first responders through their private road to get access to the plane.

"We were worried that somebody was seriously hurt, because we did have a crash here a year ago where we lost the life of a pilot," said Young.

That crash happened March of 2018, when a Canby pilot crashed and died at the Daybreak Field.

"My heart goes out to them. I've already lifted them up in prayers. I don't know who they may be, but I was thinking about them," said Young.

No word on what caused the single-engine plane to crash, or when it happened.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration are en-route.

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

LA CENTER, Washington  (KPTV) - Emergency crews responded to a deadly plane crash near La Center on Monday.

A Clark County Fire & Rescue spokesperson said two people died in the crash. The pilot and passenger were both men. 

Their names have not been released. 

The wreckage was discovered near Daybreak Airfield, just south of La Center, at around 4:15 p.m.

People in another plane flying over the area saw the crashed plane. 

The Federal Aviation Administration reported a single-engine Vans RV-6 crashed under unknown circumstances in a wetland area. 

FOX 12 spoke with Barry Young, who lives nearby. Young says he sees planes fly through the area all the time and was sad to hear what had happened. 

"It's such a beautiful area and for something that tragic to occur, it’s just actually hard to believe," Young said. 

The crash remains under investigation. 

Story and video ➤ https://www.kptv.com


Two men were found dead in a downed airplane discovered Monday southeast of La Center.

A pilot flying over the area reported seeing the crash site at 4:11 p.m. in a marshy area south of the East Fork Lewis River at the dead end of Bjur Road off Northeast 269th Street, according to a news release from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

While circling overhead, the pilot directed emergency personnel to the crash, according to the release.

Clark County Fire & Rescue and sheriff’s deputies then spotted the home build aircraft, which has one engine and two seats, in a shallow pond in about two feet of water.

The plane is registered in Clark County, Sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Nieman said.

Two men, a pilot and a passenger, were found dead inside the plane. The men appeared to die on impact, the release said.

The exact time and circumstances of the crash remain unknown, according to the release.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation at the site.

The crash was not the first linked to Clark County this year.

In January, a fixed-wing, single-engine plane flown by George Regis, 63, of Battle Ground crashed on Mt. Hood after taking off from Grove Field Airport in Camas.

In March 2018, Mary H. Rosenblum 65, of Canby, Oregon, was killed when a small, single-engine airplane she was piloting crashed south of La Center. Like the crash discovered Monday, Rosenblum’s downed plane was found near Daybreak Field airport.

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


  1. The PIC was a volunteer at Cascadia Technical academy

    1. The PIC was the owner, the instructor was the volunteer at Cascadia Tech

  2. VEry orry to hear about this. I used to fly in and out of Daybreak in Cubs/Champs and a rental 172. Looks like the crash site was about 1/4 mile directly south of the threshold of 31. Not sure what the winds were like that day, but am left wondering if Base to final stall/spin or possible loss of power on departure if 13 was being used.

    Local news stations are reporting the flight was a BFR with a CFI in the right seat.

    RIP Guys

  3. Just goes to show that NO FLIGHT is ever routine. Godspeed fellow aviators.

  4. My first impression is a spin. Specifically a right turn spin.

  5. poor guys. What else is left? Both competent and experienced. So Sad.