Saturday, June 8, 2019

Phase I Flight Test: Lockwood Aircraft AirCam, N123GN, fatal accident occurred June 08, 2019 at Hemet-Ryan Airport (KHMT), Riverside County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California
Lockwood Aviation; Sebring, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Hemet, CA
Accident Number: WPR19FA161
Date & Time: 06/08/2019, 0938 PDT
Registration: N123GN
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On June 8, 2019, at 0938 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Lockwood Aviation Aircam airplane, N123GN, was substantially damaged when it rolled inverted and impacted the runway surface during a takeoff attempt at Hemet-Ryan Airport (HMT), Hemet, California. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the local flight.

According to records and witness statements, the pilot purchased the kit for the accident airplane in November 2017, and completed construction several months before the accident. The accident flight was the first test flight in the airplane after having recently received a Special Airworthiness Certificate to begin Phase I flight testing. On the morning of the accident, several of the pilot's friends and acquaintances had gathered to witness his first flight. Witnesses reported that the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and sumped the fuel tanks before he taxied to the active runway. He lined up the airplane on the runway centerline, and began a slow ground roll for a few seconds before he advanced the throttles to takeoff power. Seconds later, the airplane lifted off the runway, but as the airplane approached about 20 ft above ground level, the left wing folded upward. The airplane immediately rolled to the left and entered a descent before it impacted the ground inverted.

A video of the accident was captured by an eyewitness who was recording the initial flight with a smartphone. The video was consistent with witness statements and showed the tailwheel lift from the runway surface about 200 ft into the airplane's ground roll. The airplane departed the runway surface about 400 ft into the ground roll, and began a climb. Two seconds after the wheels came off the ground, the left wing folded upward and the airplane began a left roll and descended to the ground.

The airplane came to rest inverted on the left runway edge, approximately 550 ft from the beginning of runway 23. All major sections of the airframe were accounted for at the accident site. The main wreckage was located about 125 ft forward of the airplane's initial impact point and oriented on a heading of 111° magnetic. Multiple dents and compression wrinkles were observed on both sides of the forward fuselage at the nose cone, which was scarred and cracked along the top. The fuselage frame at each wing strut attachment was compressed on both sides of the fuselage. The left wing was partially separated and folded beneath the main wreckage and the wing tip was adjacent to the empennage. The right wing compression tube was deformed and the leading edge was crushed. Fuel stains were observed below the left wing on the runway surface covered by an absorbent material that had been distributed by first responders.

A preliminary examination of the airplane showed that both the forward and aft left wing struts remained connected to their braces at the left wing, but were not connected to the wing strut attachment fittings at the fuselage. According to the airplane's build manual, during normal assembly the wing struts are installed on the fuselage attachment fittings with bolts. On the accident airplane, the bolts were present and secured to the struts with nuts, however they were straight and undamaged, and not connected to their respective fittings on the fuselage. Likewise, the fittings on the fuselage were intact, and their corresponding bolt holes were undamaged. The right wing struts remained connected to both the wing strut attachments fitting at the fuselage, and braces at the wing.

Photograph 1: Left Wing Strut Attachment Fitting Ends and Fuselage Attachment Fittings 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LOCKWOOD
Registration: N123GN
Model/Series: AIRCAM
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: , 1514 ft msl
Observation Time: 0935 PDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hemet, CA (HMT)
Destination: Hemet, CA (HMT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

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

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

HEMET, California — The pilot of a twin-engine open cockpit experimental amateur-built aircraft was killed after crashing at Hemet-Ryan Airport Saturday morning, June 8. The Lockwood Aircraft AirCam built by the pilot and his friends – had just passed its FAA inspection and the deadly crash happened during the plane’s inaugural flight.

Although coroner officials have not yet released the victim’s name, friends and family have since identified the man who died as Loren Gallagher, of Hemet.

City of Hemet Police and Fire Departments, along with AMR, were dispatched to the fatal crash around 9:30 a.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor later said.

When officials arrived they found the small red and gold plane upside down near one of the runways. The pilot, later identified as Gallagher, was reportedly trapped inside the mangled wreckage of the overturned plane and had to be extricated from inside the open cockpit of the two-seater.

Officials attempted CPR and requested an air ambulance while making other life-saving efforts, Hemet Fire Department later reported. However, the air ambulance was soon cancelled and Gallagher was transported by ground ambulance to Hemet Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

A person who was at the airport and witnessed the crash but requested to remain anonymous, later told RCNS the plane crashed moments after it lifted off.

“It started off fine and was lifting into the air when it looked like the wing possibly failed,” the witness reported. “(The plane) only managed to get about 30-40 feet into the air when it came crashing down, trapping Loren.”

“A wonderful man died today. So many will miss him,” one friend, Debbie Dunajski Schamber, wrote after learning of the tragic accident. “That plane was so much more than just a hobby for the men who built it. Today was going to be a celebration for it’s first flight and now it has turned into a tragedy.”

“I am thankful for only one thing,” Schamber wrote. “Loren was a good Christian man with Jesus Christ as his savior. RIP my sweet friend. Until we meet again.”

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the deadly crash, according to Gregor. Their results and findings will be released once their investigation is complete.

Original article ➤

HEMET, California — Federal aviation officials are looking into what caused an experimental plane to crash at Hemet-Ryan Airport soon after takeoff on Saturday, fatally injuring the pilot.

Coroner’s officials on Sunday identified the pilot who died as Loren Gallagher, 73, of Hemet.

The Lockwood Aircraft AirCam crashed on the runway at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, who said the pilot was the only person believed to have been onboard.

The pilot later identified as Gallagher was freed from the wreckage and taken to Hemet Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Hemet Fire Department said.

The plane was registered to Gallagher in February, according to FAA records.

AirCam planes are manufactured by Lockwood Aircraft, sold as a kit and put together by the customer, according to the company’s website.

Photos taken at the scene of the crash show the red plane upside down on the runway.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board typically take a year, or in some cases longer, to determine the cause of the crash, Gregor said.

Original article can be found here ➤

A pilot died Saturday, June 8th, when an experimental aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Hemet-Ryan Airport, authorities said.

The crash, on the runway, happened at about 9:30 a.m., Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown said. The pilot was the only person on board the Lockwood Aircam, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The Hemet Fire Department arrived to find the Lockwood Aircraft AirCam upside down and the pilot trapped in the wreckage, Brown said. The victim was taken to Hemet Valley Hospital, where the Riverside County Coroner’s Office was called.

The pilot’s name was not immediately released.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. It takes the NTSB about a year to determine the probable cause of a crash, Gregor said.
Original article can be found here ➤


Anonymous said...

Missed something on the construction.


Anonymous said...

Not necessarily... but the first few hours of any brand new plane are critical. This is why high speed taxis and slight hovers are best and recheck the airframe and components for anything amiss meticulously.

Youth errors are a thing. This is why teenagers crash cars at the same rate as 80 year olds.

Youth error - maturity - old age. Bathtub reliability curve.

Anonymous said...

The left wing struts were not bolted through the support on the fuselage the struts were not placed far enough down the fuselage bracket.looking completed with the bolts in place they were actually not attached .very sad such a simple but critical mistake cost this man his life on what should have been a great day.

Leo said...

Any airplane with wing struts should have one important step in the preflight, lifting up repeatably on each wing tip. Many years ago a piper cub pilot did this, and one strut separated. I’ll never forget that.