Saturday, September 07, 2019

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N14365: Fatal accident occurred September 06, 2019 at Ken Jernstedt Airfield (4S2), Hood River County, Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Piper Aircraft Inc; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines, a Division of AVCO Corporation; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hood River, OR
Accident Number: WPR19FA251
Date & Time: 09/06/2019, 1009 PDT
Registration: N14365
Aircraft: Piper PA18
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 6, 2019, at 1009 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-18, N14365, experienced a complete loss of engine power during takeoff from runway 25 and impacted terrain at Ken Jernstedt Airport (4S2), Hood River, Oregon. The airplane was owned by PA-18 LLC., and operated as a personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight and no flight plan had been filed.

According to museum personnel, the private pilot needed a biannual flight review (BFR). About 45 minutes before the accident, the CFI and private pilot were observed moving the airplane over toward the T-hangars. Several witnesses around the area, observed the airplane taxiing from the T-hangar area toward runway 25; they did not hear any abnormalities with the engine. The airplane taxied to the active runway, full throttle was added, and the airplane was observed on the takeoff roll and climb out. When the airplane reached about 100 feet above the ground (agl), the engine made two "pops" and then quit. The airplane repositioned from a takeoff attitude to a nose low attitude. One witness observed the ailerons come in with a corresponding turn to the right. The rate of turn increased and the nose dropped before it was lost from sight behind the T-hangars. The witness reported hearing the impact and as he was responding to the accident site, called 911.

First responders reported that the fuel selector valve was found in the OFF position when they arrived onsite. They also noted fuel leaking from the airplane.

The entire airplane came to rest on the northside of runway 25 adjacent to T-hangars, about mid-span of the T-hangar row. The airplane came to rest on a southerly heading facing the runway. The cockpit of the airplane came to rest upright.

A review of security video footage from across the field, showed the airplane in a right descending turn before it impacts the ground.

The airplane was moved to a secure T-hangar for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N14365
Model/Series: PA18 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: PA-18 LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
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: Hood River, OR (4S2)
Destination: Hood River, OR (4S2) 

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: 45.673889, -121.542222

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  

Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) volunteers Robin Reid, Ben Davidson, Matthew Titus and Marici Reid at last year’s Fly-In. Davidson and Titus died on September 6th, the result of a plane crash.

Matt Titus

HOOD RIVER, Oregon (KPTV) - Two people died in a plane crash Friday morning at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office says witnesses reported hearing the engine sputter before the plane nose dived into the ground at a steep angle, killing the pilot, Matthew Titus, of California, and his passenger, Ben Davidson, of Hood River.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub crashed just after departure from Runway 25.

Family members confirmed Davidson is the chief pilot of the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, which is next to the Hood River airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot and passenger were experienced with land and seaplane ratings. Davidson was also a certified flight instructor and mechanic.

“He flew everything,” Gary Boggs, a longtime friend, said. “He started at a young age and flew float planes, he flew helicopters in the service, and was just dedicated to flying and helping people.”

Family member say Davidson served as the museum’s chief pilot and was set to participate in this weekend’s annual Fly In, which attracts hundreds of pilots from around the Pacific Northwest each year.

While their flag now flies at half-mast, the museum has decided their event will go on as scheduled, saying in a Facebook post Friday night they aim to make this a Fly In the two pilots would be proud of.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Story and video ➤

Ben Davidson

HOOD RIVER, Oregon (KOIN) — Two people died when a small plane crashed during a popular fly-in event Friday morning at Hood River’s Ken Jernstedt Airfield.

Hood River deputies said the plane was in the air after takeoff around 10:10 a.m. but then sputtered before making a right turn and a nosedive. It plunged into a field near a hanger. Nothing

The pilot, 56-year-old Matthew Titus of Turlock, California and passenger 55-year-old Ben Davidson of Hood River died at the scene. It’s unclear at this time what caused the crash.

The Hood River Sheriff’s Office said the plane was an antique 2-seat, single-engine aircraft called a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub. Deputies said it was likely attempting a field takeoff. The 2 main runways at the airport were not affected by the crash.

“There’s a lot of people here and this is a pretty tight-knit community and so this is a pretty tragic time for them,” said Deputy Joel Ives.

The crash marked a tragic start to a typically fun-filled weekend in Hood River. The fly-in is organized by the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM), which calls itself a “living museum” and contains working antique planes.

Deputy Ives said the plane that crashed may have been part of WAAAM’s fleet.

“Sympathies with the family,” said Jeff Burns, an attendee at the fly-in. “It’s a terrible way to start a wonderful event but accidents happen in airplanes just as they do in automobiles.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Story and video ➤

HOOD RIVER, Oregon — A pilot and passenger were killed in a small plane crash at an airport near Hood River on Friday morning, authorities said.

A Hood River County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the single-engine plane crashed just after 10 a.m. after an unspecified problem during takeoff.

Witnesses told deputies they heard the engine cut out, at which point the plane nosed down and turned to the right before crashing at a steep angle.

Rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life tool to free the pilot and passenger from the wreckage.

The two people were later pronounced dead at the scene. 

The pilot was identified as 56-year-old Matthew Titus, of Turlock, California.

The passenger was identified as 55-year-old Ben Davidson, of Hood River.

The Ken Jernstedt Airfield is located two miles south of Hood River.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Story and video ➤

SALEM, Oregon (AP) — As dozens of horrified pilots and other aviation enthusiasts looked on, a small plane took off Friday from an airfield in the scenic Oregon town of Hood River then plummeted to the ground after its engine cut out, killing the pilot and his passenger.

The crash occurred as an annual “fly-in,” where hundreds gather to view planes, many of them antiques, was about to start.

One of the people killed was Ben Davidson, chief pilot for a museum of antique planes and cars that hosts the event, Hood River County sheriff’s Deputy Joel Ives said. Also killed was Matthew Titus of Turlock, California, who was piloting the Super Cub airplane, Ives said.

Ives said the two men were apparently related.

The Piper PA-18 Super Cub is a two-seat, single-engine monoplane, introduced in 1949 by Piper Aircraft.

Witnesses said the plane probably didn’t get more than 100 feet (30 meters) off the ground when the engine cut out, almost caught, and then cut out again, Ives said. The weather was clear, with scattered clouds and light winds.

Davidson was chief pilot for the Western Antique Airplane & Automobile Museum, which hosts the Hood River Fly-In, being held on Saturday and Sunday.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. R.I.P. Prayers for both families, a tragic loss for sure.

  2. Bad news.

    May those lost RIP

    Praying that the familys find peace and closure


  3. RIP

    This doesn't make sense. If the engine sputtered and lost power one can lay down a cub in 50 ft of runway or grass straight ahead.

    No flight is ever routine and the simplest things can get us if we let our guard down even for a split second. And like the proverbial saying goes even those things fly just high enough and fast enough to kill you.

  4. I wonder if the plane stalled on runway heading or if the pilot tried to make the impossible turn. My condolences, it must have been a traumatic thing to watch.

  5. Lose power lower the nose.

    Startle response can get in the way.

    Again, RIP


  6. Elevator looks lined up with horizontal. Gustlock?
    Hope not.

  7. Horizontal stabilizer looks to have significant nose up trim ... Looking at the slot where the tube of the leading edge passes through to the jack screw.

    Gust lock is usually the seat belt ... Makes it hard to board.


  8. I couldn't understand how that much damage occurred in a fairly low altitude accident. Then I finally read all the way down to the bit about the jaws of life. Ah. . .

  9. "crashed just after departure from Runway 25, 3040 x 75 ft. Traffic pattern: Left
    Obstructions: 42 ft. tree, 890 ft. from runway 25, 140 ft. right of centerline, 16:1 slope to clear

    No questions about their collective experiences, they knew exactly the 1-2-3 of a failed engine.

    Fly the airplane.
    Point it toward a landing site.
    Establish best-glide airspeed.,-121.5391212,446m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x54960f27269e8483:0xca0271bc243d5349!8m2!3d45.6725243!4d-121.5366126

  10. It seems to be extremely common for the pilot to continue to hold up elevator after power loss long enough to create a stall and fatal outcome.
    I get the impression that if it is not a reflex to push the stick forward as soon as the engine cuts out you’re a goner.

  11. Probably fuel off, header tank full, 2.5, gallons, taxi run up and take off, climb out started fuel exhausted..
    Nose high, no altitude, no power, return to field failed attempt.
    To much to quick..
    Sadly...very sad!

  12. Even with holding back the stick in a cub it will have pretty good "falling leaf" characteristics and can recover quickly and start flying again with less than a hundred feet of altitude loss. Unless they just dropped a wing, used aileron and spun it in?

    I echo everybody else above's comments of basically "WTF???" These guys were obviously "plane people" flying a super cub.

    I'd expect this of a Cirrus driver but not an aviator. Well I guess it can happen to anybody.

    Stay sharp and mentally rehearse your emergency procedures no matter what you fly.


  13. I knew both pilots well, and respected them and their flying experience. Pilot error is always a factor to consider, but my gut says no in this case.
    It had to be a combination of mechanical issues. Fuel starvation maybe although I doubt it.

    Rest In Peace,

    Leo Camilleri

  14. Of all single engine aircraft the Super Cub is likely the one type that an experienced pilot would wish to be in if it lost an engine.

  15. Was aircraft in private ownership of Terry Brandt?.......or was it a WAAAM aircraft? Sometimes they can sit to long...

  16. One MUST push the nose over aggressively and instantly at the first burble or cough of the engine, especially on take off with a nose high and climb speed setting. Delaying for a mere second or two can be the difference between life and death. You can not recover from a stall/spin scenario that low to the ground, it's impossible. This is the exact reason there are so many accidents like this, because people delay for a few seconds, or they pull back on the stick because of frightened reflexes. Pilots, tell yourself that your engine IS going to fail on EVERY takeoff you make, and be ready to instantly push your nose over very aggressively. Prepare for it and practice frequently. RIP Guys. Sad day!

  17. ^^ Pretty much what he said. ^^ I flew a Super Cub in a banner tow operation. The banner pick up and drop were aggressive pitch up and full power maneuvers. I was uncoordinated on one particular banner drop and my left wing stalled at about 150' AGL, I rolled into a 60 deg. bank very abruptly. If I had not pulled the power back while simultaneously applying full right rudder, right aileron and pushing the nose over >with lightening fast reflexes< I wouldn't be typing this right now. Closest I ever came to looking death in the eyes.


  18. ETA; We had a banner plane crash the following season, same scenario as mine and the crash looked just like the one in this accident, he went straight down.