Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Lancair Legacy, N10LG: Fatal accident occurred October 06, 2019 in Bixby, Iron County, Missouri

Neal Longwill

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Saint Louis, Missouri
Continental Motors; Mexico, Missouri

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


Location: Bixby, MO
Accident Number: CEN20FA003
Date & Time: 10/06/2019, 0847 CDT
Registration: N10LG
Aircraft: Lancair LANCAIR LEGACY
Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 6, 2019, at 0847 central daylight time, a Lancair Legacy airplane, N10LG, collided with the ground in a heavily wooded area while maneuvering in the vicinity of Bixby, Missouri. The private pilot and sole occupant was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by N10LG Partners, Spicewood, Texas, as a personal flight under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day marginal visual meteorological to instrument meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Creve Coeur Airport (1H0), St. Louis, Missouri, at 0825, and was en route to Spicewood Airport (88R), Spicewood, Texas.

A witness located about 3 miles from the accident site said he observed a low-flying airplane flying in and out of the clouds. He did not see or hear the crash, but noted the tops of the hills were obscured by mist and rain. Another witness located about 5 miles from the accident site said he heard an airplane making "whooshing sounds," like a "descending helicopter."

The on-site wreckage examination revealed the airplane impacted the ground in a flat attitude. Although there were some broken branches, no trees had been toppled. The right wing was separated at the spar carry-through; the left wing was still attached. The empennage was still attached but was displaced to the right. The engine was still attached but was displaced to the left. The 3-bladed metal propeller separated from the crankshaft but was found next to the engine. One blade was relatively straight, the second blade was bent aft by impact, and the third blade was pretzel-shaped, and bore 90° chordwise scratches on both the cambered and flat surfaces.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Lancair
Registration: N10LG
Model/Series: LANCAIR LEGACY No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time: 0848 BST
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 800 ft agl
Visibility:  1 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Creve Coeur, MO (1HO)
Destination: Spicewood, TX (88R) 

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: 37.361389, -91.040000

Neal Longwill

Neal Kelly Longwill of Austin, Texas was suddenly taken from this world on Sunday, October 6th, 2019, his 65th birthday. Neal was born in Brawley, California to Marilyn and Ben Longwill on October 6, 1954. He is preceded in death by his father, Ben Leroy Longwill and younger brother, Mark Raymond Longwill. He is survived by his son, Brent Phillip Longwill, best friend Lynn Costa Longwill, mother Marilyn Grace Longwill, and brothers Ben Allen Longwill, Brian Grant Longwill, and Lee Jeffrey Longwill. He is also survived by his many "non-blood" brothers, they know who they are. 

Neal graduated from New Mexico State University in 1978 with a degree in Marketing. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. During his college years he worked various odd jobs, stretching from driving a school bus, owning a motel, and iron work in Montana, to help fund his college education (and beer drinking along the way). He loved everything New Mexican, most recognized by his tendency to add fresh Hatch green chili to nearly everything he ate. He was recruited by a fraternity brother for a sales position at Intel Corporation. Throughout his 20 years with the company, he climbed the corporate ladder to various roles retiring in a position of management.

Neal was a man who loved a good project, and one of the only people you may ever have met who got excited when something broke, because it gave him something to dissect and repair. From automobile engines and electrical systems, to physical home repair and everything in between, when Neal put his mind to something he wouldn't just fix the issue, he'd find ways to improve the function of whatever he was addressing and put in measures to prevent any future problems from arising. Truly a man who believed in going above and beyond in all that he did. 

After retiring from Intel, Neal received his "wings". His love of flying, combined with his love of building things, resulted in the construction of his first kit airplane, a Lancair Legacy, in 2005. After completing his first plane, he became a sales representative for Lancair. In 2009 Neal founded Austin Composites and went on to build 5 more airplanes for himself or others, many of which received prestigious awards for build quality and design. He was a well-respected member of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilot Association).

Neal's most recent venture has been helping to grow the exposure and business of a line of aviation sunglasses. His experience and wide range of friendships in the aviation industry was instrumental to the growth the company's seen this year.

If not in the air, you would have likely found Neal either cruising around the central Texas hill country on his Harley or enjoying the sunset from his boat on Lake Travis. Also as a huge lover of music, Neal enjoyed the many live venues that Austin had to offer, favorites included The Broken Spoke, The White Horse Saloon, Ginny's Longhorn Saloon, and so many others. 

Neal exemplified a passion for hard work and getting a job done right the first time, as well as doing right by others and never taking life too seriously. His joy for life was contagious to those around him, which is why it's no surprise that Neal maintained many friendships from NMSU, the tech world, and his associations in aviation.

Neal's great sense of humor, generosity, and laid-back nature will be missed and carried on in the hearts all of us who knew and loved him. A Celebration of Neal's Life will take place on November 2nd, 2019 at 12:00pm, at the Spicewood Airport in 165 Piper Lane, Spicewood Texas, 78669.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Missouri – After being activated by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center earlier today, the Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, was able to quickly locate an aircraft reported crashed near Bixby, Missouri.

A CAP aircraft based at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Missouri – consisting of pilot Lt. Col. Keith Monteith, observer Capt. Carroll “Pete” Pilcher, and scanner 2d Lt. Joseph Klatt – tracked the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter and found the downed aircraft in dense woods within fifteen minutes of arriving over the initial search area. Three other aircrew were on standby by were hampered by local weather.

Four ground teams from across the state also responded with one working directly with local law enforcement to further identify the wreckage at the crash site. Additional ground teams from Branson/Springfield, Kansas City, and Mexico, Missouri, were also on standby to assist if a wider search area was needed.

“The Missouri Wing constantly trains throughout the year for missions such as this one,” said Maj. Alan Altis, mission incident commander. “I am proud of the rapid response by our teams from across the state and their ability to close this mission so quickly – it is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to their communities.”

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

IRON COUNTY, Missouri — A man died after the single-engine plane he was flying crashed in a densely wooded part of Iron County south of Viburnum, Missouri, Sunday morning. 

Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley said a locator beacon was activated at around 8:30 Sunday morning from a distressed aircraft. The FAA in Colorado determined the plane was down in Iron County, so the Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol was called in to help locate the plane.

The Civil Air Patrol eventually tracked the plane to a heavily wooded area near State Highway KK and Doe Run's Buick Mine and Mill. Even though they knew where the plane was, it took deputies several hours to get to it because of the terrain, Medly said.

When they did arrive, they found the pilot was dead and the plane was heavily damaged. They also found his driver's license and are working to notify his family.

The Iron County Sheriff's Office was leading the investigation before turning it over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators are still working to figure out why the plane crashed.

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


  1. An extremely fast airplane. It's easy to see how the plane can get away from even a very experienced pilot ... the same way a Formula 1 car can get away from even a very experienced driver.

    He flew from Arizona to New Mexico about two weeks ago. Cruised at 260MPH the whole way and then on descent the was up to 300 - 310MPH. Gives some idea of how extremely quick this airplane is. Especially once going downhill.

    Not a lot of room for mistakes. Very challenging airplane.

  2. I think there are faster planes flown every day without incident. No one will know what happened until it is thoroughly investigated. I will wait.

  3. I knew the deceased pilot very well — he was very thoroughly trained, had flown faster and more complex aircraft for many years without incident and was fastidious about maintenance and the build quality of these type of aircraft.

    Without commenting more on the first comment above about "getting away from a very experienced pilot...." let me say that the best lesson we can all learn is to not be in a hurry or suffer from "get home-itis" and to respect Mother Nature without reservation. Be certain that this pilot will learn from Neal's misfortune!

  4. I'm sorry about your friend Neal. I read about him and am familiar with his long history with Lancair and the Evolution. Evidently he built four Lancairs. I'm also aware he was an exceptional pilot.

    My earlier point is that speed is likely a secondary cause. The primary cause ... like you mentioned was probably weather.

    I'm a big fan of the Lancair and of the Legacy. A phenomenal airplane. Fast, strong, sleek, efficient. I'm really happy what is going on in Uvalde.

    Again, very sorry the loss of your friend Neal. He was a true champion for Lancair. He'll be missed by a lot of people.

  5. I was flying in the immediate area when this accident happened, within one hour. I was PIC in a Lear 40. We were IFR, obviously, mild turbulence. I heard pilots down low giving reports of heavy turbulence and low ceilings. We crossed the area at FL27 and barely missed the tops. Traveling fast down low may have indeed been a rough ride, possibly resulting in an airframe failure. Guessing of course.
    So sorry to those that knew the pilot.

  6. There continues to be thinking that weather can be a causal factor in a mishap. Not true. It can certainly be a contributing factor, but it was there first, and any pilot who chooses to take it on and loses proves that pilot error prevails. As a naval aviator for some 26 years, I was routinely reminded of this truism, in reading mishap reports, undergoing regular safety training, education at our safety school, and in motivating the pilots in my P-3 squadron. I am not placing any fault with respect to this particular accident. That’s the job of the NTSB. However, it won’t be that the weather caused it.

  7. Take a look at the final track and log of N10LG in Flightaware. He is flying 230-250 kts ground speed maneuvering while his altitude varies up and down from a high of 2,600 to 2,100 ft elevation. In the final phase he drops down to 1,875 ft. at 240 kts. as the terrain in the Lindbergh and Salem MOA's rises up to 1,500 ft. Per the Legacy POH, Vno, Maximum Structural Cruising Speed which should only be exceeded with caution in smooth air, is 220 kts IAS (which was probably about 5% less than TAS at these low altitudes). Safe Maneuvering Speed, Va, is only 140-170 kts depending on his gross weight. This and other pilot sites comment on the poor conditions and rough air. One has to wonder why an experienced instrument rated pilot would not file IFR in such conditions. And one has to wonder why an experienced pilot and builder would not heed the structural limitations as determined by the designer. Note that on the flight up from Texas on October 3, he was cruising half the flight at 9,400 ft, then at 5,300 ft and dove down to 1,575 ft, made a 360 degree loop and then climbed back up to 5,300 ft. Flightaware shows cloudy conditions on the route. It sure looks like scud running. Perhaps he let his instrument currency lapse.

  8. Neal was a good friend and all around very nice person. Fair winds...

  9. I doubt this has anything to do with the plane. No pilot should be good with scud running its so dangerous. The I am told it was and excellent Legacy example and had a very good autopilot. Altitude is your friend in almost all situations. "Climb, confess and live" is the motto I was taught when getting my instrument ticket. Even a rusty IFR rated pilot can usually sort it out.

    I really hate reading about good pilots flying their aircraft into the ground especially highly experienced IFR rated pilots.

  10. The narrative states “Three other aircrew were on standby by were hampered by local weather“. Seems risky to have a search plane with three souls flying around in IMC while first responders were on the ground. Also, other IFR traffic would be an issue, I assume they operating while in contact with Austin Approach or appropriate controller.

  11. The other aircrews were hampered by weather at their home airports, not the weather at the crash site. There was a line of storms separating those air crews in Branson, Springfield, and Kansas City from responding, but the St. Louis air crew had a clear shot with all VFR conditions. This flight was no more risky than any other would be. They would be in contact with STL and Kansas City center throughout the flight. Without the aircrew it would have been very difficult if not impossible to locate this aircraft so quickly and guide the ground units in. The terrain in the area really messes with the ELT signal from the ground so by air was probably the best option.

  12. The aircrews that were hampered by local weather was from weather at their home airports, not the crash site. There was a large line of storms between the aircrews at Branson, Springfield, and the Kansas City areas and the site, but the aircrew in St. Louis had a clear shot in all VFR conditions to the site. So with that, this flight was no more risky than any other flight would be in VFR conditions. Also the terrain is fairly extreme in that part of the state and ground based direction finding equipment struggles to get a good signal due to the ELT tone bouncing off the surrounding hills, so a CAP aircrew with their airborne direction finding gear was probably the best option, especially since they were able to lead the ground units to the site through extremely dense woods in a very remote part of the state.

  13. I was told by first responders on the ground that conditions were IMC and that duringmost of the initial search time they had no visual of search plane due to low ceiling, with some clearing after the location of site. I agree risky search based on pirep and ground crew observations.

  14. I can confirm that the aircrew was NEVER in the clouds. Crew stayed well below clouds the entire flight to the site, search, guiding ground team in, and return flight.

  15. Using cell phone loc data vs. searching with manned aircraft would be much safer, more accurate, and much less costly. Especially considering weather conditions. I feel there is unnecessary urgency to jump in plane and go looking vs, using high tech locating methods first. Using a pilot cell phone registry similar to transponder registration would really speed search up where cell phone service is available. I know CAP uses the cell loc system sometimes but it varies.

  16. Low and fast or low and slow either mode can catch up to an unaware operator. Personally believe airframe issues - not a factor.

  17. I've been watching these comments for awhile since the preliminary report came out from NTSB. Lots of talk about first responders....not sure of what relevance that has but ok I have to ask. Hasn't anyone noticed that the NTSB's summary of the wreckage appears to point to a flat spin with rotation to the right? Nearby witness description of what they heard would also line up with a flat spin.

  18. Reverence is unsafe air search following accident caused by weather conditions. Ground search team finding accident after great effort then finding out a plane they never saw taking credit for “finding victim”. Typical undeserved attention getting by our taxpayer funded flight club.

  19. I've known Neal for some years as another Lancair builder - very unfortunate, sad to hear. Neal was always very careful and meticulous in his work and enjoyed it very much. Not sure we have all the necessary information at this point, but hopefully we'll get some answers and can learn from it.

  20. I've put many a New Mexico mile under my boots and I too have a love of spicy foods and fast airplanes. So I'm thinking I could have hung out with this guy. For those affected by this accident, I'm sorry for your loss, keep the good memories!

  21. You have to raise the risk level to get the same adrenaline rush.

  22. Update on this, the NTSB released their final report on June 1st, 2021, they concluded that the cause was:
    "The pilot's continued visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of control due to spatial disorientation."