Saturday, October 12, 2019

Zenith CH 601XLB Zodiac, N235JH: Accident occurred October 11, 2019 at Gastonia Municipal Airport (KAKH), North Carolina

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Gastonia, NC
Accident Number: GAA20CA027
Date & Time: 10/11/2019, 1220 EDT
Registration: N235JH
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during takeoff, as the airplane lifted off, the canopy opened. Subsequently, the airplane descended and landed hard, and the nose landing gear collapsed. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that, during a postaccident examination of the airplane about a week after the accident, the canopy latches appeared to be in good condition and operated fine. The pilot added as a safety recommendation to "double check the canopy latch." 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to latch the canopy before departure, which resulted in the canopy opening and the subsequent loss of airplane control.


Windows-windshield system - Incorrect use/operation (Cause)

Personnel issues
Use of equip/system - Pilot (Cause)
Forgotten action/omission - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 84, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
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: 08/14/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Registration: N235JH
Model/Series: ZENITH 601XLB
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 6-4287
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/30/2019, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 190 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C1
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 108 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: KAKH, 797 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1554 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 223°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Gastonia, NC (AKH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Gastonia, NC (AKH)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1220 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 797 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3770 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.201944, -81.150278 (est)

A man escaped serious injury after his plane crashed at the Gastonia Municipal Airport on Friday.

The wreck happened just after noon, and involved a small private plane.

Police said the plane’s pilot missed the approach while trying to land on the runway. The plane skidded about 200 feet before stopping, and nobody else was involved.

The man who piloted the plane walked away under his own power. He was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Multiple GEMS ambulance trucks and Gastonia Fire Department engines were at the scene.

Officials haven’t said what caused the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

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