Sunday, February 02, 2020

Zenith CH-701 STOL, N701WJ: Accident occurred November 30, 2019 at Byron Airport (C83), Contra Costa County, California

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Byron, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA035
Date & Time: 11/29/2019, 1545 PST
Registration: N701WJ
Aircraft: ZENITH STOL CH701
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On November 29, 2019, about 1545 Pacific standard time, an experimental Zenith CH-701 STOL, N701WJ, experienced a partial loss of engine power after takeoff from the Byron Airport, Byron, California. The pilot, who was the registered owner, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was uninjured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wing struts. The personal local flight was departing from Byron. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated that he had recently fabricated and installed a cowling for the airplane. After completing an uneventful high-speed taxi test run, he decided to depart and remain in the pattern. The pilot configured the airplane for takeoff on runway 23 and applied full-power. He turned onto the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern and felt a abnormal vibration accompanied with a slight loss in engine rpm. He continued onto the downwind leg and the airplane was about 500 ft above ground level (agl) when he was midfield. The airplane started to lose altitude and he observed the water temperature gauge indicating 250° F; maximum operating temperature was 220° F.

The pilot further stated that the airplane continued to descended to 100 ft agl, he reached the threshold of runway 23 and made a left turn in an attempt to land on runway 30. While trying to align with the runway, the wind pushed the airplane onto the grass. The airplane touched down hard and nosed over, coming to rest inverted. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Registration: N701WJ
Model/Series: STOL CH701
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: KSCK, 27 ft msl
Observation Time: 1555 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 6000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 140°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Byron, CA (C83)
Destination: Byron, CA (C83)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.830278, -121.626111 (est)


  1. Why not just land on Runway 23 how do you damage a STOL aircraft in the pattern with engine loss?

    1. He was mid-field of 23 on downwind leg (50 degree heading) when descent began, so reaching the 23 threshold meant that all of that runway was behind, not ahead.