Friday, April 10, 2020

Pipistrel Sinus 912 LSA, N6263R: Fatal accident occurred April 09, 2020 near Florida Keys / Marathon International Airport (KMTH), Monroe County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida 
Rotech Flight Safety Inc; Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Marathon, FL
Accident Number: ERA20LA149
Date & Time: 04/09/2020, 1700 EDT
Registration: N6263R
Aircraft: Pipistrel Italia SRL Sinus 912 LSA
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 10, 2020, at 1700 eastern daylight time, a Pipistrel Italia SRL Sinus 912 LSA, N6263R, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Marathon, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the airport manager at the Marathon International Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida, the pilot arrived at the airport and was seen on surveillance video conducting a preflight inspection of the motor glider. After the pilot completed the inspection, he taxied to the runway and departed. The manager said that the pilot was flying over the airport and in the local area most of the day. About 1600, he heard the pilot on the airport's common traffic advisory frequency reporting that he was at 7,000 ft and circling the airport. That was the last radio transmission he heard from the pilot.

Two witnesses stated that they heard an unusual loud noise and as they looked around, they saw a small airplane (the accident glider) to the south and determined that was where the noise was coming from. They could hear the engine "laboring" and saw the glider wobbling in the air. The glider then made a "sharp left turn" and then the engine started to "surge, sputter" and before it lost power completely. The nose of the glider "dropped down", and about a second before impacting a house. The glider's whole-airframe ballistic parachute deployed during the impact. The glider and house were consumed during the postimpact fire.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pipistrel Italia SRL
Registration: N6263R
Model/Series: Sinus 912 LSA
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MTH, 5 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Marathon, FL (MTH)
Destination: Marathon, FL (MTH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 24.719444, -81.058611 (est)

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