Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Loss of Lift: Pipistrel Sinus LSA SRL, N711MK; accident occurred April 10, 2020 in Townsend, Blount County, Tennessee

View of motor-glider from above.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Location: Townsend, TN
Accident Number: ERA20CA151
Date & Time: 04/10/2020, 1040 EDT
Registration: N711MK
Aircraft: Pipistrel SINUS
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift
Injuries:1 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot of the motor-glider reported that, while enroute on a local flight he encountered an area of unexpected sink. Turning toward an area where lift was expected, additional sink was encountered. When the motor-glider was about 300 ft above the trees, the propeller was unfeathered and the engine was started. The motor-glider continued to descend due to downdraft and the pilot deployed the airframe parachute. The motor-glider continued to descend and impacted vegetation.

The motor-glider sustained substantial damage to both wings and fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the motor-glider that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Sport Pilot
Age: 47, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/27/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/26/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1210 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1043 hours (Total, this make and model), 1125 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 17 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pipistrel
Registration: N711MK
Model/Series: SINUS No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: 510 SN 912 LSA
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/21/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1212 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1046 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT:C126 installed 
Engine Model/Series: 912 UL2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:80 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: 1A5, 2020 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1035 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 159°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / Terrain-Induced
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Moderate
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Atlanta, GA (RYY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Atlanta, GA (RYY)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0900 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

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: 35.570833, -83.585000 (est)

A Georgia pilot is unharmed after his small plane crashed in the Calderwood Area of Southwest Blount County Friday morning.

Blount County Dispatch said McGhee Tyson Airport notified 911 of a crash around 10:54 a.m. 4 miles north of the Calderwood Dam on the western edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

According to Marian O'Briant with the Blount County Sheriff's Office, only the pilot was on board. The pilot asked for assistance in securing the scene.  

Dispatch said the pilot refused an ambulance and the BCSO said there were no injuries.

The FAA said it is investigating, saying the plane was a Pipistrel Sinus LSA SRL that went down in a field 20 miles south of McGhee Tyson Airport.

The GSMNP identified the pilot as Georg Kustermann, 47, saying he deployed the plane's ballistic recovery system (BRS) north of Silers Bald and Buckeye Gap. A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter later located him around 1 p.m., and the Tennessee Army National Guard hoisted him from the site around 2 p.m. to the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport. 

Park rangers said Kustermann later departed the airport on his own.


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