Sunday, May 03, 2020

Rans S-12 Airaile, N427LB: Fatal accident occurred May 03, 2020 at Blake Field Airport (KAJZ), Delta County, Colorado

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Salt Lake City, Utah

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Delta, CO
Accident Number: CEN20LA169
Date & Time: 05/03/2020, 1110 MT
Registration: N427LB
Aircraft: RANS S-12
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation -

On May 3, 2020, at 1110 mountain daylight time, a Rans S-12, N427LB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Delta, Colorado. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane owner stated the pilot had been restoring the airplane since its purchase in June 2018. The owner said that he talked to the pilot on the day before the accident, and the pilot told him that he was close to having the airplane flyable. The owner asked the pilot to call him if he was going to fly the airplane so that he could watch the flight, but he was not contacted by the pilot.

A witness at Blake Field Airport (AJZ), Delta, Colorado stated he saw the airplane takeoff from runway 14, and it appeared to be under control. The witness told others that were with him that the airplane "does fly," since he had never seen the airplane fly before.

Another witness at AJZ stated that he heard an engine repetitively going from full engine power, then backing off, and the returning to full engine power. He said that when he saw the airplane, it appeared to be traveling from left to right, and he thought the wings were rocking. The airplane banked to the right, was very low, and pitched "a lot." About 3 – 4 seconds later, the airplane impacted the ground.

The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: RANS
Registration: N427LB
Model/Series: S-12
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: AJZ, 5193 ft msl
Observation Time: 1115 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / -5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Delta, CO (AJZ)
Destination: Delta, CO (AJZ)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.785556, -108.061944 (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 

DELTA, Colorado (KKCO/KJCT)-- We're told investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board got to a local airport after a deadly plane crash.

It happened Sunday, May 3rd after 11, at Blake Field in Delta.

When first responders got there, they found the wreckage of a small plane off the east end of the runway.

Crews confirmed the pilot was dead at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was an experimental Rans S-12 Airaile ultralight aircraft.

So far it's still unknown what caused the crash, but Sheriff Taylor in Delta County shared what he knows.

"Witnesses noted that the plane was making some strange noises, one witness described it like a chainsaw, an intermittent engine, and then saw the plane dipping its wings a few times," Sheriff Taylor said.

We're told the pilot was from Eckert, but the Coroner's office has not given us identification information yet.

Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 1420
Delta County Sheriff's Office
Delta, Colorado

On Sunday, May 3, 2020 at approximately 11:12 am, the Delta County Communications Center received multiple reports of a small plane that had crashed while trying to land at Delta’s Blake Field airport.

Officers with the Delta Police Department, Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office, the Delta Fire Department, Delta County Ambulance District and CareFlight of the Rockies all responded to the scene. 

Upon arrival, first responders located the wreckage of an aircraft off the east end of the runway, but still on the airport property.

Upon arrival, emergency crews confirmed that the sole occupant of the plane, the pilot, was deceased.

The Delta County Coroner’s Office was notified and is notifying next of kin. 

Pending notification of next of kin, no additional details are available at this time about the pilot. 

The Sheriff’s Office has notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be responding to the airport in Delta on May 4th to begin their investigation.

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