Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Denney Kitfox, N595KF: Fatal accident occurred June 07, 2020 in Lander, Fremont County, Wyoming

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Casper, Wyoming 

Location: Lander, WY
Accident Number: WPR20LA170
Date & Time: 06/07/2020, 0830 MDT
Aircraft: Kitfox Kitfox
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 7, 2020, about 0830 mountain daylight time, a Kitfox 1 airplane, N595KF, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Lander, Wyoming. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he had transported the airplane from his home in Washington State to Wyoming to see friends and landmarks. He checked the weather conditions the night before the accident and determined that high winds and turbulent conditions were forecasted for around noon the following day. On the morning of the accident, he moved the airplane to Hunt Field (LND), Lander, Wyoming with a friend and unloaded the airplane from its trailer at 0700. After he verified no significant changes in the forecasted weather conditions, the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the airplane, gave his passenger a safety briefing and then departed uneventfully from a field elevation of 5,588 ft mean sea level (msl) about 0730.

The pilot reported that he flew near a tower about 14 nm south of LND and then turned northwest towards Frye Lake, which was about 10 nm from the tower. He further stated that the airplane had been in a constant climb for most of the flight due to the high altitude. When they arrived at the lake, he flew northeast of the water and then decided to descend to 500 ft above ground level (agl) and fly over the lake before returning to LND. He circled the area momentarily while he descended to his desired altitude, but as he flew over the lake the airplane descended rapidly to a low altitude. As the airplane approached the west side of the lake, the pilot advanced the throttle to full power and attempted to climb, but the airplane would not climb. At this point he chose to turn left to avoid impacting a group of recreational vehicles ahead of him and rising terrain to his right, but the airplane entered a nose down attitude and impacted the water.

According to multiple witnesses, the airplane came into view over the lake on a southwest heading. Witness observations indicated that the airplane was about 25 ft agl when it began to "wobble." The airplane then descended briefly before it entered a climb, which was immediately followed by a steep left turn, and then a nose down dive. According to the witnesses, the airplane impacted the water in a near vertical nose down attitude and a fire ensued shortly after impact.

Figure 1: Witness Observations of the Airplane's Final Movements

The airplane impacted shallow water in a near vertical position about 200 ft from the shoreline at an elevation of about 8,500 ft msl.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kitfox
Registration: N595KF
Model/Series: Kitfox 
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: , 5588 ft msl
Observation Time:0753 MDT 
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 30°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.71 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Lander, WY (LND)
Destination: Lander, WY (LND)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.704722, -108.882500

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

LANDER, Wyoming — A Port Angeles pilot was involved in a single-engine plane crash in a Wyoming lake that killed a passenger.

Campers helped the pilot, Scott Fitzgerald of Port Angeles, get to the shore of Frye Lake southwest of Lander in Shoshone National Forest after the crash Sunday morning, Fremont County sheriff’s officials said Monday.

The crash killed a 33-year-old Lander man whose name hasn’t been released. Search and rescue workers got the victim out of the plane and removed the plane from the lake.

Fitzgerald was taken to a local hospital, then to one out of state. His condition wasn’t known Monday.

Port of Port Angeles Airport Manager Dan Gase said Fitzgerald owns a Kitfox based at William R. Fairchild International Airport.

“That is really sad to hear,” Gase said of the reported crash.

“I hope he’s OK.”

Fitzgerald works as a nurse at Olympic Medical Center, Gase said.

“I don’t know him really personally, but I see him at the airport,” Gase said in a telephone interview Monday.

“He’s just a great guy and really an aviation enthusiast.”

Witnesses said the Kitfox plane flew low and wobbled before it plunged into the lake and caught fire.

National forest, sheriff’s and National Transportation Safety Board officials were investigating.


One person died after a single-engine aircraft crashed in to Frye Lake on Sunday.

According to a release from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened around 8:30 a.m. at the lake in the Shoshone National Forest.

The Denney Kitfox aircraft was found partially submerged in the lake by first responders.

The pilot, identified as Scott Fitzgerald of Port Angeles, Washington, was helped to shore by nearby campers after escaping the wreckage and transported to the Sagewest Hospital in Lander and later sent to another hospital out of state, said the release. His condition is not known at this time.

A 33-year-old male Lander man who was a passenger in the plane was killed in the crash. The release did not give his name.

The release says the plane was “flying low and wobbling a bit before plunging into the lake” and catching fire almost immediately.

A section of the burned plane could be seen above water when responders arrived.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, along the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Shoshone National Forest Rangers.


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