Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Low Altitude Operation/Event: Rans S-6ES Coyote II, N644RS; accident occurred July 12, 2020 in Richland, Benton County, Washington

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

 Location: Richland, WA Accident Number: WPR20CA218
Date & Time: 07/12/2020, 1140 PDT
Registration: N644RS
Aircraft: RANS S6
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that, while maneuvering at low altitude on the leeward side of a ridge to follow elk, he encountered a downdraft and the airplane slightly pitched up and the airspeed decreased. The pilot lowered the nose attitude, applied full engine power, and turned away from the hill, however the airplane's descent rate continued to increase. Near the ground, the pilot tried to flare in ground effect but the descent rate did not slow as expected and the airplane landed hard, bending the left main landing gear under the airplane and substantially damaging the left wing when it struck the ground.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Sport Pilot
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/19/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/04/2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1950 hours (Total, all aircraft), 129 hours (Total, this make and model), 1872 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 84 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 34 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: RANS
Registration: N644RS
Model/Series: S6 ES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 12021475
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/04/2020, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 53 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 129 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Suzuki
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: G13BB
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 90 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: KRLD, 394 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1135 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 118°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 10°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Yakima, WA (YKM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Yakima, WA (YKM)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.410278, -119.585556 (est)

A small plane crashed on the Hanford nuclear reservation around noon Sunday when it flew too low trying to look at the site’s elk herd.

The two people on the single-engine plane were not hurt, said the Benton County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post.

The pilot was David Lake, 48, of Yakima, and the passenger was Leon Hudon, 87 of Wapato.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Rans S-6ES Coyote II.

Lake and Hudon told officials they were checking out the elk in the area, got too low and a gust of wind caught the plane, causing it to veer into the ground at the base of Rattlesnake Mountain.

One of the wheels came off when it hit the ground and then the nose hit the ground, according to the sheriff’s office.


Benton County Sheriff's Office

Our office responded to the Hanford site this afternoon reference a single-engine plane that had crashed at the base of Rattlesnake Mountain. The two occupants of the plane were uninjured in the incident, but the plane was heavily damaged. From their statements, the occupants were checking out the Elk in the area, got too low and a gust of wind caught the plane causing it to veer into the ground. Notifications were made to the FAA and Hanford Patrol. Our office will be handling the collection of information and assisted by Wildlife Fish and Game with photos. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not releasing any names at this time. From those involved it does appear to be an accident at this time and does not appear to be impairment related.

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