Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey, N502BK: Accident occurred August 17, 2020 in League City, Galveston County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: League City, Texas 
Accident Number: CEN20CA348
Date & Time: August 17, 2020, 18:00 Local
Registration: N502BK
Aircraft: Progressive Aerodyne Searey 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of the amphibious airplane reported that he had made a landing on the lake surface and then performed a step-taxi into the wind. He then applied full power to takeoff and the airplane hit a wave from a passing boat. When the airplane struck the second wave from the boat, the front of the airplane went under water. The nose of the airplane was ripped off. With the engine still running, the airplane nosed over and filled with water.

In his report the pilot noted that he had not set the airplane's trim properly and he failed to apply back pressure on the controls when he hit the boat wake. He also noted that there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during a water takeoff after an encounter with the wake from a boat.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Choppy surface - Response/compensation
Environmental issues Choppy surface - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)
Takeoff Part(s) separation from AC

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor; Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport pilot Unknown Last FAA Medical Exam: December 13, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: January 26, 2019
Flight Time: 2591 hours (Total, all aircraft), 24 hours (Total, this make and model), 2403 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 24 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Progressive Aerodyne
Registration: N502BK
Model/Series: Searey No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 1DK247
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle; Amphibian
Date/Type of Last Inspection: June 16, 2020 Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1370 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 18 Hrs 
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 494 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912ULS
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 100 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: T41
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: League City, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: La Porte, TX (T41) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G


Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation:
Runway Surface Condition: Water-calm
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.550277,-95.042221

Kemah Fire Department

KFD has had an eventful day today. A plane crashed in Clear Lake earlier today we responded to in Marine 1. This evening Clear Lake Shores Police asked if Kemah Fire could respond and assist them in scene safety to ensure nobody got hurt and suppress any fires should one happen while removing an aircraft from the water. We gladly accepted the task working with police and happy to say no injuries trying to remove an aircraft from water. Oh and we got a little time using the Jaws Of Life to help make the plane fit on a tow truck! -Kemah Fire Department

SEABROOK, Texas — A pilot walked away uninjured Monday after his plane crashed in Clear Lake.

According to the League City Police Department, there was a report of a Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey that went down in Clear Lake, just north of Waterford Oak Lane, at about 5:30 p.m.

The plane landed upside down in the water.

The pilot was able to release his safety belt and swim out of the aircraft.

He told rescuers that he had originally landed on the water and was attempting to take off again when a wave struck his aircraft, causing the plane to go nose down into the water. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating. The Coast Guard, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, helped to remove the aircraft.


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