Saturday, September 26, 2020

Denney Kitfox Mk IV Speedster, N525PP: Accident occurred September 24, 2020 near Lake County Airport (KLXV), Leadville, Colorado

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; Denver, Colorado

Location: Leadville, CO
Accident Number: CEN20LA424
Date & Time: September 24, 2020, 14:30 Local
Registration: N525PP
Aircraft: Kitfox STI 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:

On September 24, 2020, about 1430 mountain daylight time, a Kitfox EXP Speedster, N525PP, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Leadville, Colorado. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he filled both fuel tanks prior to prefight and runup at the Lake County Airport (LXV), Leadville, Colorado. The pilot taxied to runway 34 and began the takeoff. The pilot stated that although the initial runup was normal, it seemed as the airplane was using more runway than expected during the takeoff roll. The airplane became airborne, settled back onto the runway surface, and became airborne again. The pilot stated that the airplane was not climbing normally at the departure end of the runway and the pilot noticed that his engine RPMs were in the low 4,000s. The airplane was not climbing out of ground effect and was descending despite a wide-open throttle.

As the pilot contemplated a turn back to the airport, he decided to land the airplane straight ahead into a field with short pines trees. The right wing struck a small tree and the airplane came to rest on the ground against another tree. The pilot exited the airplane and airport emergency services responded. The right wing and empennage were bent and twisted.

After the accident, examination of the airplane and engine revealed a loose carburetor primer tube that was not impact related damage.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kitfox
Registration: N525PP
Model/Series: STI NO SERIES 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LXV 
Observation Time: 14:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0.3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C /-4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.4 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Leadville, CO 
Destination: Leadville, CO

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.2508,-106.2925 (est)


  1. ? A kitfox, at Leadville? at 1pm? On the 24th, at 1:53pm, accident was at 2:05-ish, the temperature was 70 degrees and the winds were NW 13G21. DA calcs at 12,372'. As a crosscheck of the DA calc, today, as I type this, it's 1:12pm and the METAR says 64 degrees with a density altitude of 12,157'. Rwy choice is 16/34.

    Records indicate that the Kitfox had a 912 Rotax engine. I can imagine that climb performance sucked at that DA but really went downhill when he turned downwind.

    No track on FlightAware or Flightradar24 for the day of the accident.

    I know Kitfox aircraft are pretty peppy but if power was inadequate for a climb, ie he was descending, and then he turned downwind in 13G21 almost right on the tail, that gave the poor Kitfox no chance for success.

    As part of a mountain flying checkout I flew into Leadville, in the winter, with an instructor and one ride-along instructor, in a C182. It was an interesting takeoff and flying there for a mountain checkout served it's purpose.

    1. Dang it... I meant to write "at 2pm?"

    2. The accident pilot was not injured, so his mountain checkout served it's purpose in making him a better pilot. You had a brave ride-along instructor in your back seat when you went!