Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Evolution Trikes Revo, N449WB: Fatal accident occurred October 04, 2020 near Hawthorne Municipal Airport (KHHR), Los Angeles County, California

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 Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California
Evolution Aircraft Inc; Florida 

Location: Hawthorne, CA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA003
Date & Time: October 4, 2020, 09:35 Local
Registration: N449WB
Aircraft: Evolution Revo
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 4, 2020, about 0935 Pacific daylight time, a weight shift control (WSC) light sport airplane, commonly referred to as a “Trike,” N449WB, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hawthorne, California. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness was driving his vehicle near the Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California, when he observed the airplane depart the runway and turned right at a height of about 500 ft above the ground (agl). Another witness and friend of the accident pilot was performing a preflight on his airplane when he saw the airplane takeoff from runway 25 and climb to about 30-40 ft agl before banking right. The airplane cleared the airport perimeter fence and continued to bank right until it was out of sight. Another witness watched the airplane depart the runway and soon after began a right banking turn. He watched as the pilot “pushed the steering to the right and banked harder to the right before flying into the drainage ditch.” The witness also stated that the engine was running the entire time that it was in flight.

The pilot established communication with a controller and was cleared to depart runway 25 with left closed traffic. Preliminary flight track data shows the airplane depart from the runway and veer slightly left of centerline then began a right turn before dropping off of radar. There were no other airplanes departing or arriving during the time of the accident. The last aircraft that departed the runway was 15 minutes prior to the accident flight.

The airplane impacted trees and two rows of fencing before impacting the wall of a drainage ditch north of the airport, about 1/4-mile northwest of the departure end of runway 25.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Evolution 
Registration: N449WB
Model/Series: Revo 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: HHR,65 ft msl
Observation Time: 08:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C /19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 8 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Hawthorne, CA
Destination: Hawthorne, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.92385,-118.3311 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Joseph Kenneth Audette

Age 60, passed away unexpectedly in an ultralight plane accident on Sunday, October 4, 2020 at the Hawthorne, CA airport. 

Joe was born March 27, 1960 in San Francisco, CA and was the middle child of Lynne & Raleigh (Bud) Audette. 

Joe was preceded in death by his maternal & paternal grandparents & his father & mother-in-law, George & Bonnie Champion.

Joe is survived by his wife of 35 years, Bo Audette, & their 4 children Taylor, Chase, Alexandra & Colby Audette & Colby's fiance, Molly First, his parents Lynne & Bud Audette, his older sister Sher Shepard, brother-in-law Michael Shepard & children Ava & Quinn Shepard, younger brother Ron Audette & son Max Audette, sister-in-law Kim Boone, brother-in-law Mark Boone & their children, Brooke & Ryan Kelly & Blair & Cory Macdonald.

Joe grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area & spent his early childhood years in South San Francisco & Belmont.

In 1973 the family moved to Danville, CA, where Joe attended Monte Vista High School & graduated in 1978. 

After graduation, he attended a junior college for 2 years & transferred to San Diego State University in 1980. 

He graduated from San Diego State in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. 

Joe also met his wife, Bo Champion, in 1983. 

They were introduced by mutual friends who knew Joe from San Diego State & had also gone to high school with Bo in Riverside. 

Bo & Joe were married in Palm Desert, CA in 1985. 

They made their home in Riverside & both worked for Champion Lumber Company. 

Bo retired when their daughter, Taylor, was born in 1990, but Joe continued on & became a Vice-President & CFO of the company. 

In 2006 Joe & his brother-in-law, Mark Boone, obtained ownership & began their official partnership.

In recent years, Bo & Joe split their time between Riverside & Newport Beach and considered both places home.

Joe was a gifted athlete & very competitive.

He loved golf & was an exceptional player. 

He was a member of Victoria Club in Riverside for many years & played there often. 

He also took annual golf trips to Coeur D' Alane, Idaho with friends. 

He enjoyed road biking too & recently rode 72 miles around Lake Tahoe with his riding buddies. 

He also liked to snow ski, especially in Mammoth, Deer Valley & Park City. 

He loved living in Southern California and spending time at the beach as well.

He was also fearless & started flying the ultralight plane 6 years ago & spent many weekends flying from Hawthorne to Newport Beach & back.

Above all, Joe was a family man, a loyal friend & a good person. 

He spent a lot of time with his kids & was always there to support them at their numerous sporting events & other activities. 

He loved watching & attending professional sporting events with Colby & Chase, especially the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors games. 

On the other hand, he was equally happy watching Vampire Diaries and The Bachelor with Taylor & Alex. 

He loved the annual family Thanksgiving trips to Maui, as well as the family Memorial Day Weekend trips to Cabo San Lucas.

Joe was always there to help when a family member or friend needed him. Joe was very loved & will be missed by many. May you rest in peace, Joe.


  1. I witnessed this crash at Hawthorne Municipal Airport. I am so sad about this and I hope the pilots family is ok.

  2. This is the third crash and the second fatal crash involving Pacific Blue Air Evolution Trikes at Hawthorne Airport in the past 4 years. I'm thinking this can't be just "bad luck".

  3. Has there been any update by the NTSB as to why the plane crashed

  4. These trikes have become popular couple of years. YouTube channels like Henry he was flying a Revo now he is flying a gyrocopter helped promote trikes his videos are great. I think he used to fly out of Hawthorne airport. Sounds like some sort of stall I have heard situations where pilots who start out as fixed wing then buy a trike have been known to get mixed up push forward on the control bar thinking they are reducing angle of attack are increasing it. I hope the figure it out maybe others can learn from it.