Sunday, April 04, 2021

Lelon Albert Lewis: Magnus Fusion 212, N434MA; fatal accident occurred April 03, 2021 in Conifer, Jefferson County, Colorado -and- Pipistrel Alpha Trainer, N40EN; accident occurred May 29, 2019 near Salida Airport at Harriet Alexander Field (KANK), Chaffee County, 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. 

Additional Participating Entity; 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado 

Location: Conifer, CO 
Accident Number: CEN21FA177
Date & Time: April 3, 2021, 17:35 Local
Registration: N434MA
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 3, 2021, about 1735 central daylight time, a Magnus Fusion 212 airplane, N434MA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Conifer, Colorado. The sport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A review of air traffic control (ATC) information revealed the airplane departed about 1658 from Colorado Air and Space Port Airport (FCO), Denver, Colorado. The airplane flew southwest and the last ATC information was recorded about 1729 as the airplane flew near Deckers, Colorado about 800 ft above ground level (agl). The airplane continued west toward rising terrain and an emergency locator beacon (ELT) transmission was recorded about 1735.

A witness near Wigwam Trail in the Pike National Forest observed the airplane flying slowly on a northwest heading and subsequently turned left to enter a canyon at less than 500 ft agl. After entry into the canyon, the airplane turned sharply to the right and the witness lost sight of the airplane. The airplane impacted into steep, forested terrain with a nose low attitude and low forward speed.

The aircraft was equipped with a parachute recovery system. Examination of the system on-site revealed that it was not deployed. The airplane will be further examined at a recovery location.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N434MA
Model/Series: FUSION 212
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
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: K4BM,11280 ft msl
Observation Time: 17:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C /-17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.5 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Denver, CO (CFO) 
Destination: Denver, CO (CFO)

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: 39.26315,-105.37451

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

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado  (CBS4) – The pilot killed in a plane crash over the weekend has been identified. Lelon Albert Lewis, 66, was the only person on board the plane when it crashed in a rugged area northwest of Deckers on Saturday.

The plane was first reported missing on Saturday. Eventually, the downed plane’s location was discovered from aircraft overhead on Sunday.

With assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, search and rescue personnel with the Alpine Rescue team hiked into the site in the Lost Creek Wilderness and found the single occupant of the plane, identified on Monday afternoon as Lewis, dead.

It’s unclear what caused the crash but the plane, a single-engine Magnus Fusion 212, was a Hungarian-made sport plane engineered for aerobatics. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Emergency responders received an alert from the Civil Air Patrol just after 8 p.m. Saturday when crews rushed to the scene but were unable to locate the wreckage in the dark.

Civil Air Patrol searches for a missing Magnus Fusion 212 in Jefferson County, Colorado, on April 4, 2021. 

The pilot and sole occupant of a single-engine airplane that went down in the remote Lost Creek Wilderness in southwestern Jefferson County died in the crash, authorities announced Sunday afternoon.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the single occupant, an adult male, of the crashed plane was found deceased on scene,” the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet. “Our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”

The victim’s name wasn’t released. The pilot was the only person aboard a Magnus Fusion 212 when it crashed about 20 miles south of Conifer, said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro. He had no other details about the plane’s origin or destination.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Molinaro said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began searching for the wreckage at 8:15 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report of a possible airplane crash near Wigwam Trail, the agency said on Twitter.

A follow-up tweet at 11:31 a.m. on Easter morning said that the wreckage had been found and the agency was "working on getting troops on the ground" to check on the pilot. The pilot’s death was confirmed on Twitter about 3 p.m.

Lost Creek Wilderness spans 120,000 acres in Jefferson and Park counties, and is a popular backcountry destination for Pikes Peak region adventurers. Wigwam Trail starts on the wilderness’s eastern flank and traverses 11-miles into its remote tree-shrouded and granite-strewn interior.

Chaffee County Sheriff's Office
MAY 30, 2019

On Thursday May 30th at approximately 7:00AM Chaffee County Deputies responded to an open alfalfa field southwest of the Salida Airport off County Road 140 for a report of a downed airplane. Deputies arrived only a few short minutes after the initial call was received and found an unoccupied single-engine airplane that had crash landed into the field. No passengers of the aircraft were located. The reporting party had been a passer by motorist. 

Deputies immediately notified Chaffee County Search and Rescue who were asked to respond to the scene to search the surrounding area for potential passengers. Through airplane registration research the deputies were able to identify the owner of the airplane as Lelon Albert Lewis age 64 out of Lakewood, Colorado. 

Deputies contacted Lewis by telephone who was currently checked in to a local hotel and those deputies then responded to the hotel to make contact with him in person. At the hotel Lewis identified himself as the pilot and sole occupant of the airplane and did not report any injury. Lewis refused to provide any further details to deputies. 

The investigation surrounding the crash was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who responded to the scene. The airplane sustained moderate to extensive damage. For additional information please contact Sheriff John Spezze at 719-207-3199.

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Salida, Colorado
Accident Number: GAA19CA295
Date & Time: May 28, 2019, 20:45 Local 
Registration: N40EN
Aircraft: Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, after fueling the airplane, he did not realize that he had not replaced the fuel cap. During takeoff, the fuel gauge showed that the airplane had 74% of fuel remaining. About 5 nautical miles from the destination airport, the fuel gauge showed that the airplane had 10% of fuel remaining. He flew the airplane in a straight line to the end of the runway and reduced the engine throttle setting to idle, which set up a lower glidepath than normal. When the airplane reached a field west of the runway, the airplane "ran out of fuel." The pilot conducted a forced landing on the field, during which the airplane impacted a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the wreckage reported that less than 1/2 a gallon of fuel was recovered from the fuel tank. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane 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 replace the fuel cap after fueling, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and a subsequent forced landing to a field and subsequent collision with a fence. 


Personnel issues Forgotten action/omission - Pilot
Aircraft Fuel - Fluid level
Environmental issues Fence/fence post - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight Aircraft servicing event
Approach-VFR pattern final Fuel exhaustion
Landing Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)
Landing Off-field or emergency landing
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age:64, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):None 
Second Pilot Present: No 
Instructor Rating(s):None 
Toxicology Performed: No 
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/13/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 266 hours (Total, all aircraft), 166 hours (Total, this make and model), 266 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 41 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 41 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pipistrel
Registration: N40EN
Model/Series: ALPHA TRAINER No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 683 AT 912 LSA
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/10/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1212 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 211 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912 UL2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 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: 0V2, 7487 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site: 77°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Gallup, NM (GUP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Salida, CO (ANK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0615 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Salida Arpt Harriett Alexander (ANK)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 7523 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 06
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7351 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None 
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None Latitude, Longitude: 38.530000, -106.066667 (est)

A Lakewood man crash landed a Pipistrel Alpha Trainer light sport aircraft in an open alfalfa field southwest of Salida Airport at Harriet Alexander Field off CR 140 sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Lelon Albert Lewis, 64, walked away from the accident and spent the night in a local hotel. He had no passengers.

Read more here ➤


  1. The ground track of N434MA from adsbexchange shows them entering the South Platte River canyon climbing from 7200 to 7600 feet. The surrounding mountains were significantly higher than their altitude and it doesn't look like there were any escape routes at less than 10,000 feet other than the way they flew in.

    1. Pilot was less than 1,000 ft AGL entering a massive box canyon.

    2. when the reality of being boxed in set in !!

  2. Look at with the Sectional Chart overlay turned on.

  3. No surprise that data reception got spotty as the aircraft passed by Long Scraggy Peak.

    Photo from the peak:

  4. Video of for sale N434MA in 2018:

  5. This S/N was the debut airframe shown at EAA AirVenture 2018 and is registered to the manufacturer. A Magnus inventory for sale listing for N434MA checked today includes:
    "JUNKERS Magnum LSA Ballistic Recovery System"

    The red chute activation T-handle can be seen in Fusion 212 cockpit photos and videos. No indication of chute deployment is visible in crash scene video, suggesting accident was loss of control, not loss of power. Rising terrain / box canyon turnback scenario seems likely.

  6. Little things mean a lot. Doggone gas cap.

  7. Who enters a box canyon at least 3,000 feet below the surrounding mountains?? The pilot lived in Lakewood, Colorado -- a very short distance from the Rockies Front Range. The pilot knew the terrain -- or should have bothered to know the terrain.

    1. Who enters a box canyon 3,000 feet below the surrounding mountains?? A low-time Sport Pilot with only a driver's license in an underpowered sport airplane. RIP Mr. Lewis. Glad to hear you didn't take a passenger along with you on your final flight.

    2. Two crashed airplanes in a flight career spanning less than 400 flight hours.

    3. @av8rdav - Two accidents are listed. Pilot walked away from the 2019 one but not the 2021 accident.

  8. Two crashed airplanes in a flight career spanning less than 400 flight hours = peak performer! He's got plenty of time now to deal with regret


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