Sunday, May 30, 2021

Early Bird Jenny, N831HC: Fatal accident occurred May 27, 2021 near Rockingham County NC Shiloh Airport (KSIF), Reidsville, North Carolina

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; Greensboro, North Carolina

Location: Stoneville, NC 
Accident Number: WPR21FA210
Date & Time: May 27, 2021, 18:35 Local
Registration: N831HC
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On May 27, 2021, about 1835 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Early Bird Jenny, N831HC, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Stoneville, North Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The co-owner/builder of the airplane stated that he flew the airplane the morning of the accident, returning to the airport after about 30 minutes due to rain. He and the accident pilot, who was the other owner/builder of the airplane, moved the airplane into the hangar, where they waited for the rain to move through the area. The co-owner reported that his flight was uneventful and that the airplane
performed well and handled as expected, though the takeoff profile was “flatter than usual” due to the warmer temperature that day. Later that afternoon, the accident pilot departed on his flight.

The co-owner reported that the pilot’s taxi to runway 31 was normal, and that the engine was producing power, but that the takeoff did not “look right.” Both he and another witness to the accident reported that the airplane was climbing in a nose-high attitude and appeared slow before the wings began to rock back and forth. About 150 ft above the ground, the right wing dropped, the airplane impacted terrain next to the runway, and a post-impact fire ensued.

The accident site was located about 175 ft north of the runway 31/13 centerline and about 2,500 ft from the runway 31 threshold. The airplane came to rest on a southerly heading and was destroyed by the post-impact fire. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site, and flight control continuity was established from the flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The wooden propeller was highly fragmented and separated from the engine. The engine displayed extensive thermal damage. The crankshaft could not be rotated by hand, but valve train continuity was displayed upon rotation of the camshaft. The throttle control cable was continuous from the carburetor to the cockpit area.

Reported weather conditions at the airport around the time of the accident included calm wind, temperature 27°C, dew point 18°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inHg. Calculated density altitude was about 2,446 ft. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MARK COBY
Registration: N831HC
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: KSIF,693 ft msl
Observation Time: 18:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 9500 ft AGL
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Stoneville, NC
Destination: Stoneville, NC

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 36.437468,-79.850441 (est)

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

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, North Carolina — A pilot has died in a small plane crash at Shiloh Airport in Rockingham County.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office said the plane crashed Thursday evening just before 7 p.m. at Shiloh Airport on Settles Bridge Road in Stoneville. 

Investigators said the plane caught on fire in the crash.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office said they will not be releasing the name of the pilot at this time.

"We're sorry for their loss and it certainly is tragic for the individual and families involved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," Rodney Cates said with Rockingham County Emergency Services. 

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and began its investigation Friday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into what caused the crash.

"We spoke with one witness earlier this afternoon who said he saw the airplane taking off. It reached an altitude of about 100 feet or so and then entered a turn and then impacted terrain," said Allison Diaz of the NTSB.

Investigators have not released the identity of the pilot. However, they identified the plane as an Early Bird Jenny, which is an amateur-built replica of a World War 1 plane.

Airport staff said the pilot who co-owned the plane was a regular at the airport and a plane enthusiast. They said he had just finished building the plane there 3 months ago and was flying locally to get the required flight hours for the certification process. No information was readily available about how many flight hours the plane had accumulated before the crash.

"Will be looking at the engine, looking for maintenance records on the airplane as well as delving into the pilot's experience and qualifications," Diaz said.

Investigators said they'll also look to see if the weather conditions at the time of the crash played any role.

The NTSB said a preliminary report on the crash would be available in two weeks while the full investigative report could take 12 to 18 months.

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