Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Quickie Q2 Tri-Q, N8054Y: Fatal accident occurred June 15, 2021 at Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63), Maricopa County, Arizona

Gabriel Draguicevich

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; Scottsdale, Arizona

Peter A. Stein

Location: Gila Bend, AZ 
Accident Number: WPR21FA227
Date & Time: June 15, 2021, 08:20 Local 
Registration: N8054Y
Aircraft: COVEY Quickie Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 15, 2021, about 0820 mountain standard time, an experimental Covey Quickie airplane, N8054Y, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Gila Bend, Arizona. The pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The owner had recently purchased the airplane and was flying it home to Texas. They had refueled the airplane the day before the accident, at the Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63).

A witness reported that he was working on his airplane when he saw two men perform a preflight and then board the accident airplane. The engine started and was taxied to the hold short line where it sat for about 20 minutes, with the engine running before the airplane took off on the active runway. During the takeoff run, about a 1/3 of the way down the runway, the witness observed a dirt cloud, and surmised that the landing gear must have departed the runway surface. The airplane returned to centerline and continued down the runway; about midway down the runway, it appeared that the airplane was yanked off the runway and struggled to gain altitude. The witness estimated that the airplane reached an altitude of about 50 ft when it made a left turn, stalled, and impacted the ground.

The airplane came to rest about 200 ft. west of the runway adjacent to the airport perimeter fence. The first identified point of impact (FIPC) were witness marks from the landing gear in the hard packed desert floor. The debris path continued an additional 140 ft before it struck a small rise and a fire ensued. Most of the airframe was destroyed by the postcrash fire. The main wreckage came to rest inverted with the wing and landing gear lying adjacent to the cockpit. The engine separated and was found near the main wreckage. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft; however, all three propeller blades separated from the propeller hub.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: COVEY 
Registration: N8054Y
Model/Series: Quickie
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: KCGZ,1462 ft msl 
Observation Time: 08:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 48 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 35°C /9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 32.944636,-112.71357 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Gabe's Burial Details

Gabe's burial will be on Friday, June 25 at 12:00 pm at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego.  Anyone who would like to attend is invited.  The service will be graveside and there will be arrows pointing in the right direction from the entrance of the cemetery.  

The address is:
5600 Carroll Canyon Road
San Diego, CA 92121

A Celebration of Life is also being planned, and will likely be on Sunday, June 27 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.  Details will be posted once they are confirmed.  Everyone is also welcome to attend this event.

The burial will not be recorded, but the Celebration of Life will either be live streamed or recorded for later viewing.

Gabe was a wonderful father, a loving husband and an all-around bright star...exuberant, adventurous and fun-loving. He just lit up a room, the campsite, the stage...wherever he was. We will miss Gabe's enthusiasm, music and incredible generosity.
Gabe is survived by a huge, loving family.

GILA BEND, Arizona  — Authorities said one person is dead and another has critical injuries after a plane crashed near the runway at Gila Bend Municipal Airport on Tuesday morning.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, one occupant was pronounced dead at the scene and the second occupant of the plane was ejected during the crash and airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

Officials later confirmed the identity of the dead man as 56-year-old Gabriel Draguicevich. Peter Stein, 60, was identified as the passenger and he is still currently in critical condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which investigates all plane crashes, said the plane crashed when it was departing the airport around 8:20 a.m. and the plane caught fire after crashing.

Authorities have not specified what type of plane it was. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will lead the investigation along with the FAA.



    1. Thanks for the vid. Even though the YT vid says it was uploaded Aug2020, that vid is actually from 2014. Definitely the same airplane but the people in the vid must be previous owner.

  2. Two people aboard the O-200 powered Tri-Quickie in Arizona. Aircraft was continuing a flight after overnight stop of track that originated in San Diego the previous day.

    Temp was 35C/95F at time of crash (@8:20am + 7 = 15:20 UTC) according to archive AWOS recordings 5 miles away at KGXF. Winds were under 5 knots. Field elevation at E63 is approx 790 ft MSL, KGXF is 880. Runway at E63 is 5200' long.

    Loss of power after takeoff, perhaps?

    KGXF 151458Z 12004KT 10SM FEW330 34/06 A2981
    KGXF 151558Z AUTO 28003KT 10SM CLR 37/06 A2981

  3. Looking at the video, rate of climb doesn’t look that impressive. On a hot and high ( density altitude ) day climb rate or lack thereof may have been the culprit leading to a stall.

    1. Additionally, a pilot new to this airplane with the previous comments I made. Introduce a bank and you’re setting up for a stall. Time has passed since this accident and my prayers are for his injuries to heal completely. My condolences to his passengers family.

  4. The smallest of the homebuilts that have arisen since Ken Rand and Stu Robinson (sp?) created the first composite homebuilt, they've all evolved as single person airplanes to two-place airplanes. The Vari-Eze to the Long-EZ, KR-1 to the KR-2, StarLite to Pulsar, etc. Compromises get made as a consequence of seeking the advantages (inside capacity). One would think, since there's such a long and sad history of "flight home after purchase crashes". It just makes me think it's a good idea on first flights like these to give as much margin as possible, especially weight.

  5. I owned and have several hundred hours in a Q2 quickie...they are a difficult aircraft to master. Very streamlined and a high wing loading, with also high stall/landing/takeoff speed. Very tight cockpit and you're quite reclined while seated. Canard means it does not stall like a normal aircraft either, and not flaps (some like mine have spoilerons). Not a lot of room for error, especially for a pilot new to the Q2.

  6. So the temps that day were 97 to 113F and the airport is about 800 MSL. Density altitude I am guessing was at least 4000 ft. Two grown men... guessing near or at gross weight. Not withstanding mechanical issue where engine was not making the full power it was capable of, it sounds like just like it reads, stalled on take off due to being asked to fly before it was going fast enough.