Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Zenith CH 601 XL Zodiac, N315SV: Accident occurred June 08, 2021 near Mexico Farms Airport (1W3), Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland

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; Baltimore, Maryland

Location: Cumberland, Maryland
Accident Number: ERA21LA247
Date and Time: June 8, 2021, 16:00 Local 
Registration: N315SV
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 8, 2021, about 1600 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Zodiac 601 XL, N315SV, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Mexico Farms Airport (1W3), Cumberland, Maryland. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot, who was also the owner/builder of the airplane, departed 1W3 for a local flight. According to the pilot, while operating at 1,000 ft mean sea level while on the base leg in the airport traffic pattern at 1W3, the cockpit canopy opened in flight. The right side of the canopy opened first followed shortly after by the left side, which resulted in the canopy “popping open.” The airplane slowed immediately and began to descend. The pilot, unable to close the canopy, added full power and attempted to maintain level flight but stated “it was like a giant air brake deployed” and he was unable to maintain airspeed or arrest the descent. The airplane continued its descent before impacting trees and terrain. During the accident sequence the left wing separated from the fuselage and the airplane came to rest in trees about 12 ft off the ground.

During subsequent recovery of the airplane, the pilot reported that the right canopy latch was fractured. The right and left latches were retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N315SV
Model/Series: ZODIAC 601 XL 
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: CBE, 775 ft msl 
Observation Time: 15:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C /22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Cumberland, MD (1W3)
Destination: Cumberland, MD

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.604833,-78.745833 (est)

CUMBERLAND — A West Virginia man was injured Tuesday when he crashed his experimental aircraft into a wooded area of Mexico Farms and was able to walk away from the scene to seek help.

Ronald Lee Garrison, 76, of Great Cacapon, was taken to UPMC Western Maryland after he was located about 9:20 p.m. by children playing in the area and their parents after they heard cries for help. The extent of Garrison’s injuries was unknown.

The Allegany County Sheriff’s Office said the crash site was discovered about 35 minutes later with the assistance of the Maryland State Police Trooper 5 medevac helicopter, the Cumberland Civil Air Patrol and volunteer firefighters from nearby District 16 and Bowling Green.

According to scanner transmissions by first responders, the plane crashed about 4 p.m. after taking off from the Mexico Farms Airport.

Deputies secured the area to await arrival of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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