Thursday, July 01, 2021

Earthstar Gull 2000, N1712L: Fatal accident occurred June 30, 2021 in Curtiss, Clark County, Wisconsin

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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Location: Curtiss, WI
Accident Number: CEN21FA297
Date & Time: June 30, 2021, 04:50 Local 
Registration: N1712L
Aircraft: Earthstar Aircraft Gull 2000
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 30, 2021, about 0450 central daylight time, an Earthstar Aircraft Gull 2000 experimental lightsport airplane, N1712L, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Curtiss, Wisconsin. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

An individual who was interested in purchasing the airplane stated that the pilot had offered to fly the airplane to New Richmond Regional Airport (RNH), New Richmond, Wisconsin, where he could examine the airplane. The individual had suggested to meet about 1200 at RNH, but the pilot subsequently requested to meet at 0600. The individual agreed to meet at 0600 believing that the pilot had to return for work after their meeting.

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, there was a witness near the private airstrip who had seen and heard the airplane operating between 0430 and 0500. The witness reported hearing the airplane’s engine as it departed the private airstrip. There were no eyewitnesses to the accident. The last cellular activity for the pilot’s mobile phone was recorded about 0447.

There were multiple reports by sheriff deputies that the early morning weather near the accident location included heavy fog with limited surface visibility. The visibility on the roadways near the accident location were 20-100 ft and required the use of windshield wipers while driving. Additionally, on the morning of the accident, a semi-trailer truck had inadvertently departed the side of Wisconsin State Highway 29 because the driver reportedly could not see the road in the heavy fog.

At 0400, the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in La Crosse, Wisconsin, issued a Dense Fog Advisory for an area that included the accident location, which called for locally dense fog that reduced visibilities to 1/2 mile or less.

At 0435, the weather at Taylor County Airport (MDZ), about 10 miles northeast of the accident location, included a calm surface wind, ¼ mile surface visibility with fog, and 500 ft vertical visibility. At 0455, the weather at MDZ had improved to 5 miles visibility with mist and clear skies.

A postaccident review of weather radar data was clear of meteorological targets over the accident location. Civil twilight began at 0442, and sunrise occurred at 0519.

The pilot did not possess an instrument rating for flight in instrument meteorological conditions. He had logged 3.0 hours of simulated instrument flight before he took his regulatory checkride for his private pilot certificate on March 14, 2020. His last recorded instrument time was accumulated during his private pilot checkride.

The airplane crashed in a wooded area about 1/3 mile southwest of the west end of the departure airstrip. Based on damage to trees at the accident site, the airplane had descended into trees on a south heading while in an approximately 30° nose-down pitch attitude. The airframe parachute rocket had deployed due to impact forces. The left wing had separated during impact. The right wing and tailboom remained attached to the fuselage. Flight control system continuity could not be determined; however, all observed flight control separations were consistent with impact related damage or were cut to facilitate recovery of the wreckage. The fuel tank contained fuel and there was evidence of a fuel leak at the accident site. There was no evidence of a mechanical engine failure, and both carburetors contained uncontaminated fuel.

A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation during the flight. The airplane was not equipped for instrument flight. The damaged components of an electronic engine monitor and an electronic artificial horizon device were retained for possible data download.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Earthstar Aircraft 
Registration: N1712L
Model/Series: Gull 2000 
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: IMC 
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: MDZ,1478 ft msl 
Observation Time: 04:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C /14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 0.5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Curtiss, WI (PVT) 
Destination: New Richmond, WI (RNH)

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: 44.984025,-90.461475

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.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, I was wondering about the departure time, also, but haven't looked up the SR/SS tables for that location.

    2. Nautical twilight in Curtiss began at 4:28 am and he had some moonlight from the overnight half-moon.

      Kinda early for a 100 mile flight, unless he was heading to Fergus Falls Minnesota and New Richmond was just a stop.

  2. We have one of these at our airport. Watched it take off as I sat #2 for departure in my plane. The thing drags it’s tail for some time before getting airborne, it has a tiny tail wheel for just this purpose.. Short, high camber wings. Lots of drag and not a whole lot of lift.

    1. The Gull 2000 has an L/D of 11.8. It’s not a glider but hardly what I’d call lots of drag and not a lot of lift, given a Cessna 172 has an L/D of about 9. The Gull 2000 is one of the highest performing ultralights you can get.

      The Soaring Gull 2000, very similar but with a different, longer wing, has a L/D of 16.1