Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Focke-Wulf FWP-149D, N9145: Fatal accident occurred July 04, 2021 near Skylark Field Airport (KILE), Killeen, Bell County, Texas

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 Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Phoenix, Arizona 

Bradley G. Marzari

Location: Killeen, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21FA304
Date & Time: July 4, 2021, 17:22 Local
Registration: N9145
Aircraft: Focke-Wulf FWP-149D
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 4, 2021, about 1722 central daylight time, a Focke-Wulf FWP-149D experimental exhibition airplane, N9145, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Killeen, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data that was transmitted from the airplane to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC), at 1634, the flight departed New Braunfels Regional Airport (BAZ), New Braunfels, Texas, on runway 13 and continued northbound toward Skylark Field Airport (ILE), Killeen, Texas.

At 1715:05, the airplane entered a descent from 3,500 ft mean sea level (msl) and was about 13.5 miles south of ILE. About 25 seconds later, at 1715:30, the airplane made a left turn toward the northwest. At 1717:30, about 8.5 miles from ILE, the airplane entered a right turn to join the extended centerline for runway 1 at ILE. About 20 seconds later, the airplane was established on the extended runway centerline at 2,700 ft msl.

Airplane performance calculations based on ADS-B data indicated that between 1716:45 and 1718:40, while the airplane was descending the airplane’s calibrated airspeed decreased from 112 knots to about 60 knots (Chart 1). According to the Focke-Wulf FWP-149D Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), the aerodynamic stall speed at maximum takeoff weight with the landing gear and flaps retracted is 61
knots, and the maximum glide distance with no engine power is achieved at 90 knots.

The airplane’s calibrated airspeed and rate-of-descent was 56-69 knots and 300-750 ft per minute, respectively, during the final 3 minutes of ADS-B data. The final ADS-B return for the flight was at 1721:39, at which time the airplane was 2.7 miles from the runway 1 displaced threshold, at 1,050 ft msl (about 250 ft above ground level [agl]), and a calibrated airspeed of about 63 knots. The main wreckage was located about 0.5 mile north of the final ADS-B return.

An individual reported hearing the pilot transmit over the aircraft emergency frequency (121.5 MHz) that he had “lost his engine” was “losing altitude” and “trying to make it to Skylark.” The pilot subsequently stated that he “wasn’t going to make it to the airport” and to “roll the trucks.” A short time later an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) beacon was heard on the emergency frequency.

A witness reported seeing the airplane flying toward the airport at about “300 ft agl” and “50-60 knots.” He heard the engine “sputtering” and observed the airplane’s wings dip left-and-right 2-3 times before the airplane “stalled” with the left wing down. The airplane then descended toward the ground. The witness immediately responded to the accident site where he found the airplane engulfed in flames.

A postaccident examination determined that the airplane impacted terrain in a left-wing-low attitude, and the wreckage debris path was oriented on a 319° heading. The main wreckage consisted of the cabin and cockpit, right wing, aft fuselage, engine, and propeller (Photo 1). The main cabin and cockpit were destroyed by impact forces and the postimpact fire. The aft fuselage with empennage had separated from the remaining fuselage and was resting inverted in front of the cabin. The nose landing gear was found retracted inside the engine compartment. The right wing remained intact, and the right main landing gear and flap were found retracted. The left wing was found in multiple sections, and the inboard half of the wing was destroyed by impact and fire damage. The left main landing gear was found in the extended position. Flight control continuity could not be established due to extensive impact and fire damage; however, all observed flight control separations were consistent with impact and fire related damage or were cut to facilitate recovery of the wreckage.

The engine could not be rotated through the reduction gearbox using the attached propeller. Disassembly of the engine revealed the cylinder Nos. 3 and 4 connecting rods had separated from their respective crankshaft journals. The No. 3 and No. 4 connecting rod beams were bent, twisted, and deformed. There was significant damage observed within the internal cavities of the engine crankcase, particularly along the rotational plane of cylinder Nos. 3 and 4 connecting rods and associated rotating crankshaft components (Photos 2 and 3). There was no evidence of heat distress or a lack of lubrication to the internal engine drivetrain components. The cylinder combustion chambers remained mechanically undamaged, with no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation.

Numerous fractured metal items were recovered from inside the crankcase, cylinders Nos. 3 and 4, and the oil sump (Photos 4 and 5). These metal pieces consisted of connecting caps, bolts, nuts, bearings, counterweights, rollers, bushings, snap rings, and washers. These recovered items were submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory for additional examination.

According to the aviation mechanic who regularly maintained the airplane, on July 2, 2021, he installed the right magneto on the engine after it was repaired by an overhaul shop. The mechanic stated that after installing the right magneto he conducted an engine run to assure proper engine operation. During the engine run he observed the amber-colored “chip detector” cockpit warning light illuminated.

The mechanic shut down the engine, drained the oil into a clean bucket, and followed the wiring associated with the “chip detector” warning light to the oil filtration system housing. The mechanic stated that he observed “metal contamination” on the filter screen and inside the filter housing. The mechanic then showed the pilot the metal material found in the oil filtration system. With the pilot present, the mechanic ran a magnet over the screen and determined that the observed metal material did not stick to the magnet. The mechanic and pilot then discussed that the metal particles needed to be collected and sent to a laboratory for additional analysis. The pilot told the mechanic that he intended to fly the airplane back to his home base at ILE. The mechanic told the pilot that they needed to determine the source of the metal contamination before the pilot flew any trips in the airplane. The mechanic then collected samples before he cleaned the filtration housing, sensor, and screen. He then added new oil to the engine and performed another engine run, during which he did not observe the “chip light” illuminated. The pilot returned the following day, July 3, 2021, to retrieve the airplane. The mechanic observed the pilot complete an engine runup before he departed Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport (TPL), Temple, Texas, to ILE. The mechanic reported that he believed the airplane was going to remain at ILE until the laboratory results were returned concerning the metal particles.

The postaccident examination determined the airplane was equipped with an Aviation Development Corporation (ADC) oil filtration system, part number 600010-1. A review of the product literature indicated that the oil filtration system was equipped with a standard ball-and-spring “bypass” switch, which when wired to a cockpit warning light offers a visual indication of when the system is bypassing engine oil past the filter screen. A separate magnetic chip detector was offered as an optional feature, but the postaccident examination determined that it was not installed as part of the airplane’s oil filtration system. As such, the investigation determined that the amber cockpit warning light was mislabeled “chip detector”, and it was actually a visual indication of when the oil filtration system was operating in bypass.

The metallic material that was collected from the oil filtration system by the mechanic on July 2, 2021, was submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for identification.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Focke-Wulf 
Registration: N9145
Model/Series: FWP-149D 
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: KILE,841 ft msl
Observation Time: 16:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2200 ft AG
L Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / , 80°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: New Braunfels, TX (BAZ)
Destination: Killeen, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 31.051389,-97.702222

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

Crews removed the wreckage of the deadly plane crash from the field on Monday.

Bradley Guy Marzari

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Friends and fellow pilots are describing Bradley Guy Marzari, killed in a plane crash on the 4th of July, as an “experienced pilot” who taught young people how to operate aircraft.

The Texas Department of Public Safety on Sunday confirmed Marzari, 60, of Belton, Texas, was the pilot operating the plane that crashed into a field on private property at about 5:25 p.m. near Trimmer Road and Stagecoach Road in Killeen.

A spokeswoman for Killeen Police said the plane departed the New Braunfels Regional Airport and was traveling to the Skylark Field Airport when it crashed in the field.

A friend said Marzari, nicknamed “Launchpad,” was the president of The Killeen Experimental Aircraft Association.

“If you look at accidents, in general, about 80 percent of them are pilot error, and I’m absolutely convinced that he must have been in a small percentage of mechanical failure type of accidents,” said Max Trescott, a friend of Marzari.

“He was just very, very good at everything that he did. So, it’s hard for me to imagine that he made an error.”

Trescott said Sunday’s tragedy is one of the “downsides” of being in aviation.

“We do lose close friends in airplane accidents. And that’s, you know, a pain that never quite goes away,” Trescott said.

Investigators with the Transportation and Safety Board on Monday towed the wreckage of a deadly plane crash out of private property in Killeen.

The investigation could take in between 12 to 18 months, but a preliminary report is expected in two weeks.

Bradley Guy Marzari

When aviation enthusiast Max Flight, who lives in Connecticut, received a text message Sunday evening from a friend in Maine that said, “Call me, ASAP,” he felt something was amiss.

Indeed, his premonition came true.

The friend told him that he suspected that mutual friend, and pilot, Bradley Guy Marzari had been killed when the 1960 Focke-Wulf FWP-149D plane he was piloting crashed in a field on private land in Killeen, approximately 2.25 miles shy of Runway 1 at Skylark Field. Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that fact not long after.

Killeen police, some of the first responders on the scene, said Marzari, a 60-year-old Belton resident, was flying from New Braunfels to Skylark Field.

“In the aviation community, some people know a person that died in a crash, and some people don’t,” Flight said via phone Tuesday. “... When you know the person it just hits you in a completely different way — it hits you much harder.”

Flight had known Marzari for five or six years as a regular contributor to his blog/podcast site, The Airplane Geeks.

Marzari went by the name “Launchpad,” named for the character Launchpad McQuack from Disney’s “DuckTales” and “Darkwing Duck.”

Flight reminisced about his friendship with Marzari, whom he met in person in Florida in 2019. He described Marzari as a “gentle giant,” a man of impressive stature who would go out of his way to care about others before himself.

One thing about Marzari that Flight highlighted was his habit of always having chocolate with him to give to other people.

“He brought, and carried around with him, a little cooler to keep the chocolate from melting,” Flight said. “Then he would give out chocolate to people he met, or knew, or whatever.”
Marzari was a former Army captain and lived for several years in Germany while working for the Department of Defense, according to his biography on the Airplane Geeks website.

Flight said Marzari would often visit Germany, where his wife is from, and he had a tendency to bring back German chocolates. He said Marzari would often refer to himself as a “chocolate smuggler.”

Another thing Flight said he remembers about Marzari was his involvement in the lives of youth.

“He was really focused on bringing youngsters into aviation,” Flight said.

Marzari was known for dropping what he was doing and engaging in conversation with children who he saw showed an interest in his plane or in aviation.

Flight said Marzari was the kind of person that after speaking with him for just a few minutes, he was someone you really liked.

For more stories about Marzari and what his friends within the aviation community said about him, Flight uploaded an hourlong podcast to his website that can be found at https://bit.ly/AGeeks660.  

Brian Coleman, associate producer of The Airplane Geeks, said Marzari had a catchphrase that he said at the end of every podcast.

"... His catch phrase at the end of all his reports was 'Frequency change approved, good day' which is a standard Air Traffic Controller call," Coleman said via email. "It was just perfect and now his final transmission." 


  1. Brad, lost too early but always remembered. Tailwinds and chocolate my friend

  2. you see these accidents all of the time and just read over the information for curiosity or trying to never make the same mistake that they did. when it happens to one of your own it really hit hard so you know and understand the grief at an aircraft accident can bring to so many more people than what you think it does.

    Brad, thank you for being a friend your departure is a great loss to everyone who knew you.

  3. Flight track data and verifiable wreckage location suggests he came down short on a straight-in approach to RW 1 at KILE, as shown below:

    Looking at the Flightaware track data, he had established a heading of 15 degrees and began a descent aligned with KILE RW 1. The last available ADS-B position maps to:

    Reporter at the crash location has a masonry fence column behind her at the 25 second mark that is also visible at 1:13 with wreckage in the background. That end of fence line column is findable on street view, and the unique stone pattern visible at 0:25 matches the google street view image linked below:
    News Video:
    Matching the column in street view:

    The wreckage location shown at 1:13 in the video maps to:

    That verified wreckage location is 2.8 miles further toward KILE than the last available ADS-B position in Flightaware. The wreckage is 2.2 miles short of KILE RW 1 threshold. The locations of the last available ADS-B position, the wreckage and RW 1 form a straight line when you connect all three.

    Track log:

  4. Recent N9145 photos:


  5. I heard his Mayday call on 121.5. He initially reported "engine trouble" and 4 miles from Skylark and then reported engine failure.