Sunday, September 05, 2021

Collision with Object: Champion 8KCAB, N81BH; accident occurred September 11, 2020 at Byrd's Backcountry Airstrip (51AR), Ozark, Franklin County, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ozark, Arkansas
Accident Number: CEN20CA391
Date & Time: September 11, 2020, 14:00 Local 
Registration: N81BH
Aircraft: Champion 8GCBC 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during the turn from base to final, the left wing struck a wire and the airplane rotated and hit the ground. The airplane's wings and fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane or engine that would have precluded normal operation. He also stated that he should have maintained clearance from the obstructions.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a wire during final approach to landing.


Personnel issues Incorrect action performance - Pilot
Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Wire - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) (Defining event)
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 11, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 2, 2020
Flight Time: 2271.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 235 hours (Total, this make and model), 2184.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 26.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 15.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Champion 
Registration: N81BH
Model/Series: 8GCBC No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 542-2011
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: December 1, 2019 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 425 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-G1G
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFYV,1251 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 29 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 313°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1700 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ozark, AR (51AR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ozark, AR
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 13:45 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Byrd's Backcountry Airstrip 51AR 
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 800 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 20
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 900 ft / 50 ft VFR 
Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.677501,-93.732223(est)


  1. Only minor injuries due to proper harness and quality airframe construction. Try that in an older Champ with lap belt or J-3 Cub with cowl tank.

  2. How can you hit power wire turning base to final? Perhaps a little more height would be in order...

  3. ref NTSB report of "Byrd's Backcountry Airstrip 51AR, Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf, Airport Elevation: 800 ft msl, Runway Surface Condition: Dry, Runway Used: 20"
    AIRNAV lists a single "Runway 7/25 for 51AR Byrd's Backcountry Airstrip
    Dimensions: 2500 x 30 ft., Surface: turf"

  4. Scout, not a Decathlon. Decathlon does not have flaps.