Monday, November 08, 2021

Wag-Aero 2+2 Sportsman, N540AK: Fatal accident occurred November 07, 2021 near Kodiak Municipal Airport (PAKD), Alaska

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; Soldotna, Alaska
Lycoming, Pennsylvania

Location: Kodiak, Alaska
Accident Number: ANC22FA005
Date and Time: November 7, 2021, 14:05 Local
Registration: N540AK
Aircraft: GERALD JONES 2+2 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 07, 2021, about 1405 Alaska standard time, a Gerald Jones 2+2 homebuilt airplane, N540AK sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Kodiak, Alaska. The pilot and sole occupant was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot had departed from Kodiak Municipal Airport (KDK), Kodiak, Alaska destined for a remote off-airport landing site near Saltery Cove. A friend of the pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to transport hunting gear to the remote location to establish a hunting camp.

Numerous witnesses reported that shortly after departure from KDK, the airplane made a steep right turn, the nose dropped, and the airplane entered a spiraling descent in a near vertical attitude. None of the witnesses reported any unusual sounds emanating from the engine.

The airplane impacted a hard gravel road at an elevation of about 92 ft. A video surveillance camera captured the impact sequence and showed the airplane impacted in a right wing low near vertical attitude. The airplane came to rest about 25 feet from the initial impact site in a heavily forested area and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage.

A Garmin GPS and an Electronics International MVP-50 engine monitor were recovered from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: GERALD JONES
Registration: N540AK
Model/Series: 2+2 
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: PADQ,80 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / 19 knots, 320°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.74 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Kodiak, AK
Destination: Kodiak, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 57.805489,-152.36548

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. 

 Derek Leichliter

A man from Soldotna died Sunday when a small plane crashed in Kodiak shortly after takeoff, according to federal investigators.

Authorities have released few details on the 2 p.m. crash except to confirm that the 39-year-old pilot was killed. The crash happened a few hundred yards from the runway near Kodiak’s East Elementary School.

Kodiak police identified the pilot as Derek Leichliter. He was reportedly headed to Saltery Cove for a hunting trip.

The aircraft was not carrying any passengers and there’s been little information gathered so far by crash investigators, according to Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office chief.

“We do have two investigators en route to Kodiak as we speak right now,” Johnson said. “And that’ll be the first order of business, is trying to figure out what the intent of the flight was, where it was headed, what the load was on board and to gain those details.”

Johnson confirmed that the plane Leichliter was flying was a Wag-Aero 2+2, a single-engine kit aircraft that resembles a Piper Super Cub. 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - One person is dead following a plane crash in Kodiak Sunday afternoon near Kodiak College, according to authorities.

The National Transportation Safety Board will send two staff to Kodiak on Monday to investigate the crash, according to NTSB Alaska Region Chief Clint Johnson.

Lt. Francis de la Fuente of the Kodiak Police Department said the crash happened around 2 p.m. across the street from East Elementary School on Benny Benson Drive. He said he believes that the pilot had just taken off from Kodiak’s Municipal Airport, though that information has not yet been confirmed by law enforcement.

Police in Kodiak have yet to release the name of the pilot who died, and are currently working to notify family members.

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