Sunday, December 05, 2021

North Wing Mustang, Unregistered: Fatal accident occurred July 09, 2021 in Albany, Linn County, Oregon

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; Hillsboro, Oregon 

Location: Albany, OR
Accident Number: WPR21FA265
Date & Time: July 9, 2021, 20:51 Local 
Registration: UNREGISTERED
Aircraft: North Wing Mustang
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 9, 2021, about 2051 Pacific daylight time, an unregistered experimental, amateur-built North Wing Mustang 3 weight-shift-control trike, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Millersburg, Oregon. The noncertificated pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to family members, the pilot and passenger departed from the pilot’s home airport in Albany, Oregon. After overflying the pilot’s home, located about 4,000 ft north of the airport, the flight continued northeast for about 3.3 miles. The aircraft then turned left and overflew close to the passenger’s home.

Several witnesses on the ground recorded the airplane maneuvering on their mobile phone devices. A review of those videos disclosed that the airplane banked to the left to a near 90° turn. The left wing continued to drop down and the aircraft descended toward the ground as the turn tightened. The aircraft impacted the terrain in a left-wing low attitude.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North Wing 
Registration: UNREGISTERED 
Model/Series: Mustang 3
Aircraft Category: Weight-shift
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: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSLE,201 ft msl
Observation Time: 20:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clea
r Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Albany, OR (S21) 
Destination: Albany, OR

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 44.695371,-123.08215 (est)

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.

More details have emerged about a potential lawsuit against the city of Albany over a deadly ultralight aircraft crash in July, with the family of one of the deceased men claiming the city's negligence contributed to the accident.

The plane was hangared at the Albany Municipal Airport, which is owned and managed by the city. Albany city officials did not respond to requests for comment.

On the evening of July 9, Charles “Chuck” Kizer was flying a North Wing Mustang 3 with a passenger, Matthew Irish. The latter's wife and daughter were watching the fatal flight from their yard when the amateur pilot banked into a turn, then plummeted into a Millersburg field, killing both men.

Four months later, members of the Irish family want the city to accept responsibility for its role. Through their lawyer, they filed a tort notice, typically a precursor to a lawsuit, with the city, seeking claims damages against Albany and its employees.

They specifically name airport manager Robb Romeo, Chris Bailey and Jon Goldman, although Goldman has since left the city. The notice was filed by a law firm that specializes in aviation-related lawsuits.

The tort notice specifies claims of negligence, wrongful death and personal injury, alleging that airport staff had the authority and responsibility to stop Kizer from flying out of the airport with a passenger. It notes that Kizer was a member of the Airport Advisory Commission and should have known and followed regulations.

Kizer was a longtime amateur pilot, though he did not have a pilot’s license, which is not required to fly ultralight aircraft.

The U.S. Ultralight Association, an organization for enthusiasts, indicates on its homepage that this type of aircraft is designed for a single occupant only.

The tort notice alleges it was illegal for Kizer to fly with a passenger onboard. It also claims Kizer’s aircraft was unsafe and not airworthy.

“Without having been warned by Albany or the airport manager that it was not safe to fly with Mr. Kizer or in his aircraft, or that Mr. Kizer was unlicensed and his aircraft [was] unregistered, unairworthy, and illegal, Matthew David Irish was unaware of the dangers of being a passenger,” the tort notice states.

“He certainly didn’t have the depth of experience that somebody who is a licensed pilot would have,” Jimmy Anderson, a Seattle-based attorney representing the Irish family, said of Kizer.

Matt Clarke, a Lake Oswego-based attorney from the same firm — Krutch Lindell Bingham Jones — said if the lawsuit moves forward, it would be filed in circuit court, likely within a few months. He added it’s possible that a resolution could be reached prior to court proceedings.

Irish’s wife and daughter were traumatized by witnessing the crash at close range, Clarke said. He said in cases such as this one, the jury would be asked to set the amount of damages, which could climb because of that trauma.

The total amount of damages is undetermined, Clarke said, but would exceed caps established by Oregon law, which are currently $782,600 for a single claimant, and $1,565,100 for multiple claimants in the same incident.

“Our investigation is ongoing, and part of that includes getting as much documentation and records from the city as we can,” Clarke said. “We do have information that gives us a basis to believe that it was pretty widely known that Mr. Kizer was not licensed and that he was regularly taking passengers up in his aircraft.”

The Albany City Council held an executive session during its meeting on Wednesday, December 1, to discuss the potential litigation. Following the discussion, which was closed to the public, the council voted unanimously to provide legal defense for the three city staffers named in the tort notice.

Mayor Alex Johnson II recused himself from the vote due to a pre-existing relationship with the claimant, according to a statement from City Manager Peter Troedsson.

The mayor was reportedly a close friend of Irish, whose wife, Elizabeth, served as Johnson’s political campaign manager. The men also officiated high school football together. Johnson had also commended Kizer for his service to the community after the crash.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board states that after flying over his home nearly a mile north of the airport, Kizer continued east for around 3 miles before turning left to fly over Irish’s home in the dusky but clear evening sky.

Witnesses on the ground recorded the incident on mobile phones. The report states an analysis of the videos showed the aircraft banked left to almost a 90-degree turn. The left wing continued dropping down and the aircraft descended toward the ground as the turn tightened before impact.

Charles “Chuck” Kizer, 57

Matthew Irish, 49

ZoĆ« Keliher,  Air Safety Investigator 


  1. Unclear how the city would be responsible. Deep pocket target, perhaps.

    1. Responsibility does not matter

      These law firms look for any pockets that are lined with an insurance policy for an immediate settlement after discovery to possibly fund going after a deeper target.

  2. Unfortunately the article does not mention the basis for the lawsuit.

    Would be nice to know why they are going after the three airport workers

  3. In some states (and perhaps all) you must send a Tort notice in a timely manner to a municipality or other state agency that you intend to sue for damages. For example, if your car is damaged when you run over a pothole and you desire to sue the city for leaving the pothole unfilled you must first send a tort notice to the city. And that notice must be sent within a limited time after the incident occurred. The airport workers are municipal-paid employees and as such they are being sued. There are no "deep pockets" with airport workers, but evidently they were negligent according to this lawsuit. In order to sue the municipality they must include the employees (even though they may be minimum wage employees). This is different than say if it were a privately run business.

    1. This fatal accident occurred just 5 months ago; and airport worker Jon Goldman abruptly leaves the city. Interesting. If no monetary awards from the airport workers/employees then do they do jail time?

    2. Insurance company has the money.

      Civil case. They will settle.

  4. According to
    Robb earned $67K in 2016. That's not a whole lot of "deep pocket".

    1. Thinking more along the lines of the city itself being the deep pocket. Like that 27 million Minneapolis paid a family.

  5. The journalists obviously has little knowledge and a simple web search would clarify for him that an ultralight can only carry a single passenger. This airplane was an experimental and/or an LSA and required the pilot to be certificated. This in itself would have constituted a serious offense of flying an aircraft unlicensed had the pilot survived, not to mention the need to properly register the aircraft itself which is another federal offense.
    Once again GA gets a black eye from someone who selfishly thinks rules don't apply to them and where the same things that resulted in all these violations is part of the cause that gave us the accident where an innocent was killed.
    Not sure how the city itself is liable unless the claimant can prove the airport employees knew the pilot was unlicensed in an eggregerious way but even then this is a federal matter not a city level one.

    1. If hangar lease terms required hangared aircraft to be kept current on registration and this aircraft was known to be unregistered, could the airport authority have a responsibility to prevent the owner flying from that airport, but failed to "do it's duty"?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Something must have happened to the aircraft while it was in a hangar at the airport.

  7. The pilot was on the airport advisory committee, may have made upgrade suggestions that were not fulfilled. Perhaps something is documented as discrepant somehow and was not corrected/improved.

    Albany Municipal Airport (S12) has a wind sock. If the pilot had been requesting the airplane-style wind indicator for improved discernment at a distance or documenting deficiencies in the wind sock condition, the law firm might claim the crash was a result of pilot having degraded wind direction insight.

    Claiming bad fuel would be a no go if NTSB checked source. Maybe it's as simple as the pilot asked to borrow some two-stroke oil and the airport staff gave him some from the turf maintenance shed and it wasn't the required SAE spec for Rotax 500 series.

    Gotta be some angle to it.

    1. Found this from 2018. If still uncorrected: Ruht-roh!

      "Hann stated he has had several people are saying they are having a difficult time seeing the windsock because it blends into the ground. Hann suggested maybe place white gravel under the windsock so it would make it more visible."


  8. This is a "College Try" legal approach. Based on the vid, this is a clear stall. Therefore the lawyer will try for a "nuisance payment" (lower cost to pay the plaintiff lawyer than to defend the case). This case will never hold up in court and lawyers are protected from filing flimsy cases... the poor widow will collect next to nothing and the local citizens may lose an airport. Shame on the legal profession for not policing themselves.

  9. The windsock argument is the only one that even stands a chance, even if it wasn't the direct cause.

    1. Windsocks, being on the ground, do little to inform the pilot of wind conditions until he is on final approach. Wind shear, surface friction and obstructions can cause the sock to give conflicting visuals as to accurate wind conditions. The flight photos prior to impact indicate a stall due to exceeding the AOA. The ground track looks like a tight turn. Regardless of windsock, this looks like pilot error, and would set a dangerous preference in being able to sue others for their own negligence. Non-certificated operator in an unregistered aircraft doing tight turns - the perfect recipe for an accident.

    2. Happens all the time with these law firms.

      Pilot experience, if any, has no bearing on an accident if they can point point fault elsewhere and convince an insurance company that they might win.

      A settlement will be made I am sure.

    3. Obviously the wind indication at the nearby field is not a contributor to this crash, but lawsuits can easily use what exists in documented citizen advisory board meetings to fault airport management.

      A case can be made to the jury about how he was "flying near the field and checking the sock before the next maneuver" coupled with "poor visual usability of the sock was an unresolved known issue".

      "You can send the city a message that they can't set up citizen advisory boards and ignore the recommendations...."

      Settlement will be made is absolutely correct, without ever having to put this in front of a jury. Too risky in the current circumstances to let a jury trial go forward.

  10. The aircraft in question is a light sport trike. It requires at least a sport pilot certificate to legally fly. The term "North Wing Mustang" refers to the wing of the aircraft, and there could be any number of trike "carriages" that could have been attached to the wing.

    North Wing does sell light sport carriages, in both completed and kit form. If this was one of the kit built carriages, it would be considered experimental amateur built. Most likely the carriage is a kit built North Wing design. North Wing has a reputation for building quality hang gliders and trikes.

    1. NOT an Attorney but it's all about the money sue anybody and everyone and see what shakes out.

    2. From experience ... Correct

  11. None of the above matters if the lawyers attack a mechanical or design failure. That is where the money is banked and insurance companies make their own revenue.

    This is all regardless of pilot skill, certification, etc.

    Juries look past all that stuff because they have no interest on slamming a dead person's credibility.