Friday, January 14, 2022

Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, N145WT: Accident occurred January 14, 2022 and Incident occurred April 17, 2020

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 did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah 
Viking Aircraft Engines; Edgewater, Florida

Location: Spanish Fork, Utah
Accident Number: WPR22LA080
Date and Time: January 14, 2022, 12:48 Local
Registration: N145WT
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 14, 2022, about 1248 mountain standard time, an experimental amateur-built Zenith 750 airplane, N145WT, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Spanish Fork, Utah. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that this was his first flight in the accident airplane since he was involved in a prior mishap that took place in the same airplane about 18 months earlier. A few days prior to the accident flight he fast taxied the airplane down the runway to check the operability of the flight control system and engine controls prior to the accident flight. He noticed that during these passes the airplane would become airborne quickly at full power, so he chose not to advance the throttle to this position for takeoff.

According to the pilot, he transitioned the airplane into a climb after an uneventful ground run, but shortly into the airplane’s climbout, he observed a slow decay in engine power and was suddenly unable to maintain altitude. The pilot immediately started a left turn to return to his departure runway and advanced the throttle to full power, but was unsuccessful in restoring power to the engine. According to a witness, the airplane entered a steep left turn at approximately 80 ft above ground level that quickly transitioned into a nose down dive before it disappeared from view behind obstacles. The pilot stated that the airplane slowed during the turn and impacted the roof of a building during the subsequent forced landing.

Photographs of the accident site taken by the airport manager showed substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: WALTER TACHIKI 
Registration: N145WT
Model/Series: TACHIKI 750 CRUZER 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: KPVU, 4497 ft msl
Observation Time: 12:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 6000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 6 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.45 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Spanish Fork, UT
Destination: Spanish Fork, UT

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 40.130918,-111.65227 

Spanish Fork Public Safety

PRESS RELEASE: Small Airplane Crash

On January 14, 2022, at 12:47 PM Police, Fire, and EMS personnel were dispatched to Mountain Country Foods located at 185 East 1600 North in Spanish Fork on a report of a small airplane that had crashed into the roof of a warehouse building.

When Police, Fire, and EMS arrived Spanish Fork Fire used a ladder truck to access the roof of the building where they located a single-engine airplane.  The airplane had a single occupant who was a 77-year-old male.  The male was extricated from the plane and transported via Life Flight to a local hospital in critical condition but does not appear to have life-threatening injuries.  

The plane caused damage to the roof of the warehouse but the cost is unknown at this time.  

The cause of the crash is unknown and will be investigated by the FAA and NTSB. 

The Spanish Fork Airport is within a ¼ mile of where the crash occurred.  

Several employees were in the warehouse at the time of the accident but were uninjured.


SPANISH FORK, Utah — Police and first responders are at the scene of an airplane crash on the roof of a Spanish Fork building that sent a man to the hospital. 

An airplane crashed around 12:45 p.m. Friday afternoon near Mountain Country Foods, which is located near 185 East and 1600 North in Spanish Fork, according to a statement from the Spanish Fork Police Department.

Police, fire crews and paramedics were sent to the scene, where they used a ladder truck to get on top of the building's roof. There, they found a single-engine airplane with a 77-year-old man inside, police said.

The man was taken out of the airplane and flown via helicopter to a local hospital. He was in critical condition, though police said they don't believe his injuries were considered to be life-threatening. Several employees were working in the building at the time of the crash, though no other injuries were reported.

Police say the crash caused damage to the roof of the building, though an estimated cost of the damage was unknown. A view from KSL-TV's Chopper 5 shows a plane broken into several pieces on the roof.

The cause of the crash was not known as of Friday, and the crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Spanish Fork Municipal Airport is located just northwest of the crash site.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

April 17, 2020:  Aircraft landed and veered off runway resulting with a propeller strike at Spanish Fork Airport (KSPK), Utah County, Utah.

Date: 17-APR-20
Time: 22:30:00Z
Regis#: N145WT
Aircraft Model: 750 CRUZER
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
State: UTAH


  1. Landing on the roof of a warehouse is a new one, but I guess in populated areas, a big warehouse might be the only flat level surface available! Great to hear that the pilot survived with non-life threatening injuries!

    1. It doesn't look like an emergency landing event to me at all. Based on the runway position and where he ended up as well as no forward impact marks and a front end destroyed plane with an impact mark right under it with separated wings, I'd say this was a stall/spin turning base to final.

    2. And speaking of building roof tops for emergency landings, I was in Pensacola Florida in the late 1990s and some US Navy flying club member was in a 152 flying back from a XC trip and ran out of fuel. He put it down on top of Cordova Mall there and wound up hitting air conditioning units and injured both occupants. That mall still exists amazingly with all the mall closures these days. Story link:

    3. Landed?? more like pancaked it in on the roof, well it is a STOHL..

    4. I dunno, a stall/spin would most likely have penetrated right through the roof, unless that is one strong roof, and in that case hitting something that immovable in a spin would result in an extreme deceleration that would be very difficult to survive.

    5. Swale-style roof has to be strongly supported to bear accumulated Utah snow loads.

      Can't see main gear, left wing tip is damaged, engine cowl may have been "shucked off" whole in a forward motion. Could have come mushing in with left wingtip low, landing gear slam punching through the roof skin and pegging the bird in place/sudden stop, with wings and cowling playing out their residual forward momentum after fuselage stopped.

      Not much wind at the time:
      KSPK 141955Z AUTO 27005KT 4SM HZ CLR 04/M02 A3044
      KSPK 141935Z AUTO 28006KT 4SM HZ CLR 04/M02 A3044

    6. 1st Anonymous, yeah the third photo down where it shows the runway in the background... yes, that's about where a stall/spin turning base to final would happen.

    7. LOL.....and at what altitude would the stall spin have least a couple hundred feet based on the proximity to the runway.....stall/spins from that altitude are not survivable with minor injuries. To wit...The Brittan Norman crash at much lower altitude. Stall spin OVER the runway.

    8. The Brittan Norman stall spin was from approximately 20 feet altitude and fatal to all passengers except the young child. No way to survive a stall spin from even 50 feet in an LSA. ""The crash was witnessed. They had radioed in 10 min out and 1 to 2 min out that everything was on track. The were on line with approach. At start of run way the left wing dipped and they went nose down from about 20 feet up."

  2. Definitely a stall/spin wreckage signature but the plane is light and depending on where the stall occurred it appears to be a low energy event with vertical velocity at impact ~18-20 fps.

    1. Definitely not.....the engine mount is still intact and reasonably straight. There are "skid marks" obvious in several of the photos. Additionally, stall spin from the altitude that which we aircraft would have been turning base to final would have not been survivable.

  3. Replies
    1. Interesting....Ive posted twice on the Zenith website (I was building a CH701) and they deleted both times. Viking, is of course, converted Honda engines. Guess no one wants bad PR.

  4. Prior accident and Viking worked on the plane? I wonder what was the cause the first time and who did the fix etc.

  5. Impossible turn at 80 feet not smart one thing I will say is this shows how strong the zenith is he was not killed.

    Viking lot of people still remember the Subaru engine business they had, but nothing wrong with Honda engine. I see online forums they complain about a junk yard used Honda motor yet same people think the Yamaha Apex is a great idea those are used engines also. It's possible to get a bad engine I'm sure Viking will work with you if there is a problem. Does Rotax warranty something after the warranty period is over?

    The claims that direct drive air cooled engines are so much better then water cooled gear reduction engines are just not true. The fact that the P-51 Mustang used a water cooled V12 with a gear reduction shows you those claims are not true. I'm not saying a direct drive air cooled engine is bad one is not better then the other.

    IMO if you have little experience with engines don't use an auto conversion buy a Rotax have a professional maintain it, or just buy a certified aircraft. It's always 2nd owners of experimental aircraft crash it's hard to find an A&P who knows lot about it, and hard to find a CFI who has experience in those these people buy them with no transition training the get into the air are surprised by something end up crashing.