Sunday, March 27, 2022

Rutan VariEze, N88KL: Accident occurred March 26, 2022 near Mojave Air and Space Port (KMHV), Kern County, California

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 Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Location: Mojave, California 
Accident Number: WPR22LA133
Date and Time: March 26, 2022, 12:00 Local 
Registration: N88KL
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 26, 2022, about 1200 Pacific daylights time, an experimental amateur-built, VariEze, N88KL, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Mojave, California. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he departed from Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave, California, runway 26, and turned left to the south. While ascending, about 500 ft above ground level (agl), the engine lost power. As the pilot continued the left turn back to the airport, he realized that he was unable to make it to the runway and elected to land in open desert terrain. During the landing rollout, the airplane collided with desert vegetation and the landing gear separated.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N88KL
Model/Series: VARIEZE 
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: KMHV,2787 ft msl 
Observation Time: 12:00 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C /-14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Mojave, CA 
Destination: Mojave, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.053475,-118.18486 (est)

BAKERSFIELD, California (KGET) — Two people survived after their small aircraft crashed near the Mojave Air & Space Port on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, preliminary information shows a VariEze homebuilt aircraft went down southwest of the air and space port at around noon. The pilot of the aircraft reported an engine problem before the crash.

Kern County emergency responders located the wreckage of the plane at Oak Creek Road and Holt Street. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said both people onboard were taken to Antelope Valley Hospital with minor injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


  1. Very efficient airplane, but I always wondered about the fact that there's no engine up front, which means your feet are the first thing to the accident site...

    1. Until recently, GA aircraft are not designed with energy-absorbing crumple zones (pax seats do compress downward) or engine mounts do not swing down and back, sliding the engine away from the cabin; also consider cabin paxs fare poorly when the nose of the acft impacts first, thus energy is absorbs by the paxs and not say the wings.