Friday, April 01, 2022

SkyStar Kitfox Series 7, N789RB: Fatal accident occurred March 31, 2022 in Crowell, Foard County, Texas

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; Lubbock, Texas

Location: Crowell, Texas
Accident Number: CEN22LA163
Date and Time: March 31, 2022, 09:38 Local
Registration: N789RB
Aircraft: Kitfox 7 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 31, 2022, about 0938 central daylight time, a Kitfox Series 7 airplane, N789RB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Crowell, Texas. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The brother of the pilot and the father of the passenger, who is also a pilot, observed the accident flight. He reported that the airplane departed from a dirt strip at the pilot’s residence in Crowell around 0900. The pilot was in the left seat and the passenger was in the right seat of the airplane.

The airplane took off from the dirt strip and flew over Crowell. The airplane then came back to the dirt strip, to do a low pass. The airplane flew slow over the dirt strip to the northwest. The airplane then climbed out to the left, it was about 650 ft off the ground, when the airplane “stalled,” the left wing dropped, and the nose went straight down. The airplane impacted rolling prairie and a postimpact fire destroyed the airplane.

The witness reported that the pilot was flying “low and slow,” the airplane “stalled,” the pilot lost control while in flight, and there was no altitude for recovery. He additionally reported that the engine was working fine during the entire flight and there was nothing mechanically wrong with the engine.

At the time of the accident, the witness reported the temperature was about 70°F, the wind was coming from the northwest, the wind speed was about 8-9 mph with no gusts, and the visibility was clear.

The Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site to document and examine the wreckage.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kitfox
Registration: N789RB
Model/Series: 7 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KF05,1265 ft msl 
Observation Time: 09:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 27 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C /5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 300°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Crowell, TX
Destination: Crowell, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.999904,-99.75698 (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.

Ronny Dale Baize
August 19, 1960 - March 31, 2022

Ronny Baize, 61, passed away Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Foard County. A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 6th at the Crowell Church of Christ under the direction of Smith Funeral Home. Mr. Larry Ellis will officiate.

Ronny Dale Baize was born August 19, 1960 in Clarksville, Tennessee to Johnny Brandt Baize and Donna Norris Baize. He had lived in Crowell since 1962, and graduated from Crowell High School in 1979. He married Debra Walker on April 4, 1998. Ronny was a member of the Church of Christ and the Crowell Masonic Lodge. He was a self-employed custom harvester and owner of Baize Storage Units.

Survivors include his wife, Debra Baize of Crowell; 1 son, Rodney Murphy Baize and wife Corina of Crowell; 1 daughter Ashley Elizabeth and husband Oat Deweber of Deer Creek, Texas; mother, Donna Baize of Crowell; 8 grandchildren, Trent Baize, Brayden Baize, Grace Baize, Gavin Baize, Owen Baize, Darlynn Deweber, Dalleigh Deweber, and Daycie Deweber; his twin brother, Johnny Brandt Baize II and wife Vonda Sue of St. Cloud, Florida; 2 sisters, Tanja Gail Oster and husband John of Caddo Mills, and Paula Dee Anne Moore and husband Michael Wayne of Thalia, Texas.

Claburn Zane Baize
May 20, 1986 - March 31, 2022

Zane Baize, 35, was taken much too soon, on March 31, 2022 in Foard County, Texas. A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 6th at Crowell Church of Christ under the direction of Smith Funeral Home. Mr. Larry Ellis will officiate.

Claburn Zane Baize was born May 20, 1986, in Dallas, Texas, to Johnny Brandt Baize, II and Vonda Ann Sparks Baize. He and Kristal Ann McIntee were married on January 19, 2017 in Kissimmee, Florida. He was a proud and loving father of two children, Teegan Faye Baize and Bowen Zane Baize. They were his everything. He was also an amazing husband, son & brother, with a bright personality, full of wit and humor.  Zane was a member of the Church of Christ; the Florida Realtors Association and Osceola Realtors Association.

Survivors include his wife, Kristal Ann Baize of Kissimmee, Florida; daughter, Teegan Faye Baize; son, Bowen Zane Baize; 1 brother, Johnny Brandt Baize, III and wife Stephany Elizabeth Baize of St. Petersburg, Florida; parents, Johnny Brandt Baize, II and wife Vonda Ann Baize of St. Cloud, Florida; paternal grandmother, Donna Baize of Crowell; maternal grandparents, Doyle and Yvonne Sparks of Wichita Falls, Texas; and in-laws, Mike and Sue McIntee of Haines City, Florida.

FOARD COUNTY, Texas  — The victims of a fatal aircraft crash just outside of Crowell Thursday morning have been identified.

According to authorities, one victim has been identified as Ronnie Baize, 59, of Crowell, a businessman and former candidate for Foard County Judge.

The other victim has been identified as Zane Baize, 35, Ronnie Baize’s nephew from Kissimmee, Florida.

In a Preliminary Accident and Incident Data Notice released on April 1, the Federal Aviation Administration said that the aircraft was flying at a low altitude and a gust of wind forced the aircraft to the ground and it caught on fire.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Dan Buesing, the crash happened around 9:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Foard County just northwest of Crowell near County Road 411 and County Road 415.

According to authorities, the plane that went down was possibly an ultra-light craft. Sgt. Buesing said the aircraft caught fire upon impact and burned.

The FAA is currently still investigating the incident to come up with a final report which could take months to complete.


  1. The Pilot's certificate information.

    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 11/2016
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None
    Certificates Description
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 11/13/2016


    1. Anonymous, I don’t know who you are but a current piece of paper or expired doesn’t change the fact that he knew how to fly. Very insensitive, Ronny was a great man. Clearly something you are not.

    2. Mr. Anonymous posting at 5:38:00PM, the irony is that no one knows who you are either. That first comment simply lists impartial facts straight from the FAA airmen database. Anyone can draw whatever conclusions they want from it. No one said Ronny wasn't a great man or that he didn't know how to fly, but that doesn't change the fact that it is illegal to operate an aircraft as a private pilot when your medical certificate has expired. If you knew Ronny, I'm sorry for your loss. This is an awful and senseless tragedy.

    3. Maybe, but FAA medical record updates to the Airmen Registry sometimes don't get entered, as the Joe Lara example illustrated.

      News articles in 2021 ran with the 2017 medical cert date incorrectly shown in the Airmen Registry for WILLIAM JOSEPH LARA but it was corrected to 11/2019 after a copy of the AME submittal was presented.

      N789RB pilot's nephew CLABURN ZANE BAIZE had a student pilot certificate with a 12/1/2021 issue date and 3/2022 medical date. Presumably his background and ongoing pilot interest reflected by his own medical date provided useful perspective in his decision to go up with his uncle.

    4. Ah yes, the Joe Lara medical example, a boon to friends and family defending pilots with expired medical certs everywhere. Every time a pilot with an expired medical crashes, there is always the claim that they must have just renewed their certificate.

      So is it possible that this pilot whose special issuance medical expired on 5/31/2018 completely stopped flying at that point and waited until very recently to renew his medical and start flying again, even though he purchased the accident aircraft almost a year ago. Sure, it's possible. It's just not probable, especially when a basic med certificate is so easy to get. Equally improbable is that the pilot actually renewed his medical on 11/2018 and then again on 11/2020 and somehow both certificate renewals never got entered into the FAA database.

      In regard to the pilot's nephew's student pilot certificate, all that is required to get a student pilot certificate is filling out a form, no actual pilot knowledge or experience is required. Also, it's likely he did not know his Uncle's medical had expired. Finally, if the nephew's 3/2022 medical is in the database, it obviously is taking less than a month for medicals to make it into the database.

    5. Expired medicals are rarely the cause of a general aviation crash. There is no evidence the FAA can prevent sudden incapacitation because of their efforts in preventing medical certs from being issued. In fact I believe their system causes more of a risk of heart attacks in the cockpit. Pilots won't see a doctor when they get symptoms they know it's a big risk losing their career. AME exams don't even include blood work it's not even logical the FAA medical. Class 3 should be nothing more then basic medical. Class 1 and 2 should be same type of exam you get with your Primary Care including blood work.

    6. Whether or not expired medicals cause a lot of accidents is not really the point. The fact remains that the FAA feels it is important enough to have a current medical that they made it illegal to fly without one. This is not some obscure rule, but one that is well known and covered in pilot training, the FAA written exam, and checkride oral examinations. A pilot who willfully violates such a fundamental rule not just for a month or two but for almost four years is a good demonstration of the anti-authority hazardous attitude and brings into question what other rules the pilot thought he didn't need to follow. Bi-annual flight reviews? 90 day landing currency? Rules exist for a reason and we don't get to pick and choose which ones we want to follow.

  2. I don't think the first commenter was being brash or insensitive. Ronny may have been a great man and excellent pilot, the fact that he was flying with NO medical, not even a basic med(which is easy to get) means he probably had some serious health issues and shouldn't be PIC. Accidents happen we all take that risk when we jump in the seat of any aircraft, as a 1300hr pilot I know anything can happens anytime...The "i can do it" will get you everytime, we will never really know what happened to these guys( I am from Kissimmee and some friends knew Zane) but the truth is even a mild heart attack, stroke or any PIC incapacitation will cause the pilot to buckle on the control stick and send the bird to the ground. Not to be insensitive, but "if" he was PIC, he wasnt legal. May they Fly high with the angels and guide us all in when our time comes..def a sad story to read about!

    1. Yes, agreed. Especially because the database states "NOT VALID FOR ANY CLASS AFTER 05/31/2018" which means the pilot had a known health issue that required a special issuance medical certificate. A standard third class medical is valid for at least two years (five years if you are under 40). The medical cert in this case was specifically cut short to not valid after just 1.5 years. This means that the known medical issue that required the FAA to grant a special issuance with the requirement that a followup exam be performed to extend the validity of the medical. Either this followup exam was never performed or the results caused the certificate to not be extended. These rules are in place for a reason, as pilot incapacitation puts no only the pilot and passenger's lives at risk, but also innocent people on the ground. (example N7022G)

    2. Airmen Registry records aren't always correctly entered. That "NOT VALID FOR ANY CLASS AFTER 05/31/2018" notation didn't get mentioned in NTSB's reporting on this pilot's N14GX accident of October 13, 2018.

      The form 6120.1 in the N14GX docket lists Mr. Baize as the pilot and sole occupant, with 11/2016 showing as the latest medical date.

      Report for N14GX, accident #GAA19CA023:


      See also the Joe Lara comment up-thread^^...

    3. You're not really helping his case by bringing attention to the form 6120.1 for that accident. Don't forget that the pilot completes that form, not the NTSB, and there are numerous discrepancies and mistakes in it:
      1. The pilot claims the accident occurred while taxiing, but the NTSB report concluded it occurred during landing per crash evidence and witness statements.
      2. The form says the ELT did not activate but also says the ELT helped locate the aircraft. How does that work?
      3. The pilot suspiciously reported exactly 500 total hours and exactly 100 hours in type, which was clearly a guess on his part rather than actual numbers calculated from a logbook.
      4. On the form, the Pilot claimed his medical certificate was "without waivers or limitations", but the FAA database clearly shows there was a validity limitation in force.

      The NTSB most likely took the pilot at his word on the form regarding his medical, or at least didn't think his expired medical was a factor in the accident so they didn't call it out in the report. There are several other NTSB reports where a pilot's expired medical never gets mentioned.

    4. Unlikely he having a medical cert or not caused this. How many GA accidents can you find that were 100% caused by sudden heart attacks. If that were true why is light sport allowed to use a drivers license do you see them falling out of the sky from sudden heart attacks? The guy was flying too slow tried to yank the nose up do a steep climb out in his STOL kitfox turned into a power on stall too low to recover. The picture shows him looks obese probably had some issues. I would just ignore the cert issue at this point focus on the crash sequence. Low + Slow + steep pull up full power it's risky. Maybe he had very little experience.

    5. A medical cert is not just about extremes like a heart attack. It's also about the more subtle insidious things that affect flight safety like poor vision and hearing, physical impairments and weaknesses that prevent the full and proper use of the controls, delayed reaction times, impaired mental states, brief lapses in consciousness, etc. He didn't just forget to renew his cert, it was intentionally restricted by the FAA for a medical reason, so it is very likely he had a medical issue that would affect flight safety. Did it directly cause him to crash the plane? Maybe not, but it definitely could have contributed in more scenarios than just a sudden heart attack. Maybe he had bad circulation that caused a temporary blackout when he pulled some Gs while yanking the nose up? Or maybe he had a bum foot that kept him from using enough right rudder to prevent an uncoordinated stall/spin? Maybe he had bad vision that kept him from accurately reading airspeed and altitude? You can debate how likely those are, but it definitely is possible

  3. Wonder what strip used by the PIC? The accident site est 2 miles NW from Crowell, TX; closest identified airports 20 to 30 miles N and NW.

    1. Foard County Airport 2XA0 is one mile east of Crowell. Doesn't look like much on google maps and streetview...

    2. I would guess as the above poster stated, 2XA0 Foard County Airport.
      Could be some "backyard strip", but his address for both the airplane and pilot certificate is listed as Crowell, TX

    3. Strip? That thing can takeoff from a sandbar.

  4. "The airplane then climbed out to the left, it was about 650 ft off the ground, when the airplane “stalled,” the left wing dropped, and the nose went straight down. The airplane impacted rolling prairie and a postimpact fire destroyed the airplane."

    Same thing happened to me in a PA18-160 when I towed aerial advertising (banners). I had just released the banner and had full power on a rather steep climb out and the airplane snap rolled left about 200' above ground. I rolled somewhere around 70-90 degree's in the blink of an eye, I was in uncoordinated flight. Had I not been lightening fast on the controls by pulling the power out, pitch over and right rudder I would've been a smoking hole. It was the closest brush with death in my life.

    1. Same thing happened to me in my 172 on my PPL checkride (Yes, believe it or not, it was my first checkride!!) when I was asked to demonstrate a power-on stall.

      My mistake was going from cruising speed (110 mph) directly into the stall without FIRST slowing down to take-off speed/rotation speed (65 mph). By God, I snap rolled over to the left so quick it made my head spin (so to speak).
      But my reflexes made me stand on the right rudder, pull the power, and let go of the yoke, and being a 172, the plane flew itself right out of the incipient spin.
      The DPE said I actually handled it quite well but needless to say, I did the walk-of-shame back to the airport with an automatic failed checkride. But I came back the next year for the re-test with the same DPE and everything went ultra-smooth, including the dreaded power-on stall.
      The main point, as Bryan said, is you better remember that the rudder is the only way out - aileron mismanagement is the kiss of death.

    2. I wonder if he was trying to do a slow pass then into a steep climb out like they do in STOL competitions events showing off. The question is did he leave in full flaps when he tried a steep climb out turned into a power on stall. Normally climb out even with full flaps would not be a problem if he pulled it back into a steep nose up. I'm sure the NTSB will just say he exceeded the angle of attack staling it could not recover close to the ground.

  5. Sometimes a flyby pass made at the home strip with everybody watching can lead to pushing the limits to give everyone a show.

    You have to wonder whether sporty "flying cowboy" kitfox videos and STOL competitions on youtube contribute to this type of accident by motivating some who watch to imitate what they see.

    1. I agree you watch those STOL drags they pull it up into a steep climb right on take off it's risky doing that. Gust of wind, engine loses power suddenly it looks cool why not break the wheels from the ground level build up some speed then climb out doesn't look as cool but less risk.

  6. Low airspeed, high power, high angle of attack, all three combine to require substantial right rudder to stay coordinated and oppose significant left turning forces. If you are flying near stall speed uncoordinated, all it takes is a gust of wind to momentarily stall the retreating wing (usually the left wing for the reasons I stated above.) If I had to guess, when this pilot had the left wing drop, he tried to use right stick to try to pick it up and not right rudder, causing the classic aileron stall on the left wing, stalling and dropping it even harder. When you are flying slow, you have to consciously unlearn the instinct to use ailerons to pick up a dropped wing, and only use rudder (as well as pitching down).

  7. Appears with 2 large adults, those large tires, and low speed high angle of attack very easy to get behind the power curve with a low powered engine...