Saturday, July 16, 2022

Thatcher CX4, N347CX: Accident occurred July 16, 2022 near Skypark Estates Owners Assoc Airfield (18FD), Baker, Okaloosa County, Florida

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Spencer, Lynn

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Location: Baker, Florida 
Accident Number: ERA22LA323
Date and Time: July 16, 2022, 06:35 Local 
Registration: N347CX
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 16, 2022, about 0635 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Thatcher CX4, N347CX, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Baker, Florida. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he had just completed an overhaul of the engine. During several engine ground runs, the engine would cut out when at the idle throttle setting; however, on the last ground run the engine ran smoothly at idle power while using the left, right, and both ignition sources. Following the successful ground run, the pilot decided to break in the engine during a flight over the airport. The engine started normally although it “hit a rough spot at one point on taxi and low RPM.” He determined that the engine was not fully “warmed up” and continued.

After takeoff, while the airplane was climbing to traffic pattern altitude, the pilot felt something dripping onto his leg, thought it was fuel, and decided to perform a precautionary landing rather than continue the climb to pattern altitude. When he pulled the throttle back to idle to initiate a descent, the engine stopped producing power. Unable to restore power to the engine, he navigated toward the airport; however, the airplane was unable to reach the airport. The pilot selected a field just short of the airport for a forced landing, during which the left wing contacted a tree, resulting in the right wing then nose impacting the ground.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the main wreckage came to rest in a nose-down attitude at the edge of the road. Both wings and the fuselage sustained substantial damage. The pilot later determined that it was likely condensation and not fuel that was dripping on his leg after departure.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ALLAN G PIXLEY 
Registration: N347CX
Model/Series: THATCHER CX4
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: CEW, 155 ft msl 
Observation Time: 06:32 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C /23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1700 ft AGL
Visibility: 8 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Baker, FL (18FD)
Destination: Baker, FL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 30.854773,-86.674962 (est)

Aircraft crashed during landing. 

Date: 16-JUL-22
Time: 10:31:00Z
Regis#: N347CX
Aircraft Make: THATCHER
Aircraft Model: CX4
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

A small plane crashed Saturday morning just north of Baker leaving one person injured.

According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, a experimental airplane flew into some powerlines and crashed around 6:30 a.m. Saturday as it was attempting to land at a private airfield.  

The pilot was alert when emergency services arrived on scene and was transported to a nearby medical facility with non-life threatening injuries. He reportedly sustained minor injuries, according to the OCSO.

The crash knocked out power for some people in the Baker area and as of 8:30 a.m. Saturday power had not been fully restored.

The crash took place near Highway 189 off of Ray Vinson Road in Baker.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified of the incident.

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