Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Airdrome Aeroplanes Nieuport 28, N6170: Fatal accident occurred July 18, 2022 in Basehor, Leavenworth County, Kansas

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): Boggs, Daniel

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri
Location: Basehor, Kansas
Accident Number: ERA22FA320
Date and Time: July 18, 2022, 10:00 Local
Registration: N6170
Aircraft: KNIGHT AA Nieuport 28
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 18, 2022, at 1000 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built AA Nieuport 28, N6170, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Basehor, Kansas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness, the pilot built the kit biplane in 2016 and equipped it with a Volkswagen engine. He stated that since 2016, the pilot had operated the airplane about 30 hours. During that time there were several problems with the engine operating correctly and oil leaks. In 2020, the pilot experienced a hard landing and fractured the main landing gear. During the next 2 years, the pilot repaired the airplane and installed a Lycoming O-320 engine on the airframe. The work was completed in April 2022. Several slow speed taxies were performed over the next few weeks and on the day of the accident, the pilot intended to fly the airplane for the first time. The witness met the pilot at 0900 to help him with the preflight inspection and pull the airplane out of the hangar.

The witness added that there were no issues with the preflight inspection and the 12 gallon capacity fuel tank was full. The pilot stated that he planned to climb straight-out to about 500 ft above ground level (agl), then turn left and stay close to the runway while he checked the airplane. The pilot started the engine and warmed it up for about 10 minutes. He then gave the witness a “thumbs-up” and applied full throttle. During the takeoff roll, the airplane veered to the left and the witness thought the airplane was going to hit a large round hay bale next to runway. The airplane lifted off the ground and cleared the hay bale by 6 ft. The pilot flew back toward the runway centerline to maintain runway heading but was going “very slow.” After the airplane cleared the treetops, the pilot started a slow left turn about 200 ft agl.

The witness observed the tail drop down and the left wing roll hard over. The airplane then spun to the ground.

The accident site was located in a field about 1,600 ft east of the runway. The airplane impacted in a nose down attitude. The wooden propeller blades were splintered into numerous pieces at the impact point. The main landing gear separated, and the airplane slid about 60 ft before it came to rest upright on a 15° magnetic heading. 

The airplane was completely consumed by fire. The engine was fractured off at the mounts and located under the left wing. The fabric was consumed by fire except for a small piece on the upper and lower right-wing tips. Flight control continuity was established from the control surfaces to the joystick which was thermally destroyed.

Examination of the airplane with a representative of the kit manufacturer revealed that the left outer interplane strut was not correctly attached to the left lower wing compression strut.

The bolt and nut were present and through the outer interplane strut but were not attached to the lower wing compression strut.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: KNIGHT
Registration: N6170
Model/Series: AA Nieuport 28 
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: KMCI,1025 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Basehor, KS 
Destination: Basehor, KS

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.110946,-94.952586

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Date: 18-JUL-22
Time: 13:00:00Z
Regis#: N6170
Aircraft Make: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Model: AA NIEUPORT 28
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew:1 fatal 
Pax: 0 
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Ret. U.S. Army Maj. Gary L. Knight

Gary Lloyd Knight
February 18, 1954 - July 18, 2022

Ret. U.S. Army Maj. Gary L. Knight, 68, of Lansing, Kansas, died Monday, July 18, 2022. He was born Feb. 18, 1954, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, to Paul and Dessie (Kivett) Knight.

Gary attended the Virginia Military Institute on a four-year scholarship and graduated in 1976 with military honors. He also graduated from Army Airborne and Ranger schools. Gary was commissioned in the U.S. Army Armor Branch after graduating from VMI and retired as a U.S. Army Armor Branch Major. He then began a second career as a pilot and worked his way up to flying commercial passenger planes.

On Jan. 30, 1988, Gary married Joanne McGrath in Kenmore, N.Y. She survives at the home. He is also survived by two children, a daughter, Amanda Boyers, of Kansas City, Mo., and son, Colin Knight, of Chandler, Ariz. Two sisters, Sheila Fiorini, of Crete, Ill., and Shae Knight of Oglesby, Ill.; three brothers, Glen Knight of San Antonio, Texas, Paul Knight of Wheeler, Ore., and Evan Knight of Medford, Ore.; three granddaughters, Adeline Boyers, Phoebe Boyers and Séraphine Boyers; friends from his time attending Virginia Military Institute, Kurt Luckenbill, Charles Archer and Ron LaGrone; the “Colonel” of Gary’s flying crew from the airport, Jeff Givens; and his lifelong friend, Doug Johnson.

Gary was a devoted husband, father and grandpa. He loved teaching his granddaughters to play Risk, accompanying them on Girl Scout activities and taking them to museums and the bookstore. Gary enjoyed nightly dinners at home with his wife and listening to the Retro Cocktail Hour on the radio. Having a shared sense of adventure and drive, Gary loved supporting his daughter in her many endeavors and hobbies too. He also loved anything history related, but particularly enjoyed reading about and discussing military and space-related historical events. He enjoyed frequent conversations with his son about their shared military experiences. Building his replica of a WWII Nieuport 28 was his way of combining two of his strongest passions in life, history and flying.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 31, 2022, at the R.L. Leintz Funeral Home. A funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, August 1, 2022, at the funeral home. Burial with full military honors will follow at Leavenworth National Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Unleashed Pet Rescue and the WW1 Memorial.

BASEHOR, Kansas  —  Authorities are investigating a single-engine plane crash Monday in Leavenworth County, Kansas.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an experimental Nieuport 28 airplane went down about 10 a.m. off 158th Street in a farm field in south of Basehor.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the plane was traveling south of U.S. 24 just west of 151st Street when it made a hard right turn, causing the nose to face east.

Troopers said the pilot attempted an emergency landing in the bean field. When the aircraft landed, it burst into flames and became fully engulfed.

The highway patrol said the pilot, Gary L. Knight, 68, of Lansing, was killed.

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