Pilot Had Been Flying Since 1947
Witness Kent Bryan says one moment, he looked up in the air and
saw Ivan Hittle's ultralight aircraft flying over the Buenna Terra
airport, near Topeka, KS Tuesday. When he turned away, however, he
heard a strange noise.
"Next thing I heard, you know, was like two wings flapping
together basically and then I turned around and the wings were
going apart and at that point I said 'Oh my God,' and the guy
tumbled down and hit the ground and I took off running," Bryan told
Bryan rushed over to where the broken ultralight lay, and he
could see that Hittle, the plane's sole occupant, wasn't moving. He
was pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters, sheriff's
deputies and officers with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Investigators believe the small plane's wings collapsed as
Hittle flew to the nearby Billard Airport.
"He was headed north and made a left hand turn to head back
south. That's when he experienced structural failure," said Dan
McCollum, Kansas Highway Patrol.
While a pilot's license is not required to fly ultralights,
Hittle's son Wayne told KTKA his father had one nonetheless... in
fact, the senior Hittle first earned his pilot's license in
Wayne Hittle added that he and his father built the aircraft
involved in the accident (which appears to be a Mitchell Wing
variant--E-I-C) in 1979.
** Report created 6/28/2006 Record
Make/Model: ULTR Description:
Date: 06/27/2006 Time: 1830
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N Missing:
City: TOPEKA State: KS Country:
UNREGISTERED ULTRALIGHT, SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF, CRASHED, THE
ONE PERSON ON
BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, BUENA TERRA AIRPORT, TOPEKA,
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 0 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
Dep Date: Dep.
Last Radio Cont:
FAA FSDO: WICHITA, KS
Entry date: 06/28/2006