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NTSB Prelim: Lockwood Air Cam

(Aircraft) Impacted A 197 Ft Meteorological Evaluation Tower (MET)

Location: Ranchitos Las Lomas, TX Accident Number: CEN24FA101
Date & Time: January 29, 2024, 14:41 Local Registration: N315GW
Aircraft: Lockwood Air Cam Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 29, 2024, at 1441 central standard time, a Lockwood Air Cam, N315GW, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Ranchitos Las Lomas, Texas. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to family members, the pilot often conducted flights above the family ranch in his helicopter before he finished building the Air Cam in September 2023. Since September, the pilot flew the airplane 93.7 hours with many of the flights conducted around the family ranch. Multiple witnesses reported that during the accident flight the airplane overflew the ranch headquarters, continued along a gas pipeline right-of-way to the southeast, and impacted a 197 ft Meteorological Evaluation Tower (MET). One witness reported that after the impact, the airplane rolled inverted and impacted terrain nose first. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

The tower consisted of an eight-inch steel pole 197 ft high with four sets guy wires. The tower was painted in seven alternating segments of aviation orange and white paint and equipped with 8 high visibility orange wire marker balls. Family members reported that the owner and passenger were aware of the tower and would often circle it. 

The accident site was located in a flat dry desert about 240 ft southeast of the tower. The debris path extended from the tower on a heading of 134° to the main wreckage. The outboard 9.5 feet of the left wing was located about 20 ft northwest of the main wreckage along the debris path. The leading edge of the left wing tip had crush damage about 2 ft in length with separation of the forward spar.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, right wing, and the inboard structure of the left wing. The left engine was attached to the airframe, and its propeller assembly was attached to the engine. All three of the composite propeller blades were separated from the hub assembly at the root.

The right engine was attached to the airframe, and its propeller assembly was attached to the engine. One composite propeller blade was intact with no leading-edge damage. One composite propeller blade was fractured at ground level with the blade still attached. The other propeller blade was fractured and separated at midspan.

The engines were retained for further examination. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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