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Sun, Dec 24, 2023

NTSB Prelim: Beauchamp Norm Series 5 Kitfox

The Airplane Was Rapidly Descending In A Vertical Nosedown Attitude

Location: Eloy, AZ Accident Number: WPR24FA053
Date & Time: December 8, 2023, 13:29 Local Registration: N66180
Aircraft: Beauchamp Norm Series 5 Kitfox Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 8, 2023, about 1329 Pacific standard time an experimental amateur-built Series 5 Kitfox, N66180, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Eloy, Arizona. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot had flown from his home base of Ryan Field (RYN) earlier in the day to have lunch at the Eloy Municipal Airport (E60) restaurant. The pilot told a friend, who flew with him on the inbound flight in another airplane, that the flight was uneventful. The accident flight was to be the return leg. Preliminary ADS-B data revealed that after takeoff from runway 20, the airplane climbed to about 2,450 ft msl (900 ft agl), before making a left turn to the south. About that time, a witness who was in the front yard of his residence just below the airplane’s flight path heard an engine “sputter” and then go quiet. He looked up and watched as white pieces fell from the airplane. The airplane continued to maintain level flight and he looked away.

When he looked up again, he could see the airplane was rapidly descending in a vertical nosedown attitude. It then struck the ground in a field across the road from  his house and burst into flames. The airplane was not trailing smoke or vapors at any time prior to impact. The airplane came to rest in a dirt field, 1.2 miles southwest of the departure end of runway 20. The entire structure was consumed by fire with only steel airframe and burnt aluminum, composite, and flight instrument remnants remaining. The first identified point of impact was an almost complete impression of the airplane’s forward profile in the dirt, that included the main landing gear strut, wheels, wing leading edges, and lift struts. The engine had separated from the firewall and was in the center of the impression. About 20 feet beyond the engine, both wings had come to rest in line with the impact point. The cabin and tail structure were crushed aft, such that the foot pedals were comingled with the remnants of the empennage.

A single intact propeller blade along with various items of cabin contents, an iPad, and clear plexiglass fragments were located about ½ mile north of the accident site, underneath the airplanes flight path. All remaining airframe primary structure, flight control surfaces, and engine components along with the second propeller blade, which had detached on impact, were accounted for in the main wreckage. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft.

The airplane was equipped with a 160 horsepower O-320 Lycoming engine, and a composite ground-adjustable two blade propeller, manufactured by NR Prop. The airplanes maintenance logbooks indicated that the propeller assembly was installed during the condition inspection, one month before the accident. An accredited representative from the National Transportation Investigation Bureau of Ukraine, which was the state of the propeller manufacturer, has been assigned to assist with the investigation, and the propeller assembly has been retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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