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N1399X accident description

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Tail numberN1399X
Accident dateJune 02, 2009
Aircraft typeRick Campbell Zenith-STOL CH801
LocationGallman, MS
Near 31.902778 N, -90.368611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 2, 2009, at 1555 central daylight time, an amateur built Zenith-STOL CH 801, N1399X, was substantially damaged during impact with trees, after a loss of engine power, during final approach at Copiah County Airport (M11), Crystal Springs, Mississippi. The certificated commercial pilot and certificated private pilot were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local maintenance test flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the commercial pilot and the private pilot were also certificated airframe and powerplant mechanics, and were employed by a fixed base operator (FBO), which provided maintenance as well as fuel and ground handling at M11.

The airplane had been brought to the FBO for maintenance around April 10, 2009 One of the pilot’s flew the airplane with the owner for approximately 40 minutes at that time to “learn the airplane.”

The airplane would fly "right wing down," as the right wing’s dihedral was incorrect and the right wing was lower than the left wing. As a result, the mechanics replaced the lift struts and strut fittings and performed a conditional inspection, to "get the airplane like it should be."

According to a witness who observed the accident flight, the accident airplane did “three crow hops” before taking off from runway 17. It then climbed up and joined the traffic pattern. When the airplane began its turn on to the final approach leg from the left base leg of the traffic pattern, the engine was heard to stop. The airplane was then observed to turn towards the west. It passed over the top of some pine trees and then impacted oak trees.

According to an FAA inspector, the airplane first made contact with a tree, then "pancaked" into a field, and a post impact fire ensued. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of propeller rotation.

According to FAA records, the commercial pilot held ratings for airframe and powerplant mechanic, repairman, flight instructor airplane single engine, advanced ground instructor, commercial pilot airplane single-engine and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on May 14, 2008. He reported 2,670 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to FAA records, the private pilot held ratings for airframe and powerplant mechanic, repairman, private pilot airplane single-engine and multiengine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on October 9, 2007. He reported 240 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to FAA records, the airplane was sold to its builder as a kit on April 4, 2005. It was issued its special airworthiness certificate on February 8, 2006. On January 17, 2008 it was sold to the owner. According to the owner, the airplane's previous conditional inspection had occurred in January of 2008 prior to the purchase of the airplane. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued approximately 68 total hours of operation.

The reported weather at Hawkins Field Airport (HKS), Jackson, Mississippi, approximately 27 miles north of the accident site, at 1553, included: wind, 170 at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 7,000 feet, temperature 31 degrees C, dew point 18 degrees C, altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained by the Safety Board for further examination.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.