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N2087P accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Longview, TX
32.500704°N, 94.740489°W

Tail number N2087P
Accident date 07 Jun 1996
Aircraft type Fredenburg CHALLENGER II
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 7, 1996, at 0947 central daylight time, a Fredenburg Challenger II experimental airplane, N2087P, registered to a private individual, collided with a vehicle and trees following a loss of control during the landing at East Side Airport, Longview, Texas. The commercial pilot-in-command, who did not hold an FAA medical certificate, and the student pilot/owner, who was endorsed for solo flight in an ultralight, sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal local flight and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the East Side Airport about 10 minutes prior to the accident.

During interviews, conducted by the investigator-in-charge, and on the enclosed statements, witnesses and local authorities reported the information in this paragraph. The commercial pilot had flown "ultralights for about 1 and 1/2 years following the loss of his FAA medical certificate." The owner purchased the airplane and the "two pilots flew the airplane to the East Side Airport on May 22, 1996. In December 1996, relatives reported that the commercial pilot flew the airplane from Temple, Texas, to Corsicana, Texas where the owner boarded for the flight to East Side Airport. " They had flown the airplane one additional flight and the owner had practiced once by "crow hopping" along the runway without becoming airborne.

During a personal interview, conducted by the investigator-in-charge, on June 7, 1996, the owner of the vehicle reported the following. He was in the process of installing a lawn sprinkler system at the outer perimeter of the grass at the end of the runway. He indicated that the land (grass area) where the vehicle was parked was personal property. He was not working at the exact moment of the accident and did not observe the airplane prior to the accident as he was in his hangar/residence.

During a personal interview and several telephone interviews, conducted by the investigator-in-charge, the airport owner stated the following information. He had owned the airport/land for many years and the airport did not have a displaced threshold and the entire runway and land surrounding the runway was his. He stated that the vehicle owner leased land for the hangar/residence and the area where the vehicle was parked and the accident occurred was the approach end of the runway. He further stated there was a verbal agreement that pilots flying there would land the airplanes long due to houses at the approach end of that runway.

Witnesses further reported calm winds. During the approach, witnesses heard the engine "at idle," the "pilot gave a little gas" and the "motor revved" before the impact. The airplane struck a ditch trencher that was sitting on a trailer attached to a vehicle parked 38 feet to the left of the runway centerline. The airplane came to rest inverted at the base of trees to the left side of the approach path.


A review of FAA data, by the investigator-in-charge, revealed that the commercial pilot obtained his airplane single engine land rating on December 4, 1948. On April 8, 1993, the commercial pilot was denied a medical certificate. According to the FAA, to fly an FAA registered airplane as a pilot, Title 14 CFR Part 61 requires a current medical certificate.

On April 4, 1995, the commercial pilot's logbook indicated a total of 183.45 hours of airplane flight time. On March 6, 1991, the commercial pilot logged 1 hour dual in a Cessna 150 airplane. On April 29, 1991, the commercial pilot logged a 0.5 hour dual introductory ride in a Challenger II airplane. On December 26, 1991, the commercial pilot satisfactorily completed a private pilot ground school. From February 24, 1995, through May 20, 1996, the commercial pilot logged 85.5 hours in a single seat Kolb Firestar Ultralight vehicle. On May 21, 1996, the commercial pilot soloed N2087P for "3 or 4 landings at Temple, Texas." He had flown 1.5 hours with 2 landings on May 22, 1996, as pilot-in-command and 1.0 hour with one landing on May 26, 1996, as pilot-in-command with the student pilot/owner. FAA and ultralight association records do not indicate any certification or authorization for the commercial pilot to give flight instruction in an airplane or an ultralight.

The student pilot/owner started ultralight vehicle training on March 28, 1996, and received 7.4 hours of dual instruction in a Quicksilver Sport II Ultralight vehicle with an Aero Sports Connection Inc., (ASC) ultralight flight instructor. On June 5, 1996, the student pilot/owner was endorsed by the instructor for solo flight at East Side Airport in a Challenger Ultralight trainer (2 seats) under ASC 2-Place Exemption No. 6080 (copy enclosed) to Title 14 CFR Part 103.

According to the ultralight flight instructor, the student pilot/owner had purchased the Challenger and "he and a friend with a commercial pilot's license had flown it to his airport." The student pilot/owner had filled out paperwork (copy enclosed) to register the Challenger with ASC as an ultralight trainer and the student was "going to fly with his friend, the [commercial] pilot, to get familiar with the Challenger," and then surrender the experimental airplane category certificate to the FAA, and operate the Challenger as an ultralight trainer under the ASC exemption.


Challenger II, S/N 1038, a 2 place aircraft with dual controls, a basic empty weight of 474 pounds, fuel capacity of 10 gallons, power off stall speed of 30 knots, and a full power airspeed of 100 knots, was registered in the experimental category with the FAA on February 11, 1994, by the original builder. The airplane test flights (40 hours) were completed by the builder on April 26, 1994, at which time he released the airplane for safe flight. The FAA experimental airworthiness certificate was issued on May 2, 1994. In 1995, the builder sold the airplane to another individual and on May 17, 1996, the current owner/student pilot purchased the airplane. The FAA registration certificate for the original builder and the airworthiness certificate with experimental operating limitations were found in the aircraft.

Per manufacturer specifications and the FAA regulations, the Challenger II may be operated either as an ultralight vehicle under an exemption to Title 14 CFR Part 103 or as a FAA experimental category airplane. Title 14 CFR Part 103 states, in pertinent part, that an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that is used, or intended to be used by a single occupant, and if powered, has a fuel capacity not to exceed 5 U. S. gallons; is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight; and has a power off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots.

Airplane weight and balance data calculated in February 1992 listed the aircraft gross weight as 800 pounds with a center of gravity (CG) range from 80 inches to 90 inches. The weight and balance at the time of the accident was calculated (see enclosed table) as 844 pounds with a CG of 85.74 inches. A performance test report (copy enclosed) dated February 28, 1992, revealed that the airspeed indicator was within specifications. Manufacturer data includes the following: wing span 31 feet 6 inches, stall speed 22 mph solo, and 30 mph dual and solo flight is restricted to the front seat.


The airplane came to rest on a measured magnetic heading of 135 degrees in an inverted position at the base of trees left of the runway 13 (2,900 feet long) Right wing strut components and the right main tire were found in the vicinity (see enclosed diagram) of a ditch trencher, trailer, and truck, that was parked 38 feet to the left of the runway centerline and 94 feet from the approach end of the runway. The right wing struts were bent and crushed and the forward strut exhibited yellow paint transfer marks. Aft portions of the trailer were bent and exhibited white paint transfer marks. The right wing outboard section was separated from the airframe.

A radio was not installed in the airplane. Flight control continuity was established. The fuel tank contained approximately 5 gallons of blue colored fuel. Fuel was found in the lines to the carburetor, at the fuel filters, and in the dual carburetors with no evidence of fuel contamination from water or debris. Fuel filters were free of debris. Examination of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have contributed to the accident. The front flight control stick was separated from the airframe and the separation surface was a course texture. The aft control stick was found installed. The airplane was recovered on June 7, 1996, to a trailer and stored in a hangar at the airport.

On July 5, 1996, a friend of the owner, began to remove components from the released airplane. He removed the fuel tank from the airplane and reported observing "at least a pint of water" in the fuel tank.


The autopsy was performed by John F. Bruce, M. D., F. C. A. P., of the Lufkin Pathology Laboratory of Gregg County at Lufkin, Texas. Local authorities stated that the hands of the [commercial] front seat pilot "were in a gripping fashion" and it looked as if the [commercial] "pilot's hands were on the yoke and had control of the aircraft."


The airplane was released to the owner's estate on June 14, 1996.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.