This November 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Zodiac 601 XL. Location: La Belle, Mo. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: Four days before the accident the airplane was certified as an Experimental Light Sport Aircraft. According to the pilot’s wife, it had been nearly 10 years since he last piloted an aircraft. His most current flight review was completed more than 16 years before the accident. His logbook indicated he had accumulated 119.2 hours total flight time, of which 80.7 hours were as pilot-in-command. The accident occurred during the first flight of the Zodiac.
Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane take off, then commence a series of left turns. While the airplane was established in a left turn it rolled to the left and entered a near vertical descent. The airplane hit the ground and exploded upon impact. The examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of a pre-impact mechanical malfunction.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of recent flight experience and his total lack of experience in the accident airplane model.
For more information: NTSB.gov