Airplane Reached An Altitude Of About 50 Ft When It Made A Left Turn, Stalled, And Impacted

Location: Gila Bend, AZ Accident Number: WPR21FA227
Date & Time: June 15, 2021, 08:20 Local Registration: N8054Y
Aircraft: COVEY Quickie Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On June 15, 2021, about 0820 mountain standard time, an experimental Covey Quickie airplane, N8054Y, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Gila Bend, Arizona. The pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The owner had recently purchased the airplane and was flying it home to Texas. They had refueled the airplane the day before the accident, at the Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63).

A witness reported that he was working on his airplane when he saw two men perform a preflight and then board the accident airplane. The engine started and was taxied to the hold short line where it sat for about 20 minutes, with the engine running before the airplane took off on the active runway. During the takeoff run, about a 1/3 of the way down the runway, the witness observed a dirt cloud, and surmised that the landing gear must have departed the runway surface. The airplane returned to centerline and continued down the runway; about midway down the runway, it appeared that the airplane was yanked off the runway and struggled to gain altitude. The witness estimated that the airplane reached an altitude of about 50 ft when it made a left turn, stalled, and impacted the ground.

The airplane came to rest about 200 ft. west of the runway adjacent to the airport perimeter fence. The first identified point of impact (FIPC) were witness marks from the landing gear in the hard packed desert floor. The debris path continued an additional 140 ft before it struck a small rise and a fire ensued. Most of the airframe was destroyed by the postcrash fire. The main wreckage came to rest inverted with the wing and landing gear lying adjacent to the cockpit. The engine separated and was found near the main wreckage. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft; however, all three propeller blades separated from the propeller hub.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.