Airplane Was Flying At A Lower Altitude Than Usual And Then It Made A Sharp Low Turn

Location: Seminole, TX Accident Number: CEN21LA181
Date & Time: April 5, 2021, 19:39 Local Registration: N565PK
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On April 5, 2021, about 1939 central daylight time, an Evolution Revolt weight-shift trike, N565PK, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Seminole, Texas. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness who knew the pilot and had seen the pilot flying on other occasions, the airplane was flying at a lower altitude than usual and then it made a sharp low turn. She stated that the wind picked up right at that time and caught the wing. She saw the pilot trying to recover, but the airplane struck the ground. She stated that one wing and the area where the pilot footrest is located hit the ground first.

The airplane used a high-mounted, strut-braced wing attached to a suspended frame which housed the pilot and one passenger in a tandem seating arrangement. The front seat position was used for piloting the airplane and the engine and flight controls were accessible from this seat. The airplane had a tricycle landing gear arrangement and was powered by a Rotax 912 ULS engine that had been modified from its original configuration with the addition of larger pistons and cylinders to increase the displacement of the engine. The increased displacement raised the power output of the engine to about 115 horsepower.

The recorded weather at the Gaines County Airport, Seminole, Texas, about 10 miles east-southeast, recorded wind about the time of the accident from 160° at 12 knots gusting to 18 knots.

Based on impact signatures, the airplane impacted in a nose-low, left wing low attitude consistent with the witness description. The left-wing leading-edge spar was broken 4 ft. from the wing tip. The forward portion of the airframe cage exhibited rearward crushing damage, and the left landing gear was bent upward and rearward. All 5 propeller blades were fractured at their roots and the blade roots remained attached to the carbon fiber propeller hub. The hub was attached to the engine with a carbon fiber extension which was found separated around its circumference. The ballistic parachute was out of its housing and lying on the ground adjacent to the airplane, but the rocket motor had not been fired. A witness reported that the parachute came out after the aircraft impacted the ground.