One Witness Observed The Airplane Dive Into The Quarry On Its Final Pass And Collide With A Vertical Rock Wall

Location: Mammoth Springs, AR Accident Number: CEN23FA155
Date & Time: April 13, 2023, 13:30 Local Registration: N5545
Aircraft: Jr Ace Jr Ace Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On April 13, 2023, about 1330 central daylight time, a Junior Ace experimental airplane, N5545, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Mammoth Springs, Arkansas. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight originated from the owner/pilot’s private airstrip in Ash Flat, Arkansas. The airstrip was about 16 miles from the accident location. Several witnesses near the accident site reported that they observed the airplane circle over a rock quarry near Mammoth Springs. They stated that the airplane seemed to dive into the quarry, pull up, and go around again for another pass. The airplane made several passes over the quarry. One witness observed the airplane dive into the quarry on its final pass and collide with a vertical rock wall. 

Examination of the accident site showed that the airplane collided with the 75-ft tall rock wall in an approximate 30 degree nose-up attitude. Impact marks showed that the airplane impacted the wall about 20 ft below the top of the wall. 

Detailed examination of the airplane’s flight controls did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The carburetor bowl was disassembled, and the metal floats displayed hydraulic collapsing, consistent with fuel supply to the carburetor at the time of impact. Throttle and mixture controls were found properly connected from the cockpit to engine. Disassembly of the engine did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. The composite propeller blades displayed damage signatures consistent with rotation at the time of impact.