Departed Uneventfully From A Field Elevation Of 5,588 Ft Mean Sea Level
Location: Lander, WY Accident Number: WPR20LA170
Date & Time: 06/07/2020, 0830 MDT Registration: N595KF
Aircraft: Kitfox Kitfox Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal
On June 7, 2020, about 0830 mountain daylight time, a Kitfox 1 airplane, N595KF, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Lander, Wyoming. The private 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.
According to the pilot, he had transported the airplane from his home in Washington State to Wyoming to see friends and landmarks. He checked the weather conditions the night before the accident and determined that high winds and turbulent conditions were forecasted for around noon the following day. On the morning of the accident, he moved the airplane to Hunt Field (LND), Lander, Wyoming with a friend and unloaded the airplane from its trailer at 0700.
After he verified no significant changes in the forecasted weather conditions, the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the airplane, gave his passenger a safety briefing and then departed uneventfully from a field elevation of 5,588 ft mean sea level (msl) about 0730.
The pilot reported that he flew near a tower about 14 nm south of LND and then turned northwest towards Frye Lake, which was about 10 nm from the tower. He further stated that the airplane had been in a constant climb for most of the flight due to the high altitude. When they arrived at the lake, he flew northeast of the water and then decided to descend to 500 ft above ground level (agl) and fly over the lake before returning to LND. He circled the area momentarily while he descended to his desired altitude, but as he flew over the lake the airplane descended rapidly to a low altitude. As the airplane approached the west side of the lake, the pilot advanced the throttle to full power and attempted to climb, but the airplane would not climb. At this point he chose to turn left to avoid impacting a group of recreational vehicles ahead of him and rising terrain to his right, but the airplane entered a nose down attitude and impacted the water.
According to multiple witnesses, the airplane came into view over the lake on a southwest heading. Witness observations indicated that the airplane was about 25 ft agl when it began to “wobble.” The airplane then descended briefly before it entered a climb, which was immediately followed by a steep left turn, and then a nose down dive. According to the witnesses, the airplane impacted the water in a near vertical nose down attitude and a fire ensued shortly after impact.
The airplane impacted shallow water in a near vertical position about 200 ft from the shoreline at an elevation of about 8,500 ft msl.