As The Airplane Approached The Canal, It Began To Descend And Impacted The Upper Eastern Edge Of The Canal

Location: Likely, CA Accident Number: WPR21FA232
Date & Time: June 20, 2021, 09:00 Local Registration: N617Y
Aircraft: Kitfox Series 6 Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On June 20, 2021, about 0900 Pacific daylight time, a Kitfox Series 6 airplane, N617Y, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Likely, California. The pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

Witnesses located near the accident site reported that they had spoken to the pilot and passenger about 10 minutes prior to the accident. Following their conversation, they watched the pilot and passenger board the airplane. The witnesses stated that the pilot attempted to takeoff from the field on a westerly heading, however, appeared that they could not get enough speed. The witnesses heard the engine throttle down and watched the airplane turn around 180° and initiate a second attempt to takeoff. The witnesses stated that the airplane had become airborne about 20 yards from the canal road and had climbed to about 10 to 20 ft above the ground. As the airplane approached the canal, it began to descend and impacted the upper eastern edge of the canal, spun around, and slid down into the water.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the eastern edge of an irrigation levy as seen in figure 1. Debris remained within about 5 ft of the main wreckage. The fuselage came to rest upright on a magnetic heading of about 243° magnetic, with the engine and left wing partially submerged within water. A ground impression consistent with the size of a tire was observed about 4 ft north of the main wreckage.

Examination of the field the airplane was departing from revealed flattened grass, consistent with tire tracks, extended from the western edge of the field toward the canal. The length of the field from the western edge to the eastern edge was about 1,151 ft. The field featured rough terrain, with vegetation about 2 to 3 ft in height.