Pilot Reported That He Was Unable To Climb And Needed To Return To The Airport

Location: Burleson, TX Accident Number: CEN21LA092
Date & Time: December 19, 2020, 14:30 Local Registration: N935EK
Aircraft: Sonex Tailwheel Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 19, 2020, about 1430 central standard time, a Sonex light sport airplane, N935EK, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Burleson, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91 personal flight.

A preliminary review of Air Traffic Control information revealed that the pilot contacted the Spinks Airport (FWS) controller and requested to orbit the airport for 30 minutes at 3,500 ft. Shortly after departure, the controller asked if the pilot needed any assistance. The pilot reported that he was unable to climb and needed to return to the airport. The controller cleared the pilot direct to the airport and to land on runway 35L The pilot reported that he had a “sick engine” and he was “just trying to make the field.” The controller reported to the pilot that smoke appeared to be coming from the engine.

A review of ADS-B data revealed the airplane departed from FWS and headed south, before turning northbound, back to the airport. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted powerlines and terrain, before coming to rest inverted near a business, about 1 mile south of the airport.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov