December 10, 2011, Surprise, Ariz., Vans RV-7A Experimental


At about 1258 Mountain time, the airplane collided with terrain shortly after the pilot reported a controllability problem. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private pilot, who also was the builder and owner of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Review of radar data revealed the entire flight was captured. The airplane flew about 25 miles to the northwest of its departure point, maneuvered for a short time, and then began tracking back. Its altitude varied irregularly between about 2700 and 3300 feet msl. At about 1256:25, when the airplane was at 2500 feet, the first 7700 beacon code return was received. The pilot transmitted a “mayday” call about 25 seconds later, stating he was unable to control the airplane. The final radar return was received at 1257:21. Examination of the wreckage revealed ground scars and damage consistent with a left spin. All aerodynamic surfaces and flight controls were located in the wreckage. Fuel spillage from the right wing tank was observed, but there was no fire.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here