The light sport aircraft was substantially damaged at about 1010 Eastern time when it impacted the ground during an emergency landing. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane is designed to fold both wings back to facilitate storage and transportation. In addition, both wings and the horizontal stabilizer were removable. The respective control push-pull rods for the left and right ailerons, and elevator featured a “quick-fastener” to disconnect and reconnect the respective flight control. According to witnesses, the airplane was disassembled and stored for the winter. It was reassembled during April 2012. The pilot, who also was an A&P, completed a condition inspection on June 1, 2012. A ballistic parachute system was installed on June 12, 2012.
A witness heard the pilot transmit over the CTAF, “my elevator has come detached, I need to make a landing on Runway 16.” Another witness observed the airplane “climb and dive” as it approached the runway. A third witness stated the airplane was about 50 feet from the runway threshold when it made a dramatic pitch downward. Initial examination revealed that the elevator quick-fastener was disconnected. The ballistic parachute system parachute was not activated and found strewn along the debris path. Its activation handle was found in the main wreckage secured with a padlock. The key for the padlock was found on a key ring, with the ignition key, which remained inserted in the ignition switch.