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N634WB accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location 40.023611°N, 91.873889°W
Nearest city La Belle, MO
40.105875°N, 91.872947°W
5.7 miles away
Tail number N634WB
Accident date 01 Nov 2007
Aircraft type WRB Associates, LLC. Zodiac 601 XL
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On November 1, 2007, at 1635 central daylight time, a WRB Associates Zodiac 601 XL airplane, N634WB, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with terrain and subsequent fire/explosion near La Belle, Missouri. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The local flight departed Sharpe Farms Airport (MO09) near Lewistown, Missouri, at 1630.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane depart and then commence a series of left turns about two miles southeast of the airport. While the airplane was established in a left turn it rolled to the left and entered a near vertical descent. The airplane exploded upon impact and a ground fire ensued.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot of N634WB, age 71, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He was not instrument rated. The pilot's last aviation medical examination was completed on August 4, 1994, when he was issued a third-class medical certificate with no limitations or restrictions.

The pilot's flight logbook indicated that he had accumulated 119.2 hours total flight time, of which 80.7 hours were as pilot-in-command. He had accumulated 3.5 hours at night and 3.6 hours in simulated instrument conditions. The pilot did not have any flight experience in a model 601 XL airplane before the accident flight. The pilot's most current flight review, as required by 14 CFR Part 61.56, was completed on September 1, 1991. The last documented flight was completed on September 1, 1998, for a conventional landing gear orientation flight with a flight instructor. According to the pilot's wife, it had been nearly 10 years since he last piloted an aircraft.


The accident airplane was an amateur-built WRB Associates Zodiac 601 XL, serial number 6-6358. The all-metal airplane incorporated a low-wing design with a fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane had a maximum gross weight of 1,320 pounds and could accommodate two occupants. A Jabiru model 3300A reciprocating engine, serial number 33A1283, powered the airplane. The 120-horsepower engine provided power through a Sensenich W64ZK-49, fixed-pitch, two-blade, wood propeller.

Four days prior to the accident, the airplane was issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 21.191(i) as an Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (E-LSA). The accident occurred during the airplane's first flight since manufacture.

A review of the airframe, engine and propeller records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues.


The closest weather station to the accident site was at Quincy Regional Airport (KUIN), Quincy, Illinois, located about 32 nautical miles east of the accident site. The airport was equipped with an automated surface observing system (ASOS).

At 1654, the KUIN ASOS reported the following weather conditions: Wind 150 degrees true at 5 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point -6 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.24 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was found in a vacant field with no obstructions in the general area of the accident site. The absence of any discernible lateral ground markings was consistent with a near vertical impact. The main wreckage consisted of the entire airframe. The fuselage and main cabin were destroyed by fire. The only discernible cabin components were of steel construction. The instrument panel and its associated components exhibited fire and impact damage. Both wings were damaged by impact and fire. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The ailerons and flaps were located in their appropriate positions. The flaps were in a fully retracted position. The aileron and elevator control cables were continuous from their respective control surfaces to the cockpit control columns. The rudder control cables were continuous from the control surface horn to the forward cockpit area. The main landing gear assembly was separated from the fuselage. The nose landing gear was impacted into the engine compartment. The engine remained partially attached to the airframe. The entire engine assembly exhibited thermal damage. Both propeller blades were highly fragmented and portions were found as far as 30 feet from the main wreckage.

Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical malfunction.


On November 3, 2007, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner's Office, Columbia, Missouri. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries due to aircraft accident.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, the specimens were received in a state of putrefaction. No ethanol was detected in liver and muscle samples. Metoprolol and Amlodipine were present in liver and kidney samples. Quinine was detected in liver samples. The pilot had been prescribed Metoprolol and Amlodipine for the treatment of hypertension. Quinine is found in tonic water and in over-the-counter nutritional supplements.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of recent flight experience and his total lack of experience in the accident airplane model.

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