One Person Killed in Jekyll Island Plane Crash
Full story: First Coast News Jacksonville
#1 May 5, 2008
Best wishes and sympathies to the family. Any incident like this is a tragic loss for our community of builders.
- The aircraft was on a test flight as part of the 40 hours required by the FAA for full certification
- No flight plan is required for a VFR flight
- Very likely that only one person was on board. FAA regulations state minimum fight crew for flight testing.
- The plane is a Cozy Mark IV (MK IV). Plans can be purchased from www.aircraftspruce.com . There are hundreds flying and over 1,000 sets of plans have been sold. It is a 4-seat derivative of the 2-seat Rutan Long EZ.
- www.cozybuilders.org is an unofficial, but commonly used web site for fellow builders.
#2 May 5, 2008
The aircraft in question was a modified design, based on the very safe and successful aircraft named "Cozy". Airplanes constructed in this manner are required to be designated Airworthy by the FAA, but allow for significant innovation to occur. As is the case with any innovative endeavor, engineers and test pilots assume some additional risk.
A correction for the author: The FAA regulations explicitly prohibit "having someone build it for you".
#3 May 5, 2008
Sometimes accidents happen... It could be a Ford or a Chevy on the ground or it could be a Boeing or Airbus or Cessna or an experimental in the air.
It is very common for aircraft to travel offshore, and there are no requirements for flight plans in good weather.
And, yes, there are aircraft that pilots can build. Some are made from kits and others are made from plans. Before being allowed to fly, there are inspections and safety checks, and an airworthiness certificate must be issued by the FAA.
When you go to an airshow and see many of the jets out there with the big EXPERIMENTAL lettering on them in capital letters, you know that this is also a unique aircraft in the experimental category.
Your quote of a Larry Mullins sounds like it is referring to a Cozy Mark IV or similar version. The Cozy series of aircraft are a derivitave of the Rutan Long EZ that were redesigned and extensively tested by aircraft designer Nat Puffer. They are one of the most popular plans-built experimental aircraft around. They are a composite structure with a rear engine in a canard configuration.
The real story here is that there was a vehicle accident resulting in a fatality. In this case, the vehicle was an experimental aircraft being flown offshore and the fatality was its pilot. It is very likely that the pilot was the builder who carefully put years of effort and care into building his craft in a safe manner, and lost his life doing what he loved... flying his home-built experimental-category personal aircraft.
Flying an aircraft is certainly different than driving a car, but loss of life due to an accident or crash is tragic no matter what the vehicle.
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