WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The preliminary report is released on the fatal plane crash last month at the Wichita Valley Airport, and initial inspections did not uncover any possible mechanical malfunctions that could have caused the crash.
The crash at takeoff of the home-built, single-engine, two-seat Smyth Sidewinder killed the pilot and lone occupant, Tom Cox of Waldron, Arkansas.
Cox bought the plane from the owner here the morning of the accident, August 20, 2022, and was dropped off at the airport so he could fly it home.
The report states the owner of the plane met Cox at the airport and the two went over the maintenance logbooks, checklist, and operational features and examined the airframe and engine. Cox then purchased the plane and they started the engine and did a complete “run-up” to make sure the engine had power required for takeoff.
According to the NTSB report, the seller offered to get in the plane for some practice takeoffs and landings, but Cox declined the offer. The previous owner stayed on the ground to watch takeoff, and he and other witnesses said Cox made a three-point takeoff and became airborne at low speed, and began a left turn, climbing to 50-75 feet.
Just as the plane assumed a nose-high attitude the left turn tightened and it crashed into the ground east of the runway and burst into flames.
Disassembly and inspection of the engine revealed no mechanical defects or fuel supply issues. Rudder controls and cables also appeared in working order other than damage from the fire.