More than a month has passed since Kirk Babbitt’s Zodiac plane crashed into Antelope Island during his morning commute, killing the 37-year-old Stansbury Park father.

In the wake of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board is urging federal officials to ground the very type of light sport plane Babbitt flew on March 3.

The board said the single-engine, two-seat Zodiac CH-601XL is unsafe and tends to break apart.

“The NTSB does not often recommend that all airplanes of a particular type be prohibited from further flight,” acting NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said in a statement. “In this case, we believe such action will save lives. Unless the safety issues with this particular Zodiac model are addressed, we are likely to see more accidents in which pilots and passengers are killed in airplanes that they believed were safe to fly.”

The planes — made from kits sold by Zenith Aircraft Co. of Mexico, Mo. — have gone down six times in the United States since 2006, killing 10 people, the safety board told the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Babbitt’s Antelope Island crash is the latest.

The NTSB said the CH-601XL is susceptible to “aerodynamic flutter,” a phenomenon where the surfaces of the plane can suddenly vibrate and sometimes break the plane apart. Chris Heintz, founder of Zenair Ltd., which leases the plane’s design and marketing rights to Zenith, did not return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Michael Groner — an airline captain, instructor pilot and one of Babbitt’s friends — said Babbitt built his plane from a kit and “knew it like the back of his hand.”

“The NTSB would not have sent the recommendation without significant evidence of a pattern which is purportedly a design flaw,” said Groner, of Idaho. “If this is true, it will be sad, as no matter how good a pilot or a mechanic you are, that sort of an issue cannot be compensated for in flight.”

The final NTSB report detailing what caused Babbitt’s plane to crash likely will not be released for at least a year. The preliminary report gives no insight to the accident.

The CH-601XL was certified as a special light sport aircraft by the FAA in 2005, but that certification does not require that the FAA approve the design. Instead, the airplane model gets an airworthiness certificate if the manufacturer says the plane meets industry design standards and passes ground and flight tests, the board said.

No decision has been made yet regarding whether to ground the planes. An NTSB spokesman estimated there are a couple hundred of the planes in the United States.

–The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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