Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beech 35-B33 Debonair, N9704Y: Fatal accident occurred August 23, 2015 near South Arkansas Regional Airport (KELD), El Dorado, Arkansas


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA374
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 23, 2015 in El Dorado, AR
Aircraft: BEECH 35 B33, registration: N9704Y
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 23, 2015, about 1151 central daylight time, a Beech model 35-B33 airplane, N9704Y, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain while approaching to land on runway 31 at the South Arkansas Regional Airport (ELD), near El Dorado, Arkansas.. The private pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the landing approach and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The flight originated from the Florence Regional Airport (FLO), near Florence, South Carolina about 0609.

Preliminary radar flight track data indicated that the airplane departed FLO about 0609 and proceeded on a west-southwest track before turning to a westerly track, and ultimately a west-northwest track toward ELD. 

The airplane came to rest in a densely wooded area about 2,200 feet from the approach end of runway 31 at ELD. The trees were estimated to be about 100 feet in height. The accident site was on airport property, but outside of the airport boundary fence. The airplane had impacted in a near vertical attitude as evidenced by the lack of damage to the tall trees. The airplane came to rest in an inverted position and the engine was beneath portions of the fuselage. An outboard section of the left wing was separated and located about 50 feet from the main wreckage. The inboard section of the left wing was located with the main wreckage and still had the flap and aileron attached to it. The right wing was predominately intact and the flap and aileron remained attached. The nose landing gear and the left main landing gear were noted in the extended position. The right main landing gear was in the wheel well. The flaps appeared to be retracted. The tail surfaces were still attached to the aft fuselage and the elevator and rudder remained attached. The fuselage cabin section was almost completely consumed by fire. The airplane was removed from the accident scene for further examination. 

The engine cowling was removed and an attempt to rotate the engine was unsuccessful. Following removal of the fuel pump, magnetos, vacuum pump and starter drive adapter from the rear accessory case, the engine was able to rotate freely. The upper spark plugs were removed and exhibited a normal but worn appearance. The engine was rotated and valve movement was verified on all cylinders. Suction and compression were verified on all cylinders except for the no. 2 cylinder. The rocker arms for the no. 2 cylinder were removed and the valves "staked". The engine was again rotated and compression was verified on the no. 2 cylinder. The fuel hoses from the airframe to the mechanical fuel pump, and to the fuel servo were damaged by the post-impact fire. The fuel distribution manifold on top of the engine was intact. The cover was removed and no fuel was observed within the assembly.

The airplane had a two bladed constant speed propeller. The blades were predominately straight with no apparent evidence of rotation at impact. The spinner nose cone was crushed and also had no apparent evidence of twisting.

The airplane's control system was examined. Control continuity was verified from all primary control surfaces (rudder, elevator, right aileron, left aileron) to the cockpit area where cuts in the cables to facilitate wreckage removal had been made. The aileron sprocket from the control yoke was found along with the associated chain/cable assembly. The chain was intact. The cables were intact from the chain to the cuts that had been made for wreckage removal and each cable remained attached to the chain.

The separated portion of the airplane's left wing exhibited a semicircular indentation consistent with a tree strike. The angle represented by the indentation was consistent with an inverted left wing low impact angle. No apparent pre-impact structural defects were identified.

The airplane's instrument panel was destroyed by the post-impact fire.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Little Rock FSDO-11

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

EL DORADO, AR (KSLA) - The pilot who died when his plane crashed in Southwest Arkansas Sunday has been identified.

It happened around 12:15 p.m. Sunday at the South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field.  

Union County Sheriff Mike McGough said they received a call of a plane going down near the runway in a wooded area. 

McGough said area residents reported hearing and feeling the impacts of the crash. 

When authorities got to the scene, they found a small, private plane and the pilot, 51-year-old Dr. John Steven Jobe deceased. 

Authorities say it's likely Jobe's plane ran out of fuel after having been re-routed because of storms in the area. 

The plane crashed about 50 yards outside the airport fence, not far from the runway. 

Jobe, a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, was a doctor of clinical pathology in Florence, South Carolina. According to the Union County, Arkansas coroner Curtis Butterfield, Jobe died of blunt force trauma. His body was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas for an autopsy and toxicology tests.

Jobe was on a 2 week vacation that included stops at the Grand Canyon. Butterfield said Jobe was never married and did not have any children. 

He is survived by two brothers and his father.

The crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). 

Incident occurred August 23, 2015 in Conemaugh River, Pennsylvania

An experimental aircraft crashed into a river near Saltsburg on Sunday afternoon, authorities said, but the pilot was able to swim and walk to shore. 

A Federal Aviation Administration representative said the aircraft went into the Conemaugh River under unknown circumstances at 1:51 p.m., and the matter is under investigation.

The area is near where the Conemaugh meets the Kiskiminetas River. Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department chief John Dice said the single-engine aircraft had mechanical difficulties and the pilot crash-landed.

The pilot was not hurt, and made it to shore, Dice said.

Indiana County 911 dispatchers and the county's emergency management agency said the crash was reported in the river off Leech Avenue. State police also were investigating.

According to online FAA records, the plane is registered to Louis Morcheid of Slickville, although it was unclear who was piloting the aircraft when it crashed.

The plane is classified as an experimental, amateur-built single-engine plane, FAA records said, and it was certified as airworthy in June 2007.

Morcheid received his pilot's license in April 2006, and a certification as an amateur aircraft repairman in October 2007, the records said.


Incident occurred August 23, 2015 in Franktown, Douglas County, Colorado

FRANKTOWN, Colo. —  A small plane crashed Sunday morning in Franktown, according to Douglas County officials.

The incident happened around 9:30 a.m near East Tanglewood Road and Highway 86.

Officials reported there was only one person on the plane and no injuries were reported.


Opinion: If Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t act fast, drones will kill

Jim Hall
11:52 a.m. CDT August 23, 2015

Until drones are strictly regulated, the FAA should ground any commercial unmanned aircraft operations. We’ve played Russian roulette with drones long enough.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is required to protect hundreds of millions of passengers who fly the U.S. airways each year, continues to permit dangerous unmanned aircraft — drones.

It needs to stop these flights until it reclaims its authority over our skies by regulating these vehicles that are untethered by federal law or, in some cases, common sense.

Early this month, two airliners approaching New York’s Kennedy Airport came within 100 feet of disaster on the same afternoon when drones nearly hit them. Hundreds of passengers were placed at risk because the FAA allows these unregistered aircraft to fly in our busiest skies in close quarters with jumbo jets.

These were not isolated incidents. Last year, pilots reported 238 drone sightings near their aircraft. This year, we are on pace to surpass 1,000.

It is only a matter of sheer luck that one of these drones has not hit a windshield of an airliner traveling at more than 500 miles an hour, or gotten sucked into an engine. Jet engines have been known to fail when ingesting 8-pound birds. What would a 55-pound metal drone do?

Helicopters, which tend to fly at lower altitudes, face greater danger. Recently, a helicopter on an emergency medical flight in Fresno, California, had to swerve to avoid a drone just 20 feet away.

There are more than a million consumer drones in the USA, with more coming online every day. Yet the FAA has almost no control over where and when they fly. Last year, the FAA teamed up with industry and hobbyist groups to issue some recommendations, such as not flying drones higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport, but as we’ve seen they have had little effect.

There is a big difference between what is not recommended and what is actually illegal. While endangering an aircraft is already a federal crime, trying to shoehorn that rule onto unregulated drones is problematic.

Drones do not have to be registered and, of course, do not need identifying transponders. In June, two drones flying over a forest fire in California forced large aircraft carrying fire retardants to abort their missions, costing thousands of dollars and delaying firefighting efforts. At last report, the operators of the drones had not been identified, even after officials offered a bounty.

And what is the FAA’s response to such an incident? Officials still say they prefer public education campaigns.

The FAA did propose rules in February, rules that have been in the works for years. There is no word on when regulations will actually be put in place.

Until drones are strictly regulated, the FAA should ground any commercial unmanned aircraft operations. We’ve played Russian roulette with drones long enough.

Jim Hall, managing partner of Hall & Associates, was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1994 to 2001.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N8265B: Fatal accident occurred August 21, 2015 in Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA378 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 21, 2015 in Martinville, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/18/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N8265B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The non-certificated pilot departed in the airplane for a personal flight. The airplane crashed in a soybean field about 11 miles from the departure airport. There were no witnesses, no recorded radar data, and no recorded radio transmissions from the pilot. Ground scars indicated that the airplane impacted the ground in about a 30° nose-down attitude. Two tracks correlating to the dimensions of the left main and nose landing gears extended about 294 ft on the tops of the soybean crop before the initial ground impact. All ground scars and damage to the airplane correlated to ground impact with high momentum. No evidence of pre-impact anomalies was found during postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller. 

Although the pilot was being treated for metastatic colon cancer there is no evidence that the cancer or its treatment impaired his ability to operate the airplane and it is unlikely that it contributed directly to the accident. Toxicology testing found the impairing medications; alprazolam, codeine, fentanyl, and oxycodone. 

Given the pilot's lack of certification, his limited recent experience, and his operation of the airplane while taking disqualifying and potentially impairing medications, it is likely that the pilot failed to maintain adequate clearance from terrain while intentionally flying at low altitude. Although the pilot was likely impaired by the combination of multiple medications, the investigation could not determine to what degree the pilot's lack flight skills and experience or impairment from multiple medications contributed to the loss of control of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The non-certificated pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain.
David “Dave” Samuel Goodwin

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA378
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 21, 2015 in Martinsville, IL
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N8265B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On August 21, 2015, about 0730 central standard time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N8265B, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain under unknown circumstances near Martinsville, Illinois. The non-certificated pilot, who was the sole occupant and owner of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that originated from the Casey Municipal Airport (1H8), Casey, Illinois, about 0700.

There were no witnesses to the accident, and no radio or distress calls were heard from the pilot. There was no available radar information for the flight.

A person who was at 1H8 on the morning of the accident was interviewed. He reported that he saw a grey pickup truck near the center of the taxiway that he usually used. He did not see any aircraft or activity, but he noticed that a hangar door on the south end of the center row of hangars was open. During the investigation, it was determined that the grey truck belonged to the pilot and that the open hangar was the pilot's hangar where he stored the airplane.

The pilot's nephew stated that the pilot would normally fly early in the morning from Casey Airport to check on his fields. The pilot owned property near the accident site, and he liked to fly over the property because of the openness and lack of power lines. She had been in contact with the pilot on the evening before the flight. She also stated that the pilot was taking prescription medications for an ongoing illness. Neither family member knew the reason for the flight; both said that the pilot was preparing to sell the airplane.


According to information provided by the FAA, the pilot did not hold a pilot certificate. The records showed that the pilot had been issued a third-class medical/student pilot certificate on March 24, 2003, that expired on March 31, 2005. The flight time reported on his medical certificate application was 80 hours. No recent flight time records or logbooks for the pilot were found. There were no records found of anyone other than the pilot flying the airplane. Based on the airplane's tachometer time, the pilot had flown the accident airplane about 0.8 hours in the previous 4 months.


According to FAA records, the 1957 Cessna 172, powered by a Continental O-300 engine, was last registered by the pilot on April 30, 2015. Review of available logbooks for the airplane indicated that the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on March 11, 2015. No outstanding items or uncorrected defects were noted. At the time of the inspection, the engine time was 832.5 hours since major overhaul, and the airframe total time was 3,750.1 hours. The previous annual inspection was completed in 2006. According to the logbooks, the airplane was flown about 6.3 hours between the 2006 and 2015 annual inspections and 0.8 hours between the last annual inspection and the accident. 

During an interview, the certified mechanic who completed the most recent annual inspection stated that he rarely saw the airplane fly over the years but, on a few occasions, saw the airplane returning to the airport in the morning when he reported to work. He stated that he flew with the accident pilot after the 2006 annual inspection was completed and that the pilot asked him to take the left seat but never mentioned that he was a student pilot. 

On February 25, 2015, 5.5 gallons of 100LL fuel was added to the airplane and then drained out to flush/clean the fuel systems/tanks during maintenance. On March 11, 2015, 36.1 gallons of 100LL fuel was added to the airplane. The airplane total fuel capacity was 42 gallons with 5 gallons total unusable. 


The nearest weather reporting facility was located at the Coles County Memorial Airport, Mattoon, Illinois, about 35 miles west of the accident site. At 0753, the facility reported clear skies, temperature 72°F, dew point 68°F, visibility 10 miles, and altimeter setting 30.12 inches of mercury.


Local authorities found the wreckage in a mature bean field about 11.5 miles southeast of 1H8 the day following the accident. 

The initial ground scar and the damaged mature bean crop (3-4-ft tall crop) were consistent with the airplane impacting the flat, soft soil in about a 30° nose-down attitude. Ground scars were consistent with the airplane skidding forward about 20 ft, bouncing, impacting the ground again, and coming to rest inverted. Two tracks correlating to the dimensions of the left main and nose landing gears, extended about 294 ft on the tops of the soybean crop before the initial ground impact. All ground scars correlated to ground impact with high momentum. The engine, with attached propeller assembly, was found separated from the airframe (except for tachometer cables). The empennage of the airplane was found partially detached from the airframe due to impact forces, except for the rudder and elevator control cables.

Detailed examinations of the airframe and engine were conducted on August 23 and 24, 2015, at the facilities of Casey Municipal Airport. 


The cockpit roof section was crushed downward into the instrument panel. The engine firewall was crushed aft into the instrument panel. The cockpit floor from the engine firewall aft to the rudder pedals was crushed upward. The throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat knobs were found in the full forward positions. The pilot seat was found locked in the last seat rail hole. The seat rail exhibited no gouge marks forward of the lock hole. The pilot's seat exhibited deformation consistent with impact damage. The airplane was equipped with a 2-point (lap belt) safety restraint system. The lap belt had been cut by first responders. The airspeed indicator needle was found at the 80-mph position. 

Aft Fuselage/Empennage

The empennage aft of the rear cabin window was separated, except for the rudder and elevator flight control cables and the elevator trim control cables. The separation exhibited signatures consistent with impact damage. The vertical stabilizer remained partially attached to the empennage. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Both horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the empennage. The right horizontal stabilizer was bent up and aft. The right elevator with attached trim tab remained attached to the right horizontal stabilizer.


Both wings remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing leading edge, about midsection outboard to the wing tip, exhibited an aft diagonal buckle. The left wing leading edge, about midsection inboard to the wing root, exhibited aft crushing. The right wing leading edge exhibited aft crushing. Both ailerons remained attached to their respective wing attachment points. Both wing flaps remained attached to their respective wing attachment points.

Flight Controls

Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to each flight control surface. All the cable separations exhibited signatures consistent with cable cuts made during airplane retrieval from the accident site. The right aileron push/pull rod was separated, and the separation surfaces exhibited signatures consistent with tension overload and impact forces. The right elevator trim actuator extension was measured to be about 1 and 1/8 inches, which corresponded to about a 5° trim tab trailing edge down (airplane nose up) deflection. The elevator trim cockpit indicator was impact damaged. The wing flaps were found in the full retracted position. The mechanical flap lever was found in the full retract position/detent. 


The fuel selector valve handle was found in the "BOTH" position. The fuel selector valve was removed from the airplane, and it was verified that the valve ported to the wing fuel tank ports. The fuel selector valve was rotated by hand to the left, right, both, and off detents with normal operation. Both wing fuel filler caps were found installed on the airplane. Both fuel caps were removed, and no fuel was noted in the fuel tanks, which were compromised by impact damage. It was noted that the airplane had been resting inverted for about 24-hours after the accident. A smell consistent with aviation gasoline 100LL was evident in each wing fuel tank and at the accident site. 

Engine – Continental O-300

Examination of the engine revealed a 3x4 inch hole in the bottom portion of the engine case, behind the throttle body mount, which was separated from the case. The case damage correlated to impact forces. Valve train continuity and engine compression at each cylinder was confirmed by rotating the engine crankshaft propeller flange. All spark plugs were removed and examined. All spark plugs exhibited normal wear according to the Champion Check-A-Plug Card. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine. Both magnetos were removed from the engine and rotated by a battery power screw gun. Spark was noted at all leads on both magnetos.

The engine oil filter screen was removed and was found free of debris. The throttle body/carburetor was separated from the engine and exhibited postimpact damage. The carburetor was disassembled, and the float exhibited no binding. The carburetor float bowl exhibited no scoring marks. The carburetor inlet fuel filter screen was found free of debris.

Propeller - McCauley 1A170/DM

The 2-blade metal propeller assembly remained attached to the engine. Both propeller blades exhibited no significant twisting. One blade was bent aft (toward the non-camber side) about 6 inches from the base. Both blades exhibited chord-wise scratches and were polished on their respective leading edges. Torsional stress signatures were noted behind the engine crankshaft propeller flange, and the propeller flange was canted to the left.


The 63-year-old male pilot did not have a valid medical certificate at the time of the accident although one was required to fly the airplane involved. He had a history of multiple medical conditions including: metastatic colon cancer treated with chemotherapy, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, diabetes controlled with oral medications, chronic pain treated with impairing opioid pain medications, and anxiety treated with an impairing benzodiazepine. Examinations within a month of the accident did not identify any significant abnormal neurologic or psychiatric findings.

The autopsy performed by the Terre Haute Indiana Regional Hospital Department of Pathology documented the pilot died from blunt force injuries but did not identify any evidence of metastatic cancer or significant natural disease.

Toxicology testing by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, found impairing medications alprazolam at 129 ng/ml, codeine at 26.4 ng/ml, diphenhydramine at 159 ng/ml, fentanyl at 3.6 ng/ml, oxycodone at 428 ng/ml and its active metabolite oxymorphone at 19.3 ng/ml and ethanol at 0.047%. Urine was negative for ethanol indicating it was from postmortem production. However, urine was positive for the impairing medications: alprazolam, fentanyl and its metabolite norfentanyl, codeine and its active metabolite morphine, oxycodone and its active metabolite oxymorphone. Additionally, the non-impairing prescription blood pressure medicine metoprolol was detected in liver. 

We have new information on the plane crash that took a mans life near Martinsville, Illinois.

David Goodwin of Martinsville, Illinois was confirmed dead at the scene by the Clark County Coroner.

The plane crashed in a bean field in southern Clark County.

We are not sure of the cause of the crash at this time.

The FAA has taken over as lead investigators in the accident.

No one else was in the plane and the family has been notified of Goodwin's death.

Goodwin went missing this morning and was found by a search plane from the sky.

Goodwin was found in his plane.

An autopsy is set for Monday morning.

Cessna 180 Skywagon, N3043E: Fatal accident occurred August 22, 2015 in Kasilof, Alaska


NTSB Identification: ANC15FA066 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Kasilof, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 180, registration: N3043E
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 22, 2015, about 2020 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Cessna 180 airplane, N3043E, sustained substantial damage after impacting tree-covered terrain while maneuvering low level about 5 miles southwest of Kasilof, Alaska. The private pilot and sole passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. 

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on August 23, a witness that was standing on his deck that overlooked the ocean waters of the Cook Inlet, stated that he first saw the accident airplane flying low level, about 20 feet above the beach. He said that he began watching the airplane about 1 mile from his location, and as the airplane continued flying toward him, the engine sound appeared normal. He reported that when the airplane was directly in front of him, it pitched up to about 45 degrees and climbed to about 300 feet above the beach, and about 100 feet above the trees located on the bluff overlooking the Cook Inlet. He said that as the nose of the airplane began to lower, he heard a reduction in engine power, followed by a sound that was consistent with an engine misfiring. The airplane then descended into an area of tree-covered terrain at the top of the bluff, and it disappeared from view. Immediately after, a loud sound consistent with an impact was heard. The witness said that as he approached the site, about .1 mile from his previous location, a postimpact fire had already consumed a large portion of the wreckage, and firearms ammunition could be heard exploding from within the burning airplane. 

A second witness, who could not see the airplane, said he heard an aircraft overhead about the time of the accident that was making noises consistent with an engine sputtering.

The NTSB IIC, along with an Anchorage Flight Standards District Office Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector reached the accident site on the morning of August 23. The airplane came to rest in an area of densely populated spruce trees and thick brush at an elevation of about 45 feet msl, on a heading of about 217 degrees. The postaccident fire incinerated the fuselage and left wing of the airplane. 

The closest weather reporting facility is Soldotna Airport, Soldotna, Alaska, about 15 miles northeast of the accident site. At 2016, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Soldotna Airport was reporting in part: Wind from 290 degrees at 8 knots; sky condition, clear; visibility, 10 statute miles; altimeter, 29.85 inHg.

A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending. The airplane was equipped with a Continental Motors O-470 series engine.
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Two Kasilof men died when their plane clipped some trees and crashed just beyond the Cook Inlet bluff Saturday night. 

Investigators are trying to discover the cause of a plane crash Saturday night in Kasilof that killed two local men.

Pilot Brian Nolan, age 69, and 57-year-old Peter Lahndt, both of Kasilof, died when Nolan’s Cessna 180 crashed into a stand of trees about 150 feet from Cohoe Loop Road, just inland from the bluff over Cook Inlet near the mouth of the Kasilof River. The plane immediately burst into flames. The crash was not survivable, according to an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane went down around 8:11 p.m. Saturday at Mile 3.2 South Cohoe Loop Road, near Powder Keg Avenue. Dan Brown lives across the street and a little to the south of the crash site. He heard the plane throttle up, then crash a second or so later.

“Right after I heard him gun it I heard the impact on the ground,” he says. “And so I knew it had crashed. It was just really, really quick. In fact at that time I was on the telephone. I said, ‘A plane just crashed I gotta go.’”

Brown and two of his daughters jumped in his car and were at the crash site within about two minutes, where they could already see smoke rising from the trees.

“When I got there you could tell where the plane had clipped some spruce trees and where it had to have flipped over because it went into the round tail first from the direction is was coming from. So it hit trees, broke the tops of the trees off and then hit going backwards.”

The plane was already on fire and the heat was too intense for Brown to get up to the wreckage.

“I couldn’t get close enough to it. I felt real bad about it (that) I couldn’t get in there. I couldn’t hear anything from them, there was no noise from anybody in the plane. I went around both sides of it trying to get into it and I couldn’t, it was too hot.”

Within about 45 seconds the flames got even more intense.

“That fuel really got going and then the whole thing was engulfed in flames and you couldn’t be within about 20 feet of it.”

He made about a 50-foot circle around the plane, looking to see if anyone had been thrown from the wreckage. By that time the plane’s tires burst into flames, and Brown started hearing explosions.

Brown: “I’m pretty sure they had quite a bit of ammunition on board. It sounded like a war down there.”

He told his daughters to get back to the road while he made another wider loop around the plane, looking for survivors. As he did something hit him in the leg. It was smoldering and left a black mark, but didn’t penetrate the skin. Brown decided he’d better get back to the road, too.

Central Emergency Services and Alaska State Troopers from Soldotna responded to several reports of the downed plane and fire. Traffic on South Cohoe Loop was restricted until about 10:30 p.m. CES has the fire extinguished by about 8:50 p.m.

Brown said he didn’t think there was much danger of a wildfire taking off.

“The grass is all green green, so it didn’t grow from there. The only thing that burned from it was the spruce trees that we have here, you have the lower branches on the trees that are kind of dead and the upper ones are green. It went up the trees and burned all the dead branches off but it didn’t go beyond that.”

NTSB was contacted Saturday night and a team arrived on the scene around 1 a.m. Sunday. An investigator said Sunday that a witness reported the plane having a loss of engine power before it clipped some treetops and went down. Brown said he didn’t hear anything like that, just the whine of the engine throttling up and then the crash, but that’s not to say something mechanical didn’t happen.

Whatever the cause of the crash, Brown said he wishes there was something he could have done to save to the pilot and passenger.

“I was trying to think how could I have done any better and I don’t know how I could have done any better. The only way I would have even had a remote chance is to be standing right there with a fire extinguisher when it hit the ground, maybe. But there was too much fire to put out with a fire extinguisher, and I would have had to have gloves and something to rip into the plane. There was no way to open it up. It was all upside down, and too much fire.”

The crash is still under investigation.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Two men died Saturday night when a small plane crashed on the Kenai Peninsula, said Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers identified the men Sunday as pilot Brian Nolan, 69, and Peter Lahndt, 57, both of Kasilof. The Cessna 180, owned by Nolan, crashed on Cohoe Loop Road near Cook Inlet in Kasilof.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said troopers learned about the crash shortly after 8 p.m. and were on the scene by late Saturday.

"It's not a survivable accident," said Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident. "There was a post-crash fire."

Several trees had scorch marks and debris from the crash was scattered over more than 30 feet in a heavily wooded area about 150 feet from the road, according to the Peninsula Clarion. The tops of some trees had been taken off by the impact.

Kasilof resident Dan Brown told the Peninsula Clarion he lives near the crash site and was the first one on the scene after hearing a bang and seeing a smoke plume.

Brown said he tried to get close to the wreckage while his daughter called 911.

It was burning when I got to it, and I couldn't get the guy out. I tried," said Brown, who described flames spreading rapidly from the plane. "I knew there was no hope of getting in there, so I walked two circles around that thing to see if there was anyone that was ejected out of it."

But he didn't find anyone.

Brown said the first fire truck showed up about 10 minutes after the 911 call. By that time, he said, the wreckage was popping and shooting debris.

"Stuff was flying everywhere," he said.

The Kenai crash is the seventh fatal plane crash in Alaska this year, according to an NTSB database analyzed by the Alaska Dispatch News.

In 2014, there were three fatal plane crashes and one fatal helicopter crash.