Friday, October 2, 2015

Taylor Coot Amphibian, N69BD: Fatal accident occurred October 02, 2015 near Deer Park Airport (KDEW), Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA001
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 02, 2015 in Deer Park, WA
Aircraft: JOHNSON Coot, registration: N69BD
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 October 2, 2015, about 1112 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Johnson Coot A, N69BD, was destroyed when it impacted terrain about 1 mile north of the Deer Park Airport (DEW), Deer Park, Washington. The amphibious airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from DEW about 1110.

Numerous witnesses located adjacent to the accident site reported that the airplane departed from runway 16. One witness, who was a rated pilot, reported that while the airplane was on upwind, he heard the engine sputter. Witnesses continued to observe the airplane turn left and remained within the airport traffic pattern. Another witness, who was in an airplane within the airport traffic pattern, reported that they observed the accident airplane "enter a spin" and descend into the ground on base leg, or close to an area where normally a turn from base to final would be commenced. No distress calls were heard on the airport's common traffic advisory frequency.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted a wooded area about 1 mile north of the airport. The airplane came to rest upright on a heading of about 225 degrees magnetic adjacent to numerous trees about 20 feet in height. All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. Numerous displaced instruments and plexi glass were located within about 50 feet of the main wreckage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Spokane FSDO-13

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

Spokane County Sheriff's Department chaplains were on the scene of an airplane crash near Deer Park on Friday. 

A small plane crashed in Deer Park near the airport Friday morning, killing the pilot.

The plane crashed near the intersection of Montgomery Road and North Cedar Road, about two miles north of the Deer Park airport.

Spokane County Fire District 4, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Deer Park Ambulance responded to the crash, which happened around 11:15 a.m.

Spokane County Fire District 4 spokeswoman Megan Hill said the pilot was pronounced dead on impact and no one else was found in the plane.

First responders searched the nearby area and did not find any passengers, she said.

The pilot’s home airport was Deer Park, but it’s unclear what his flight plan was.

“He had either just taken off and was circling around or he had been gone and was coming in,” Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said.

Gregory said he was unsure about the plane’s model, but said it was small, could land on water and did not have pontoons like a float plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration was on-scene Friday and National Transportation Security Board investigators will begin investigating Saturday, Gregory said.

The pilot will be identified by the Spokane County Medical Examiner.




Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, N782TM, Smith Family Aviation LLC: Fatal accident occurred October 02, 2015 in Westminster, South Carolina

SMITH FAMILY AVIATION LLC:  http://registry.faa.govN782TM

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA001 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 02, 2015 in Westminster, SC
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-301, registration: N782TM
Injuries: 4 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 October 2, 2015, about 1512 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301, N782TM, collided with terrain following an in-flight breakup near Westminster, South Carolina. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was registered to Smith Family Aviation LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Warsaw Municipal Airport (ASW), Warsaw, Indiana and was destined for Oconee County Regional Airport (CEU), Clemson, South Carolina.

According to preliminary information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, the airplane was at 6,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), approaching ZEYLM intersection to hold for the RNAV runway 7 approach at CEU. The pilot was subsequently cleared for the approach and reported that the airplane was established outbound on the procedure turn. The controller subsequently queried the pilot when he did not report inbound on the approach; no response was received. Radar contact was lost over Lake Hartwell, on the Georgia-South Carolina border, about 2,200 feet msl.

Local residents reported hearing and seeing the airplane prior to the accident. One witness heard a loud "boom," followed by white pieces of debris falling into the lake. Another witness saw the airplane descending vertically, in a spiral motion, until it disappeared behind a tree line. Another witness reported that the engine was running until ground impact. Several witnesses reported the event to 911, and the wreckage was located by first responders shortly thereafter.

The pilot, age 71, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He reported 1,448 hours total flight time on his most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, dated October 17, 2013.

The main wreckage was found inverted in a wooded area, about 50 yards north of the shoreline of Lake Hartwell, near Westminster. Damage to trees was indicative of a near-vertical descent angle at impact. There was no fire. The main wreckage consisted of the main cabin, cockpit, engine, propeller, left wing, and the inboard half of the right wing. About 10 percent of the empennage was recovered near the south shoreline the lake, near Toccoa, Georgia. At the time of this writing, the outboard portion of the right wing and the remainder of the empennage have not been located.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA West Columbia FSDO-13

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

From left to right: Tony Elliot, Charlie Smith, Scott Smith. 

Scott Bibler

Scott D. Bibler, 51, of Claypool, Indiana passed on Oct. 2, 2015 in a small plane accident near Lake Hartwell, Oconee County, South Carolina.  He was born on Aug. 27, 1964 in Logansport, Indiana to Larry and Carolyn (Bundy) Bibler. Scott was married on June 27, 1987 in Burket, Indiana to Stephanie Nelson she survives.

Scott spent the last 25 years as a football coach and educator at Tippecanoe Valley High School. He left Valley at the end of last school year and accepted a job as the Director of Business Development with CrosssWinds of Fort Wayne where he was currently working.

Scott was a 1982 Tippecanoe Valley High School graduate and was a sophomore member of the 1979 state championship team. He played football for four years and baseball for two at Taylor University. He began teaching in Hagerstown for 2 years, Plymouth for 2 years and Valley. He was the Vikings’ head coach from 1990-2005 before resigning in March of 2006 to spend more time with his family, including his two daughters. He led Valley to a sectional championship in 1992. His second stint as the head coach at Valley started in 2014 after serving as an assistant coach under Jeff Shriver. He then coached his last game for the Vikings at the end of last season. He was a man of faith above all and loved his daughters dearly. He enjoyed traveling with family and friends, spending time at the lake, as well as playing golf.

Survivors include wife - Stephanie Bibler - Claypool, Indiana; Daughters - Chelsea Bibler – Westfield, Ind., Megan Bibler – Claypool, Ind.: Father - Larry and wife Carol Bibler – Sun City, Arizona; Mother – Carolyn Lauer – Winter Haven, Florida; Sister – Amy Bibler – Lytle, Texas; Brother – Chad Bibler – Grove City, Ohio; Mother-in-law - JoAnn and husband Mike Williams - Atwood, Ind.; Father-in-Law – Jerry and wife Pat Nelson – Warsaw, Ind.; Sister-in-Laws - Kim Nelson - Plymouth, Ind.,Tara and Hunter Carlile - Winona Lake, Ind.;  Several Nieces and Nephews

Preceded in Death grandparents - Howard and Mabel Bibler and Hiram and Dora Bundy

Time and Date of Services: 2:00 pm, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015

Place of Services: Tippecanoe Valley High School 8345 State Road 19 Akron, Indiana (Gym)

Minister: Pastor Denny Wilson

Place of Private Burial: Private family services will be held at the Mentone Cemetery, Mentone, Indiana

Visitation Hours: 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2105 at Tippecanoe Valley High School 8345 State Road 19 Akron, Indiana (Gym)

Arrangements are Entrusted to: King Memorial Home 101 North Tucker Street Mentone, Indiana

Memorial Contributions to: Scott Bibler Memorial Scholarship


Charles "Charlie" Smith

City Councilman Charles D. “Charlie” Smith of Warsaw, Indiana passed away in a single engine plane crash on the South Carolina side of Lake Hartwell in Oconee County on Friday, October 2, 2015 at the age of 71.  He was killed in a plane crash en route to the Notre Dame vs. Clemson football game Friday afternoon as he was an avid Notre Dame fan.

He was born on August 2, 1944 in LaPorte, Indiana to Harry DeVon Smith and Edna LaVerne (Maurer) Smith.  He was married on December 3, 1999 in Warsaw, Indiana to Ann (Slone) Vanderlinden, who survives in Warsaw.

Charlie was a 1962 graduate of Walkerton High School.  He then received his B.S. in 1967 from Manchester College of North Manchester, Indiana and his master’s degree in 1974 from St. Francis College of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

He was known to many simply as “Coach” having coached many students over his 16 year teaching career at North Manchester, Triton and then Tippecanoe Valley.

He later became a banker and joined Lake City Bank in 1983 as manager of the Mentone, Indiana office and was then promoted in 1992 to senior vice president of the commercial banking department. In April 2000, Charlie was promoted to executive vice president of the commercial department. He retired from Lake City Bank in 2011.

Charlie loved this community and served on various boards.  As a member of the city’s common council, he represented the council on the Warsaw Aviation Board, was president of the Warsaw Board of Public Works and served on the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission.

He was named Warsaw/Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2001.

Was a board member and past chairman of Kosciusko Development, Inc., board member and chairman of the loan committee for Warsaw Community Development Corporation. He was a past board member of the Kosciusko Community Senior Services and past board member, finance committee for the YMCA.

He also chaired the Community Gifts Fundraiser for the expansion project and was a member of Warsaw Rotary Club, a former graduate and past president of Kosciusko Leadership Academy and a former member of the Kosciusko County Educational Council. Smith has also been involved with Junior Achievement, March of Dimes, United Way of Kosciusko County, Warsaw Combined Community Services, American Lung Association, Leukemia Society of America, and Boy Scouts of America.  He attended Warsaw Community Church.

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife:  Ann Smith (Warsaw, Indiana); daughter:  Michelle Smith LeDrew (Warsaw, Indiana); son:  Ryan Smith (Warsaw, Indiana); two step-daughters:  Angela Cox (Warsaw, Indiana); Karen (husband Josh) Meerzo (Huntertown, Indiana); four grandchildren:  Zachary, Bryce and Chase LeDrew; Ryne Smith (all of Warsaw, Indiana); and six step-grandchildren:  Tiffany Griffith, and Kalie Keener (Warsaw, Indiana); Ashlyn (husband Austin) Singer, Braxton & Wesley Goodman, and Abigail Menefee (all of Huntertown, Indiana).  He also leaves behind his sister:  Bonnie (husband Ken) Tiroff (Nashville, Tennessee); niece:  Dianne (husband Bob) McCall (Nashville, Tennessee); nephew:  Michael Golubski (Koonz Lake, Indiana); and great-niece:  Lyticia (husband David) Emery (Fort Wayne, Indiana).  He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, and his son Scott Smith who also died in the same plane crash.

Friends and family can attend Warsaw Community Church, 1855 S County Farm Road, Warsaw, Indiana from 1:59 – 8:00 p.m. for visitation on Monday, October 12, 2015.

His memorial service will be conducted the following day along with his son’s Scott Andrew Smith’s memorial service at 9:59 a.m. on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Warsaw Community Church and officiated by Pastor Denny Wilson.  Arrangements are entrusted to Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana.

Memorial donations in Charlie’s memory may be directed to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters, 1005 West Rudisill Blvd., Suite 101, Fort Wayne, Indiana  46807 and would be appreciated by the family.


Scott Andrew Smith 

Local Attorney Scott Andrew Smith of Warsaw, Indiana passed away in a single engine plane crash on the South Carolina side of Lake Hartwell in Oconee County on Friday, October 2, 2015 at the age of 44.  He was killed in a plane crash en route to the Notre Dame vs. Clemson football game Friday afternoon as he was an avid Notre Dame fan.

He was born on September 11, 1971 in Plymouth, Indiana to the late Charles D. Smith and Rebecca “Becky” Anne (Williams) Smith, who survives in Mentone, Indiana.

Scott was a 1990 graduate of Tippecanoe Valley High School.  He attended Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1996.  While there he played basketball for Warner University and was their team captain for two years. Scott was a 2000 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.  He obtained licenses to practice in the Indiana Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and United States District for the Southern District of Indiana.  He was deputy prosecuting attorney in St. Joseph, Allen and Kosciusko counties.

He lived in Kosciusko County, Indiana for the majority of his life where he was a part of the Kosciusko Leadership Academy and attended Warsaw Community Church.

He will be lovingly remembered by his mother:  Rebecca “Becky” Anne Smith (Mentone, Indiana.);  companion:  Brittney Miller (Warsaw, Indiana); son:  Ryne Andrew Smith (Warsaw, Indiana); sister:  Michelle Smith LeDrew (Warsaw, Indiana); and his brother:  Ryan Smith (Warsaw, Indiana).  He also leaves behind three nephews:  Zachary, Bryce and Chase LeDrew (Warsaw, Indiana); and his step-mother:  Ann Smith (Warsaw, Indiana).  He was preceded in death by his father Charles D. Smith, who also died in the same plane crash.

Friends and family can attend Warsaw Community Church, 1855 S County Farm Road, Warsaw, Indiana from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. for visitation on Monday, October 12, 2015.

His memorial service will be conducted the following day along with his father’s Charles D. Smith’s memorial service at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Warsaw Community Church and officiated by Pastor Denny Wilson.  A private burial will take place at Sunset Cemetery in Kokomo, Indiana.  Arrangements are entrusted to Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana.

Memorial donations may be directed to the Scott Smith Memorial Fund to go towards the college fund of Ryne Smith and can be sent in the c/o Lake City Bank, 202 E. Center Street, Warsaw, Indiana  46580 and would be appreciated by the family.

Warsaw, Indiana - Sunday Warsaw begins a mourning period that will last for several days as visitation and funerals are held for the men who died in a plane crash 9 days ago. 

Among the dead were former Tippy Valley coach and counselor Scott Bibler, Sprint car driver Tony Elliott, Warsaw councilman Charlie Smith and his son, Warsaw attorney Scott Smith.

Bibler's funeral was Sunday at Tippy Valley high school.

Visitation for Elliott was held today at the Warsaw Community church. In fact over the next 3 days the church will be the site for visitation and funeral services for 3 of the 4 men killed.

Just minutes after Sunday services came to an end at Warsaw Community Church, dozens of volunteers went to work.

From setting up tables to sweeping the floors, many were helping to get families ready for Tony Elliott's visitation.

"There are so many people that are coming forward," said Greg Demopoulos. "That just want to see how can we help. How can we care for the people around us."

Over the next several days hundreds of volunteers from Warsaw Community Church and others will be pitching in to help ease the stress during this difficult time.

As the church prepares for visitation and funeral services for the families of Tony Elliott , Charlie Smith and Scott Smith... Church Communication Director, Greg Demopoulos, says this is the biggest series of events they've ever seen at the church.

"This is four guys who had a huge impact on the community in different ways in different circles and so their reach is much larger than anything we've ever experienced," Demopoulos.

"People have come together to help with food," said Jeff Pfeifer. "With Prayer. People coming in to help set up and tear down and different denominations working together. It's such a blessing."

Jeff Pfeifer, the community care pastor at Warsaw Community church says it's amazing to see so many in the community lend a helping hand.

"It's just been a responding to these men and their deaths and celebrating their lives. We've come together in prayer. It just have been an amazing thing how the community has come together," said Pfeifer.

As volunteers dedicate their time, many are hoping the families of the lost loved ones will see the support that's behind them.

Warsaw Community Church is planning to webcast the funerals for Elliott and the Smiths. So that family members and friends who cannot attend the services can still be a part of the tribute.


There was a touching tailgate display outside the Notre Dame Stadium Saturday, as four huge Irish fans are remembered by their family and friends on the grounds of a place they loved. 

Charles Smith, Scott Smith, Scott Bibler and Tony Elliot died last week in a South Carolina plane crash.

The four were on their way to root on their Irish against Clemson.

Their deaths have been mourned by thousands across the community, as all four were very well known throughout the area.

“This news at the 50 yard line put that in perspective what a loss really is,” said Jeff Shriver, teacher and coach at Tippecanoe Valley High School.

Shock is an understatement for what Jeff Shriver felt when he found out on the football field that four men, bound together by this game, were gone.

“They lived and breathed it,” said Duane Burkhart, athletic director at Tippecanoe Valley High School. “That was their life.”

Especially for former Tippy Valley football coach Charlie Smith, who led the high school to its only state championship in 1979.

“His legacy continues, it always will be,” said Burkhart. “He started this program. He set the bar high, demanded a lot out of the athletes.”

It's a passion Smith passed to his son Scott. The two would go to almost every Irish game both home and away, with Charlie flying to many of those road games, giving a "Go Irish" over the radio before takeoff.

“Charlie and Scott being together, at the end, it's just something he loved going to those Notre Dame games with Charlie,” said Shriver.

Charlie Smith's life was about a lot more than football. He served on the Warsaw Common Council, where he was remembered at Monday's meeting.

“There's part of us missing,” said Warsaw City Attorney Mike Valentine. “There's no doubt about that.”

A single rose took Smith's spot at the meeting.

“The only thing we can do is all of us step up our game, stay on our toes and keep doing our best,” said Diane Guance, a member of the Warsaw Common Council.

Words the coach would use to keep his team's spirits up, and words Scott Bibler heard as a sophomore on that Tippy Valley title team, inspiring him to be a coach himself.

“He was somebody that had a passion for football and a passion for life as well, he was a guy that when Charlie (Smith) instilled "god, family, football" in that order, that was Scott Bibler,” said Shriver. “It wasn't just a mantra, it wasn't just a saying, it was what Scott truly believed. Scott tried to pass that on not only to the players, but the students here, the coaches.”

Bibler was a big help to the students on and off the football field, as he served as a guidance counselor as well.

“Scott was a rock,” said Michael Bendicsen, principal at Tippacanoe Valley High School. “There's so many sad things about this, but I think what's going to be most difficult about this is in tragedies like this, we would go to Scott, in times of tragedy we would turn to him for help and support, so that's going to make this doubly difficult for us.”

“All three gentlemen, they love football,” said Burkhart.

And the love of football came only second to racing for sprint car champion Tony Elliott.

“Always had a smile on his face and always was upbeat, never really remember, can maybe count on one hand the times I saw he was upset,” said Irish Saunders of Hoosier Racing Tire.

For all of his accomplishments on the track, it's his personality that was most memorable.

“Those memories are memories now. He did so much, he was great person, just in disbelief I guess,” said Saunders.


Scott Smith, his father Charlie Smith and friend Tony Elliott at a Notre Dame football game.

Scott Bibler and family pose for a photo, posted on Bibler's Facebook page. Bibler was one of four men killed Friday when a plane from Warsaw crashed in South Carolina. 

On Sunday autopsies were performed on two of the four Warsaw-area men who died in a plane crash Friday while en-route to the Notre Dame game at Clemson.

The crash claimed the lives of Charlie and Scott Smith. Charlie was an influential businessman, former bank executive and city councilman in Warsaw. Scott was an attorney in town.

Autopsies are scheduled for tomorrow for Scott Bibler, a counselor who used to work at Tippy Valley as a football coach -- and for sprint car driver Tony Elliott, who also died on board the plane.

Charlie died from multiple injuries due to blunt force trauma, according to the coroner in Oconee County, South Carolina .

Scott died from cervical spinal column trauma -- also known as a fractured neck due to blunt force trauma.

In the meantime, this week the NTSB says a recovery team will remove the wreckage from the crash site on the South Carolina-Georgia line and even search a lake in the area for missing parts of the plane.

Story and video:

Tony Elliott, 54, was one of four men killed when a plane that left from Warsaw crashed in South Carolina on Friday.

Scott Bibler

Kosciusko County's Charles Smith, 71, and son Scott Smith, 44, pose for a picture at a Green Bay Packers game. The two were killed in a plane crash Friday in South Carolina, on their way to a Notre Dame football game.

The four men who were killed in a plane crash Friday en route to the Notre Dame-Clemson football game were expecting lousy weather for the game, but they weren't very worried about the safety of their flight from Warsaw to South Carolina.

"Yeah, it was a little iffy," said Marvin Hensley, an employee and longtime family friend of Tony Elliott, a passenger on the flight. "Cindy (Elliott's wife) made a comment that the weather was going to be kind of crappy, maybe they shouldn't go, just because the storm was coming in. But no, they weren't freaked about anything."

Hensley noted that Cindy was talking more about their comfort while watching the game than their safety in the air. The pilot, Charlie Smith, had flown to many away Notre Dame games in the past and was an experienced pilot, Hensley said.

Hensley was one of the many people Saturday in the Warsaw area who were mourning the deaths of Elliott, 54, a Hall of Fame sprint car driver and owner of Warsaw-based Elliott's Custom Trailers and Carts; Smith, 71, a former teacher, football coach, banker and Warsaw community leader; his son, Scott A. Smith, a 44-year-old Warsaw attorney; and Scott Bibler, 51, an Akron native and former football coach and guidance counselor.  

They were killed when the elder Smith's single-engine plane crashed on the bank of Lake Hartwell, about a mile from where they had planned to land at Oconee Regional Airport, which is a five-minute drive to the Clemson University campus. An airport official told The Greenville News that the weather conditions, with historic and life-threatening levels of rain forecast for the weekend, already were "dismal." 

Charlie Smith and Bibler were both former Tippecanoe Valley High School football coaches. Smith was also serving as a Warsaw city councilman.

Each of the men were accomplished in their careers and heavily involved in making their community a better place to live, loved ones said.

Smith started the Tippecanoe Valley High School football program in 1975 and captured a state title just four years later.

Elliott won national sprint car racing titles in 1998 and 2000 and was described by many as a "legend" in sprint racing.

Tony Stewart Racing posted a message on Facebook Saturday.

"A fierce competitor on the track, he was also a father, husband, son, brother and friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Elliott family at this time. Godspeed & Rest In Peace," the message said.

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, issued a statement Saturday afternoon regarding the loss of Smith. "Charlie Smith was a beloved coach and revered business and civic leader who was also a devoted Notre Dame fan. We mourn his death and the loss of his son and friends, and keep their families in our prayers." 

The Federal Aviation Administration received a mayday transmission from the Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP aircraft shortly after 3 p.m., as it made its way toward the airport. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight, and the crash occurred at about 3:10 p.m., according to authorities.

Bibler had coached Tippecanoe Valley from 1990 to 2005, and then again for the 2014 season before leaving at the end of the 2014-2015 school year to become director of business development of the Crosswinds program at Kendallville-based Lifeline Youth & Family Services.

Lifeline CEO Mark Terrell played football with Bibler at Taylor University and their paths crossed again earlier this year when Terrell came to speak at Tippecanoe Valley High School. Over the past two years, the small school had experienced many suicides and sudden deaths, and Terrell had been invited to give a presentation about his organization's services, he said.

That night, Terrell and Bibler had dinner.

"In tears, he said, 'Mark, I believe this is what God wants me to do,'" Terrell said. "He felt he could have a bigger impact working with youths and families outside the school."

Terrell said he is also next door neighbors with Elliott on Winona Lake. Charlie lived on the lake as well. 

"Scott (Bibler) and Tony are probably two of the sweetest men I know," he said. "They're kind, thoughtful. I don't think I ever saw them not smiling. Everyone knows where Tony's house is. He says, 'If you need anything, go into my garage and get it. Today we were planning to go to the lake and pull my dock out, and I guarantee if he was still here, he would be helping me pull my dock out."

Tippecanoe Valley High School Principal Michael Bendicsen opened up the school Saturday morning for alumni, students and parents to come in and share stories about the men and console each other.

"Scott Bibler was a very trusted person here at the school," Bendicsen said. "He was a rock for us. Probably one of the saddest parts of this is any situation like this, he'd be a guy we'd go to help us out. So to lose him in this way is doubly difficult."

Terrell said Charlie Smith would come to the men each year and invite them to choose a Notre Dame road game they wanted to fly to. They would look at the schedule and try to pick a place they hadn't yet been or that looked interesting. They had talked about flying to a Western Michigan University game, since Terrell's son, Zach Terrell, is that team's starting quarterback, but they never finalized those plans, Terrell said.

"I don't understand God's plan for this," Terrell said. "I know He has one but it's a little hard to get your head around it right now. I do know there's a purpose, I do."


Scott A. Smith, left and his father, Charles D. Smith.

Tony Elliott

 Scott  Bibler

Tony Elliott

The Warsaw community is in mourning this weekend after four community leaders died in a plane crash Friday afternoon. 

Former high school football coaches Charlie Smith and Scott Bibler, as well as racecar driver Tony Elliott and Smith’s son Scott Smith, were killed when Charlie Smith’s plane crashed near a South Carolina lake.

Scott, 44, and father Charlie Smith, 71, were “very, very tight,” said longtime Warsaw sportscaster Tim Keffaber, who used to call Scott Smith’s high school basketball games. Keffaber said the two men went to almost every Notre Dame football game together, a tradition they were reportedly trying to keep up this weekend, flying to South Carolina to see Notre Dame play Clemson.

Roger Grossman, another longtime sportscaster and Keffaber’s colleague, said the loss would leave holes in the close-knit Tippecanoe Valley community.

“These are salt-of-the-earth, innovative, smart people who loved other people,” Grossman said. “You’re talking about thousands and thousands of people who are impacted by what happened yesterday." 

All four men were well-known in Kosciusko County, Grossman said. But the sports community might be hit especially hard.

Charlie Smith built the Tippecanoe Valley High School football team into a juggernaut from scratch, Grossman said. When the Tippecanoe Valley program started in 1975, drawing students from recently combined Akron and Mentone high schools, Smith was the combined school’s first football coach. Just four years later, he led the team to a state championship.

“Kids who knew each other, played against each other, were now on the same team,” Grossman said. “He melded those teams together and made them a state champion.

“You have to be headstrong, you have to be confident, and he certainly was that. But you peel that back and here’s a guy with a big heart.”

Smith was a member of the Warsaw City Council and worked at Lake City Bank from 1983 to 2011. Grossman called him a “tremendous leader,” and Keffaber agreed.

“A lot of people who only knew him as a football coach didn’t understand what he brought to the community after he stepped down,” Keffaber said.

A football coach at Tippecanoe Valley from 1990 to 2005 and for the 2014 season, 51-year-old Bibler was especially involved with local youth. He stepped down in 2005 to be a guidance counselor after Tippecanoe Valley was ravaged by suicides and other tragedies, Grossman said.

“He felt he could impact kids’ lives better outside the school system,” Keffaber said. “They were sad to see him leave.”

Bibler was “ultra positive,” someone who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth but was still a joy to be around, Grossman said.

“He loved kids. Loved kids enough to quit coaching football so that he could work with more than just the kids on the football team,” Grossman said. “He had a servant’s heart and he wanted to help.”

Scott Smith, who played basketball for Tippecanoe Valley, was an attorney in Warsaw. Keffaber called Smith “the ultimate competitor,” saying he was hardworking and always strived to be the best.

“Scott played the game and lived life to the fullest,” he said.

Smith always enjoyed a challenge, Grossman said.

“He’s a bulldog,” Grossman said.  “And I say that in the most glowing terms. He was a competitor.”

A prominent businessman, Elliott owned Elliott’s Custom Trailers and Carts in Warsaw. Kefabber said Elliott was close to his family, always talking about what his kids were doing.

“People just admired him,” Kefabber said.

Elliott, 54, retired recently from sprint car driving.

“All the little tracks in Indiana, you say the name Tony Elliott, and they smile because they know who that is,” Grossman said.

The four men will be missed in Kosciusko County, Grossman said.

“This has left holes in the community that are going to be difficult or impossible to replace,” he said.

Community members took to social media to express their grief.


Four men, including a father and son, a prominent high school football coach and a two-time champion sprint car racer, were killed Friday afternoon when a single-engine plane spiraled and crashed on the bank of Lake Hartwell.

The men were flying from Warsaw, Indiana to Clemson to watch the Clemson versus Notre Dame football game scheduled for Saturday, authorities said.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis identified the men, who were all from Warsaw, as: Charles D. Smith, 71; his son, Scott A. Smith, 44; Tony L. Elliott, 54; and Scott D. Bibler, 51.

There were no survivors.

Charles Smith, was piloting the plane and his son Scott was in the front passenger seat. Elliott was a rear passenger. Bibler’s seat was unknown, Addis said.

Elliott was a champion race car driver who won the U.S. Auto Club national sprint car series in 1998 and 2000.

Tony Stewart Racing posted a message on Facebook early Saturday that said Elliott was a “fierce competitor on the track, he was also a father, husband, son, brother and friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Elliott family at this time. Godspeed & Rest In Peace.”

Charles Smith was a former state-champion football coach at Tippecanoe Valley High School in Warsaw. He was also a banker and Warsaw City Councilman.

His son Scott, one of this three children, was an attorney in Warsaw, according to

Bibler was also a former Tippecanoe Valley football coach who has just resigned to take a job with an in-home family counseling company, reported.

The plane crashed in a wooded area of Lake Hartwell in the Tabor community near the South Carolina/Georgia state line, Addis said. A 911 call reported the plane spiraling downward at 3:13 p.m., he said.

“The airplane, a 1984 single engine Piper Saratoga, departed Warsaw, Indiana at approximately midday and was scheduled to land at the Oconee County Airport,” Addis said. “The individuals were traveling to Clemson to attend the Clemson – Notre Dame Football game.”

Autopsies would be scheduled to assist in the investigation, he said.

Oconee County Emergency Services officials located the debris field and bodies on the Oconee County side of the lake, Deputy Chief Adam Williams said.

About 8 p.m. Friday, emergency crews were retrieving the bodies from the wreckage.

An official at Oconee County Regional Airport said the plane was flying from Warsaw to the Oconee airport and the pilot had filed a flight plan. Conditions around the Oconee airport were "dismal" Friday afternoon, the official said.

The Federal Aviation Administration received a mayday transmission at 3:15 p.m., Williams said.

The flight tracking website FlightAware said the Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP aircraft left Warsaw Municipal Airport at 11:59 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Oconee Regional at 3:17 p.m.

Oconee Regional is less than a mile from Lake Hartwell and less than a five-minute drive to Clemson University's football stadium. Clemson is scheduled to play The University of Notre Dame at the stadium on Saturday. Warsaw is about 50 miles south of Notre Dame's campus in South Bend, Indiana.

A one-mile debris trail extended from the lake 60 yards into nearby woods, Williams said. The debris field was both on the ground and in the water, he said. The crash site is in a remote area of the lake and much of the recovery work will be done by boats, Williams said.

No one saw the plane crash, but witnesses reported they saw it coming down, he said.

"They heard the crash; no one saw it impact," Williams told The Greenville News.

Ground crews searched the banks on both the Georgia and South Carolina sides of the lake and boats with sonar capability scoured the area, Williams said. Additionally, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office had a helicopter assisting in the area, he said.

FAA officials alerted local authorities and airports around the Georgia-South Carolina border about a missing Piper PA-32 aircraft, headed to Clemson, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight about 3:30 p.m.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, with the NTSB to determine the probable cause. Officials from both agencies are expected to be at the scene Saturday morning.



Lack of activity cited for closure of Trenton Municipal Airport (9V2), Nebraska

TRENTON — So few pilots have been using the Trenton Municipal Airport in southwest Nebraska that it's been closed down.

The Village Board voted last month to take the airport out of service.

The airport has been costing the village about $2,000 a year — a sizable chunk of the village's $60,000 property tax revenue.

Board chairman John Rundel said it's been several years since regular crop-dusters used the airport and more than 10 years since an airplane was based in a hangar there.

The Hitchcock County community has about 560 residents.


Cape Air Says Noise Abatement Rules Are Being Followed

Responding to recent complaints from West Tisbury residents about excessive noise from air traffic over the summer, the chief pilot for Cape Air said this week that the regional airline follows voluntary noise abatement rules whenever possible.

“We are well versed in noise abatement procedures,” David O’Connor told the Gazette in a telephone interview.

Three weeks ago two residents from Vineyard Meadow Farms brought their concerns about overhead noise from air traffic to the West Tisbury selectmen. David Stein and Harry Geller presented the board with a detailed report they said was based on data gathered from flights near their homes from early June to September.

According to Mr. Stein, 66 aircraft flew over the residential area. He estimated some flights went over his home at an altitude of 200 feet, climbing under full power. Most of the flights he recorded were Cape Air flights, and a few were private aircraft.

Both men told the board they believed that voluntary noise abatement procedures were not being followed. Since then, the chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission has scheduled time for airport neighbors to voice their concern at an upcoming commission meeting. Neighbors say they are encouraged by the effort of the airport commission and others to listen and work toward a solution.

Meanwhile, this week Mr. O’Connor, the chief pilot for the Island’s only year-round airline, said the information compiled by Mr. Stein is not completely accurate.

After checking electronic flight records, which document departure times and arrival times, but not the flight path of the aircraft, he said there is a discrepancy between the Cape Air data and the records Mr. Stein compiled.

“I concluded he was either mistaken in his count of planes, or his perception of where they were,” Mr. O’Connor said.

About 50 pilots fly Cape Air planes out of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport during the summer. Mr. O’Connor said after a conversation with Mr. Stein in August, he reminded the pilots of the noise abatement procedures.

“I like to think our pilots listen to me. I think periodic reminders help. I don’t know if there was less compliance before,” the chief pilot said.

He offered several scenarios where pilots would be required to fly over residential neighborhoods rather than observe voluntary noise abatement procedures, which route aircraft over sparsely populated areas as they climb to cruising altitude.

He said the most frequent scenario is when pilots are flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), using electronic instruments to navigate. Low visibility in rain or fog, or a low cloud ceiling are the most common weather conditions that require instrument flight rules. Pilots must file a flight plan, and follow it, even if the weather clears. Also, it may be clear at departure, but stormy at the flight destination, which would require instrument flight rules along the entire air route. Under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), pilots navigate by sight, and have wide latitude to choose their own course. Pilots flying under instrument flight rules must follow assigned courses.

“When you’re flying under IFR, you’re required by law to fly the heading assigned by air traffic control,” Mr. O’Connor said. “You can’t decide on your own.”

Cape Air has the option of flying under visual flight rules in clear weather, but many commercial carriers and small jets, must fly under instrument flight rules at all times.

Another factor is President Obama’s Island visits. When the President is on the Island, almost all aircraft are required to operate under instrument flight rules, according to Mr. O’Connor. The Secret Service coordinates with air traffic controllers.

“I think those factors are very much in play,” Mr. O’Connor said. “The President might be on the move, and they tell you go this way, that way, or the other way.” Mr. Stein, also a pilot, said he understands aircraft flying under instrument flight rules may not follow noise abatement procedures.

“We may not get down to zero, but if we could get the number of playing not complying with noise abatement procedures down to three or four a day, rather than 15 a day, or 25 a day in the summer,” he said.

Mr. Stein said he is encouraged that airport management and the airport commission will take up the concerns.

“The airport is looking into a number of proactive steps and possible solutions to address the noise issues that face the airport,” said assistant general manager Deborah Potter in an email.

Airport commission chairman Myron Garfinkle said he has already discussed noise issues with he FAA, and will work with airport neighbors.

“No matter what the town or the city the airport is in says, the ultimate arbiter is the FAA,” Mr. Garfinkle said. “We have looked at the noise footprint. I don’t know what we can expect from the FAA, but I do know as a neighbor, we’re going to do everything we can. I can understand the frustration of the people involved, if they’ve been trying to get people and not had any response.”

Mr. Garfinkle, an experienced pilot, said he is aware of both sides of the noise abatement dilemma, including pilots who use full power soon after take off.

“An airport makes noise, airplanes make noise,” he said. “You want to get altitude so you’re safe, and you want to get altitude to be quiet.”

Mr. Stein contends that aircraft noise has increased dramatically in recent years. FAA data shows an increasing number of flights to and from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport over the past four years, but air traffic is still far below its peak more than five years ago.

In 2011, there were 39,860 operations, which the FAA defines as an aircraft taking off, landing, or crossing over the end of the runway. In 2012 the number of operations increased to 42,008; in 2013 it was 46,583, and last year it climbed to 47,360. In five of the seven years from 2004 to 2010, there were more than 50,000 operations at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, peaking in 2010 with 59,087.

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