Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cessna 150K, N5679G, LM Air Patrol Service Inc: Fatal accident occurred June 01, 2016 in Penwell, Ector County, Texas

Kathryn's Report:

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Lubbock FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA203
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 01, 2016 in Penwell, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 150, registration: N5679G
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 1, 2016, about 2046 central daylight time, a Cessna 150K, N5679G, collided in-flight with a concrete silo in Penwell, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by LM Air Patrol Service, Inc., Midland, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field (ODO), Odessa, Texas, about 2000.

According to information obtained from local law enforcement agencies, the pilot was flying his company's airplane without authorization and he had telephoned his wife earlier that evening and had told her he was going to kill himself. She alerted her husband's employer. The airplane was flying eastbound when it struck a 138-foot tall silo at the Cemex plant, located at 16501 W. Murphy St. Penwell.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Clayton Ray Chennault
1970 - 2016

Obituary of Clayton Chennault

Clayton Ray Chennault, 45, passed away Wednesday, June 1, 2016. He is survived by his father, Norman “Sonny” Chennault Jr and wife, Pat; mother, Eileen Mahanay and husband, Gary; grandmother, Norma Jeanne Helpenstill Beers; fiancé, Cathy Mote; sons, Nathan Chennault, Nolan Chennault; daughters, Maegan Chennault, Lauren Chennault; sister, Christel Chennault-Brown; one granddaughter on the way, Brooklyn Grace Chennault; and a host of other family and friends.

Clayton was the epitome of a high energy and adventurous soul. He was truly fun loving and the life of every party he attended and loved entertaining others with his great stories. Clayton was a man of great faith, loved God and read the Bible daily. He was extremely generous and caring when it came to helping others in need. Clayton had an entrepreneurial spirit and owned multiple business throughout his life. His work ethic was unmatched and was often found working seven days a week. Clayton was always up for a challenge and loved getting his pilot’s license. He enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family. Clayton was an avid Houston Texans fan and enjoyed the sport of horse racing. He will always be remembered for his loyalty and friendship. Clayton will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him.

A Memorial Service for Clayton will be held Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm at Clayton Funeral Home, 5530 W. Broadway, Pearland, Texas 77581.


The plane crashed by an experienced pilot into the Cemex plant on June 1 was reported stolen to Midland police and investigators are treating the case as a possible suicide, City of Midland officials confirmed Tuesday.

Midland officials have not made the police report public pending a formal open records request but spokeswoman Sara Bustilloz discussed investigators’ findings in a Tuesday interview. She said investigators closed the investigation because the only person suspected of any crime died in the crash.

Police were called at about 9:07 p.m. June 1 to Basin Aviation, a fixed-base operator at Midland Airpark in northeast Midland, 901 Veterans Airpark Lane. Bustilloz said the caller was a woman who said her fiancé might have been in a plane crash.

“She indicated to us that the plane crash could have possibly been a suicide,” Bustilloz said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the pilot at 45-year-old Clayton Ray Chennault of Goldsmith, who died in the crash. No other injuries were reported, and the plant is reportedly online.

The DPS reported the single-engine plane was flying east and for “unknown reasons” crashed into the silo of the Cemex plant sometime during Wednesday night.

Bustilloz said Chennault’s fiancé said she had been in contact with him as late as 8 p.m.

 “He might have been up in the air some time at or after 8 p.m.,” Bustilloz said, citing witness statements that estimated the plane crashed at about 8:45 p.m. Bustilloz said there was “no indication of [Chennault] trying to harm anybody else.”

Bustilloz said Chennault’s mother told police she and other family members were in contact with him by phone before the crash and also suspected suicide.

The Odessa American was unable to reach Chennault’s fiancée for comment.

The aircraft, a Cessna 150K, was registered to LM Air Patrol Service in Midland. Reached by phone, owner Larry Mercer declined to comment and hung up. Bustilloz said Chennault was Mercer’s employee.

Bustilloz said Mercer, who was also at Basin Aviation with Chennault’s family the night of the crash trying to find the plane, told police in a follow up interview that Chennault did not have consent to fly the plane outside of work hours or to fly the plane for personal use. Chennault reportedly took the plane from a hangar at Basin Aviation.

Ultimately, Bustilloz said Midland police confirmed with other agencies that Chennault died in the crash and notified his family members, along with crisis counselors.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter said he was familiar with the aircraft, which was used to inspect pipelines. The sheriff’s office was not investigating the case.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration referred all questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is heading the investigation and no longer had an investigator in the in the area by Monday.

NTSB spokesmen Peter Knudson declined specific comment on the local police report ahead of a preliminary report expected later this week or early next week.

“We are aware of these reports, we will consider them as part of our investigation and we will work with local authorities,” Knudson said.

Knudson said that the report would outline factual information, while a determination of probable cause can take as long as a year. Many details about the plane crash remain publicly unclear, such as the precise time of the crash and the altitude at which the aircraft was supposed to be flying.

DPS troopers have finished investigating the crash, spokesman Trooper Justin Baker said.

Archives of the trade publication Aviation Business Gazette listed Chennault as certified under the FAA Airmen Certification Database, for pilots “who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.” FAA records showed a commercial pilot certificate had been issued to Chennault on May 20, rating him to fly single-engine, multi-engine and instrument airplanes.

The plane was removed from the Cemex silo during the weekend. Cemex spokeswoman Megan Lawrence declined to discuss any damage caused to the plant or the removal but released a brief statement.

“The issues affecting operations at the plant have been addressed,” Cemex said in a statement sent by Lawrence.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating why the pilot of a single-engine airplane crashed into a cement plant near Penwell, killing the pilot in the process.

But few details were released Thursday from federal authorities about the crash and local and state authorities released few, and sometimes contradicting, information about the airplane that crashed into the Cemex plant Wednesday evening.

The pilot of the Cessna 150K was identified as 46-year-old Clayton Ray Chennault, of Goldsmith. A release from DPS said the plane was flying eastbound and, for “unknown reasons,” the plane crashed into the silo.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for NTSB, said the first steps federal officials are taking are to document the scene and then try to recover the debris off the top of the silo where the plane crashed.

“The number one priority is the recovery of the aircraft,” Knudson said in a phone interview, adding that at least one official with the FAA was at the Cemex plant working to gather information to work in collaboration with the NTSB.

In aviation crashes, Knudson said, the FAA has more employees and works in connection with the NTSB to gather information for their reports. A preliminary report would be ready within a few weeks, Knudson said.

Details of the crash from local and state agencies were not consistent, with several different authorities reporting the crash happening at different times.

Officials with Odessa Fire/Rescue said the crash was reported around 8:46 p.m. Wednesday while a news release from the Texas Department of Public Safety says the accident happened around 10:51 p.m. that evening.

Reports from CBS 7 had officials saying the accident happened around 7 p.m.

Knudson said he did not have the information immediately available because the crash was still under investigation and could not confirm a time for the crash or if employees with Cemex were the ones who reported the crash.

The plane is registered to LM Air Patrol Service, a company out of Midland. A phone number listed for the company was disconnected when called Thursday.

The Texas Comptroller website lists the registered agent name for the company as Larry Mercer. A contact number for Mercer could not be found Thursday.

The Cemex plant itself was opened in some areas, Communication Director for Cemex Sara Bouffard said. The shipping area around the crash remained closed Thursday while the other areas of the plant were open, she said.

No Cemex employees were injured, Bouffard said, adding the cement plant is lit up in the evenings, though she did not have the specific plans for the plant in Penwell.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the pilot,” Bouffard said.

Jennifer Hammond, a waitress and bartender at Bob’s Roadhouse Restaurant in Goldsmith, said Chennault was a regular customer at the establishment in the year since she has been at the restaurant.

She recalled Chennault as being a “good guy,” who everyone liked and described his demeanor has happy and said he had a love of flying planes and talked about it often. Hammond said she was shocked when she heard about his death.

“He was really friendly and funny,” she said.

ECTOR COUNTY New details have just been released in the small plane crash in West Odessa Wednesday night.

According to a news release from DPS, 46- year-old Ray Chennault from Goldsmith died in the accident.

The release states that the plane, a Cessna 150K, was flying eastbound and for unknown reasons crashed into a concrete silo.

The report says it was raining at the time of the crash though weather has not been declared a factor in the accident.

FAA inspectors are on their way to scene and will likely arrive sometime this morning.

The NTSB has been notified and will be the lead agency in the investigation.

Original article can be found here:

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