Monday, August 8, 2016

Cessna 177B Cardinal, Mei-Chu Corp., N30923: Accident occurred August 08, 2016 in McDonough, Chenango County, New York

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA286
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 08, 2016 in McDonough, NY
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N30923
Injuries: 4 Minor.

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 August 8, 2016, about 1535 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177B, N30923, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain while maneuvering near McDonough, New York. The private pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from Sidney Airport (N23), Sidney, New York and was destined for Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

During an interview, the pilot stated that prior to the accident flight, he filled the airplane's fuel tanks, for a total fuel load of 50 gallons. The purpose of the flight was to fly back to HWV, where the airplane was based, and give the three passengers an opportunity to view and photograph a local landmark on-the-way. After making two passes over the landmark, the passengers asked the pilot to flyover again, but at a slower speed. The pilot then fully deployed the flaps in preparation for the next flyover. During the flyover, the pilot noted that the airplane was slow, and had descended to a height near the tops of the trees. He added full power and fully retracted the flaps. The airplane did not appear to be climbing, and in "a wink of an eye the nose dropped." The pilot was then looking straight down at the ground. The pilot's next recollection was that the airplane was on the ground. He and his passengers subsequently egressed before the airplane was consumed by a postimpact fire.

During separate statements to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, first responders and an NTSB investigator, the pilot did not report any mechanical functions during the accident flight. In a subsequent written statement he reported that the engine experienced a total power loss prior to the impact.

One of the passengers reported that he and the other two passengers were taking pictures of the landmark when he noticed the airplane descending and then hitting a tree. He did not remember hearing anything strange before the accident. Another witness that was standing on the north side of the landmark, saw the airplane fly overhead three times. During the third flyover, the airplane was flying north very low near the tree tops. He then heard the breaking of branches and a loud bang. He stated he ask someone to call 911 while he tried to help the passengers out of the airplane. Shortly after they all were out of the airplane, it erupted in flames.

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that the airplane was destroyed by fire. The engine was intact, but exhibited extensive thermal damage. All other components were unrecognizable.

The weather conditions reported at Greater Binghamton Airport, Binghamton, New York, located 16 nautical miles south of the accident site, at 1553, were clear sky, wind calm, and visibility 10 statute miles.

The pilot held a private certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He also held a third-class medical certificate, issued on June 24, 2016. His last flight review was completed on June 27, 2015. At the time of the accident, the pilot reported 378 total hours of flight experience, with 100 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

MCDONOUGH, N.Y. -- A small plane crashed Monday afternoon behind a spiritual retreat center that sits on 500 acres in rural Chenango County.

Four people survived the plane crashed around 3:30 p.m. Monday behind Palyul Retreat Center, at 359 German Hollow Road in McDonough, WBNG News Channel 12 reported.

A man working at Palyul Retreat Center said employees heard the plane crash and called 911. The retreat center is a place where people can study and practice Buddhism, according to its website.

Smithville and Green volunteer firefighters, state police, state forest rangers, and ambulances from Greene, Broome and Oxford departments responded. When they arrived, they reported seeing heavy smoke, according to the Chenango County Fire Alerts' Facebook page.

After the plane crashed, it caught fire, according to News Channel 12. However, all four people inside made it out safely, according to the news report.

State police told reporters the plane, traveling from Sidney in Delaware County to Greene in Chenango County, was flying low shortly before the crash. Troopers also said people on the plane were taking pictures when it struck the top of trees, according to News Channel 12.

A preliminary investigation found tree branches "helped to break the impact of the plane crash," Chenango County Fire Coordinator Matt Beckwith told Channel 12.

The four plane crash survivors had minor injuries and are expected to recover, according to news reports. It was not immediately clear how many of the survivors were taken to the hospital, however, the Chenango County Fire Alerts Facebook page said ambulances took the three people to Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, near Binghamton.

Someone who ran from the Palyul Retreat Center to help the crash victims also was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, according to Time Warner Cable News.

The plane crash remains under investigation.


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Four passengers escape serious injury after a small plane crash in Chenango County. The four passengers were transported to Wilson Hospital with minor to moderate injuries. One bystander was also sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The crash occurred in the wooded area behind the Palyul Buddhist Retreat just outside of the Town of Smithville. Authorities say the plane exploded shortly after the crash landing. All passengers made it to safety minutes before the explosion with help from students and volunteers at the retreat.

Mary Pratt, a volunteer at the retreat, heard the plane crash into the trees. She says the 9-1-1 call was promptly made and she ran up to the woods and saw students helping the crash victims from the plane.

"Moments later we heard what sounded like a firecracker or a gunshot and that was in fact the gas tank of the plane blowing up and the plane burnt to a crisp," says Pratt.

The preliminary investigation states that the cause of the crash was likely pilot failure rather than mechanical failure.


Four people have escaped a plane crash in Chenango County without serious injuries. Police tell us the victims of the crash are extremely lucky to be alive.

It happened near Hollow Road in Smithville around 3:30 Monday afternoon. The crash happened right outside the Buddhist center in Smithville.

State police say it appears the plane was flying too low and clipped some trees.

Four people were inside. They were all hospitalized with what appear to be minor injuries. A fifth person who helped pull the others out of the plan was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Witnesses described hearing a loud plane flying above the center, and shortly after that, there was a boom. Multiple people at the Buddhist center rushed to help rescue those on board.

"Being that there was airplane fuel, it is more volatile than regular fuel," said Chenango County Deputy Fire Coordinator Michael Beckwith. "By the time we got back into the crash site, a lot of it had burned out. They did put out what little fire there was in the tail. There were a few spot fires around the crash site."

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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MCDONOUGH, N.Y. (WBNG) -- Emergency crews responded Monday afternoon to a plane crash in Chenango County.

According to Chenango County Fire Coordinator Matt Beckwith, four people were in the small plane when it crashed in the area of 359 Hollow Road in McDonough.

The crash was reported just after 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Investigators say the plane caught fire after crashing into a wooded area behind the Palyul Retreat Center, but all four people made it out of the plane safely. They've been transported to UHS Wilson Hospital in Johnson City to be treated for minor injuries, Beckwith says.

New York State Police say the plane was traveling from Sidney to Greene. Troopers say the plane was flying low and the people on board were taking pictures, when the plane hit the top of the trees.

According to Beckwith, a preliminary investigation found tree branches helped to break the impact of the plane crash. All occupants are expected to recover.

Beckwith also says most of the plane burned up.

One person inside the Palyul Retreat Center ran out to help the plane's occupants out of the woods. That person was also taken to the hospital as a precaution, Beckwith added.

That person was one of several from the center who helped.

"Fortunately we had monks in the temple and some of our strong, younger male students ran out to the plane and were able to get people out quickly," said Mary Pratt, a volunteer at the Palyul Retreat Center.

Several agencies responded to the scene including the Greene Fire Department, New York State Police and NYS Forest Rangers.

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