Saturday, March 4, 2017

Beechcraft 60 Duke, N39AG: Fatal accident occurred March 04, 2017 in Duette, Manatee County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Tampa, Florida 
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Textron; Wichita, Kansas 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA119
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 04, 2017 in Duette, FL
Aircraft: BEECH B 60, registration: N39AG
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 March 4, 2017, about 1330 eastern standard time, a Beech B-60, N39AG, was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire following an uncontrolled descent in Duette, Florida. The private pilot/owner and the flight instructor were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to friends and representatives of the pilot's family, the pilot recently purchased the airplane, and the purpose of the flight was to complete ground and flight training in the airplane to meet insurance requirements.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) and radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane departed Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) about 1240, and cancelled flight following services with ATC about 10 minutes later.

For about the next 30 minutes, radar data depicted an overlapping track of left and right 360-degree, and figure-eight turns consistent with airwork performed during a training or evaluation flight. The track was over a rural area northeast of SRQ and in the immediate vicinity of the accident site.

A family, whose farm was less than 1 mile from the accident site, witnessed the accident from their property, and was interviewed at their home; their statements were consistent throughout. The witnesses were familiar with airplanes and their engine sounds, and airplanes frequently flew and maneuvered over their property.

The witnesses said their attention was drawn to the airplane by its sound. The airplane sounded loud as if it was at "low" altitude, but the engine sound was smooth. They went outside and watched the airplane's flight, and its subsequent descent.

With a model of an airplane in his hand, one witness demonstrated an airplane in straight and level flight, going "kind of slow," as the nose gradually pitched up. He then demonstrated the airplane suddenly banking to one side, and entering a spiraling descent. He said the engine sound was smooth and continuous throughout, and the engine sound increased throughout the airplane's descent, until it disappeared from his view and he heard the sounds of impact. The witness added that as the airplane disappeared behind the trees and out of view, he "heard him give it gas," and described an engine sound increasing to very high rpm.

Two other members of the family provided nearly identical statements, and a fourth family member said he heard the airplane approach and all the way to ground contact, but did not see it. The witness, an engine mechanic, said the engine sounds were smooth and continuous throughout.

A group of motorcyclists were travelling on the state highway adjacent to the crash site when their attention was drawn to the airplane. They could not hear it over the sound of their motorcycles, but watched as the airplane departed straight and level flight in a near vertical, spiraling descent.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and multiengine land. He did not possess an instrument rating. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on April 4, 2016, and he reported 800 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued October 6, 2014. The flight instructor reported 20,569 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The six-seat, twin-engine, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane was manufactured in 1977 and was equipped with two Lycoming 310-horsepower reciprocating engines. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on March 2, 2017, at 3,271.6 total aircraft hours.

The 1350 automated weather observation at Lakeland Regional Airport (LAL), located 23 nautical miles north of the accident site, included clear skies, 10 statute miles visibility, and wind from 005° at 10 knots gusting to 20 knots. The temperature was 24° C, the dew point was 8° C, and the altimeter setting was 30.39 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. Angularly-cut tree branches were observed in the trees above, as well as scattered on the ground. The airplane came to rest immediately adjacent to three craters which were each about 3 feet deep. The craters were spaced at a distance consistent with the nose, and both engines of the airplane. The postimpact fire consumed a majority of the airplane, including the cockpit instruments and switches. Seat belt use could not be confirmed, though a latched buckle was found in the area of the right seat. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from the flight controls to the cockpit area. The flaps and landing gear were retracted. The trim actuators were within normal operating range.

The fuel selector handle panel in the cockpit was separated from its mounting structure. The left fuel selector handle was near the ON position. The left fuel selector valve cable was pulled out of the valve and the valve was in a non-operating position. The right fuel selector was in the ON position.

Both engines were partially separated from the airframe. The three propeller blades from each engine were found separated from their respective hubs in the impact craters. One of the left propeller blades exhibited a large impact to its leading edge and all blades exhibited similar bending and cambered side polishing.

The engines were examined at a recovery facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Both engines displayed significant impact and fire damage, and neither could be rotated by hand. The engine accessories were destroyed by impact and fire, and could not be tested. The fuel servos of each engine contained a small amount of fuel. Both engine oil sumps were consumed by fire.

The compressor housings of both the left and right engine turbochargers displayed radial scuff marks adjacent to their respective impellers. The nose of each engine starter displayed rotational scoring adjacent to the engine crankshaft starter gear.

Visual inspection of the engine drive trains, valve trains, and individual cylinders revealed signatures consistent with normal wear and lubrication.

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

UPDATE:  The Manatee County Sheriff's office has released the names of the victims of Saturday's Plane Crash in Duette in Northeastern Manatee county.

Detectives have tentatively identified the victims of plane crash as David B. Muchler, DOB 12/6/1958 and Robert “Bob” Redfern, DOB 12/2/1926. Muchler was from Raleigh N.C. while Redfern recently moved to Manatee County from Melbourne, FL.

DUETTE, Fla. -- Federal officials are investigating a deadly plane crash in east Manatee County.

"There was nothing left. The plane was completely melted down," says Duette resident David Hayman.

Hayman was outside his home near the intersection of SR-62 and FL-37 Saturday afternoon around 1:30pm when he says he saw a small plane flying just 1,000 feet in the air. The sounds caught his attention: a pop, crash, and an explosion. The plane crashed just hundreds of feet from his home.

"We were all sitting outside," explains Hayman. "We turned around the saw the plane just nose diving; just going straight down."

Hayman says he rushed over to the scene to help the two passengers, who both died in the crash.

"I ran in to help, but there was nothing left of the wreckage."

"It's a pretty burned out site," says Manatee County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Randy Warren. "It's the remains of a twin engine Beechcraft."

Deputies arrived to find land burning on both sides of SR-37 making it difficult to find the crashed plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration was on site investigating, but still hasn't identified the victims. The sheriff's office says even though the plane took off from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, the pilot and passenger may not be locals.

"We've also learned the plane was registered out of California," explains Warren. "It's possibly a leased aircraft from a company in California."

Officials with the Florida Fire Service struggled to put out about 30-acres of brush fires caused by the explosion

"It's a beautiful day out here today, and that's what makes it bad," says Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Patrick Mahoney. "The low humidity, the high winds."

Fire officials have since contained the affected areas.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board will be on scene on Sunday investigating what may have caused this crash.

Story and video:

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A small, twin engine plane crashed just off of State Road 37 in a wooded area of eastern Manatee County on Saturday.

A witness said he saw the plane “nosediving” to the ground, and by the time people made it to the wreckage, the area was on fire and there was little left of the aircraft.

Investigators tentatively identified the victims of the crash as David Muchler, 58, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Robert Redfern, 90, of Manatee County, on Monday.

The plane took off from Dolphin Aviation on Saturday. A manager said he is aware two people used his facilities, but said they aren’t from the area and no one knew who they are.

Coming up with the name of the second victim and identifying the remains proved difficult for investigators.

“Well, this was a pretty gruesome crash scene, and that goes for the bodies, and so when you have a scene like this, you don’t have some of the things that you normally have to work with,” said Bristow.

Story and video:

DUETTE, Fla. (WFLA) —  Two people are dead after a twin-engine plane crashed into a wooded area in eastern Manatee County Saturday afternoon. The aircraft exploded on impact and caused a brush fire that damaged 30 acres.

According to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report the Beechcraft 60 Duke went down just before 1:30 pm near the intersection of Bradley Rd. and State Road 37.

David Hayman witnessed the fatal crash and called 9-1-1.

“We were all sitting outside and we just turned around and saw the plane just nosediving,” Hayman explained. “[It was] just going straight down; we heard an explosion right after and then I ran in there to [where it went down] to try and help but there was nothing left but wreckage.”

MCSO Public Information Officer Randy Warren said the aircraft departed from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport just after 1pm. Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration will try to determine what caused the plane to go down. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board will also be involved in the probe.

Approximately 25 first responders were dispatched to the scene to contain the fire. The identities of the deceased has not yet been released pending notification of next of kin.

“It was scary, you know,” Hayman said. “Everything was destroyed.”


DUETTE  --   Two people have been killed after a plane crashed Saturday afternoon in a wooded area of eastern Manatee County, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 1:30 p.m., deputies were called to a report of a plane crash near State Road 37, just north of State Road 62.

The plane was destroyed, and there were no survivors of the crash, said sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow. Two people are confirmed dead — the pilot and a passenger — but their identities have not been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation, and federal investigators have arrived at the scene, authorities said.

As a result of the plane crash, a wildfire erupted in the area, and S.R. 37 near S.R. 62 was closed.

Authorities said the Beechcraft 60 Duke took off from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport at about 1 p.m., but no flight plan had been filed.

At the height of the response, there were 25 to 30 first responders at the scene, according to Manatee County Public Safety Director Bob Smith

“Initially there was fire on both sides of the road that responders were working to put out to get to the wreckage,” Smith said.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the scene of the crash moments after a witness who lives near the crash called 911.

David Hayman said he was taking a stroll in his backyard when he heard the plane and looked up to see that it nose-diving toward the ground.

“Next thing I knew, I just heard that explosion,” Hayman said.

Hayman said he ran toward the scene intending to help victims, but the wreckage instantly became engulfed in flames.

“But there was nothing left,” Hayman said. “The whole plane was melted down.”

He said he looked for the tail number, but there was nothing left.

Shortly before 6 p.m., state forestry officials said the wildfire had been 100 percent contained to 30 affected acres.


MANATEE Co., Fla. (WWSB) - A small plane crashed just north of State Road 62 in Duette on Saturday. There are no survivors, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The pilot and one passenger died in the crash at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Their identities have not been released. The plane departed from the Sarasota Bradenton Airport around 1:15 p.m.

The plane was found off State Route 37 just north of State Route 62 in a wooded area. The wreckage ignited a wildfire. SR 37 was closed most of the day as a result.

The NTSB has been notified and will be investigating the crash.

David Hayman saw the plane go down. "We just turned around and we saw the plane just nose diving, going straight down," he said. Next thing we knew, we heard that explosion right after. And I ran in to help, but there was nothing left of the wreckage."


DUETTE — At least two people are dead after a Beechcraft 60 Duke plane crash in Manatee County caused a major wildfire to break out Saturday afternoon.

The plane took off from Sarasota just before it crashed near State Road 37 north of State Road 62, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Emergency responders found two bodies in the wreckage after the plane landed in a wooded area. They did not release the identities of the two people found dead.

A witness called 911 after seeing the crash around 1:30 p.m. 

Witnesses told detectives they saw the plane flying at low altitude before it crashed and burst into flames. It's unclear what caused the plane to go down.

The National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive at the scene by 6 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office. NTSB will lead the investigation.

By 5 p.m., fire officials said the 10-acre fire was about 70 percent contained.


A Beechcraft 60 Duke plane crashed Saturday afternoon off State Road 37 just north of State Road 62 in Manatee County, killing both occupants, according to authorities.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., deputies responded the crash and found the plane badly damaged. They were not certain how many passengers were on board. The plane reportedly had departed from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Its intended destination was not immediately clear.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and is investigating the crash.

The crash caused a wildfire in the area and State Road 37 near State Road 62 is closed.

10News reporter Jonathan Petramala was on the scene as a witness described the crash.


MANATEE COUNTY, Fla - A Beechcraft 60 Duke plane has crashed in Manatee County. It happened at around 1:30 p.m. near State Road 36 north of State Road 62.

The twin-engine plane was badly damaged according to a release from the Manatee County Sheriff’s office.   It is unknown how many passengers were on the plane.

The crash caused a wildfire in the area.  State Road 37 near State Road 62 is now closed. Florida Forest Service says that the wildfire is now 70 percent contained at 10 acres.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responding to the crash to investigate.



Anonymous said...

Way too many piston twins crashing lately! Sad, very sad! Makes me wonder!

Anonymous said...

in 1965 when I took my Commercial ride, the numbers were clear that a large preponderance of weather related fatalities involved those professions that demanded those persons to make clear and unambiguous decisions and live by them. Doctors, lawyers, CEOs of all types etc.. NOT a good plan in an airplane. What I see now is an industry where the cost of high performance aircraft is so high that basically only the wealthy can fly them. Twins of any sort are inherently safer in case of the loss of an engine, but ONLY if the pilot is rigorously trained initially and on a regular intensive recurring basis. Our cars are vastly more dependable than the ones we all learned on. So are our aircraft. But twins do fail us, and when they do we have to be instantly ready to follow our training if we are going to get back to the café. An engine emergency at any phase of flight should not surprise us. We should be expecting it and prepared to fly back home. One of my instructors, a gnarly ex-army nco pilot drummed it into me that giving your ride a pat and saying that the old girl had never let you down is insanity. A plane is just waiting to kill you. You just have to stay ahead of it. Worked for me. They tried and failed.

Anonymous said...

We took off from runway 04 i believe right after they took off on 14.(if that was the same plane) My sons both commented on the smoketrails it was leaving,black smoke On climb out. we were about 4 miles north of them when it went down but we were watching the local skywriter so did not see it.

Anonymous said...

Women and handguns are the only two things on planet earth that are more dangerous than piston twins! That is what my CFI told me 11 years ago. I am beginning to think he was correct!

Anonymous said...

^Why are handguns dangerous? Handguns don't kill people, just like spoons didn't make Rosie O'Donald fat.

Anonymous said...

If I read the update correctly, the instructor was 91 years old. The pilot getting trained with 800 total hours was 60 years old. This doesn't sound like a good idea.

Anonymous said...

There are critical medical factors that may contribute to fatal accidents among elderly pilots.