Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Pitts S2E Special, N30BJ: Fatal accident occurred March 08, 2017 at Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, Wake County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA123

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Apex, NC
Aircraft: JORDAN BRUCE C PITTS S2E, registration: N30BJ
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 March 8, 2017, about 1535 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S2E, N30BJ, was substantially damaged after it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, North Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated around 1500. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, the airplane was descending on approach to runway 9, and they reported that the engine "revved up," and "sounded like it was running perfectly." One witness reported seeing the airplane approaching the runway at an angle before the airplane went out of her line of sight. Then, several witnesses reported that they heard two "booms."

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for with ratings airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on October 17, 2016, with the limitation of "must wear corrective lenses." According to the pilot's logbook, he accumulated a total of 1933.2 hours of flight time. In the previous year, he had accumulated 9.4 hours of flight time, of which, all hours were in the accident airplane.

According to FAA records, the two-place biplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 2009, and was registered to the pilot. In addition, it was equipped with a Lycoming HIO-360 series, 190-horsepower, engine that drove a two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed October 17, 2016, at a total time of 92.7 hours. Since that time, the pilot had flown the airplane for a total of 3.7 hours.

The airplane impacted a pine tree prior to impacting the ground and came to rest, partially inverted, on the left wing. The wreckage was oriented on a 150° heading, about 300 feet from the threshold of runway 9, and a ground scar was located about 15 feet prior to the main wreckage. All components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage and the debris field was about 240 feet long on a 90° heading. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the respective flight control surfaces. The lower left wing was bent aft and the outboard section was separated and scattered along the debris path. A section of the lower left wing tip was located in the vicinity of the initial tree strike. The upper left wing was partially separated and cut in half by first responders. The right wings remained attached to the fuselage and were bent forward. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were undamaged. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, incurred skin damage, and were slightly bent. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained attached to the empennage, however, the outboard sections of both the horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent in a positive direction.

The propeller remained attached to the engine and both blades exhibited chordwise scratching. In addition, one blade displayed leading edge gouging and the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling.

The engine remained attached to the airframe through all engine mounts and was removed to facilitate further examination. The top cowling was removed and several pine needles were noted on top of the cylinders. The bottom section of the cowling was impact crushed in the positive (upward) direction. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was observed on all cylinders. The rocker box covers were removed and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valvetrain continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360-degrees of motion. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to the controls in the cockpit but were cut to facilitate examination. Fuel was noted throughout the entire fuel system in the engine.

The 1551 recorded weather observation at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Raleigh, North Carolina, which was about 9 miles to the north of the accident location, included wind from 300 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet above ground level, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point -9 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury.

Cox Airport was a private use airport located 1 mile north of Apex, North Carolina, and did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with a turf runway designated as 9/27, which was 2,450 feet long by 75 feet wide. The airport elevation was 455 feet above mean sea level.

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

Bruce C. Jordan, 80, of Cary, died Wednesday, March 8, 2017 following a plane crash in Apex, NC.

Bruce was born September 14, 1936 in Henderson, NC to the late Bruce and Natalie Seaman Jordan. He was a veteran of the US Air Force and was employed with the EPA for over 25 years. Bruce had a passion for flying and built several small airplanes. Bruce was a faithful servant and member of Salem Baptist Church. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. Bruce was very giving of his time and resources knowing all that he had was a gift from the Lord. 

Bruce is survived by his wife of 57 years, Peggy Jordan; daughter, Tammy Pressley and husband, Mark; son, Michael Jordan and wife, Katina; grandchildren, Jordan Pressley and wife, Ashley, Megan Pressley Budway and husband, Forrest, Josiah Jordan and Kenan Jordan; brother, Bob Mitchell and wife, Pat; sisters, Lillie Reavis, Ruth Moss, and Becky Taylor and husband, Warren. 

A Funeral Service will be held at 2pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at Salem Baptist Church, 1821 N. Salem Street, Apex, NC 27523. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the fellowship hall. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Senior Adult Ministry at Salem Baptist Church. 

Apex, N.C. — The pilot of a Pitts S2E Special plane died Wednesday afternoon in a crash into the private Cox Airfield off U.S. Highway 64 north of Apex.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the pilot Wednesday night as 80-year-old Bruce Clyde Jordan Jr.

According to registry documents, the plane was owned by Jordan, of 6905 Wade Drive in Cary. Troopers said the plane was built from a kit by Jordan in 2009.

Sgt. Michael Baker, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said Jordan was coming in for a landing when he clipped a tree and the plane plowed into the ground.

Weather did not appear to have been a factor. At the time of the crash, just before 4 p.m., skies were clear and winds were gusting to 18 mph.

The archive of the National Transportation Safety Board lists one other crash in the history of the Cox Airfield. In December 1982, two aircraft collided in midair after the pilots failed to see one another. No one was killed in that crash.

Story and video:

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – The pilot of a small aircraft died when his plane crashed near a small airfield in Apex Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

APitts S2E Special aircraft crashed near the Cox Field Airport in Apex, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The plane is believed to have clipped trees as it attempted to land.

The pilot was injured during the crash and later died.

The FAA is investigating the incident while the National Transportation Safety Board take the lead in that investigation.

Story and video:

1 comment:

Daytona Shelby said...

So sad. Two things caught my attention while reading this article. 1.) The plane crashed 300' from the threshold to runway 9 while on approach. The nearest wind report was 9 miles away with wind coming from 300 degrees @ 7kts. Shouldn't he have been using runway 27 into the wind with it coming from his right instead of landing with a tailwind? Also, reports of gusts at 18mph doesn't sound appealing. 2.) The pilot only flew 9.4hrs in the previous 12 months which in my opinion in not enough to stay proficient. R.I.P. fellow aviator