Saturday, April 1, 2017

Grumman American AA-5B Tiger, Annies Things LLC, N425AE and Cessna 170B, N8082A: Fatal accident occurred April 01, 2017 near Massey Ranch Airpark (X50), New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

ERA17FA143A - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

ERA17FA143B - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Gary L. Somerton: 

Annies Things LLC:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA143A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 01, 2017 in Edgewater, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 170B, registration: N8082A
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA143B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 01, 2017 in Edgewater, FL
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA-5B, registration: N425AE
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 April 1, 2017, about 0842 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 170B, N8082D, and a Grumman American AA-5B, N425AE, were destroyed during an in-flight collision near New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The airline transport pilot flying the Cessna and the airline transport pilot flying the Grumman were both fatally injured. The airplanes were part of a formation flight that departed from Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Florida, about 0839, and was destined for Arthur Dunn Airport (X21), Titusville, Florida. No flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the personal formation flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Both accident airplanes were participating in a formation flight with three other airplanes. All five pilots participating in the formation flight were members of a pilot group based at 7FL6. On the morning of the accident, members of the group were flying to X21 to attend a monthly breakfast event.

The five-airplane formation flight involved in the accident included a Great Lakes biplane, the accident Cessna, the accident Grumman, a Grumman AA-1C (Lynx), and an American Champion 8KCAB (Super Decathlon), all of which took off from 7FL6 in elements. The flight leader was flying the biplane and the accident Grumman took off in formation first, followed by the Cessna and the Lynx taking off in formation next, followed by the Decathlon.

After takeoff from 7FL6, the flight initially formed into a five airplane "Vic" or "V" formation, with the flight leader in the biplane at the apex, and the rest of the flight in echelon with the Grumman in the No. 2 position, and the Decathlon in the No. 5 position, to the left of the flight leader, and the Cessna in the No. 3 position, and the Lynx in the No. 4 position, to the right of the flight leader.

The formation flight then turned south towards X21. Due to the position of the sun, the flight leader decided to change to a left echelon formation where the airplanes would be arranged diagonally, to his left, with each airplane being stacked slightly low, behind, and to the left of the airplane ahead. This arrangement allowed the pilots to avoid the sun glare. This would require the Cessna (No. 3) and the Lynx (No. 4) to transition across from right to left behind the leader. The Grumman would remain in the No. 2 position to the left and aft of the leader, the Cessna in the No. 3 position to the left and aft of the Grumman, the Lynx in the No. 4 position to the left and aft of the Cessna, and the Decathlon in the No.5 position to the left and aft of the Lynx.

According to the flight leader, moments after he commanded the Cessna and the Lynx to the left, in the corner of his peripheral vision at approximately his 7 o'clock position, he saw a "flash" or something white, like the bottom of an airplane.

According to the pilot of the Lynx, when the flight leader commanded the Cessna, and himself to the left, he heard the flight leader transmit "cleared to cross," and he observed the Cessna start to move to the left "slow and normal." He stayed with the Cessna, and when it was almost on the left echelon bearing line, he saw the it move into position behind the Grumman. He then suddenly saw "parts" coming back towards him on his right side, along with what appeared to be "vapor." He then saw the Grumman abruptly pitch up, and go past him above and to his right. The Grumman then looked like it was entering a loop as the airplane's nose was already past vertical and he could see the top of the airplane. He then observed something on the right side of the Cessna move upward before its tail began to "slew to the left," and disappeared from view.

The biplane and the Lynx then broke formation, with the biplane immediately pulling up and turning hard left, and the Lynx entering a left 60° banked turn. The flight leader in the biplane could see parts of the airplanes falling to the ground, and he could see the Cessna descending like a falling leaf with what appeared to be the right wing folded over. The flight leader then began to circle the accident site, and reported the accident over the radio to an air traffic controller at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport, (EVB), New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He then continued to circle the accident site until emergency responders arrived.

According to witnesses who were driving on Interstate Highway 95 (I-95), they saw the formation flight traveling southbound. They observed that the formation flight was about 1/4 mile west of I-95 when the collision occurred, and they observed the "wing" on one of the airplanes come off, the airplane tumble, and then rapidly descend tail low, until they lost sight of it behind a tree line. They also saw the other airplane descend rapidly, almost straight down, until losing sight of it. The witnesses also watched as parts from both airplanes descend to the ground with one piece landing in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes. Moments after the collision occurred, another formation flight flew north along the east side of I-95.

Examination of the accident site revealed that a 1/4-mile-long debris field, with most the debris being contained in a 1,036 ft long by 290 ft wide section. The Grumman and Cessna came to rest approximately 220 ft apart.

Examination of the wreckage of the Cessna revealed that the monocoque structure of the aft fuselage was completely separated from the rest of the airplanes structure, just forward of the empennage. The empennage was attached to the rest of the airplane by the control cables for the elevator, rudder, and pitch trim, which were twisted around each other multiple times. Further examination of the aft fuselage and empennage also revealed the presence of paint transfers, which matched the trim color of the Grumman. These were present on the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer which had been crushed back, the right horizontal stabilizer, and the right side of the aft fuselage.

The Cessna's right wing flap came to rest approximately 397 ft northeast of the main wreckage of the Cessna. The inboard section of the right aileron was missing, the right aileron control cable had been severed, and the area of the wing just forward of the right wing flap mounting location, displayed evidence of propeller strikes, and was missing large sections of its structure.

Examination of the wreckage of the Grumman revealed that no major portions of the airplane were missing. The leading edges of the propeller blades were damaged and displayed semicircular gouges

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and maintenance records, the Cessna was manufactured in 1952. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on October 1, 2016. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 4596.8 total hours of operation.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the Grumman was manufactured in 1977. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on September 1, 2016. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 1673.4 total hours of operation.

According to FAA records, the pilot of the Cessna held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land, and commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine, airplane-multi engine, and instrument airplane; a flight engineer certificate with a rating for flight engineer turbojet powered; and a mechanic certificate with ratings for airframe and powerplant. He also held type ratings for the B-737, B-757, B-767, B-777, BE-1900, and BE-300. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on February 10, 2017. He had accrued about 14,620 total hours of flight experience.

According to FAA records, the pilot of the Grumman held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land, and commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land, and airplane single-engine sea. She also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine, airplane-multi engine, and instrument airplane; a flight engineer certificate with a rating for flight engineer turbojet powered; and a ground instructor certificate with ratings for advanced and instrument. She also held type ratings for the A-330, B-747, B-757, B-767, BE-1900, and CE-510S. Her most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on October 19, 2016. She had accrued about 11,368 total hours of flight experience.

The wreckage of both airplanes was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

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

Obituary for Gary Somerton

Gary Lee Somerton, a United Airlines Captain and resident of Port Orange, FL, died unexpectedly on April 1, 2017 at the age of 57.

Gary is survived by his wife Christine Russell Banks; his children, Kyliegh, Cole, Andrew Banks and Katherine Banks; his siblings, David Somerton of Oklahoma City, OK, Linda Foster and Patty (Frank) Merriam, all of Pittsburgh, PA; and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, long-time friends and co-workers. He is predeceased by his parents John and Ruth (Fenton) Somerton and his sister Judith McCaskey.

Gary was born in Pittsburgh, PA on February 16, 1960. He graduated from Brashear High School and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics where he studied aviation technology and aircraft maintenance. He began his career in aviation as an airplane mechanic, ultimately achieving his dream of becoming a pilot. He has served United Airlines as a pilot for more than 20 years, most recently as a Captain of the 737. On November 21, 2015, Gary and Christine were married in a beachside service in Ormond Beach, FL. 

They settled with their four children at the Spruce Creek Fly-In, where they embraced the family lifestyle of the surrounding aviation community. Gary pursued his passion for flying beyond his career as a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA Chapter 288), serving as an Eagle pilot and an Aviation Explorer volunteer. He took great pleasure in gatherings at “The Tree” and his many gaggle flights. In addition to spending time with his family and fellow-aviation enthusiasts, Gary enjoyed the beach and Jimmy Buffet tunes.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 AM on Friday, April 14 at the Port Orange Presbyterian Church located at 4662 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Port Orange, FL 32128. The Reverend Calvin Gittner will officiate. Memorial donations may be offered to the Gary Somerton Memorial Fund administered by EAA Chapter 288, which is intended to support aviation education for youth ( ). Condolences may be shared with the family at

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to friends and neighbors, the Port Orange Presbyterian Church and to Gary’s extended aviation family for their outpouring of love and support.

Read more here:

Anne Edmonson and Gary Somerton were both airline pilots. They both shared their love of aviation with the young.

And during a tragic flight last Saturday they both died when their small planes collided while flying in formation over Edgewater.

The Edgewater Police Department on Thursday released their identities. Edmonson, 66, and Somerton, 57, both lived at the Spruce Creek Fly-In. They died in the crash as they flew near Interstate 95 and State Road 442, officials said. The planes left a quarter-mile-long trail of debris.

Edmonson and Somerton had been flying in formation about 8:45 a.m. with at least four other aircraft when the accident occurred, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The Cessna in the crash was registered to Somerton, according to an NTSB database. The other plane was a Grumman Tiger.

Both Edmonson and Somerton had airline transport pilot ratings from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the FAA website. Edmonson, though, had passed the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Somerton was a 737 pilot at United Airlines, according to Lynn O’Donnell, a friend. Officials from the airline did not return a phone message left Thursday.

Both Edmonson and Somerton were members of the EAA Chapter 288, which encompasses the Daytona Beach area, said chapter president Matt Simmons in a phone interview.

“They were both very active members of the chapter and it’s a loss for the community and for the chapter,” Simmons said.

Simmons declined to comment about the flight in which the two members perished. But he said it was not an EAA-sponsored flight.

“The accident had nothing to do with the chapter,” Simmons said.

The chapter has set up the Gary Somerton Memorial Fund to support programs encouraging youth to get involved in aviation, Simmons said.

“Gary was active in supporting youth programs through the EAA,” Simmons said.

Edmonson also had an interest in youth and aviation. She participated in a “Girls Fly” event on March 11 at the Ocala International Airport during Women in Aviation Week, according to a story from the Ocala Star-Banner. The event was designed to increase girls’ interest in aviation.

Edmonson told the girls and others during the event that she began flying when she was 38 and was a retired airline captain. Edmonson said she was a former captain at Delta Airlines and had flown a Boeing 767 for about four years during a 25-year-career which included flying cargo as well as international flights to South America, Europe and Asia, the Star-Banner reported.

Todd Gunther, an investigator with the NTSB, described during a press conference last week what witnesses saw of the two aviators’ last flight.

“According to witness statements, they viewed a formation flight that was in the area of I-95,” Gunther said. “As the aircraft were passing over I-95, according to witnesses, two of the aircraft came together and then the aircraft descended and impacted in the field behind me.”

The debris included large pieces of the aircraft. After hitting the ground, the Cessna 170 and the Grumman ended in up in two separate locations approximately 200 yards apart. Gunther said.

Gunther said it’s believed the planes took off from Spruce Creek Airport. 

Original article can be found here:

EDGEWATER — Two airplanes that collided in the air over Interstate 95 on Saturday left a quarter-mile-long line of debris before hitting the ground in a wooded field and killing two pilots, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said.

The doomed aircraft, a Cessna 170 and a Grumman American AA-5B, were flying in formation with at least four others when the two aircraft hit each other as they flew past over I-95, said Todd Gunther, the NTSB investigator leading a team looking into crash.

In a press briefing Sunday afternoon near the site of the crash at I-95 and State Road 442, Gunther said 9-1-1 dispatchers were called around 8:45 a.m. about the incident by people who witnessed it.

“According to witness statements, they viewed a formation flight that was in the area of I-95,” Gunther said. “As the aircraft were passing over I-95, according to witnesses, two of the aircraft came together and then the aircraft descended and impacted in the field behind me.”

Gunther said the identities of the pilots will be released either by the Medical Examiners’ Office or local authorities, which in this case, is the Edgewater Police Department, said city spokesperson Jill Danigel.

The debris spread from I-95 and extended a quarter-mile to the crash scene. The debris included large pieces of the aircraft. After hitting the ground, the Cessna 170 and the Grumman ended in up in two separate locations approximately 200 yards apart. Gunther said.

Gunther said it’s believed the planes took off from Spruce Creek Airport. Investigators are working to determine where they were going.

A preliminary report about the incident will be made public in 10 days and a final report with photos, research and diagrams will be completed in a year. The Federal Aviation Administration is helping with the investigation, Gunther said.

A preliminary inspection of the aircraft at the crash scene showed they were functioning well, Gunther said.

“What we know so far looking at the physical wreckage is that there is no indication of any type of a control failure on either aircraft,” Gunther said. “We have no type of structural failure that occurred before the impact sequence. In other words, all the wings, the tail, the fuselage was in place.”

The preliminary inspection at the crash site also did not reveal any type of power failure in the aircraft. Before the midair collision, witnesses said they saw the Grumman airplane was to the right of the Cessna 170, he said.

“Before the aircraft came together, the Grumman was to the right and aft of the Cessna 170 when they came together,” Gunther said. “We don’t know if the Cessna 170 decelerated, we don’t know if the Grumman accelerated and that’s something we are going to look at.”

At this point, investigators don’t whether the airplanes ascended or descended before the collision, Gunther said.

The wreckage of the aircraft, which was removed Sunday afternoon around 4, will be taken to a secure facility. Both airplanes will be reconstructed to look for evidence, weather condition and review them.

Investigators will also be looking at the aspect of “man, machine and environment” during the discovery phase, Gunther said.

“We will be looking at the flight physiology of both of the occupants of the aircraft,” he said.

Story, video and photo gallery:

EDGEWATER, Fla. —  Investigators removed the two aircraft that collided midair Saturday from where they crashed to the ground in Edgewater.

The planes will be taken to a secure location where the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a 2-D reconstruction.

The 2-D reconstruction will have a crew laying down the debris from the crash and putting it back together.

The NTSB is searching for paint-to-paint transfers, as they work to figure out how the two pilots collided.

Earlier in the day, Todd Gunther, the lead NTSB investigator said it’s unclear if the Cessna 170B and the Grumman American AA-5B Tiger accelerated or decelerated before crashing.

"There is no indication of any type of control failure on either aircraft. We have no type of structural failure that occurred before the impact sequence. In other words, all the wings, tail, the fuselage, was in place, we have no indication of any type of power plant failure from any aircraft and we have no type of indication or evidence of any type of in flight fire or explosion," Gunther said.

Both pilots, a man and a woman, died in the crash.

Witnesses said there were about six private planes flying in formation after leaving the Spruce Creek Fly-In.

Investigators say they will have a preliminary report in 7-10 days; however, it'll be a year before they release the factual report determining exactly what happened in the sky Saturday morning.

Story and video:

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Megan O'Keefe told Fox 35's David Williams that she and her husband saw two planes crash in Edgewater Saturday morning.

"The pilots acted very heroically," She said.

Megan O'Keefe and her family were driving to their daughter's soccer game Saturday when her husband said, "'Look! There's a plane and I think it's going down.'"

She said she looked up and saw five planes, three in formation and two in a dive.

"The two of them, it was going really fast and was going to the ground," She said.

Horrified, she called 911.

"It was very intense," She said. "Nothing we've ever seen before. Very surreal like out of a movie. It was a very scary moment."

She says after the two planes collided, pieces began falling out of the sky.

"At first we thought maybe it was a wing coming at us and lots of debris going all over the road," She said. "It could have crashed into my car. I had my entire family in the car with me."

Then, she saw a plane seemingly flying above the crash site.

O'Keefe showed Fox 35 cellphone she took moments after the tragedy, as she and her husband ran into the woods hoping to save someone, but there was nothing they could do. Both pilots were dead.

"My heart goes out to the friends and family of these victims," She said.

She said the pilots died as heroes.

"...They landed in the woods when they could have landed on 95 and it would have caused a lot of other casualties," She said.

Story and video:

Two people were killed Saturday after two small planes collided midair and then slammed into a wooded area near Edgewater, authorities said.

The two single-engine planes crashed just after 9 a.m. about a half a mile west of Interstate 95 near State Road 442, according to authorities. Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation with several others just before the collision.

“A witness reported seeing two small airplanes collide, separate and fall to the ground,” said Edgewater Police Chief David Arcieri.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen identified the planes as a Cessna 170 and a Grumman American AA5B, a four-seat light aircraft built in the late 1970s and ’80s.

The two pilots killed were not identified Saturday and authorities did not answer questions about where the planes had taken off from. Investigators said they did not believe there were others on the planes.

Photos, however, showed the Cessna’s tail number as N8082A. According to an FAA database, the Cessna is registered to Gary Somerton, of Port Orange. Property records show that Somerton owns a home at the Spruce Creek Fly-In community, which is about 13 miles north of the crash site. The Fly-In is the largest airpark in the United States, and a group there regularly performs formations.

The tail number of the Grumman American AA5B could not be determined.

At the crash scene, National Transportation Safety Board investigators reviewed a green-and-white plane that was in a crumpled heap next to a large tree.

A witness who asked not to be identified said one of the planes started falling out of the sky and then its wing struck the other plane.

“It went into a spin and the other one fell backwards,” he said.

Megan O’Keefe, who was traveling south on I-95, said she and her family saw the crash from their car.

“All of a sudden I looked and one plane just went into a nosedive,” she said.

Her family pulled off the highway and tried to find the crash victims.

“We were in the woods, trying to find smoke but it was too far,” she said.

What looked to be a red antique biplane circled over the crash site until rescue crews could arrive, O’Keefe said.

“He wouldn’t leave until they could get to his buddies,” she said. “It was really sad.”

The FAA said it was investigating the crash in conjunction with the NTSB, which will determine the official cause.

This is the second deadly plane crash in Volusia County in the last five months. In December, two people were killed when a small experimental plane crashed into the front yard of a home in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community.

The crash Saturday brought the total number of people killed in fatal air crashes to 26 in Volusia and Flagler counties since 2006. The greater Daytona Beach area is a hot spot for general aviation flights, which includes private planes, twin-engine corporate jets, vintage planes and experimental aircraft.

General aviation is riskier than commercial flight. In 2015, there were 229 fatal accidents nationwide, killing 376 people, according to the NTSB.

Story and video:


Anonymous said...

Flying in formation?

Anonymous said...

Does the FAA require an endorsement to fly formation?

Anonymous said...

The first part of the Grumman's tail number is visible in one of the pictures; hard to see because it is upside down. N42...

Anonymous said...

It was a gaggle flight from 7FL6. They were locals from Spruce Creek. Both of them who died were high time Airline pilots. The 170 pilot was a friend of mine.

Tragedy said...

In these times of loss, we should be reminded that life is precious and each day is a gift. Tell those you love how you feel every day and live each day like it is your last.

Tom Olson said...

You have the wrong Grumman id....It is N425AE.....It was my sisters plane

Anonymous said...

So SAD! This is why I have never and will never do this. Friends of mine have, and have had very close calls. Very dangerous operations!

Air Carrier, ATP, CFI-

Anonymous said...

Always amuses me when folks with opinions against something start of with "I have never done or I will never do this" and offer a baseless opinion since they have neither the training, or experience to make such a judgement.
The formation flying in Spruce Creek is per F.A.S.T (formation and safety team) training derived from Military formation training rules. As such, it is much safer than the folks that only fly occasionally in GA planes. In fact the safety record speaks for itself. At Spruce Creek, although formation flights have been ongoing for many years, this is the first and only accident. I personally know both of the pilots lost and view this as an unusual and extremely rare accident and offer my sincere condolences to their families.

Anonymous said...

Those who believe form flying is very dangerous and would never do it, SHOULD never do it. Just don't complain the next time a non-pilot says the exact same thing about flying generally, or GA, or single pilot IMC, or piston twins, or piston singles, or ... to each their own! Personally, it is more productive to identify and manage risk than try to make every situation fit one's own personal risk ruler, especially when one has no experience in the activity.

Any experienced formator knows that, like ANY flying, form flight is something inherently dangerous that is intolerant of inattention or error. Unfortunately, as pilots we can be forced to pay a high price for our mistakes, or the mistakes of others.

We don't know what happened here, and won't for a year and maybe ever. We can support the loved ones now grieving, and perhaps learn something from any facts that come out. We can also pause and remind ourselves that everything we love can be gone in an instant, so we should take some time to cherish it - now!

Anonymous said...

Don't be amused; you should be saddened. The lack of common sence is amazing. Also, don't set that camp fire next to the propane tank - cause that is what your doing. There must be a much better way to enjoy aviation. So, the next time you set that brake on the 320, think about the lives that could have been taken on the ground. Please examine the S in FAST. Sort of contradictory, isn't it?

Retired Airline, ATP, CFI

Anonymous said...

Very sad. Flying is such a joy.

Gerry said...

I agree with anonymous April 3rd. I was taught and have always believed there is enough risk and danger in flying as it is without pushing the envelope. Also agree with flying is such a joy, after 51 years still enjoy my J-3.

Retired Corprate pilot: ATP,CFI

Anonymous said...

If u search lakes goofy flights, Facebook page comes up, very shocking, these people were bound to have a mid air. Spruce creek rich boys,airline pilots, absolutely crazy formation flights up to 15+ aircraft, unguys were on borrowed time. No surprise after seeing that Facebook page, spruce creek has had its share of nasty accidents, mostly more money then brains or hot shot bored airline pilots and thrill seekers.

Anonymous said...

FAA, NTSB, DOT read this ^ ^ (above comments), then checkout the referenced Facebook page -- it's a real eye opener of reckless abandonment. Very disturbing. The news media and general public would be flabbergasted if they only knew this sh!t was going on in Florida.

Anonymous said...

This makes me sick. I hope you defenders are truly ashamed of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

U spruce creek people are dangerous, that website is yes, shocking, like children, very deadly dangerous. U should grow up and be responsible. Such a display of poor judgement, no wonder u had a mid air, look at those pictures.

Unbelievable, a bunch of clowns, wealthy flyboys,

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that the FAA and NTSB folks come through here in mornings ;)

Anonymous said...

FYI: NTSB & FAA read this aviation blog 24/7.

Anonymous said...

The FAA is worthless

Anonymous said...

America is blessed to have the FAA.

Gerry said...

I agree, FAA is for aviaion safety they are not perfect of course (nor are any of us) overall however IMO they do a good job. I know several personally and they are all personable and very much promoting safety. Anybody here participate in the wings program?

John Stackhouse said...

Gerry, I do. All the way to Master Wings. It seems most posters are anonymous. Always makes me wonder why. I am a fairly low time private pilot who flies a Mooney 201. Flying is difficult without attempting to fly in formation. I cannot tell you how many times I have assured passengers on my airplane that "Nobody on this airplane wants to arrive alive more than me". With that in mind, what you see in these Youtube videos is extremely difficult precision flying. This is well rehearsed and undertaken by very skilled pilots. Those who call it Reckless or Child Like do not understand that nobody up there wants to be safe more than the Pilot. Accidents happen. Yes, usually as a result of a mistake but to call what they do Reckless is completely off base.

Anonymous said...

Well John ur just as clueless as them

Gerry said...

I agree with you John they well practiced and skilled at what they do, however they are also accepting a large of unnessesary risk. This is my opinion only doesn't make it wrong!

Anonymous said...

John, the answer is fear of retaliation. Who knows what these folks could be up to. Make sense?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that Spruce Creek = accidents. I'm thinking a name change and the Popes blessing is in the future. This place is the plague.

Anonymous said...

That’s a respectable number of logged flight hours.

David Goodman said...

Formation flying without a parachute is unwise....

Anonymous said...

The "Spruce Creek Gaggle" formation flights are mostly reponsible pilots but there are a couple old men that try to relive their long lost youth and show off a bit too much, lead by a man named Keith Phillips. He has a few groopies and lives in a past imagined glory that is long gone and is often seen doing low altitude aerobatics in his little plane, showing off how great a pilot he is. The man is in his 80's and can hardly walk straight... the reckless attitude permeates and the lack of training of new members that show up on Saturdays to join the group is appalling. Way too casual and reckless and they mostly operate homebuilt planes.

Anonymous said...

Formation flying period is unwise... maybe Keith should get a friendly visit from the local FSDO GA safety inspector. If Keith wants to kill himself fine. But what about the innocent people on the groud that could get hurt? Shame on you Keith!

Anonymous said...

Well the spruce creek crew has restricted the Facebook page with all their dangerous events on it, interesting. Seems like the guy with the DGA HOWARD pa crash was in on that formation flight according to a post on that accident page. Not the last crash we'll see from them.

Anonymous said...

4 Spruce Creek people have been killed in 4 crashes and that is only since December, three months ago...

Anonymous said...

Back in March 2008, this same Keith Phillips had a Gaggle from Spruce Creek fly to Arthur Dun Airport for a EAA-sponsored pankake breakfast. The Phillips Gaggle super pilots interrupted the normal local traffic and effected a non-standard group approach foregoing the customary downwind leg entry to the pattern and did their military-style initial on final with a 360 overhead turn spiral down to land. This interrupted the normal pattern at that airport, confusing the local traffic. Their phraseology in the air also very confusing to the locals: "flight of four on final for three-sixty overhead break...". They landed in close staggered groups and slowed down on the runway after touch-dow. Several planes were still on the runway when another plane (a Velocity) that was innocently approaching the airport came too close and, in an evading go-around maneuver, lost control and crashed onto one of the gaggle planes that had landed and was already on an exiting taxiway. In the end four people were killed in this very preventable fiery accident. The NTSB never investigated Mr Phillips nor his group, many of which would not pass a real FAA physical, and everyone was mum afterward, some blaming the poor bastard in the Velocity.

Anonymous said...

Are the NTSB and the FAA investigating this Keith Phillips and his Spruce Creek Gaggle for negligence?, seems their past reckless acts and showboating might be a causating factor in this mid-air collission that resulted in the loss of not just the two lives involved, but also a dramatic turn for the worse of the lives of their children and family. This is devastating and unfortunately could have been prevented.

Captain Ross said...

Here is news footage of the Arthur Dunn Airpark crash caused by Spruce Creek Gaggle