Sunday, December 24, 2017

Cessna 340, N247AT, registered to Aviation Transportation LLC and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred December 24, 2017 at Bartow Municipal Airport (KBOW), Polk County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Aviation Transportation LLC:http://registry.faa.gov/N247AT

Location: Bartow, FL
Accident Number: CEN18FA061
Date & Time: 12/24/2017, 0717 EST
Registration: N247AT
Aircraft: CESSNA 340
Injuries: 5 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 24, 2017, at 0717 eastern standard time, a Cessna 340 airplane, N247AT, impacted terrain after departure from Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida. The private pilot and four passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Aviation Transportation LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight was departing at the time of the accident and was en route to Key West International Airport (EYW), Key West, Florida.

According to two BOW fixed base operator (FBO) employees, about 0630 the pilot requested that the airplane be towed from the pilot's hangar to the ramp. The pilot wanted a tow because he didn't want to taxi next to the other hangars with the reduced visibility due to the dense fog. The five occupants boarded the plane inside the hangar and remained inside the airplane during the tow. The pilot then very slowly taxied the airplane from the ramp to the end of runway 9L where the engine run-up was completed. The employees then heard the airplane takeoff and proceed to the east. They could not see the airplane because of the dense fog and low visibility, but they heard an explosion on the east side of the airport. They drove to the explosion and found the main wreckage on fire and no occupants were immediately noticeable.

Another witness, who is a helicopter pilot, observed the airplane taxiing to the runway and about 12 minutes later heard the airplane takeoff. He recorded a video of the airplane taxiing in the dense fog. During the takeoff, he heard a 'pop' and 3 seconds later heard the explosion near the end of runway 9L. He and a colleague drove to the accident site where they found the wreckage on fire and saw the FBO employees nearby. He estimated that the runway visual range was 600 to 800 ft due to the fog.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that the main wreckage came to rest on the northeast side of runway 9L.

At 0715, the automated weather observation station at BOW recorded calm wind, visibility less than ¼ statue mile, fog, overcast cloud layer at 300 ft, temperature 56°F, altimeter setting 30.18 inches of mercury. The weather conditions had been the same since 0635.

The pilot filed an IFR flight plan on a Garmin GPS device and received an IFR clearance from Tampa Air Traffic Control Tower. The pilot did not request a weather briefing from Flight Service. The BOW air traffic control tower was closed at the time of the accident.

The wreckage has been moved to a secure storage facility and retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N247AT
Model/Series: 340
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBOW, 125 ft msl
Observation Time: 0715 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 300 ft agl
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Bartow, FL (BOW)
Destination: KEY WEST, FL (EYW) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 4 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 5 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 27.946389, -81.774722 (est)

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


LAKELAND -- There will be two memorial services for the five people who died in a plane crash on Christmas Eve at the Bartow Municipal Airport.

Both services will be held on January 6th

1st service at 10:30 a.m. for pilot, daughters, daughter's husband

2nd service at 4 p.m. for family friend Krista Clayton

Both services will be held on January 6th, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland where four of the five people who died in the crash attended.

The first service will be held at 10:30 a.m., honoring the lives of the pilot, John Shannon and his daughters, Olivia and Tori, and Tori’s husband, Peter Worthington Jr.

The second service will be held at 4 p.m. at the church for family friend Krista Clayton, who also died in the crash.

John Shannon (left) with his plane.


BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — A medical examiner in Polk County performed autopsies Wednesday on the five victims who died in a Christmas Eve plane crash in Bartow.

The examiner ruled that 24-year-old Olivia Shannon, 26-year-old Victoria Shannon-Worthington, 27-year-old Peter Worthington and 32-year-old Krista Clayton died from blunt force trauma. The medical examiner says all four passengers’ manners of death were ruled accidental.

The cause of death for the pilot, 70-year-old John Shannon, has not been released pending a toxicology report.

Deputies say all five were killed when the small plane they were on crashed shortly after taking off from the Bartow Municipal Airport Sunday morning. The group was planning on spending Christmas Eve in Key West and was expected to return Sunday night.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says he believes it was too foggy to take off. Visibility in the area was near-zero at the time.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that John Shannon was instrument rated, which means he was trained to fly without seeing the horizon, relying only on the instruments on-board if needed.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the plane went down.

Story and photos:  http://wfla.com




Visibility just after 7 a.m. Sunday, December 24, at the Bartow Airport at the time of a plane crash was less than a quarter-mile because of fog. 


Unfortunately, there is still a lot we don't know about what caused a plane crash in Bartow on Christmas Eve that killed all five people on board, four were from the same family. 

Almost immediately after the crash, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the heavy fog over the area during take-off was likely a factor. Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observation reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter-mile because of fog.

But in the days since, several friends of the pilot, prominent Lakeland lawyer John Shannon, have told 10News they believe something else must've happened.

Ron Pennekamp, the senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Lakeland and a close friend of Shannon's, called the 70-year-old a "master pilot," adding that he'd even flown with him on one occasion during which he landed in heavy fog.

"I don’t think it's fog, honestly, I really don’t," Pennekamp told 10News on Monday. "I don’t think he would’ve taken off if he thought he would put his family in jeopardy.”

It's now up to the NTSB and FAA to determine what caused the crash.

In the video, watch 10News reporter Josh Sidorowicz hop into a flight simulator at the Sim Center in Clearwater with a commercial pilot and 10News aviation expert Mark Weinkrantz to learn how pilots operate in low visibility conditions.

With the simulator set to the Bartow Municipal Airport and the level of visibility just as it was at the time of the crash—less than a quarter-mile—Weinkrantz noted it's nearly impossible to see just a few hundred feet ahead from the cockpit.

"You can’t see your hand in front of your face," he said. "We can take off in commercial airlines with just a few hundred feet of runway visible because we have much more sophisticated instruments in the cockpit and runways up to a higher specification for guidance.” 

Even for an instrument-rated pilot, Weinkrantz said, the instruments are really for flying in the sky, not take-off.

Weinkrantz also noted the lack of center-line lighting down the middle of the runway at the Bartow airport and the lack of lighting at the end of the runway. The lighting, he says, can help a pilot maintain directional control.

It's possible, Weinkrantz said, that because Shannon couldn't gauge where he was in relation to the end of the runway, he might've pulled up too quickly, which would've changed the pitch of the plane too dramatically, causing it to fall back down.

"Bartow is not that sophisticated of an airport," Weinkrantz said. "As you’re going faster and faster, you might only be able to see one or two lights right out ahead of you, but without those lights, you’re hoping to see those white stripes in a gray sky and that’s hard to do.”

According to data from the National Weather Service, 440 people on average are killed each year in plane crashes due to weather conditions like fog.  According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, most general aviation accidents involve some kind of pilot error and while there are many factors that can contribute to this, bad weather is the number one culprit, the New York Times previously reported.

Story and video   http://www.wtsp.com



Krista Clayton,  daughters, Lila (age 3)  and Lucy (18 months).

The family of Krista Clayton is hoping to raise money to pay for funeral costs and a memorial service: https://www.gofundme.com


Krista Kathleen Clayton
August 13, 1985 ~ December 24, 2017 (age 32)

Krista Clayton passed away on Christmas Eve in a tragic accident when a plane carrying herself and four friends crashed in Bartow, Florida. She was 32 years old.

Krista was born in Westerly, Rhode Island and raised in nearby Charlestown. She attended the University of Rhode Island where she double-majored in secondary education and communications, and from which she graduated with honors. During and after high school she made friends in her many extracurricular activities, which included mentoring, tutoring, coaching, with participation in track and field, soccer, and basketball. She worked as an elementary and secondary school teacher in both Rhode Island and Florida, most recently at Jewett Academy, where she demonstrated by untiring example her commitment to her students' education and to improving their lives overall. 

She loved to travel and relished every opportunity to do so; this love guided her across the globe. She studied abroad in Oxford, England, toured Europe, and in addition to visiting nearly every country in Southeast Asia she taught English in South Korea. In all of these places, and wherever she went, she had a knack for quickly acquiring lifelong friends. The lessons she learned from her travels were in turn imparted to her students. 

From the moment they were born, Krista's two daughters, Lila, aged 3 years, and Lucy, 18 months, were the twin stars of her life. Every second was dedicated to them, and she found endless joy in teaching them, reading to them, taking them to the park, and encouraging their creativity in arts and crafts.

Hers was an undiminished optimism, a giving nature, and an incandescent spirit with enthusiasm for life in its every variety. Krista touched the hearts of all who met her. She will be sorely missed.

Krista is survived by Lucy and Lila Rachlin; her parents, Susan and Phillip Clayton; her five siblings, Phillip, Matthew, Bonnie, Mary Grace and Michael; and her fiancé, Marc.

There will be a service held at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida on January 6th at 4:00 p.m., followed by a celebration of life at a venue as yet to be determined. There will also be a memorial mass for Krista at St. Vincent De Paul Church in Westerly, Rhode Island on January 13th at 10:00 a.m., followed by a celebration of life at a venue as yet to be determined. Please revisit this page for updates as more details are solidified.

Read more here ➤ http://www.lakelandfuneralhome.com

Pilot John Shannon, 70, and his two daughters Victoria, 26, and 
Olivia, 24



A 70-year-old Lakeland attorney killed in a small plane crash on Christmas Eve is remembered as kind and enthusiastic.

John Shannon was piloting a Cessna 340 when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff at Bartow Municipal Airport in Polk County.

“He was one of the really nice guys and everybody liked him … he was very popular,” said Lydia Lowell-Sherman, a former Fort Myers High School classmate.

Shannon received his pilot license while attending Fort Myers High School in 1965.

Shannon’s passengers included his two daughters, his son-in-law and a family friend, according to the Associated Press.

They were identified as: 24-year-old Southeastern University student Olivia Shannon, 26-year-old Baltimore teacher Victoria Shannon Worthington, 27-year-old University of Maryland law student Peter Worthington Jr. and 32-year-old Lakeland teacher Krista Clayton.

The family was headed to the Florida Keys for the Christmas holiday.

“This is just such a tragedy. It’s just awful,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Investigators believe fog played a role in the crash, but those who knew Shannon say he would have never put the lives of his family in danger.

“As long as John was flying, pilot errors to me sound just a little iffy, because he really seemed to know what he was doing with the plane and everything,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Shannon’s brother, Jerry Shannon, was vacationing in Montana when the crash took place.

“Those little girls were just starting life, that’s a huge tragic loss they’re gone so early,” Jerry Shannon said.

Story and photos ➤ https://www.winknews.com

John Hugh Shannon, 70, a Lakeland Co. attorney was killed in a Sunday morning plane crash at Bartow Municipal Airport. Also killed were two of his daughters, his son-in-law and a family friend.
Credit johnhughshannon.com/


LAKELAND, Fla. – Pastor Ron Pennekamp not only considered John Shannon a personal friend, he watched his two daughters grow up in the church, presided over the wedding of one, and mentored their close family friend who was also a parishioner at the same church.

Shannon, his daughters, son-in-law, and family friend were all killed when the Cessna 340 twin-engine plane Shannon was piloting crashed Christmas Eve morning shortly after taking off from the Bartow Municipal Airport.

"You get news like that and the first thing you think is 'it cant be true, you must be talking about someone else,'" Pennekamp said as he sat in an empty sanctuary on Christmas morning filled with grief.

Pennekamp is the senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran in Lakeland where Shannon, his two daughters, and close friend Krista Clayton attended.

"He was more than just a parishioner, he was a personal friend," Pennekamp said of their 13 year friendship, admiring Shannon's commitment to not only those he knew in the church but outside of it in the community.

"He would talk to people, find out what was going on, and he always influence and that’s really the mark of a good leader.

Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a school teacher in Baltimore, grew up in the church, Pennekamp said.

"I’ve never seen a father more committed to his kids," he said. "The kids took priority."

Just a few months ago, Shannon asked Pennekamp to preside for his daughter Victoria's wedding. She married Peter Worthington, a law student, in Baltimore.

This would've been their first Christmas together as a married couple.

"It was a fantastic wedding, a lot of joy," Pennekamp said. "That’s probably the hardest thing about thinking about this is just the dreams that were there for Pete and for Tori and all those things are going unrealized."

While he adored his family, Pennekamp was just as familiar with Shannon's love of flying, having been a passenger of his on several occasions.

"He’s a master pilot and I’ve flown through fog with John, he’s instrument-rated," Pennekamp said, recalling one particular instance when they two returned from having dinner in Valrico.

"He turned on his instruments, turned on his landing lights and we came out of the fog just above the ground and we were right on target. So I don’t think its fog, honestly I really don’t. I don’t think he would’ve taken off if he thought he would put his family in jeopardy.”

Close family friend Krista Clayton was also on board. Pennekamp says he's been in regular contact with Clayton's finance and two young daughters, even opting to spend Christmas Eve with them rather than attending mass.

They, like so many others now, are working through shock to find peace.

"We’re going to mourn but we’re not going to mourn without hope," Pennekamp said

Story and video:  http://www.wtsp.com


BARTOW (FOX 13) - John Shannon was a Marine Corp veteran and ran an independent law firm in Lakeland for the last 36-years.  The 70-year-old was an accomplished pilot, very active with the Citrus Center Kiwanis Club, and the President of the Lakeland Republican Club.

On their Facebook page, RCL posted:

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our organization's president, John Shannon, who died in a small plane crash at Bartow Airport early this morning. John, his two daughters, one son-in-law and a family friend were are all killed during takeoff on their way to spend the day in the Florida Keys. John was looking forward to serving as our president again in 2018, and had already scheduled several of the speakers for our first few meetings of the new year. We are deeply saddened by John's loss, and hope that you will join us in extending your thoughts and prayers to all of the Shannon family's friends, associates and family. Rest in peace, John, you will be greatly missed.

Governor Rick Scott also reacted to the news, tweeting
@FLAnnScott and I are heartbroken to hear of this tragedy. We are praying for the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families.

“All of them, everyone who was on that plane was a member here,” said Associate Pastor Andy Ritchie with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland. 

At Christmas Eve mass, the holiday joy was mixed with heartache. 

Ritchie fondly talks to FOX 13 News about how Shannon was known for his baking, his kindness and his skills in the courtroom. 

“He was always 100 M.P.H, go, go, go, but very positive and very uplifting,” he said. 

In 2014, Shannon ran for the Florida House of Representatives.  In a campaign ad posted on YouTube he talks about his children.  “What I’m most proud of are the daughters that I’ve raised on my own.” 

According to Olivia Shannon’s Facebook page, the 24-year-old attended Southeastern University. 

26-year-old Victoria Shannon-Worthington lived in Baltimore teaching fourth grade language arts in the city.  She was married to Peter Worthington Jr.  On his Facebook page, the 27-year old says he was a law student at the University of Maryland.  This would have been Peter and Victoria’s first Christmas as a married couple.

Family friend, Krista Clayton was also killed in the crash.  The 32-year-old worked at the Jewett School for the Arts in Winter Haven.  On the website, Clayton is listed as teaching elementary gifted. 

The Lakeland woman leaves behind a husband and their two children, an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old. 

“She has a daughter who has some special health concerns,” said Ritchie.  “I always just saw her as an extremely loving mom, very much into the day to day in and outs of life.”

Story and photos ➤  http://www.fox13news.com

 Victoria Shannon Worthington and Peter Worthington, Jr.

BARTOW — A twin-engine Cessna 340 crashed shortly after take-off Sunday morning at Bartow Municipal Airport, killing the pilot, local attorney John Hugh Shannon, and four others, authorities said.

The other victims: his daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a schoolteacher for the Baltimore school district; Worthington’s husband, Peter Worthington, 27, a law student at University of Maryland; and family friend Krista Clayton, 32, teacher at Jewett School of the Arts. She has two children, an 18-month-old and 3-year-old.

The plane took off at approximately 7:15 a.m. on the main runway in dense fog and was airborne for a short time before it plummeted to the ground at the north end of the airport near Ben Durrance Road, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The plane burst into flames on impact, he said. “The only thing you can say is, nobody suffered.”

It’s too early in the investigation to know if weather was a factor in the crash, Judd said, adding, “Nobody should have attempted to take off” in such conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified and will investigate how the crash occurred.

A flight plan filed by the pilot indicated the Cessna was headed for Key West, said Cindy Barrow, executive director of the Bartow Airport.

The crash has shut down the airport’s main runway, leaving two runways open.

Autopsies will be conducted later this week to positively identify the victims and determine the exact nature of their deaths, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Shannon, 70, was well-known in Polk, having practiced law since 1975, primarily in the area of personal injury and death. In 2014, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 40, losing to Colleen Burton in the Republican primary.

Retired Polk Circuit Judge Charles Curry said news of his former law partner’s death came as a shock.

“He was a heck of an attorney and a good guy,” he said. “I’ll certainly miss him.”

John Liguori, a friend of John Shannon’s and a fellow lawyer, said Shannon was a skilled pilot who talked recently of flying to the Keys to spend Christmas with two of his three daughters.

“He was looking forward to taking everybody down there, he loved to fly,” Liguori said. “That’s a serious plane. You’ve got to be a serious pilot to fly those.”

Liguori remembered Shannon as a hard-charging lawyer and former Marine who was sentimental enough to bake cookies as Christmas presents.

“He was quite a character, he was one of those guys that shouted at the devil,” Liguori said. “He was a Marine, and he practiced (law) as if he was still in the Marine Corps.”

John Shannon served as current president of Citrus Center Kiwanis and had a heart for his community, Joe Childs, a past president of the Kiwanis club, said in an email. “John was an accomplished pilot, loved his family and served his church and community in a variety of ways. He will be deeply missed.”

The entire 10th Judicial Circuit has lost a “big brother” in Shannon, said Rusty Franklin, a Bartow lawyer. “God, family, country, community ... those things were more important to John. He was a Marine and a patriot. This just rips your heart out. I’m ready for this year to be over with.”

Southeastern University spokeswoman Dana Davis said the school community was saddened by the sudden death of Olivia Shannon. “Our entire Southeastern community is saddened by the news and we’re praying for her family.”

Olivia Shannon was in her junior year at Southeastern, studying to be a teacher.

“She had the promise of being an exceptional teacher,” said Karen Ingle, Shannon’s instructor and wife of Kent Ingle, the university’s president. “She took her lessons seriously. She embraced learning. I was just shocked (to learn of her death). She will be missed.”

Story and photos ➤ http://www.theledger.com


BARTOW, Fla. — A Florida lawyer and four others were killed at sunrise Christmas Eve in a plane crash in dense fog.

John Shannon, 70, of Lakeland, Fla., was piloting a twin-engine Cessna 340 that went down just after takeoff around 7:15 a.m. ET Sunday from Bartow Municipal Airport about 50 miles southwest of Orlando, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The plane caught fire after the crash and was fully involved by the time rescue crews arrived, Tina Mann, Polk County Fire Rescue spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"There was no chance of survival," Judd said. "When you look at the crash, the only thing that you say is, 'Nobody suffered.' "

Shannon was making a 45- to 60-minute flight for day trip to the Florida Keys, the sheriff said. Also killed were his two daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a Baltimore teacher; his son-in-law, Peter Worthington, 27, a University of Maryland law student; and a family friend, Krista Clayton, 32, a teacher in Lakeland.

The Worthingtons had arrived Saturday in Florida for the Christmas holiday, and John Shannon had filed a flight plan to go to Key West, said Carrie Horstman, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. No family members were able to be reached for comment.

“This is a tragedy at any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve,” Judd said.

John Shannon, who graduated in 1975 from Samford University school of law in Homewood, Ala., had been a member of the Florida Bar since 1975, according to state records. The Republican ran for state representative in 2014, but lost in the primary to Colleen Burton, who still holds the office.

He had a private pilot's license since Oct. 4, 2010, with an instrument rating that allows a pilot to fly solely by referring to flight instruments in clouds or low visibility, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observer reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter mile because of fog.

A photographer who was trying to capture the fog at sunrise was recording video that shows the crash, Judd said.

"He said, 'I couldn't believe that they were taking off in this fog,' " the sheriff said. "There was not one sign of the aircraft that was, obviously, was soaked in a very dense, very heavy fog at the airbase." Barstow airport is the former Barstow U.S. Air Force base that closed in 1961.

The private plane crashed just north of the airport toward the end of a runway. It left the hangar at 6:30 a.m., before the sun rose, and took off east into heavy fog, Judd said.

"Our heart breaks," Judd said. "You know, certainly, we wish we could rewind this and if we could, I would wrestle him to the floor to keep him from getting into this airplane this morning," Judd said.

Last year 386 people were killed in 213 fatal general aviation accidents, an average of fewer than two per crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Fewer than 10% of these types of plane crashes result in four or more deaths.

General aviation excludes commercial flights and civilian air transport for hire and often involves planes with fewer than 10 seats.

More than 9 in 10 plane-crash deaths occur in general-aviation accidents, according to the NTSB. Although the number of general-aviation deaths increased slightly from 2015 to 2016, the number of fatal accidents was down by nearly 20, so the fatal accident rate fell lower than 1 per 100,000 flight hours for the first time in 50 years.

But traffic accidents account for far more transportation deaths, 95% of total transportation deaths, the agency said. In 2016, highway deaths totaled 39,339, up more than 5% from the previous year.

In Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating Sunday's plane crash.

Original article can be found here ➤  https://www.wkyc.com


Lakeland attorney John Shannon and his two daughters were among five people killed in the crash of a twin-engine plane at the Bartow Municipal Airport Sunday morning.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Cessna 340 crashed at the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road, about 7:15 a.m.. Officials say the plane was starting to take off in fog that provided little or no visibility.  

Witnesses said a large fire erupted at the end of the runway when the plane crashed.  There were no survivors.

"When you look at the crash, the only thing you can say is that nobody suffered," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said. It's believed all the victims died on impact or immediately afterwards.

At a Sunday afternoon news conference, Judd announced that the crash killed the pilot, Shannon, 70; his daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland; Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a school teacher in Baltimore, MD; her husband, Peter Worthington, 27, a law student at the University of Maryland; and family friend, Krista Clayton, 32, a teacher in Polk County. 

Clayton leaves behind two children, a three-year-old and an 18-month-old. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy."

Judd said he has personally known John Shannon, the President of the Republican Club of Lakeland, for years. Shannon had filed a flight plan this morning to fly to Key West for an apparent Christmas Eve day trip.

Judd said an airport employee captured video of the plane taking off. The employee was reportedly taking photos of the thick fog at the airport at the time. 

The airport, which was once a U.S. Air Force Base known as Bartow Air Base, is located off of U.S. Highway 17 near Spirit Lake Road.

Story and photo ➤ http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu



Five people died after a twin-engine plane trying to take off in heavy fog crashed at the end of a runway at an airport in Central Florida, causing a "huge fire," authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said there were "no survivors" of the crash at Bartow Municipal Airport in Bartow, Florida.

"I have reviewed some footage, and clearly no one should have tried to a takeoff from this airport at 7:15 this morning," Judd said during a press conference this morning. "The airport was totally socked in with fog."

In a statement, officials tentatively identified the five killed as: John Shannon, 70, the plane's pilot; Shannon's daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26; Worthington's husband, Peter Worthington Jr., 27; and family friend Krista Clayton, 32.

Autopsies will be conducted later this week to determine the official causes of death.

Judd called the crash "a horrific tragedy" in a statement Sunday afternoon.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy," the statement reads.

Judd said earlier that he personally knew at least one person on the plane.

"I have known him for years and years and years," he said.

The NTSB and the FAA are investigating the crash.

As Polk County Fire and Rescue personnel headed to the crash site they had trouble spotting the wreckage, according to radio transcriptions reviewed by ABC News.

In one dispatch, a firefighter described the limited visibility.

"Engine 461, Battalion 4, we're on scene now at the air base ... it's really foggy. We're unable to see it from our location, I'm going to try to make it out onto the airfield," the first responder radioed.

Once Polk County Fire and Rescue members found the plane wreckage, they reported the plane was "fully engulfed" in flames.

The airport once served as the Bartow Army Air Field during World War II, according to its museum's website.

After the war, the complex functioned as a "flight school training cadets for military service" before it was turned over to the city of Bartow, the website says.

Story and photo ➤  http://abc7ny.com


Four people died after a twin-engine plane trying to take off in heavy fog crashed at the end of a runway at an airport in central Florida, causing a "huge fire", authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said there were "no survivors" of the crash at Bartow Municipal Airport in Bartow, Florida. His office said in an earlier statement that "there are several deaths."

The FAA said in a statement that four people were on board the Cessna 340 plane when it crashed Sunday morning.

"I have reviewed some footage, and clearly no one should have tried to a takeoff from this airport at 7:15 this morning," Judd said during a press conference this morning. "The airport was totally socked in with fog."

The identities of those on the plane will be released later, the sheriff said, adding that he personally knows at least one person on the plane.

"I have known him for years and years and years," he said.

The NTSB is investigating the crash, and Judd said his officers were assisted in their response by the county fire department.

"We were assisted by Polk Fire Rescue, which put out the fire. We know upon impact that there was a huge fire,” the sheriff said.

Judd added, "I am not a plane crash investigator but from all indications the plane was in the air and came back to the ground. And no there was no survivors, no chance of anyone surviving.”

As Polk County Fire and Rescue personnel headed to the crash site they had trouble spotting the wreckage, according to radio transcriptions reviewed by ABC News.

In one dispatch, a firefighter described the limited visibility.

"Engine 461, Battalion 4, we're on scene now at the air base... it's really foggy. We're unable to see it from our location, I'm going to try to make it out onto the airfield," the responder radioed.

Another dispatch also discussed the foggy conditions.

"I do see Polk County Fire units, unfortunately on the runway the fog is so low we can't see anything on the runway and are investigating and we did not see or come across any pilots or planes on the runway at this time," the transcription said.

Once Polk County Fire and Rescue member found the plane wreckage, the plane was "fully engulfed."

In one Polk County Sheriff's Office tweet, the sheriff asked for the community to remember the victims.

"This is an absolutely horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve. Please keep these victims and their family members are in your prayers."

The airport once served as the Bartow Army Air Field during World War II, according to its museum's website.

After the war, the complex functioned as a "flight school training cadets for military service" before it was turned over to the city of Bartow, the website says.


Story and photos ➤ http://abcnews.go.com





BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities say five people died when a small plane crashed shortly after taking off in heavy fog at Bartow Municipal Airport on Christmas Eve morning.

A Polk County Fire Rescue spokesperson said five people were killed in the twin-engine plane crash.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd -who knows a person who died in the crash-  refused to release details about how many people were killed and said the victims have not yet been identified.

Judd said the plane crashed at the end of the airport’s main runway at 7:15 a.m. after attempting to take off in heavy fog.

“Clearly, no one should have tried a takeoff,” said Judd.

Judd said that a helicopter pilot with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office happened to be in a nearby hangar and heard the plane starting to take off and then heard the plane crash to the ground.

“This is a very sad situation,” said Judd and added that he knew one person on the plane.

Judd speculated that the people on the plane were leaving to attend a holiday celebration.

“It is a tragedy any day of the week. It is an exceptional tragedy on Christmas Eve,” said Judd. “Our hearts go out to the family.”

He said a video exists that shows the plane crashing. Judd said he watched the video and it clearly indicated that no one should have been flying.

“There was no chance of survival,” Judd said. The plane caught fire after crashing. “The only thing you can say is nobody suffered.”

WFLA Storm Team Meteorologist Ed Bloodsworth said around the time of the crash, weather data at the airport was reporting zero visibility of less than 300 feet because of the fog. The weather data is from the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) which is located at the airport.  The Tampa Bay area was under a dense fog advisory until 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters with Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the scene. Firefighters were dispatched at 7:18 a.m.. They had to drive carefully to the scene because of dense fog in the area. Firefighters arrived on scene at 7:31 a.m. and had the fire under control at 7:44 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that the plane was a Cessna 340.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the death investigation. Once local authorities release the names and conditions of those on board, the Federal Aviation Administration will release the aircraft registration information.

The Bartow Municipal Airport is the former location of a U.S. Air Force Base and is also referred to as the Bartow Air Base. It is located just off of US 17 near Spirit Lake Road.

The cash happened near the PCSO Aviation Unit Hangar, which is on Ben Durrance Road. The Polk County Mosquito Control Office is also nearby.

WFLA Storm Team Meteorologist Ed Bloodsworth said around the time of the crash, weather data at the airport was reporting zero visibility because of the fog. The weather data is from the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) which is located at the airport.  The Tampa Bay area was under a dense fog advisory until 9 a.m.



Story and video ➤ http://wfla.com







BARTOW, Fla. -- Investigators likely will consider dense fog as a contributing factor for a plane crash at Polk County's Bartow Municipal Airport that killed four people.

The twin-engine plane went down just after takeoff around 7:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, Sheriff Grady Judd said, with emergency operators receiving a call minutes later.

Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observation reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter-mile because of fog.

"There was no chance of survival," Judd said. "When you look at the crash, the only thing that you say is, nobody suffered."

An emotional Judd said he was able to review video footage of the crash. He told reporters he personally knew of at least one person onboard.

"Our heart breaks. You know, certainly we wish we could rewind this and if we could, I would wrestle him to the floor to keep him from getting into this airplane this morning," Judd said.

The Polk County fire dispatch earlier confirmed four people were killed, but Judd would not validate that figure.

The plane crashed just north of the airport toward the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road.

























Polk County Sheriff's Office · This Christmas Eve morning, we were prepared to upload photos of our agency members buying & wrapping donated gifts & toys to deliver to kids all over the county, which took place all week. Instead, we regret to inform you that we are on the scene of a twin-engine plane crash at the Bartow Airbase, with several deaths. We will conduct the death investigations. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration, who are enroute, will investigate the cause of the crash. Polk County Fire Rescue is also on the scene. 

We don't have a lot of information to release at this time, but please join us in praying for these victims and their families.


Be safe, everyone.

54 comments:

eglide73 said...

It’s just insane. Who would fly when it’s 0/0 vis?
Anyone wanna take bets that the pilot wasn’t instrument rated?

Jim B said...



Looks like if they had only waited a bit the wx would have been fine.

Families are grieving now.

Lets learn not to repeat the same mistake.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fairly new pilot (2+ years) and working on my instrument rating. My late father who was also a pilot told me years ago, there are old pilots & there are bold pilots but there are NO old,bold pilots. Only if they just would have waited a few hours until the fog burned off. Haste makes waste, SO SAD. R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

0 0 takeoffs are done, but better left to the highly trained, very high risk at the least even for the pro, no room for error

Anonymous said...

Tragic beyond belief. Aircraft was about 37 years old, airworthy but an old piece of tin. When was last time pilot practiced ITO under hood or in simulator? When was last time pilot practiced engine loss at rotation under hood? When was last BFR that covered pilot judgment and decision making? There's a reason part 121 and 135 operators have takeoff minima...it's dangerous. The FAA should email part 91 pilots and strongly discourage ITOs. At the end of the day, the pilot killed himself and his family and we send our condolences. RIP

Anonymous said...


As a pilot, every time something like this happens I have to ask myself what was the hurry? What exactly was it that was so damn important that it couldn't wait another three hours?
They were headed to Key West, it was one a one hour flight in a Cessna 340.

Anonymous said...

My Family Owned 2 CE340's. We operated alot from Meigs Field, KCGX. There is a lot of fog on the Chicago lakefront, and we departed IFR more than once when in legal but low vis It was never comfortable, and even being an ATP/CFII i would have had a hard time if an engine quit just off the runway....i would never do it that way again, especially with Family aboard. I was in my 20's then and you feel invincible at that age...but a 70 yr pilot should have known that that type of departure was suicide. And with his family. Terrible tragedy.

Texas Flyer said...

Yes the pilot was instrument rated. You can search the FAA Airmen records to see his rating.

The plane appears that it is N247AT based at KBOW. It is registered to AVIATION TRANSPORTATION LLC and the address is 5115 S LAKELAND DR STE 1, Lakeland, FL which is the address for Shannon's law firm. The C340 is a 1973 model and 44 years old; however depending on maintenance and current installed avionics it is probably a very capable high performance IFR airplane when flown within its design envelope.

FlightAware shows the last filed flight to have been October 1, 2017. No telling when he last flew hard IFR on takeoff or landing. Experience under the hood or in a simulator is of course required to be current, however nothing substitutes for the real experience, especially when something unexpected happens such as loss of avionics, instruments, engine, door opening, bird strike, etc. He got his pilot license in 2010 and when you combine it with his political and legal pursuits it doesn't seem likely that he was very high time.

Also no-one has highlighted that he was 70 years old so there is always a health aspect in a stressful situation.

Zero Zero takeoffs are certainly possible but the risks are high. Taking personal risk is one thing but exposing personal risk to others is another. If you web search his law firm you see that he is a Personal Injury Attorney. It is likely that he has mercilessly sued countless individuals for restitution caused by claimed negligence related to risking others health or lives. Bizarrely in this case it appears that he took the same risk himself. I suspect other Personal Injury Attorneys representing the families of the in-law and other non-family member are already circling like buzzards. Sad outcome for what is left of his family.

Anonymous said...

Another murder suicide by a person successful in their field of expertise that think they can be as good as us in our field. Pisses me off this guy killed his family and sadden his close friends and family while tarnishing my profession. The cause on the news is “fog” but the cause should be a dumbass pilot.
KBOW 241215Z AUTO 00000KT M1/4SM FG OVC003 23/16 A3018 RMK AO2
He got his private in 2010 and was multi rated IFR but I doubt IFR current.

A D said...

Obviously some goitis involved with 0/0, but if a pilot needs to return and land, that may have been impossible even on instruments. Once up, it's just another IMC flight and with VFR on top only minutes away. Condolences to family and friends.

Anonymous said...

It was NOT 0/0 it was 1/4 miles fog and overcast at 300 feet agl. This is a doable takeoff on the proper runway with the proper lighting in the proper aircraft with the proper training and RECENCY. Of which non of those necessary proper items happened so it’s 100% stupid and I would not have taken off in that situation. I do takeoffs with 500/500/500 when it is proper, that’s 500 feet runway visibility. My limit as someone current and qualified, in this case, I would have waited until I had a mile take off visibility and the ceiling to make an approach back into the field.

M M said...

I live in the Cleveland area, unfortunately remember all too well the Columbus business owner that tried taking off at Burke Lakefront last year in snow/ice conditions at night, straight over Lake Erie, same result as this gentleman.

At some point, the FAA is going to have to create more regulations to keep folks like this from killing their families and potentially other families on the ground.

How many times do stories like this need to repeat themselves with the wealthy “I’m smarter than everyone else” pilots. I know it’s judgemental, but damn...needs to stop at some point.

Ever read about the Doctor from Michigan that killed 2 different wives, and put 1 of his sons through 2 different crashes? Horribly sad.

I know it’s always hard creating regulations to save people from themselves. However, will probably get worse before it gets better IMO - if nothing is done.

Anonymous said...



Sheriff Judd said it best, "I would've wrestled this man to the floor to keep him out of that airplane". If only someone could've talked some sense into him. What was the hurry to get to Key West? An appointment? A reservation? A friend waiting? None of this is worth the risk yet this scenario plays out again and again. I had much rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than in the air wishing I was on the ground and I believe this was the last thought of Mr. Shannon.

Charlie said...

I don’t understaand how it’s too foggy for a take off and yet have video of the crash. And then with videdo there is a sound recording, fog or no fog. But no mention of sounds of engine trouble. It will be interesting to read the final NTSB report on this one when it comes out next year.

D Naumann said...

"The acceleration of the aircraft can cause a somatogravic illusion that you are more nose up than it seems." Properly trained instrument pilots should be very aware of the somatogravic illusion. Considering the aircraft crashed on the airport property this effect is a definite possible contributing cause, among others. Remember accidents are not usually caused by only one thing. Break the chain, stop the accident.

Anonymous said...

Intentionally put himself and passengers in danger?
Totally against the character of the pilot?
The pilot knew better than to depart in those conditions?
Was the pilot safety conscious?
GREAT willingness to take risks?
GREAT confidence in his flight skills?
EXTREME reduced sense of vulnerability to fog hazards and pilot error?
Social pressures for the holiday trip to Key West?
Pilot took chances and didn't wait for weather to improve?

"I would've wrestled this man to the floor to keep him out of that airplane"

Anonymous said...

“John Shannon was always 100 M.P.H, go, go, go, go...." -Pastor Andy Ritchie

Anonymous said...

The plane went down so fast, I wonder if the roll axis balance was correct with cargo and an odd number of people as passengers. Don’t know if this could be a factor in this kind of plane, but taking off they were close to the stall speed.

goldwing said...

I live in Illinois but have attended many golf tournaments in Florida in December over the years. Sometimes tee times will be moved back one hour, usually from 8am, because of fog. But the fog always disappears within that hour. This pilot lived in Florida and must have been completely familiar with fog dissipation there.

Anonymous said...

5 adults on board = ZFW and gross weight. Question I have is ... where in CG, W&B would you have the heavy-set female seated? The Cessna 340 tend to be little tail heavy, so, I'm thinking the heavy-set female would be best in co-pilot seat. Any suggestions and input appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Probably a shitload of luggage along with the 5 adults -- remember they were going away on a holiday trip, buttload of stuff in cargo.

Anonymous said...

Useful load in a 340 is not impressive! 5 souls fuel etc. may have played a role as well.

Anonymous said...


N247AT = 24-7 attorney

Anonymous said...

Praying for the remaining family and friends. Let's learn from this. When you stop and think about it, there really is NOWHERE you HAVE to be. So you have to postpone or cancel.....AND??? Let this be a lesson to all of us pilots to cure ourselves of " Get-There - I-Tis". It is better to miss ONE event then miss them ALL. I believe it would have been a better outcome had the conditions been "clear below one two thousand".

jbermo said...

The reported METAR for the field at that time was NOT 0/0 but 1/4 mile. That's an RVR of about 1,600 ft of visibility. Such conditions are certainly not recommended for the non-proficient pilot, but where does it say that this credentialed pilot was not proficient?

The NTSB's job is to consider all factors since the premature hanging of the pilot is also negligent.

Phil said...

After working on and seeing twin Cessna 400 series cargo planes take off and land in very foul weather here in the PNW I would say if runway lights are visible a successful takeoff is very possible just more risk if something goes askew, look at the trim tab position on elev. (looks to be full nose down)there's an ad on the elev trim pushpull rod on twin cessna 400's for coming loose and jamming beyond normal travel, saw a 402 crash aftermath because of it, The pilot had to use full arm strength to keep it level and ripped out the gear on landing (of course his heavy smoking didn't help) There might be more to this then fog.

Anonymous said...

The Cessna 340 are not tremendous load haulers.

A D said...

Let the NTSB figure this out, the fog may or may not have played any role. Even with the heavy fog it would have been a few minutes until VFR on top. But, a return to land would have been well below minimums of 400' above ground and 1 1/2mi vis, actual ceiling 003 300' 1/4mi. With proper lighting and precision instrument approach, the very minimum to land would be 200 ceiling and 1/2 mi vis. KBOW DOES NOT HAVE a precision approach, only having others down to minimums of 400' AGL and 1.5mi vis. Destination airport should have been ok at arrival time. Certainly W&B will be looked at with 5 persons and bags, where the tanks full or only needing enough to the Keys plus reserve? Usually, as mentioned, it's a cascade of failures or something you cannot expect, which is why guessing at the cause is futile. Condolences to family and friends...

Anthony

A D said...

Only the NTSB's investigation will show if both engines were developing power at the time of crash. Maintenance prior to the flight is important. Useful load of that model (not specific aircraft) is 1843 lbs. - full fuel 203 gals or 1203 lbs.- 3 gals oil 24 lbs. leaves 616 lbs for passengers and baggage (assuming full fuel). The balance of the 616 lbs. is a separate calculation. Tragic as it is we must learn from these events as to prevent them from happening again. My condolences to family and friends, RIP.

Anthony

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anthony. Your reality matched what I was seeing when I was running scenarios.

A D said...

It's always hard to tell especially without any facts that only the NTSB has, but it could be the fog didn't play any roll in accident, one thing is always true, never listen to the news media, they know nothing. I have learned that a snap decision usually ends up the wrong guess. Investigators must have a clean slate and look at everything objectively. It would be interesting to know how much fuel was in tanks? Maybe in a few months there will be a preliminary report and I'll post it here. Amazing what the EMS people can do.

Thanks,

With sadness,

Anthony

CRJ 900 said...

This weekend warrior was in way over his head this day . Due to his overconfidence & lack of proficiency ,probably some arrogance, & definitely POOR decision making , several innocent people have lost their lives . This accident would not have happened to a proficient & professional pilot ( even with engine failure at anytime during the take off sequence) Near the beginning of this article one of the accident pilots friends/associates states “ he was a master pilot “ & “ he would turn on his instruments “ typical comments made by someone with absolutely NO knowledge of aviation thinking this low time & lack of IFR experience private pilot can do no wrong . Ignorance is bliss .

Anonymous said...

Wow CRJ900...speaking of arrogance, overconfidance and lack of professionalism.

Anonymous said...

If the lawyer/weekend warriors' attitude is that you should trust them because they can handle the situation in the cockpit/at the helm, you are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

This was nothing but a suicide mission. 5 people and of course their luggage was way over weight for this aircraft. Add in thick fog. Older pilot. Engine failure didn't even have to happen for this aircraft to crash. What was he thinking? Riders should have said I'm not going on this flight. And why was a mother of two babies on this plane. Bad bad bad choices all around!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Agreed...he didn't even make it off airport grounds. Any questions?

Anonymous said...

"And why was a mother of two babies on this plane."
^^ This ^^ What you just expressed are my thoughts exactly.
Perhaps I'm just an old-fashioned, old school, caring Dad, for certain I would not (WILL NOT) be taking a young mother away from her infant & toddler on a Christmas Eve day pleasure flight.
"She was a spectacular mother who dedicated every one of her spare seconds to her two beautiful daughters." Sorry, NOT buying it.

Anonymous said...

Suicide Mission = You hit the nail on the head - precisely!

CRJ 900 said...

To the anonymous that accused me of being overconfident & unprofessional. 40 years as a professional pilot in this business with an unblemished track record ( no accidents or violations) proves that I am the opposite of your accusations. I monitor aviation safety reports closely & too often we see these types of reports where innocent unsuspecting passengers hop on a fiend or associate’s aircraft with a low time & low hard IFR experience pilot at the controls . I for the most part stay out these foums & let others make their comments but this one hit me kind of hard with its degree of tragedy . This lawyer was no doubt very successful & accomplished at his profession . Flying was his hobby. I maintain he was in way over his head that day . Would you have been happy to go with him on that particular day .

Anonymous said...

What CRJ 900 said! When you get on a private aircraft you'd better KNOW who's flying it!!

Anonymous said...

When I climb into a piston twin, my ass is always in one of the front seats! Potentially extreme dangerous pieces of machinery when operated. I will never take off in less than VMC conditions in a piston twin – EVER! Any questions?

Unfortunately, this gentleman had never experienced me read him the riot act – like many others have. If so, he and his family might be alive today.

ATP/CFI Air Carrier 35K+ hrs. 10K+ hrs. dual given

Anonymous said...

Your an idiot
ATP, space shuttle/SR71 type rating 500k TT+ CFIII 300K HRS dual given

Anonymous said...

Arm chair quarterbacks. lets wait for the real professionals to do their job.

Anonymous said...



How can you tell when a pilot is in the room?

He will tell you.

Rusty said...

I've always been averse to the "pilot error" tag, instead I look at improving training and or procedures. What could have been done better. I know that all of us have made decisions which, at a later time, we would have changed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Thankfully, most of us are lucky enough to live to tell the tale. Let the NTSB do their job, learn what we can in order to avoid future mishaps.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that so many "professional" pilots say that part 91 fliers are inferior. You hear about part 91 crashes more because they are usually flying older aircraft that isn't maintained as well as a Delta jet.

A professional pilot wouldn't have any more success in most part 91 accidents. The difference is that a true professional pilot wouldn't have tried the deployment that this idiot did.

There have been many commercial carrier accidents where there was a mechanical failure that resulted in a crash that killed many people, so it isn't just private pilots that have issues.

I know many high time pilots that have gotten more dangerous as they age, hence the airlines won't let you fly past age 60.

Any professional pilot that "has to comment" on this board because he has 000's of hours and many ratings is as dangerous as any part 91 pilot I know.

This pilot made some bad decisions that may have contributed to the accident, but until we have the facts, we should hold judgement.

IMO

gretnabear said...

He had a private pilot's license since Oct. 4, 2010, with an instrument rating that allows a pilot to fly solely by referring to flight instruments in clouds or low visibility, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Anonymous said...

Stevie Wonder could see what happened here...don't make it any more complicated than it really is...
1. Overconfident pilot...hey, I've got an autopilot, right?
2. The need to "stay on schedule"
3. Poor decision making
4. Lack of common sense
5. Any other questions?
6. See 1-5 above

'nuf said. Very sad for those that "trusted" this guy with their lives. RIP.

Roy T said...

As a retired airline Captain, I can honestly say that it was absolute madness and extremely irresponsible for this pilot to have even considered flying in the reported weather conditions. It was even worse to have taken passengers with him to their deaths. Misplaced overconfidence will likely have played a large part in this tragedy, as it often does.

PACK44N said...

Not that my opinion matters, but I agree with all the comments about taking off in such fog and low visibility/ceiling -- whether legally he had IMC T.O. conditions or not. Certainly questionable (or lacking) for instrument approach/landing minimums if he had gotten airborne and needed to come back ASAP due to a problem. In any case, ill advised while arm chair quarterbacking this all. But I DO believe that a contributing factor on this particular 340 and 'pax sortie' was that it was overloaded (at or beyond max T.O. gross)....or that mishap A/C was over-rotated for it's weight. As somebody already said, the 340 doesn't have a great payload despite being a twin. If you look at his PAX, he had a fairly heavy load despite one open seat. CG might have been a player, too...and I wonder what his fuel load was. Regardless, may the RIP. But for me, this has been a sobering wake-up call. I don't ever want to jeopardize somebody life while flying GA/private SEL. I'm simply not qualified and proficient -- and WX can be a killer/distraction for sure.

Chris Kilgus said...

When will the NTSB release a preliminary report? In particular, were both engines developing power?

Anonymous said...

Starts and ends with "tow me out so I don't hit a hanger"!!!

Anonymous said...

^^ Agree with the above comment.

Anonymous said...

Mark ATP 14000 hrs

Owner/Operator many cases = minimal proficiency training and periodic flying which leads to poor decision making and substandard flying skills. Tragedy in seconds. Sad day.

Condolences