Sunday, January 14, 2018

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

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

John Shannon, Olivia Anne Shannon, Krista Clayton, Victoria Shannon Worthington and Peter Worthington, Jr.

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:

Aviation Transportation LLC:

John Shannon (left) with his plane.

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
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)

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