Monday, February 05, 2018

Sonex Trainer, N543SX: Fatal accident occurred February 05, 2018 near Carrabelle-Thompson Airport (X13), Franklin County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Gregory W. Newman: 

Location: Carrabelle, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA083
Date & Time: 02/05/2018, 1125 EST
Registration: N543SX
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 5, 2018, at 1125 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Sonex Trainer airplane, N543SX, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain after a loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff from the Carrabelle-Thompson Airport (X13), Carrabelle, Florida. The private pilot, who was also the owner/builder of the airplane was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed near the airport at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight that was being conducted as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with intentions to stay in the local area.

A witness stated the pilot had been having some mechanical issues with the engine and the purpose of the flight was to test the engine. On the morning of the accident, the witness heard the pilot start the airplane's engine and taxi to runway 5. Everything sounded normal. The airplane then departed. When it was about halfway down the 4,000-foot-long runway, he heard the engine lose power. There was no sputter or sound of a rough running engine, the rpm just decelerated. The witness looked up and saw the airplane about 100 ft above the runway. The pilot then made an "aggressive bank" to the left and the airplane stalled and descended straight down toward the ground. The witness did not see the impact.

The airplane came to rest upright in a nose down attitude in heavily wooded and swampy terrain about 250-yards north of the airport. There was no postimpact fire.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical was issued on May 3, 2016. At that time, he reported 571 total flight hours.

Weather at Apalachicola Regional Airport-Cleve Randolph Field, Apalachicola, Florida, located about 18 miles west of the accident site, at 1053, was reported as wind from 050° at 9 knots, clear skies, temperature 15° C, dew point 8° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.23 inches of mercury. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GREGORY NEWMAN
Registration: N543SX
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: AAF, 19 ft msl
Observation Time: 1053 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 50°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Carrabelle, FL (X13)
Destination: Carrabelle, FL (X13) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.841944, -84.701111 (est)

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

Greg Newman

· Franklin County Sheriff's Office  - A.J. "Tony" Smith, Sheriff 

Tremendous effort this morning by the Carrabelle Police Department, FCSO and the EMS in response to a small aircraft crash. The victim went down in the woods near the Carrabelle airport. Thank you to all who rushed out to search for the plane. Help came to the victim quickly and wouldn’t have been possible without such a rapid effort. Please keep this man in your thoughts and prayers.

Special thank you to Mark Nobles for taking his personal plane out to search from the sky. Teamwork!

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - A man died in the hospital after his plane crashed in Franklin County on Monday morning. 

Greg Newman, 68, was airlifted to a hospital. His small plane went down in woods near the Carabelle airport, deputies said. 

"The Carrabelle Aviation Advisory Board lost their dear comrade this evening," Carrabelle Mayor Brenda La Paz said in a Facebook post. "The loss is a tragedy to our community. We are all heartbroken. ... Deepest sympathy to Greg’s beloved wife, Laurel."

The Carrabelle Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and EMS responded to the crash.

Story, video and photos ➤

A 68-year-old Carrabelle man was injured Monday morning, after the small plane he was piloting went down in the woods near the Carrabelle Airport.

Greg Newman was unconscious inside of his Sonex two-seater aircraft when Carrabelle Office Brice Carlson and Sheriff’s Deputy Wade Blevins found him in Tate’s Hell State Forest about 250 yards from the runway, said Amber Jochim, Carrabelle’s assistant police chief.

She said a Weems ambulance responded to the call, and that Newman was flown by helicopter to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Carlson and Blevins responded to the call about 11:25 a.m, Jochim said.

“People in the hangar said they saw the plane having engine troubles and it went down near the northeast end of the runway,” Jochim said.

Private pilot Mark Nobles flew overhead and helped identify where officers needed to go,” she said.

The officers trekked into the woods, and then carried him about 250 yards on a spinal board back to the airport.

Tim Sullivan, chairman of Carrabelle aviation advisory board, said the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and will investigate the crash.

Story and photos ➤

· Carrabelle Police Department

At approximately 11:25 am on February 5th, 2018, Officer Brice Carlson assisted by Deputy Wade Blevins, FCSO responded to a report of a plane crash at Carrabelle Airport off Airport Road.

Upon arrival Ofc. Carlson learned from witnesses that a single passenger plane was observed having engine trouble and going down approximately 200 yards off the northeast end of the runway. 

With air assistance from pilot Mark Nobles, Carlson and Blevins located the wreckage in the wooded area of Tate's Hell Swamp.

The pilot, Gregory Newman of Carrabelle suffered unknown injuries and was unconscious when located. 

CPD, FCSO and Franklin Co. EMS were able to get Newman on a backboard and carry him 200 yards back out of the woods. 

Newman was life-flighted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.  His condition is unknown at this time.


  1. Looks a little like a Sonex. Anyone know?

  2. Gregory Newman's Sonex N543SX.

  3. unfortunately, it is now a fatality.

    Is it just me or does there seem to be a really high number of this model crashing with serious injuries and fatalities. Not wanting to start an argument with anybody but there seems to be a really disproportionate number of accidents with this aircraft. Is it the engines they are using ?

  4. Was close to there by Quincy yesterday. Sadly the pilot will be missed and was known to many as a good friend. Was there when a fateful phone call was made confirming the fatality after several hours of hard work by the medical staff at the ICU.

    My condoleances.

    Sonex seems a solid plane but the word was the VW engine he was using was sketchy at best and he was always working on it.

    Also unexplained is why he veered off the runway to try to turn back vs. simply trying to land on the decent asphalt left.