Thursday, February 1, 2018

Beechcraft 35-A33 Debonair, N9378Y, registered to and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred January 30, 2018 in Helenwood, Scott County, Tennessee

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

 Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cleveland

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Helenwood, TN
Accident Number: ANC18FA022
Date & Time: 01/30/2018, 1400 EST
Registration: N9378Y
Aircraft: BEECH 35 A33
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 30, 2018, about 1400 eastern standard time, a Beech 35-A33 retractable gear airplane, N9378Y, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while in level cruise flight near Helenwood, Tennessee. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 visual flight rules flight when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The flight had departed from Venice, Florida at about 0800 destined for Urbana, Ohio with a planned intermediate fuel stop. When the flight failed to arrive on time, a concerned family member contacted local law enforcement and initiated a search for the missing airplane.

An alert notice (ALNOT) was issued by the FAA at 2003 EST, and an extensive search was launched. Search operations were conducted by personnel from the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, Scott County Sheriff's Office, Scott County Rescue Squad, United States Department of Agriculture, and multiple local fire departments. A 121.5 Emergency Locater Transmitter (ELT) signal was received in the early morning hours of January 31, but searchers were unable to locate the accident airplane due to dark night conditions. About 0956 EST on January 31, searchers located the accident airplane's wreckage and confirmed the passenger was deceased.

According to a relative of the family, following rescue, the pilot reported a total loss of engine power while in cruise flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) reached the accident site in the morning of February 2. The accident site was located in a steep hilly area of brush and rock covered terrain with sparsely populated trees at an elevation of about 1241 ft mean sea level (msl). An area believed to be the initial impact point was marked by a broken tree top, atop about a 25-foot-tall tree. After the initial impact, the airplane's wreckage traveled northwest along a magnetic heading of about 297° for about 143 ft before coming to rest upright in a rock covered gully on a heading of about 321°.

All the airplane's major components were located at the main wreckage site. The engine remained attached to the airframe and the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft with both propeller blades attached to the propeller hub assembly. One blade was bent aft about mid-span and the other blade was bent slightly aft. The spinner remained in place and exhibited a dent on one side with no rotational scoring. All the primary flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective attach points and flight control continuity was verified from all the primary flight control surfaces to the cockpit.

The closest weather reporting facility was Scott Municipal Airport (KSCX), Oneida, Tennessee located about 5 miles northwest of the accident site. At 1353, an METAR from KSCX was reporting, in part, wind light and variable; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, clear; temperature, 37 °F; dew point 18° F; altimeter, 30.40 inches of Mercury.

The airplane was equipped with a legacy, 121.5 MHz ELT, and not a digital 406 MHz ELT that instantly transmits a distress signal to search and rescue satellites, thereby alerting rescue personnel within minutes of the location of the crash site. As of February 1, 2009, analog, 121.5 MHz ELT's stopped being monitored by search and rescue satellites, and the installation of the 406 MHz has been voluntary.

The aircraft was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-470 series engine.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N9378Y
Model/Series:  35 A33 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:

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

David and Vicki Maxwell

Vicki Maxwell, Beechcraft 35-A33 Debonair (N9378Y), Dave Maxwell and Sage (Miniature Labradoodle)

The pilot who survived a deadly plane crash in Scott County is fighting for his life in the hospital.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center said David Maxwell was in critical condition as of the morning of February 1, 2018.

The wreckage of his plane that was also carrying his wife Vicki Maxwell and their dog had been found in Scott County on Wednesday, January 31 after it was reported missing. The plane had crashed the afternoon prior on January 30.

The wife died in the crash. The pilot and dog survived and had been trapped in the plane overnight before being discovered.

Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips said the plane was spotted just before 9 a.m. Wednesday by a USDA helicopter from wildlife management while they were hog hunting. The plane was found off a cliff line in the 500 block of Old Jamestown Road in Helenwood by New River.

The sheriff said David Maxwell was taken to the hospital via LIFESTAR around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the initial investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Beechcraft 35-A33 Debonair that left Venice Municipal Airport in Venice, Florida, on Tuesday morning. The FAA issued an alert when the aircraft did not arrive at its destination in Urbana, Ohio. It was determined the plane was last spotted in Scott County before it disappeared from air traffic tracking systems.

Civil air patrol also had units up Tuesday night and Wednesday morning searching for the couple. A ground search started around midnight after they received a call from the FAA that a plane might be down in a wooded area near the unincorporated community of Helenwood.

Early Wednesday morning, a post from David and Vicki Maxwell’s daughter asking for help finding her parents was being shared widely on Facebook.

Erin Patton said her parents and their dog were flying home from Florida to their home in Springfield, Ohio, in a light aircraft on Tuesday. She said the plane went off the radar while flying around 1:55 p.m. that day in Scott County.

The civil air patrol believes the plane crashed around 4 p.m. Tuesday. Search teams weren't notified of the crash until about eight hours later.

Tennessee Wing Commander Colonel Dent Young was part of the search. He said the Maxwells did not file a flight plan. While it's not required, Young said it's also not safe to go without.

"The aircraft crashed about 4 p.m. last night. If they'd have filed a flight plan, the search would have started by 6 p.m. or so, instead of starting at 11:45 at night. So for 8 hours they were in the airplane on the ground with nobody looking for them," Young said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is working to determine the cause of the crash alongside the FAA investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A woman is dead and her husband injured after a plane crashed in in Scott County. 

Erin Patton, an Ohio woman, posted on Facebook that her parents, Vicki and David Maxwell, and their dog were flying from Florida to Ohio on Tuesday when their plane disappeared. 

The Scott County Sheriff's Department says the Maxwell's plane was found just south of Huntsville around 8 a.m. after an overnight search. Officials say the Vicki was killed in the crash. David and their dog survived.

David Maxwell, who was piloting the plane, was airlifted to UT Medical Center. His condition is critical.  

Scott County sheriff's officials said a Civil Air Patrol plane searching the area overnight was able to pick up a signal from the missing plane, but couldn't pinpoint the location. 

"We knew from radar forensics approximately where the aircraft would have been," said Dent Young with Civil Air Patrol. "We centered our search on that, spent about two hours doing that."

Young says because it was so dark ground crews were not able to be sent out. 

The search by ground began around 7:00 am and the search by air began around 8:30 am. 

"While they were beginning their search we were notified that a USDA helicopter which had been in the area on another mission had been diverted to assist us in the search and they had located the aircraft," said Young.

Temperatures in Scott County dropped to 21 degrees overnight according to the National Weather Service.

According to the FAA, the Beechcraft Debonair plane left Venice Municipal Airport in Florida on Tuesday morning. When the plane didn't land at its destination in Urbana, Ohio, 800 miles away, authorities began their search. 

Young says the plane did not have a flight plan.

"This pilot was flying under what we call VFR, visual flight rules, and while not required to file a flight plan, if the pilot had filed a flight plan before they took off from Florida, this rescue effort, and it would have been a rescue effort, would have started about two hours after the air craft was over due to land"

Instead the search effort didn't start until eight hours after the probable landing time. 

The NTSB and FAA will arrive on the scene Friday to begin the investigation into what caused the crash. The investigation could take months. 

Original article can be found here ➤

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