Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cessna 172L Skyhawk, N7239Q: Fatal accident occurred June 22, 2018 near Diamondhead Airport (66Y), Hancock County, Mississippi

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Diamondhead, MS
Accident Number: ERA18FA174
Date & Time: 06/22/2018, 0700 CDT
Registration: N7239Q
Aircraft: CESSNA 172
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 22, 2018, at 0700 central daylight time, a Cessna 172L, N7239Q, was destroyed during a collision with trees, powerlines, and terrain during the initial climb after takeoff from Diamondhead Airport (66Y), Diamondhead, Mississippi. The student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the solo instructional flight which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the student pilot's flight instructor, who was also the owner/operator of the airplane, the purpose of the flight was to conduct solo traffic pattern work at 66Y. The student pilot was to conduct full-stop landings and taxi back to the approach end of the runway before initiating the next takeoff.

A police detective witnessed the airplane while he was traveling westbound on the interstate near the departure end of runway 36. He said that the airplane appeared over the interstate traveling "slowly" northbound, just above treetop height.

With a model of an airplane in his hand, the witness displayed the airplane crossing the roadway as the nose pitched up from a level pitch attitude. Once the airplane was across the interstate and above the trees on the north side, the nose gradually pitched down as the airplane rolled and turned to the left until it was out of view below the trees. The witness stated his car was directly abeam the airplane at that time, and he had traveled about 1/2 -mile past the accident site when he saw smoke above the trees.

Diamondhead Airport was at 14 ft elevation and positioned between Interstate 10 and Cutoff Bayou. Runway 36/18 was 3,800 ft long and 75 ft wide. Runway 36 ended immediately prior to Interstate 10, which was a four-lane divided highway oriented east-west.

Preliminary radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted four left-hand traffic patterns were completed prior to the accident flight. The airplane was first acquired on radar at 0628:28. At 0658:24, near the conclusion of the fourth approach, the airplane was at 225 ft mean sea level (msl), and 1,100 ft prior to the approach end of the runway. There were no further radar targets identified as the accident airplane. The witness statement and the proximity of the accident site to the runway placed the airplane in an area consistently below radar coverage.

The wreckage was examined at the site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented about 210° and was about 75 ft in length. The airplane came to rest upright and was oriented 098°. Several pieces of angularly cut wood, some greater than 8-inches in diameter, were scattered around the airplane.

The cockpit, cabin area, right wing, and the empennage were consumed by a postcrash fire. The left wing displayed uniform crushing along the leading edge. Striation marks and tearing along the leading edge consistent with a wire contact were visible. The tail section showed thermal damage but remained mostly intact.

The engine was exposed, the propeller remained attached, and each displayed significant thermal damage. The right magneto and oil filter were separated from the engine, and the left magneto remained secure in its mounts.

The engine was rotated by hand through the vacuum pump pad. Continuity was confirmed through the accessory section to the valvetrain and power train. Thumb suction and compression were observed at all cylinders except for the No. 2 cylinder.

The No. 2 cylinder intake valve appeared not fully seated. The cylinder was removed and leak-checked with water. Water drained from the intake port with only valve-spring tension applied to the valve stem. The valve was "staked" using a mallet and when water was again poured into the interior of the cylinder, no liquid was observed draining out of the intake port. Coking on the intake valve stem was consistent with the valve in an open position while exposed to the postimpact fire.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the flight control surfaces or their associated hardware and attachment points. The flap actuator jackscrew was intact, and measured in its as-found condition. Measurement of the exposed threads corresponded with a full-flap, 40-degree-extention setting.

The student pilot was issued an FAA third-class medical and student pilot certificate in September 2017. A review of his logbook revealed he had accrued 169.1 total hours of flight experience. His first solo endorsement was dated June 12, 2018 after he had accrued 164.9 total hours of flight experience.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1972. Its most recent annual inspection was completed October 1, 2017 at 4,898.4 total aircraft hours.

At 0650, the weather recorded at Stennis International Airport (HSA), 3 miles west of the accident site included clear skies and calm winds. The temperature was 24°C, and the dew point was 24°C. The altimeter setting was 29.93 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N7239Q
Model/Series: 172 L
Aircraft Category:Airplane 
Amateur Built: No
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: KHSA, 23 ft msl
Observation Time: 1150 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Diamondhead, MS (66Y)
Destination: Diamondhead, MS (66Y)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.369167, -89.390556

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 

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk, center, watches as firefighters put out a fire at the scene of a small plane crash in Diamondhead on Friday, June 22, 2018.

A student pilot who died in a fiery plane crash near Diamondhead has been identified as 69-year-old Premnathan "Prem" Naidoo, according to his family.

Everyone involved in the investigation of the Friday morning crash in woods just north of Interstate 10 believes the victim was Naidoo, Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said. But officials are still working on a positive ID via autopsy and dental records.

Before the crash, Prem Naidoo sent a text message to his instructor saying he planned to fly out, his son Terry Naidoo said.

The small plane took off about 6:30 a.m. to fly around the area, officials have said, and it crashed less than a mile from the airport.

It was on fire and entangled in a power line when first responders reached the wooded area.

The crash

Diamondhead Fire Chief Jerry Dubuisson has told the Sun Herald there was no radio traffic of a problem with the plane before it crashed.

The student pilot was flying alone, officials said. A student pilot may fly solo after passing tests given by a flight instructor, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.

The Cessna 172 crashed shortly after it left the Diamondhead Airport, said Keith Holloway with the National Transportation Safety Board.

"At this point, no conclusions or determination has been made," he said, but the NTSB may release a preliminary report late next week.

The plane is owned by Diamondhead Aerolease LLC, the FAA Registry shows.

'He loved his work'

Naidoo was the owner of Asphalt & Wax Innovations in Pass Christian. The business works with contractors who need to manufacture asphalt for paving.

His father traveled around the world for business and was working toward getting his pilot's license, Terry Naidoo said.

Prem Naidoo was born in South Africa and moved to America in 2001 with his family, Terry Naidoo said. The family settled in Diamondhead and Prem Naidoo started the business.

Prem Naidoo, his wife and son became naturalized citizens in 2010. Another son's citizenship is pending.

"He was very excited to become an American citizen," Terry Naidoo said of his father. "We all were."

Prem Naidoo had several patents on asphalt compositions and had co-authored abstracts on processes such as rubber binders and mixes, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

Terry Naidoo described his father as a hard worker and go-getter who couldn't sit still.

"He loved his work," Terry Naidoo said. "He loved to stay busy so he had to have a hobby or work."

Terry and his brother both worked with their father.

"It's been tough, but we're fighting through it," Terry Naidoo said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Story and video ➤

The family of a business owner has tentatively identified him as the pilot who died in a plane crash near the Diamondhead Aiport on Friday.

The man has been identified as Premnathan "Prem" Naidoo, 69, a business owner and research & development chemist, who was a student pilot.

"The plane left the Diamondhead airport and came to the north side of I-10 and crashed in the wooded area," Diamondhead Fire Chief Jerry Dubuisson said Friday. "The plane apparently flipped one of the power lines and it wrapped around the airplane."

Senior Air Safety Investigator Brian Raynor with the National Transportation Safety Board said in a press conference on Saturday that the NTSB had launched a probe into the crash.

“Our understanding, in preliminary radar data, indicates that the gentlemen flying the airplane was doing practice traffic patterns at the Diamondhead airport,” Raynor said. “On what appears to be the fifth takeoff, the airplane crashed in the woods on the north side of the interstate just beyond the departure of the runway at Diamondhead. The airplane was destroyed and the student pilot was fatally injured.”

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Monday that investigators cannot legally identify the pilot of the crashed Cessna 172 until an odontologist finishes his work.

Faulk said authorities were "99.9 percent sure" of the man's identity, but said authorities cannot yet publicize his name until the dental records are thoroughly examined.

Naidoo was the founder of Asphalt & Wax Innovation, LLC. According to the company's website, it "commenced operations in April 2006 under the ownership of Prem Naidoo who retired from 30 years service with Shell International and 10 years service with Sasol International as Research & Development Chemist. AWI performs research and development, quality control, and consultation for all aspects of the roofing and paving industries.

"Green Asphalt Technologies, LLC (GAT) was registered and started operations in September 2008 and is operated by (Prem's son) Terry Naidoo. GAT has a mission to develop eco-friendly solutions to enhance and benefit the asphalt industry as a whole. Specifically, GAT focus is on the responsible usage of recycled asphalt pavements and shingles going into the asphalt pavements of today."

Both companies operate primarily in the research and technology development field, forging relationships with other suitable companies for sales, marketing, and commercialization, according to the website.

Faulk said that authorities should be able to officially release the name of the victim by some time on Tuesday.

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board met in Diamondhead Saturday afternoon to hold a briefing regarding the single-engine plane crash that happened Friday.

The Hancock County pilot, whose identity has not yet been released, died in the crash.

The investigator said a report with factual discoveries should be released within the next 5-7 business days. However, a complete and verified report may take up to a year. 

"The plane wreckage should be completely removed by the end of the day today and should be taken to a site in Jacksonville," the investigator said. 

After questions from the media were taken, the investigator met with the Diamondhead mayor, the Hancock County coroner. and other city officials privately. 

Story and video ➤

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - The scene was horrific: A Cessna 172 plane torn apart, pieces melted. Trees smashed from the impact.  And in the middle of it all was the body of the male pilot burned beyond recognition.

"We know it's a local pilot who was just doing some flying here locally," said Diamondhead Fire Chief Jerry Dubuisson. "He wasn’t headed out of town."

The plane went down a little after 7 a.m. Friday after taking off from the Diamondhead Airport.

"The owner of the plane told me that before the pilot took off, he'd indicated to him - as they all have to do for him - that he was going to be flying today. And that was just a typical, 'I'll be flying today, and I'll be in the Diamondhead area.'" 

There was no record of a mayday call. As it went down, the plane clipped a power line. First responders were delayed until Coast Electric Power crews could shut the power off and ground the wire.

By noon, Federal Aviation Authority officials had begun their investigation.

It's the first plane crash Jerry Dubuisson has had to work as fire chief.

"The experiences we've had with planes typically in Diamondhead have been a mechanical malfunction while it's in the air and the pilot's been able to work that through or get the plane safely on the ground with minor damage," Dubuisson said. 

Coroner Jim Faulk couldn't believe the call. It's the second fatal accident in as many days in the same place.

"I said, 'You've got to be kidding me.' I didn’t believe dispatch," Faulk said. "The thing that gets my eyes kind of teary is to have to notify the family members. That's the worst thing that you could be asked to do, but you have to do it."

Faulk said the official identification of the pilot will have to be done using dental records, and the process could take a while. 

Chief Dubuisson said the National Transportation Safety Board will be on scene Saturday conducting its investigation.

Story and video ➤

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WVUE) - The coroner of Hancock County, MS, said it could take several days before they know the identity of a man killed in a plane crash near Diamondhead.

The crash happened Friday around 7 a.m. with the plane going down just north of I-10. The plane flew for about 2,000 feet before it went down in the woods just north of the Diamondhead airport.

Responding Diamondhead firefighters didn't know whether it would be a private plane or a military plane at first since the crash site was between the Stennis military airport and the small Diamondhead air strip.

"Found a single-engine aircraft down and on fire," said Jerry Dubuisson with the Diamondhead Fire Department.

The plane, a Cessna 172, appeared to be carrying a lot of fuel. It burned for two-and-a-half hours before the coroner was able to remove the body of the victim inside. But the recovery efforts were also delayed by other factors.

"Initial efforts hampered because the plane clipped a power line and recovery crews were fearful of that," said Dubuisson.

The pilot is believed to be from the Diamondhead area, but authorities have not been able to make a positive identification due  to the condition of the body.

Investigators don't yet know what caused the plane to go down. They said there were no reports of distress calls before the crash.

"I can confirm there were no maydays at either Gulfport or Stennis towers," said Dubuisson.

Authorities say that could be an indication that there were no engine problems, but the plane went down so close to the runway there may not have been enough time for the pilot to call for help.

Mississippi Emergency Management and the  National Transportation Safety Board are heading up the investigation. 

The Hancock County coroner said it could take several days for dental records to provide a positive identity of the victim.

Story and video ➤


Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how many fiery,fatal crashes involving power lines have occurred lately?

Anonymous said...

160+ hours to first solo?
surely a record if true, and makes one wonder what everyone involved was thinking

Anonymous said...

"Prem Naidoo was born in South Africa. Prem Naidoo, his wife and son became naturalized citizens in 2010. Another son's citizenship is pending."

I am sure there must be good reasons for 160 plus hours to reach first solo flight. Language barriers, cultural differences, different attitudes and expectations, and behavior to attach to procedures can have disastrous results in aviation.

Unknown said...

If he tried to fly with 40 degrees of flaps down...that may be the reason it was low & slow and wouldn't climb. He just forgot to raise them when he did his last touch & go.

Layne said...

Ithat was my first airplane...i flew that 172 in Alaska for several years in the 90s..great plane...hate to hear its end ..and the pilot..