Friday, June 1, 2018

Cirrus SR22, N670SR, registered to and operated by JMC Ranches LLC: Fatal accident occurred May 31, 2018 at Midland International Air and Space Port Airport (KMAF), Midland County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Cirrus Design; Duluth, Minnesota 
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Midland, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA204
Date & Time: 05/31/2018, 1920 CDT
Registration: N670SR
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 31, 2018, about 1920 central daylight time, a Cirrus Design SR22, N670SR, impacted terrain during an uncontrolled descent shortly after taking off from runway 16R at the Midland International Air and Space Port Airport (MAF), Midland, Texas. The student pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by JMC Ranches, LLC, Midland, Texas, and was operating under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the accident site at the time of the accident. The flight was originating and was destined for Sierra Blanca Regional Airport (SRR), Ruidoso, New Mexico.

During the initial climb, the airplane was seen to enter a right descending turn. The on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of in-flight airframe, engine, or flight control malfunction or failure. There was fire after impact. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CIRRUS
Registration: N670SR
Model/Series: SR22
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: KMAF, 2872 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 41°C / 4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 150°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: Midland, TX (KMAF)
Destination: Ruidoso, NM (KSRR) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  31.942500, -102.201944 (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

MIDLAND, Texas (Local 2/Fox 24) - We are learning more about a fatal plane crash that occurred at Midland International Air and Spaceport last month. 

According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, there was no evidence of in-flight airframe, engine or flight control malfunction or failure. 

The NTSB also confirmed in a release that a student pilot was operating the aircraft just before the crash.

According to FAA regulations, student pilots cannot legally fly with passengers. 

"So while you're considered a student pilot you are essentially flying under your CFI license and you're not allowed to do quite a bit," owner and pilot of OmniAero, Ty Mackey, said. 

Local 2 reached out to the pilot for clarification on FAA standards. He says the FAA requires at least forty hours of flight training before a student can even take a solo flight without clearance from a CFI. 

"If the CFI doesn't sign off on it or know about it you can essentially not fly anywhere and then as a student you also can never carry passengers," the pilot said.

Officials with the NTSB declined to comment on the status of the student pilot, citing an ongoing investigation.

In the crash occurred back on May 31 at MAF. Officials investigating the crash said that John Cooper and Gavyn Cooper were preparing to exit the traffic pattern when the plane went down. 

Both were killed.

John and Gavyn, according to the report, were enroute to Ruidoso, New Mexico. 

The investigation is ongoing and the NTSB says a full report could take up to a year to complete. 

Story and video ➤

Gavyn Mark Cooper
January 13, 2002 - May 31, 2018

Gavyn Mark Cooper, 16, of Midland, passed away Thursday, May 31, 2018 in Midland, Texas. Gavyn was born in Odessa, Texas. He grew up and attended schools in Midland, Texas. Gavyn was a student at Midland High School and a member of the football team.

Gavyn loved the Lord more than anything. He was a growing Christian who was devoted to Christ. Gavyn also loved football. Recently he went to the Super Bowl Game and the Cowboys Draft. His father, whom he looked up to, coached his football team when he was a youngster. Gavyn dreamed of playing professional football someday. He enjoyed many activities with his father, one of which was junior drag racing.

Like his father, Gavyn was a hard worker and worked all summer at his father’s ranch. He enjoyed studying horseracing statistics and became very knowledgeable on the subject. His career goal was to attend Texas A&M and become an engineer. He was an honor roll student, so loving and giving, and the most respectful child you’d ever met. He was a great leader and very mature for his age.

Read more here

John Mark Cooper
November 28, 1978 - May 31, 2018

John Mark Cooper passed away May 31, 2018 in Midland, Texas. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2018 at Stonegate Fellowship Church in Midland.

John Mark was born in Midland, Texas November 28, 1978. He grew up in Odessa, Texas and attended Odessa High School. John played high school football sporting the number “8” jersey. After High School John moved to Midland where he met and married his soul mate, Chassity Pullen. They were married 17 years. They have two children, Gavyn Mark Cooper and Callie Faith Cooper. John was an honest man who always kept his word. He was a loving father and a devoted husband. Callie was John’s princess and he called her his angel. Callie always said her dad was her hero.

John had a loving heart and an amazing work ethic. He had high work standards for himself and all those around him. He began working on drilling rigs for Patterson UTI Drilling Company, working his way up to rig supervisor. Later he became a drilling consultant, working for Sandridge, Devon and several other oil and gas companies. He is currently the COO and co-founder of MDC Texas Energy LLC, and independent exploration and production Company based in Midland, Texas.

John’s second passion was horses. He has loved horses since he was a toddler. Four years ago he started JMC Ranches to provide training for quarter horses and thoroughbreds.

John lived his life to the fullest and accomplished his dreams. Most importantly he loved God.

Read more here ➤

John Mark Cooper, Student Pilot

Gavyn Cooper

Gavyn Cooper

The victims of Thursday’s plane crash at Midland International Air & Space Port have been identified as a 39-year-old Midland man and his 16-year-old son.

The crash of the Cirrus SR22 airplane killed pilot John Mark Cooper, and his son, Gavyn Cooper, who was the only passenger, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The plane — a fixed-wing, single-engine craft manufactured in 2007 — held a “valid” status, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, and the expiration of its certificate was set for January 2021. The plane is registered to JMC Ranches LLC. A John Cooper of Midland is registered as the business’ owner, according to state comptroller records.

According to the FAA, a John Mark Cooper was issued a student pilot certificate on April 1, 2013. Pilots with student pilot certificates are prohibited from carrying passengers.

The Reporter-Telegram could not confirm if the deceased John Mark Cooper is the same Cooper in the FAA’s record because the pilot’s address was withheld. However, there is only one John Mark Cooper in the FAA’s airmen database. DPS confirmed the pilot’s full name.

Robert Katz, a Dallas-based flight instructor and plane crash expert, said student pilots cannot take a plane anywhere without a flight instructor’s endorsement in the student’s logbook. “Even if he owns his own airplane, he can’t legally take it out whenever he wants,” Katz said Friday in a phone interview.

The record also indicates that a third-class medical certificate was issued in April 2013. If the pilot were under 40 years old, he would not have been allowed to fly an aircraft because the medical certificate would have expired 60 months after it was issued -- April 30, 2018 -- according to the federal government’s Electronic Code of Federal Regulations concerning pilot certification.

With 35 years of experience as a pilot, Katz said keeping medical certificates current are critical. “Knowing your medical expiration date is tantamount to knowing your birthday,” he said.

The plane crashed at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday shortly after taking off, according to a DPS press release.

“The aircraft departed from Runway 16 and was preparing to exit the traffic pattern when it crashed near the approach end of Runway 10, starting a fire,” FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said in a statement Thursday night.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and the FAA will provide assistance. The NTSB usually posts a preliminary report within a week to 10 days after a crash and it typically takes up to a year or more to complete an investigation, he said.

John and Gavyn Cooper initially were identified by Sarah Green, director of marketing and communications for Trinity School. John Cooper’s wife and Gavyn’s mother, Chassity Cooper, is a kindergarten aide at the school, Green said in an email. The victims’ daughter and sister, Callie, attends Trinity, and Gavyn previously attended the private school and was attending Midland High.

Midland High football coach Tim Anuszkiewicz said Gavyn Cooper was a quarterback on the junior varsity team last year and that he was going to be a junior next fall.

“Gavyn was a true Midland Bulldog,” Anuszkiewicz said. “He was a team player. He had a great attitude and was a really happy kid. I think that is what we are going to miss the most about not having him around, that he just brought a really good spirit to the program.”

John Cooper was a trainer at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, according to a press release from Ruidoso Downs.

“John M. Cooper was having the best year of his young training career after being successful in the energy business,” the release said. “Last Saturday, the Cooper-trained Pj Splash Of Joy qualified for the Grade 1, $1 million Ruidoso Futurity. Last Sunday, the Cooper trained Flight Force gained top preference to race in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry Stakes at Ruidoso Downs. Cooper had entered Mojo Perry in the $100,000 Junos Request Stakes at Remington Park to run on Saturday night. Mojo Perry is coming off a third-place run in the Decketta Stakes.”

A request made Friday to the director of airports seeking more information about the incident was not returned. The NTSB does not comment during investigations, and the FAA refers all requests for information to the NTSB.

Original article can be found here ➤


Propilot said...

I rarely if ever comment as, being a pilot, things happen that we cannot explain however I truly hope this guy did not get a student pilot permit in 2013 and was flying an SR22 around since then pretending he knew what he was doing. I truly hope not.

There are people dying in those airplanes that have much experience and it reaches out and bites them.

I pray for him to rest in peace however I really pray for his poor son, mom and rest of the family that will live with knowing what happened.

If the info was wrong and the guy was experienced and up to date, then my latter comment stands, these are slippery airplanes and can reach out and bite even very experienced pilots.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100%... lots of “good ole boys” and Aviation has no place for that negligence - hopefully that is not the case. Prayers and RIP for the families.

Anonymous said...

Propilot is absolutely correct in his comments. A Cirrus has no latitude for error.

Anonymous said...

You Cirrus haters are hilarious. I have almost 1,000 hours in an SR22 and you guys have no idea what you are talking about. Cirrus aircraft have one of the lowest accident rates of ALL GA aircraft. Check the stats before you make uninformed statements.

airbear said...

The SR22 seems pretty popular with wealthy student pilots. Not saying that it can't be flown safely, but it moves at a greater clip than a C172. Things happen faster, and can go wrong quicker. That's nothing against the airplane, but we should acknowledge that greater speed and/or complexity can be hazardous to an inexperienced pilot, or one without recency in type.

I'm a commercial pilot prepping for my ATP. It took me a long time before I was comfortable taking my kid up with me, and only then at a different airport where the fleet maintenance program was much more stringent than the company I worked for. It's headlines like these that make me so nervous about it. My heart goes out to the mother and family.

Propilot said...

Hmmmm...... I don't see any Cirrus haters here. The comments are far more in line that the aircraft have no latitude for error and they don't. I fly a Commander 112 that has a much fatter wing (much slower etc etc) and it is not as nearly sensitive to speed (especially in the pattern) as the Cirrus is. Just read the cases of people getting a bit slow. With almost 1,000 hours you are clearly piloting the aircraft within its safety parameters. Do you not agree that with the high performance critical wing it is less forgiving to getting a bit behind the speed curve ?

Anonymous said...

re: cirrus haters comment. cirrus does have the lowest accident rate in GA provided a properly qualified pilot is behind the controls. a student pilot does not count. and that is per the factual stats.

Anonymous said...

Cirrus does not have the lowest accident rate in GA.
It has the lowest FATAL accident rate for piston single GA aircraft. And that is due to both the CAPS system parachute and Cirrus' commitment to training its pilot owners to use it.
The comments that there's less room for error as a training aircraft, compared to say a 172, are correct. Cirrus pilots still screw up. If they are within the CAPS flight envelope, and they are smart enough to use it, they can likely avoid the consequences of their ineptitude.

Anonymous said...

The Cirrus itself is not a bad aircraft. I only found 353 NTSB entries regarding Cirrus.

Out of the 358 entries, only 158 involved fatalities of 1 or more.

I agree, just like a gun, it's not the airplane itself.

Prayers for the family...

Anonymous said...

According to Aviation DB, records show he just got the plane in January 2018.
So a lapsed student pilot license and medical. Who knows what, if any, flying he's done since 2013. Then buys himself a high performance, slippery plane. Probably couldn't get familiarization flight sign-offs from a CFI familiar with the type since he didn't have a license either.
FlightAware shows a few recent flights since purchase. Couple to Ruidoso, NM where he was training horses and rest local flights around Midland Intl. If all holds up then student pilot with very low time in a high performance that he wasn't cleared/trained to fly. Very, very sad especially taking his son down with him.

Jim B said...

It's an attitude thing.

Play by the rules and fly by the numbers and the probability of longevity and survival is quite good.

Does not matter what you own.

Local pilot said...

On the day of the accident the temperature in Midland was 106 degrees Fahrenheit with a field elevation at MAF of 2871ft MSL. A slick wing and normally aspirated engine aircraft flown by a very proficient pilot would have to be at the top of his game-- especially with an early right turn to depart the pattern to the west.

Anonymous said...

Criminal and reckless behaviour.

Anonymous said...

^^ Maybe in your country, but not in the United States. Sorry, no.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Mr. Cooper was a slow learner.
"Third-class medical certificate was issued in April 2013"

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for the flying community, there are any number of airplane owners who have no pilot cert, and fly, and a heck of a lot more who have neither a current medical/basic med cert, flight review or currency when required.

Anonymous said...

How could FlightAware show any flights. It only shows aircraft on an IFR flight plan. Now maybe he had an IFR rated friend fly for him; maybe not. Should be looked into; well since he's deceased, who cares.

Anonymous said...

If I get flight following during a flight, once I squawk the assigned transponder code, tracking is enabled via FlightAware. Doesn't matter if VFR or IFR

Anonymous said...

After reading the last post, I went to FlightAware and learned a few things. VFR flights can be tracked with some stipulations. Learn something new every day.

Anonymous said...

Any aircraft with ADS-B will automatically be tracked whether or not it's IFR, VFR, flight following or not. As soon as you're off the ground it'll show on FlightAware

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here realize that the Cirrus Aircraft does not meet the FAR23 flight characteristics for General Aviation Aircraft, specifically it does not recover from a spin situation in 3 turns or less, and in fact can be unrecoverable if one should happen to start? It was given approval for argument of 'equivalent' safety because a parachute system is installed, but does not have the flight characteristics required for which pilots train for recovery. In short, most people are not very well trained to pull a $500,000 aircraft replacement required handle where other aircraft are a trained recovery maneuver. This flight characteristic is something in my opinion should have made the Cirrus aircraft a type-certified pilot requirement aircraft and not a simple GA certification. And yes, the Cirrus has an very large incident rate compared to the GA fleet, hence they have specialized factory training programs now being made available where previously did not exist.

Anonymous said...

After reading the last post it sounds to me that the Cirrus wasn't the best choice of aircraft for a student pilot. I've talked with another student pilot that's close to going for his PPL checkride and he told me that once he has his license he plans on buying a Cirrus SR-22. I told him that he should wait at least a year and go out and fly the Warrior and get some experience before getting into that slick Cirrus. He said he likes it because of the safety of the ballistic parachute.This guy is another one with money to burn. Hope it all works out for him.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone here realize that the Cirrus Aircraft does not meet the FAR23 flight characteristics for General Aviation Aircraft, specifically it does not recover from a spin situation in 3 turns or less"

This is an false statement. There is absolutely NO regulations regarding spin recovery for non-aerobatic aircraft. Below is the link to the FAA FAR 23 regulation, section that specifically deals with spins:

Anonymous said...

Whoever you are last poster...Seriously??
It is amazing how people can't research the FAR's properly:

§ 23.221 Spinning.

(a)Normal category airplanes. A single-engine, normal category airplane must be able to recover from a one-turn spin or a three-second spin, whichever takes longer, in not more than one additional turn after initiation of the first control action for recovery, or demonstrate compliance with the optional spin resistant requirements of this section.

(1) The following apply to one turn or three second spins:

(i) For both the flaps-retracted and flaps-extended conditions, the applicable airspeed limit and positive limit maneuvering load factor must not be exceeded;

(ii) No control forces or characteristic encountered during the spin or recovery may adversely affect prompt recovery;

(iii) It must be impossible to obtain unrecoverable spins with any use of the flight or engine power controls either at the entry into or during the spin; and

(iv) For the flaps-extended condition, the flaps may be retracted during the recovery but not before rotation has ceased.

(2) At the applicant's option, the airplane may be demonstrated to be spin resistant by the following:

(i) During the stall maneuver contained in § 23.201, the pitch control must be pulled back and held against the stop. Then, using ailerons and rudders in the proper direction, it must be possible to maintain wings-level flight within 15 degrees of bank and to roll the airplane from a 30 degree bank in one direction to a 30 degree bank in the other direction;

(ii) Reduce the airplane speed using pitch control at a rate of approximately one knot per second until the pitch control reaches the stop; then, with the pitch control pulled back and held against the stop, apply full rudder control in a manner to promote spin entry for a period of seven seconds or through a 360 degree heading change, whichever occurs first. If the 360 degree heading change is reached first, it must have taken no fewer than four seconds. This maneuver must be performed first with the ailerons in the neutral position, and then with the ailerons deflected opposite the direction of turn in the most adverse manner. Power and airplane configuration must be set in accordance with § 23.201(e) without change during the maneuver. At the end of seven seconds or a 360 degree heading change, the airplane must respond immediately and normally to primary flight controls applied to regain coordinated, unstalled flight without reversal of control effect and without exceeding the temporary control forces specified by § 23.143(c); and

(iii) Compliance with §§ 23.201 and 23.203 must be demonstrated with the airplane in uncoordinated flight, corresponding to one ball width displacement on a slip-skid indicator, unless one ball width displacement cannot be obtained with full rudder, in which case the demonstration must be with full rudder applied.

Anonymous said...

To clarify my post re. doing the correct research...this plane was a model year 2007. You have to look for the rules for that year.
The rule quoted above is the rule that applied to the plane when it got its certificate. It had to comply with that rule in 2007... NOT the rule as revised in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Spin recovery is truly an academic exercise. Most stall spin accidents happen at pattern altitude typical base to final uncoordinated turn. Spin characteristics and recovery are not going to help you nor will a parachute. Pilot skills training and experience will keep you from getting into that situation in the first place. This was truly a suicide by airplane. An sr22 student pilot no liscense - don't need no regulations if I want to kill myself and my kid that's my business. There is no room in GA for this attitude. Thankfully didn't hurt others.

Anonymous said...

well said

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of confusion over why Cirrus use CAPS on their aircraft. Some think that it is because the planes can not recover from a spin or are in some way unusual in their spin characteristics. That is not the case; the SR20/22 do not exhibit any unusual spin characteristics. In fact, the SR20 had performed over 60 spins for EASA during its certification phase. The document describing that process is searchable on the Web.

Cirrus realized, quite correctly, that demonstrating spin resistance would not do anything to enhance safety or save lives. CAPS on the other hand, has saved lives. Some pilots have chosen not to deploy the chute and some have lost their lives because of that decision. It is up to the pilot in command in an emergency to make the decision but Cirrus produces very safe and efficient airplanes. There is a reason why they are so popular. There has never been an airplane built that can save itself from a bad pilot.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is fake, but appears to indicate this aircraft not certified for spins and needs 1000 all for a chute save.

Sad that father’s need to be macho over being skilled killed both him and the innocent son. The emotional, needy brain is no substitute for a thinking, conservative, risk-adverse mind. God is my co-pilot does not replace, training, good judgment, aerodynamics, and physics. May the family find peace and may others learn from this.

Anonymous said...

I started flying in 1968 and remember a little aviation book I bought. There was a quote from someone: "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots". "But there are no old bold pilots"! I always try to remember that! It makes me so sad to see accidents like this. May they rest in peace! My heart goes out to the family. The Cirrus Is an ultra slick airplane! But any airplane can kill you if you do not respect its limitations and most importantly, your own!

Commercial pilot 2,000hrs.+

Anonymous said...

I know many Old Bold Pilots, but they were experienced pilots and above average intelligence.

Anonymous said...

This is a clear case of JFK Jr syndrome which says “if I can afford to buy it then I MUST be able to fly it.” Except this guy had it even worse.

Anonymous said...

Excellent detective work by the commenter above this one which states: "This is a clear case of JFK Jr syndrome which says “if I can afford to buy it then I MUST be able to fly it.”"

JFK Jr. only had 310 hours and was a licensed pilot according to the NTSB. For the love of god, why didn't he bring an infallible instructor with 250 hours into those 6-11 mile visibility conditions reported at Martha's Vineyard?!

Anonymous said...

To clear JFK's name the instructor spun (no pun intended) the story around and admitted to lying a while back. JFK begged him to come along as his wife and her sister were getting late and he was watching the weather channel getting concerned, and there was evident pressure to get there. Plus his leg was hurting him.
The 250 hrs CFI ignored him and told him it was going to be OK, as he feared recommending someone else might make him lose a valuable source of revenue and the prestige of training JFK.
The dead cannot speak for themselves and those who screwed up can blame them.

Jim B said...

Whether any of the above is true or not -

JFK Jr was PIlot in Command.

JFK Jr made the decision to fly into conditions he was unprepared to negotiate successfully.

It could have turned out differently with alternative choices.

Anonymous said...

"To clear JFK's name the instructor spun (no pun intended) the story around and admitted to lying a while back."