Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cirrus SR22, pilot operated rental airplane from Elite Flight Training and Rental as a personal flight, N764CT: Accident occurred June 19, 2018 in Aguila, Maricopa County, Arizona

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Aguila, AZ
Accident Number: WPR18LA174
Date & Time: 06/19/2018, 1200 MST
Registration: N764CT
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 19, 2018, about 1200 mountain standard time, a Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, N764CT, experienced a loss of engine power and made an emergency landing near Aguila, Arizona. The pilot operated the rental airplane from Elite Flight Training and Rental as a personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was destroyed in the postcrash fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight. The flight departed from Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, Arizona, at 1140. The flight was destined for Lake Havasu City Airport (HII), Lake Havasu, Arizona.

According to personnel from the rental company, the pilot reported that while in cruise flight he noticed the engine's oil temperature rise significantly followed by a sudden drop in oil pressure. The pilot reported that the rpm exceeded redline, and then the engine seized a short time later. The pilot deployed the ballistic parachute, and the airplane settled into a stand of trees prior to impact with the ground.

The airplane was recovered for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N764CT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Elite Flight Training and Rental
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PRC, 1537 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 52 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / -4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Scottsdale, AZ (SDL)
Destination: Lake Havasu City, AZ (HII) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.067778, -113.206111

PHOENIX - A Valley man is sharing his remarkable story after surviving a plane crash last week. 

Pilot Sam Moeller, who is a Phoenix-based attorney, is bandaged and recovering from three broken vertebrae but still has his sense of humor. 

"I joined a very exclusive club these last couple weeks," Moeller said of surviving the crash. "I'm proud of it."

Moeller was piloting a Cirrus SR22 last Tuesday with his friend, who works in IT, were on their way from Scottsdale to an office in Lake Havasu City. Moeller says he rented a plane, as his was undergoing repairs. Northwest of Wickenburg, Moeller told ABC15 there was a problem with the oil temperature and pressure. 

"The plane starts violently shuttering," Moeller said. " going on? This is something I haven't encountered before."

Moeller says he wanted to land the plane, but Prescott was too far away and making it to Wickenburg wasn't an option. 

"I'm looking forward and I've got mountains in front of me," Moeller said. "I cannot hold altitude. We are not going to make it over those...mountains."

Moeller told ABC15 the plane's engine died and he triggered the plane's parachute and braced for impact as the Cirrus SR22 started descending. 

"I look over at Kenny and go, 'hey man, this is going to hurt," he said. 

Seconds later, the plane crashed in the desert. 

"It was like hitting a brick wall," Moeller said. "It hurt. I knew I broke my back when we hit it."

Moeller says after escaping the plane, it caught fire. Kendall was able to walk away uninjured, while Moeller suffered three fractured vertebrae. 

"I'm trying to put the plane down," Moeller said. "I did what I could."

After the crash, he turned to his friend.  

"You're a member of a very exclusive class of people," Moeller said, laughing. "You survived a plane crash, bro."

Moeller told ABC15 he is likely done piloting planes.

Story and video ➤

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix personal injury attorney Sam Moeller is thankful to be alive after a small plane he was flying crashed in the desert near Wickenburg last week.

"I’m incredibly lucky," said Moeller.

He walked away from the fiery wreck with a broken back and injured hand.

Moeller is in a lot of pain but talked publicly on Thursday for the first time about his nightmare in the sky.

The plane is hardly recognizable.

Moeller and his colleague were the only ones in the plane and were on their way to visit another law office in Lake Havasu when Moeller said the engine failed.

"The whole engine completely seizes and boom! It’s complete silence..." he recalled. "The engine was on fire."

He then decided to release the plane's parachute.

"We hit so hard," he said.

The two of them got out of the plane just in time.

"I did everything that I thought was right," said Moeller. "Had that parachute not been there, no, we would not be alive today. I’m glad I pulled the chute."

His wife, Jen, called it a "miracle" and described this last week as "overwhelming."

"I’m a religious person and I’ve been thanking God every second of every moment we’re with each other," she said. "He’s a great pilot. I trusted him with my life, our son’s life, his other kids’ lives. We’ve flown in that plane with him multiple times and there’s no doubt that he knew what he was doing."

Story and video ➤

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A Valley lawyer is recovering in the hospital tonight, after the plane he was piloting crashed near Wickenburg Tuesday.

The two people on board survived the crash, and the passenger even managed walked away unharmed. The pilot was taken to the hospital. On Wednesday, the passenger onboard, as well as one of the first people to arrive at the crash site, spoke out about their experiences.

"I just hope that that engine holds on for another five minutes, and it didn't," said Ken Kendall, the passenger onboard.

"We see black smoke," said Wyatt Pennington, via a phone interview. "We knew black smoke, and smoke isn't desert, so we knew it was either a truck or an airplane."

As it turns out, the smoke came from a plane that was piloted by local personal injury attorney Sam Moeller.

"The engine starts active sporadic, and spitting oil all over the windshield, and then it seized," said Kendall.

The pilot had to make a quick decision.

"Sam [Moeller] had two options: to try and coast away from the mountains and find somewhere flat to land, or pull the emergency chute on the plane," said Kendall, who went on to say that Moeller immediately pulled the chute, as the plane began to plummet to earth. The impact was intense.

Meanwhile, Pennington says by the time he and his friends got to the crash site, which involved a one-mile hike, both Moeller and Kendall were out of the plane, and the plane was on fire.

"They were both in shock," said Pennington. "Real shaky, anxious, frightened."

"So he gets out on the wing, and I go over to his side and everything is on fire and there is bushes and trees, so I jumped back into the cockpit body, slam my door, got it open, there was fire on my side too," Kendall recounted. "So, we both had to basically jump through the fire to get away from the before it was completely engulfed."

Both Kendall and Pennington say the parachute worked.

"It's a miracle they landed and were able to get out," said Pennington. "They no longer slipped out than it was engulfed in flames."

Kendall escaped without any serious injuries, but was slightly burned from the flames. Meanwhile, Kendall says Moeller suffered three fractured vertebrae, as well as several other injuries. Moeller, Kendall says, was due to be released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Story and video ➤

PHOENIX - "It's still kind of unreal to me," Ken Kendall told ABC15, just 24 hours after he was aboard a small plane that crashed and caught fire in a desert area 24 miles northwest of Wickenburg. 

"The entire time frame I thought, I might not make it," he said. 

Kendall works in IT and was traveling with his client and friend, attorney Sam Moeller, on the way to Lake Havasu City. 

Moeller is a pilot and owns a Cirrus SR22, but his plane was undergoing repairs. Instead, he leased the same model for the trip. 

Around halfway into the Tuesday morning flight, Kendall said a warning light illuminated alerting them to check the oil temperature. Things quickly took a turn for the worse, he said. 

"The engine started getting erratic, started spitting oil all over the windshield and then it died, no power." 

Kendall said Moeller quickly triggered the plane's parachute, something that quite possibly saved their lives. 

"As soon as it starts to slow down, it swings back and then as it swings back again, the nose is pointed directly at the ground," he said. "For a second there, you're in a freefall." 

Once the plane crashed, it quickly caught fire. 

"We didn't waste any time getting out." 

Workers at a mining company nearby spotted the smoke and showed up to help. Kendall said Moeller's training and instincts are the only reason he's able to tell his story. 

"I'm sure he saved our lives, without a doubt," he said. 

Kendall walked away uninjured. 

Moeller's family told ABC15 the attorney suffered three fractured vertebrae but will be OK. He could be released from the hospital as early as Wednesday night. 

Story and video ➤

WICKENBURG, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A small plane has crashed near Aguila, Arizona, northwest of the Phoenix area.

The crash site is said to be west of Highway 71. It's about 24 miles northwest of Wickenburg.

The FAA says the single-engine Cirrus SR22 crashed under unknown circumstances around 11:40 a.m

There were two people on board.

One person was flown from the scene to a Phoenix-area hospital.

The other occupant did not require medical attention.

The crash occurred in a very remote area. and deputies had to go on foot to reach the crash site. 

Story and video ➤

WICKENBURG, Ariz. - A small plane carrying two people has crashed near Wickenburg, the Federal Aviation Administration reported Tuesday.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said one of the passengers was flown to a Phoenix-area hospital. The other passenger did not need medical treatment.

According to the FAA a small-engine Cirrus SR22 crashed just before noon Tuesday, 24 miles northwest of Wickenburg. YCSO said the crash site is in a remote area west of Highway 71, north of the Aguila community.

The cause of the crash and the conditions of the injured passenger are unknown at this time.

Story and video ➤


  1. Pilot demonstrated proper use of the parachute and both walked away to fly another day. Nice to hear of a positive outcome after all the recent Cirrus crashes with fatalities.

  2. I am a little puzzled about the neck injury, sorry to hear.

    Cirrus has the best engineered seats in the industry by far (my opinion, perhaps only).

    Did the injury occur on seated impact or was during a hurried egress off a burning wing?

  3. Wonder what his AGL was at chute deployment ?

  4. "Moeller immediately pulled the chute, as the plane began to plummet to earth". I love how stupid the media is. So dramatic.

    I'm glad everything is fine

  5. ^^ "The whole engine completely seizes and boom! The engine was on fire." I love how stupid the pilot is. So dramatic.