Saturday, February 16, 2019

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III, N421NS: Fatal accident occurred February 15, 2019 in Canadian, 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
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Location: Canadian, TX
Accident Number: CEN19FA082
Date & Time: 02/15/2019, 0957 CST
Registration: N421NS
Aircraft: Cessna 421
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 15, 2019, at 0957 central standard time, a Cessna 421C airplane, N421NS, impacted terrain about 8 miles west of Hemphill County Airport (HHF), Canadian, Texas. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from the Tradewind Airport (TDW), Amarillo, Texas at 0900 and was en route to HHF.

A witness who was monitoring the common traffic advisory frequency at HHF stated that he heard the pilot over the radio and responded. The pilot reportedly inquired about the cloud heights and the witness responded that the clouds were 800 to 1,000 ft above ground level. The witness did not see the airplane in the air.

The airplane impacted terrain remote terrain in an upright and level attitude. A post impact fire consumed most of the wreckage (figure 1).

Figure 1 – Aerial image of the accident site. A majority of the airplane was consumed by fire

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N421NS
Model/Series: 421 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHHF, 2396 ft msl
Observation Time: 0955 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 40°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 800 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.85 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Amarillo, TX (TDW)
Destination: Canadian, TX (HHF)

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: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  35.906111, -100.573611 (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

Carmel Azzopardi

Carmel and Paula Azzopardi in Gozo.

A Maltese man and his wife were killed in a plane crash in Texas, the United States, on Friday, February 15th, 2019

The pilot, Carmel Azzopardi, 75, and the passenger, Paula Azzopardi, 49, both of Amarillo, were killed in the crash in Roberts County, just west of the Hemphill County Line, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Investigators said the Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III crashed for reasons still under investigation, according to media reports.

No further details were provided.

Mr. Azzopardi migrated to the US when he was young and his three children live in Malta, Times of Malta is informed. 

An animal lover, Mr. Azzopardi was a regular visitor to Malta, having visited the island just last November.

He held both a light aircraft and helicopter license.

The Foreign Ministry said they were in contact with the US authorities about the incident.

Original article can be found here ➤

ROBERTS COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - Officials have identified the pilot and passenger that died after a plane crash in Roberts County on Friday morning.

According to DPS Spokesperson Cindy Barkley, a plane crashed in Roberts County this morning east of Quarter Horse Road and west of Jim Waterfield Lake, 11 miles west of Canadian.

DPS officials confirmed two fatalities related to the crash.

The pilot, 75-year-old Carmel 'Charles’ Azzopardi, and the passenger, 49-year-old Paula Azzopardi, both of Amarillo, died as a result of the crash.

The FAA is set to arrive on scene today to investigate the crash and NTSB will arrive tomorrow morning.

DPS Troopers are securing the scene until FAA and NTSB arrive.

Story and video ➤


  1. I'm seeing a lot of crashes on this site of pilots in their 70's crashing twins. Maybe it's time for them to re-evaluate if they're still capable of flying such high performance aircraft or if they should "downgrade" to something slower like a Cub that "can just barely kill you". As we age our mental clarity and reflexes aren't as sharp as when we're younger but we think we can and that can get us into trouble. At some point every pilot must decide when it's time to hang up the spurs and ride (not fly) off into the sunset.

  2. If you must fly, training, training, training and a second pilot up front in these machines.

  3. The place I rent planes from has a rule that once a pilot turns 75, he has to have a CFI along with him at the controls. A safety pilot (non-CFI) won't cut it and these are Piper Warriors, Archers & Arrows (not twins)!

  4. I notice a lot of people in their 50's and 60's are having their obituaries published, too. Also, I notice a lot of people in their 30's and 40's struggle to properly operate a car/truck. At 77, I am the PIC (sans copilot) of a twin engine turboprop, a single engine retractable, and operate a dump truck and heavy equipment --- all covered by appropriate insurance. As I own the aircraft and equipment, happily, I don't have to deal with any petty and arbitrary "rules" on the part of FBO/Flying Club bureaucrats! So, for those advocating or regulating the "hanging it up at 75", you may go back to coloring books, video games and soap operas!

  5. You have me laughing .. “ So, for those advocating or regulating the "hanging it up at 75", you may go back to coloring books, video games and soap operas! “.
    I’m not to far behind you in age, and agree with you whole heartedly. When I passed the 20,000 hour PIC mark, a lot of the posters on here were gaining their time on training wheels. It’s not age, it’s proficiency. Proficient in not only being a pilot, but how well you maintain your aircraft. A broker friend of mine who sells high performance aircraft made a good point, in that he sees many 30 - 40 year olds with low time and little ownership experience having to face up to the high cost of maintenance. They get the loan to buy, but don’t have the money to maintain. Unfortunately that eventually catches up. It might be a gear up or worse, a wing separating.
    This might have little to do with this crash, but well worth the time to post.

  6. We are the last generation with any common sense and real world skills! These 20, 30 and early 40 year olds cant even get a hard on without Viagra and going bald at 22 I mean I still race motocross at 62 with guys way older than me that kick my ass, so don't say these pilots have to hang it up and fly a J3 Cub or a STOL. Their are talking about the recent Yorba Linda crash where the 77 year old pilot flew VFR INTO IMC and knowing that this pilot lied about him being a retired Chicago police officer or a fraud more than likely was not instrument rated, had nothing to do with his age but had everything to do with being a liar or scammer he seemed like a real grease ball type. There are some interesting facts about this Pastini and his unusual flight hours and flying illegals over the border then taking them to the pacific northwest to his safe houses in the mountains. I mean why do you need an 8 seat aircraft to go visit your granddaughter!

  7. "So, for those advocating or regulating the "hanging it up at 75", you may go back to coloring books, video games and soap operas"! That's the exact attitude that will get you hurt or worse (macho, invulnerability, won't happen to me only the other guy). Those that press on and don't listen to their inner voice (ie Scott Crossfield, Jimmy Leeward,ect) I end up reading about on this site. Others like RA"Bob"Hoover & Chuck Yeager were smart enough to "listen". And by the way, Mr. Pastini was listed on the FAA pilot database as instrument-rated, commercial,CFI & advanced ground instructor before his info was "taken down" from the site.


  8. This is millennial's talking. They think they are God's gift to aviation. Go back to your PlayStation and leave the flying to real pilots.

  9. Millennials = They’re worthless, every single one of them.

  10. Better hope that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and the rest of the extreme left-wing socialists don't take control of our government because if they do it will be the end for GA as we know it. They'll re-distribute wealth and take away our planes to help fund social programs and the New Green Deal!

  11. They will not survive the revolution and will not receive any help from the millennials!

  12. "This is millennial's talking. They think they are God's gift to aviation. Go back to your PlayStation and leave the flying to real pilots."

    Not limited to aviation ... Gift to every endeavor known to mankind.

    And if any of you millenials are reading the blog ...

    Get off my lawn. Turn down the volume on that garbage you people call music. Now git.

  13. If you want more regulation in your aviation life...maybe we should set an age minimum age limit of 30 years old and 5000 hours to receive an ATP. Lots of young people in the news smoking pot. Should we have young people take a drug test before flight? Get serious about aviation and not more regulation...find a 70+ mentor who will teach you something. I am 75 years old and started flying in 1958, I have 31,000+ hours and still average 30 hours a month flying turbine twins and single engine aircraft.

  14. yes he was a keen pilot and he pulled off a cunning stunt!

  15. i see a lot more crashes of these kids flying their glass cockpit cirrus's and killing themselves even with that stupid parachute deploying after the crash. guess we better stop them too! just ask AOC

  16. Well at least the pilot of this 421 went out doing what he loved with his sweetie by his side. Surely better than dying in a nursing home and no one on the ground got hurt. RIP fellow aviator.

  17. The place that requires a CFI for anyone over 75 renting a plane can be in big trouble for age discrimination. There are some 45 year olds that show senility and some pilots hit 95 with sharp senses.

    Not to mention the next few decades may allow for rejuvenation therapies based on DNA manipulation and other technologies that can prolong life from a few decades to a few centuries.

    Most pilots I know workout and invest heavily in their well being. Personally after paying so much for my license and ratings I workout 4 times a week and eat the most healthy foods in moderation. Having lost 30 lb in a couple of years and a flat pack I feel at 49 better than when I was 25!

  18. Elderly pilots are dangerous to themselves and others. The U.S. has mandatory retirement rules for commercial pilots (65) and international PIC that are 60 must have younger pilot in second seat. Gee, I wonder why? Because age depreciates everything - everything.
    The elderly pilots at my regional airport are, for the most part, jerks with little regard for safety and/or instruction.

  19. "The elderly pilots at my regional airport are, for the most part, jerks with little regard for safety and/or instruction."

    WOW - That is contrary to the pilots we have at BMG for sure. Many retired Airline/ Test and Charter Pilots in or near their 70's. Many other Non Career Pilots in their 70's that are still sharp as heck. I fly with a 74 year old 20,000+ hour pilot that is sharper at 74 than I guess you would ever be. He still pilots a Premier 1 and fly's the heck out of my Mooney. For the record, I am 51.

    One thing I cannot stand is how You and the FAA like to Generalize and draw firm lines regarding age or I am guessing any number of other things that you cannot wrap your tiny mind around.

  20. "yes he was a keen pilot and he pulled off a cunning stunt!"

    ... Or something like that. ;-)

  21. "yes he was a keen pilot and he pulled off a cunning stunt!" What does that mean? Who or what are you referring to? I don't get it.

  22. Some things are best left alone ... Or at least handled gently

  23. “Elderly pilots are dangerous to themselves and others. The U.S. has mandatory retirement rules for commercial pilots (65) and international PIC that are 60 must have younger pilot in second seat. Gee, I wonder why?“

    WRONG. The rule of having a pilot 60 or younger fly with International PIC older than 60 has been gone for years. And why...? Because they found there was no difference in rates of in-flight incapacitation between pilots younger than 60 and those 61 to 65 nor in their ability to pass recurrent training events.

  24. Wow, it's amazing how the actions of an incompetent pilot can trigger so many!

    "Our sires' age was worse than our grandsires'. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt."

    Horace: Book III of Odes, circa 20 BC

    It seems that since the dawn of civilization some patterns never change.

  25. OK, millennials, go back to your baby bottles.

  26. I am 49 and my fiancee is 20. I see this guy was much younger than his 75 as his wife was 26 years younger.
    Like planes which the FAA considers eternal us pilots may be the most durable people on the planet besides some far fetched tribes in some remote areas and who still have it to grab the attention of desirable mates without being sugar daddies...

    Now this is something I imagine would generate the ire of younger males but old guys rule!

  27. Yeah, at your age sir... I guarantee you are a sugar daddie.. chick is almost 30 yrs younger than you... so.. uh, Im 100% sure she has daddy issues and you are having a mid-life crisis. Wouldnt brag about it though.. it sounds pretty gross.. and oh yeah, she is going to RUN your pockets, then RUN when theres nothing left, or when you are 60 and she is 30. Enjoy!

  28. This is a story about flaunting the rules and being rich enough to fly an airplane that is too much for you to handle, not about age. He departed without a flight plan (VFR flight) into hard IFR conditions (800 feet overcast). This appears to be someone who just didn't care about filing an IFR flight plan when it was hard IFR. I doubt if this was his first time, because the conditions were so clearly IFR, it's not likely just a slip-up. The recent breakup and crash of a twin into houses in California was an old guy, but he had lost his license twice already for flaunting the rules, and had been lying for years about being a cop (he wasn't). On the day of the accident he flew into IFR conditions (on a VFR flight). And four innocent people died. Not long ago a student pilot in Arizona? who had been flying without a license for several years, was killed when he and his non-pilot female friend (who bought him the C172 that they were flying) crashed into rugged terrain. She died, he survived and refuses to talk to authorities about why he was flying a passenger on a student pilot's license. He was not an "old" guy, just someone who thought that a pilot's license was a bureaucratic hassle for other people.

    I've long told friends that highly successful business men make the most dangerous pilots. Because taking risks makes them successful in business, but it kills them in the air. And because they are rich, they don't have to answer to anyone. They don't need partners, renters, or any other person telling them how to fly their own expensive airplane. The biggest thing that makes the airlines safer is not the airplanes. It is that their pilots have other people they must answer to. Two pilots checking on eachother; a company with procedures. We need other people to help us fly safely. The independence of being "rich" makes people more dangerous.

    What can we do to stop people like this, whatever their age, from ruining aviation for the rest of us? I'm seeing the same dangerous attitude in some of the posters above. It's not an age thing, its an attitude thing.

  29. Couldn't agree more with the above poster. And to the 49 yo bragging about his 20 yo hottie, enjoy it while it lasts, because eventually you'll be left with empty pockets and your dick in your hand. Wait until her friends tell her about the "me too" movement.

  30. Peter Hacker peehacker@hot.rr.comFriday, March 8, 2019 at 4:30:00 PM EST

    General aviation (GA) accounts for more than 82% of all air transport-related accidents and air transport-related fatalities in the U.S. In this study, we conduct a series of statistical analyses to investigate the significance of a pilot's gender, age and experience in influencing the risk for pilot errors and fatalities in GA accidents. There is no evidence from the Chi-square tests and logistic regression models that support the likelihood of an accident caused by pilot error to be related to pilot gender. However, evidence is found that male pilots, those older than 60 years of age, and with more experience, are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

    Accident Analysis & Prevention
    Volume 43, Issue 3, May 2011, Pages 962-970

  31. Age is not the issue, proficiency and training are. I did a re-currency MEI check ride with Adam Berg when he was 83. With over 40,000 hours and a Navy Cross, Mr, Berg was a master in every facet of flying. He also had a reputation as a damn tough no-nonsense examiner. This was quickly evident in the oral examine and flight test; both longer and more extensive than I'd ever experienced. After signing my logbook, we went back up and he showed me a number of techniques for managing engine-out scenarios in IMC. He was flawless and controlled with every input, a marvel to watch. This proved useful a few years later when I lost an engine on my Seneca V. The years of experience this 83 year aviator shared with me likely saved my life. I will always be grateful for what he taught me. (Adam Berg was also a movie actor known as Adam Williams:

  32. good to see the discussion brought back to recognition of the importance of good airmanship, regardless of gender, generation, and financial status.

    Constructive discussion on the internet, who'd a thunk?

  33. RIP Charlie, Sad to read this story...all these old people/young people dummies on here turning this into politics and age show some damn respect.

  34. Rest In Peace, mom and Charlie. I love you both. I miss you every day. This forum isn’t very kind, but they don’t know you. You were the two brightest and most kind souls to all paths that you crossed. You are not forgotten.