Friday, February 22, 2019

Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga II TC, registered to Ironhead LLC and operated by the pilot, N4922K: Fatal accident occurred February 21, 2019 near Goshen Municipal Airport (KGSH), Elkhart County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lycoming Engines; Wlliamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Goshen, IN
Accident Number: CEN19FA084
Date & Time: 02/21/2019, 2005 EST
Registration: N4922K
Aircraft: Piper PA32R
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 21, 2019, about 2005 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32R-301T airplane, N4922K, registered to Ironhead LLC, Middlebury, Indiana, and operated by the pilot, was destroyed after it impacted high power lines and the ground while on a practice RNAV approach to the Goshen Municipal Airport (GSH), Goshen, Indiana. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The local flight originated from GSH about1950.

According to FAA records, the pilot had departed runway 27 and contacted the South Bend departure air traffic control (ATC) facility. He requested local clearance to conduct a practice RNAV (GPS) RWY 9 approach. His practice approach was intended to circle to land on runway 27. According to preliminary radar data, the airplane was following the published RNAV approach inbound. The track showed the airplane turning south to initiate the circle to land on runway 27. An eye witness reported that the airplane seemed to be aligned on a roadway, parallel to runway 27 (the roadway distance from runway 27 was approximately 3,000 feet). Radar showed that airplane track was as the witness described. The witness described the airplane turning toward runway 27. Radar contact was lost, and no distress calls were heard from the pilot. An airport security video showed what appeared to be the airplane flying toward the airport, a flash, and then the airplane disappeared. The video also recorded what appeared to be a ground explosion.

The airplane wreckage was located by first responders at grid coordinates: 41.527778 N latitude and -85.757222 W longitude, about 1.6 miles east of the approach end of runway 27 at GSH. The wreckage was adjacent to downed 250-foot high power lines. Examination of the wreckage at the accident site showed evidence of the airplane impacting the power line wires. Portions of the power line wires were found embedded around the propeller and wire marks were found on both wings. Most of the fuselage was consumed by a post impact fire. Maintenance records and pilot logs were recovered from the wreckage but were not readable due to fire damage.

According to the airport manager, all airport lighting was operational at the time of the accident and the runway lighting was turned on. Post-accident inspection of the facility lighting revealed functionality of all systems.

Detailed examinations of the airframe and engine were completed, and the wreckage was recovered to a secure facility.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N4922K
Model/Series: PA32R 301T
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: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: GSH, 826 ft msl
Observation Time: 1953 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 0°C / -4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:  Goshen, IN (GSH)
Destination: Goshen, IN (GSH) 

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: 41.527778, -85.757222

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

Neal Myers

Neal Myers

GOSHEN — The pilot of a plane who died in a crash near Goshen Thursday was an auto dealership owner in Middlebury, a community booster and an aviator with a history of volunteering his aircraft to fly sick children to hospitals.

Neal Myers, 55, was killed when his plane struck a high-tension power line and went down in a field about 500 yards west of C.R. 33, between C.R. 42 and C.R. 40, east of Goshen Municipal Airport around 8:10 p.m. Thursday, Elkhart County Sheriff Jeff Siegel said.

Word of Myers’ death shook residents in Middlebury who remembered the owner and president of Max Myers Motors as open, warm and friendly.

“He was such a part of the community, a friend, a good guy. Everybody’s really going to miss him in town,” Gary O’Dell, president of the Middlebury Town Council, said Friday. “You just don’t think something like this can happen.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the cause and circumstances of the crash. Federal and local authorities were at the scene Friday inspecting the plane wreckage as part of the case’s early stages.

"The pilot of a Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga II TC doing practice approaches to Goshen Airport crashed about one mile from the airport. The plane was destroyed by fire,” said Tony Molinaro, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The 1998-model aircraft was a low-wing single-engine plane with seven seats, according to its registration on the FAA’s website.

Brian Yoder of Millersburg said he witnessed the crash after picking his daughter up from Fairfield High School. He was driving on C.R. 42 when he said he saw the plane come down and kind of line up with the road, and then it turned before seeming to plummet and explode.

“All of a sudden it took like a nose dive,” Yoder described, estimating he was about a quarter-mile away. “It was kind of freaky because I didn’t know for sure if it was something else. And then I’d seen the fireball.”

Yoder said he also saw sparks from what he later learned was the downed power lines from a large high-tension tower. The lines were part of an Indiana-Michigan Power system running from South Bend to Fort Wayne, said James Garber, owner of the 80-acre field where the crash occurred.

Crews from Indiana-Michigan Power were in the field Friday, apparently performing repair work.


Middlebury Town Manager Mary Cripe called Friday “a sad day here in Middlebury,” as she and others grieved the loss of Myers.

Cripe knew Myers as an acquaintance, and she remembered him as outgoing and generous.

“He always had time to stop to say, ‘Hi, how are you doing? How’s your family?’” she said.

Joe Caffee, president and CEO of First State Bank in Middlebury, believed Myers easily ranked as a pillar of the town. The two became friends as Myers served on the bank’s board — a role he held since 2002 — while running his auto dealership.

“The bank lobby and all of downtown is a pretty somber place today as people pause to remember Neal and the impact he had on our community,” Caffee said, recalling how Myers took time to get to know bank employees and customers.

Myers was also an avid pilot who volunteered his time and skills to transport children with illnesses to hospitals, Caffee pointed out.

“He used his talents flying for the greater good,” he said.

Myers earned an “Angel” designation during the Goshen News’ annual “Angels Among Us” awards ceremony in 2015. He was nominated for his work serving Angel Flight Central.

A feature story, published in the “Angels” edition of Elkhart County Living magazine that year, profiled Myers’ work with the organization.

He started flying for Angel Flight in January 2014 as a pilot with 30 years of experience, the story shows. The work included volunteering for missions that include flying patients to hospitals to receive specialized care. Many of Myers’ passengers were children with illnesses or diseases, the article described.

“I want all kids to lead a good, productive life, and sometimes that’s tough. I’m just a small cog in the wheel,” Myers said in the article.

Images of Myers’ plane show it bearing the black and gold colors, as well as the famous “P” logo, of Purdue University. He and Caffee both graduated from the school in different class years and shared a love for Boilermaker sports.

“We often texted back and forth during and after basketball and football games,” Caffee recalled.

Verda Yoder of Middlebury also remembered Myers as open and friendly. She knew him through her friendship with his wife, she said.

“He was a very sweet man,” Yoder said, speaking from the Village Inn on Middlebury’s Main Street. “Walked a lot. Said ‘hi’ to you … I don’t think he knew any strangers.”

Information about viewing and funeral services for Myers had not been provided as of Friday evening.

Original article can be found here ➤

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