Saturday, February 02, 2019

Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II, N3016L: Fatal accident occurred February 01, 2019 in Atlantic Ocean and Incident occurred March 02, 2017 at Palm Beach County Park Airport (KLNA), West Palm Beach, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Accident Investigation and Prevention; Washington, District of Columbia

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: AO
Accident Number: ERA19LA093
Date & Time: 02/01/2019, 1315 EST
Registration: N3016L
Aircraft: Piper PA32RT
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 1, 2019, about 1315 eastern standard time, and about 20 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, radar contact was lost with a Piper PA-32RT-300, N3016L. The private pilot and the passenger were presumed fatally injured. The airplane was presumed to have been destroyed upon impact with the Atlantic Ocean. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight which departed Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA) about 1300 and was destined for Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MHH), Marsh Harbour, The Bahamas. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A preliminary review of voice, radar, and weather data revealed that the airplane departed LNA under visual flight rules and obtained an IFR clearance shortly after takeoff. The airplane was cleared to progressively higher altitudes and provided vectors to avoid "cells" and "areas of heavy precipitation" in its flight path but diverged from assigned headings.

The controller queried the pilot about his inability to maintain assigned headings, and the pilot reported that his autopilot "had kicked off" and that "the winds are really weird up here." He also reported unspecified "problems" with the autopilot. About 1310, the airplane slowed to about 70 knots groundspeed on a northeasterly heading before it began an accelerating 90-degree right turn to the south. The airplane then performed a 180-degree left turn to the north before turning right to an easterly, generally on-course heading. About 1813, the airplane entered a left turn that varied in groundspeed and altitude when the controller again asked, "…appears you've turned back to the northwest and...are you going to turn back eastbound?"

The pilot replied, "I don't know what's going on up here. I'm working on instruments…acting really goofy here. I'll come around to 090 [degrees] again." The controller advised the pilot to try to maintain 6,000 ft. and cautioned him to go no higher than 7,000 ft and added "looks like you are getting pushed up in the updrafts." The pilot did not acknowledge the controller, and there were no further communications from the airplane.

Shortly thereafter, the airplane turned and descended from a northerly heading sharply to its right. The radar track tightened to the right as the target rapidly descended then disappeared about 1315 in an area that depicted heavy precipitation.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued March 2, 2017. He reported 1,452 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979 and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540 300-horsepower engine that drove a controllable-pitch propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed April 2, 2018 at 3,846 total aircraft hours.

At 1309, weather recorded at West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), 20 miles west of the accident site, included broken ceilings at 1,200 ft, 2,100ft, and 3,600 ft. Cumulonimbus clouds were overhead in all quadrants moving north. The visibility was 2.5 miles in moderate rain and mist with calm winds. The temperature was 21° C, the dew point was 19° C; and the altimeter setting was 30.18 inches of mercury.

The United States Coast Guard conducted a search for the airplane by sea and by air over an area of 1,115 square miles without success. After 36 hours, the search was suspended on February 3, 2019. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3016L
Model/Series: PA32RT 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Simmons Pet Properties Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PBI, 20 ft msl
Observation Time:  EST
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: West Palm Beach, FL (LNA)
Destination: Marsh Harbour (MHH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 26.691389, -79.720556 (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 

LANTANA, Fla. (CBS12) — We’re still working to learn more about the victims on board the plane that crashed into the ocean around 1:00 p.m., Friday afternoon.

According to the FAA, a Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II aircraft crashed into the water off of Palm Beach, with two people and two dogs.

The plane’s tail number is N3016L.

It is registered to Ken Simmons of Lantana, a beloved veterinarian.

CBS12 News spoke with his relatives Friday evening, but they did not want to go on record because they are waiting for answers.

“He’s just a great guy,” Candace Neff, Ken’s neighbor, said.

Neff lives across the street from Ken, and his wife Alice, along North Atlantic Drive.

She said Dr. Simmons always helped her prepare for a big storm or hurricane.

“He was a vet. He helped us a lot with when our animals were hurt or injured,” she said. “He just takes them in and makes it better.”

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Twitter they will continue to search throughout the night for the Piper Saratoga aircraft, which is registered under Simmons Pet Properties, LLC. The organization links to their Lantana home, according to the FAA.

On the Florida corporation website,, Ken and Alice Simmons are the authorized persons for that company.

FAA records also show Ken Simmons has had a pilot’s license since 2009.

In the meantime, Candace and neighbors are sending their thoughts and prayers.

“My prayers are with them, and my best wishes,” she Neff said.

As of Friday evening, relatives tell CBS12 News loved ones who live out of town are making their way to Palm Beach County.

The did not want to comment any further as this is still an ongoing search and rescue.

Story and video ➤

WEST PALM BEACH — The Coast Guard searched the Atlantic about 20 miles east of Palm Beach for a Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II aircraft with two adults and two dogs aboard that crashed into the water Friday afternoon, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration.

One passenger aboard was a longtime Palm Beach County veterinarian who ran an animal hospital and pet daycare center in Greenacres for several years.

The plane is believed to have gone down at about 1 p.m., the FAA said. It said air-traffic controllers alerted it to the crash.

The plane was heading to the Bahamas from the Lantana airport, Jonathan Miller, CEO of Galaxy Aviation, confirmed Friday. Galaxy is Palm Beach County Park Airport’s private fixed-base operator.

The National Weather Service’s Miami office said a cluster of showers and thunderstorms was over the area at the time the plane disappeared, and that part of the Atlantic was under a marine-weather advisory.

Roy Ellington, hospital manager at VCA Simmons Animal Hospital in Greenacres, confirmed that 30-year veterinarian Ken Simmons was on the plane but did not know who flew with him. He said Simmons had sold his animal hospital and pet daycare center at Lake Worth Road near Military Trail but continues to private veterinary work.

Simmons, a Lake Worth native who studied veterinary medicine at the University of Florida, has often piloted his own plane to pick up pet patients in the Bahamas. In 2012 he treated Drake, the retired Florida Highway Patrol K-9 dog who was shot four times during a robbery. Simmons flew the dog in his own plane to the University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine, and he and its owner made the difficult decision that the dog was beyond saving.

The Coast Guard said it sent a helicopter, a cutter and a 45-foot response boat to search for the plane. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office also provided a marine unit.

The Coast Guard said in Twitter postings that the plane was a Piper and provided a tail number that showed it was registered to Simmons Pet Properties of Lantana. Databases show the plane is a Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II, built in 1979 in Vero Beach. Aircraft sales postings for similar models say the plane is a 28-foot six-seater.

According to the Flight Aware tracking site, the trip was the fourth by that plane in the past two weeks, all to Marsh Harbour, an island about 180 miles east of Palm Beach and about 100 miles north of the Bahamas’ capital of Nassau.

Flight aware said the plane left at 1 p.m.

It said the plane flew Jan. 19 from Andros Island to Palm Beach International Airport, and then on to Lantana. It flew Jan. 25 from Lantana to Marsh Harbour and on Monday from there to Palm Beach International Airport.

Original article ➤

The U.S. Coast Guard’s search for a downed plane in the ocean approximately 23 miles off Palm Beach County will continue through Friday night, authorities said.

Two people and two dogs were on board the Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II when it took off from Lantana at 1 p.m., according to officials and flight records.

The fixed-wing single engine plane crashed into the water shortly after takeoff from the Palm Beach County Park Airport, said Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Flight Administration.

The plane had a tail number of N3016L and was registered to Simmons Pet Properties LLC in Lantana, online records show.

“We’re still looking for the people and the aircraft,” Seamen Erik Villa-Rodriguez said Friday.

The seven-seater was en route to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas, which is approximately a 73-minute flight, records show.

A radar map on the flight-tracking site shows severe thunderstorm activity and the plane flying directly into the heart of it before it falls off the radar.

The plane hit heavy turbulence about 10 minutes into the journey with steep climbs, dropping descents and seemingly spinning in every direction, the Piper’s online log shows.

“This is an airplane that is being tossed violently in the sky,” said Robert Katz, a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor who has been flying for 38 years.

The log shows that in the minutes before the Piper crashed, it climbed 729 feet per minute, followed by immediate descents of 814 feet per minute and then 817 feet per minute. The final radar hit shows a further descent of 438 feet.

Katz, of Dallas, Texas, tracks plane crashes nationwide. Under those conditions, the plane would be thrown so ferociously that the wings would be ripped off the aircraft, he said.

“This would happen very quickly and the pilot would be fully aware of what was going on and would be terrorized,” Katz said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has joined in the search and rescue effort.

The Coast Guard launched a helicopter crew from its Miami station. From the Lake Worth inlet, the Coast Guard sent out a cutter and a 45-foot response boat, agency officials said.

The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident, Bergen said.

Original article can be found here ➤

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CBS12) — The Coast Guard says it will search throughout the night for a down plane off the coast of Palm Beach, carrying two people and two dogs.

According to the FAA, a Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II aircraft crashed into the ocean around 1 p.m. on Friday with two people on board. The Coast Guard says two dogs are also on board. The plane's tail number is N3016L, and according to FAA records, it's registered to Simmons Pet Properties LLC., associated with Kenneth Simmons. There's no official confirmation Mr. Simmons and his wife Alice were on the plane.

According to FlightAware, the plane left the Lantana Airport at 1 p.m., with a scheduled arrival at Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas at 2:15 p.m.

The plane's track on FlightAware shows it hitting a heavy storm.

The plane made several trips back-and-forth from Marsh Harbor in the past week, according to FlightAware records.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says it is assisting the Coast Guard with the search-and-rescue efforts.

The Coast Guard dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark (WPC-1106) and a 45-foot Medium Endurance Response Boat from Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet to help with the search-and-rescue operation.

The FAA is investigating and the NTSB will determine the probable cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: South Florida  

March 02, 2017:   Aircraft landed gear up.  

Date: 02-MAR-17
Time: 22:10:00Z
Regis#: N3016L
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

LANTANA, Fla. (CBS12) — A small plane had a hard landing at Lantana airport after the landing gear did not collapse, according to Fire Rescue.

Two people were on board.

Fire Rescue is on scene evaluating and say there are no injuries or fire reported.

FAA will be investigating.

Story and video:

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