Saturday, March 02, 2019

Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee B, operated by Aerial Banners North Inc under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local banner tow flight, N145AB: Fatal accident occurred March 01, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida
Aerial Banners North Inc; Pembroke Pines, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Accident Number: ERA19FA112
Date & Time: 03/01/2019, 1141 EST
Registration: N145AB
Aircraft: PIPER PA25
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Banner Tow 

On March 1, 2019, about 1141 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-25-235, N145AB, was destroyed when impacted a condominium while maneuvering in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was being operated by Aerial Banners North, Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local banner tow flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from North Perry Airport (HWO), Hollywood, Florida, about 1043.

The operator reported that the pilot was scheduled to fly 2 hours on his first solo banner tow flight away from the banner tow box at HWO. He was towing a 30-foot-high by 90-foot-long "medium size" company banner.

According to company personnel, after takeoff the pilot practiced pick-ups, then picked up the accident banner on the first pass about 1059. Review of company tracking data revealed that the flight proceeded due east to the beach where the pilot performed several passes near Hollywood Beach, then proceeded north. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data depicted the airplane flying in a northerly direction until about 1138; then while over water south of the Commercial Boulevard Pier, the pilot initiated a right turn and flew at an altitude about 400 ft mean sea level (msl) in a southerly direction until about 1140:12, when the airplane was south of Oakland Park Boulevard.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane turn right to a westerly or northwesterly direction and flying over land, while the FAA radar data depicted the airplane descended to about 200 ft msl. The airplane was observed to bank sharp to the left, during which time one witness observed the banner twist and separate. Another witness thought the left bank was the pilot's attempt to fly over NE 30th Street between two tall buildings. The airplane was then observed banking to the right, and impacted into the 16th and 17th stories of a 19 story condominium. The airplane then fell to the 2nd floor deck and came to rest on its left side. Witnesses in different locations described the engine sound as either "sputtering," "operating normally," or "being at a low throttle setting." A witness in one of the impacted units reported that the engine was operating at full throttle with no discrepancies.

The wreckage was recovered and retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N145AB
Model/Series: PA25 235
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Aerial Banners North, Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: FLL, 65 ft msl
Observation Time: 1153 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3100 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hollywood, FL (HWO)
Destination: Hollywood, FL (HWO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  26.166111, -80.101111

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

Derek Damion Morgan
NOVEMBER 2, 1990 – MARCH 1, 2019

Derek Damion Morgan, age 28, of Lake Tapps, Washington passed away on Friday, March 1, 2019. Derek was born November 2, 1990 in Tacoma, Washington to Amber Morgan and Armando Coto Howard.

Derek is survived by his mother Amber Morgan and his brothers Joshua Hassing and Darien Morgan-Sumagaysay.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Forest Lawn Funeral Home South in Davie, Florida.

Derek will truly be missed.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Morgan family.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida  (WSVN) - Police have identified the pilot who died after his small banner plane crashed into a Fort Lauderdale Beach condominium, as crews removed the wreckage from the damaged building.

7News cameras captured a crane lifting the last parts of the periled aircraft from the high-rise in the area of Oakland Park Boulevard and A1A, Saturday.

Fort Lauderdale Police identified the pilot killed in Friday morning’s crash as 28-year-old Derek Morgan.

Condo resident Roger Miller said he’s lucky to be alive.

“I came around the corner into the kitchen, and that’s when the crash happened,” he said.

The plane smashed into Miller’s unit before tumbling some 16 stories below onto the pool deck.

“We jumped out of our seats and said, ‘What happened?”‘ said another resident. “I thought a scaffolding fell.”

The area was under construction, so no residents were out there, but 20 construction workers were. They all walked away unhurt.

“It’s a recipe for disaster, especially when you have 20 individuals there that are just doing their job, working,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan.

What led to the crash remains a mystery, but the very same aircraft had a previous close call back in 2015, when it made an emergency landing, banner in tow, near downtown Los Angeles, according to California news outlets.

The pilot at the time managed to walk away.

The banner plane belongs to Aerial Banners Inc. in Pembroke Pines. The company has seen several crashes in South Florida over the years.

In 2006, a banner plane crashed in Opa-locka and burst into flames. The pilot was transported to the hospital in critical condition. The Federal Aviation Administration ruled it was pilot error.

In November 2007, one of its planes plunged into the ground after stalling in midair at North Perry Airport. The pilot suffered critical injuries.

The FAA stepped in and revoked Aerial Banners’ waiver to operate. From 2005 to 2007, there were two plane crashes, two hard landings and one pilot ran out of fuel. There were also four paperwork violations.

But the company was back in business a short time later.

As for Friday’s ill-fated flight, federal authorities continue efforts to determine what went wrong.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether this was pilot error, mechanical failure or something else.

A spokesperson for Aerial Banners said Morgan was still learning how to fly. He was not flying an advertisement on Friday, but still practicing.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida  - One person is dead after a small banner plane crashed into a condominium building Friday in Fort Lauderdale.

The crash occurred shortly before noon at 3015 N. Ocean Blvd.

Wayne Leonard, who was inside the building when the crash occurred, said he heard a loud noise and felt the building shake.

"All of the sudden we heard the sound of a prop plane, like out of nowhere, for like three seconds. We heard a really loud crash and the building shook substantially," Leonard said. 

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said the plane crashed into the side of the building, between the 16th and 17th floors, and then landed on the pool deck below.

"I saw the plane going very, very close to the window. So I stepped outside and I heard a huge bang and I saw the plane already had gone down," said Olga Weaver, who lives in a building next door to where the crash occurred. 

"I was in back of my building putting water in my trees when I saw the low plane right close to my building. I go, 'Oh my, he is going to hit me!" another nearby resident, Mike Vilio, said.

Gollan said the building was occupied at the time, but no residents were injured. He said the building was evacuated as a precaution.

A yellow tarp could be seen covering the body next to the downed plane.

There appeared to be a hole in the side of the building where the plane made impact.

Authorities said about 20 construction workers were on the roof of the building at the time of the crash, but none of them were injured.  

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA-25 took off from North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines.

The plane is registered to Aerial Banners Inc., which is based at North Perry Airport. Employees at the company locked the front door to their building after the crash. 

A view from Sky 10 showed the banner that the plane had been carrying on the ground in a nearby neighborhood.

Ken Criswell, who is also a pilot, told Local 10 News he knew whoever was flying the plane couldn't pull the plane up because they were too low and going too slow.

"At that slow speed, there was just no control of it," he said. "(The engine) was running but he just had no power and couldn't climb."

Other planes registered to Aerial Banners Inc. have also been involved in crashes. 

One of the company's planes crashed in the Florida Everglades in March 2015 about three miles west of U.S. 27. A year before that, another went down in a lake in northeast Miami-Dade. The pilots in both crashes survived.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Friday's crash.

"We are deeply saddened for the loss of our fellow aviator today, March 1, 2019," a statement from the North Perry Airport Community Association read in part. "For reasons still to be determined, a banner towing aircraft collided with a building along Ft Lauderdale beach. Our thoughts are with the pilot and his family. We are grateful that there was no further loss of life."

The statement went on to say that statistically, the operator of the banner plane has a "great record of minimal incidents for the vast number of operations they conduct."

"South Florida is an international hub for aviation, airlines, and flight training," the statement read. "Miami-Dade estimates that 1 in 4 jobs in South Florida is tied to aviation. Accidents like this are terrible, but it is through the diligent efforts of the thousands of people working in this industry that we can strive to maintain safety for our community."

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BROWARD COUNTY, Florida -- A pilot was killed after a small banner plane crashed into a condominium building in Fort Lauderdale Friday.

The crash happened shortly before noon at the Berkley South complex at 3015 N. Ocean Boulevard.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials said the pilot of the plane was killed, but no other injuries were reported.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephan Gollan told reporters the plane hit an 18-story condominium building just before noon and then fell several floors onto an outdoor pool deck. Television shots showed the yellow, single-engine Piper PA-25 crumpled with its wings snapped off.

There was a large hole near the 16th or 17th floor on the east side of the building where the plane is believed to have struck.

NBC 6 reporter Marissa Bagg, who lives in the building, said residents told her that the building shook and the fire alarm went off as they evacuated.

"There's a hole in the building and it looks like part of the plane is stuck in that hole," Bagg said.

Fort Lauderdale Police said streets near the building were shut down and advised motorists to avoid the area.

The pilot's name was not released. The plane's markings show it is owned by Aerial Banners Inc. The company's website says it has more than 50 planes at locations around the country, including West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and Alaska.

The company's Fort Lauderdale office declined comment. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating.

Vacationer Jim McHugh of New York City told the South Florida Sun Sentinel he was on the beach with his wife when the plane flew past heading north. He said the engine was not sputtering, but the plane banked hard to the left toward the tall buildings that line the area. He said he realized the plane was too low and told his wife it was going to crash just before it did.

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