Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee, registered to and operated by FlightSafety International Inc under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N555PU: Fatal accident occurred March 05, 2019 in Fellsmere, Indian River County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Piper Aircraft Company; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

https://registry.faa.gov/N555PU 


Location: Fellsmere, FL
Accident Number: ERA19FA116
Date & Time: 03/05/2019, 0703 EST
Registration: N555PU
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On March 5, 2019, at 0703 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N556PU, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near Fellsmere, Florida. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by FlightSafety International (FSI) Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that departed Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB), Vero Beach, Florida, about 0657, and destined for the Palm Beach County Glades Airport (PHK), Pahokee, Florida.

The student pilot had been training at FSI's FlightSafety Academy (FSA) in Vero Beach, Florida. She was conducting her second solo cross-country flight. The airport's control tower was not open at the time she departed, so the student pilot had to communicate her intentions via the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). There were recorded radio transmissions documenting the student's departure.

A preliminary review of radar data revealed an airplane departed with a discreet transponder code from runway 30L. The airplane flew west before it made a series of left and right turns before the data ended about six minutes later. At that time, the airplane was in a right turn at an approximate altitude of 550 ft, at a ground speed of 117 knots, and on a heading of 153°.

The airplane was located a quarter-mile south of the last radar return in heavily wooded farm land about 7 miles northwest of VRB. The initial impact point was an approximately 30-foot-tall tree. The airplane continued to impact trees as it descended before it came to rest on its right side on a magnetic heading of 115°, about 460 ft from the initial impact point. An on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed that all major components of the airplane were located at the accident site and there was no post-impact fire.

The pilot held a student pilot certificate issued on May 15, 2018. Her last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical was issued on April 8, 2018, with no limitations. A review of the student pilot's logbook revealed she had accrued a total of 96.1 flight hours, of which, 1.4 hours were simulated instrument.

Under Federal Aviation Regulation 61.93c3, a flight instructor is required to endorse the student pilot's logbook for each solo cross-country flight. A review of the endorsements section of the student pilot's logbook revealed she was not endorsed by her instructor for the flight on the day of the accident. She had been endorsed by her flight instructor the day before the accident on March 4, 2019. According to flight instructor, the student was scheduled to complete this cross-country the day before the accident. The instructor had met with the student pilot and reviewed the weather conditions, the navigation log, and her flight planning. She then endorsed the student for that flight; however, the flight was cancelled at the last minute due to weather. The instructor then requested for the student to have a block of time in the afternoon the following day to complete the cross-country flight. FSA's scheduling department was unable to book the flight for the afternoon and it was scheduled for 0600 the following morning. The instructor knew there was a high probability that the flight would not take place due to weather. When she did not hear from the student pilot the following morning, the instructor thought the flight had been cancelled due to weather. The instructor stated that the student pilot was aware that she needed to obtain her instructor's endorsements before she could be released for the flight.

At 0553 weather reported at VRB was wind from 230° 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain, scattered clouds 2,700 ft, broken clouds 10,000 ft, temperature 18° C, dewpoint 17° degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 30.00 in Hg.

At 0631 the wind was 260° at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain, few clouds at 600, broken clouds at 1,900 ft, broken clouds at 4,800 ft, temperature 19° C, dewpoint 17° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 in Hg.

At 0645, the wind was 270° at 7 knots, visibility 9 miles, light rain, broken clouds at 500 ft, broken clouds at 1,900 ft, overcast clouds at 4,800 ft, temperature 19° C, dewpoint 18° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 in Hg.

At 0653, the wind was 270° at 7 knots, visibility 8 miles, light rain, broken clouds 500 ft, overcast clouds at 1,900 ft, temperature 19° C, dewpoint 18° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 in Hg.

At 0703, the wind was 250 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 6 miles, light rain, mist, overcast clouds at 400 ft, temperature 19° C, dewpoint 18° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 in Hg. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N555PU
Model/Series: PA28 161
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Flightsafety International Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: VRB, 23 ft msl
Observation Time: 0703 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 250°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 400 ft agl
Visibility:  6 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Vero Beach, FL (VRB)
Destination: Pahokee, FL (PHK)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 27.715000, -80.527222

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


Yujia Qu



INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Office of the Medical Examiner confirmed the identity of the student pilot killed last week in a plane crash near Interstate 95.

Yujia Qu, 24, was on a solo training flight when her Piper PA-28 Cherokee went down in a wooded area east of I-95, near the Vero Lake Estates neighborhood, according to Medical Examiner District 19 representative Kimberly Carroll.

The plane took off the morning of March 5 from Vero Beach Regional Airport, bound for Palm Beach County Glades Airport in Pahokee, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Air Force lost contact with the plane about 11:30 a.m. The wreckage was later spotted in the woods by a Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot, about a mile and a half south of Vero Lake Estates.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. Officials said Friday the agency expects to issue a preliminary report early next week.

Qu was a student pilot at FlightSafety Academy, a flight training school based at the Vero Beach airport.

Steve Phillips, vice president of communications at FlightSafety International, said last week the organization is working closely with investigators.


"We have reached out to (Qu's) family expressing our condolences," Phillips said. "We told them, whatever they need, just let us know."


Story and video ➤ https://www.tcpalm.com





INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Florida  — The pilot of a small plane that crashed Tuesday in a wooded area near Interstate 95 is dead, a fire rescue official confirmed.

It took hours for first responders to reach the heavily damaged plane, which was deep in the woods south of Vero Lake Estates.

The pilot, whose name has not yet been revealed, was the only person aboard, said Battalion Chief Kyle Kofke, with Indian River County Fire Rescue.

"We did suffer a tragic loss at FlightSafety Academy this morning," said Steve Phillips, vice president of communications at FlightSafety International.

"It was one of our students who was on a solo training flight. We have reached out to the family expressing our condolences. … We told them, whatever they need, just let us know."

The plane took off Tuesday morning from Vero Beach Regional Airport for Palm Beach County Glades Airport in Pahokee, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Air Force reported losing contact with the plane about 11:30 a.m. in the area, said Maj. Eric Flowers, with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office launched its helicopter as deputies and fire officials searched the brush.

The helicopter pilot spotted the plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, about 1 p.m. It was a mile and a half south of Vero Lake Estates, east of the interstate, Flowers said.

The Florida Forest Service sent two plows to clear a path to the crash site, as fire engines staged nearby, at 90th Avenue and 77th Street.

The FAA, which arrived on scene about 2:30 p.m., will investigate the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine its cause.

Phillips said FlightSafety International, which operates a flight training school at the Vero Beach airport, is working closely with investigators.

Flowers said they were working Tuesday afternoon to notify the pilot's relatives.

Story and video ➤ https://www.tcpalm.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does a flight school and their instructors let student pilots take off into known IFR conditions? Ceiling was OVC005.....tragic and preventable.

Jim B said...


If they had only waited a bit longer.

An old tragic story retold many times.

KOBE 041655Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN034 BKN043 BKN085 28/20 A2997 RMK AO2
KOBE 041635Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN029 BKN037 OVC049 27/20 A2998 RMK AO2
KOBE 041615Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN025 BKN033 BKN039 27/20 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041555Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN024 BKN034 27/21 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041535Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN019 OVC028 27/21 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041515Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM OVC017 26/21 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041455Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM OVC014 25/21 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041435Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM OVC012 23/21 A2999 RMK AO2
KOBE 041415Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN008 22/21 A2998 RMK AO2
KOBE 041355Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM SCT004 22/22 A2998 RMK AO2
KOBE 041335Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN002 22/21 A2998 RMK AO2

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? If they lost contact with the plane at 11:30am (approx.1615Z) the metar for KOBE at that time was 10sm visibility, broken @ 2500', broken @ 3300', broken @ 3900'. I realize that is for only 5nm radius of the airport but that's clearly vfr. Were is the OVC005 coming from?

Anonymous said...

The accident occured in vero beach. (About 9mile north-west of KVRB) Not in near KOBE.

Jim B said...



KVRB 041525Z 25013KT 10SM -RA SCT011 SCT017 25/22 A2998 RMK AO2
KVRB 041433Z 25012G19KT 10SM -RA OVC007 23/21 A2998 RMK AO2
KVRB 041253Z 24007KT 5SM -RA BR OVC005 21/21 A2996 RMK AO2 SLP143 P0001

Not much better.

My son had 5 hours in that bird when it lived at Purdue a few years earlier, (PU) in the tail number. Despite their age they were kept in pristine condition. Purdue later bought a cluster of Cirrus birds to replace all but two of the Warriors.

RIP pilot friend.

Anonymous said...

The article is not correct. The plane actually crashed just prior to 0700LCL and wasn't reported overdue until 1130LCL.

Truth Hurts said...

Big Part 141 school such as FLIGHT SAFETY should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this flight student to be dispatched. This happened because flight school is careless.

Truth Hurts said...

FLIGHT SAFETY should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the student pilot the keys to dispatch this flight. Wreckless