Thursday, March 07, 2019

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee B, owned by private individuals and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan, N7369W: Fatal accident occurred March 05, 2019 in Summersville, Texas County, Missouri

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; St. Ann, Missouri
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Summersville, MO
Accident Number: CEN19FA093
Date & Time: 03/05/2019, 2204 CST
Registration: N7369W
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 5, 2019, about 2204 central standard time, a Piper PA 28-180 airplane, N7369W, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain 4 miles northwest of Summersville, Missouri. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was owned and piloted by private individuals and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The cross-country flight departed New River Valley Airport (PSK), Dublin, Virginia, at an unknown time and was en route to Downtown Airport (3DW), Springfield, Missouri.

According to the owner of the airplane, the pilot traveled to Virginia on commercial airline flights the morning of the accident to fly the airplane back to 3DW. A receipt found by investigators indicated that the pilot stopped at London-Corbin Airport Magee Field (LOZ) and purchased 26 gallons on fuel at a self-service pump. He departed about 1800.

The pilot of the airplane did not receive services, nor was he required to receive, services from air traffic control. A preliminary review of radar data illustrated the flight west-bound at an altitude of 5,000 ft msl. The airplane initiated a turn back towards the east before the radar track was lost. The wreckage was located the next morning by the driver of a vehicle on a nearby road.

The accident site was characterized by deciduous walnut trees and hilly terrain vegetated in short grass. The wreckage came to rest on a measured heading of 99° at an elevation of about 1,330 ft.

The initial impact point was located at the top of a 45 ft tree, characterized by broken branches. The main wreckage came to rest about 76 ft east of the initial impact point. A section of the right wing, broken branches, and paint chips were scattered on the ground between the initial impact point and a second tree. The second tree was about 45 ft high and exhibited broken branches near the top of the tree and witness marks consistent with impact with the airplane. Additional branches, plexiglass, paint chips, torn metal from the wing, torn fiberglass, the baggage door, and a fragmented red lens cover were scattered over 45 ft between the second tree and the main wreckage.

The main wreckage included the fuselage, empennage, left wing, and engine and propeller assembly. The right wing came to rest about 14 ft north of the main wreckage. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N7369W
Model/Series: PA28 180
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/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KUNO, 1228 ft msl
Observation Time: 2153 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 40 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -6°C / -12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.43 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Dublin, VA (PSK)
Destination: Springfield, MO (3DW)

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: 37.179167, -91.661944 (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

Robert "Bob" Franklin Torp

At the Greene County courthouse this past week, conversations between hearings or on elevator rides have often focused on attorney Robert Torp.

Torp, 64, was known in legal circles as a kind, eccentric man with a passion for flying.

Officials say Torp died Tuesday night when a single-engine airplane he was flying crashed in a field in Texas County.

"He was probably one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet," said attorney Stuart Huffman, Torp's longtime colleague. "Very genuine."

Huffman said he was shocked when he got the news Wednesday that Torp had died.

In the days since, Huffman said he has been reminiscing about Torp's passion for legal research and his various quirks — like wearing sneakers and a suit to work.

"He would always go that little extra mile," Huffman said. "When he felt something was right, he defended it until the absolute end."

Huffman said Torp had recently gotten married, and the website for Torp's law practice says he leaves behind three children and eight grandchildren.

The website says Torp is a Michigan native with a background in the Army National Guard.

Authorities say the official cause of Tuesday night's plane crash is still under investigation.

Jennifer Rodi, senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said Torp was traveling from Virginia to Springfield when the 1963 Piper Cherokee 180 he was flying crashed into a field near Summersville at about 10 p.m.

The scene was discovered by a passing neighbor the next morning, according to Rodi.

As of Friday, Rodi said the plane was still in the field where it crashed, but federal investigators would recover the aircraft in the next couple of days.

"It's a muddy mess out there," Rodi said.

Rodi said the preliminary report on the crash could be completed by the middle of the next week, but the entire investigation will take upwards of a year.

Back in Springfield, Torp's friend and fellow attorney Stacie Bilyeu said Torp's death is a big loss for the local legal community.

"My favorite kind of person is a person who marches to their drum," Bilyeu said. "He was his own person. There was no one else like him."

Torp practiced civil and criminal law in the Springfield area and liked taking cases in the outlying areas so he had an excuse to fly.

Bilyeu said she will remember Torp as a genuinely nice person who had a good sense of humor and was dogged in his pursuit of justice. She said she will miss running into Torp at the courthouse or in social settings.

"People have been talking all over the courthouse since his accident," Bilyeu said. "Everybody says the same thing about him, he was just such a nice guy."

Original article can be found here ➤

Robert F. Torp     
August 23, 1954  -  March 6, 2019   

Robert "Bob" Franklin Torp was born August 23, 1954, in South Haven, Michigan and passed away on March 6th, 2019, from injuries he sustained during complications while landing a plane he was transporting.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Franklin B. Torp and Geraldine E. Torp; and brother, Donald Torp.

Robert is survived by his fiancĂ©, Lucy Fernandez; sister, Nancy Christensen; brother, Thomas Christiansen; three children Lori McDaniel and husband Steven, Judy Torp, Charles Torp and wife Cassie; eight grandchildren, Dominic, Caleb, Ajay, Nellie, Andru, Sema’j, JJ, and Joshua.

Robert was a Michigan native who moved to Missouri nearly twenty years ago, after graduating from law school. Bob's service to his country include both his service in this National Guard where he drove tanks and he was also in the Civil Air Patrol of Missouri to assist in search and rescue missions. Robert was a man of many talents and interests, and he had a love of learning. He was always looking for the next big adventure, whether it was another hobby, job or place to travel to. He enjoyed spending time with his fiancĂ© and his family, and his passion for flying kept his head above the clouds. He could hold a conversation with anyone about anything and had the ability to connect with others. He touched many lives and always wanted to help others. He will be truly missed and loved by those who were closest to him. 

Visitation will be held from 1-2 PM, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in the Chapel at Elfindale Manor, 1701 S Fort Ave, with funeral services following at 2 PM.

Robert F. Torp

A Springfield lawyer has died after a single-engine airplane crashed in Texas County.

At approximately 7:16 a.m. Wednesday, Texas County Emergency Services received a report of a plane crash in a field on Bethel Drive in the Summersville area, according to a press release from Sheriff Scott Lindsey.

Robert Torp, 64, was declared dead at the scene, said Marie Lasater, Texas County Coroner. Torp was the only person in the aircraft.

The plane was identified as a 1963 Piper Cherokee 180, according to Lindsey. The aircraft is registered to a different subject from Newport, Virginia.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Torp held a private pilot license. He had it renewed in August 2018.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation of the crash, according to Lindsey.

Torp, an attorney, specialized in personal injury, immigration law, civil settlements and criminal defense in the Springfield area, according to 

Under the "About" section on his website, it says Torp was from Michigan and moved to Springfield nearly 20 years ago after graduating from Western Michigan University and law school at University of Southern Illinois. He also graduated from the Trial Lawyers College. 

Torp drove tanks for the Army National Guard and served in the Civil Air Patrol of Missouri, where he assisted in search and rescue missions, according to his website.

Torp had three children and eight grandchildren, the website says.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. that was a survivable accident with shoulder harness

  2. A little odd, it appears the flaps are retracted (at least on the port side wing).

  3. This plane was in a hangar fire around 6 months ago. Fire was hot enough to bow some of the girders framing that hangar. Insurance company totaled the aircraft and auctioned it as salvage around 3 weeks ago.

  4. From images I've seen on the internet, it appears flaps are at zero on both wings. Not necessarily odd, but notable.

  5. Totally speculation right now. Prop looks like not turning on impact, so probably engine out for some reason. Right wing is detached and on left side of left wing in one piece. Looks like he was trying to land it. Not clear if he spun in. Flaps do not appear to be down on either wing. Have to wait on the NTSB report. Looked to be an accomplished lawyer and pilot with the CAP.


    Hos more photos of scene.

  7. Anon Totally Speculation, I think I agree with your scenario, and it does look like it could've spun in. Does not appear to be any disruption on the surrounding ground, the port main gear is broken completely off and pinned right under the wing, it hit hard enough and at such an attitude to push the pointy end well aft. KY3 news report video shows more of the wreckage, really sad.

  8. I'm thinking engine quit and while gliding for an open field he clipped the tops of those big trees which ripped off the right wing and damaged the leading edge of the left wing. This slowed and spun the plane around causing it to fall nose first to the ground in that little clearing. That's why there's some nose damage but not the extent of a spin straight down into the ground. I agree it looks survivable but if no shoulder harness on, contact with face or head in the instrument panel would have done him in. Either way a sad ending to the pilot and his nice looking classic Piper. RIP

  9. Any others guesses? Maybe sit tight and see what investigation brings out.


  11. My guess if effects from fire damage. Control lines/surfaces, engine parts, fuel lines... and the list goes on. Seems like an extremely short period of time for a plane that was sold by the insurance company as salvage in Virginia to be inspected, repaired and end up crashed in Missouri in ~2 weeks.

  12. ^^^ yeah ... but WHAT A DEAL ... new paint job was probably next.


  13. Given the history of the plane, I would have chosen to only fly daylight VFR and plotted my course so I was always close to an airport just in case.

  14. Around 500 miles since fueling and close to home trying to stretch it.....No prop spin.... Fuel exhaustion highly possible, happens many, many times....

  15. 438nm to destination from fuel stop.

  16. If it's really 438 nm from fuel stop to destination, that would be a decent indication why the prop isn't bent.

    You can never have too much fuel, unless you're on fire.