Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cessna S550 Citation S/II, N311G: Fatal accident occurred May 22, 2019 near Indianapolis Regional Airport (KMQJ), McCordsville, Hancock County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Williams International; San Antonio, Texas 
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Greenfield, IN
Accident Number: CEN19FA148
Date & Time: 05/22/2019, 1245 EDT
Registration: N311G
Aircraft: CESSNA S550
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 22, 2019, about 1245 eastern daylight time, a twin engine, turbofan-powered, Cessna Citation S-550 airplane, N311G, impacted a flooded corn field about ½ mile northeast of Indianapolis Regional Airport (MQJ) Greenfield, Indiana. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot as an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. The Airline Transport rated pilot and the sole passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan had been filed and activated. The flight departed MQJ about 1243 destined for Minden-Tahoe Airport (MEV), Nevada.

Archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data depicted the airplane departing from runway 7 at MQJ. Shortly after departure, the airplane began a left turn towards an air traffic control (ATC) assigned heading of 320°. After reaching an altitude of about 1,400 ft MSL, the airplane descended until it disappeared from the radar.

A witness on the ground at MQJ reported seeing the airplane in an estimated 90° left bank with the nose parallel to the horizon shortly after departure. He observed the airplane's nose lower slightly before rising again to a level attitude. At no point did he observe the nose of the airplane rise above the horizon. The nose of the airplane again lowered and the airplane impacted the ground.

The airplane impacted a flooded cornfield and exhibited significant fragmentation. The wreckage and debris field covered an area of about 270 ft long and 103 ft wide. The initial ground scar was aligned on about a 327° magnetic heading (MH). The nose of the airplane came to rest on a 268° MH and the tail came to rest on a 182° MH. Both engines separated from the airplane and were located about 197 ft from the point of initial impact, roughly aligned with the ground scar. A post-impact fire incinerated about 80% of the airplane.

The airplane was equipped with two Williams International FJ44-3A turbofan engines. Detailed engine and wreckage examinations are pending. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N311G
Model/Series: S550
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No 
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: , 862 ft msl
Observation Time: 1635 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 600 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / 14 knots, 170°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Greenfield, IN (MQJ)
Destination: Minden, NV (MEV) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 39.851389, -85.883611

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 and Robin Holman

The Nevada couple who died in a plane crash in Hancock County earlier this month were major benefactors of a small private liberal arts college in their home state.

Hancock County Coroner David Stillinger said Thursday in a news release that Robert Walter Holman Jr., 75, and his wife, 61-year-old Robin Holman, were killed in the May 22 crash in Hancock County. Robert Holman was the pilot, Stillinger said.

The couple was from Incline Village, Nevada, according to Stillinger. 

Sierra Nevada College, a private school of about 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students also located in Incline Village, told IndyStar that the couple was passionate about the arts, and were generous benefactors to the school. They have an arts center named after them — the Holman Media Arts Center.

Robin Holman was a member of the SNC Tahoe Board of Trustees for several years. A vigil was held to honor the couple on Tuesday, the school said in a statement.

"The greatness of the Holmans’ influence on the students of Sierra Nevada College can never be summed by any measure," the statement said. "We are humbled by the vision of the world they supported through their leadership in our community, and grateful for the inclusion of SNC in that vision."

The Cessna S550 Citation S/II crashed around 12:45 p.m., shortly after taking off from Indianapolis Regional Airport, about 17 miles east of Indianapolis, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine. Federal officials said the jet was headed to the Minden-Tahoe Airport, near Lake Tahoe, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. 

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams told IndyStar the aircraft was a Cessna Citation 550.

The investigation is still in its early stages, Williams said last week. A preliminary report will be issued within days, he said, but there likely won't be a determination of the cause of the crash for at least a year. 

Formerly known as Mount Comfort Airport, Indianapolis Regional Airport was renamed in March 2011.

Original article can be found here ➤

Robin and Robert Holman

MT. COMFORT — Investigators on Thursday began puzzling over the mystery of why a fully fueled Cessna S550 Citation S/II crashed in a field just after takeoff the day before from Indianapolis Regional Airport.

Experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, who officially took over control of the crash site late Wednesday, were back on scene first thing Thursday morning. Their local investigation is expected to take three to five days, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said.

A preliminary report about Wednesday’s crash could be released in a couple of weeks, Weiss said.

The names of the victims still haven’t been released. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department had the task of notifying the victims’ relatives, but they said it could be some time before they release the names to the public. Because of the nature of the crash, official identification likely will come via dental records and DNA.

On Thursday, County Road 400W, the road closest to the crash site, was closed between County Roads 400N and 500N, just east of the airport runway, so work by the NTSB would not be disturbed.

Investigators are looking for perishable evidence that might shed light on the final seconds of the flight. They were looking for electronic devices such as cell phones or GPS systems, Weiss said.

The overall investigation will fall into three main areas, Weiss said: human, the plane itself and the environment.

“After they document the wreckage site and the wreckage itself to find clues about what happened based on the wreckage location and the field, the wreckage will then be moved to a secure location out of the weather,” Weiss said.

That’s when the investigators will go over every part of the airplane remaining and begin to look at individual components, which will then be sent to laboratories in Washington, D.C., for further analysis.

Results from the full investigation could take as long as 12 to 24 months, Weiss said.

Firefighters from Buck Creek Fire Department, located just west of Indianapolis Regional Airport, were first on the scene shortly after 12:40 p.m. Wednesday. Fire Chief David Sutherlin described the crash scene as a worst-case scenario.

“While we carry items on our trucks to handle airplane crashes, when it’s out in the middle of a muddy field like that, it makes our job extremely difficult,” Sutherlin said, noting that trucks could not navigate the mud without getting stuck.

Nearby farmers Gary Edwards and Josh Hancock where on the scene within minutes the chief said, supplying first-responders with ATVs and allowing them to get to the scene. With their help and the assistance from a Buck Creek firefighter who was off duty, who brought his truck with specialty designed mud tires, they were able to shuttle firefighters and gear back and fourth.

“It really kept the flow going for us,” Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin and 10 other Buck Creek firefighters saw flames and a lot of smoke when they first arrived, Sutherlin said, but he noted most of the aircraft was destroyed.

“That’s how aircraft crashes are,” the chief said, “They’re very violent.”

Fire officials were told by a member of the airport maintenance crew who saw the plane on the ground that it taxied and took off normally. The maintenance worker turned to go about his work, but seconds later, the plane crashed.

The NTSB investigators called Buck Creek firefighters back to the scene late Wednesday night to help handle the disarming of the fire extinguishers that were on board the plane. However, Sutherlin said, the NTSB officials ended up handling the situation on their own.

Original article ➤

MCCORDSVILLE — A Cessna S550 Citation S/II crashed shortly after taking off from Indianapolis Regional Airport on Wednesday killing both occupants of the plane, officials said.

Sgt. John Perrine, of the Indianapolis post of the Indiana State Police, said the crash happened shortly after 12:45 p.m. Wednesday near the airport, formerly known as the Mount Comfort Airport, in Hancock County.

"The investigation will continue as to how this happened and why this happened, but right now our preliminary goal is to make notification to the family of those deceased and that's what we're working to do," Perrine said. "We have identified the two people that were on board and we are working to notify the families."

The identifies of the two people on board the plane have not been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be handling the investigation, which is standard procedure for a plane crash.

Perrine said the Hancock County Sheriff's Office were the first on the scene.

The location of the crash, one-quarter to one-half mile off the road through a muddy field, provided some challenges for first responders trying to get to scene to render aid, Perrine said.

"We're fortunate that we have partners here in Hancock County that were able to provide some utility vehicles, four-wheel-drive vehicles, to get the firefighters to the scene to start working on rescue efforts," Perrine said.

The Hancock County 911 Center got a bunch of calls about 12:43 p.m.

Original article ➤

MT. COMFORT — Police and rescue crews are at the scene of fatal plane crash at Indianapolis Regional Airport at Mt. Comfort.

Indiana State Police said two people died in the crash, which occurred early Wednesday afternoon. A witness told the Daily Reporter he drove near the site — near the intersection of County Roads 400W and 500N — not long after the plane went down. He described it as a Cessna Citation, and thick black smoke was rising from it.

First-responders quickly closed County Road 400W, east of the airport, between County Roads 400N and 500N.

Rescuers who were first on the scene had trouble reaching the crash site in their vehicles because the field was muddy. They were approaching it on foot, and ATVs also were on the way to the scene.

Original article ➤

HANCOCK COUNTY, Indiana – Two people died after a Cessna S550 Citation S/II crashed near the Indianapolis Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon.

According to Indiana State Police, the plane went down northeast of the airport just after taking off around 12:30 p.m. Two people who were aboard the aircraft were killed, ISP said.

Federal authorities have been called to assist in the investigation.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority issued this statement:

We can confirm that there was an aircraft incident that did occur near the Indianapolis Regional Airport today near Mt. Comfort, Ind. The aircraft took off at approximately 12:30 p.m. and crashed shortly after take off in a field just due east of the airport. There were two souls on board. There are no survivors. The National Safety Transportation Board has been notified, and is in route to take jurisdiction over the scene.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. Dear God, it's like a war on Citations... too many deaths in the last few years. Jeez.

  2. I wonder if the aircraft had these installed: tamarix active wing aircraft winglet.

    There's a new AD out grounding all aircraft with these installed.

  3. The AD to which DWN refers is for the CE525 aircraft. The aircraft that creased was a CE550.

  4. A Citation 550 with tail number N767G flew from MEV to Indianapolis Regional about a month ago. There is no flight out. There are no prior records on FlightRadar nor aircraft registration for N311G Cessna Citation. If this plane was just repainted in Indianapolis, I believe this requires some disassembly of the control surfaces and new weight and balance calculations,etc. Just speculating.


  5. It looks like both the rudder and elevators are in the neutral position.
    Gust locks?

  6. The AOPA E-newsletter states ALL Citations with the Tamarack active winglets modification are grounded which translates to 76 aircraft of US registry and 19 others worldwide. I'm sure they're looking into if this aircraft had that modification. The manufacture recommended placing speed tape over them to place them in the neutral position but the FAA said no way and most likely want them removed all together.

  7. capngrog said...

    It looks like both the rudder and elevators are in the neutral position.

    Look closer.

  8. @capngrog - if the gust lock was not removed they would have never rotated on takeoff (see the fatal 9/9/15 GIV crash in MA of that happening). Also the position of the surface area flight controls post-crash are never an indicator if they were working properly or not prior to impact. Not any more than the position of the front wheels of a vehicle after a crash.

  9. The blue stripe in the first photograph from the crash does line up with the markings of N767G in photos online from plane spotters so doesn't look like a full paint job. Also FAA reported that flight was scheduled to go back to Minden, Nevada according to Reno newspapers so probably a safe bet that N311G and N767G are the same aircraft.

  10. 75 years of age with no other qualified pilot in the front seat? Makes me wonder.

    1. Right! Too old and stubborn to have help from another pilot.

  11. When I read about the plane being in knife edge flight, I thought about uncommanded thrust reverser deployment. The accident plane though, N767G, had been upgraded with the FJ44 engines that don't have reversers. So it was a stall but the question is why? The couple seemed like they gave back to their community, such a tragic end, my condolences.

  12. It is my understanding that they had some type of problem with the plane and had it fixed in Indy before leaving to go back to Minden/Tahoe. Maybe there was something else wrong with it or the repairs didnt fix the problem.

    1. The final report from the NTSB states that there was something wrong with the pilot, not the plane. He got a single-pilot exemption, but another pilot who flew with him said that he routinely retarded the throttles on takeoff. Why? Sounds like some kind of death wish to me.

  13. Check out the rudder trim tab. Appears to be almost fully deflected to the right which would cause a hard left turn tendency.

    Depending on the repairs done in Indy possibly a flight control rigging issue? If rudder trim was rigged backwards the ore right trim commanded wold actually add more left rudder trim?

    Possible engine failure or just the way the controls ended up after the crash?

  14. Since I don't work there any more, I guess I'll chime in....

    The pilot was inexperienced in this aircraft, having only flown minimal time in type. His SOP was to reduce throttle after takeoff, saying "he didn't want to stress the engines". Two separate check rides confirmed the instance. Both check riders refused to fly with him after said instances. We heard the engines spool down after roll out and knew he did it again, but this time he was fully loaded with fuel- a recipe for disaster. No airspeed and a sharp bank, a tailwind takeoff (again, inexperienced pilot) equals a crash. Sad to see it happen, but sometimes people do dumb things.....

    1. Please contact me on
      Thank you!
      I have flow with the pilot from South Africa to the US when the plane was purchased.

    2. Thank you for chiming in - there is always another side to the story.

    3. An "Airline Transport rated pilot" with the bad habit of throttling back during takeoff climb and turn. Troubling. Maybe he also still had his landing trim set from when he arrived? Patterns of behavior. Just a little bit more of a surprise contributing to a sudden stall. Endless possibilities at this point.

  15. Total pilot error - and predictable due to known previous flight deck performance. Did anyone sit him down and alert him to his potentially fatal habits? If so, he apparently didn't listen. Could have been tragic for innocent people on the ground. Just because you can afford a private jet doesn't mean you're qualified to operate it.

  16. Read the final report and shake your head in disbelief. He took off at greatly reduced power and climbed at low speed because he believed this plane handled like a 172. As a result, he seemed to always take off and climb just barely above stall speed, until today, when he fatefully slipped below and couldn't recover. He should have traded it in for a 172.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.