Friday, June 7, 2019

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage / JetProp DLX, N709CH: Fatal accident occurred June 07, 2019 in Castalia, Nash County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

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


https://registry.faa.gov/N709CH


Location: Castalia, NC
Accident Number: ERA19FA188
Date & Time: 06/07/2019, 1333 EDT
Registration: N709CH
Aircraft: Piper PA46
Injuries:4 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 7, 2019, about 1333 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA 46-350P, N709CH, broke up in flight following an encounter with weather near Castalia, North Carolina. The private pilot, a pilot-rated passenger, and two other passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to the pilot and was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated at Naples, Florida (APF) and was destined for Easton Airport (ESN), Easton, Maryland.

According to preliminary air traffic control radar and voice communication information from the Federal Aviation Administration, the flight was on a northeasterly ground track at flight level (FL) 270 over eastern North Carolina when the pilot reported that there was weather ahead on his radar. After discussing the weather with the controller and reviewing options, the flight was eventually cleared direct to the Franklin VOR. About two minutes prior to the accident, the pilot reported that they were entering an area of rain. The airplane was then observed climbing to FL273, followed by a rapidly descending right turn and loss of radio and radar contact. The controller made numerous attempts to contact the pilot, to no avail. A postaccident review of recorded weather radar data indicated that the airplane was in the vicinity of heavy rain and thunderstorms at the time of the accident.

The airplane impacted wooded terrain about 4 miles northeast of the town of Castalia. The outboard sections of the wings and a section of the elevator were found about 1.4 miles northeast of the main wreckage. Several components of the empennage have not been located due to the dense forest in the area. The main wreckage consisted of the entire fuselage and the inboard sections of the wings. The fuselage was found inverted on a heading of 045°. There was no fire.

The pilot, seated in the left cockpit seat, was also the registered owner and operator of the airplane. He held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He did not hold an instrument rating. A review of his pilot logbook revealed that he had logged about 312 hours total flight time, including 147 hours in the accident airplane. His latest flight review was recorded on October 3, 2017.

The pilot-rated passenger, seated in the right cockpit seat, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He held an instrument rating. A review of his pilot logbook revealed that he had logged about 1,062 hours total flight time, including 173 hours in the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was recorded on April 14, 2017. He had not logged any actual instrument time or instrument approaches during the 12 months prior to the accident.

The low wing, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane was manufactured in 2007. In 2017, the original reciprocating engine was removed and a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-35 turboprop engine was installed per a JetProp LLC supplemental type certificate. An annual inspection was completed on April 29, 2019. The total time on the airframe at the time of the accident was 1,449 hours and the engine had accumulated 226 hours time in service since new.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N709CH
Model/Series: PA46 350P
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RWI, 157 ft msl
Observation Time: 1353 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3600 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 9000 ft agl
Visibility:  9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Naples, FL (APF)
Destination: Easton, MD (ESN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 36.137222, -77.995833 (est)

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.



Pictured are Eva and Gregory Boll 


Pictured are Felix and Roberta Laquidara

NAPLES, Florida  - Seven children are left without parents after four people died in small plane crash Friday.

The victims are Eva and Gregory Boll and Felix and Roberta Laquidara. The Bolls leave behind five children and the Laquidaras two. 

Friends, co-workers and members of the community said they're devastated. 

John Paeno, the owner of CGT Kayaks, said the Laquidaras lived on the Imperial River in Bonita Springs and loved to paddle on it. Paeno said his wife goes to Felix Andrew Salon, which the Laquidaras owned.

"They were a very nice family," Paeno said. "Their poor children. I feel very bad for them, as I’m sure everybody does."  

The two sets of parents took off from Naples Airport on a single engine turbo prop plane headed for Maryland. 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane flew into a storm going more than 300 miles per hour. The board said the plane fell apart 27,000 ft. in the sky. 

A wing was found near Harrison Road, and the fuselage was found a mile away in the woods. 

All seven children attended the Seacrest Country Day School in Naples. 

"I can’t imagine how those girls and how [the children] feel right now and how they’re processing this loss," said Erin Duffy, the Head of Schools at Seacrest County Day School.

The Bolls' youngest daughter graduated from 8th grade two weeks ago.

"Every single one of these seven children has left a mark on our school in one way or another," Duffy said. "Both sets of parents have been incredibly supportive of the school for all the time they’ve been here."   

Story and video ➤ https://www.nbc-2.com




AVENTON, North Carolina (WNCN) - Authorities tell CBS 17 that four people and two dogs were killed a plane crash in Nash County on Friday. 

The victims have been identified as Gregory Boll, 57, Evva Leigh Boll, 48, Roberta Laquidara, 52 and Felix Laquidara, 53. 

NTSB officials remained at the scene conducting their investigation through Friday night and will continue through Saturday night. The wreckage is expected to be removed on Sunday.

Two wings were found as deputies investigated a report of a downed aircraft Friday in Nash County. 

"That was a real shock and surprise," Amelia Harper with the Rocky Mount Telegram said.

One of the wings ended up in her yard. 

"Our house has suddenly become command central for this plane crash search and that is not what I was expecting when I woke up today," Harper said. 

Highway 43 near Harrison Road in the Aventon area of the county is closed as Nash County deputies and other emergency responders investigate, the news release said.

"I heard a loud noise, it was like a propellor type thing," Brenda Hawkins, a neighbor said. "I kept looking up in the sky to see what it was but I could never see what it was. But I never could see anything. And then the next thing I knew I heard a loud clump like something had hit the ground," Hawkins said.

The FAA released a statement Friday that said local officials reported a Piper PA-46 had been discovered in a rural area. 

"The FAA issued an alert notice earlier today to advise search and rescue officials about the missing aircraft. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will determine the probable cause of the accident. We will update the statement when we get new information," the FAA's statement read. 

A Piper PA-46 is a single-engine light aircraft capable of carrying a pilot and five passengers.

On Saturday, the FAA confirmed four people were on the plane that took off from Naples Airport in Florida, enroute to Easton/Newman Field in Maryland.

The plane became missing and FAA issued an alert notice at 1:49 p.m. Friday to alert search and rescue officials.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Story and video ➤ https://www.cbs17.com



NASH COUNTY, North Carolina  —  NC Highway Patrol has identified 4 people killed in a small plane crash Friday in the Aventon area of Nash County.

The single-engine plane was reportedly travelling from Naples Airport in Florida to Easton/Newman Field in Maryland. The wreckage of the Piper PA-46 was found when someone called 911 and said part of a plane had landed in their yard.

The Federal Aviation Administration had reported the plane missing earlier Friday.

The 4 victims include:

-Evva Leigh Boll, 48 Years Old

-Gregory Boll, 57 Years Old

-Roberta Laquidara, 52 Years Old

-Felix Laquidara, 53 Years Old

All were residents of Naples, Florida. Two dogs in the plane were also killed. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into what caused the plane to go down.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wxii12.com




WHITAKERS, North Carolina — Four people and two dogs died Friday afternoon when their small plane crashed off Taylor's Store Road in Nash County.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone initially said that only two people were aboard the plane. Furhter investigation that stretched into Saturday showed four people – all from Naples, Florida – were on board.

They are:
Evva Leigh Boll, 48
Gregory Boll, 57
Roberta Laquidara, 52
Felix Laquidara, 53

They were traveling from Naples to Easton/Newman Field in Maryland, according to a report from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that the plane was a Piper PA-46.

Someone called 911 around 2 p.m. saying part of a plane had landed in their yard, Stone said. Two wings were found near Harrison Road. The last radar sighting of the plane came around N.C. Highway 43 and Harrison Road.

While rain slowed the investigation Friday evening, Charles Tolan and his friends found the fuselage about a mile away in the woods using four-wheelers.

“It’s right in the middle of thick woods,” Tolan said. “Knocked two trees down, laying on a tree.”

Brenda Hawkins was sitting on her porch when she heard the crash.

“It sounded like a propeller or something, real loud,” she said. “I was looking around for it, but I couldn’t see anything — it was raining. All of a sudden I heard a big boom, like it hit ground.”

Multiple agencies were involved in the search for the plane, including the sheriff's office, Emergency Medical Services, the State Highway Patrol, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Forest Service.

The National Transportation Safety Board will oversee the investigation to determine the probable cause of the crash.

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


Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone, right, talks with deputies as a drone surveys the area to find the fuselage of a plane that crashed north of Castalia on Friday. 


A small plane went down in Nash County Friday afternoon.

Officials confirmed Saturday afternoon that four people and two dogs died as a result of the crash.

It happened off Highway 43 near Harrison Road. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said it received a report that a plane had crashed about 1:45 p.m.

According to the FAA, four people were aboard the plane, which was a Piper PA-46. The FAA says the plane was enroute from Naples Airport in Florida to Easton/Newnam Field in Maryland.

The four victims have been identified as 48-year-old Evva Boll, 57-year-old Gregory Boll, 52-year-old Roberta Laquidara and 53-year-old Felix Laquidara.

Each person was a resident of Naples, Florida.

On Friday night, crews found the the wings of the aircraft on the ground.

The rest of the wreckage was seen via drone in the woods.

"We're speculating that the rest of the aircraft is back there, in this large wooded area here," Sheriff Keith Stone told ABC11. "And that's what's hampering our investigation right now. It's such a large land mass with trees...so that's what's slowing us down with the weather here."

It's unclear what caused the crash.

"You have debris strewn about," Stone said. "There's not any trees here to do that so something catastrophic happened in the air."

Story and video ➤ https://abc11.com

The wing of a plane that crashed in rural Nash County on Friday was found about a quarter of a mile away from the main site.




AVENTON, North Carolina (WNCN) - Authorities tell CBS 17 that four people and two dogs were killed a plane crash in Nash County on Friday. 

The victims have been identified as Gregory Boll, 57, Evva Leigh Boll, 48, Roberta Laquidara, 52 and Felix Laquidara, 53. 

NTSB officials remained at the scene conducting their investigation through Friday night and will continue through Saturday night. The wreckage is expected to be removed on Sunday.

Two wings were found as deputies investigated a report of a downed aircraft Friday in Nash County. 

"That was a real shock and surprise," Amelia Harper with the Rocky Mount Telegram said.

One of the wings ended up in her yard. 

"Our house has suddenly become command central for this plane crash search and that is not what I was expecting when I woke up today," Harper said. 

Highway 43 near Harrison Road in the Aventon area of the county is closed as Nash County deputies and other emergency responders investigate, the news release said.

"I heard a loud noise, it was like a propeller type thing," Brenda Hawkins, a neighbor said. "I kept looking up in the sky to see what it was but I could never see what it was. But I never could see anything. And then the next thing I knew I heard a loud clump like something had hit the ground," Hawkins said.

The FAA released a statement Friday that said local officials reported a Piper PA-46 had been discovered in a rural area. 

"The FAA issued an alert notice earlier today to advise search and rescue officials about the missing aircraft. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will determine the probable cause of the accident. We will update the statement when we get new information," the FAA's statement read. 

A Piper PA-46 is a single-engine light aircraft capable of carrying a pilot and five passengers.

On Saturday, the FAA confirmed four people were on the plane that took off from Naples Airport in Florida, enroute to Easton/Newman Field in Maryland.

The plane became missing and FAA issued an alert notice at 1:49 p.m. Friday to alert search and rescue officials.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Story and video ➤ https://www.cbs17.com



CASTALIA, North Carolina — At least one person is believed to have died following a Friday afternoon plane crash in rural Nash County.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Washington Air Traffic Control System Command Center around 2 p.m. Friday saying it had lost contact with a single-engine plane bound for Florida. Moments later, a second call came in saying parts of a plane were just off of Harrison Road, said Chief Deputy Brandon Medina.

One wing was found in an open field several hundred feet from the nearest house. A second wing was located across the street directly behind a carport but did not actually touch the house. No one was home at the time of the crash, and there have been no reported injuries on the ground.

Teresa Hall, who lives nearby on Taylor’s Store Road, said she had just returned from the store when she heard about the crash.

“I go down and just start seeing parts of the plane. The first piece I saw was a small piece. Then I turned back around and there was a large wing off to the left,” said Hall. “You know it can’t be good. It’s just heartbreaking.”

“On this occasion, we think there was a flight plan,” Sheriff Keith Stone said. “The weather’s affected us because we can’t have flights at this time.”

The sheriff’s office used drones to find the plane’s fuselage, which was located about an hour after first responders arrived on the scene. The deceased victim’s identity will not be released until relatives are notified.

The N.C. Highway Patrol and Federal Aviation Administration are currently leading the investigation. Stone said the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Forest Service, N.C. Department of Transportation and Nash County Emergency Services were also helping with the recovery and investigation.


Original article ➤ http://www.springhopeenterprise.com



The State Highway Patrol, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating a fatal plane crash that took place about 2 p.m. Friday afternoon in a rural part of Nash County.

One person, the unidentified pilot, was found dead at the scene. That victim has not yet been identified pending notification of the family.

There was some confusion over whether there was a passenger in the plane.

“We have heard conflicting stories about whether there were supposed to be one or two people on the plane. Right now, we believe there is one and that is the pilot,” Nash County Chief Deputy Brandon Medina said Friday night.

The search continued throughout the night for another possible victim of the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration was already on the scene Friday afternoon to examine the main site where the fuselage and tail were found after an exhaustive three-hour search involving drones, Coast Guard planes, the Forestry Service and multiple law enforcement and emergency service agencies.

Earlier, the Federal Aviation Administration released a statement saying that the plane had been identified as a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage.

"The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation and will determine the probable cause of the accident. We will update the statement when we get new information," the Federal Aviation Administration statement read.

Officials said the small passenger plane was supposed to be flying from Virginia to Florida, but the flight-tracking websites FlightAware and Flightradar24 list the flight path filed by a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage with the tail number N709CH as being from Naples, Fla., to Easton, Md.  An airport in Virginia lost track of the plane about 2 p.m. and notified Nash County officials.

“We got a call from one of the airports in Virginia saying that they had lost tracking of a plane and about that same time we got a call that there were two airplane pieces off of Harrison Road,” Medina said. “When we came to the location to look, we were able to track the trajectory of the plane.”

Once the location of the plane’s main body was identified, a bulldozer had to be called on to help clear a path through the water-soaked logging trails that led through the wooded area where the plane crashed near Taylor’s Store Road in Nash County.

The body of the plane was found upside down about a quarter of a mile north of where the wings of the plane were found about 2 p.m, Medina said. It was a call concerning these wings that led to the initial search for the plane in Nash County.

Both wings were found on the 2000 block of Harrison Road, one in a field and the other behind a double-wide mobile home across the street from that location. The second wing narrowly missed striking that residence.

Medina said the reason for the crash is still under investigation. 

“We don’t know if it was a medical situation or an equipment malfunction or some other cause,” Medina said. “Obviously, we don’t have access to video traffic. One of the local airports may have access to that.”

Medina said more answers will take time and investigation.

“Obviously when stuff like this happens, the National Transportation Safety Board has to come in and do their investigation,” Medina said.

Original article ➤ http://www.rockymounttelegram.com

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

https://de.flightaware.com/live/flight/N709CH

Some WX in the vicinity. This could explain the in-flight break-up.

Anonymous said...


Yes, he flew between two (red) cells and then lost control according to FlightAware.

Anonymous said...

FL 270, 2000 feet above certified ceiling for a JetProp conversion.

DWN said...

no mystery here. look at the flight track.

Anonymous said...

Pilot doesn’t appear to be instrument rated per FAA airmen registry

Anonymous said...

Per the above comment, if you search all names, it looks like there were two pilots on-board. One was instrument rated and one was not.

Anonymous said...

The Jetprop conversion must have been relatively recent, as pictures of the airplane in 2015 show it with a piston engine. My condolences to the families and friends of the occupants.

Anonymous said...

Jetprop is certified to 27000 ft not what was incorrectly stated above

Anonymous said...

If you look at the recent history of flights, the plane was in Vero Beach a few days before the accident and it appears from the flight track that someone was getting a checkride in the plane or some training. Maybe it was his instrument checkride?

Anonymous said...

How is the weather overlay on FlightAware related to the time of the flight? It seems static when I view it, and tied to the end of the flight. Like the one commenter said it looks like the plane passed between two red cells. Is there a way to view the weather as it changed as the flight progressed?

Anonymous said...

There is a time stamp for the weather at the bottom right corner. To me it looks like the weather snapshot is from about an hour before the flight ended.

Anonymous said...

I bet he snapped the wings off coming out of a spiral dive.

Anonymous said...

I thought full fuel load was somewhere around 355 pounds. Distance from Naples to Easton about 930 miles would require full fuel. How do you fit four adults, dogs and full fuel without over weight situation?

Condolences to the families.

Anonymous said...

Full fuel 355 lbs? I doubt that.

Anonymous said...

The fuel capacity on a DLX is 151 gallons or 1012 pounds. Payload with full fuel, ~360lbs.

Anonymous said...

Understand now

Anonymous said...

Heavy airplane. Heavy turbulence.

Anonymous said...

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved friend. Please accept our condolences and may our prayers help comfort you.

Anonymous said...

Thunderstorms have updrafts and downdrafts that can approach 5000 ft/min which can load the plane's wings up past their designed limit (not sure, but might be around 4g's design limit for this aircraft, with possibly 6g's being the ultimate load which could cause the wings to bend and depart from the aircraft). Also, over speed can cause flutter in the wings and cause them to fail.
If they were in the clouds, the plane's instruments might not be able to keep up with the rapid changing attitude, which does not help the pilot since he would have no idea which way he is headed. Nose down attitude at maximum airspeed followed by a quick pull back of the controls....the wings break.
The error in judgement would be knowing there is bad weather ahead, and thinking that it's not that bad, or thinking one could sneak around the bad spots. Best to stay clear of thunderstorms....by 50 miles or so. Some pilots get closer and closer to them with age and experience, and sometimes it ends poorly. Once you are in that type of weather, there is little you can do to help the situation.

CFI no mo' said...

I wonder if they were IMC or in clear air between cells trying to pick their way through ?

Anonymous said...

Scott Crossfield, test pilot of the X-15 was killed when he flew his Cessna 210 too close to a thunderstorm at night. Debris was scattered for miles when the wings came off in flight. Even large airliners keep there distance. You have to respect the power of Mother Nature. There is clear air turbulence that can get you or updrafts that can pull you into IMC.

Unknown said...

I am by no means a pilot, nor do I know much about flying single engine airplanes. Other than I would never ever get in one under any weather conditions. However I worked under Greg Boll for 12 years and have known him for 18. He was the most brilliant, methodical, capable person I have ever been around. (my father went to Harvard IQ 168 my girlfriend went to MIT IQ 155 and he made them both look like mere mortals.) I heard through the grapevine that Greg had over 2000 hours flying time in the plane, had passed his written instrument test, but had not taken the hands on test. His plane had been in the shop for the past 6 weeks being upgraded (I believe avionics but do not know for a fact.) That is about all I can add to the discussion at hand. However I want to add Greg was my idol, and I just cannot believe he is no longer here. His death affects a great many people whether they know it or not. He was a big deal in the microchip world. He invented the Picoprobe and has numerous patents under his belt. Many people came to him to design testers because no one else in the world could build what they needed. Projects I worked on after Greg designed them, Mars Rover, X-Box, the world's fastest computer that IBM and I believe Georgia tech teamed up on about ten years ago were the most prestigious. The reason I commented here is to let you know, this was not some IDIOT asking his buddy to hold his beer, like one a-hole said. This man was so much better than that jerk. I sure wish they could switch places.

Anonymous said...

This is similar to the crash of N727MC. They both were hauling ass in turbulent conditions. https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20110110X84545&ntsbno=CEN11FA150&akey=1

Jim said...

It's tough to lose a friend. However, smart does not make a good pilot. Doctors are the best example. Great at what they do but as an economy, we've given them too much money and they can afford toys that they all shouldn't have. All experienced (I didn't say good, just experienced) pilots have seen a lot in their time. I soloed 55 years ago and learn something every time that I go flying. Airplanes do not shed wings just flying along. The Flight Aware shot shows him trying to fly between 2 cells. Where hind sight is 20/20, he had plenty of room to either go left or right and probably have been in great shape. Turbulence plus near (or over) gross weight plus not slowing down....you see the result.

Anonymous said...

As a friend of the Bolls, thank you to those that are trying to help us understand what went wrong. It is even more painful to think that this was pilot-error as Greg would never have made a decision that he knew would leave his 5 daughters parentless. I only hope there wasn't a lot of time for them to panic before decompression as this is a great source of stress to the family. If you are able to explain the pathophysiology, without getting into graphic detail, I would like to know if they lost consciousness quickly.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me a couple of items probably figure into this accident. (1) Radar and (2) Speed.

(1) Radar: It's quite possible that his radar was not "painting" a full picture. Airborne radar tends to "see" the boundary layer closest and does not necessarily see the layers behind. I think it's possible that Mr. Boll thought he was flying toward green and yellow, and didn't appreciate the limits of his radar.

(2) Speed: About 300MPH. Five miles per minute. That didn't leave him a lot of time to think through his decision. As a practical matter he had about five minutes (i.e., 25 miles) to decide what he would do. About five minutes to say ... "You know what. I don't need this. I think I'm going to steer to the right." Tragically he didn't come up with that answer.

A lot of people could make this same mistake. Not just bold pilots. Is why it's so important to study these situations. Do your best to see it doesn't repeat itself.

Brad said...

The plane would fail before the occupants. If the wings let go at ~27,000ft, and the fuselage remained intact, there is little possibility that the occupants lost complete consciousness. That "low" of an altitude would not play a big roll in loss of consciousness. You would have to be subjected to that altitude for over a minute, and at decompression, they would be headed down at that time.
10Gs positive or 6gs negative would tear the wings off of that plane, equivalent to about a 15mph collision in a car except coming from the bottom or top. Unless they all hit their heads on the inside of the plane or the fuselage was spinning so fast they lost consciousness, it's entirely possible that the occupants observed the whole thing until the end.
Very sad story. May they rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I have been an MD for 35 years and a pilot for 20. I own a Piper Malibu. I make half of what I made 5 years ago but that is OK, I still do better than 95% of Americans, I'm not complaining(really I am). Intelligence and Judgement are two very different attributes. There are so many factors that go in to a decision to fly or not. The Malibu, Mirage, Meridian Owners and Pilots Association (MMOPA) has developed a smartphone app. in which you plug in all the data including weather, experience, time of day, fatigue level and it gives you a go or no go decision. Most mechanical failures of single engine aircraft are survivable. Many judgement failures not so much. Hard to teach judgement so hopefully this app will help some decide not to fly

Anonymous said...

Note to self:

Jetprop wings will pop off in bad weather. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Good judgment comes with proper training, experience, respect and humbleness.
A lot of successful and otherwise highly intelligent people have fallen into this trap where they think that they quickly understood the “bus driver skills“ which make a pilot.
This pilot was inexperienced, showed poor judgment and the flight was illegal (no instrument rating).
The pilot did not have the skill set to operate this high performance airplane especially in these demanding conditions.
Another case of extreme over-estimation of one's abilities.
I feel sorry for the innocent victims of these characters.

Anonymous said...

A can-do attitude will bite you in aviation. Sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

An APP "really" - to give the pilot a go or no go decision?? WHAT??? C’mon Man. What about knowing that these small airplanes do not belong in weather, etc... General Aviation WILL let you down 50% of the time. You have got to understand that going in to the endeavor. If you don't, sooner or later you will get bit. E.g. JFK, Jr. CAVU only! The airplane will fail ~2-3% of the time and you have got to stack the odds in your favor - unless you are a gambler. Aviation is really simple; you have to keep more doors open than closed. Always have not just one out, but three or four. Training thousands of pilots on all levels (airlines included) for 35+ years I have deduced the smarter the individual is, the smarter they think they are and will back themselves into the corner more times than not. Keep it simple, if the Wx even marginally sucks – keep it in the hanger. It is hard to teach common sense and good judgement. You either have it or you don’t. I read on this site recently, “A flying school owner once told me that these small airplanes do not belong in weather.” Very POWERFUL, Wow!

Anonymous said...

OK, I guess you won't be flying much unless you are in the west. But at least the accident statistics will go down drastically.

Jim B said...


The Mirage/jetprop is a beautiful aircraft with the latest technology for high speed, high altitude comfort and situational awareness.

It is not indestructable and has limits like all aircraft no matter what size and equipment.

When the available situational awareness is not fully used and the aircraft is placed into an unacceptable situation, the end result is disaster, every time and all times.

One can argue the big bird little bird thing but the above applies to all.

It comes down to what the PIC [DID], not about the airplane options, speed, family size, IQ, credentials or whatever accomplishments have occurred.

What puzzles me is this flight path attempted to clip between two large [visible] cells, and apparently did not clip good enough. From the weather picture a deviation of 15 miles to the east about 10 minutes earlier was all that was needed and no one would be dead, orphaned, or criticized in arrears.

Personally I, and perhaps many of you have learned even if you are well above the rapidly growing visible cloud top there is often a violent rising column of clear air above the visible moisture. Hit it hard/fast enough and you will come right out of the seat. Hit it really hard and fast enough and you will watch the wings come off.

This is why the FAA handbook says avoid these horizontally, not vertically.










Anonymous said...

Everyone is saying he was steering between two cells from the flightaware graphic. That picture was depicted at 12:36 EST, when the flight was still over Georgia at that time. By the time the aircraft got to the weather that took it down, it would have looked much different then as weather moves quickly.

The flight had no business being in IMC weather with a 300 hour pilot without an instrument rating. This was just poor judgement and it cost him dearly.

Sorry for all who will suffer with this tragedy.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, it's one thing to be able to make informed guesses as to the thought processes of these deceased pilots, and quite another to do so "wildly speculatively and heartlessly." I'll lay odds/money the final NTSB report will be summarizable as "Pilot error" with considerable accompanying verbiage touching upon "Questionable judgment(s)." I seriously doubt they'll indulge in non-factual (aka speculative) riffs on if or how many times one or the other pilot may have acted similarly prior to the accident flight.

This crash is a tragedy in the deepest sense of the word...even if to many in the pilot community (and I am one) it would seem appallingly easy to avoid. I suspect both of the now-deceased licensed pilots would agree with the preceding assessment given the chance to do so. Failure to ask oneself, "What could *possibly* go wrong?" long before nearing a line of convective thunderstorms and begin developing Plans B/C/D along with an inclination to put one or more into action sooner rather than later, all-too-often in the general aviation world leads to these sorts of dismal outcomes.

All too commonly in the unforgiving environment of flight (Gravity never quits and physics rules!), everything seems OK to the unimaginative pilot until "all of a sudden" it ISN'T OK. I suspect this flight may have been "one of those."

Anonymous said...

I fly a similar airplane, a Meridian. I don’t want to speculate about the abilities or decision making of the pilots as often not all the information is known or accurate. However nowadays it’s very easy to get accurate weather information before taking off. It’s also possible to misunderstand both Nexrad and airborne radar which most of these airplanes have. Also one doesn’t have to actually fly into a cell to be at risk as there may be destructive turbulence in clear air close to the actual cells. Anything closer than 20 miles from a severe storm is risky.

My condolences.

cunn9305 said...

First of all .. God Bless every single one of these individuals and their loved ones affected by this unbelievable tragedy. I make it a point to not routinely speak ill of the dead .. for one day sooner or later I will be joining them.

Secondly .. I am not a pilot but I am a physician ( who earns every damn penny I make in a very high risk / high stress profession btw Jim ) guided by a principle told to me long ago by an old and highly respected surgeon mentor ...
" Don't Let The Problem Happen "

I consider this a lesson not only in medicine but also in life as each poor outcome is really just the result of a series of decisions points. I am far from perfect but realizing this fact and maintaining constant vigilance to "break the chain" of these often uncontrolled variables certainly helps along the journey.

Air travel of course takes this to another level as those uncontrolled variables multiply.. exponentially.
You can't control them all but as said above you can factor in as many as possible in your favor to prevent those bad days or even worse.
Sometimes can do means just don't and as we surgeons say sometimes the best operation is the one you do not perform.

There before the grace of God we all go when flying His skies and perhaps a few will read these words and events we have spoken about, take a pause to consider the variables and break the chain to spare other loved ones the pain and angst of untimely loss.

It is my hope and sincere prayer for all and may all rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

A superior pilot will ALWAYS exercise his/her superior judgement so that their superior skills are not required.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the commentator who (for some reason quoted his own sentence) suggested it was ""wildly speculatively and heartlessly." " to suggest this PIC of having engaged in this behavior before, put yourself in the situation they were looking at:

1. Long IFR flight- PIC was non IFR rated. How do you decide, for the first time ever, "you know what, I'm not IFR rated, but this is a long flight with 3 other souls on board. Altogether, 7 children are depending on us to stay alive. Let's see how I do. Besides, my buddy is IFR rated but not current, what's the worst that could happen?"

2. HARD IFR flight. Convective cells in the area. Do you really think this is the first time he'd looked at the radar, gone "Wow, that's a lot of big fast hard air and my instructor told me (less than 300 hours of flying time ago) that bad air can turn a military plane into shrapnel. But today's the day to try it." I guarantee they've managed to thread the needle through storms and didn't think it was that big a deal.

Fortunately, rarely does the first time you make a mistake does it kill you, or nobody would be able to survive learning to fly airplanes. It's by failing to recognize our mistakes, learning from them, and eliminating them that we get to keep landing and going home to our families. When we blithely confuse luck with skill and fly fast capable aircraft into dangerous situations people die needlessly. Bad enough to kill yourself, or your friends. But when helpless kids are involved... just selfish idiocy.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to the affected family members and friends of the accident flight. I want to add that no one yet knows what caused this accident. The NTSB will gather data on man, machine and environment and use that information to come up with a probable cause. Unfortunately, these accidents happen almost annually with various types of light aircraft. The FAA advises aircrew to maintain a 20 mile separation from thunderstorms because the severe turbulence and hail they can produce can severely damage an airplane, even a jet airliner.

The Malibu in question was equipped with onboard weather radar before it was converted into a DLX turboprop. If the radar was still present and operational, it almost certainly would have depicted the precipitation associated with the storms it was flying towards. It is possible that the pilot was above most of the clouds and had visual contact with the two cells depicted on ground based radar. Many pilots now avail themselves of portable electronic or onboard devices that depict NEXRAD radar data that displays a slightly delayed radar trend picture. He may have deemed, possibly through experience, that he could make it between the two cells. This decision works for many pilots and is not necessarily guaranteed to cause extreme or even severe turbulence. As another said, it appears from ground based radar that a path left or right of the two cells may have been a better option, but we don't know what the pilot saw out the windscreen, if anything. It is possible the storms cells were quite large, or other towering cumulus not producing bright radar traces, but still capable of significant turbulence, were scattered around those they passed between.

It may be that the plane encountered severe or extreme turbulence. The recommended action is to slow the plane to its maneuvering speed and simply maintain a level attitude, not altitude, allowing the plane to ride the vertical moments of the turbulence. The real danger is an encounter with severe turbulence in instrument conditions, especially for a pilot with little experience in those conditions. If the plane undergoes a sudden extreme change in attitude, and the pilot is in cloud with no outside visual references, the danger is spatial disorientation and vertigo. That can cause a pilot to lose control of the airplane and exceed its designed top speed and load factor. In such a case, the airplane could take the turbulence but not the overspeed or stress from loss of control.

It is also possible to encounter sudden airframe icing due to supercooled water droplets, but that is a condition that is experienced in-cloud and generally not in clear air. Icing can also affect airspeed instrumentation if the appropriate anti-ice system isn't activated.

To sum up, no one knows what happened yet but thunderstorms and their precursor cells are something to be avoided. If the airplane was equipped with electronic instruments that had memory cards, the NTSB may be able to gather data from them. The important thing is that we all learn from the experiences of others.