Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Fuel Exhaustion: Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N8294P; accident occurred June 29, 2019 near Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (KBQK), Glynn County, Georgia

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Brunswick, GA
Accident Number: GAA19CA382
Date & Time: 06/29/2019, 1455 EDT
Registration: N8294P
Aircraft: PIPER PA24
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that during the flight, he forgot to lean the mixture, and the airplane burned closer to 20 gallons per hour, rather than the 15 gallons per hour he had flight planned. The pilot decided to land and refuel at the next airport, but the engine lost power. He tried to restart the engine but was unable and landed with the landing gear retracted in a marsh.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/24/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 189 hours (Total, all aircraft), 46 hours (Total, this make and model), 68 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N8294P
Model/Series: PA24 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1963
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 24-3547
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/21/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2900 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5249.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540-A1B5
Registered Owner: Claene Corp
Rated Power: 250 hp
Operator: Claene Corp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBQK, 26 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1955 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 11°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 120°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation; Moderate - In the Vicinity - Thunderstorms - No Precipitation
Departure Point: Downers Grove, IL (LL22)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: St Simons Island, GA (SSI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0850 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 31.183333, -81.261111 (est)

BRUNSWICK, Georgia - Three people are safe after an emergency plane landing Saturday afternoon in Brunswick.

The Piper aircraft went down into a marshy area about 5 miles from the Brunswick/Golden Isles Airport, where the pilot was trying to land.

The pilot radioed in a distress call when he realized he ran out of fuel, Glynn County officials said.

At last check, the plane remained at the scene off Dan Lane near Highway 17. Glynn County Emergency Management said because the plane is in a secluded area, they're going to leave it until the Federal Aviation Administration can complete its investigation.

Glynn County officials provided some drone photos showing the plane in the middle of the marsh. The three people on board had to wait on the wings of the plane until help could arrive.

"Because it was low tide, we weren't able to get a boat out to them,” said Alec Eaton, of Glynn County Emergency Management.

Eaton said it took about an hour to find a way to get the plane’s occupants out of the area safely.

"We notified the Coast Guard and they got a helicopter up for us,” Eaton said.

Miranda Smith, whose backyard overlooks the landing site, said it would have been hard to try to get to the passengers by land.

"I wouldn't have walked through it,” Smith said. “We have snakes and alligators out here. We have a lot of alligators in this lake.”

She and her husband were home when the emergency landing happened, but she said they didn’t hear any of it.

“I’m like, ‘Why didn't we hear something?’ And he said they ran out of fuel. The pilot did a really good job landing.”

An aviation company at the Brunswick/Golden Isles Airport said the three left Chicago and were originally heading to St. Simons Island.

When they realized they were out of fuel, they rerouted to the airport but didn’t make it. Eaton said it could have been much worse.

“A few weeks ago, we weren't so lucky with an airplane incident,” Eaton said. “This time, we were. They looked like they glided into the marsh in a safe manner and they were able to not have any injuries, which is the important thing.”

The three people were taken to the airport to be checked out. An airport employee said they’re doing OK, and are headed to be with some family in the area.

Earlier reports indicated the three on board were all male: two 17-year-olds and an adult. They were in the marsh area with the aircraft about a quarter-mile off land until just before 6 p.m.

Elena Pipes, who works at Manning Aviation, said she heard the call for help around 3 p.m.

Pipes said she listened to the mayday call from the pilot, who said: "We are going down. We are going down."

Story and video ➤

BRUNSWICK, Georgia  — Three people were rescued Saturday after a small plane crashed on its way to the Golden Isles Airport.

The Piper aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed in a marsh off Dan Road at 3:06 p.m., according to a Glynn County spokesperson.

Two 17-year-olds and one adult male were on board, the spokesperson said.

All three were rescued by the United States Coast Guard. 

No one appeared to be hurt, according to the county spokesperson.

The Glynn County Emergency Management, Glynn County Fire Department, Glynn County Police Department and airport staff were all communicating with the passengers during rescue efforts. 

Story and video ➤


  1. So much for flight planning skills?

  2. It saddens me every time I see a Comanche accident, I think “another vintage aircraft damaged and possibly written off”.
    The Comanche is like no other aircraft out there. There built like a tank, that can handle 2 or 3 times the G force load of most GA aircraft out there today. “Save the Comanches”.
    Most importantly of course the PIc and pax are OK.

  3. ""