Sunday, July 21, 2019

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey, N632FG: Accident occurred July 16, 2019 near Eagles Nest Aerodrome (FD44), Crescent City, Putnam County, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Crescent, FL
Accident Number: ERA19LA229
Date & Time: 07/16/2019, 1700 EDT
Registration: N632FG
Aircraft: Progressive Aerodyne SEAREY
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 16, 2019, about 1700 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built SeaRey amphibious airplane, N632FG, was substantially damaged during landing near Crescent, Florida. The airline transport pilot was not injured. No flight plan was filed for the local flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight departed Eagles Nest Aerodrome (FD44), Crescent City, Florida, about 1630.

The pilot stated he had been working on the airplane trying to solve an engine start problem. He discovered the engine had lost its ground to the airframe and decided to conduct a test flight. He departed FD44 and flew west before returning to the airport for a full stop landing on the water at FD44. The pilot stated that the wind was calm and the water was glassy. He believed he lost depth perception when he leveled for touchdown and was higher than he thought; he applied forward stick, then "instantly I found myself underwater."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector traveled to the site and examined the airplane. The nose was partially separated from the fuselage.

A subsequent engine test run was performed by friends of the pilot, who reported that the engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption.

The two-seat airplane was built in 1996. It was equipped a Rotax 914, 115 horsepower engine.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, multi-engine sea, instrument airplane, and helicopter. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class airman medical certificate was issued April 19, 2019. He reported about 25,900 total flight hours, with 4 hours in the accident airplane make and model.

At 1655, the weather conditions reported at Palatka Municipal Airport (28J), Palatka, Florida, about 15 miles north of the accident site, included wind from 290° at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, thunderstorm in the vicinity, few clouds at 5,000 ft, temperature 33°C, dew point 23°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Progressive Aerodyne
Registration: N632FG
Model/Series: SEAREY No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: James Goolsby
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K28J, 63 ft msl
Observation Time: 1655 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:   10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Crescent, FL (FD44)
Destination: Crescent, FL (FD44)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 29.430000, -81.604167 (est)

CRESCENT CITY, Florida - A pilot in his 70s was hospitalized after a float plane crashed Tuesday evening in Crescent City, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Troopers said the sea plane was attempting a water landing on a lake on private property. The plane tipped and was submerged.

"We just heard a loud boom and looked up and there was a plane upside down in the water," a witness said.

The pilot of the SeaRey plane, 79-year-old James Goolsby, was the only person on board, according to the Highway Patrol.

"It was awhile before we actually saw him out in the water because he was in the water upside down and he had to get out of his harness," the witness said.

The witness said she called 911 and a neighbor helped Goolsby as he swam back to land. They said the pilot has decades of flying experience, and they were surprised when they saw the plane nose dive.

Aviation records show Goolsby has flown planes for over 30 years. Those planes include the 747.

It's unclear exactly what caused the crash, but News4Jax aviation expert Ed Booth said the plane is challenging to fly.

"Seaplanes are more dangerous than land airplanes. Landing on water is a skill that requires a lot of discipline, excellent depth perception and excellent operating conditions," Booth said.

Booth said the crash could have been much worse. In November 2017, Roy Hallady, a professional baseball player, was killed in crash involving a similar plane.

Originally, the Sheriff's Office described the man's injuries as serious, but the Highway Patrol said the man suffered minor injuries.

The small plane crash was the third News4Jax has reported since Sunday, when two small planes crashed miles apart in St. Johns County. Two men were injured when a plane went down in Hastings, and no one was hurt when a small plane crashed in Elkton.

Story and video ➤

PUTNAM COUNTY, Florida  - A man was injured Tuesday afternoon after a plane crash in the Georgetown area. 

The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash happened near the 100 block of Eagles Nest Lane. The sea plane attempted a water landing on a lake on private property when the plane "tripped" and submerged.

The pilot, 79-year-old Jim Goolsby, was able to swim back to the shore and was taken to the hospital with a minor injury, FHP said. He was the only person in the plane.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office the pilot is a man in his 70s with a possible head injury.

A man who said he is a relative of the injured pilot reached out to Action News Jax's Paige Kelton on social media. That relative said the pilot is a retired United pilot with 25,000 flight hours. The relative said the float plan was recently purchased and "flipped over" while landing.

FHP said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the crash.

Goolsby’s family expected him to stay at the hospital at least through Tuesday night.

Action News Jax spoke with Goolsby’s friends, who say he’s a professional in the air.

“Whatever went wrong, certainly Jim Goolsby did not have anything to do [with it],” said Priscilla Dechaine.  “[It] must’ve been some kind of malfunction.”

Goolsby’s friends just want him back home, and back in the air.

“I wish that he’s well, and his family is OK,” said Joane Partkin.  “The planes come and go all the time and nothing happens.  It’s just an unfortunate [situation].”

Story and video ➤

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