Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Cessna 150G, N4658X: Fatal accident occurred September 23, 2019 in Prairie Grove, Washington County, Arkansas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas
Textron Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama


Location: Prairie Grove, AR
Accident Number: CEN19FA332
Date & Time: 09/23/2019, 2045 CDT
Registration: N4658X
Aircraft: Cessna 150
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 23, 2019, about 2045 central daylight time, a Cessna 150G, N4658X, impacted terrain near Prairie Grove, Arkansas. The private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to Wingnut Enterprises LLC, and operated by Tango Thirty One Aero Club under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Dark night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The cross-country flight originated from Drake Field (FYV), Fayetteville, Arkansas, with the destination of Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas.

According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration, the airplane departed FYV and requested flight following to T31. Shortly after departure, the airplane descended from radar coverage. An Alert Notice was issued for the airplane.

A nearby landowner reported hearing a low flying airplane followed by the sound of an impact. They smelled fuel but could not locate the wreckage in the dark. They notified first responders, and the airplane was later located.

The airplane impacted a lightly wooded, hilly area. Initial impact signatures were consistent with the airplane colliding with trees and impacting terrain in a nose low attitude. All major airplane components were located at the accident site.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4658X
Model/Series: 150 G
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Tango Thirty One Aero Clube
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFYV, 1259 ft msl
Observation Time: 2053 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Fayetteville, AR (FYV)
Destination: Mc Kinney, TX (T31) 

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: 35.787500, -94.355000 (est)

The Hatton Family was struck with incredible pain as their oldest son Gabriel was involved in a tragic plane crash that took his life. They are grieving deeply, but also full of the hope and faith that he is safely in the Presence of Jesus for the rest of eternity. The Hatton's are incredibly touched by the outpouring of your love and prayers. 

This will be an outlet to bless their family for those of you who have asked how you can help.  Your financial gift will go towards meeting the expenses that the family will have in the days ahead.  Feel free to share it with your friends and family who have expressed interest in supporting them.

We are grateful for your kindness.  God bless you!

~Gates Church


Gabriel Hatton

The McKinney community is mourning the death of a teenager killed in a plane crash earlier this week.

Gabriel Hatton, 17, of McKinney was piloting the fixed wing single-engine Cessna 150G when it crashed Monday night in northwest Arkansas.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Hatton was the only person on board. The aircraft was found in a wooded area after a witness reported seeing the plane crash and called 911.

Investigators said the plane had taken off from Drake Field and was headed to Texas.

Hatton graduated from McKinney Boyd High School in May and earned his pilot's license.

His family said he fell in love with aviation when he was 8-years-old and dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot and traveling the world.

"You say the sky's the limit and obviously for him, it wasn't even the limit, it was his playground," said his mother Amarillys Hatton. "It's where he loved to be."

Hatton spent a lot of time with the "Tango Thirty One Aero Clube" based at the Aero Country Airport in West McKinney. The non-profit teaches teenagers everything about aviation.

His parents said they have been comforted by the outpouring of love and support from those who knew their son.

"We knew he had an impact, but it's only in times like this that you get to see how someone lived," said Clint Hatton.

Hatton taught himself how to play guitar, enjoyed photography and took to the skies as much as possible. His mother said he lived his strong Christian faith by example.

"Even just by the way he lived, he inspired other people to want to pursue their dreams & to want to do it with high integrity," said Amarillys Hatton.

His parents said they are leaning heavily on their faith and hope to inspire others to live like Hatton - big, bold and brave.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating to determine what caused the plane to crash. 

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

Gabe “Skinny” Hatton

FAYETTEVILLE — A 17-year-old Texan was killed when the small plane he was flying crashed just before 9 p.m. Monday near Prairie Grove, emergency officials said.

A preliminary report by the Federal Aviation Administration from 1:40 a.m. Tuesday says a Cessna 150G was destroyed when it crashed in the Cove Creek area south of Prairie Grove.

The pilot, tentatively identified as Gabriel Hatton, 17, of McKinney, Texas, was the only person aboard, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. No injuries on the ground were reported.

The plane crashed in a wooded area near 21000 Pierson Road. The Cessna had taken off from Drake Field in Fayetteville en route to an airfield in Texas.

Washington County Coroner Roger Morris said the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash and little information is available. Morris said the preliminary investigation indicated the cause of death is blunt force trauma. Morris said the body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

The cause of the crash was unknown at the time of the report. The aircraft was registered to Wingnut Enterprises LLC, which operates out of Allen, Texas.

Washington County officials say information from the U.S. Air Force played a key role in finding the plane.

John Luther, Washington County’s director of emergency management, said the Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida was able to use radar to give searchers an approximate latitude and longitude for the Cessna 150. Emergency personnel used those coordinates to narrow their search, Luther said.

It was extremely accurate and very helpful,” he said of the information provided by the Air Force. “Things like that not only speed the process but help keep our first responders safe.”

Luther said the plane went down in a remote area, heavily wooded and with very rugged terrain. A sheriff’s deputy found the plane at 11:13 p.m. Luther said more than 40 first responders from the county and local police and fire departments were involved in the search. Agencies involved included the Sheriff’s Office; Washington County Department of Emergency Management; Washington County Urban Search and Rescue; Air Evac; Central EMS; and the Strickler, Prairie Grove, West Fork, Lincoln and Morrow fire departments.

“It went off about as smoothly as I’ve seen,” Luther said. “Especially when you consider the terrain. Everything was up and down, rocky. It was dark and the tree canopy is as thick as can be.”

The Washington County sheriff’s office first received multiple calls about a crash Monday, the first of which came in shortly before 8:45 p.m., said Kelly Cantrell, spokesman for the agency.

Sheriff Tim Helder said initial reports indicated that residents said they heard what sounded like an aircraft losing power, stalling out and going down in the area.

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

PRAIRIE GROVE, Arkansas (KFSM) — A 17-year-old is dead after a small plane crashed south of Prairie Grove, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The plane was found on Pierson County Road 276, south of West Fork and Strickler, around 11:30 p.m. behind a residence there.

It is believed that Gabriel Hatton, 17, of McKinney, Texas was killed when the plane came down in a heavily wooded area. Parts of the plane could still be seen in the woods early Tuesday, September 24th).

The pilot's body is being sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner's Office to positively confirm his identification.

The family who lives near where the wreckage was found said their hearts are broken that a life was lost.

The Cessna 150G was registered to Wingnut Enterprises LLC out of Allen, Texas, according to a preliminary report from the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane had only one occupant at the time of the crash, the report said.

According to Kelly Cantrell, spokesman for Washington County Sheriff's Office, a witness reported a small plane crashed south of Prairie Grove near Cove Creek Road around 8:45 p.m. on Monday, September 23rd).

Deputies searched for the plane by drone, central EMS helicopter and on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.

Story and video ➤ https://5newsonline.com

Last night our Joel dedicated his performance to his big brother Gabriel Hatton who only two days before went to be with Jesus. We had given him the choice whether or not to play...but he didn’t hesitate even a second. Gabriel passed away chasing his passion, Joel was determined to honor him with his. This is his first carry of the night. He would go on to make other big plays and score two more touchdowns (one was called back for a penalty). But this moment will be forever etched in our memories and we have no doubt there was a loud cheer from heaven as Gabriel watched his brother do exactly what he always did....live big, bold and brave! When congratulated by his teammates after his plays, his response was “that wasn’t me, it was my brother”. -Clint Hatton

Our family was struck with incredible pain last night as our oldest son Gabriel Hatton was involved in a tragic plane crash that took his life. We are grieving deeply but also full of the hope and faith that He is safely in the Presence of Jesus for the rest of eternity. We have been both blessed and overwhelmed with all of the love, support, phone calls and texts. At the same time we are full of hope and faith knowing that he is experiencing a joy now that we will each only know when we are reunited in the Kingdom of Heaven. We ask that at this time words be expressed through this forum as we are exhausted and candidly every text and call is sending a new wave of pain despite the most pure intentions. We need some time to breath, be with our family, plan a celebration worthy of Gabriel’s impact in the world around him, and move towards healing on a new journey that we find ourselves in as a family. -Clint Hatton


  1. According to flight tracking sites n4658x is a ghost!

  2. Looks like CFIT to me. Weather wasn't ideal that day.

  3. People that heard the crash reported what sounded like a engine loosing power. It it was CFIT more than likely they would have heard normal engine sounds followed be the sound of the crash.

  4. First, prayers for this young man's family - may God's grace and peace hold them close during this trying time, and may His promises through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ bring hope of a glorious reunion.

    Second, one of the greatest tributes that a pilot can give to a deceased pilot is to learn from their possible mistakes and why they crashed. Here's to you my fellow aviator - blues and tailwinds as you head west.

    Third, what was he thinking ? As a seasoned commercial instrument pilot who's flown many times at night over a dark Arkansas in a Bonanza, I know that it can be quite the task.

    A 17 year old new pilot in a 150 who's non-instrument rated attempting to do it is not just poor ADM, it's deadly.

  5. Poster's Transcript of N4658X's Communications
    Source audio files:
    (1) KFYV-Gnd-Twr-App-ZME-Sep-24-2019-0100Z.mp3 [LiveATC]
    (2) KFYV-Gnd-Twr-App-ZME-Sep-24-2019-0130Z.mp3 [LiveATC]
    Description: N4658X's taxi, departure, request for flight following, and initial contact with Razorback Approach. Lost-communication efforts. Concern at KFYV.
    Note: Timestamps are [hh:mm:ss] USA CDT, estimated from the audio files.

    [20:00:00] [---------- 0100Z file begins ----------]
    [20:04:22] N4658X: Ground, Cessna 5-8-Xray.
    [20:04:35] KFYV-GND: 5-8-Xray, Drake.
    [20:04:38] N4658X: We're at the terminal, uh, ready to depart out to the south. 5-8-Xray. With information Uniform.
    [20:04:46] KFYV-GND: [?]-8-Xray, runway 3-4, taxi via Bravo.
    [20:08:40] N4658X: Drake Ground, Cessna 5-8-Xray is, uh, holdin' short of runway 3-4 at Bravo. Uh, ready to go out to the south. Uh, Drake Field.
    [20:08:48] KFYV-TWR: 5-8-Xray, on course, runway 3-4, cleared for takeoff.
    [20:08:52] N4658X: On course runway 3-4, cleared for takeoff. 5-8-Xray.
    [20:11:52] N4658X: For, uh, Cessna 5-8-Xray, could we get some flight following back to Tango-31... uh, down in Dallas... uh, 5-8-Xray? [Note: T31 is Aero Country Airport in McKinney, Texas, the pilot's hometown airport.]
    [20:12:02] KFYV-TWR: 5-8-Xray, uh, what was the, uh, designator?
    [20:12:06] N4658X: Tango-31.
    [20:12:11] KFYV-TWR: Having a hard time understanding. Understand "something-31"? [reply not heard] Tango-3-1. Roger. Thanks.
    [20:12:41] KFYV-TWR: And, uh, 5-8-Xray, uh, Razorback frequency 1-2-6-point-6. Squawk 1-6-0-7.
    [20:12:54] N4658X: 6-0-7 [sic, omits "1"], 1-2-6-point-6.
    [20:12:58] KFYV-TWR: Roger. Contact Razorback. Have a good flight.
    [20:13:18] N4658X: Razorback, Cessna 5-8-Xray, is with you, climbing through 2- thousand-5-hundred.
    [20:13:24] RAZORBACK-APP: Radar contact.
    [20:16:00] [Audio data ends at 16 minutes in 0100Z file. Files usually are 30+ minutes, so some N4658X communications might be missing.]
    [20:30:00] [---------- 0130Z file begins ----------]
    [20:42:39] RAZORBACK-APP: November 5-8-Xray, Razorback Approach. [no response]
    [20:43:06] RAZORBACK-APP: November 5-8-Xray, Razorback Approach. [repeat, no response]
    20:45:38] RAZORBACK-APP: Acey 41-uh-42 [ASQ4142], I have a favor to ask, if you don't mind, please.
    [20:45:44] ACEY 4142: Sure. Ah, what can we do for you? Acey 41-42.
    [20:45:49] RAZORBACK-APP: Radar with about 8 miles NW where you are now. Can you first call [?] on, uh, 1-2-6-point-6 and see if he can hear you and also monitor Guard [125.5 MHz] and make sure you don't [t.b.d. phrase].
    [20:46:03] ACEY 4142: [?] Uh, we can do that. Uh, there's no E-L-T noise on Guard currently at this time. Um, what is the, uh, tail number for this, uh, for the Cessna? Acey 4-1-2... 42.
    [20:46:17] RAZORBACK-APP: [?] his tail number is 5-8-Xray.
    [20:46:22] ACEY 4142: November-5-8-Xray, uh... you up on, uh, 26.6? [no reply]
    [20:46:53] ACEY 4142: [calling as Razorback?] November-5-8-Xray, Razorback Approach. Uh, you up on 22-6? [no reply]
    [20:47:06] ACEY 4142: [to Razorback Approach] [?] 41-42. I, uh, we tried him, uh, twice, each on, uh, both 21-5 and 22-6. Uh, no response.
    [20:47:15] RAZORBACK-APP: [Thank] you for your help. Descend and maintain 3-thousand-4-hundred.
    [20:47:20] ACEY 4142: 4-2.
    [20:56:07] KFYV FUEL TRUCK: Fuel Truck, Drake. [which "Drake"?]
    [20:56:12] KFYV-DRAKE: C-M Truck, go ahead.
    [20:56:15] KFYV FUEL TRUCK: Yeah, that Cessna [that] just left a little while ago. Did you have any information on him?
    [20:56:20] KFYV-DRAKE: I had a name and a phone number, and he was headed to Dallas. [*** END OF TRANSCRIPT ***]

  6. Thank you very much! Greatly appreciated!

  7. You are very welcome.
    The transcript is my humble, heartfelt memorial to the legacy of Mr. Gabriel Anthony Hatton--to help give a voice to his experience, the analysis of which might help prevent someone else's tragedy.

  8. "Third, what was he thinking," only he and his family possibly understood Monday evening on the 24th what his priorities were on when to return to TX, 250 miles away. He'd flown to FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas, home of the Univ. of Ark. The Razorbacks had a home football ball game that Sat. night, Sunday was a nice day, and then Monday, conditions were FAIR at best all day. A high school student, school was in session, so was it the overwhelming urge to get home, return Tango Thirty One Aero Club’s 150, get back to school….. What was it that caused this young man to totally ignore reason and I'm sure the advice not to fly.

  9. A low time pilot flying at night in a sparsely populated area with little to no ground reference is an entirely different situation than flying around the DFW area in the same conditions. This is most likely a special disorientation accident, which are always fatal. Condolences to the family and RIP to this young man. Aviation is terribly unforgiving to bad decision making. Hopefully someone out there will learn from this. It's just that simple. 43 year GA pilot.

  10. Reference previous Anonymous comment: Should be "spacial" not "special". Autocorrect issue. Sorry.

  11. After you’ve committed yourself and lifted off into Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) there is no pull off to the side of the road; you’re airborne with the skills sets you have, thus returning relies on that experience. This PIC was airborne for a period of time, yet in the end the discipline needed to fly by instruments alone failed him to a tragic result.

  12. I don't know what some of you are talking about "flight into IMC" etc.
    The report clearly states conditions were clear and calm. I fly SW to NE and vice versa over this area very frequently. It is remote and the further SW you go there is very little habitation. Very dark at night. On that night the moon was a waning crescent but it did not even rise until 1:30 a.m. So time of accident was 5 hours prior to moon rise. So it had to have been pitch black. When it is clear and calm in this area with high humidity, as it was that night, I have often seen a haze rise up from the ground that just about obscures any ground details. In those conditions you really have to not get caught up staring out of the windscreen and pay close attention to your instruments for the next hour or so as you are SW bound. It is very easy to get spatially disoriented in that area on a night like that. In fact, it can often be very reminiscent of the conditions JFK Jr. flew into. I agree with earlier poster that suggested possible night disorientation during flight.

  13. in summary, Night departure VFR at 2053 CDT (Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 17°C; Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear; Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm; Lowest Ceiling: None; Visibility: 10 Miles; Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg) from urban FAYETTEVILLE, AK and within minutes SW encountered rural terrain and likely a 'flight into IMC.' As experience by others, a "Very dark night, the moon was a waning crescent but it did not even rise until 1:30 a.m so it had to have been pitch black, clear and calm with high humidity, as it was that night, often a haze rises up from the ground that just about obscures any ground details” can happend in seconds. Surely, this non instrument rated SEL PIC then needed to fly by instruments, that failed him to a tragic result.

    "Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) is an aviation flight category that describes weather conditions that require pilots to fly primarily by reference to instruments, and therefore under instrument flight rules (IFR), rather than by outside visual references under visual flight rules (VFR)."

  14. I clearly remember my own brush with disaster much like this flight. It was February, 1974, and I a 26 y/o, 250 hour private pilot was flying a C182 from SAT to Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Three of my friends accompanied me. We had fierce head winds and had to stop in El Paso for fuel. By t/o it was completely dark. I was fine for the first 10 minutes, but as we crossed the Franklin Mountains to the west, there was not another light in sight, no horizon, no moon, no autopilot,no nothing. To this day, 45 years and 21K hours later I can still recall the feeling, the panic creeping over me as I realized I'd bitten off more than I could chew. Carefully, very carefully I made a very gradual 180 turn. As soon as I had the lights of ELP in sight I was saved. Went back to ELP, landed and went to the hotel for a stiff one. As a flight instructor I always related this story to my students in an effort to instill in my students the perils of dark night VFR.

  15. Gabe was an amazing young man. He worked long and hard to achieve his dream; he was a great pilot who deserved to have many more flights. We are all going to miss his ambition and charm. Fly high, fly it like you stole it Skinny.

  16. responding to "in summary"...No, he was flying legal VFR in actual instrument conditions. Had he been in IMC, then by definition per 14 CF 91.155, he would not have been flying legal VFR. Remember, IMC/VMC only covers whether or not you can legally fly VFR while "actual instrument conditions" cover whether you can log actual instrument time. Further, if you're in actual instrument conditions, you can log actual instrument time regardless of whether you're in IMC or VMC, and regardless of whether you are operating under IFR or VFR.

  17. "By t/o it was completely dark. I was fine for the first 10 minutes, but as we crossed the Franklin Mountains to the west, there was not another light in sight, no horizon, no moon, no autopilot,no nothing. To this day, 45 years and 21K hours later I can still recall the feeling, the panic creeping over me ..."

    I wish more people could hear your message. VFR flight at night is in many respects more challenging and MORE DANGEROUS than IMC. The situation you faced 45 years ago outside of El Paso is essentially identical to the challenge this pilot faced outside Fayetteville. 45 years later you can still recall that fear.

    Frankly, I wish that an instrument rating were required to fly at night. No instrument rating? Fly during the day. Need to be somewhere tonight? Go find a car.

    Would be the rule if I ran the show. I don't run the show.

  18. A position is ‘No he was flying legal VFR’ at the time of accident, thus the PIC had “visibility (the state of being able to see or be seen,) had distance from clouds and not in precipitation, fog, haze, or smog), and had ceilings equal to or better than specified minima.

    When visibility is above (better than) specified minimums, the aircraft may be flown VFR.

    When visibility is or below (worse) than specified minimums, the aircraft may not be flown VFR. It must fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) or not at all.

    Conditions that prohibit visual flight (VFR) and therefore force instrument flight are called “instrument meteorological conditions” (IMC).

    one grounded old timer!

  19. a highlight from Tango Thirty One Aero Clube's wbsite was 'The Restoration of 'Casper' 1967 Cessna 150, (N4658X) performed entirely by teenage Clube Members.' Their 150 was shown at EAA AirVenture 2018. https://www.t31aeroclube.com/?fbclid=IwAR2Hd01Fh8OY2NrDeZ9VcPKqn0IzMhYK9llT1Rf5xjK9troxTI6gJxfXtcc

  20. Thanks for the link.
    N4658X was an impressive-looking restoration.
    Kudos to the Clube.

  21. To dfw above... I commend you.

    650 CPL/MEL and ground instructor with commercial UAS to boot here.

    I flew my Cessna 172 between Florida and California and back and Florida to VT and back last month in what is the beginning of long haul flights and more time building, and I WOULD NOT YET FLY AT NIGHT AT ALL.

    I am instrument rated but the only IFR I do is daytime vfr and even then I am extremely careful.

    Once I cross 1000 hrs I may attempt a couple of legs at night but it will be in ideal conditions with cities below or a good moon.

    Mind you I have 70 hrs but those are under local conditions or flying with another pilot if cross countries.

    This is ladies and gentlemen how one sets their personal limits...

  22. I have >1,400 hours in a G1000 plane with synthetic vision, immediately got my IFR and still plan all trips to not fly at night. I may allow the final 30 minutes of a trip just as it gets dark, but, there is just no way to find a safe emergency landing spot at night. Its a risk I just won't take. I practice power out landings every 3 to 4 months. Not easy with a 3,000 x 75 runway. Harder with a clearing that may have slopes and ditches. Much harder when you can't see the clearing or field. My choice but my personal limits are: 800ft ceilings for takeoff, >500 foot ceilings forecast for landing, 25kts or less unless down the runway, with another available alternate similarly aligned in case the primary gets closed. No night cross country.

  23. My family witnessed the plane going down that night and called 911 immediately. If the family has any questions, you may ask, and we will try to answer. chapellawns@yahoo.com

    Our prayers went out to your young man that night as we helped in the search also. We continually keep your family in our prayers as we have suffered loss of a young life also.

    With deepest sorrow for your loss, the Andersons

  24. Does anyone know what the final NTSB Report said on this? the Preliminary report has been removed from their site