Saturday, September 21, 2019

Van's RV-8, N7TL: Fatal accident occurred September 17, 2019 in Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Allentown, Pennsylvania
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stroudsburg, PA
Accident Number: ERA19FA275
Date & Time: 09/17/2019, 1218 EDT
Registration: N7TL
Aircraft: Vans RV 8
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 17, 2019, at 1218 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Vans RV-8 airplane, was destroyed when it collided with terrain near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot (and two co-owners) and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed the Pegasus Air Park (50PA), Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, about 1215.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, the pilot was giving a demonstration flight of the airplane to the pilot-rated passenger, who was interested in buying a share of the airplane. The flight was intended to be a 30-minute flight in the local area. When the airplane did not return, the pilot's family reported the airplane missing. The airplane was located the following day in wetlands on private property about three miles east-northeast of the airport.

A preliminary review of radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed a target at 1216:20 on an easterly heading about 2.3-miles east of 50AP. At that time, the target was moving at a groundspeed of 113 knots at an altitude about 1,300 ft above ground level (agl). The target continued east before it made a left 180° turn to the west at 1217:27 at an altitude of 1,700 ft and a groundspeed of 122 knots. Over the next 24 seconds, the target continued west and accelerated to a groundspeed of 199 knots and descended to 1,600 ft agl. At 1218:06, about 11 seconds later, radar contact was lost. At that time, the airplane was heading 258°, at a groundspeed of 191 knots. The altitude was not recorded.

The airplane was located about a quarter mile north of where the last radar return was recorded. It impacted terrain in a nose down attitude and was buried in 4-6 ft of mud. The airplane was heavily fragmented and there was no post-impact fire. The engine and airplane wreckage were recovered for further examination.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His last FAA third-class medical was issued on October 16, 2018. At that time, he reported a total of 1,845 flight hours.

The pilot-rated passenger held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sea, and multi-engine land. His last FAA first-class medical was issued on October 5, 2018.

Weather reported at the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport (MPO), about 12 miles north of the accident site, at 1153, included wind from 010° at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles and clear skies. The temperature was 19° C and a dewpoint of 6° C, with a barometric altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of Hg.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:Vans 
Registration: N7TL
Model/Series: RV 8 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: MPO, 1915 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Stroudsburg, PA (50PA)
Destination: Stroudsburg, PA (50PA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.570000, -75.180000

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 

Matthew J. Berszoner, age 34, an Air Force veteran and United Airlines pilot, passed away suddenly in an accident on September 18th, 2019. He was born in Downers Grove, IL and lived in Nazareth, PA before his untimely death. He is survived by his stepmother, Sarah Kimball, her son, Dustin (Karly) Davis ; his uncle Bruno (Jennifer) Berszoner and aunt Kris (Richard) Winiarski; uncles Jim Shostok (Nancy), Paul, Tom, Richard and Michael Shostok; cousins Charlie, Stephanie, Nicholas, Mark (Lauren), Monica, and godchild Everett. Preceded in death by his parents Mary and John Berszoner, his maternal and paternal grandparents and uncle Bob Shostok, Jr.

Matt loved all things aviation from an early age, spending time with computer flight simulators and the EAA Young Eagles flight program. Matt graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 2003, was nominated to attend the United States Air Force Academy and was a 2007 graduate. He continued his dedicated service in the Air Force as a pilot, primarily the KC-10 refueling tankers, and was deployed in several campaigns in the Middle East. During this timeframe Matt earned a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2011. After serving in the Air Force for 16 years, Matt joined United Airlines as a professional pilot in March 2019. Matt enjoyed flying a variety of aircraft in his free time, loved working on vehicles and spending time in his garage. Matt was kind, intelligent, dedicated, multi-talented and had a great sense of humor. He leaves behind not only his family of survivors, but his Air Force family and the many friends with bonds formed over the years. Matt was very special to all who had the pleasure of having him in their lives and will be deeply missed.

Funeral services are being handled by the Bolingbrook-McCauley Funeral Chapel, 530 West Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, IL. Local arrangements are under the care of the Schmidt Funeral Home, 407 Belvidere Street, Nazareth, PA.

Contributions to the EAA Young Eagles program or support of veterans’ programs for those in need would honor Matt’s memory.

Authorities confirmed the identities of the two Hamilton Township plane crash victims on Friday.

Monroe County Coroner Tom Yanac issued a press release stating that 65-year-old John H. Parker Jr. of Saylorsburg and 34-year-old Matthew J. Berszoner of Nazareth died in the crash that likely occurred in the early afternoon hours on Tuesday.

Parker was a well-known local figure, a pilot and a retired businessman. He was a board member for the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority, the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority, Pocono Mountain Industrial Park and Hamilton Township Zoning and Hearing Board.

Berszoner was a former U.S. Air Force pilot who flew for United Airlines. He was originally from the Chicago area.

As of now, it is unclear as to who was flying the plane when it crashed.

Local, state and national organizations convened at a small property on the 200 block of Neyhart Road near Snydersville on Wednesday morning, following the discovery of a small plane crash.

The Van’s RV-8 was located on Wednesday several hundred yards away from a home on Neyhart Road after Dave Moyer, a pilot and friend of Parker, searched the area from the air.

According to a statement from Yanac’s office, Berszoner had been interested in becoming a part owner of the aircraft, and Tuesday’s trip was meant to be a test flight. The two men took off from Pegasus Airpark between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., according to a Federal Aviation Administration statement.

Parker had been declared missing to the Pennsylvania State Police’s Stroudsburg barracks before 9 p.m. Tuesday. Friends of Parker contacted the FAA, and a search was initiated.

Around 8:25 a.m. Wednesday, the Monroe County Coroner’s office was contacted by the Monroe County Control Center.

Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Company, Leon Clapper Plumbing and Excavating, Monroe County Emergency Management, Hamilton Township Emergency Management, FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, Pennsylvania State Police, K-9 units, the Pennsylvania Coroners Association Mass Casualty Response, Lehigh County Emergency Management, the property owner, and several other individuals and organizations assisted in the search and recovery efforts.

Fire Chief Leon Clapper said that the recovery was a harrowing experience for all involved, as the plane was buried deep in the mud on the property.

“Honestly, it was probably one of the most difficult recoveries I’ve done in 31 years of being chief of Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder,” Clapper said, noting that excavation equipment was needed for the effort.

The Monroe County Commissioners are offering grief counseling to all first responders who participated in the recovery.

The Joseph J. Pula Funeral Home in Stroudsburg will be announcing arrangement for Parker and the Schmidt Funeral Home in Nazareth will be announcing arrangements for Berszoner.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recovered the aircraft and is actively investigating the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

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