Thursday, October 31, 2019

Beechcraft 58 Baron, N959CM: Fatal accident occurred October 31, 2019 near Ocala International Airport (KOCF), Marion County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Textron; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ocala, FL
Accident Number: ERA20FA022
Date & Time: 10/31/2019, 1130 EDT
Registration: N959CM
Aircraft: Beech 58
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test

On October 31, 2019, at 1130 eastern daylight time, a Beechcraft BE-58, N959CM, was destroyed after it impacted a vehicle and terrain shortly after takeoff from Ocala International Airport-Jim Taylor Field (OCF), Ocala, Florida. The private pilot and a passenger were fatally injured; one occupant in the vehicle was seriously injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 post-maintenance test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed OCF at 1128.

According to witnesses, the pilot and a passenger intended to fly a multi-leg cross-country flight to Yuba County Airport (MYV), Marysville, California, and they flew from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), Punta Gorda, Florida to OCF the day before the accident. The passenger reported that during the flight to OCF the right engine fuel flow meter consistently fluctuated from zero to high; however, the engine's performance and all other indications appeared normal. An airframe and powerplant mechanic at OCF examined the airplane and subsequently removed the fuel flow transducer from both engines and reinstalled them on the opposing engine to determine if there was an instrument indication problem or an actual fuel flow issue. The pilot and mechanic performed several post-maintenance engine run-ups with no apparent anomalies and then intended to conduct a test flight.

At 1111, an airport security camera recorded the airplane on the ramp in front of a hangar next to the fuel farm with both engines operating. The airplane then taxied to runway 18. About 1128, the airplane departed runway 18, turned left and exited the camera view as it flew in an easterly direction.

The OCF air traffic controller reported the airplane appeared lower and slower than expected, and that he had instructed the pilot to proceed westbound. The controller queried the pilot regarding the airplane's heading, the pilot responded they were heading to the west as instructed, and the controller advised that the airplane was flying eastbound. The controller instructed the pilot to proceed westbound. The airplane continued to fly to the east and the pilot advised the controller that they needed to return to the airport. No additional details for the reason of their request to return to the airport was communicated and no emergency was declared.

Several witnesses near the accident site reported that the airplane was flying southeast at a lower altitude than normal. The airplane continued a "shallow" left turn to the north, towards OCF. The airplane's wings were wobbling after it completed the turn north, then it leveled off briefly before "nose diving" towards the ground where it impacted a six-lane asphalt highway and struck two vehicles before coming to rest. Additional witnesses reported that the airplane was spinning to the left as it descended.

Video recovered from a nearby vehicle equipped with a camera showed the airplane approach from the southeast in a left spinning descent as it impacted the highway. The airplane stuck the road in a nose and right wing low attitude. During the impact, the fuselage struck a vehicle that was travelling in the westbound lanes. The airplane then skidded across the eastbound lanes, struck a concrete curb, then spun around towards the south as it exploded and became engulfed in flames.

The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot, about 2 miles from the approach end of runway 18.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single engine land, airplane single engine sea, instrument airplane. According to the pilot's logbook, the pilot had accumulated about 7,800 hours of total flight experience and completed a flight review on October 4, 2019. On February 19, 2019, he was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate with a limitation; must wear corrective lenses.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate in the normal category on September 5, 1996. The airplane was an all-metal, six-seat, multiengine airplane equipped with two Continental IO-550-C31B, 300-horsepower engines that each drove a McCauley 3-blade constant-speed propeller.

At 1140, the weather conditions reported at OCF included clear sky, wind from 200° at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 2,200 ft, temperature 29°C, dew point 24°C, and an altimeter setting was 30.06 inches of mercury.

The first impact site on the highway exhibited a complete imprint of the airplane that consisted of gouges and scrapes that formed an outline of the nose, left and right wings, left and right engines, fuselage and empennage.

The right engine impact point showed the outline of the engine and propeller spinner in addition to three distinct sequential gouges consistent with propeller blade impact gouges outboard of the engine.

The left engine impact point showed one 3 ft gouge adjacent to where the left propeller spinner impacted.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site, and all major components and flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene.

The fuselage, cockpit and instrumentation were consumed by postimpact fire. The throttle quadrant exhibited severe thermal damage. All six of the engine power, propeller and mixture controls were located in their most aft position.

The flight controls in the cockpit and all flight control surface attachment points remained attached. Flight control cable continuity of the ailerons, elevator and rudder was established from each of the respective control surfaces to the cockpit. The flaps remained attached to the wings and were in the retracted position and the cockpit flap control was found in the up position.

The fuel selector handles, and fuel selector valves for their respective engines/fuel tanks were found in the on position. Both fuel tanks were breached during the impact

The main landing gear was found in the up and stowed position. The landing gear control in the cockpit was damaged by impact and fire and its position could not be determined.

The left engine was attached to all its mounts and found attached to the left wing in an upright position. It exhibited impact and postimpact fire damage. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase. The engine could not be rotated by hand. The spinner remained attached to the flange and was crushed and split open on the bottom side where it rested on the ground. The top of the spinner was relatively intact. The three-blade propeller hub was fractured by impact forces. Two of the blades detached from the hub. The remaining blade was discovered in a near neutral position and it exhibited, several gouges, leading edge scrapes and was curled inward.

The right engine detached from the firewall and was discovered 3 ft forward of the right wing in an upside-down position. It exhibited impact and postimpact fire damage. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase. The engine could not be rotated by hand. The spinner was torn from the flange in multiple locations and was partially connected. The three-blade propeller hub assembly was severely fractured by impact forces. Two of the blades detached from the hub. The remaining blade exhibited bending and twisting deformation as well as chordwise scraping and leading edge damage.

The four remaining propeller blades were recovered at the scene in various locations around the wreckage site with one of the blades striking a vehicle. One of the blades exhibited little damage and was relatively free of leading edge damage or gouging. The remaining blades showed bending, twisting deformation, scraping and leading edge gouges.

The airplane was recovered and retained for additional examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N959CM
Model/Series: 58 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Caribbean World Resorts Ltd
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OCF, 89 ft msl
Observation Time: 1140 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2200 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Ocala, FL (OCF)
Destination: Ocala, FL (OCF)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 29.141667, -82.194167

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 

Christopher Michael

Peter Morrow

The Beechcraft 58 Baron plane that clipped a vehicle, crashed and burned along State Road 200 last Thursday had flown into Ocala the day before and underwent maintenance checks.

Information about the plane and its arrival at the Ocala International Airport was gathered by Ocala Police Department Detective Michael Coughlin, who interviewed several people at the airport about the plane.

Police were told that 73-year-old Peter Morrow, the pilot, and 50-year-old Christopher Belcher, a mechanic, were in the plane when it left the airport, according to an OPD report.

Coughlin interviewed a friend of the pilot, who said he and Morrow arrived in Ocala around noon on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from Punta Gorda. The friend said they were flying to California and had stopped in Ocala “to dodge some weather,” the report said.

While on their way to Ocala, the friend said, there was an issue with the right engine fuel flow sensor. They decided to check the problem in Ocala; but on the way, he said, the plane had no sign of a mechanical issue.

In Ocala, the friend said they requested to have the plane go to a maintenance hangar and have the mechanic, Belcher, inspect it.

Morrow and Belcher made “numerous ground tests on the plane, by bringing the plane up to top engine speed while on the ground and still could not duplicate the issue, so they went on a maintenance flight,” according to the OPD report.

In another interview, Coughlin learned that Belcher was an experienced mechanic, had many certifications and was an airplane inspector.

The air traffic control manager told Coughlin that Morrow left the airport on Runway 18 with Belcher on a maintenance flight. The controller said it was common for maintenance flights to fly west to avoid urban areas.

The report said plane took off around 11:30 a.m.

The controller said it appeared to be losing its course and began drifting east. A message from the tower was sent to the aircraft, telling Morrow to travel west. The report said Morrow told the tower they needed to return to the airport but the plane crashed within 10 seconds.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the local tourism industry is in mourning, after learning of the sudden passing of the co-owner of Jamaica Inn, Peter Morrow.

He passed away on Thursday in Ocala, Florida after a small plane he was travelling in crashed into a vehicle. The crash reportedly killed Morrow and the other passenger on board on impact, when the aircraft tried to make an emergency landing, near an outdoor shopping mall in north Florida.

“On behalf of all of the Government of Jamaica, I would like to offer my condolences to the family and close friends of Peter Morrow, during this very difficult time. We are deeply saddened by this news and extend my deepest sympathies, especially to his brother Eric,” said Bartlett.

“Mr Marrow was a brilliant businessman who knew the value of excellent customer service and a kind smile. His passion for tourism is truly unmatched and our local industry will not be the same without him. May his soul be at peace with our Heavenly Father,” he continued.

According to ABC News the Beechcraft Baron aircraft had just taken off from Ocala International Airport for a maintenance flight before it “crash landed” on a six-lane road, hitting power lines and the Sports Utility Vehicle.

The elderly driver of the vehicle was taken to the hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.

The Gleaner described Morrow as an avid pilot who got his pilot’s license at the age of 15.  Noting that he first came to Jamaica in the early 50s with his hotel career starting in the 1960s, after he completed his studies in London and Paris.

“I also wish to offer my condolences to the staff of Jamaica Inn, including General Manager Kyle Mais, who I am sure, are shocked and saddened by this news. I offer you my thoughts, prayers and well-wishes during this dark time,” said Minister Bartlett.

Jamaica Inn was established in 1958; it is situated in the tourist resort town of Ocho Rios and has been managed by third-generation owners Peter and Eric Morro, since the 1980s.

Over the years, the luxury hotel has welcomed many celebrity guests and government officials such as Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Margaret.

OCALA, Florida  —  The National Transportation Safety Board will be at the scene of the fatal plane crash in Ocala for the next three days.

The lead investigator arrived at the scene Thursday night.

Witnesses said the small plane, a 1996 Beech Model 58, crashed on State Road 200, skidded into a gold SUV and burst into flames on the side of the highway.

The driver of the SUV was injured and taken to a hospital. The pilot and the mechanic inside the plane both died.

"We have several credible witnesses who state that the aircraft flew out over the mall here and took a left shallow turn back toward the airport," investigator Lawrence McCarter said.

Before the crash, the pilot contacted the airport in recordings by, asking to return to the field.

"It wasn't a distress call; again, I want to iterate that it was no emergency call that was made. He did say he wanted to return to the airport," McCarter said.

McCarter said all he knows at the moment is that the pilot and the mechanic were on a maintenance flight.

"They were working on the engine; there was some kind of issue with the fuel monitoring units. We do have the information they replaced. The mechanic rode along with the pilot to typically observe the unit working," McCarter said.

McCarter said they are going through all kinds of recorders, including maintenance records and the pilot's qualifications.

"We are paying particular interest, emphasis on the engine. We will transport the entire vehicle to a Jacksonville storage facility in controlled conditions," McCarter said.

According to investigators, it may take 10 days before a preliminary report is released, and they welcome any photographs witnesses may have taken.

Story and video ➤

A small plane crashed late Thursday morning off the side of Southwest State Road 200 near the Market Street at Heath Brook outdoor shopping mall.

Two people aboard the small aircraft died in the accident, according to the Ocala Police Department.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as an eight-seat, twin-engine Beechcraft 58 Baron.

A man driving a sport utility vehicle on SR 200 was seriously injured when the plane struck the SUV, officials said. He was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. He remained in the hospital late Thursday afternoon.

Delaney Coffman was driving west on SR 200 when she saw the plane, which was southbound, turn around and head north. It eventually nosedived, hit the ground and burst into flames, the witness said. A piece of the propeller hit her Jeep.

Another witness, Shari Eisaman, was turning into Market Street when she saw a black plume of smoke rising nearby.

“I didn’t hear anything before. I just saw the black smoke. I thought it was a car wreck, but it was too big. Then I thought it was a gas line,” Eisaman said.

Soon afterward, however, it became apparent to Eisaman what was going on.

“I could smell it. I knew that smell. It was airplane fuel. It burned your throat,” said Eisaman, who noted the smell was familiar because her son is a pilot.

As Eisaman watched the scene developing, she was struck by the actions of some bystanders.

“I witnessed something a farm girl has never seen before. I saw every mechanic and construction worker running toward the fireball,” she said. “It was amazing to see how people ran to help.”

The workers came from a nearby car dealership and a construction site at Market Street.

Tom Beasley was in his truck at the Market Place shopping center and saw the plane headed south coming across the tree line.

“I knew it was too low,” he said at the scene Thursday afternoon.

The small plane went over SR 200, disappeared behind the stores and then made a U-turn, Beasley said. It headed north again, nosedived and crashed onto the highway.

He said the SUV had been in the southbound lanes, but the plane, as it crashed, dragged it into the northbound lanes.

The small single-engine plane had left Ocala International Airport and was headed west for a “maintenance flight,” according to an OPD official. It was not clear why it was at that location southeast of the airport.

Officials with the Medical Examiner’s Office left the scene at 4:18 p.m., taking the two bodies with them.

Due to the victims being badly burned in the crash, their identities will not be released until after the Medical Examiner’s Office finishes its work.

FAA investigators arrived at about 3 p.m. and was at the site late Thursday afternoon. They were processing the scene and gathering evidence.

“The FAA will investigate and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) will determine the probable cause of accident,” FAA spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt said in an email.

At 5:36 p.m., a tow truck was removing the SUV. As of 7:15 p.m., traffic in both directions of State Road 200 is now open.

Story and video ➤

The small plane that crashed and burst into flames on SW College Road on Thursday morning may have experienced engine trouble and apparently was attempting to return to Ocala International Airport.

The fiery crash killed the pilot and a passenger whose names haven’t yet been released pending notification of next of kin. Witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low and almost hitting a hotel before curving over the top of the Dillard’s store in Market Street at Heath Brook and slamming onto the busy roadway.

The plane clipped a late-model tan-colored SUV as it slid across all traffic lanes of SW College Road, hit a pole and burst into flames. The driver of the heavily damaged SUV was transported to a hospital with unknown injuries.

Witnesses to the crash, which is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration, reported hearing an explosion that sounded like a bomb going off when the plane slammed into the ground. Smoke could be seen billowing above the wreckage for several minutes until firefighters and other emergency personnel arrived on scene and extinguished the blaze.

After the flames had been extinguished, firefighters covered the cockpit area of the plane with a large pink tarp or blanket, presumably to shield the remains of the victims from the public. Nearby, debris from the plane and the SUV covered both sides of the roadway, which was quickly closed to traffic by Ocala Police officers.

A witness reported that he saw the pilot struggling to stay airborne as he heard the engines “straining and cutting out.” 

SW College Road remained closed late Thursday afternoon while the investigation into the crash continued. Police were encouraging motorists to steer clear of the area or find alternate routes to their destinations.

Law enforcement officers from the Ocala Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol responded to the incident, along with crews from Ocala Fire Rescue and Marion County Fire Rescue. Ocala Fire Rescue’s highly specialized Aircraft Rescue Firefighting apparatus also responded from Ocala International Airport.

Original article can be found here ➤

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