Thursday, October 31, 2019

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

Peter Morrow
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Chris Allen Belcher
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Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Ocala, Florida 
Accident Number: ERA20FA022
Date and Time: October 31, 2019, 11:31 Local
Registration: N959CM
Aircraft: Beech 58
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Medical event
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Flight test

Factual Information

On October 31, 2019, at 1131 eastern daylight time, a Beechcraft BE-58, N959CM, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Ocala, Florida. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

An individual on the ground was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 maintenance test flight.

The pilot had flown into Ocala International Airport Jim Taylor Field (OCF), Ocala, Florida, the day before the accident with a friend. According to the friend, the flight was normal, but the right engine’s fuel flow meter was fluctuating between zero and high while the other engine instruments were normal. The following day, the pilot asked a mechanic to look at the fuel transducer. The mechanic removed the fuel flow transducers from both engines and reinstalled them on the opposite engine to determine if there was an instrument indication problem or an actual fuel flow sensor issue. After performing the maintenance, the pilot and mechanic performed several test runs of the engines without incident. They then conducted a flight test together.

A review of air traffic control communications provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot requested a taxi clearance at 1124 and asked if there was a block of airspace near the airport where he could conduct a maintenance test flight. The ground controller told the pilot that there were no restricted areas and he could choose where he would like to go. The pilot responded that he would conduct the test west of the airport. The ground controller cleared the pilot to taxi to runway 18; however, the pilot initially taxied to runway 26 and the ground controller twice provided the pilot directions to runway 18.

After takeoff, the pilot was cleared to make a right turn to the west, which he did not acknowledge. Several seconds later, the controller repeated the clearance, which the pilot again did not acknowledge, and the pilot turned left onto an easterly heading. On the third attempt to contact the pilot, the controller asked if he was “alright” and the pilot responded, “say again.” The controller asked where the pilot was going and the pilot reported that he was going to the west; the controller stated “no, you’re not, you’re heading to the east sir.” The controller again issued instructions to the pilot to proceed on course to the west; the pilot did not acknowledge. Seeing that the airplane was continuing to the east, the controller asked the pilot his intentions. Several seconds later, about 2 minutes after takeoff, the accident airplane transmitted, “niner charlie mike, we need to return to the field sir.” This was the last communication from the airplane.

Numerous witnesses saw the airplane after it departed. Some of these witnesses said it was flying north at a low altitude before it entered a steep inverted dive. Other witnesses reported the airplane spinning to the left as it descended. One witness said that the airplane was on fire, while another witness said that the left propeller was not turning.

Data downloaded from a handheld GPS found in the wreckage revealed that, after takeoff, the airplane entered a left turn and never gained more than 418 ft in altitude. During the last minute of flight, the airplane’s groundspeed varied from 95 to 107 knots before the data ended at 1131. 

Video recovered from a parked car near the accident site captured the airplane rotating counterclockwise as it impacted a four-lane divided highway. The airplane’s right wing struck the ground first before impacting a moving vehicle. The airplane then skidded across two lanes of traffic, struck a concrete curb, then spun 180° before coming to rest in a vacant lot. The deflection of the rudder just before ground impact was estimated to be 20º±4º to the left, in the direction of rotation. No airframe or engine fire and/or smoke was observed in the video.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. According to the pilot’s logbook, he had accumulated about 7,800 total hours of 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 for corrective lenses.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On-scene examination revealed that the airplane traveled about 150 ft from the initial impact point. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site and a postimpact fire consumed the fuselage. Continuity of the ailerons, elevator, and rudder was established from each of the respective control surfaces to the cockpit. The flaps and landing gear were retracted. 

Located near the initial impact point was a ground scar that was consistent with an imprint of the airplane’s nose, fuselage, both engines, both propellers and both wings. Three distinct slash marks, consistent with propeller contact, was observed in the asphalt near where the right engine impacted the road. Another slash mark was observed adjacent to where the left engine impacted the road.
Both wings sustained impact damage and their respective fuel tanks were breached. The fuel selector handle and the valves for each wing fuel tank were found in the “on” position.

The left engine remained attached to the airframe and sustained extensive impact and thermal damage.

The crankshaft was capable of rotation; however, due to impact damage to the camshaft gear, it could not be rotated completely. Subsequent borescope examination of the engine, pistons, and cylinders revealed no anomalies. The throttle metering assembly was damaged by thermal and impact forces.

Examination revealed that the throttle control arm was installed backward from the normal position; however, the throttle and metering assembly spring was intact, held tension, and operated normally. No additional anomalies were discovered on the engine or components that would preclude normal engine operation.

The three-bladed propeller assembly sustained extensive impact damage and a portion of the hub remained attached to the crankshaft. One blade remained attached to the hub, and the second and third blades had separated and were found with the wreckage. The blade that remained attached displayed chordwise scratches and curling at the tip. Of the two blades that separated, one exhibited twisting deformation, leading-edge gouges, and chordwise scratches. The other blade exhibited minor chordwise scratches near the blade tip and minor twisting deformation.

The fuel flow transducer remained attached to its installation point and displayed thermal damage. The fuel flow inlet nut was finger-tight and able to be moved by hand; however, the fuel line and nut displayed thermal damage. The transducer was removed and examined; air was blown into the inlet and it flowed through the transducer freely. Disassembly of the transducer revealed no obstructions or other anomalies.

The right engine separated from the airframe and was found just forward of the right wing. Due to impact and thermal damage, the crankshaft could not be rotated. The engine was completely disassembled, which revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The three-bladed propeller assembly sustained significant impact damage. One blade remained partially attached to the hub and exhibited chordwise scratches, forward deformation, and tip curling. The other two blades had separated and were found with the wreckage. Of the two blades that separated, one had a large portion of the tip missing in addition to chordwise scratches, leading-edge gouges, twisting and S-bending deformation. The blade and a recovered portion of the blade tip displayed chordwise scratches, twisting and forward bending deformation, and leading edge gouges. The other blade was also missing a tip of the blade and exhibited chordwise scratches, leading edge gouges, and displayed twisting and S-bending deformation.

The fuel flow transducer remained attached to its installation point and remained relatively intact. The transducer was removed and examined; air was blown into the inlet and it flowed through the transducer freely. Disassembly of the transducer revealed no obstructions or other anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Medical Examiner Districts 5 & 24, Leesburg, Florida, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. Severe abdominal aortic atherosclerosis was identified.

The FAA’s Forensic Sciences Laboratory performed toxicology testing on the pilot’s tissue and blood samples, which identified diazepam (commonly marketed as Valium) and its psychoactive metabolites nordiazepam and oxazepam in the pilot’s liver and muscle tissue. The non-sedating high blood pressure medication valsartan was also detected in liver and muscle.

Toxicology testing performed for the medical examiner’s office detected diazepam at 96 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), nordiazepam at 94 ng/mL, and delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at 0.69 ng/mL in the pilot’s chest blood.

Diazepam is a sedating benzodiazepine available by prescription as a controlled substance and used to treat anxiety and is also useful to help treat muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. It is metabolized to the active metabolites nordiazepam or temazepam. These compounds are further metabolized to the active metabolite oxazepam. Diazepam and its metabolites carry the warning that they may impair the mental and physical ability to perform hazardous tasks. The therapeutic range of diazepam and nordiazepam is 100 to 2,000 ng/mL in the blood. Diazepam has a half-life of 21 to 82 hours; nordiazepam has a half-life of 25 to 200 hours.

The marijuana plant (cannabis) contains chemicals called cannabinoids; THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid compound. THC's mood-altering effects include euphoria and relaxation. In addition, marijuana causes alterations in motor behavior, perception, and cognition. Significant performance impairments are usually observed for at least 1-2 hours following marijuana use, and residual effects have been reported up to 24 hours.

THC is rapidly metabolized, but the rate of metabolism is not linear and depends on the means of ingestion (smoking, oil, and edibles), potency of the product, frequency of use, and user characteristics. THC is fat soluble, so is stored in fatty tissues and can be released back into the blood long after consumption. So, while the psychoactive effects may last a few hours, THC can be detected in the blood for days or weeks. Thus, low blood level test results do not necessarily reflect recent use and cannot be used to prove that the user was under the influence of the drug at the time of testing.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 73,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: February 2, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 4, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 7800 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Certificate: 
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N959CM
Model/Series: 58 Undesignated 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: TH-1792
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle 
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 18, 2019
Annual Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 61 Hrs
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1979 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-C31B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 300 Horsepower
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OCF,89 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:40 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 340°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2200 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity
Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ocala, FL (OCF) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ocala, FL (OCF)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 11:28 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Ocala Intl-Jim Taylor Field OCF
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 89 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7467 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

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: 29.141666,-82.194168


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




Chris Allen Belcher, 50, passed away October 31, 2019. Chris was born in Nashville, TN, on December 10, 1968, to Janet Dube'. He proudly served and retired with the United States Air Force after 23 years as Flying Crew Chief.  

Hobbies included, Amateur HAM radio, Krav Maga, Taekwando, and photography.  

He is survived by his loving wife, Ramona Lesley Belcher; son, Tom Belcher (Abigail); daughter, Hannah Belcher; mother Janet Dube'.

Memorial service will be 10:00 am, Friday, November 8, 2019, at Countryside Funeral Home, Anthony, FL, with Pastor Wayne Hunter officiating. He will be laid to rest following the service in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL with Military Honors at 12:30 p.m. Arrangements are under the care of Countryside Funeral Home, Anthony, Florida.

Peter Morrow


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Morrow, co – owner of Jamaica Inn. Mr. Peter, as he is affectionately known, died on Thursday, October 31, 2019 in a plane crash in northern Florida. The entire Jamaica Inn family mourns this loss.  On behalf of our Board of Directors, Management team and Employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to Morrow family.

Kyle Mais, General Manager of Jamaica Inn, issued the following statement on behalf of the Jamaica Inn team:

As you all know, Peter was an integral part of the Jamaica Inn family who brought his remarkable passion, intuition and love for people to the Jamaica Inn brand.  Mr. Peter lived a wonderful insightful life and enjoyed being on property sharing the benefits of the Jamaica Inn’s special atmosphere with all guests who come into our care. No words can adequately express our sadness regarding Sir Pete’s passing or the great privilege we had of working with him. We will honor his life and legacy by continuing to work hand in hand as a family making sure his beloved Jamaica Inn continues to flourish and bring joy and happiness to all who pass through.



Peter Morrow’s Early Life

Peter first came to Jamaica as a very young boy when his father Charles Morrow built and opened the Montego beach hotel that opened in the very early 50s. He enjoyed running up and down the halls knocking on guest room doors which of course irritated his father and the guests! As a teenager he loved spending time over the holidays at the Montego Beach where there were always plenty of young ladies on holiday as well!

After living and studying in London and Paris he started his hotel career in the 60s by working the night shift at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. He then moved on to the Equinox House in Vermont followed by a stint at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal. He was lucky to then spend time working at The Coral Reef Club in Barbados under the sharp eye of Budge and Cynthia O’Hara where he learnt even more about the inner workings of the hotel business. Having a great base in hotel work he switched direction and opened a business with his brother Eric in the other old Morrow family business which were retail stores called Morrow’s Nut House and they owned and operated a chain of those stores in malls across the states and the U.K.

When Mr. Morrow senior retired, Peter and his brother took over the operation of the Jamaica Inn in the 1980’s and he loved his time there forever looking at new ways of keeping an classic hotel running and current yet not changing the ambiance and essence for which is still known around the world. He took great pleasure in meeting guests from everywhere and talking to them about life, philosophy and politics. To demonstrate his love of engagement, he recently took umbrage with the fact that the Inn introduced coffee makers in our rooms as it perhaps meant less people to talk to in the early mornings.

He sat in the same chair every day where he could observe all the comings and goings and keep a interested eye on the operation to ensure that we delivered the very best service possible while at the same checking in with the team to ensure they were happy, enjoying their jobs and taking great pride in working at the Inn. His greatest love however was flying and he had his pilot’s license at the age of 15 way before he had a driver’s license. He literally flew every day that he possibly could and would think nothing of flying somewhere for a cup of coffee or lunch. We take solace in knowing he left us doing what he loved best.














OCALA, Florida — Two people were killed Thursday after a small plane clipped an SUV and crashed just off a busy state highway near a shopping center off Interstate 75 in Ocala.

The crash happened on Southwest College Road, also known as State Road 200, near the Marketstreet at Heathbrook shopping center.

The plane, a Beechcraft Baron, was taking off for a maintenance flight from Ocala International Airport but ran into trouble, police said. As the pilot tried to land the plane on S.R. 200 in front of a shopping center, it clipped a gold SUV and crashed on the side of the roadway.

The two people aboard the plane were killed. Police identified them as pilot Peter Morrow and mechanic Christopher Belcher. Morrow had taken off in Punta Gorda and had decided to stop in Ocala to dodge bad weather. On the way there, he reported "an issue" and decided to have it looked at, an Ocala Police detective wrote in a report.

On the ground in Ocala, Morrow and Belcher tested the plane but couldn't replicate the problem, so they decided to take it on a maintenance flight. The plane crashed just before noon.

The person inside the SUV was injured and told investigators he thought another vehicle hit him. He was transported to a hospital.

“One of the other things that we are taught as pilots is to make sure that we don't endanger the lives of others as much as possible, so definitely attempting to minimize that was some thoughtfulness on the pilot's part,” said Any Chan, founder of Right Rudder Aviation.

A witness who contacted us said they saw the plane hit a Toyota SUV, land hard on the sidewalk and burst into flames.

Pictures sent to us from someone at the site show firefighters spraying water on a smoldering wreck just off the street, with police blocking the roadway.

Another eyewitness who said they work in the area tells us it appeared that power lines were down. They said there were black scorch marks on the roadway, and there was a burning pile of metal on the side of the road.

Florida Department of Transportation officials urged motorists to be prepared for traffic delays in the area "for an unknown length of time." All lanes of S.R. 200 between 60th and 40th finally opened up again Thursday night. 

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash. 

15 comments:

  1. I just watched the video and listened to detailed audio from taxi to time of accident. The impact was caught on video and audio. Video shows the impact at edge of busy road just barely hitting (not directly) one car driving by. The hit was glancing, so it appears no one on ground hurt (I hope) but unconfirmed. The video shows before impact a shadow and the plane appears to be spinning. Then it comes into frame and appears it's coming down almost vertical at 30-40 nose down attitude with a right bank about 20 degrees (my est, from video). This looks like it is spinning. The field of view is not great so from time plane enters frame and impacts is less than a second.

    The audio at 6 sec mark Tower scolds N959CM for not answering and going East not West. They answer they are going West; to which tower says no they are not and please proceed West. They acknowledge. About 39 sec mark Tower tells another plane to standby and asks N959CM what their intentions are. At 43 seconds N959CM responds and asks to return; tower says enter Left Downwind to Rwy 18. At 56 sec mark aircraft impacts near a road caught on security camera.

    We do know maintenance was done and it was a test flight. If that was a factor don't know. However it appears to be a LOC accident and they were having issues early into the flight. For all you twin drivers if you pull back the good engine and lower the nose and don't stall or to a Vmc roll over landing off field under control you will have a better chance than crashing out of control. Of course the twin engine concept is you have two engines in case one fails. That is true, but all to often the remaining good engine just takes the pilot to the scene of the accident. Before every takeoff in a twin rehearse in your head and by moving your hands in a flow for engine failure. BLUE LINE is min speed and at no time should you be near VMC... if you are lower your nose, level wings, reduce asymmetric thrust and take an off field landing.

    My condolences to the family and friends of those lost on board N959CM.

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  2. Killed the mechanic also odd how engines run perfectly on the ground during run up as soon as they get 100-300 feet in the air engine will quit also. Even happens in RC airplanes. Usually related to fuel some way the G forces, and angles change at least with an RC plane can hold it vertical make sure it keeps running.

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  3. Investigators were faced with a puzzle if you look at "Figure 3. Google Earth Overlay of Accident Flight" in the Electronic Devices Specialist's Factual Report.

    Was it an impaired pilot who flew a functioning aircraft about 5 miles at 400 feet AGL, or a pilot distracted by a focus on the panel and whatever discussion the mechanic was making?

    Unless the pilot was newly put on the meds, the fact that he had flown previously without crashing suggests that the difference that day was distraction due to the test flight focus. No way to be certain, though.

    https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Document/docBLOB?ID=11551463&FileExtension=pdf&FileName=ERA20FA022_FactualReport_Final-Rel.pdf

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    1. The circumstances might suggest something more than a medical episode may have been at play. There was an issue with the right engine fuel flow indications the day before and the mechanic swapped the transducers between the engines so 'if' it was a right engine transducer issue it was now a left engine transducer issue. The comms with the tower may also need to be placed into context....on the ground, distracted and at an unfamiliar airfield, and in the air, ie Tower 'where are you heading' PIC 'I'm heading west' Tower 'you're heading east'. Could be he was just trying to stay in the air and simply blurted out his original intention which was to head west, rather than stating he was currently heading west, ie aviate/communicate. A left engine issue indicated or otherwise may explain the constant left turn following rotation. Looking at the impact footage it appears by the shadow he may have made a split second decision/turn to try to put down on the road instead of spearing into the power lines and trees straight ahead but was out of airspeed and luck. Just doesn't look like the a/c is in a spin when the shadow first comes into frame. All conjecture of course.

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    2. They have a hand held GPS recovered from the wreckage that shows his airspeed ranged from 95 to 107 knots. MCA single engine for the Baron is 80 knots so he should have been able to fly it back no problem on one engine. If you increase bank you need more speed and he obviously stalled the aircraft and basically landed in a flat spin to the left.

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  4. The pilot's actions and responses to the tower strongly indicate an impairment of some sort. He definitely had enough drugs in his system to cause an impairment. There is no sign of a mechanical malfunction that caused this accident.

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    1. Your right, he was jammed.
      I am so surprised.

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    2. NOT good you have to have all your wits about you when operating a piece of equiptment like that! Thank God he did not stuff it in a more populated place ! The poor mechanic and the person just driving by

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    3. Wondering if they might have failed to remove a flight control lock.

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    4. Definitely? So then you're a medical expert right? You can look at the amounts in the tox screen and conclude something that the medical examiner's did not conclude right? They reached no such conclusion. I think there's too many people out there who want a wave of shaming finger at anyone who has to take medications. Tsk, tsk. drugs, bad. Must be the dope. Always the dope. He had a script for the volume and nobody has hinted that he misused it. They have no idea of what form the t h c was in when he took. Medical marijuana? You know what's legal in a bunch of places. Here you have an airplane but more than one witness said was down on power on the left engine, one witness said the prop was stopped and you want to blame the crash on a drugged-up pilot. Let's go take a look in your medicine cabinet. All of the witnesses say the engine on the left was either down on power or off altogether And while the baron will fly on one engine it is very hard to fly on one engine. You think it might have been a crucial time. But it must have been the drugs. Maybe they fed some to the left engine.

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  5. Why is the title medical event? No Authority including begin tsp conclude anything of the kind yeah that's the first two words of the headliner here?

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  6. benzodiazepines + 73 years old but looks 90 probably due to a life time of alcohol and drug abuse...

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    1. "73 years old but looks 90"
      Who else flies anymore. The senior pilots are the only people who $support$ GA.

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