Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Champion 7ECA, N2561G: Accident occurred October 05, 2019 in Pembroke Pines, Broward County, Florida

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


Location: Pembroke Pines, FL
Accident Number: ERA20FA003
Date & Time: 10/05/2019, 1609 EDT
Registration: N2561G
Aircraft: Champion 7ECA
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On October 5, 2019, at 1609 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7ECA, N2561G, was substantially damaged after it impacted marshland in the Florida Everglades near Pembroke Pines, Florida. The flight instructor and commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight departed North Perry Airport (HWO), Hollywood, Florida, about 1555.

According to the flight instructor, prior to the flight he briefed the pilot receiving instruction about the plans for the flight. This included performing stalls and falling leaf maneuvers, followed by landing practice at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF), Opa Locka, Florida. After the briefing, they boarded the airplane and departed for a local practice area to the west over the Everglades.

Preliminary tracking data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane departed HWO and flew westerly at altitudes between 1,500 and 1,800 ft above mean sea level (msl). After it reached the Everglades, it continued to the west and descended to altitudes varying between about 100 and 400 ft. About 3.5 nautical miles west of the Everglades shoreline, at an altitude of about 400 ft and ground speed of about 90 knots, the airplane began a level turn to the left. During the turn, the altitude varied between 400 and 500 ft, the ground speed varied between 90 and 100 knots. As the airplane completed 180° of turn, the radar system was no longer able to track the airplane's altitude. The radar continued to track the position of the airplane for another 1.5 minutes as it flew in a southeasterly direction until radar contact was lost at 1608, about ½ mile southwest of the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane came to rest upright, leaning towards the left and partially submerged in water, at coordinates N 25.9957 W 80.46838. All major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The left wing was separated from the fuselage at the root, and largely intact. The right wing was partially separated at the root, with leading edge damage at the tip and forward of the aileron. The right wing was bent upward and downward along its span, forward of the aileron. It was also crushed from top and bottom along most of its length. The left door, fuselage fabric, and panels were partially separated forward of the aft seat. All 5 anchor points for both seat harnesses remained intact. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the pilot's controls to the respective flight control surfaces though several overload breaks in the control cables. Both fuel tank caps were intact, seated, and in good condition. All fuel lines were fractured at the wing tank fittings and both fuel tanks were devoid of fuel. The fuel lines remained intact at the fuel selector and the fuel selector handle was separated from the valve.

The engine remained attached to the mounts and was found partially submerged. The carburetor was separated from the intake manifold. The throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat controls remained attached to their control arms on the carburetor and inlet airbox. The carburetor was partially disassembled. The bowl contained clear liquid with black sediment, which was consistent with the water at the accident site. Both metal floats remained attached to the hinge and were undamaged. The inlet needle valve functioned normally. Fluid with an odor consistent with fuel sprayed out of the carburetor throat when the accelerator pump was actuated by hand. The propeller and spinner remained attached to the crankshaft flange; both were largely undamaged. One propeller blade was slightly bent in the aft direction. The propeller and crankshaft were rotated by hand, and thumb compression and suction was present on all cylinders. Crankshaft and valvetrain continuity were confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory gears at the rear of the engine. All valves springs, stems and pushrod ends were coated in oil and moved during crankshaft rotation. All spark plug leads remained intact and attached at both ends except for the No. 3 bottom lead which was severed about 8 inches from the right magneto. Both magnetos were removed from the engine, water dripped from both as they were removed. The right magneto produced spark on all ignition leads when rotated. The left magneto did not produce spark on any of the leads. All top spark plugs were dry, the electrodes and insulators were tan/grey in color and appeared "worn normal" when compared to a Champion check-a-plug chart. The No. 3 spark plug had deposits on the insulator and center electrode. The bottom spark plugs for cylinder Nos. 2, 3, and 4 were wet, oily, and appeared worn normal when compared to a Champion check-a-plug chart. The No. 1 bottom spark plug could not be removed due to impingement on the plug by the displaced exhaust manifold.

The high-wing, tandem seat, tailwheel airplane was manufactured in 1967. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-C1 engine, which produced 115-horsepower at 2,800 rpm, turning a fixed pitch, two-blade, metal propeller.

According to FAA airman records, the flight instructor held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter. He held commercial pilot privileges for airplane single and multi-engine land, single and multi-engine sea, glider, and rotorcraft-gyroplane. He held instructor ratings for airplane single and multi-engine, helicopter, gyroplane, instrument airplane, and instrument helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 28, 2019, at which time he reported 15,200 hours of total flight experience. A resume indicated that the flight instructor had 2,000 hours of experience in "Citabria/Decathlon."

According to FAA airman records, the pilot receiving instruction held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on May 8, 2019. FAA records did not list his reported flight experience at that time.

At 1553, the weather conditions at HWO, located about 12 miles east of the accident site included temperature 31° C, dew point 22° C, wind from 090° at 15 knots gusting to 22 knots, visibility 10 miles with clear skies, altimeter setting 29.91 inches of mercury.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Champion
Registration: N2561G
Model/Series: 7ECA No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: N3542w
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HWO, 9 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 15 knots / 22 knots, 90°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hollywood, FL (HWO)
Destination: Hollywood, FL (HWO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 25.999444, -80.468333

A single-engine plane crashed in the Everglades in western Broward on Saturday, injuring two men who were on board, officials said.

The crash of the Champion 7ECA aircraft happened at 4:15 p.m. about five miles west of Pembroke Pines, in an area accessible only by airboats.

One of the men had to be extricated from the plane, said Pembroke Pines Fire-Rescue Assistant Division Chief Marcel Rodriguez.

He said both victims were in serious condition when they were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.

Rodriguez said he did not know the plane’s flight plan, or what caused it to crash near Johnson Road and U.S. Highway 27.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, Public Affairs Officer Eric Weiss said. The Federal Aviation Administration also is looking into the crash, said spokesman Jim Peters.

Television news helicopters filmed the wreckage, showing the damaged red-and-white striped aircraft twisted on the ground.

“The aircraft will remain on site until tomorrow morning,” Rodriguez said, adding that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers will guard the plane until it is removed.

One of the victims was treated as a trauma patient, according to Tweets from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue, which also responded to the crash and helped transport the patients.

When Miami-Dade Air Rescue North and Air Rescue South helicopters arrived, crews found one of the patients onboard a private citizen’s airboat, spokesperson Erika Benitez said.

A flight medic was lowered and “conducted a hoist operation off of the private airboat,” she wrote in an email.

A Broward Sheriff’s airboat and helicopter handled the second patient, Benitez added.

“Thanks to the swift actions and the joint effort by all agencies and the private citizen, both patients were found and transported quickly in order to receive proper medical care,” she said.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.sun-sentinel.com


  1. Those airboats are very handy in a situation such as this. Hope everyone recovers fine.

  2. Wonder why this serious accident does not show in the NTSB monthly list of accident reports, at least that I can find...

  3. !WOW! The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of an accident without there being any fatalities. That's a rarity. Highly unusual.