Thursday, October 31, 2019

Piper PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow II, N56258: Fatal accident occurred October 30, 2019 near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK), Atlanta, Georgia

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta Georgia
Piper Aircraft Inc; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Atlanta, GA
Accident Number: ERA20FA021
Date & Time: 10/30/2019, 1032 EDT
Registration: N56258
Aircraft: Piper PA28R
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 30, 2019, about 1032 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R, N56258, was destroyed following an inflight break up, and impact with a residential building and terrain near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at PDK about 1014 and was destined for Mid-Carolina Regional Airport (RUQ), Salisbury, North Carolina.

According to air traffic control communication and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot established communication with the ground controller at PDK and advised that he had received Automatic Terminal Information Service Hotel (H). The 0953, weather observation included variable wind at 6 knots, visibility 6 miles with mist, with an overcast ceiling at 400 feet above ground level. Before departing, the pilot received an IFR release with instructions to fly a heading of 090°. The controller then cleared the flight for takeoff on runway 12L with a left turn to a heading of 090°, and advised the pilot the current winds were 150° at 5 knots.

The pilot established communication with the departure controller as he was climbing through 2,000 feet in a right turn to a heading of 090°. The controller instructed him to climb to 5,000 feet and proceed direct to the Athens (AHN) VORTAC. Additionally, the controller advised him of moderate precipitation extending to the east for 10 miles along their route of flight to AHN. The pilot began a right turn to the southeast and the controller instructed the pilot to turn left direct AHN, advising the pilot that it appeared that they were heading southbound. The pilot turned eastbound and the controller asked if they were showing a route direct to AHN, to which the pilot responded "affirmative." The airplane continued eastbound for approximately three miles before again turning southbound. The controller instructed the pilot to fly a heading of 090° and the pilot advised that they had "…lost their vacuum gauge." At that time the airplane was at 5,000 feet and turned to the northeast briefly before it entered a right turn and rapidly descended to 3,700 feet. The controller instructed the pilot to maintain "wings level" and maintain 4,000 feet; however, the pilot did not respond. The controller made additional transmissions to the pilot to maintain wings level without a response, there were no additional communications with the flight, and radar contact was lost.

An examination of the accident site revealed the airplane impacted a residential apartment building 1.5 miles southeast of PDK. The airplane struck the wooden roof near the back wall, then continued through the second floor coming to rest in the kitchen area. The engine was located inside the apartment crawl space and kitchen area, while the fuselage and cockpit remained outside of the residence back door. Additionally, the right main gear and sections of the right wing flap were located on the second floor of the adjacent apartment. The debris field was about 790 feet in length on a magnetic heading of about 270° from the crash site. At the beginning of the debris field, a portion of the right wing tip was located on the roof of another residential building. Within the debris field was a portion of the left wing tip, right aileron, horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer with the rudder attached by one hinge.

The engine remained attached to its mounts and the firewall. One of the three propeller blades were broken at the base of the propeller hub. All the propeller blades had scoring and impact marks throughout the span of the blades. The left wing aileron was not located during the initial search.

Flight control continuity was not confirmed, but flight control cable terminations were observed intact at the rudder pedal assembly in the cockpit. The aileron cable chain was fracture separated with one end still attached to the cable. The stabilator cables remained attached to the stabilator idler arm in the cockpit. The flap control cable remained attached to the flap selector handle. All the cables were separated between the cockpit controls and the control surfaces with signatures consistent with overload due to impact or cuts made to facilitate recovery of the wreckage.

The left wing spar inboard attach flanges were located at the accident site; a small section of the wing box which had separated from the main wreckage revealed a fracture of the lower spar cap that occurred on the outboard pair of attach bolts. The fracture surface was clean and smooth with no apparent indications of fatigue progression and exhibited damage signatures consistent with impacting the building. The outboard section of the left wing was separated chordwise at the main spar splice joint and the fractures were consistent with overload. It was located on the ground near the entrance gate to an apartment complex.

The right wing spar was located near the fuselage, it remained attached to the wing box. The outboard portion of the right wing was separated chordwise at the main spar splice joint and the fractures were consistent with overload. The outer section of the left wing was recovered from the roof of a residential building.

The stabilator's left and right tips were located in the debris field away from the fuselage. The center portion of the stabilator was impact damaged and separated chordwise about mid-span and the fractures were consistent with overload. The trim tab remained attached to the portions of the stabilator by its hinges. The forward spar of the stabilator was separated about 12" either side of the aircraft centerline. The center portion of the forward stabilator spar, including the balance tube and weight, remained attached to the tailcone bulkhead at its hinges.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder were separated from the tailcone and the fractures were consistent with overload. It was located along the debris field between the wing tips and the main wreckage. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer by its upper hinge. The rudder horn was separated from the rudder and the rudder cables remained attached to the horn. The rudder stops were intact and unremarkable.

The wreckage was recovered and retained for further examination.

According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. At the time of the accident, the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on April 18, 2018 and reported 4,850 hours of flight experience.

The weather conditions reported about 1027 at PDK, about 1.5 miles northwest of the accident site, included visibility of 3 statute miles, overcast sky at 400 feet agl, light rain and mist, wind variable at 3 knots, temperature 19°C, dew point 19°C, and a barometric altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N56258
Model/Series: PA28R 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PDK, 998 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , Variable
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 400 ft agl
Visibility:  3 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Atlanta, GA (PDK)
Destination: Salisbury, NC (RUQ)

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: 33.856944, -84.290556 (est)

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 

DEKALB COUNTY, Georgia - A day after a small plane crashed into townhomes, investigators are scouring the area for evidence. 

The single-engine Piper-28 went down minutes after takeoff Tuesday, slamming into the top floor of the Clairmont Hills Townhouses on Peachwood Circle. The pilot and passenger were killed. 

They were identified as Leslie Csanyi, Jr., 59, and Scott Robert Lowrie, 60. Both men were from North Carolina.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Channel 2's Aaron Diamant, who was one of the first reporters on scene, returned to the location where crews are removing pieces of the plane. One piece was found on the roof of a building around 200 yards from the crash site. 

The DeKalb County fire marshal declared six units in the townhome complex unsafe to live in. The declaration was made due to structural damage and fuel vapor.  

A crew from Atlanta Air Recovery, a salvage company, will take all of the wreckage down to the Griffin-Spalding County Airport, about 45 miles south of Atlanta. That's where the NTSB will begin the process of reconstructing the plane and its systems to figure out how the plane crashed.

David Youngpeter lives near the crash scene and said he felt the crash.

"I actually felt the reverberation from the impact at which point I came outside," Youngpeter said. "The first thing is it didn't look like a plane because there's nothing left. It must have been a very small plane."

Story and video ➤

ROWAN COUNTY, North Carolina (WBTV) - The owner of a business in Rowan County and a man who works with him have now been identified as the victims of the deadly plane crash that occurred in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Officials have confirmed that Leslie Csanyi Jr., owner of CMW Manufacturing on Speedway Boulevard in Salisbury, was the pilot of the Piper PA-28 that crashed into a townhome on Wednesday morning. His passenger was identified as 60-year-old Scott Robert Lowrie, also of North Carolina.

Both men on the plane died in the crash. No one on the ground was injured, according to emergency officials in DeKalb County, Georgia.

According to the company website, CMW Manufacturing “specializes in precision machining production parts for the heavy and medium truck industries.”

The company started in Toronto in 1985 and moved to North Carolina in 1998, according to the web site.

A feature story on Les Csanyi in The Salisbury Post from 2016 says Csanyi is from Toronto, Canada, and was an avid hockey player before he moved to North Carolina. When he didn’t have many opportunities for hockey in Rowan County, Csanyi said he took up aviation as his new hobby.

Csanyi was a frequent flier for business, vacations, even to deliver much needed supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing the investigation into the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

DEKALB COUNTY, Georgia — DeKalb County expressed its "sincere condolences" for the families of a pilot and passenger killed on Wednesday when a small plane crashed into townhome, as that plane was towed away on Thursday.

Video from the scene a day later showed a truck moving away the wreckage, little of it recognizable except for a chunk that included one of the plane's wheels.

The county, meanwhile, issued a statement offering sympathy for the families of the people who died in the crash.

"DeKalb County Government and DeKalb-Peachtree Airport extend sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s plane crash," the statement said. "DeKalb County will continue to work with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration during the investigation."

The airplane crashed into a Clairmont Hills townhome building on Peachwood Circle shortly after 10:30 a.m. 

Residents near the site of the crash described the harrowing experience.

"I felt the ground vibrating, the screech through the trees," Jared Hauck said.

One man, Shaun Anderson, told 11Alive about how he made a split-second decision to veer from his usual routine - likely saving his life.

The musician moonlights as a Lyft driver, and usually shuttles passengers from here to there across Atlanta until the wee hours of the morning. So, it's usually late in the morning when he wakes up to get started with his day.

On Wednesday morning, Anderson said his routine derailed a bit when he woke up too early to start his day, and he couldn't go back to sleep.

"So, I figured I would take a shower and just try to go back to sleep and get ready to go to work for 3 or 4 today at the restaurant, or I would get up and go run some errands and then come back and maybe do a jog or something," he recounted. 

He chose to run errands first, and delaying the shower meant that he wasn't home when the Piper PA-28 smashed into the bathroom. 

"If I were to have taken a shower during that time, I would have been in the shower - it pretty much destroyed the upstairs bathroom," he recalled. "You can basically see inside the house - the bathroom upstairs wall is gone. The shower - everything is gone."

A witness inside the apartment complex also shared video of the aftermath with 11Alive. Video shows damage to the outside of a townhome building. DeKalb Fire and Rescue said no one was in the unit affected and there are no other reported injuries. 

The video shows how the impact knocked bricks off of the building.  

Story and video ➤

DEKALB COUNTY, Georgia - Federal investigators are trying to determine what caused a small plane to crash into a DeKalb County townhome on Wednesday morning killing two aboard.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Piper PA-28 went down shortly after departing from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport around 10:30 a.m. The airport confirmed two people were on board the plane when it took off.

The aircraft crashed into an apartment complex along Peachwood Circle, according to police. 

Resident Jared Hauck was working from home when the plane struck the building. "It literally happened just the next door down from my townhouse building. I heard a loud crash and it didn't sound like anything normal. I walked outside and that's when I saw the plane fuselage on the ground."

Officials said no one was inside the apartment building when the plane came crashing down and no one on the ground was hurt. 

A resident said he heard a plane struggling to gain altitude before it crashed.

Ricky Nixon lives near the crash site. "My aunt was basically screaming at my uncle she smelled gas. I went outside. There is just plane pieces everywhere."

DeKalb County Medical Examiner released the identities of the two victims Thursday afternoon. Leslie Csanyi Jr., a 59-year-old male, and Scott Robert Lowrie, a 60-year-old male died in the crash. Csanyi Jr. and Lowrie were from North Carolina. 

DeKalb County Fire Capt. Dion Bentley says one person was found shortly after the crash but rescuers said they weren't immediately able to reach the second person who was on the plane. The body of the second victim was recovered around 4 p.m.

Building inspectors have declared six units in the townhome complex unsafe until further notice due to the crash.

The Red Cross is providing assistance to families who were impacted by the crash. 

An NTSB Air Safety Investigators said the plane took off with two people on board, made a left turn after takeoff, and then lost contact. 

Thursday, investigators will be giving close scrutiny to the pilot, the environment, and the aircraft itself.

Federal investigators said a preliminary reporter will be available in about two weeks, but the completed report could take 12 to 24 months.

Story and video ➤


  1. Wow the Lyft driver saying he normally would have been in the shower at that time and it is now gone is chilling. There was also a main wing found some 300 yards away from the impact in another area entirely. Smells heavily of inflight breakup even though there was no turbulent weather at the time. It was just light precip and a 400' ceiling. This is going to be one to watch as to the cause. I flew out of PDK for years and there are next to zero safe options to put down in an emergency after takeoff.

  2. I mean its possible it was a loss of orientation due to a vacuums pump failure leading to a grave yard spiral and loss of control. Leading to him pulling back to hard and to close to VNE causing the inflight break up. Just a guess

  3. Check out the Flightaware track. I believe your theory is plausible.

  4. Was a vacuum pump failure. I'm Air Traffic and just listened to the tapes.

  5. Vacuum drives the Artificial Horizon which is the primary instrument for orientation, but a proficient instrument pilot can use the electric powered Turn Indicator and Airspeed Indicator to control the aircraft if the vacuum powered gyro fails. A safety aware aircraft owner will replace a vacuum pump before it's expected failure hours. Condolences to families, and thank God no one was injured on the ground. 400 foot overcast is serious Instrument Meteorological Conditions; pilot and aircraft need to be on their best game for this situation.

  6. Looking at the time stamp on the FlightAware track with weather radar that I saw yesterday was 40 minutes after the accident time. The heavy weather looked to have moved off the field to the north.

    Now go to LiveATC archive for KATL Departure (Rwy 08-26) and listen to that time block (1400-1430Z) and view the radar depiction with a timestamp just prior to 1420Z. The controllers were very busy rerouting and approving deviations requested for weather and turbulence.

    Vacuum certainly possible but rapid descent and climb could have been an encounter with conductive/Severe Turbulence.