Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N6678P: Fatal accident occurred December 01, 2019 near San Antonio International Airport (KSAT), Texas

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Piper Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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


Location: San Antonio, TX
Accident Number: CEN20FA023
Date & Time: 12/01/2019, 1825 CST
Registration: N6678P
Aircraft: Piper PA24
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On December 1, 2019, about 1825 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N6678P, impacted in a parking lot while attempting an emergency landing at the San Antonio International Airport (SAT), San Antonio, Texas. The private rated pilot, the flight instructor, and a passenger were all fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to RTW Capital LLC and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated under flight following. The flight originated from Sugar Land Regional Airport, Houston, Texas, about 1715 CST and was en route to Grier Airport (71TX), Boerne, Texas.

While en route to 71TX, the pilot reported to San Antonio Approach Control that he was experienced an engine failure and declared an emergency. The pilot was cleared to land on runway 13R and radar tracked the pilot as he aligned to land. During the approach to landing, the airplane rapidly descended and impacted terrain. Several eyewitnesses reported seeing the airplane in a near 90° bank angle before spiraling to the ground. Video camera footage captured the airplane impacting terrain in a near vertical attitude.

All major airplane components were located at the accident site. The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N6678P
Model/Series: PA24 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSAT, 789 ft msl
Observation Time: 1851 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / -1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 320°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Houston, TX (SGR)
Destination: Boerne, TX (71TX) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.550833, -98.499722

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. 

Robert Tyson Womble
April 14th, 1981 - December 1st, 2019

Robert Tyson "Ty" Womble passed away Sunday, December 1st, at the age of 38.

Ty is survived by his wife, UnMi Womble; children Collier and Stetten Womble; parents, Bob and Lynne Womble of Oklahoma City OK; siblings Jenny Womble, Ethan Womble and Luke Womble.

A memorial service for Ty Womble will be held 2:00 p.m., Sunday, December 8th, in the chapel of Fredericksburg Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Samaritan's Purse, Salvation Army, or the charity of one’s choice.

You are invited to sign the online guest book at https://www.fredericksburg-funerals.com

Eric Naranjo
March 3rd, 1997 – December 1st, 2019

Eric Taylor Naranjo, 22, of Sugar Land, passed away December 1st, 2019. He was born March 3rd, 1997, in Houston, to Severo Naranjo, Jr and Kim Molke.

Eric was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Severo and Stella Salazar Naranjo; and maternal grandfather, David Molke.

He is survived by his parents; brothers, David Edward Naranjo and Jacob Naranjo; maternal grandmother, Mary Molke; maternal great-grandmother, Helen Gilster; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and other loving family and friends.

Visitation will be 5:00 – 8:00pm with a Rosary at 7:00pm, Thursday, December 5, 2019, at Finch Funeral Chapel – Yorktown. On Friday, December 6, 2019, the family will gather at Finch Funeral Chapel at 9:00am prior to leaving in procession to San Luis Catholic Church. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00am with Father Roger Hawes officiating. Burial will follow at San Luis Catholic Cemetery.

You are invited to sign the online guest book at www.finchfuneralchapels.com.

Maureen McFarren Garrow 

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- Friends of the Spring woman killed in Sunday's plane crash in San Antonio are mourning the loss of the beloved pilot and remember her as being her happiest when she was flying.

Dan Jones was a longtime friend of 71-year-old Maureen Garrow. He administered her tests when she became certified as a private pilot and when she became an instructor.

"I always got good reports from the people that flew with her, how much they enjoyed her and enjoyed her demeanor, because not all flight instructors are as calm and reserved as she is," Jones said.

Garrow, 71, was killed along with two other people when their plane went down on the Northside of San Antonio.

Robert Womble, 38, and Eric Naranjo, 22, were also killed.

The airplane reported engine issues before the pilot attempted to land at San Antonio International Airport.

According to friends, Garrow didn't discover her love for flying until later in life.

"I think she was able to blossom in her later years as a person who was fulfilling her dreams," Jones said.

Jones said when Garrow came to him for her tests, he could tell she had worked hard to prepare and was excited to showcase what she knew. Beyond the cockpit, the two became friends.

When he heard that there was a possibility that Garrow might have been one of the victims in the crash, he was in denial.

Jones sent a text message to his friend Monday, about 24 hours after the crash, asking if she was okay.

"I was hoping it wouldn't be her, but as it turned out it was," Jones said.

Garrow's funeral is set for December 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the Klein Funeral Homes & Memorial in Spring.

Story and video ➤ https://abc13.com

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the third victim of a deadly plane crash that occurred Sunday in San Antonio.

On Wednesday, the 71-year-old woman who died in the crash was identified as Maureen McFarren Garrow, who died of multiple blunt force injuries. The other victims were previously identified as 38-year-old Robert Tyson Womble and 22-year-old Eric Naranjo, a UTSA student.

Garrow is a commercial pilot and a flight instructor, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The flight took off Sunday from Sugar Land and headed toward Boerne, Fire Chief Charles Hood previously said.

The pilot, who is believed to be Womble, activated an alert and notified San Antonio International Airport traffic controllers that he had an engine failure.

“Engine failure, I need to land at international (airport),” the pilot said.

The air traffic controller asks him which runway he can land at, and the man tells him, “we can circle around for runway 4.” That runway is on the southwest corner of the airport.

Shortly after that, the air traffic controller loses contact with the pilot.

According to the flight path provided by FlightAware, the plane reached the airport, but looped around before landing. It would fall short of the runway, crashing into a street. The flight log shows the plane nose-diving at more than 1,800 feet per minute.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash and plans to release a preliminary report in the coming days.



SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office has identified 38-year-old Robert Tyson Womble as one of the victims of the small plane crash that killed three people near the San Antonio airport on Sunday evening. 

Property tax records show Womble owned a home in Central East Austin near Berkman Drive and Highway 290.  

The medical examiner has not released the identity of the other two victims but friends said 22-year-old Eric Naranjo, a University of Texas - San Antonio student from Sugar Land, died in the plane crash as well.

A 71-year-old woman is the third victim.

According to the airport's public information officer and the Federal Aviation Administration, that plane was registered in Austin. It was registered to an LLC, RTW Capital with an address in Austin. A state database showed that LLC is associated with a boutique investment firm, Aktivum Capital Group.

The single-engine aircraft carrying three people on board was flying from Sugar Land headed to Boerne before it crashed just before 6:30 p.m. after an in-flight emergency, according to the San Antonio spokesperson.

The plane took off from Sugar Land and was headed to Boerne, Texas, when the pilot noticed some kind of engine problem. The pilot then reportedly declared an emergency, indicating that there was a mechanical or engine issue.

In radio traffic communication, we can hear the pilot tell the tower they need to make an emergency landing at the San Antonio airport.

Pilot: "7 8 Papa, we've got an emergency."

Tower: "7 8 Papa, what is the nature of your emergency?"    

Pilot: "Engine failure. We need to land at International."

Tower: "Which runway would you like?"

Pilot: "We can circle around for Runway 4."

But the pilot never made it to Runway 4. The plane crashed about a quarter to half a mile away.

NTSB investigators will be looking into what caused the crash, but won't be on-scene until Tuesday, December 3rd. 

A preliminary report is expected in about 10 days. A cause of the crash could come in 12 to 24 months.

Story and video ➤ https://www.kvue.com

As a tow truck lifted pieces of a Piper PA-24-250 Comanche onto a flatbed trailer early Tuesday, a federal investigator said its deadly and rapid descent near San Antonio International Airport will be examined — as dozens of similar crashes are every year.

“We look at the pilot, the machine and the environment,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jason Aguilera said early Tuesday in the 600 block of West Rhapsody Drive, where the plane crashed Sunday evening in clear, calm weather.

Read more here ➤ https://www.expressnews.com

 Surveillance video from D & S Garage and Diesel Service.

HOUSTON – Days after a small plane crash killed three people near San Antonio, KPRC 2 learned more about the third victim — 71-year-old Maureen Garrow of Spring, Texas. Garrow was an avid private pilot and flight instructor whose passion was to teach, according to her loved ones.

On Sunday, Garrow was with 38-year-old Austin businessman Robert Tyson Womble, believed to be in the pilot’s seat, and his company intern, 22-year-old Eric Naranjo, when the plane went down in San Antonio.

On the day of the accident, Maureen’s husband Ronald told KPRC 2 his wife left for Hooks Memorial Airport to lead a training. Officials said the plane was on its way to Boerne from Hooks but made a brief stop in Sugar Land Regional Airport before attempting an unsuccessful emergency stop at the San Antonio International Airport.

Ronald, 75, said his wife of 48 years, Maureen, had the true heart of a teacher and loved to fly.

She was a two-time accredited National Aviation Flight Instructors Master Flight Instructor who Ronald said was on a mission to groom students to become top professional pilots. She was a treasured member of the “tight-knit” local flight community he said. The Spring resident earned her colleagues’ respect as a tenacious private pilot and independent flight instructor.  Ronald said he was also a cherished mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Story and video ➤ https://www.click2houston.com


  1. According to the track log in flightaware, the pilot had runway 13R made with ample altitude before turning back north. Maybe he was thinking runway 4 due to the winds, but runway 13R is 8,500 feet long so there was plenty of room to float if needed. And even then, a circle to land runway 4 would not involve a turn to the north. We may never know what he was thinking but it sure seems like this emergency was survivable basis the preliminary information.

  2. Maybe he was high and trying to circle to lose altitude?

  3. There's a short video posted by the news which showed the impact. Looked like a nose-low pitch, something you'd see in a stall/spin. It'll be interesting to read the final report.

  4. That plane flew 4 times that day and the paths are all over the place, Was it a rental? On previous days flights it went into an airport north west of SAT. The flight path on the final flight starts aimed pretty much towards that airport then, about 20 miles before the crash changed course to SAT. If you add up the flights from that day and didn't refuel, I think you would be out. Looking at that damage with no fire, my mind leads in that direction. He seemed calm for an engine out, such a shame he asked what runway all the other planes are using and chose that one over the strait in. I would of said the first one I can make!

  5. The video makes it clear this was a stall spin accident.

    When the pilot turned apparently lined up with 13R he was something like 2900', 2000 above the runway and may have made a spiral in an attempt to lose altitude, and didn't maintain airspeed through the turn. Or the spiral was entirely the result of a spin entry possibly from a steep turn to line up on the runway, too slow, and maybe some left rudder to cheat while lining up--"low rudder kills".

    It is a good reason they require power-off descending turns for the commercial check ride.

  6. Power off your stall speed increases. Increase the bank and stall speed increases (accelerated stall). Step on the low rudder and you make the already-low wing more likely to stall with the result being the aircraft quickly goes noes down and possibly inverted during the spin onset.

  7. ^^Read the book "Surviving Hell" by the former US House Rep. from South Dakota Leo Thorsness. He was a USAF F-105 Wild Weasel pilot who got shot down in Vietnam and became a POW. He described exactly that happening to him while training in a T-6: he tried to over rudder an overshoot to line back up and yep, that set him up for a snap roll. Instead of trying to right it up, he just held rudder all the way through the roll and rolled out wings level less than 100 feet from the trees. He said pilot instinct or luck saved his life that day as a humble man. Of course it was pilot instinct. People are simply born with better piloting skills than others. It's no different than people who play sports or drive race cars for a living: only the naturals make it to the top. Or in this case, out alive.

  8. My bad, he was a former US House Rep. **candidate** from South Dakota (and lost to Tom Daschle by 139 votes).

  9. ditto the above.
    At 29.5435 -98.4907 and 2,600 ft, the PIC is just beyond the threshold of 13R, appears to attempt a 360 to the left and stalls short.

    Sun 19:21:43 29.5855 -98.4218 ← 265° 146 168 4,350 -91 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KBAZ)
    Sun 19:22:00 29.5845 -98.4359 ← 266° 152 175 4,275 -136 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:22:16 29.5834 -98.4495 ← 264° 151 174 4,275 47 Climbing FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:22:32 29.5817 -98.4616 ← 259° 149 171 4,300 -188 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KBAZ)
    Sun 19:22:48 29.5794 -98.4723 ← 254° 117 135 4,175 -656 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KRND)
    Sun 19:23:04 29.5769 -98.4804 ↙ 238° 107 123 3,950 -1,045 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KBAZ)
    Sun 19:23:21 29.5697 -98.4865 ↙ 203° 112 129 3,600 -1,136 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KRND)
    Sun 19:23:37 29.5623 -98.4897 ↓ 200° 107 123 3,325 -891 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:23:53 29.5548 -98.4928 ↙ 202° 98 113 3,125 -703 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:24:09 29.5485 -98.4952 ↓ 187° 93 107 2,950 -984 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:24:25 29.5435 -98.4907 → 89° 87 100 2,600 -1,219 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KBAZ)
    Sun 19:24:41 29.5474 -98.4882 ↖ 338° 75 86 2,300 -1,078 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KRND)
    Sun 19:24:57 29.5512 -98.4934 ← 307° 75 86 2,025 -844 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KBAZ)
    Sun 19:25:13 29.5544 -98.4982 ← 290° 66 76 1,850 -1,266 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSAT)
    Sun 19:25:29 29.5516 -98.5006 ↘ 154° 62 71 1,350 -1,875 Descending FlightAware ADS-B (KSKF)


  10. no fire would be even more tragic if he ran out of fuel


  11. To the anonymous (I wish you guys would at least use a first name) ref: the "Surviving Hell", a T6 will roll a whole lot better than a Comanche with 3 people in it.

  12. He attempted a 360°. A forward slip and S-turns makes more sense for losing altitude.

  13. Without knowing exactly what the winds were I can't be certain, but if you are lucky enough to have complete engine failure right over or near an airport, especially one with a huge runway, why not go for the end that you got made.

  14. I don't think that I would EVER turn away from the airport (making a 360), especially one with "long" runways, when I had an "engine failure."

  15. Wind was 330 @ 4. I'm landing on 22.

  16. "Wind was 330 @ 4. I'm landing on 22."

    I retract that because I don't his exact position when the engine failed.


  17. You have to remember when practicing "No Power Landings" are predetermined, a real situation presents stressful situation in which you have to make decisions with precision. Situational awareness is a key factor. Flying at night with an engine failure is extremely difficult and extremely stressful.

  18. ref, "position when the engine failed."
    Using Flightware, apparent location of malfunction was 4 miles @ 4,300 ft NNE of 13R, a long base leg. [29.5834 -98.4495 (2539 - 2549 Grayson Cir, San Antonio)]


  19. "You have to remember when practicing "No Power Landings" are predetermined, a real situation presents stressful situation in which you have to make decisions with precision. Situational awareness is a key factor. Flying at night with an engine failure is extremely difficult and extremely stressful."

    Exactly! Engine failure happens two different ways ... The way we train and the way it happens in real life. Sometimes real life looks quite a bit different from the training. After dark can be a crap shoot.

    RIP to those lost.


  20. @gretnabear I don't know if we can actually tell when the engine quit. He was inbound to Boerne (5C1) and only changes course just north of Seguin. I assume he started having problems with his engine, and he makes a turn towards KSAT. Are you plotting his position based his call about his engine? He makes a left and then assume he makes the fateful decision to do a 360 at which time he gets too slow and enters a stall/spin at low altitude. So many better choices...I hope I make the right decision if ever in a similar situation!

  21. He looked to have been almost 1800ft agl on his initial approach to the runway. That's a lot of altitude to lose even with a really long runway. I imagine he realized that when lining up, and believed he had to do a 360 in order to land. Tragically, he got too slow in his bank and stalled. Had he maintained his airspeed, he very well may have executed a perfect power off landing. Point being made, just making it to the end of the runway isn't enough. If you come in too fast, you'll just scream down the runway and end up in the trees at the other end. I think he knew that.

  22. Hindsight is 20/20 but if the case was that he was doing a 360 because too high, its a shame he didn't just enter a downwind leg. Being 1800 AGL at the departure end would set up for a perfect power off 180, as in training (lose about 800 ft while downwind and then roughly 100agl when abeam).

  23. Typo - end up being roughly 1000 agl when abeam.

  24. Consider this review of FlightAware ADS-B data; 78P PIC overshot the extended centreline for runway 13 while turning final from base, then turning from 202 degrees, to 187, 89, 338, 307, 290, 154 as the bank attitude increased rapidly and the nose dropped to a nearly vertical attitude.

    'This accident is consistent with an attempt to “cheat” when overshooting a turn to final by input of rudder to increase the rate of turn and opposite aileron to maintain a normal bank angle. If the aircraft is allowed to stall at this point, the inside wing will stall first and a spin will develop.'

  25. Am I missing something here or am I the only one who thinks that it would be logical for the not as experienced private pilot to surrender controls to a 2x NAFI master flight instructor. And if he didn't she surely should have been monitoring bank angle and airspeed. A sad event for all especially for the non pilot passenger whose lifes horizons were just starting.

  26. Circling to land with no engine? When you lose an engine, you’re flying an insurance company airplane. Go straight ahead down after turning into the wind for an off field landing. He should’ve said to the professional instructor, “Your airplane.” The plane might’ve been under insured and he was trying to save it. You need to be extra cautious when you have a naiv young passenger who has without due consideration placed his life in your hands.

  27. Just look at the FlightAware track and see the quickly diminishing air speed during the last one minute of flight. On the last position shown he would have need to bank left to head back toward the airport. Yet he was just at or a tad below the published stall speed would have induced the stall with that bank to the left. It appears that's when a probable tip stall occurred. No wonder. In one instant they still have a chance straighten the heading, nose down to increase speed, and then slowly turn toward the airport with a wide bank, the next instant it was too late. While I agree with previous comments that it is very disappointing to lose three lives, especially the young man who placed his trust in the pilot and certainly would have taken comfort in having an instructor pilot in the plane. Nonetheless, we who were not there should reserve judgement and let the investigators piece this together.

  28. I think it's important to remember that this happened at night, which would make it all the more disorienting. I agree with he idea that he was pulling the nose around with the rudder. I do not agree he should've just handed over PIC duties because the fan stopped.

  29. Yes Mike, It's too easy to be on these blogs with the advantage of hindsight, not taking into account some of the factors they obviously faced (like darkness and stress), and imagine there were no other factors that we could not know about, unless we were there. That's why we do full investigations. The tragedy has happened, the price has been paid. Hopefully at least a shred of learning will happen from the investigation that may prevent another such incident.

  30. For all intents and purposes the Instructor was probably flying the plane. The guy in the left seat was probably just handling the radios.

  31. I am not too sure Maureen was an MEI or held a AMEL certificate. Piston twins can be very dangerous! RIP

  32. Name MAUREEN G.
    Certificate Type, Rating, and Instructor Expire Date

  33. @Anonymous - this was a single engine Comanche.

  34. I'm guessing the 71 year old Maureen was the PIC she was the CFI she had lot of hours might have been over confident showing them some spirals and slips to slow down. Use this opportunity to demo an engine out situation got distracted let the airspeed fall off too much.

  35. Older pilot here with 8000+ hours, multi commercial and instrument rated. I’ve had one experience with engine out, oil pump failed, and was forced to land at San Jose Ca international airport. It was at night in a 69 Bonanza V35, transitioning the TCA I was at 10,500 and just south of the airport as the prop came to a stop.
    After declaring an emergency with 3 people on board, I was given any runway option or to continue 5 miles south to the San Martin county airport. I chose the long and well lit international runways. I did several 360s keeping the airspeed at gear extension ( 120 ), well above stall at a 20 degree bank angle. Once headed to the runway, I had calculated that I had 4 miles and 2000 extra feet. Once two miles and 1000 feet excess, I lowered the gear and lowered the flaps to 20, max. As I went over the threshold I still had 150 excess feet and was at 100 mph. I landed long, with plenty of runway left.
    Moral of the story. Altitude is priceless in an emergency. When I fly, I always plan for the worst case and carry additional altitude. Low level flight is not in my vocabulary. Second, airspeed is always king. Keeping at best glide is fine for getting to your airport to land, but during maneuvering careful watch of bank angle is important. High bank angle coupled with best glide will most cases lead to a stall spin. Night maneuvering complicates matters with the addition of spacial disorientation and loss of many visual clues.
    Rest In Peace to these folks, what a horrible end of events. No blame to any of them, I’m certain they did the best to their abilities. I hope my contribution adds to the toolbox of those here that read it.

  36. From personally knowing Maureen and Hubby having been in an engine out with her as CFI, I believe she was in the back seat. She was heading up there to do some intensive IFR training the next day and he was a qualified pilot. I would imagine she was just chilling out in the back seat letting his passenger enjoy the "sitting up front". Nobody I have talked to thinks that she wouldn't have been able to get this back under control. She was such a wonderful lady and would have definitely given up her seat given the situation. I do it all the time when we fly with people. This was just a terrible tragic accident. Bless all of their families and friends.

    1. There was a photo from Eric, sent to his friends, apparently taken from the back seat while on the ground in Katy.