Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, N581U: Accident occurred March 08, 2020 near Destin Executive Airport (KDTS), Okaloosa County, Florida -and- Incident occurred August 20, 2016 near Manhattan Regional Airport (KMHK), Kansas

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 did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama


Location: Destin, FL
Accident Number: ERA20LA122
Date & Time: 03/08/2020, 1000 CST
Registration: N581U
Aircraft: Beech V35
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 8, 2020, about 1000 central daylight time, a Beech V35, N581U, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Destin Executive Airport (DTS) Destin, Florida. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he intended to depart from Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM), Fort Smith, Arkansas for a 3 hour flight to DTS. Prior to takeoff, the airplane's fuel tanks were topped off with 80 gallons of fuel, of which 74 gallons was usable and provided about 4 1/2 hours of flight time. After an uneventful preflight inspection of the airplane and engine runup, the flight departed at 0700, and then climbed to 9,000 ft mean sea level (msl). The pilot reported that he switched the fuel tanks every 30 minutes as alerted by a timer, with a fuel burn of about 16 gallons per hour (rich of peak) en route, he expected the airplane to contain over 20 gallons of fuel when he arrived.

While on a 3 mile final to DTS runway 14, the pilot configured the airplane for landing, but as the airplane approached about 1 1/2 miles from the runway, the engine experienced a total loss of power. "There was no sputtering and coughing" but the propeller continued to "windmill." The pilot attempted to troubleshoot by switching fuel tanks, ensuring the mixture was rich and then attempted an engine restart, which was unsuccessful. The airplane descended and impacted trees immediately adjacent to a residence about 2,000 ft before the runway; the airplane came to rest in a tree in a left, nose down position. According to the pilot, this was the second time in the previous 12 months that the engine unexpectantly "quit" on final approach.

The Federal Aviation Administration Inspector on scene reported that the left wing was severely deformed, resulting in a ruptured fuel tank and there was leading edge damage to the right wing. Two of the propeller blades remained intact and one blade was slightly bent. In addition, the homeowner reported a strong odor of fuel immediately after the accident.

The airplane was recovered from the accident site and retained for additional examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N581U
Model/Series: V35
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DTS, 23 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / 21 knots, 120°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.52 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Fort Smith, AR (FSM)
Destination: Destin, FL (DTS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.409167, -86.481389

Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, N581U 
March 8th, 2020

DESTIN — The pilot and passenger who survived a plane crash Sunday morning were identified as a father and son from Kansas.

Jason Dougherty, 47, of Garden City, Kansas and Caleb Dougherty, 22, of Salina were onboard a Beechcraft V35 Bonanza when it went down short of the Destin Executive Airport runway, according to a press release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

The two, along with their Labrador retriever, were flying into the Destin area for vacation.

The three survived without a scratch after just missing a home and landing in a tree in the area of Main Street and Planet Drive around 10 a.m., the release said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office incident report, the pilot said he was on final approach to the airport when his only engine started to give out. He said he tried to adjust the mixture and switch fuel tanks, but the engine quit.

He made a “Mayday” call to the Destin Control tower before the plane hit some trees and started to slide to one side slowly, he said.

The left wing stopped when it hit the ground, which kept the plane from completely falling out of the tree, the pilot said.

Someone arrived with a ladder and helped them out of the tree.

The homeowner told the deputy she was out walking her dog when she heard a noise and came home to find the plane in her backyard trees.

There was no damage to her home, but aircraft fuel was spilled around the trees, the report said.

The plane suffered significant damage and someone from the National Transportation Safety Board was scheduled to come out Monday and investigate the incident.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.nwfdailynews.com

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

August 20, 2016: Aircraft force landed in a field. 

Date: 20-AUG-16
Time: 15:40:00Z
Regis#: N581U
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Kansas


  1. "The three survived without a scratch after just missing a home and landing in a tree ..."

    Incredible outcome.

  2. I would start the investigation with the fuel receipts

  3. Wow! There have been some fatals here in similar fashion over the years. What luck. Looking at that aircraft in that position is almost like looking at a still frame of a video of it crashing into the home with a sadder outcomes. I soloed and flew out of this airport from the nearby Eglin Air Force Base aero club I was based at. There is a golf course on the east side surrounded by large pines, and I always had that in mind. Everywhere else around there it is homes and businesses. That and the Gulf Of Mexico beach always full of people and the Choctawatchee Bay on opposite ends of the runway. Not many put down options when something happens in the pattern on short notice there.

  4. Wonder if it was long straight in approach says he was on final should have been able to make the runway unless he was too low by then.

  5. He was obviously too low. The intersection of Main St. and Planet Drive is in line with RWY 14 center line (north side of airport). That's the area where they went down. They almost made it to the open grass stretch to the right of 14 and clearly didn't even have enough altitude to clear the power lines before that open stretch. I wonder if he intentionally put it down in the trees knowing there was no making any safe landing.