Thursday, May 14, 2020

Beech F33A Bonanza, N711JA: Fatal accident occurred May 12, 2020 near Tampa North Aero Park (X39), Wesley Chapel, Pasco County, Florida -and- Incident occurred January 27, 2017 at Clearwater Airpark (KCLW), Pinellas County, Florida

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 Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Location: Land O Lakes, FL
Accident Number: ERA20LA179
Date & Time: 05/12/2020, 1125 EDT
Registration: N711JA
Aircraft: Beech F33
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 12, 2020, about 1125 eastern daylight time, a Beech F33A, N711JA, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Land O Lakes, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane was based at Clearwater Air Park (CLW), Clearwater, Florida. Earlier during the day of the accident, the pilot flew the airplane uneventfully from CLW to Tampa North Aero Park (X39), Tampa, Florida and was returning to CLW at the time of the accident. Runway 32 at X39 was 3,541 feet long, 50 feet wide, and consisted of asphalt.

According to witnesses at X39, the pilot performed an engine run-up near the beginning of runway 32 and the engine sounded normal. The pilot then taxied onto the runway for departure, but as soon as the engine reached full power, it began to sound abnormal, rough, and/or lean. The pilot then reduced engine power and taxied to runway 14, performed another engine run-up and the engine sounded normal. However, the engine again began to run rough when it reached full power for takeoff. The pilot reduced the engine power and taxied to the beginning of runway 32. He performed a third engine run-up and the engine sounded normal. As the engine reached full power, it began to run rough again, but the pilot continued the takeoff roll. The airplane travelled more than half the distance of the runway before it lifted off, "barely" cleared trees at the end of the runway and made a left turn. One of the witnesses radioed the pilot and advised that he had a rough running engine, the pilot replied "ya, returning," followed by "going down."

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest upright in the backyard of a vacant residence about 1/2 mile west of the departure end of runway 32. All major components of the airplane were accounted for and a postcrash fire consumed most of the cockpit, cabin, and right wing. The left wing had separated during the impact and was also located in the backyard of the residence, north of the main wreckage.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N711JA
Model/Series: F33 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Logical Choice Aviation N711JA Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ZPH, 89 ft msl
Observation Time: 1135 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 50°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Land O Lakes, FL (X39)
Destination: Clearwater, FL (CLW)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 28.223611, -82.386944

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

Thomas Saxon

May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

Thomas Saxon and Robert Schupbach both loved flying planes. They also loved jumping out of them. So what if everyone else thought they were crazy, as Schupbach assumed — it’s what made he and Saxon good friends.

“He made an excellent partner — even though he was much bigger than me, we were able to maintain our fall rate together, just because so many times we jumped together,” said Schupbach, who met Saxon through a skydiving club about five years ago. "He made me feel safe, and I made him feel safe.”

Soon after the two became friends, Schupbach remembered, he asked his skydiving buddy to become a co-owner of his Beech F33A Bonanza. The plane required expensive maintenance, Schupbach said, but they could handle it between the two of them.

Saxon, 61, died Tuesday morning when the Beech F33A Bonanza crashed into a backyard in Wesley Chapel. Though the plane came down in the well-populated Grand Oaks subdivision, it missed houses and residents. No one else was injured.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration went to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board, which publishes the results of investigations into plane crashes, has yet to release a preliminary report. Neither agency has publicly determined the cause of the accident. The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday identified Saxon as the pilot.

Flight data, tracked by the website FlightAware, show that the plane safely completed a 14-minute flight from Clearwater — where Schupbach said the plane was based — to Tampa North Flight and Rental Center, just west of Interstate 75 in the Wesley Chapel area. It landed at 9:53 a.m. Tuesday. The plane took off again at 10:40 a.m., first heading north and then east before circling back toward the airfield.

It crashed 12 minutes later, just a few thousand feet from the airfield.

The FAA classified the damage as “substantial.” Images and footage broadcast by WFTS-Ch. 28 showed flames and smoke rising from the debris. The Beech F33A Bonanza wings appeared to be shorn off.

Robert Katz, a flight instructor and veteran pilot in Texas who closely tracks plane crashes across the country, said what he could see of the crash’s aftermath made him suspect corrosion had damaged the plane, causing the wings to come off. It’s an issue Katz said he’s seen before in older airplanes in coastal communities, where the nearby saltwater encourages corrosion.

“It makes it easy for the wings to snap off — in what was a perfect flying weather day," he said. “Everyone in that neighborhood is lucky to be alive.”

Schupbach said he had no idea why the plane crashed.

“The maintenance was excellent,” he said. "The plane was kept up — this is why I took Tom in as a partner in the first place.”

Ongoing maintenance had actually caused the plane to stay on the ground for much of the past year, Schupbach said. That included the installment of new navigation equipment, he said, as well as an annual inspection.

Schupbach didn’t know much about his friend’s personal life, he said — they mostly talked about flying and skydiving. He said Saxon was retired and owned some rental properties in Madeira Beach, where he also lived. He was a proud Marine veteran, Schupbach said, and had the branch’s insignia on his parachute container.

Saxon’s wife, Cindy, declined to comment on Wednesday. Thomas Saxon served as a Madeira Beach city commissioner in the late 1990s, according to stories in the then-St. Petersburg Times. He made a living running more than two dozen veterans centers across the southeast, according to one of those stories.

Schupbach said Saxon just felt comfortable in the sky.

“We are a different breed," Schupbach said. "We had that in common.”

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida 

January 27, 2017:  Aircraft gear collapsed on landing. 

Date: 27-JAN-17
Time: 14:45:00Z
Regis#: N711JA
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: BE33
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017


  1. If Guinness has a category for uninformed, idiotic comments concerning an aircraft accident, Mr. Katz is the clear winner -- in fact, the category can now safely be retired.

  2. If the wings were found some distance from the rest of the plane, I believe that is a good assumption. A friend of mine died in an old but well-kept Tripacer when the wings snapped off at 3000 feet. The corrosion was not visible but it was there. No pilot on Earth can land safely when the wings come off.

    1. Never assume anything regarding plane crashes, stop and think, no wings no fire! This aircraft had external fuel cells only, wings tanks next to the body and tip tanks! I have flown in this plane many times. Only one wing separated during the crash due to trees, heavily treed area with marks high up in the trees indicative of the aircraft striking them on the way down! Mr Katz is a someone who should not opine about anything related to plane crashes, I have read some of his so called opinions regarding other accidents and apparently he is clueless about them as well!!

    2. Around 14 years old, I met previous owner, one Vincent Dieter. Very gracious man. He and his Father had a grass airstrip in Cherryville, Pa. The bird had King avionics and weather radar. He even let me fly it once at altitude

  3. In fair weather and in a constant 100 mph decent, both wings snap off simultaneously? Now that's some serious corrosion that Mr. Katz sees.

  4. Someone needs to take the Internet away from Mr. Katz. He enjoys calling and commenting things he knows nothing about to people who don’t know better. I’ve seen his comments on a couple different accidents around the state of Florida. Jumping to wild conclusions does nothing but hurt GA in the eyes of the public and it’s all so he can get his 5 seconds of fame

  5. Just today Mr. Katz commented to the news media about fatal N1JA Cessna P210N that happened in Racine, WI. He's all over the freakin' internet...

    "Robert Katz, a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor in Texas who researches crashes, said if a pilot did not have medical clearance to fly that would present an absolute risk to public risk. The conscious choice to fly without a valid medical certificate is the most common offense committed by the pilot community".

    1. Katz has zero credibility regarding anything remotely connected to plane crashes!

  6. I am wondering if Katz has ever been involved in an investigation, actually sifting through the bags of fragments, piles of parts, personal belongings and discarded medical waste....... not sure if he even knows the proper procedure for performing such an investigation.

    If not, perhaps he should stop speculating on causes by just reading accounts and looking at images and voicing his opinion like he is an expert.

    I am amazed that any news outlet even listens to this guy, yet alone prints his drivel.

    Maybe it's time that the NTSB (aviation branch) be disbanded in favor of calling Katz on the phone and using his unsupported findings as the preliminary and then final findings on all of these aviation events.

  7. The prelim is out and surprise-surprise, there is zero evidence of the wings separating in flight as Mr Katz had suggested....

    "All major components of the airplane were accounted for and a postcrash fire consumed most of the cockpit, cabin, and right wing. The left wing had separated during the impact and was also located in the backyard of the residence, north of the main wreckage."

    1. So there goes Katz's expert corrosion theory.

      I do hope the media catches on to this guy and perhaps the NTSB or FSDO suggests that he not chime in.

      He has no credibility or expertise at all at all.

    2. Amen, he should find a hobby he knows something about!

  8. Mr. Katz is the same guy who helped Al Gore invent the internet.

    1. A good one! Someone forgot to tell Mr Katz that if the wings separate from the main body of the aircraft, there would be no fire! IE:Fuel cells in this aircraft are located in the wings!! I have flown this AC many times and have been an instructor to both Schupbach and Saxon!! This was totally out of charactor for Tom to have made this decision.

  9. Final investigation has been published. The NTSB determined the cause to be the partial loss of engine power due to a contaminated fuel system and the pilot’s improper decision to attempt a takeoff with a known deficiency in engine power. Possibly contributing to the pilot's decision making ability was the use of disqualifying/impairing medication.

    Mr. Katz, in the words of James Herriot, Don't be meddlin' in things ya ken nobbut aboot!