Sunday, May 17, 2020

Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion II, N1JA: Fatal accident occurred May 15, 2020 near Burlington Municipal Airport (KBUU), Racine County, Wisconsin

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; Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Location: Burlington, WI
Accident Number: CEN20LA179
Date & Time: 05/15/2020, 1815 CDT
Registration: N1JA
Aircraft: Cessna P210
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 15, 2020, about 1815 central daylight time, a Cessna P210N airplane, N1JA, was substantially damage when it was involved in an accident near Burlington, Wisconsin. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to witness information, the pilot departed West Bend Municipal Airport (EBT), West Bend, Wisconsin, earlier that day to fly to Burlington Municipal Airport (BUU), Burlington, Wisconsin, in order to troubleshoot with maintenance personnel an avionics connection with his electronic flight device. Shortly after departure from BUU to EBT, the pilot returned to BUU due to a malfunction with the horizontal situation indicator. Inspection of the airplane with a mechanic revealed that the airplane's alternator belt had failed. The alternator belt was replaced with a new belt, and the pilot again departed BUU. Shortly after departure from BUU, the pilot communicated over the radio that he was again returning to BUU. A witness, located at BUU, observed the airplane on final approach at a low altitude and low airspeed. He stated that the airplane "clearly stalled", contacted trees, and disappeared from his view.

The airplane came to rest upright in wooded terrain about 1/2 mile short of runway 29. Examination of the airplane revealed several tree impacts with both wings and forward fuselage.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N1JA
Model/Series: P210 N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Jadair International Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BUU, 780 ft msl
Observation Time: 1815 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Burlington, WI (BUU)
Destination: Burlington, WI (BUU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  42.688333, -88.291111 (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

BURLINGTON — The pilot who crashed a plane just east of the Burlington Municipal Airport Friday night has died, Racine County Medical Examiner Michael Payne confirmed Tuesday.

The pilot — 80-year-old David Lee Schmutzler of Port Washington — succumbed Saturday to the injuries he sustained in the crash, Payne said.

Schmutzler was the president and owner of Jadair International in Port Washington, which specializes in water recycling and solids reclamation for the industrial and agricultural industry.

According to Federal Aviation Administration database records, Schmutzler was a single-engine flight instructor.

According to his obituary from Eernisse Funeral Homes and Cremation Service in Port Washington, Schmutzler is survived by his wife of 20 years, Barbara Bode, six children and eight grandchildren. A funeral date had not been set as of Tuesday.

The cause of the crash had not yet been determined as of Tuesday. The FAA has handed over the investigation into the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board. The Journal Times has reached out several times to the NTSB for an update on the crash, but the agency had not responded by Tuesday.

Crash details

City of Burlington police and fire crews were dispatched at about 6:15 p.m. Friday after a report that an aircraft had crashed near the Burlington Municipal Airport, according to a news release from the Burlington Police Department issued Saturday.

Responding officers located the crash site west of 3801 Bieneman Road, which is north of West Chestnut Street (old Highway 11/Highway JS).

The FAA said that the plane, a Cessna Centurion aircraft, had departed from West Bend with an intended destination of Burlington.

Members of the City of Burlington police and fire departments, Racine County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Burlington Fire Department and Rochester Fire Company responded to the call and first responders rendered life-saving measures to Schmutzler, who was trapped inside the aircraft.

Firefighters on scene reported via radio that Schmutzler was conscious, talking to rescuers and had a visible head injury. He was extricated by 6:50 p.m., radio reports indicated.

The pilot was transported to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he died the next day.

Medical condition not clear

The FAA database on fliers indicated that no medical information was available regarding Schmutzler. A call Tuesday to the FAA for additional information regarding Schmutzler’s medical clearance was not returned.

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,” Katz said.

David L. Schmutzler
November 11, 1939 - May 16, 2020

David L. Schmutzler passed away at Froedert Memorial Hospital on Saturday, May 16th, 2020. David found eternal life after sustaining critical injuries when his aircraft went down near the Burlington Airport. He was President and owner of Jadair International, Port Washington, Wisconsin. David was born in Peoria, Illinois on November 11, 1939 to Jack Schmutzler and Dorothy Schuh. He was 80 years old.

David graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering science. He served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged after three years of service. Following his service, he worked in the field of engineering in Utah and Wisconsin. Eventually, David joined his father, Jack, in the development and manufacturing of water recycling equipment for the mining and construction industry. David never stopped working, praying and believing in the work and success of his products and his flying. He had a strong faith and hope that drove his life missions. He had a passion for flying and enjoyed his work as a sea plane, single and multi-engine flight instructor. He will be sorely missed in our lives and in the air.

He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and is survived by his wife of 20 years, Barbara M. Bode, children; Brighton Schmutzler of Park City, Utah, Shane (Becky) Schmutzler of Port Washington, Wisconsin, Dunn Schmutzler of Greendale, Wisconsin, step-children; Anne Bourguignon of Colorado, Mike Bourguignon of Colorado, Mark (Carrie) Bourguignon of California, grandchildren; Allison, Emmalee, Savannah, Ammon, Miriam, Quinn, Sydney and Vivienne; brother Paul Schmutzler and former wife Sondra Green. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law, Linda Schmutzler.

David’s family will have a Memorial Service at St. John’s Lutheran Church LCMS. Interment will take place at Union Cemetery in Port Washington. Donations would be welcome in his honor to St. John’s Lutheran Church (217 North Freeman Drive, Port Washington, WI, 53074). David’s family will welcome friends and extended family for a celebration of life at a later date.

BURLINGTON — The Racine County Medical Examiner says the pilot and lone occupant of the small plane that crash in Burlington on May 15th has died.

Officials identified the man as 80-year-old David Schmutzler of Port Washington. They say he died on Saturday morning at Froedtert Hospital.

An autopsy is underway and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.

BURLINGTON -- A small plane crashed into the woods on Friday evening, May 15th, less than one mile from its Racine County destination, leaving the 80-year-old pilot hospitalized.

City of Burlington Police and Fire responded to reports of a downed aircraft near the Burlington Municipal Airport around 6:15 p.m. on Friday. The plane was traveling from West Bend to the Burlington Municipal Airport, when the flight took a harrowing turn.

"I've been saying for years, one of these days, one is going to crash here," said Roger Bieneman, who lives near the site of the crash. "And it did."

Around the time of the crash, Bieneman was home when one of his neighbors rushed over and said: "Did you hear the big boom?"

Bieneman hopped on his golf cart and went looking for the source of the sound. He found it along his property line.

"You can see he came down really hard, knocked several trees over, pulled them right up at the stumps." said Bieneman.

Burlington police said an 80-year-old man from Port Washington was flying the Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion II. Authorities said he was trapped inside when they arrived at the scene and needed to be extricated. Life-saving measures were performed and he was transported to the hospital for treatment.

"They finally had to tear the plane apart to get him out, and took him away," said Bieneman.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells FOX6 News they are investigating the cause of the crash. As of Saturday evening, authorities had not yet provided an update on the pilot's condition.


  1. 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.

  2. Robert Katz making a wild accusation without any supporting information. I'm a commercial pilot who's known David Schmutzler for more than 40 years. Mr. Katz should not be making questionable remarks when there is no evidence to support them.