Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, N6461J: Fatal accident occurred May 31, 2020 near Pineville Municipal Airport (2L0), Rapides Parish, Louisiana

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Piper Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

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


Location: Pineville, LA
Accident Number: CEN20LA199
Date & Time: 05/31/2020, 1330 CDT
Registration: N6461J
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 31, 2020, about 1330 central daylight time, a Piper PA28-180, N6461J, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Pineville, Louisiana. The private pilot and 1 passenger were fatally injured and 1 passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was being operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

One witness, who was a certified flight instructor (CFI), reported that he saw the airplane takeoff from runway 36 at Pineville Municipal Airport (2L0). He stated that the airplane struggled to climb to clear the trees at the end of the runway. The airplane then made a hard left turn, about 400 feet AGL, to the west. The airplane then banked to the east with wings vertical in an "apparent stall/spin situation." The airplane then descended below the tree line. Another CFI-rated witness reported that he saw the airplane takeoff from runway 36 at 2L0. He stated that the airplane was "struggling" to climb. When the airplane was about 400 feet AGL, he saw the airplane make a left turn with about a 60° to 75° bank angle. The airplane then entered a heading of about 270°, holding a very steep bank angle, then continued the left bank to a easterly heading and disappeared behind the tree line. Both CFI witnesses were located at 2L0.

A third pilot-rated witness, who was driving along an adjacent road to 2L0, stated that he saw the airplane in a climb pitch attitude just after departure from 2L0. About 5 seconds later, he saw the airplane roll into an increasingly steep bank, about 200 to 300 feet AGL, and subsequently "enter an accelerated stall." The nose of the airplane then fell into a pitch down attitude and the airplane descended out of sight below a tree line.

There were no radio or distress calls heard from the pilot. The accident site was located in a heavily wooded area, about 1.5 miles from the departure end of runway 36 at 2L0. Figure 1 depicts the accident site in relation to the departure end of runway 36 and the airport. Local authorities rescued the surviving passenger and secured the accident site. After initial on-site examinations, the airplane wreckage was transported to a secure facility for further examinations.

Figure 1. Accident Site in Proximity to Runway 36 at Pineville Municipal Airport 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N6461J
Model/Series: PA28 180
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: AEX, 100  msl
Observation Time: 1353 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 30°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:   10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Pineville, LA (2LO)
Destination: Pineville, LA (2LO) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 31.348333, -92.434444

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.

PINEVILLE, Louisiana (KALB) - Update (6-1-2020):

The Federal Aviation Administration along with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office continued to work the site near Buhlow Lake where a plane crashed after taking off from the Pineville Municipal Airport.

Killed in the crash were twin brothers, Ben and Blake Cooper. Blake's son was also onboard but was ejected upon impact and received some major injuries, but is expected to survive.

The FAA arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday. We have yet to receive an official statement from them, but what we do know right now is the plane was piloted by Ben, owner of Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Alexandria.

Also on board was Blake, who served as Executive Director of Central Louisiana Regional Port for five years, beginning in 2015.

The Central Louisiana Regional Port released a statement saying Blake's enthusiasm, leadership and commitment to the port, the board and commissioners and staff will forever be remembered.

Two prominent members of the Alexandria community have died following a plane crash near the Pineville Municipal Airport at Lake Buhlow.

According to Pineville officials, brothers Ben and Blake Cooper died after the small plane being flown by Ben, an accomplished pilot, crashed shortly after takeoff around 1:20 Sunday afternoon. Confirmation of the men’s identities was made Sunday evening.

Officials also said Blake Cooper’s son was thrown from the wreckage, underwent surgery and is expected to live.

Ben Cooper was the owner and administrator of Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Alexandria, while Blake Cooper was the Executive Director of the Central Louisiana Regional Port. Both men lived in Alexandria and were graduates of Tioga High School.

NTSB officials will release more information after their investigation.

Both Ben and Blake Cooper were members of Calvary Baptist Church.


Ben and Blake Cooper
December 7th, 1982 - May 31st, 2020

The Coopers (Rachel and Laura, Kirk and Sally, Wes and Julie, Casey and Jessica, Avery and Emery, Marly Anne and Mason, Mallory and Audrey, and Brady and Charlie) would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Your presence, acts of kindness, and your notes of condolences are deeply appreciated and will always be remembered.

On behalf of the family, an email address has been created so that friends and family members can email the Coopers so that they may personally reply with a “Thank You” in the coming weeks.

They can be reached at celebratingbenandblake@gmail.com.

We encourage you to email the Coopers with your continued support and love.

-Kramer Funeral Home

Private family services for Ben Cooper and Blake Cooper will be at Calvary Baptist Church on Friday, June 5, 2020, with Dr. B. David Brooks officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home.

A public drive thru visitation will begin at 12:00 P.M. until 2:00 P.M. on Friday, June 5, 2020 at Calvary Baptist Church. Those wishing to attend should enter the Calvary Campus from Mohon Street. A Calvary staff member will direct the flow of traffic. Please remain in your vehicle during this drive thru.

The Cooper Family wishes to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers during this time.

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations in Ben and Blake’s memory can be made to the Children’s Miracle Network, https://www.christuscabrinifoundation.org/childrens-miracle-network, or the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, 3233 Baldwin Street, Alexandria, LA, 71301, or a charity of your choice.

To extend online notes of condolence to the Cooper Family and for more information, please visit www.KramerFunerals.com.

A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Pineville yesterday, claiming the lives of two highly respected men from Alexandria and leaving a 7-year-old in the ICU. President of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Deborah Randolph says the deaths of twin brothers Ben and Blake Cooper is devastating news.

“They were two of the best people you would ever want to meet, who were loved and cherished by their families, great spouses, great children, wonderful friends in the community,” said Randolph.

Blake Cooper was the executive director of the Central Louisiana Regional Port Authority and Ben Cooper was an administrator at Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Alexandria. Randolph says the Tioga High grads were very active in the community.

“It’s so tragic that there were lives were cut short, because I expected great things to continue from both of them as community leaders in the future,” said Randolph.

Randolph says the sole survivor, 7-year-old Mason Cooper, was the son of Blake Cooper, adding he has a long road to recovery ahead.

“He had head trauma, broken bones in his face, a broken bone in his leg, he underwent two surgeries last night, he’s expected to live,” said Randolph.

The NTSB is investigating the crash that happened near Lake Buhlow.


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