Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne, N135VE: Fatal accident occurred June 05, 2020 in Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Piper Aircraft Company; Vero Beach, Florida
The New Piper Aircraft Company; Wichita, Kansas
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Location: Eatonton, GA 

Accident Number: ERA20LA206
Date & Time: 06/05/2020, 1520 EDT
Registration: N135VE
Aircraft: Piper PA 31T
Injuries: 5 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 5, 2020, about 1520 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31T, N135VE, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Eatonton, Georgia. The two pilots and the three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot/owner, who was seated in the left front seat of the airplane, held a private pilot certificate for single and multiengine airplanes with an instrument rating. He had filed an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan and was in contact with air traffic control (ATC) shortly after he departed from Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Williston, Florida, at 1413. The other pilot, who was seated in the front right seat, held a private pilot certificate for single engine airplanes only and had no instrument rating.

A review of preliminary ATC communications and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane was on a northerly heading en route to New Castle Henry County Marlatt Field (UWL) New Castle, Indiana, at an altitude of 25,000 ft mean sea level (msl).

When the airplane was about 50 miles south of Eatonton, Georgia, one of the pilot's told ATC that he was deviating "to the right a little" to avoid weather. When the airplane passed over Eatonton, one of the pilot's advised ATC that they wanted to proceed direct to their destination on a 353° heading, and ATC approved. This was the last communication between ATC and the airplane. About a minute later, the airplane was observed on radar entering a right turn, followed by a rapid descent. Radar contact was lost about 1520. There were no distress calls made by either pilot.

Several witnesses observed the airplane as it was descending and took video with their cell phones. A review of these videos revealed the airplane was spinning as it descended, was on fire and trailing black smoke.

The main wreckage of the airplane impacted densely wooded terrain inverted. The airplane continued to burn and the cockpit, fuselage, empennage, inboard sections of both wings and the right engine sustained extensive fire damage. The outboard sections of both wings and the tail section had separated from the airplane as it descended and were located within 3 miles of the where the main wreckage came to rest. The left engine had also separated but has not yet been not located.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N135VE
Model/Series: PA 31T Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 3J7, 688 ft msl
Observation Time:1515 EDT 
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 150°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Williston, FL (X60)
Destination: New Castle, IN (UWL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight and On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: In-Flight
Total Injuries: 5 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.381389, -83.328889
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.

Shawn Charles Lamont, his wife Jody Rae Lamont and their two children, Jayce and Alice.

Larry Ray Pruitt

EATONTON, Georgia – A small plane crashed Friday in rural Georgia, killing all five onboard, including four members of a Florida family who were traveling to a funeral in Indiana.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told local news outlets no one survived the afternoon crash about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Sills identified the victims as Larry Ray Pruitt, 67, of Morriston, Florida; Shawn Charles Lamont, 41, of Gainesville, Florida; his wife Jody Rae Lamont, 43; and their two children, 6-year-old Jayce and 4-year-old Alice.

Shawn Lamont was a new member of the Williston Chamber of Commerce. In a statement, the chamber’s executive director said: "He was excited to become more active in the community and was planning to host a mixer at his business before the pandemic. He supported us and Williston in our community efforts.”

Jody Lamont was acting clinical supervisor of Alachua County Court Services. She is being remember as an excellent clinician, who had a bright future. The Alachua County Chair said: “Jody devoted her life to helping those in need find their way back to leading healthy and productive lives. Her loss weighs heavily on all those who worked with her, knew her and loved her.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Piper PA31-T Cheyenne was flying from Williston, Florida, to Newcastle, Indiana.

Tracy Carter, a Milledgeville resident, told The Union-Recorder he saw a plane circling the area and catch fire. Parts of the plane flew off and landed in the nearby field and he said he heard a loud boom.

Emergency crews responded, putting out flames in a wooded area.


EATONTON, Georgia — UPDATE, 9 p.m.:

According to Sheriff Howard Sills, 5 people were killed in the plane crash. He says they have been identified as:

67-year-old Larry Ray Pruitt, of Morriston, Fla. Pruitt was the pilot and owner of the aircraft;
41-year-old Shawn Charles Lamont, of Gainesville, Florida; 
43-year-old Jody Rae Lamont, of Gainesville. She was the wife of Shawn and daughter of Larry Pruitt;
6-year-old Jayce Lamont and 4-year-old Alice Lamont, the son and daughter of Shawn and Jody Lamont.

Sills says the family were flying from Williston, Florida to Newcastle, Indiana to attend a funeral.

A plane crash in a heavily-wooded area of Putnam County has no survivors, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.

The Federal Aviation Administration says that a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne went down in the 200-block of Tanyard Road around 3:30 p.m. Friday.

They say the plane left from Williston, Florida and was on its way to Indiana at the time of the crash.

Sills said he does not know how many people were onboard the plane at the time of the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation.


PUTNAM COUNTY, Georgia - Officials said four members of a Florida family, including two young children, and a pilot on their way to a funeral in Indiana were killed in a plane crash in north Georgia

According to the Federal Aviation Administration a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne went down around 3:13 p.m. into the dense woods near Tanyard Road about six miles northeast of Eatonton, Georgia. The twin-engine turboprop plane reportedly took off from Williston Municipal Airport, a small airfield in between Gainesville and Ocala, Florida just after 2 p.m. The plane did encounter a line of storms as it passed over Putnam County, Georgia, but it was not immediately known if those storms played a factor in the crash.

The plane was supposed to land just before 5 p.m. at the New Castle - Henry County Municipal Airport, a small airfield about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.

The pilot and owner of the aircraft was identified by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office as Larry Ray Pruitt, 67, of Morriston, Florida. Onboard were husband and wife, Shawn Charles Lamont, 41, and Jody Rae Lamont, and their two young children, 6-year-old Jayce Lamont and 4-year-old Alice Lamont, all from Gainesville, Florida.

All were found dead at the scene.

Viewer video sent to FOX 5 shows what appears to be a plane in distress in the sky. Flames can be seen and a loud bang can be heard in the video.

A second video taken by a FOX 5 viewer showed a plane dropping out of the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be in charge of the investigation.



  1. That piece in the hay field is from the right (starboard) wing, outboard of the engine. It is upside down, with the wingtip end at the right. The tip tank is missing.

    The torn open appearance is due to separation at the main spar, such that the forward portion of the outer wing is missing all the way across. The portion of the outer wing behind the spar with aileron and aileron trim tab still attached is all there is to that piece.

    The above comparison of the hay field fragment used Photo 17 of a 2012 accident document. Link:

  2. I've flown (Corporate) one of these birds .. from '82 to '88 ..it would be perhaps revealing to note the conversation between the ATC (center) and the pilot during the presumed circumnavigation (if any) around the assumed weather.
    Dale Rust ATPFII

    1. That conversation may associate weather ahead with the change from FL22 to FL25 and reveal whether the pilot was getting real time WX coordination from a controller or just using his own panel displays.

      The latency of data link weather displayed on glass can be 20 minutes out of date from real time conditions that an onboard radar would show.

      Notice that the 265 knot speed was not reduced in the last minutes of the flight. Could be a repeat of the N709CH accident scenario.


  3. The timing of the weather snapshot displayed on Flightaware tracking after the flight has ended needs to be understood. A weather timestamp is always displayed at the bottom of the map.

    For the Flightaware N135VE accident flight, the weather timestamp shows "07:25 PM UTC", which is 19:25 UTC. Subtracting 4 to adjust for EDT means that the weather displayed is for 15:25 EDT, or 3:25 PM. The weather snapshot shown is five minutes after the crash.


  4. If the TSM had any intensity, FL250 most likely would not have "topprd" it, and if it was a "line of weather", the flight would have required some amount of circumnavigation. One gives thunderstorms some respect .. in ANY type of aircraft .. including "triple 7's"

    Dale Rust (been there .. now retired)

  5. As a follow-up .. and this time I will not mention my name .. but I am hearing way too much discussion on this SAS system in this aircraft .. their is WAY too much emphasis on this. I will jump with 'both feet in the water' and say I flew with an 'inoperative SAS for four years .. the aircraft flew beautifically .. knowing full well why the 'SAS' was installed in the first place. WHEN A PILOT FLIES AN AIRCRAFT, FORGETING ABOUT 'FEEL', AND ONLY FLIES REGARDING ATTITUDE AND AIRSPEED' .. things will work out just fine. (That comes with flying so many different aircraft .. as a high time Instructor integrates) I had the SAS 'fixed' .. (a computer malfunction) and THAT RUINED a perfectly good airplane.

    There was NO mention of this pilot's training .. did he go to Flight Safety ?? '' or any other of the Cheyenne training institutions. If all the 'training' was from a 'salesmen' .. on how to start, what numbers for takeoff, climb, and cruise, .. and how to shut down .. ??? But of course one would assume the insurance would dictate the amount of training required to be the 'PIC'.

    From one who has had the Initial Training (and recurrent) from Flight Safety, Int'l .. and flew a Cheyenne II .. single pilot (corporate) for six years. (not speculating on anything .. but I do suspect their was a 'sudden distracting' moment .. baggage door ?? fuel control unit runaway ?? auto pilot gone awry ?? .. (assuming it was engaged in the first place) BTW .. The Part 135 single pilot must be able to know how to use and integrate the AP in his/her normal checkride .. I KNOW .. done that ..

  6. Preliminary report includes conversation with controllers that he adjusted course for weather. Was he equipped with on-board radar, or using data-linked displays?

    A data-linked cockpit display shows pilots information about a thunderstorm that is five to 20 minutes old. Continuing without reduction in speed while picking a course to get through using stale display data can expose the airframe to overstress in up/down drafts.


  7. I always cringe reading these reports....just waiting for the picture of the smiling wife and kids...who all had a few minutes to think about it. As bad is it gets, folks.

  8. Wonder if the family knew the pilot or if this was another weird Florida 134.5

    1. The left seat pilot is the father of the wife.

    2. This was a private 91 flight. It was not a charter flight. Nothing at all related to a 135 operational requirement. Even if it was and the owner had his 135 classification met, this aircraft is still single pilot certified for 135 ops.

    3. It’s amazing how poorly most posters are, including 135 operators and instructors at inappropriate, poor speculation — without even taking the time to read all the facts of this mishap, before bizarre commentary. Good to point this out, Anon.

  9. There was a spectacular loud explosion at altitude associated with this crash, my home was shaken and the Sheriff reported hearing it as well. We are all at least 15 miles apart. I'm really curious about what happened here.