Saturday, October 10, 2020

Cessna 414, N8132Q: Accident occurred October 08, 2020 at North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, 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; Orlando, Florida 
Textron; Wichita, Kansas 

Location: West Palm Beach, FL 
Accident Number: ERA21LA011
Date & Time: October 8, 2020, 11:15 Local 
Registration: N8132Q
Aircraft: Cessna 414 Injuries: 7 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 8, 2020, about 1115 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 414, N8132Q, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, Florida. The private pilot and six passengers sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot’s son, a multiengine airplane rated passenger who was seated in the front right seat, his father was flying family members to Claxton-Evans County Airport, Claxton, Georgia, where they planned a fuel stop before proceeding to their home-base of Columbus Municipal Airport, Columbus, Indiana. After the preflight inspection, engine start and taxi, he noted no irregularities when his father performed the engine run-up. His father then taxied onto the runway, checked the trim for takeoff, applied brakes, and advanced the throttles to full power. Once at full rpm, his father released the brakes and the airplane began its takeoff roll. Shortly into the takeoff roll, he felt a momentary “slight shudder” which appeared to come from the controls. As the airplane continued down the runway, he looked out of the window and thought that they should have rotated. He observed that the airspeed indicator showed about 10 to 15 knots past “blueline;” however, the airplane remained on the runway and continued to gain speed. 

The airplane was running out of runway, and the pilot’s son attempted to pull back on the control yoke; however, the controls would not move, so he pulled the throttles back to idle and applied maximum braking; he estimated that the airplane’s indicated airspeed was between 120 and 130 knots when the aborted takeoff was initiated. The airplane departed the paved portion of the runway, travelled through the grass and impacted a dirt mound before coming to rest in a marsh.

A witness who observed the takeoff stated, “They were going fast enough to fly, but they weren’t coming up off the ground.” He further stated said the engines never lost power until the pilot shut them off in an attempt to stop. 

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that it came to rest upright and submerged in about 5 ft of water about 450 ft beyond the departure end of runway 14. The fuselage and cabin area remained relatively intact. The right wing and engine were separated. The right elevator was bent upwards nearly vertical with the vertical stabilizer; the left elevator separated. The left wing and engine remained attached in their respective locations, with the outboard portion of the left wing sheared at the wing tip fuel tank.

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

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N8132Q
Model/Series: 414 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPBI,21 ft msl 
Observation Time: 10:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C /23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3100 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 120°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: West Palm Beach, FL 
Destination: Claxton, GA (CWV)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 5 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 7 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 26.840056,-80.215806 (est)

A photo of the Joseph Allen family, with Angela and Joseph Allen and their children Abrams McCarthy, 12, Logan Allen, 4 and Heidi Allen, 2.

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Seven members of a local family were injured when their plane went off a runway at the North Palm Beach County airport Thursday, flipping into a pond.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office identified the seven on the plane as Joseph Allen, 70, who owned the plane, Diana Allen, 70, both of Edinburgh, and another Joseph Allen, 36, Angela Allen, 38, and children, Abram McCarthy, 12, Logan Allen, 4, and Heidi Allen, 2, all of Columbus. Two other people who helped rescue them were also injured.

The plane crash happened at 11:15 a.m. Thursday while the Cessna 414 was taking off from the North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Brandon Allen, son of the older Joseph Allen, said his father and the others were in Florida on vacation and were on their way back to Columbus Municipal Airport when the plane crash occurred.

The members of the Allen family and two rescuers who worked to pull the victims out of the plane were taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, according to Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue.

Brandon said that his father and stepmother were initially in the intensive care unit, and he believes they’re were being transferred out. He said that he believes his brother and sister-in-law, the younger Joseph Allen and Angela, were in a regular hospital and both will be released soon. Hospital officials had said they could be released Friday or today.

“Everybody’s been spoken to,” he said. “They’re all lucid. They’re in good spirits.”

He did say that some family members “sustained painful fractures and lacerations.”

Brandon said his father has flown for about 44 years, and his brother is also a pilot.

The FAA entry said that the Cessna 414, “failed to climb during takeoff and ran off (the) departure end of (the) runway,” according to reporting in the Palm Beach Post.

Christopher Markgraf watched the plane carrying his friend’s extended family — four adults and three children as young as 2 — shoot down the runway at the North County Airport. He saw it run out of asphalt and flip into a pond.

“We saw it. Heard all of it,” Markgraf said Friday. Within five minutes, Markgraf said, crews from businesses at the airport had all seven people out of the partially submerged plane and on their way to the hospital, the paper reported.

“If you would have seen it all, they shouldn’t be here,” Markgraf told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s an absolutely God-given miracle.”

“They’re all in stable condition,” son-in-law Kevin Schuldt said Friday from Michigan. “A lot of them have to have surgeries to fix some broken stuff. They’re all out of the ICU,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

According to relatives, Joseph Allen is an Air Force veteran and a retired electrician, the Palm Beach Post reported. Diana is involved with the Purina pet food company. Both are active breeders of American Eskimo dogs, and Diana is president of the national association, the newspaper reported

The younger Joseph Allen, or “Joe,” works in internet technology. Angela is an autism coordinator for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., according to her social media account. BCSC is on fall break this week.

BCSC Superintendent Jim Roberts said school corporation officials learned about the crash earlier Friday and were stunned to learn that it involved a BCSC employee who works in the administration building. Describing Angela Allen as extremely talented in her role as autism coordinator for the school corporation, Roberts said she has been in that role as long as he has been at the school corporation, for about the past five years. School officials are gathering details as many families return to Columbus from fall break this weekend.

On the day of the crash, Markgraf and a friend had taken the Allen family to the airport and were watching when the plane left the airport, according to the Palm Beach Post. While both Joseph Allens are certified pilots, it is unknown who was piloting the plane.

“About a third of the way down the runway, I said, ‘Hey. They’re in trouble,’ “ Markgraf told the Palm Beach Post. “They were going fast enough to fly, but they weren’t coming up off the ground.”

He said the plane’s engines never lost power or even sputtered. “I could see the plane just skipping along. It wanted to fly,” Markgraf said. “I heard them kill the power and start trying to stop. There was not enough real estate,” he told Palm Beach Post reporters.

Nearby people sprinted to the site and got the seven family members out of the aircraft from chest-deep water, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Sean Nowlin, a mechanic at the airport, was working when a colleague from outside shouted that a plane had crashed. Nowlin and a colleague grabbed a fire extinguisher and cutters, jumped into a golf cart and raced down the runway. When they got to the pond, everyone still was in the plane, the newspaper reported.

“One of the guys yelled out, ‘They’re alive! And there’s kids in there!’ Everything sort of ramped up exponentially,” Nowlin said. “They ripped the door open and started getting people out,” according to the newspaper.

The nose and part of the cabin were under water, as the plane lay on an angle on the bank of the pond. He said the water was over his head at some points, the newspaper reported

Nowlin said he helped carry some of the smaller children, sliding down a wing. He said a man he believed was the senior Joseph Allen sat, dazed, on the bank, the newspaper reported.

“I kept saying, ‘Are you OK, mate? Where are you hurting?’ “ said Nowlin, who’s Australian. “He said, ‘I don’t know what happened. I just don’t know what happened.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry. You’re all out of the plane. The kids are here. The kids are OK. The kids are next to you,’ “ he told the Palm Beach Post.

Only later, Nowlin said, did he think of his own children.

“You think about them being in that situation,” he said. “It tugs at your heartstrings.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Final report is out - the probable cause is failure to remove the control lock before takeoff.

    1. That's not what I read as the probable cause...
      "The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection during which he failed to detect a flight control
      abnormality, and his failure to expediently abort the takeoff, which resulted in the co-pilot
      performing a delayed aborted takeoff and the subsequent runway overrun."

    2. I don't see anywhere in the NTSB report where it actually says that. They have a bunch of pictures of the control lock, but nothing actually tying the control lock to the cause. The report says this:
      "The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection during which he failed to detect a flight control
      abnormality, and his failure to expediently abort the takeoff, which resulted in the co-pilot
      performing a delayed aborted takeoff and the subsequent runway overrun."
      The delayed aborted takeoff is a problem, but I'm surprised with all the security videos of the ramp that they didn't have a video of the pre-flight itself. Seems like a lot of speculation on the NTSBs part without a lot of evidence to support anything one way or another.

    3. This was surely a control lock issue. The ailerons were working fine later when they were tested. The control lock was on the floor beneath the rudders - the pilot said it would ordinarily be secured in his flight bag, but perhaps a shoulder injury meant it didn't end up in there when he placed it?!

      It appears neither pilot nor co-pilot did a controls-free check before takeoff. Also surprised they rode it down the runway for so long without aborting - a runway excursion could definitely have been avoided here if the correct action was taken at the correct time.

      Sobering stuff. They were incredibly lucky to all get out.

    4. Surely this would have been caught if a proper pre-flight inspection or controls-free check had been completed before take off. I believe NTSB said the ailerons were working fine after the crash. What else could it have been? Control lock on the floor under the rudders, the pilot said it should have been in his pilot bag but maybe didn't end up in there because of a shoulder issue?

      The family are incredibly lucky to have survived.

  3. The father and son colluded on this one.


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