Thursday, November 19, 2020

Aero Commander 500, N99LQ: Incident occurred November 18, 2020 at Treasure Coast Airpark (FL37), Port St. Lucie, Florida

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

Aircraft landed, lost control and slid into a ditch. 

TAB Associates Inc dba  

Date: 18-NOV-20
Time: 22:30:00Z
Regis#: N99LQ
Aircraft Model: 500
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91


An experienced pilot escaped injury Wednesday night after the plane he was flying slid off a grass runway at Treasure Coast Airpark, in Port. St. Lucie.

It happened around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at the private airpark community on Grumman Way, said the plane's owner, Brad Layne, who lives in the neighborhood.

The aircraft, a 1959 fixed-wing Aero Commander, which FAA records show is owned by TAB Associates, Inc, in Lake Worth, came to stop in a water-filled ditch.

"I'm out flying every other day," Layne said Thursday as the aircraft was being hauled away. 

"Thirty-four years and nothing like this has ever happened, so it was a first for me."

He was flying from Fort Pierce to the airpark "helping out a friend" on a personal trip when the crash happened, he said.

There was mud on the runway when he was flying back last night right around sunset.

When he hit the ditch, the plane went sideways and "couldn't recover," he said. 

The ditch where the plane stopped normally isn't there, he said, but recent rains have left a lot of standing water.

"It just happened," Layne said.

The nose gear doors of the plane received minor damage.

Because it was dark when the plane crashed, Layne said he waited until Thursday morning to have a crane haul it out.

Airpark resident Randy Opat came across the errant aircraft around 6 a.m., Thursday.  No one was with the plane at the time, he said.

The airpark, which has about 100 lots, has a lighted airstrip 4,000-feet long and 100-feet wide, Opat said.

“The aircraft was based on the southwest end of the field,” he said. “It appears last night when it landed, it landed to the west and swerved off the runway."

Vincent Brocklebank, a retired airline captain who moved to the airpark in 1990, said when he looked at the aircraft Thursday, it looked like the plane ran into wind troubles.

“Instead of landing against the wind, which is the normal procedure for a landing, it looks like they landed downwind with a really strong tailwind, maybe 30 to 35-knots of tailwind,” he said.

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