Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N23NJ: Accident occurred November 24, 2020 near Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N), Manville, Somerset County, New Jersey

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; Allentown

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Civil Air Patrol

Location: Manville, NJ 
Accident Number: ERA21LA055
Date & Time: November 24, 2020, 16:07 Local
Registration: N23NJ
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted
Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N23NJ
Model/Series: 172 N 
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: KSMQ,105 ft msl 
Observation Time: 15:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.33 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Manville, NJ
Destination: Manville, NJ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.524444,-74.598306 (est)

HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey  — A small single-engine plane hit a tree on landing and flipped over onto its roof at Central Jersey Airport Tuesday afternoon, in the second crash at the airport within the past week, according to police.

The left wing of the Cessna 172N Skyhawk struck a tree as it came in for a landing around 4:15 at the airport off Millstone River Road, according to Hillsborough police. 

Pilot James Finley, 70, of Hopatcong refused medical treatment after the crash while pilot Lorraine Derby, 73, was treated and released from RWJ Somerset Hospital.

New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the wind was light at the time of the crash at 7 MPH.

The plane is registered to "National Headquarters" based at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, according to a check of the plane's number in the FAA database. "Civil Air Patrol" was written on the plane's rudder.

Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary unit of the U.S. Air Force made up of volunteers who help with searches for lost individuals and other emergency service missions.

The website shows the plane took off at 3:56 p.m. and completed a short oval shaped flight. Earlier in the day the plane made a round trip flight to Wildwood.

A Cessna 172N Skyhawk crashed trying to land at the Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough on Tuesday afternoon at about 4:!5 p.m., police said. The airport is located off of Millstone River Road and has one runway.

The plane crashed on the west side of the runway after it struck a tree and then flipped over onto its roof. police said. Pilot James Finley of Hopatcong, and pilot Lorraine Denby of Berkeley Heights, both reported minor injuries. Finley refused medical treatment at the scene. Denby was treated at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Somerset and was released.

Police said the plane crash is currently under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

First responders at the scene included the Hillsborough Township Police Department, Hillsborough Township Fire Department Stations 37 and 38, the Hillsborough Township Office of Emergency Management, the RWJ Somerset Emergency Squad. the Manville Police Department, and the Somerset County Hazmat team.

The crash is the second incident at the airport within the past week. On November 18th, a small plane veered off a runway and flipped over while attempting to land. Two people were on that plane, a single-engine Cessna 172.


  1. The instrument rated pilot had in excess of 200 hours of pilot in command and a high performance endorsement. It appears that he was getting back into flying after a short layoff of about a year.

  2. The Civil Air Patrol safety record is among the best in General Aviation considering they operate over 500 aircraft over 100,000 flight hours per year. These are some of the best maintained aircraft ever flown.

    1. Excuse me, but I suggest Mr/Ms Anonymous look a bit closer. Maintenance of CAP's fleet is maybe a little better than the average FBO. Certainly NOT "...the best maintained aircraft every flown."

  3. still awaiting the accident report of the CAP student pilot fatal in Oxford, Mississippi!
    Location: Oxford, MS
    Accident Number: CEN19FA212
    Date & Time: 07/06/2019, 1515 CDT
    Registration: N994CP
    Aircraft: Cessna 172
    Injuries: 1 Fatal
    Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

  4. @
    “The Rated Preparatory Program provides Department of the Air Force officers and for the first time enlisted applicants, who are interested in cross-training to a rated career field the opportunity to gain and strengthen their basic aviation skills,” explained Colonel Scott Linck, Aircrew Task Force deputy director, in a news release. “This program will allow them to enhance their knowledge through developmental modules and acquire valuable flight time in order to increase their competitiveness as candidates for future undergraduate flying training boards.
    The aim of RPP, which the Air Force runs together with the Civil Air Patrol, is not to produce newly minted aviators, but to essentially introduce flying roles to those who attend the program, providing them with a first taste of flight training with a view to hopefully continuing this track as a student until they can eventually become a pilot, navigator, or other aircrew. It’s more about providing experience to inspire a future career path than it is about providing a full-blown flight training syllabus."

  5. That explains why these planes are being used for training.

  6. Was that 70 year old an enlisted airman?

    1. the Civil Air Patrol employs unpaid CFI's as part of their all volunteer CFI training corp.
      I believe she's a vol CFI, maybe refresher training for the older gentleman, also a CFI.

  7. You have to admire both of these experienced pilots for getting this aircraft on the ground with no injuries. It could have been much worse if not for their dedication to getting the job done. My hat is off to these two CFI pilots.

  8. Approach nearing sunset in C-172 can be very challenging. Trees can get in the way, which can disrupt approach path and result in landing short of the runway. It looks like they were doing a great job but maybe got a little lower than necessary. I think if they had newer navigation equipment, such as a Garmin glass panel, they would been able to be more aware of the situation and the accident prevented.
    If CAP had brand new c172’s and c-182’s, there would be less situations were accidents occurred. This would save a substantial amount of dollars and reduce injuries.

    1. Are you thinking of the Garmin Auto-land System, which ties a G3000 to a button labeled “Land the Plane”. This probably would have helped prevent this accident and saved injuries and CAP assets. Probably worth taking a look at to assure this branch of our Air Force operating with the best available technology.

  9. I’ve been advocating that CAP get same priority as our Air Force for equipment. Nearly all CAP accidents occurred because of outdated old equipment they are forced to use. 99 percent of these accidents could be eliminated with replacement and or upgrading all of their planes and gliders. New Garmin or the equivalent equipment would be required. It would be expensive but the payoff worth it. Maybe consider more Cirrus aircraft due to their outstanding survival record, along with the included state of art avionics, auto-land, and airframe parachute system.

  10. I would draw the line at turbojets. Their budget would need to be increased substantially to get them equipped like the Airforce. Maybe suggest more training and practice on take offs and landings in simpler aircraft to start with. Older CAP members could be accommodated by using light sport aircraft. Not sure if ADA applies to CAP.

  11. I think your referring to Garmin's’ “HomeSafe” system. Offered on new TBM 940. This system actually takes over the plane as if pilot incapacitated. Worth reading about on TBM’s website.

    Also, if CAP could get used planes from Air Force that can’t be sold to general public, but routinely scrapped, they may benefit greatly. It would probably include F5F, T-38, and F-15. Much better than older planes they now use.

  12. Likely caused by obstructions in the runway approach right of way. Maybe need to survey all airports used by CAP and assure they are free from obstructions like trees, power lines, buildings, etc. If any perceived obstructions exist, use the government power of eminent domain to gain access to clear the obstacles. I believe all runways used by our Air Force are free of obstructions. Airports used by CAP should fall into the same category. Safety for the pilots that serve our country should be a number one priority.

  13. Does Civil Air Patrol have gliders to fly? I wasn’t aware of that but good way to sharpen flying skills.

    1. Yes. Most CAP wings have at least one glider. They were transferred to CAP when they were decommissioned at the Air Force Academy. They are used primarily for cadet orientation flights, but are also available to senior members to fly for a nominal fee.

    2. That may answer the ADA issue someone above was inquiring about. The seniors have access to these gliders keeping CAP in full compliance. Many times seniors are discriminated against, but here they have other acceptable ways to accommodate them. Plus the cost to pilots nominal. Win win for all!

    3. The CAP wing at nearby KLGC, Georgia has a great glider program, I’ve been told. Evidently they welcome anyone interested in flying to come visit them. They have a tow plane and instructors and have performed many glider operations. They probably could accommodate anyone who wanted to join their program.

    4. Yes, LaGrange wing well known for their glider program.

  14. What would be the best way to join Civil Air Patrol? I don’t think they’re at our airport. I’m thinking about learning to fly while I attend college. I would just like to talk to someone who could explain the program and if they need a volunteer. I’ve got a part time job to help pay tuition. Don’t want student loans. I’m kind of enthused about flying and never been in a small plane.

  15. You can go on their website and location a wing near you. I also recommend that you find one that has good flight instructors. This is very important if you are just getting into flying.

  16. I would second that but include “find one that has really really good flight instructors “. Need to raise the bar for any youngsters being trained by CAP instructors.


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