Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee Challenger, N55168: Fatal accident occurred December 16, 2020 in Bossier City, Louisiana

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; Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Location: Bossier City, LA
Accident Number: CEN21LA089
Date & Time: December 16, 2020, 04:39 Local 
Registration: N55168
Aircraft: Piper PA28 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 16, 2020, at 0439 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N55168, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Bossier City, Louisiana. 

The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. 

The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The flight originated from Shreveport Downtown Airport (DTN), Shreveport, Louisiana, during night, instrument meteorological conditions.

Security video and records show the airport pilot controlled lighting (PCL) was activated at 0412 and an airplane departed Rwy 14 at 0417. 

Radar data began tracking the airplane at 0418 with a transponder code of 1200. 

The airplane flew an irregular flight path to the east and maneuvered over Barksdale Air Force Base (BAD) for about 20 minutes.

Shreveport (SHV) air traffic control contacted the BAD tower controller and informed him there was traffic squawking 1200 and flying between 500’ and 1000’ near the base. 

The BAD tower controller said that he turned up the runway lights at BAD to full brightness and attempted to contact the airplane on the radio but did not receive a reply.

Radar data indicated the airplane’s altitude varied between about 600 and 1800 ft mean sea level during the flight and showed the airplane in a left descending turn before the radar data ended at 0439.

The airplane impacted remote, wooded terrain on BAD property, resulting in separation of the left wing, partial separation of the right wing, and crushing and deformation of the fuselage forward of the empennage.

According to the student pilot’s most recent flight instructor (CFI), he issued the pilot a local traffic pattern solo endorsement on November 21, 2020, with limitations that he was not to fly without first calling the CFI to review weather and NOTAMs.

The CFI said he had explained to the pilot that his solo endorsement did not afford him the right to carry passengers.

The pilot did not contact the CFI prior to the accident flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N55168
Model/Series: PA28 180 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC 
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBAD,166 ft msl
Observation Time: 05:36 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C /2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 340°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 600 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Shreveport, LA (DTN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.506187,-93.639911 (est)
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email  

Jet Andrew Montgomery
January 15, 2002 - December 16, 2020

Burial Date December 20, 2020
Funeral Home Rose-Neath Shreveport Marshall St.
Cemetery Rose-Neath Cemetery
Church First Baptist Church-Bossier

A Celebration of Life for Jet Andrew Montgomery will be held on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 2810 E Texas St, Bossier City, LA. A private burial will immediately follow at Rose-Neath Cemetery in Bossier City, Louisiana. Officiating the service will be Dr. Brad Jurkovich.

Jet was born on January 15, 2002 in Shreveport, Louisiana to Jason and Christy Montgomery and passed away Wednesday, December 16, 2020 in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Jet lived life full blast and his light always shined bright. Jet was a freshman at Louisiana Tech University and a graduate of Airline High School. He had a magnetic personality, infectious smile and an incredibly positive attitude. He loved people and never missed an opportunity to say “I love you” to those he cared about. In his 18 years, he experienced and accomplished more than most of us do in a lifetime. He was passionate about flying, enjoyed cooking, dreamed of traveling and loved a beautiful sunset.

Jet is preceded in death by his grandparents, Leroy and Millicent Montgomery and great-grandparents, John and Gladys McCollister. He is survived by his parents; grandparents, William and Janet McCollister; great-grandmother, Mary Martin; aunts, Karen Hoell and husband, Jason and Kim Hand and husband, Brad; uncles, Bill McCollister and wife, Mindy and Darren Montgomery and wife, Tammi; cousins, Annabelle Wood and Jacob Hoell and other extended family.

Honoring Jet as pallbearers will be William Brual, Brandon Latcha, Trey Maxwell, Kyle McConathy, Craig Ross, Jr. and Brandon Wendrock.

Jonathan Cole Harris
May 4, 2001 - December 16, 2020

Burial Date December 21, 2020
Funeral Home Rose-Neath Bossier City
Church St. Jude Catholic Church

A Mass of Christian Burial honoring the life of Jonathan Cole Harris will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, December 21, 2020 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 4700 Palmetto Road, Benton, Louisiana. Officiating will be Fr. Karl Daigle, and concelebrant Fr. John Bosco Uwamungu. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Rose-Neath Bossier Chapel, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, Louisiana. Interment will immediately follow the service at Plain Dealing Cemetery in Plain Dealing, Louisiana.

Jonathan Cole Harris, “Jon Cole”, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at the age of 19 in Bossier City, LA.

Jon Cole was born May 4, 2001 in Bossier City, LA. He attended Apollo Elementary School, Greenacres Middle School, and Airline High School. After graduating from Airline in 2019, Jon Cole attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA for one year where he was an active member of Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity and transferred to Northwestern Louisiana Technical Community College to pursue a career in welding. When Jon Cole was not attending school, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He was a lifelong baseball fan who played from T-ball through high school and hockey fan who played several years for the Junior Mudbugs. He even participated as the mascot, Lil’ Bugger for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, being outside, watching baseball games, and spending time with his girlfriend, Hannah Gaspard and best friend, Cole Denler. He was a country boy at heart who enjoyed all outdoor activities and loved his pearl snaps and boots. Jon Cole will be remembered as someone that was always willing to lend a hand to a stranger. He had a kind soul, an infectious smile and a personality that lit up every room he walked in. He had a child-like faith in God, and we can confidently say he is walking the streets of heaven with our Lord.

He is preceded in death by his grandmother, Carol Sue Craig Harris Heifner, and his grandfather, Jerry Wayne Weems. He is survived by his parents, Robert Scott Harris and Dawn Weems Harris; sister, Sydney Nicole Harris; grandfather, Jim Heifner and wife, Bettye Heifner, grandfather, Bob Harris and wife, Leila; grandmother, Lessie Weems; aunts and uncles, Britt McMillian, Ashley Heifner McMillian, Rob Heifner, Lisa Perron Heifner, Rusty McGaugh, Tracy Harris McGaugh, Melanie Harris, Mario Vega, Angela Harris Vega, Terrance Douzart, Melisa Harris Douzart; cousins, Maggie McMillian, Molly McMillian, Dylan Heifner, Ethan Heifner, Cassey Dumas Simons, Shelby Harris Lee, Dominic Vega, Levi Vega, Terran Douzart, and Desmond Douzart; extended family; and his beloved labrador, Beaux.

Honoring Jon Cole as pallbearers will be Justice Blythe, Dawson Cranford, Cole Denler, Trevor Durbin, Ryan Francis, Christopher Lutterman, Michael Mosura, Travis Poston Jr., Craig Ross Jr., and Matthew Salinas.

Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Keegan Arthur, Hunter Lorenzen, and include all the brothers of the Gamma Psi chapter of Kappa Alpha Order.

The family suggests memorials in Jon Cole’s honor may be made to the Jon Cole Harris Memorial Scholarship, 139 Whatley Dr., Natchitoches, LA 71457; St. Jude Catholic Church, 4700 Palmetto Rd, Benton Road, LA 71006 or Dream Hunt Foundation, 315 Deer Crossing, Stonewall, LA 71078.

Airmen from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire department answer phones and coordinate search and rescue efforts after a civilian light aircraft crash at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, December 16, 2020. Airmen from the 2nd SFS, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Medical Group, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and local authorities worked in conjunction to locate and effectively respond to a civilian light aircraft crash on the east side of Barksdale.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph McCoy, Tech. Sgt. Eric Hill, 2nd Security Forces Squadron flight chiefs, and Master Sgt. Tamieka Morgan, 2nd SFS defense force operator, search for a route to a crash site at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, December 16, 2020. Airmen from the 2nd SFS, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Medical Group, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and local authorities worked in conjunction to locate and effectively respond to a civilian light aircraft crash on the east side of Barksdale. 

Staff Sgt. Robert Bieber, 2nd Security Forces base dispatch operator, and Staff Sgt. Brianne Davis-Robertson, 2nd SFS evaluator, pinpoint coordinates of a crash site at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, December 16, 2020. Airmen from the 2nd SFS, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Medical Group, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and local authorities worked in conjunction to locate and effectively respond to a civilian light aircraft crash on the east side of Barksdale. 

Staff Sgt. Brianne Davis-Robertson, 2nd Security Forces Squadron evaluator, answers phones and coordinates search and rescue efforts after a civilian light aircraft at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, December 16, 2020. Airmen from the 2nd SFS, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Medical Group, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and local authorities worked in conjunction to locate and effectively respond to a civilian light aircraft crash on the east side of Barksdale.

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, Louisiana  --  Airmen from the 2nd Security Forces Squadron, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Medical Group, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and local authorities worked in conjunction to locate and effectively respond to a civilian light aircraft crash on the east side of Barksdale, December 16, 2020.

At approximately 4:45 a.m., December 16, 2020, local air traffic controllers lost radar contact with the aircraft over the east side reservation of Barksdale. The installation was notified by the Federal Aviation Administration at 5 a.m., and first responders were dispatched for a search with intent to rescue operation.

Personnel from the base, with assistance from Bossier Sheriff’s Office authorities, located the aircraft and two deceased passengers at approximately 8:25 a.m. The scene was secured and the incident is under further investigation.

“We intend to support these families as best we can, support the investigation as best possible, and then try to move on here in this holiday season knowing that the community is going to be hurting a little bit from the loss of individuals from the local area,” said Col. Mark Dmytryszyn, 2nd Bomb Wing commander.

After rescue attempts were made and the scene was deemed safe, a host of emergency response units from both Barksdale and the local area moved in to aid in the investigation.

The investigation, now coordinated between the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, is ongoing and has the full support of the 2nd Bomb Wing and base agencies.

Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office
December 17, 2020

OFFICIAL Release of Names of Deceased in Plane Crash on BAFB

Bossier Sheriff's Office has been in close contact with officials at Barksdale Air Force Base and the Bossier Parish Coroner’s Office and is now able to release the names of the two persons who died during the aircraft crash on the east reservation of Barksdale Air Force Base early Wednesday morning.  Bossier Parish Coroner's Office confirms the deceased are Jet Andrew Montgomery, 18, of Bossier City, and Jonathan Cole Harris, 19, of Bossier City.  Next of kin have been notified. Any queries about the crash should be directed to the 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs office of BAFB at (318) 456-1015 or  The Federal Aviation Administration and/or National Transportation Safety Board will take over the investigation.

John Cole Harris

Bossier City, Louisiana-- KTBS is learning more about the pilot involved in the plane crash at Barksdale Air Force Base. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) online database, the pilot, 18-year-old Jet Montgomery, was prohibited from carrying passengers while operating a plane.

Montgomery was certified June 10th, 2020. The passenger, was 19-year old John Cole Harris.

The Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee Challenger aircraft crashed early Wednesday morning just before 5 a.m. Air traffic controllers lost radar contact with the aircraft, that’s when the FAA was notified. They were pronounce dead at the scene.

KTBS contacted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). They say they are investigating the accident. However, they have not sent an investigator to the scene at this time. According to Keith Holloway, Public Affairs Officer for the NTSB, he says, “What we’re going to do is work with the FAA, who is going to document the scene and examine the aircraft who will then provide that information for an NTSB investigation.”  Holloway says a preliminary report will most likely be available in about 12 days, with possible delays due to the holidays.

KTBS spoke with the plane’s registered owner according to the FAA registry, Jeffrey Smith. Smith said he had been in talks with Montgomery’s family, particularly his father, within recent months to sell the plane. He says he just sold the plane to Montgomery’s father within the past two months. Smith says a temporary registration should have been in place, but the FAA has not finalized the new owner’s information in their database.

The community mourned the loss of the Airline High School graduates. Shreveport’s Buttercups Cupcakes held a fundraiser to raise money for the teen’s funeral expenses. All of the profits from Thursday will be go towards funeral costs. The owner of the bakery is Jet Montgomery’s aunt.


  1. WU KLABOSSI57 local conditions 12/16/20 @ 4:44 AM 39.2 F 38.9 F 99% NNE 2.9 mph 3.4 mph 30.06 in

  2. Weather 300ft OVC, 2mi Vis with mist. What was this kid thinking ? I guess he wasn’t. I wonder if alcohol was involved ? RIP guys, RIP.

    1. I was thinking impairment also. Why would 2, 18-19 yr old boys be up, and at the airport, at 4:00AM, with those weather conditions unless, they were not thinking clearly. Unfortunately, the control tower at (DTN) airport, where the airplane was based, does not open until 7:00 AM. If so, the tower might have been able to "discourage" the movement, or even the takeoff of the aircraft.
      Just so sad to hear about 2 young "Kids" that could have been anything they aspired to do in the future, end so tragically.

    2. Yeah, I was wondering if these kids had been up all night drinking or smoking weed and decided to go flying around 4am. Guess we’ll just have to wait for the NTSB to get finished.

  3. Shoddy and reckless airmanship plain and simple.

  4. The only reason the pilot would be forbidden to carry a passenger is if he was still a student solo and doesn't have his full private ticket. Or did I miss something? Tragic unnecessary waste of two young lives - a story which itself is getting more ominous as the nation's population ages while younger generations are not replacing them at the same historic pay to pay for things like Social Security and Medicare in their wages.

    1. YES! You totally missed....

      Airman opted-out of releasing address
      Medical Information:
      Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 6/2020
      Basic Med Course Date: None Basic Med CMEC Date: None
      Certificates Description
      Certificate: STUDENT PILOT
      Date of Issue: 6/10/2020

  5. It could be a foolish hop around the area, but what would be the motivation to take a passenger on a pre-dawn flight in poor weather? Perhaps they were heading out on a trip, having completed training and check ride in recent days.

    The airmen registry lags behind check rides, so it is possible that he was no longer a student pilot. You can see what the lag is at the link below. Checking on 20 December found this:

    "We are currently processing permanent Airmen Certificates for temporary certificates that were issued approximately December 1, 2020."

    1. His CFI indicated he had only a solo endorsement and that it required a preflight briefing with the CFI prior to flying, without a passenger, and that there was no such briefing. He was therefore not a certificates pilot.

  6. he likly had no idea what was ahead of a takeoff into poor visibility conducive to spatial disorientation.
    "As the takeoff progresses, the cross-check should transition from outside references to the heading indicator, airspeed indicator, and attitude indicator. The rate of transition is directly proportional to the rate at which outside references are deteriorating. It is extremely important for this cross-check to be in progress before losing complete outside visual references during the takeoff roll and subsequent departure.
    As you lift off, be committed to attitude instrument flying so you can disregard erroneous sensory inputs. The takeoff attitude should be established on the attitude indicator at the appropriate point on the takeoff roll. This is normally at rotation or just prior to reaching takeoff airspeeds. Know the specific takeoff attitude required for your aircraft. This pitch attitude and a wings level attitude should be held constant as the aircraft becomes airborne. Cross check the vertical velocity indicator (vertical speed indicator) and altimeter for positive climb indications before retracting gear and flaps."

    1. "he likely had no idea what was ahead of a takeoff into poor visibility conducive to spatial disorientation."
      That is most likely a true statement.
      But, the rest of your post (article) is not intended for a non-instrument rated "STUDENT PILOT" for takeoff at night into IFR/LIFR conditions. It is however, a good "Tip" for a properly trained, rated, and competent pilot for transition into IFR flight after takeoff.

  7. My God! With no instrument rating how the heck did he expect to get down???

    1. If they left before daylight to go somewhere a few hours distant, the expectation would be to land in daylight under the weather conditions at the destination. The N18666 Clackamas crash had that day plan profile.

    2. Rigtht...this flight was doomed before takeoff, no ifr rating into weather

  8. Post on a family member's FB page from June indicated he was about 10 weeks from "being a pilot" - so it's likely that he was ticketed and the FAA database just hasn't caught up yet.

    1. I interpret that a bit differently. His medical was issued in June, and allowed him to move forward with training. If his goal was to take his checkride in ten weeks, it never occurred. FAA will confirm in two more weeks as they are now processing applications from December 4th. Until then, he is a Student Pilot as far as we know.

    2. Not according to the preliminary report. Certificated pilots do not need a preflight briefing with their CFI in order to exercise a solo endorsement, and there would be no restriction re: passengers.

  9. New pilot flying night IFR? . . . Perhaps, just perhaps this lad's flight instructor deserves a kick in the pant's for failing to teach his student a proper respect for common sense flying.

    1. Seems unlikely that nothing was taught about WX, minimums, inadvertent IMC and so on in that Louisiana setting. Can't blame the Instructor if it turns out to actually be a student cert flight with passenger in defiance of regulation. (Will know when the Airmen Registry update processing goes past the accident date, or from the NTSB preliminary.)

    2. Let’s not look for others to blame here. The young man made his own decision to fly that morning. The consequences were tragic. Fortunately he did not crash into the bombers at Barksdale.

    3. Sadly, a reliable source related to us that this young man was 'on his third' flight instructor. First one dropped him because he wasn't showing up for scheduled lessons; second instructor dropped him because the student arrived 'with the smell of alcohol on his breath and appearing intoxicated.' Something like this was likely to happen sooner or later.

    4. Sadly, your source apparently unreliable because that is 100% false.

  10. Jet's social media had a post in September saying "Christmas came early" with a photo of him in front of this airplane.

    1. Saw that. Wonder why no "sale reported" or new registration in the database and whether insurance can be arranged without correcting the registration.

    2. "We are processing documents received on approximately October 15, 2020"

      Copied off the FAA website, I was checking on the status of a plane I sold late Oct.

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  13. Well, sad, no matter the thinking of an 18 y.o. pilot. It's one of those young kid type mistakes, feeling overly confident perhaps after completing training and wanting to show your skills to one of your best friends, etc. The same kind of spirit that energizes me around young people, that everything is possible, also can result in the worst outcomes.

    Lesson definitely to new pilots to know your limits. Taking off in the dark and in low IFR conditions with no instrument rating and only a few months of flying under your belt, is just a bad move no matter how you look at it.

  14. Lord Bless these boys, their friends and families.
    May God ease their pain. Their loss. The empty left in their lives.
    Gentlemen, Speak softly of the men lost for they were our future friends,
    fellows we are left unable to someday meet.
    Or cheerily greet. On an airfield somewhere.
    To they who say it won’t ever happen to you beware.
    A starry night can hide many ways to meet trouble in the air.

  15. Prelim confirms the initial thoughts - the pilot only had a student pilot certificate.

    Also an interesting comment from his "most recent" flight instructor:

    According to the student pilot’s most recent flight instructor (CFI), he issued the pilot a local traffic pattern solo endorsement on November 21, 2020, with limitations that he was not to fly without first calling the CFI to review weather and NOTAMs. The CFI said he had explained to the pilot that his solo endorsement did not afford him the right to carry passengers. The pilot did not contact the CFI prior to the accident flight.

  16. If the accident pilot was not paying off the aircraft purchase by himself, exposure to lawsuit on behalf of the passenger could become an additional heartbreak for the family of the student pilot.

    A likely cautionary tale for family aircraft purchasing and a test of how insurance policy terms respond to violation of the no passenger rule for students.

    NTSB Preliminary report:

  17. Reminds me of


    And yes there was a lawsuit against the estates and family of the deceased student pilot who happened to also be a recovering drug addict, for letting access to the plane in spit of knowledge of his addiction and drug violations.

  18. is the resultant lawsuit among others. The insurance actually denied protection against the lawsuit by the passenger's estates against the owner of the aircraft and the different courts supported that decision. This doesn't bode well for the family of the pilot as any insurance coverage will be rendered moot by the violation done by the student pilot of illegally flying a passenger in spite of the restrictions on his endorsement and possible drug use which might be revealed by an autopsy.

  19. Here's the link to the court case from the crash in 2016 similar to this one:

  20. That case is only about what court will hear the case about the denial of insurance coverage. That case is probably in the records for the Darke County Court of
    Common Pleas.

  21. Final report is available on NTSB website.

    1. And what a final report it is! He had enough amphetamine on board to be a full-on addict, although his father claimed he had ADHD. Knowing this, his father bought the Cherokee for him, too. Since they obviously have money, I can feel the lawsuit against them winning now. It should include the parents being just as negligent as the bone-headed 18 year old.

  22. CFI statements do mention alcohol use but none was detected post-mortem. However there apparently was a medication impairment issue, labeled as evidence of abuse although one could question whether it was accidental. Not knowing anything about the medication involved I wonder how much additional would need to be taken to reach the detected level.


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