Thursday, September 24, 2020

Piper PA-25 Pawnee, N6106Z: Fatal accident occurred September 23, 2020 and Incident occurred January 01, 2017

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; Tampa, Florida
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Location: Floral City, FL 
Accident Number: ERA20LA330
Date & Time: September 23, 2020, 07:50 Local 
Registration: N6106Z
Aircraft: Piper PA25 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

On September 23, 2020, about 0750 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25 airplane, N6106Z, was destroyed when it was involved in accident in Floral City, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

According to a solo student pilot who was in the traffic pattern at the nearby Inverness Airport (INF), Inverness, Florida, while turning right downwind for runway 01, he glanced down and saw that the accident airplane was “spraying” and “it looked to me like he pitched up to clear something and then abruptly went down.” The student pilot subsequently observed fire and smoke emanating from where he last saw the airplane.

An additional witness was located on a tractor in a nearby farm field. He reported that he observed the accident airplane spraying from west to east and it had “dipped down two times, coming down near the trees and then coming back up.” He then observed the airplane on its third approach, and it was “real low” and he “never saw him [the airplane] come back up.” He subsequently observed black smoke and heard explosions.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane, rotorcraft helicopter and gyroplane, and glider. He also held a flight instructor and mechanic certificates. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate April 13, 2020, where he reported a total of 31,100 hours of flight time and 125 hours in the preceding 6 months.

According to an FAA inspector who traveled to the accident site, the main wreckage was located inverted in a row of trees that lined the field the airplane was seeding. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the fuselage; however, all primary flight controls were present with the main wreckage. He further reported that within the field that was being sprayed, about 350 ft directly west of the main wreckage, a large dead tree with vegetation growth contained broken branches and components of the agricultural spraying equipment near its base.

Figure 1 provides a view of the dead tree and the spraying equipment that was found about 25 ft east of the tree. An additional photo in the figure shows where the agriculture equipment was likely mounted on the accident airplane (Source of photograph, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). 

Figure 2 provides an overview of the field being sprayed, the accident site area, and the reported flight path direction.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N6106Z
Model/Series: PA25
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KINF,63 ft msl
Observation Time: 07:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C /18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Floral City, FL
Destination: Floral City, FL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: On-ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 28.771699,-82.311861

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

Randy Berry

If it went fast, Randy Berry was more than interested.

“Dad was there,” said his daughter, Paula, who was named after her father’s brother, Paul, a helicopter pilot for the U.S. armed forces who was killed in the Vietnam War. “Dad was definitely an adrenaline junkie; that’s not even a question.”

Memories flew about for the 67-year-old pilot Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Eagle Vistas LLC at the Inverness Airport, where family, friends and former students came to pay their respects for a man who had been in the aviation business for most of his life. Both grandfather and father were pilots for the U.S. military, serving in World War I and II, respectively. His parents ran a small airport in Sebastian, Florida, for a number of years.

“Aviation has always been a part of our family,” said his sister, Debbie Berry, who worked for Lockheed Martin for 35 years. “My brothers and I were from different generations, but we still have a love of aviation.

“Both of my brothers were two of the best damn pilots.”

Berry, 67 was doing what he loved Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed just 2 miles south of the Inverness Airport, killing him.

But those who gathered at the agricultural pilot flight school, where Berry was also a commercial ag sprayer, didn’t come to mourn, but celebrate his life. As part of the celebration, pilots did two passes of the airport, before concluding with the missing man formation.

“He was very passionate about it, it needed to be done,” said his wife of 13 years, Beverly, about not just teaching the next generation, but instilling in them the importance of safety.

The proudest moments for the Berrys was not only did we train agricultural pilots, but visiting them at own locations. More often than not, the Berrys would travel the country during the summer months in the RV and would drop into visit former students at their work.

“I remember one visit, a lot of times Randy would work ag in summertime, we would live in that RV during that summer,” Beverly recalled. “Wherever we were; we’d stop and see students. We were driving into Vinton, Iowa, we hadn’t let anyone know we were coming.”

Then up pops a photo on Facebook, “looks like the Berrys are coming.”

“We visited two young men who started a business, and made us proud the whole way,” she said.

Randy Berry’s impact wasn’t just felt locally, regionally or across the U.S. but it spanned the globe, said his wife, Beverly.  The company they owned, in operation for 18 years, moved in 2018 from Fort Pierce to Inverness. Pilots came from the likes of Europe, South America, Mexico and other countries to learn the skills necessary for a career.

“I’ve received calls from around the world,” she said in regards to his former students reaching out following the news of his death. “That’s a unique situation.”

Flying wasn’t his lone passion, so where the seas, his son, Chris Cook-Berry, who works on super yachts as a captain. His oldest of three children recalls the times his father taught him how to scuba dive, or even at 8 years old, his dad taking him onto his Octopus.

“You probably wouldn’t see that happening today,” Chris said with a small laugh.

Still, his fondest memory of time with his father was in Camille, Georgia, when his dad was working through the summers, spraying fields.

“I’d get homesick,” he remembered. “And he had this old utility van; he put a bar on the dashboard so I could sit up there with him. I felt like one of the boys out getting the job done.”

It was in his mid-twenties when Chris earned his commercial pilot’s license, spending countless hours under the tutelage of his father.

“It was really an incredible time to share his passion with me,” Chris said.

His youngest son, Tim Cook-Berry, remembers his first solo flight at the age of 16.

“I probably never had seen him happier,” he shared.

Not only did Berry teach his offspring, but dozens of others the basics of flying. But safety was always, always paramount in all that he did, said Randy Miller, who worked for the Berrys.

“He’d seen a lot over the years,” Miller said. “He such a need four good, well trained pilots who understood the safety.”

That’s because, as his son, Tim Cook-Berry put it, behind combat pilots, commercial ag sprayer’s were the second-best “bad ass” pilots.

“You’re flying at 150 miles per hour, 10 feet off the ground,” he explained. “No one talks about that.”

Miller agreed.

“We looked for precision,” Miller said. “We’re low to the ground … he was very specific about training and safety. He was very passionate about his craft and the safety of others.”

While he did have a passion or the skies and seas, his daughter said he loved teaching and music. And while she loves aviation, Paula followed her father’s footsteps, becoming a teacher.

“It’s all the parts of him,” she said about flying, boating and teaching, career paths her brothers and herself are now a part of as adults.

But the biggest joy she shares with her children are her love for rock ‘n’ roll music, especially the Beatles, one of her father’s favorite bands.

“That was it for me,” Paula said, noting her family has a “Beatles Sunday,” where that’s the music of the day throughout the house.

Shifting through all of the memories of her brother, Debbie said one fact stood out, clearer than any.

“Randy commanded the plane as though it was an extension of his soul,” she said. “It was more than an aircraft; he was always one with the aircraft.”

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

January 01, 2017:  Aircraft clipped a power line in Arcadia, DeSoto County, Florida 

Date: 01-JAN-17
Time: 19:45:00Z
Regis#: N6106Z
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA25
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91