Thursday, January 14, 2021

Beechcraft F33A Bonanza, N266DC: Fatal accident occurred January 13, 2021 near Jim Hamilton - LB Owens Airport (KCUB), Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina

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; Columbia, South Carolina 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Aerospace; Mobile, Alabama 

Inviro-Tec LLC

Location: Columbia, SC 
Accident Number: ERA21LA101
Date & Time: January 13, 2021, 10:33 Local
Registration: N266DC
Aircraft: Beech F33
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 13, 2021 about 1033 eastern standard time, a Beech F33A, N266DC, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Columbia, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Preliminary radar and air traffic control voice communication data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated the airplane departed runway 19 at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) Greenville, South Carolina about 0959 under visual flight rules. At 1020, the pilot requested an instrument flight rules clearance while airborne and continued southeast toward Jim Hamilton L B Owens Airport (CUB), Columbia, South Carolina. The clearance was approved, and the airplane climbed to a cruise altitude of 5,300 ft and remained at that altitude until about 1007. The pilot requested a pilot report (PIREP) from air traffic control about 1015, and the controller replied with a PIREP from 0930. About 1030, the controller advised the pilot of missed approach instructions, then at 1032 the pilot announced that he was performing a missed approach and requested the weather conditions at CUB. Shortly after, radar contact with the flight was lost. The air traffic controller made several additional attempts to establish communications, but there were no further communications received from the pilot.

Figure 1 depicts the airplane’s radar-derived flight path (green) as it approached CUB. The magenta line depicts the extended centerline of runway 13. About 0.3 nautical miles from runway 13 threshold, the airplane started a climbing left turn. While still turning left, the airplane then began to descend before radar contact was lost.

Figure 1 – The accident airplane’s radar-derived flight path in (green) as it approached CUB.

According to several witnesses who heard the airplane during the final moments of the flight, the engine sounded normal. One eyewitness saw the airplane emerge from the fog in a left wing low attitude and hit the roof of a residence.

The airplane came to rest in the backyard of the residence against a wooden fence. The wreckage was fragmented and a postcrash fire ensued after the impact. All major components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The airframe and engine were recovered and retained for further examination.

The 1053 recorded weather observation at CUB, located about 1 nautical mile south of the accident location, included wind from 240° at 5 knots, visibility 1/4 mile in fog, a vertical visibility of 200 ft above ground level (agl), a temperature of 2.8°C, a dew point of 2.8°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N266DC
Model/Series: F33 A
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCUB, 212 ft msl
Observation Time: 10:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C /3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 200 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: IndefiniteVV / 200 ft AGL
Visibility: 0.25 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Greenville, SC (GMU)
Destination: Columbia, SC (CUB)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.983683,-81.003004 

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 

 Farhad Rostampour

Some people are scared of flying. Farhad Rostampour flew his own plane around the world in protest of an authoritarian, religious regime.

Some people don’t like to drive too fast. Farhad Rostampour rocketed over a lake on his jet ski in a homemade hang glider experiment.

Some people dream of being their own boss. Farhad Rostampour was about to celebrate his company’s 30 year anniversary.

“He used to say, ‘You know there’s three kinds of people in the world’,” Robert Kelley, Rostampour’s friend and business partner, said. “’There are people that watch things happen, people that make things happen and people who say what happened.’

“He always wanted to be the person who made things happen.”

The 62-year-old Rostampour died Wednesday after his single-engine plane crashed in the Rosewood neighborhood during a flight from Greenville to Columbia.

He flew the same plane around the world.

Kelley remembered Rostampour as an adventurous, gutsy, outspoken and proud Iranian-American.

“If it was heart stopping, he was up for it,” Kelley said.

Rostampour was born in Iran and grew up in the capital Tehran, according to a post he wrote for a site that documented his flight around the world.

He lived through Iran’s revolution in 1979 that transformed the country into a religious based republic.

He immigrated to the United States, where he enrolled in 1982 at the University of South Carolina at its Spartanburg campus. He studied biology and graduated in 1984, according to a USC spokesman.

His desire to carve his own path led him to leave the company he worked for in the late 1980s. He and Kelley formed their own company in 1991.

The company, ETT Environmental, which does water quality testing, is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in business this year.

Throughout their more than four decades of friendship, Rostampour always expressed pride in his Persian heritage, Kelley said

It was during his childhood in Tehran when Rostampour first thought of becoming a pilot. He would stare beyond the tops of the buildings in the inner-city.

“I always had dreams of flying freely above the clouds,” Rostampour wrote.

At 43 years old, living in the United States, he realized that dream. He earned his pilot’s license.

“He always had a passion to see the people in his native land regain their freedom from government oppression,” Kelley said.

He combined his passion for flying with his rebellious stance against the Iranian government in 2007 as he prepared for a flight around the world.

Rostampour, along with an Iranian-British co-pilot Arshid Moti-Ghavanin, called their trip the “Freedom Flight.”

On June 2, 2007, they took off from Greenville, flew up the coast to Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell before going to New York to fly over the Statue of Liberty. From there, they departed to cross the Atlantic. They landed in cities across Europe.

On the third leg of his flight, Rostampour flew into Iranian air space, Kelley said.

Kelley remembered Rostampour talking about the dangers of flying over the country. Flight controllers in the country radioed into Rostampour, asking what they were doing in the country.

“They were very suspicious as to why an American registered plane was flying over their country,” Kelley said.

Rostampour spoke in Farsi to the controller and explained he was Persian. “They said go ahead then,” Kelley said and the flight continued over the far east and Pacific.

Rostampour stopped in every continent except Antarctica in the 47-day, 39,000-mile flight. He landed back in Greenville on July 18.

He and his co-pilot were the first Iranian-born fliers to circumnavigate the world, the Freedom Flight site says.

Rostampour and his co-pilot hoped the circumnavigation would “encourage the young generation in Iran to bring about changes that seem difficult to achieve,” he wrote.

“Whether these achievements are changing the political direction of our country, or changing personal ideology toward the goal of achieving a better future,” they said

Rostampour lived with the same adventurous spirit on the ground that he had in the air. He loved traveling and skiing, according to social media profiles.

And he loved riding his jet ski fast, according to Kelley.

Kelley remembered when Rostampour built his own hang glider. He called Kelley out to a Greenville area lake and explained that he wanted Kelley to strap into the hang glider. He was going to pull Kelley behind the jet ski and get him into the air.

“I said ‘no way, I’ll drive the jet ski’,” Kelley said.

But Rostampour told Kelley he drove the jet ski too slow. Of the pair, Rostampour was the one gutsy enough to get the jet ski up to the speed needed to lift the glider into the air.

They struck a compromise. Kelley held the glider on the shore and released it as Rostampour raced over the lake. The hang glider flew a little while then broke up in the air, Kelley said.

After the failed experiment, Rostampour told Kelley it would have worked but the weight was thrown off without someone in it.

Rostampour also had the same instinct to stand up against what he saw as growing injustice and oppression in the United States. He participated in the Women’s March in 2017 to advocate for women’s rights.

“I was born in Iran, and I lived through the revolution,” Rostampour told The Bitter Southerner. “I watched many similarities during the revolution and what’s really taking place here today. One of the first things we lost was women’s rights, which was always followed by human rights. I’m hoping that we can shed a light on seeing beyond our skin color, beyond our gender. We are the same people.”

Rostampour has two daughters. He was marching for them, he said.

On Friday, the Freedom Flight website that documented his flight around the world issued a statement from Arshid Moti-Ghavanin, Rostampour’s co-pilot in the circumnavigation.

“It’s upsetting to hear about the loss of a fellow pilot, but also an old friend,” he said. “It will be hard to process Farhad’s sudden death, but he will be proud to have built a legacy that will live on for many more years.”

In a video put out Thursday, Moti-Ghavanin took out a cigar. They carried the cigar with them around the world, he said. They were supposed to smoke it together when “Iran is free from the Islamic regime and happiness belongs to everyone.”

He lit the cigar in salute to his friend.

“Farhad passed away doing what he loved,” the Freedom Flight site now says, “in the aircraft that made history.”


  1. This airplane flew around the world in 2007.

  2. "Much of the Midlands were shrouded in fog Wednesday morning, and a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration warned pilots conditions were challenging. The FAA reported that cloud cover at Owens Field was just 200 feet off the ground, and fog and mist had cut visibility to a quarter-mile."

  3. Sounds like he wanted to beat the odds to become an old, bold pilot.

  4. sounds like flying was a extension to his business, and business came ahead of flying smart on this flight where he appears behind conditions as they unfolded ...
    "Farhad Rostampour had been flying into Columbia for work Wednesday, picking up water samples to be analyzed, business parter Kelley said."
    appears he had given little prior planing well into this flight ..
    "departed at 1000 under visual flight rules.
    At 1020, the pilot requested an instrument flight rules clearance while airborne and continued ...
    The clearance was approved, and the airplane climbed to a cruise altitude of 5,300 ft and remained at that altitude until about 1007 (47 minutes).
    The pilot requested a pilot report (PIREP) from air traffic control about 1015, and the controller replied with a PIREP from 0930.
    About 1030, the controller advised the pilot of missed approach instructions,
    then at 1032 the pilot announced that he was performing a missed approach and requested the weather conditions at CUB.
    Shortly after, radar contact with the flight was lost..."

  5. he choose the higher minimum gps approach as 13 requires 600-1. 31 LPV requires 300-3/4. not very impressive heads up instrument work and CAE has three runways with full ILS approaches.