Monday, January 04, 2021

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N8347P: Fatal accident occurred January 02, 2021 in New Hudson, Oakland County, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; East Michigan 

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances into a house. 

Aircom LLC

Date: 02-JAN-21
Time: 20:56:00Z
Regis#: N8347P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 3
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91

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

Michele, Dawson and David Compo 

OAKLAND COUNTY, Michigan (WXYZ) — A family of three killed when their private plane crashed into a Lyon Township home on Saturday has been identified.

David S. Compo, former president of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan, his wife Michele and their son Dawson all died in the crash when the plane they were flying crashed into a home Saturday afternoon.

“There was a huge cloud of smoke, like really tall flames," said neighbor Chase Southwick. "We thought the whole house was going to be gone.”

There was another family inside the home at the time of the crash that escaped with no injuries, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane went down just a half-mile from the Oakland Southwest Airport. The Northville family was returning from a trip to Canton, Georgia.

David is said to be an experienced pilot. His term as president of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA) recently ended on December 31, the organization said.

“We were fortunate to have David leading our team for 2020,” said Michael Stoskopf, HBA’s CEO. “His involvement, professionalism and experience over the years have been great assets to our organization and he has been a true friend to me as we faced challenge after challenge during this past year.”

Dawson Compo was a recent graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School, and was a member of the band and cross country team.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate.

Dawson Compo

Detroit Catholic Central High School
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dawson Compo '20 and his parents.

Dawson was an active member of our band and cross country communities, and had a bright future ahead of him. As a member of the Class of 2020, Dawson helped set an incredible example of how to persevere through challenging times, and we will continue to lean on our faith and each other for support in this tragic time.

Our prayers are with the extended family, and all those who have been impacted by this loss. The Superior General of the Basilian Fathers, Fr. Kevin J. Storey, and the Presidents of the other Basilian schools extend their deepest sympathies and promise of prayers to the Catholic Central Community. The Guidance Office will also be ready and available to meet with any students who need to talk to someone once we return to the building on Monday.

Detroit Catholic Central High School

David Compo

Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan

It is with the deepest sorrow that we let you know of the death of HBA's 2020 President David S. Compo, his wife Michelle and their son Dawson this afternoon, when their private plane crashed into a home in Lyon Township, just a half a mile from the the Oakland Southwest Airport which was their destination.

The family had flown to Canton, Georgia on December 29 and was returning home today.

The Compo family has been a significant part of HBA's history for decades and David has been instrumental in helping the association weather the many obstacles HBA faced during 2020.
Our hearts go out to David's mother, Janet Compo, who served as HBA's president in 1995, brother Christopher and Lisa Compo and the extended family.
We will contact you with memorial details as they become available.

Michael C. Stoskopf, CEO
Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan

David Compo (left) and long time friend, Bill Phillips, just before takeoff in Compo's plane.

David Compo has flown yearly trips for Operation Good Cheer, which provides Christmas gifts for foster children in Michigan.

Aircraft recovery, transportation and storage of N8347P provided by AMF Aviation LLC of Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 4, 2021.

Aircraft recovery, transportation and storage of N8347P provided by AMF Aviation LLC of Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 4, 2021.


  1. entered pattern for rwy 8, downwind, base, then appears to break off final for a go around departure. Possible not configured for go around/stall, spaital disorintation ???
    42.503, -83.624 @ 926.1 feet / 282 meters
    08/26 3,128 x 40
    Sat 03:36:25 PM 42.4105 -83.5889 ↑ 348° 127 146 2,575 -35 Descending
    Sat 03:36:50 PM 42.4251 -83.5925 ↑ 345° 129 148 2,550 -55 Descending
    Sat 03:37:20 PM 42.4413 -83.5995 ↑ 342° 124 143 2,525 Level
    Sat 03:37:39 PM 42.4514 -83.6038 ↑ 341° 119 137 2,550 39 Climbing
    Sat 03:37:58 PM 42.4614 -83.6085 ↑ 343° 121 139 2,550 -214 Descending
    Sat 03:38:28 PM 42.4772 -83.6151 ↑ 342° 115 132 2,375 -450 Descending
    Sat 03:38:58 PM 42.4916 -83.6208 ↑ 344° 106 122 2,100 -509 Descending
    Sat 03:39:21 PM 42.5025 -83.6240 ↑ 348° 101 116 1,925 -220 Descending
    Sat 03:39:39 PM 42.5087 -83.6274 ← 308° 86 99 1,950 -333 Descending
    Sat 03:39:57 PM 42.5065 -83.6352 ↓ 196° 86 99 1,725 -667 Descending
    Sat 03:40:15 PM 42.5035 -83.6281 ↗ 64° 83 96 1,550 -708 Descending
    Sat 03:40:33 PM 42.5093 -83.6273 ← 308° 83 96 1,300 -708 Descending
    Sat 03:40:51 PM 42.5064 -83.6327 ↓ 168° 77 89 1,125 -353 Descending
    Sat 03:41:07 PM 42.5064 -83.6274 ↗ 37° 67 77 1,100 56 Climbing
    Sat 03:42:11 PM
    Sat 03:42:11 PM 42.5250 -83.6242 ↗ 37° 64 74 1,200 94 Climbing

  2. Weather history at various nearby AWOS from scrolling 3-day:
    WX ASOS at PTK (13 nm NE)
    WX ASOS at YIP (16 nm S)
    WX AWOS-3 at OZW (18 nm NW)
    WX AWOS-3 at VLL (20 nm E)
    Dy/ EST/ Wind / Vis / WX / Sky / T / Dp/ Rh/ Altimeter
    02 14:53 Calm 6.00 Fog/Mist OVC006 33 30 89% 30.06
    02 15:53 Calm 8.00 Overcst OVC006 33 30 89% 30.07
    02 16:53 E 3 6.00 Fog/Mist OVC004 32 30 92% 30.07
    Dy/ EST/ Wind / Vis / WX / Sky / T / Dp/ Rh/ Altimeter
    02 14:53 NW 3 7.00 Overcast OVC006 37 31 79% 30.08
    02 15:53 Calm 10.00 Overcast OVC007 37 31 79% 30.09
    02 16:53 SE 5 10.00 Overcast OVC007 37 31 79% 33 30.10
    Dy/ EST/ Wind / Vis / WX / Sky / T / Dp/ Rh/ Altimeter
    02 14:55 Calm 1.25 Fog/Mist OVC003 31 31 100% 30.08
    02 15:55 Calm 3.00 Fog/Mist OVC003 31 31 100% 30.08
    02 16:55 Calm 0.50 FreezFog OVC003 31 31 100% 30.08
    Dy/ EST/ Wind / Vis / WX / Sky / T / Dp / Rh/ Altimeter
    02 14:55 Calm 10.0 Overcast OVC012 35 32 89% 30.10
    02 15:55 Calm 10.0 Overcast OVC012 35 32 91% 30.11
    02 16:55 Calm 10.0 Overcast OVC012 35 32 90% 30.11

    1. Troy / Oakland was the best wx of all that day.

    2. All but KVLL have ILS approaches so choosing any of the first three airports would have allowed an uneventful landing.

    3. Uneventful only if the non-instrument certified pilot in the seat possessed the skills, had recent enough IMC practice, and did not accumulate ice.

    4. You know during WWII those great pilots of way back then didn't have the technology of today but seemed to have not much problems flying landing fighters and huge lumbering bombers over the overcast skies of the English countryside. Those men were a different breed that you will never see again.

    5. “But seemed to have not much problems”...... Poor grammar and poor research.

      Instrument conditions existed on the continent about 250 days out of 365 during 1944. One in four of those days allowed no flying at all. Weather was considered a greater hazard than the Luftwaffe according to Brigadier Gen. Haywood Hansell in his book, The Air Plan that Defeated Hitler”. The accident rate for USAAF aircraft was 50 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, or in the last 18 months of the war 1,660 aircraft in England alone.... Remember that 15,000 American aviators died in the USA during training before being sent over and that we graduated over 150,000 aviators in 1943. But 200,000 flunked out or died in that process. Instrument flying in any aircraft is always serious. Don’t let an uneducated opinion take away from the fact that this man was a pilot who attempted and trained to be excellent at his chosen field and as master of his aircraft. Flying does not need uninformed commentary and ignorance guiding a “discussion”.

  3. Map location of impact on house:

    (Based on news article listing Dakota drive, with match to photo #3):

  4. I just landed there last month, very small runway. My friend said a yellow plane was flying very low just before he crashed. My brother knew him and I met him 20 years ago. kptk would have helped him land even though he was breaking rules. I always have to defend aviation to my friends who don't fly because of foolish mistakes trying to get home in ifr. divert and get a ride home pick up your plane later.

  5. ADS-B track plot shows N8347P circling twice after crossing over Oakland Southwest Airport KY47 (field elevation = 926 feet).

    Recorded weather observations suggests obscured view for approach. Pilot certification in airmen registry does not include Instrument Airplane.

  6. Per the FAA registry, the pilot was not instrument rated, had no business flying around in the clouds and likely suffering from get-home-itis....

  7. a friend said another plane was flying low also that was yellow and he was there and sent pictures of the wreckage. With the way planes are tracked now I bet soon there will be an end to flying VFR on top and dropping thru clouds to get down. You may get a call from the FAA, they know exactly where a plane is now and everything it does and thats a good thing

    1. I'm not sure what you're talking about -- this pilot (who was apparently not instrument rated) was on an IFR flightplan. Unclear whether he filed in the air or on the ground, but I found the Detroit Approach side of the ATC audio with him, and he was definitely operating on an IFR clearance when he began the approach to Y47.

      From the approach controller side of the audio, it sounds clear that the pilot asked for pireps and was told that the last plane into Willow Run had reported 300ft ceilings, and it sounded like both he and the approach controller expected this approach to likely end up missed. I couldn't find any audio of the pilots side (several of the possible possible frequencies were on a LiveATC node that went down at around that time, so no audio) but I definitely found the approach controller side of it on the Detroit Approach LiveATC node.

      This looks like a combination of get-there-itis and also bravado from a pilot who doesn't seem to be rated, but felt no fear in filing for an IFR clearance anyway. The weather when he departed Georgia would've made it clear that it was going to be IFR when he arrived. And then, when he got there, he decided to try a VOR circling approach with 650ft minimums, when all the nearby airports were reporting much lower ceilings. Sad that his family paid the price for his bad ADM.

    2. Flight plan data box in FlightAware tells you he did not file IFR plan before flight, shows blank route, speed and altitude:

    3. ditto blank flight plan GA to MI 2 Jan 2021
      Tail Number N8347P · Registration
      Owner AIRCOM LLC
      Aircraft Type Piper PA-24 Comanche (piston-single) (PA24) Photos
      Speed —
      Altitude —
      Actual: 574 mi (Direct: 568 mi)

      MI to GA 29 Dec 2020
      Tail Number N8347P · Registration
      Owner AIRCOM LLC
      Aircraft Type Piper PA-24 Comanche (piston-single) (PA24) Photos
      Speed Filed: 174 mph graph
      Altitude Filed: 6,000 ft graph
      Actual: 573 mi (Direct: 568 mi)
      Route 3635N/08416W decode

  8. Same old story.
    What's baffling is that these pilots must have read numerous accounts of other pilots making this mistake, yet they make it anyway.

  9. Selfish, Crimminal, whatever you want to call it.

  10. Flew at a vfr altitude for a large portion of the flight.(7500) Towards end of flight flew level at an ifr altitude (7000). It is quite possible he asked for and rec'd a pop up ifr clearance to descend into the clouds and do the approach.
    so far so good.....

  11. Nothing mentioning IFR rated on the Airman Registry website.


    NORTHVILLE MI 48167-1088
    County: OAKLAND
    Country: USA
    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 11/2019
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None
    Certificates Description
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 12/2/2015



  12. If that panel picture is accurate who would fly single pilot marginal VFR in that thing. IFR rated or not no way I’m flying an approach in that plane. Not even a 430 or 530 GPS what the hell looks like an old Garmin MX 50 gps maybe GPSS steer autopilot but definitely not approach certified.

    1. untold IFR flights/approaches were hand flown with that panel and less pre-GPS.
      The Garmin GNS 430 started shipping in 1997 and the Garmin GNS 530 was introduced a few years later.

  13. I would. That panel is a perfectly capable IFR arrangement; if you are a competent pilot.

    1. You’re missing the point. The guy is standing for a photo in front of a 500k kitchen remodel and can’t spring for a 20 year old GPS retro. Feel free to throw rocks but isn’t the VOR portion of the only approach for that field NOTAM’d N/A. So he would have to fly it GPS no matter what plus it’s circling.

      I love the competency comments they’re always so funny. The biggest part of competency is knowing when to say when. Sure you could fly it we all learned VOR/ILS approaches with a CDI and a KX-155 just the old days of training hell you probably even flew a backcourse to see reverse sensing. Again not the point why when modern electronics are available and cheaper do people chose to not add the factor of safety. Does it change the outcome here probably not but if you’re going into a gun fight carry all the ammo you can.

    2. The airport approach plate of N/A only applies to category C & D aircraft.

      Category A: Speed 90 knots or less.
      Category B: Between 91 and 120 knots.
      Category C: Between 121 and 140 knots.
      Category D: Between 141 knots and 165 knots.

      The aircraft category is partly based on VAT (speed at threshold)
      VAT Speed is based on 1.3 times stall speed in the landing configuration at maximum certificated landing mass.

      Both approaches are circling approaches.

      The other approach NOTAM I see is for category B aircraft. The MDA is raised (from 1580'/HAA 654') to 1600'/HAA 674'

      Affected Facility: Y47,OAKLAND SOUTHWEST, NEW HUDSON, MI.
      NOTAM Number: 0/3164
      Effective Time Frame
      Valid From: 2006251721
      Valid To: 2206251718EST
      Procedure Affected: Instrument Approach Procedure
      VOR OR GPS-A, AMDT 3C...
      CIRCLING CAT B MDA 1600/HAA 674.

    3. No rocks thrown or intended. I simply stated that in the right hands, his aircraft was capable. Relax.

    4. Nobody is "wound up" I was simply answering your question of..." but isn’t the VOR portion of the only approach for that field NOTAM’d N/A." I never mentioned anything about the aircraft was not capable, or equipped to execute a VOR approach, just that the N/A applies to cat C & D aircraft, so NO it would not have to be flown "GPS no matter what".

  14. better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground

  15. I can and do fly single pilot IFR all the time in a panel not even as nice as that one. Just because you can't or wouldn't doesn't mean nobody should.

    However if I stopped doing it "all the time" I would stop doing it, need to be very familiar with that sort of setup.

  16. I used to fly my pa28 ifr with one vor, a mark twelve and marker beacons, one transponder. These pilots can't fly an airplane unless it's equipped like a a380 airbus.

  17. The wreckage on the trailer does not appear to be N8347P.

    1. Aircraft recovery, transportation and storage of N8347P provided by AMF Aviation LLC of Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 4, 2021.


    3. It is indeed N8347P. You can see the numbers and you can see the burned home of the Mudzwova family in the background.

  18. I live just 2 miles north of the crash site and am a 1250 hr instrument rated commercial pilot. My TB20 had a similar panel/engine. Sure, I could fly a VOR/GPS-A circling approach into Southwest Oakland County, but I wouldn't do it when the ceiling is below MDA or with the likelihood of Ice.

    I'm surprised that nobody mentioned ice. I've experienced that as well and am lucky to be alive. It's no party for a single pilot IFR to deal with ice in an aircraft without de/anti-ice equipment. At the time of the accident on January 2, I was walking my pooch and the temperature on the ground was just above freezing (+1C). At 1000 feet AGL, where he was when he crossed the runway, it would have been -2C. If the aircraft had been flying at 7000-7500 feet for most of the flight, the airframe would have been temperature saturated much colder. And then he hit that moisture as he descended into the muck. I'm not sure how thick the overcast was on that Saturday, but suffice it to say it was likely 2000-3000 feet thick based upon the low light on the ground. That would be plenty of moisture in which to accumulate rime ice on the airframe. Even if he could have dropped through the clouds to VFR before he landed, he would have been ill-advised to do so.

    One other complication. He was flying on fumes by the time he reached Y47. The Lycoming O-540 burns 12-16 GPH. Base on his speed, he was not cruising at economy so let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he was leaded to 14-15 GPH. By the time he had reached Y47, he was in the air for 3:20. That's between 48 and50 gallons consumed. Add to that the start up, taxi and take-off burn and he was quickly approaching his maximum usable in the aircraft of 58 gallons.

    Ice, IMC below minimums, low fuel and nerves due to breaking the rules and likely not having any instrument currency are the 4 links in the fatality chain that led to this accident. Nuts.

    My opinion is that the NTSB will rule: Loss of Control with contributing factors being ice, not rated and low on fuel.

    Stay safe out there.

    1. Nicely articulated hypothesis. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Agree, well said IMFLYBOY. The question remains for those of us that have CFII on our certificate is why. What kind of pressure would encourage someone that is non-instrument rated to do something like this?

    3. It's been said that 'pilots who crash in a storm are buried in the sunshine.'

      There's nowhere on this earth I have to be when my alternate could be a grave.

      I agree with IMFLYBOY, that the equipment, range and potentially piloting skills were woefully marginal for a flight pushing the limits in every way, even for a highly skilled and IFR qualified single-engine pilot. I'd have questioned that specific mission in my Aztec.

      Lastly, as a CFII, no matter how much I've coached students, discussed personal limits (and the importance of higher than published minimums based on competency), the importance of flying by the letter of the rules, and having the right equipment and training for the mission, all while they nod and swear they'd never do anything foolish, it still happens.

      Get-home-itis is one of the deadliest diseases in aviation I've seen, anecdotally, IMHO.

  19. Cause of death is AQP #15 which is in flight icing. There were four GA fatals in 2020 doing the same thing. See the PDF summary document and the free data summary of the 188 fatal crashes in the year 2020. Three of them were IFR rated pilots. Ice doesn’t really care if you're IFR or not.

    1. Off topic Dan, however, if there are those that do not recognize your name, they do not realize the commitment to safety you reflect. Love the YouTube videos, and have started to teach what I have viewed. Don't stop being you!!

  20. IMFLYBOY, I suspect that your analogy will prove accurate. Let us always remember: there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there's not very many old and bold pilots. This guy should have stopped in Columbus (or sooner) and rented a car. Had he done so, the plane would likely be safely tucked into its hangar today, and that pilot would be designing somebody's new kitchen.

  21. 40 + Years of industry experience here-

    -The pilot requested the VOR A approach.

    -Pilot had been receiving VFR flight following and requested an IFR clearance from ATC during his flight.

    -There is no record of the Pilot having his Instrument Rating.

    -PIREP from a landing aircraft at a nearby airport was no icing.

    The approach should never have been attempted by that pilot.

    Moral of the story....don't try to "Beat the System" if you find yourself in a situation that you are not qualified or equipped for ask for HELP.

    ATC could have provided multiple options that day, instead numerous peoples lives are changed forever. Tragic!

    1. I agree (for whatever that's worth) with your "take" on this. However, as a previous commentor stated, this plane was "running on fumes". The FAR requirement for IMC is that the plane have not less than 45 minutes of usable fuel PLUS time for diversion to an alternate. Quite clearly, that rule was not adhered to. While we'll never know what Mr. Compo was thinking, I'm going to guess that he was thinking "I've got to land, I'm really low on fuel". Sorry Mr. Compo, but you obviously put yourself and your family in way too far "over your head", and you'll never have the chance to do that again. Rental cars and/or hotel rooms were readily available in Ohio. You should have capitalized on that.