Friday, April 30, 2021

Beech C23 Sundowner, N6009U: Fatal accident occurred April 28, 2021 and Accident occurred September 09, 2019

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 traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Lycoming; Atlanta, Georgia 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Location: Middleburg, FL
Accident Number: ERA21FA194
Date & Time: April 28, 2021, 09:00 Local
Registration: N6009U
Aircraft: Beech C23 
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 28, 2021, about 0900 eastern daylight time, a Beech C-23, N6009U, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Middleburg, Florida. The pilot, pilot-rated passenger, and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness described that around 0840, he heard what he thought was the accident airplane departing from the Spencer’s Airpark (FL13), Middleburg, Florida. Shortly thereafter he heard the sirens of first responders as they proceed toward the accident site.

The accident site was located in a heavily wooded area about 800 ft beyond the departure end of runway 27 at FL13. Multiple tree branches that displayed angular cuts were found along a path that stretched from the trees near the departure end of the runway to where the wreckage came to rest.

The fuselage came to rest upright oriented on a heading of 180 degrees magnetic. The airplane was partially consumed by a postaccident fire. The engine remained attached to the firewall through the tubular engine mount and was heavily fire damaged. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange and the spinner and one propeller blade were embedded in the soft earth. The engine oil sump, carburetor, and the lower portion of the accessory case were consumed in the post-impact fire. The engine-driven fuel pump, the vacuum pump, and both magnetos were heavily fire-damaged. The cabin and instrument panel were also consumed by the postimpact fire. The wings sustained tree impact damage and were partially separated from the fuselage. Both wings came to rest in front of the engine and sustained significant postimpact fire damage. The right flap was separated from the wing and remained in one piece. A small fragment of the left flap was found forward of the engine. The tail sustained minimal impact damage; however, it was thermally damaged. Flight control cable continuity was established for all tail control surfaces. Aileron and flap continuity were partially established due to multiple separations that displayed signatures consistent with overload separation and postimpact fire damage. The manual flap handle ratchet plate was loose; and the position of the flaps could not be determined. The stabilator trim was found in a position that correlated to approximately 8° tab trailing edge down. 

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

The airport was located at an elevation of 150 ft, and its single turf runway was 3,800 ft-long by 75 ft-wide and oriented in a 9/27 configuration. Runway 27 sloped downward with an elevation change between the runway ends of about 40 ft. Trees that were an estimated 70 to 80 ft tall were present beyond the departure end of runway 27.

A witness, who arrived at the airport about 30 minutes after the accident, stated that at that time the wind was coming from the east (tailwind for runway 27) at an estimated velocity of 15 knots, straight down runway 27.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N6009U
Model/Series: C23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
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: KHEG,87 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C /18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 140°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Middleburg, FL
Destination: Middleburg, FL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 30.062274,-81.974963 (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 

MIDDLEBURG, Florida – One of the three people killed Wednesday when a small plane went down in Middleburg was a loving father and grandfather who would take the shirt off his back for anyone, his family told News4Jax on Thursday.

Carl “CJ” Powell was among the three victims who died Wednesday morning, his family said. They said he was flying with two friends the day of the crash.

Powell’s wife and daughters said Thursday described him as invincible and they still feel like he’ll walk through the door at any moment.

The family told News4Jax they don’t know much about the crash but they will cherish the loving person they lost.

Powell, who was 76, owned the Beech C23 Sundowner,  had flown planes for many years, but the family said a second person aboard also knew how to fly, so it’s unclear who was at the controls when the plane went down.

In a statement about the crash, the FAA said the plane crashed about 9 a.m. Wednesday in a wooded area off Violet Way shortly after departure from Spencer’s Airpark.

All three people aboard died at the scene, the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed that afternoon.

The crash is being investigated by the NTSB, which said a preliminary report can take up to 12 days and up to two years for a full investigation.

Powell’s family described him as a wonderful father and grandfather who would always check with each member of the family to make sure they were OK. His daughter says he was adventurous and would go skiing, boating and sky diving.

Powell’s wife says he retired from the Jacksonville Police Office reserve, flew helicopters and loved working with Pilots and Paws, a nonprofit that coordinates volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with transporting animals being rescued, sheltered or adopted.

They said Powell died doing something he loved.

“It would initially appear the airplane in the process of taking off either didn’t get airborne or did not achieve enough height to clear the trees at the end of the runway,” aviation expert Ed Booth told News4Jax on Wednesday.

Booth said it appears this plane was flying without logging a flight plan first, which FHP confirmed, which is not unusual for flights of small planes making local flights.

“You are taught that when you’re operating off of grass it takes longer to accelerate primarily. You have to use some care on a soft surface like that. But this is a long enough runway for any properly loaded aircraft,” Booth said.

Booth said the plane was flying around 10 miles southwest of Cecil Field and could have requested guidance from the tower there. He also wonders whether there was too much weight in the small plane for takeoff.

“They will look at the airplane loading. Three people and some baggage can exceed the weight limits of many 4 passenger airplanes,” Booth said.

Firefighters contained a small brush fire at the crash scene at 9:22 a.m.

MIDDLEBURG, Florida — Family members of one of the three people killed in a small plane crash in Clay County Wednesday have identified the victims to First Coast News.

Amanda Gordon said her father, Carl "CJ" Powell, died in the crash. He had 20 years of experience flying planes, she said.

Powell's friends, Jeff Thomas and another woman, were the other two victims in the crash, Gordon said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Beech C23 Sundowner crashed into a heavily wooded area shortly after taking off around 9 a.m. under unknown circumstances. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Gordon said her father was an adventurous person who liked to run and go skydiving. He enjoyed spending time on his boat and flying his plane. Powell called the plane "Miss Anne," and his wife, Billie Powell, joked that it was his girlfriend.

CJ Powell's family said he built their brick house from scratch in a year.

Powell volunteered as an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office as well as with the nonprofit animal rescue organization Pilots N Paws. 

Gordon shared several photos of her father along with his wife and three grandsons, as well as a photo of his plane, with First Coast News. Scroll down to view a gallery of the photos.

“He was really a nice neighbor," Charles Watson said. “Anytime I was out and about and he was out and about, he was friendly and always willing to converse with you.”

Charles Watson lives across the street from the Powell's.

“It’s nothing but sadness. I feel for the family. I hope he was right with God, and he’s alright, but the family’s going to miss him, and it’s going to be a sad time for a long time," Watson said.

September 09, 2019
View of damage to the left wing.

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Keystone Heights, FL
Accident Number: GAA19CA585
Date & Time: 09/09/2019, 0900 EDT
Registration: N6009U
Aircraft: Beech 23
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, after landing on runway 11, he realized runway 5/23 was being used as a taxiway so he back taxied onto runway 23. He saw another airplane taxiing toward him and made several CTAF transmissions to the pilot but received no response. Not knowing the taxiing airplane's intentions, he maneuvered his airplane to the left side of runway 5, and the left wing struck a construction sign. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and aileron. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a construction sign during taxi operations.


Environmental issues Sign/marker - Effect on equipment
Personnel issues Monitoring environment - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Taxi Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 75, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/05/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/05/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 820.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 518 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Model/Series: 23 C23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1978 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: M-2088
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2450 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3320 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K42J, 197 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1335 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 303°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  9 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 11000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Middleburg, FL (FL13)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Keystone Heights, FL (42J)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0840 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Keystone Airpark (42J)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 196 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 05
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5046 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.844722, -82.047500 (est)

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