Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Beechcraft A23 Musketeer II, N8780M: Fatal accident occurred June 01, 2021 in Pinnacle, Stokes County, North 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. 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina
Textron; Wichita, Kansas 

Location: Pinnacle, NC 
Accident Number: ERA21FA237
Date & Time: June 1, 2021, 17:21 Local
Registration: N8780M
Aircraft: Beech A23 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On June 1, 2021, about 1720 eastern daylight time, a Beech A23, N8780M, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Pinnacle, North Carolina. The student pilot was fatally injured and the flight instructor sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

A review of preliminary Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that the flight departed runway 22 at Smith Reynolds Airport (INT), Winston Salem, North Carolina about 1641. The airplane made a right turn and tracked northwest, then east, performing a series of turns, climbs, and descents, consistent with maneuvering flight. About 1718, while flying on an easterly track, the airplane entered a right descending 270° turn from about 2,100 ft msl. The last ADS-B target was observed at 1719 as the airplane descended through 1,075 ft msl at a groundspeed of 64 knots, about 16 miles northwest of INT. The local elevation at the accident site was about 1,000 ft.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted a grass field on a residential property. The wreckage debris path was about 65 ft-long and oriented on a magnetic heading of 287°. There was no postimpact fire and all major structural components of the airplane were located within the debris field. All flight control cables were continuous from the cockpit controls to the control surfaces. Manual manipulation of the aileron, stabilator and rudder cables operated their respective control surfaces. The outboard portion of the left wing came to rest inverted and next to the inboard portion of the wing. The left wing was impact-separated from the fuselage at the wing root, the aileron cables remained attached. The empennage separated from the fuselage and came to rest behind the cabin, the elevator and rudder cables remained attached. The engine was partially separated, the fuel hoses, throttle and mixture control cables remained attached. The nose and right main landing gear were separated.

The engine fuel supply system remained intact. The fuel boost pump switch lever was fracture separated, but the remaining portion was in the “ON” position. The left fuel tank was breached, the right fuel tank remained intact and contained about 1 pint of aviation fuel which was free of water and debris. Grass blighting was evident at the initial left wing impact location and continued along the wreckage path to the main wreckage. The fuel outlet strainers in each wing, and all fuel supply lines and vents were free of obstructions. The fuel flow divider and fuel injector lines did not contain any fuel. The fuel flow divider was disassembled and found to be free of debris. The fuel line from the engine-driven fuel pump to the fuel metering assembly contained fuel and the line from the fuel metering assembly to the flow divider contained a small amount of fuel. The fuel selector valve contained a small amount of fuel. None of the fuel supply lines from the firewall forward were breached. The electric fuel boost pump was removed and hooked up to a power supply; it was successfully operated and pumped water.

Both magnetos were removed and manually operated. The right and left magnetos produced spark on all leads. The top spark plugs were in new condition when compared to a Champion Spark Aviation CheckA-Plug chart AV-27. The engine was manually rotated through several 720-degrees of rotation; continuity was confirmed and thumb compression was verified on all cylinders. Each of the cylinder valves appeared well lubricated and their associated rockers and springs functioned smoothly. There were 6 quarts of oil inside the crankcase and the oil filter was cut open and the filter pleats were free of any ferrous material or debris. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Blade A was unremarkable, and Blade B was uniformly bent aft around the engine. Blade B was cut from the hub to facilitate engine rotation. Neither blade exhibited leading edge gouging or polishing.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N8780M
Model/Series: A23 
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: MWK,1247 ft msl 
Observation Time: 16:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4900 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.25 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Winston Salem, NC (INT) 
Destination: Pinnacle, NC 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 36.34076,-80.39283 

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 

Michael Thomas "Tom" Turner, II 
1988 - 2021

Michael Thomas Turner, II “Tom” was born on August 29, 1988 and grew up right here in Kernersville, where he graduated from Glenn High School in 2006 and went on to UNCG, where he graduated with a BA in Biology and Psychology in 2011.  Tom started his own business, West Mountain Pawn, where he was able to realize his passion of helping others. 

Tom loved life and lived his life to the fullest. He loved to travel and has many friends across the country and was loved by all that knew him.  One of Tom’s passions was an annual event in the Nevada Desert “Burning Man” where people from all over the world come to spend time with friends that become their extended families.  He will be missed and remembered by all that knew him as “Just Tom” the one who would always listen with a compassionate ear or lend you a shoulder to cry on.  He will truly be missed. 

Tom would want us to celebrate the time we had with him and not dwell on the loss of the unmade memories to come. He lived a full life and in the short 32 years, he had a profound impact to those that had the opportunity to know him for the beautiful person he was. 

Tom is survived by his parents, Michael and Glenda Turner; grandparents, Harold and Judy Turner, and Belva Crum; girlfriend Christine “Olive” Meyer; aunts and uncles, Teresa Lester, and Roger Payne; cousins, William and Maggie Turner, Marilyn and Martin Payne, Elizabeth Flores, Rosie and Jimmy Hall, and Alexzandreia Payne. 

Funeral services celebrating his life will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, June 6, 2021 at the Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Services Kernersville Chapel with Rev. John Shields officiating. The family will greet friends immediately following the service at the funeral home. Interment will be private at Mt. Gur Cemetery, Kernersville, NC. 

Friends and family may view and sign the guestbook at

 Samantha Welborn

Authorities have released the identities of the two people who were on board a small plane that crashed Tuesday in Stokes County.

Michael Thomas Turner, 57, of Kernersville died in the crash, and Samantha Welborn, 24, of Boonville was injured, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.

The Beechcraft A23 Musketeer II crashed at 5:21 p.m. in a field near 1170 Almas Lane in the Pinnacle community.

Welborn, the pilot of the plane, is a certified flight instructor at Piedmont Flight Training, which is at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem, said her grandfather, Marion Welborn of Boonville. Turner was the passenger.

Welborn is being treated in the intensive-care unit at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She has injuries to her face, jaw, hand and knee, her grandfather said.

"She's in a little bit of pain," Marion Welborn said. "She's lucky to be alive."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Samantha Welborn told her grandfather that the plane's engine stopped operating, causing it to crash, Marion Welborn said.


  1. Classified listing for the aircraft (cached):

    FAA database shows certificate issued 3/04/2021.

    Note that per the ad, the aircraft had been hangared and out-of-license for the last 10 years. The ad says doesn't specify the date sold, but "the local shop did an full inspection."

    I don't know the TBO on a 1964 IO-346 engine, but out-of-license 10 years is a bad sign. This "great deal" turned out to be a real "killer" deal.

    1. According to Continental publication looks like TBO of 1500 hrs, or 12 years :

    2. “ CMI recommends the following factors be used, along with the engine’s published TBO, to determine the engine’s continued airworthiness:
      1. Whether the engine has been operated regularly or has been in storage, as gaskets, seals and synthetic and natural rubber goods deteriorate over time. Environmental corrosion can occur internally and externally on the engine. This naturally occurring process can affect continued airworthiness of the engine and engine mounted components and accessories. Replace or overhaul the engine no later than twelve (12) years from date placed in service, or on accumulation of the operating hours”
      A fully reliable engine allows us to fly safely without harness, all tho I think they are imperative for safety.

  2. Prayers for the family. I could be completely missing them in the media pictures, but I do not see any shoulder harnesses. Million dollar question, but read up on them, they are life savers. If you don’t have them in your small airplane, get them! There are several manufacturers out there.

    1. I've spoken to someone from the flight school that she instructs for and can confirm that the aircraft had no shoulder harnesses.

    2. AppBrook -- Spot on observation. This was a very survivable crash. Where they have shoulder harnesses then both probably dust themselves off and climb from the plane with almost no injury of consequence.

      But with just a lap belt you cannot keep your head and face from impacting the panel ... often times fatal.

      It's very simple: Get shoulder harnesses. No exceptions.

    3. Our flying club has a Cherokee I refuse to fly for that reason. Rode in it one time and not having a shoulder harness felt disturbing.

    4. Kenneth -- Great instinct. A post like yours might save a life. Perhaps someone will read your post and say, "You know what. I'm not going to fly in an airplane without shoulder harnesses anymore. I'm done with that."

      To me this is the highest value of this KR website. Hopefully we read posts like yours and then actually take action, modify our behavior, etc.

    5. My plane (a tailwheel) never had shoulder harnesses until I installed them a year ago. I echo what Kenneth says. I feel alot better with them in.

    6. Based on the above report, looks like it ran out of fuel. Photos of impact area and aircraft would suggest the aircraft stalled (to slow airspeed to maintain flight), rolled left then impacted the terrain. Shoulder harness would have done little for the student in the left seat when the impact was 45-60 degrees to his left. Shoulder harness doesn't prevent fuel starvation or stalls. Pilot in command is in charge of it. Next thing you know everyone will think you need to wear a helmet, neck brace and etc. Where does it stop?? Make sure you have plenty of fuel, don't stall the aircraft and you won't need even a lap belt. A little something to chew on for those who put their safety in a should harness.

  3. My 63 Mooney had no shoulder harness and I installed an STC'd set-clamp that goes around the fuselage tubing with a bolt to clamp it and a course threaded screw to keep it from sliding along the tube. I was happier with it than not, but it didn't feel very secire and I always wished there was a 4-point option available. (the Musketeer not having a tube fuselage would obviously be different.) A friend recently died in a Champ accident and the rear seater suffered severe head trauma when the should harness clamp (same design) slid along the tube.

  4. This didn’t need to be an accident. It was a field landing. I land in fields in my Mooney all the time to use the bathroom or get some sleep.

    1. This field looks great for an off field landing from the picture, as they all do from 1000 feet up. Walk this field and you will see why this was an accident.

  5. Bonanza, N5655D, Thanksgiving day 2013 on U tube. shoulder harness's saved my son and my life. No excuse for NOT having them...should be mandatory from the FAA if they really care about safety of flight!!! MANDATORY.

    1. As a fellow Bonanza pilot, I’ve seen this video several times. My hat is off to you for handling the engine out scenario with success. I couldn’t agree more that shoulder harnesses are a must for all seats, especially those in front.

    2. I remember watching this when you posted it. Always wondered how you faired - glad you were ok. Thanks for the video - it made me a better pilot in my Bonanza.

    3. Kent, I am a huge believer in shoulder harness's too. A few years ago, a Bonanza lost power and crashed here in east Tn, no harness's, the pilot survived, the yoke saved him but his wife impacted the panel and sadly didn't make it. You did such a terrific job with you engine out! Thank you for your service with the good ole USA. I was a KC-10A crew chief during Desert Storm. It would be an honor to meet you some day sir. Clears sky's!

  6. My flight instructor died when the engine in his C150 quit on takeoff. He had plenty of open field in front of him, but he tried to turn back to land on his own property. The NTSB report said he may have survived if he had worn his shoulder harness. ALWAYS wear your shoulder harnesses when taking off or before landing.

  7. she will live to fly another day (with shoulder harnesses). very minor injuries to her face/jaw according to pops. Good think there wasn't obtrusions on the pilot-side of this ancient aircraft. 57 year old aircraft that have been sitting 10 years need more than a thorough inspection. It needed an engine tear-down, build-back up. And it also needed mounts installed for shoulder harnesses...yea, I know, they are expensive, but they are a must. Get the mounting system, then get the harnesses, then learn to use them correctly and test them in-flight several times before signing off on them to be working correctly. I'm sure Samantha is out of the hospital now and is recovering nicely and is probably flight-planning her next trip up. But get the shoulder harnesses everyone, please. Mr. Turner won't be going up anymore because he was on the deadly side of the cockpit.

    1. she is a flight instructor and cant put it down in that clear field she has blood on her hands and she fucked up big time cost her student his life

    2. Ahhh I see we have an armchair quarterback on our hands here. How about you leave the investigating to the NTSB given there isn’t a single official detail of the crash that’s been released. We all hope we never have to go through such a tragic situation but in the event that we do, we don’t need some ass-hat saying that we fucked up while he sits on his couch nowhere near the crash site.

    3. NTSB is a bunch of worthless bureaucrats. 2 of the 5 board members don't even have a PPL. They consistently get it wrong and fail to make recommendations that make a difference in GA fatalities. Their staff of 500 write up the reports, they eventually hold a hearing which no outside comment is allowed and vote to approve the report.

    4. All 5 have PPL:
      Robert L. Sumwalt
      Bruce Landsberg
      Jennifer Homendy
      Michael Graham
      Thomas Chapman

    5. National Transportation Safety Board is hiring!

      Minimum eligibility requirements for these positions are based on possession of the appropriate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificates and/or appropriate military ratings, meeting the applicable flight hour requirements, meeting the appropriate education and/or experience requirements, and possession of the knowledge and skills required for the position.

    6. Now, now, Dave -- you're projecting. That's not nice, Dave.

      If you are going to be working for the NTSB it is critically important to be an active party participant throughout the process by insisting on balanced and fair statements and characterizations. You must be diplomatic, but not sit back and watch. You must respond affirmatively if a sensitive issue develops. We strive for a thorough investigation and a thorough analysis. Our team members have much more experience than you, Dave, and we submit detailed, well-constructed proposed findings and excellent safety recommendations.

      Enjoy your weekend, Dave!

      "NTSB is a bunch of worthless bureaucrats." Written by dave121314

  8. While I don't disagree that shoulder harnesses are superior protection in every way, it's not always feasible, nor affordable in all circumstances. Those of you who believe it should be mandatory and those of you won't fly certain airplanes because of their absence, will never enjoy the freedom or excitement of riding a motorcycle or driving a classic car. No thanks. As adults, we make decisions and assume the consequences of our actions.

    1. Lidman, while I do agree with you we are adults, and responsible for our own actions, she had a passenger with her. We, as pilots, even more so at the CFI level, have a duty to protect those we take flight with. I flew for years without shoulder restraints. We had a series of accidents at my home airport, with two walking away unscathed because they had upper body protection, and one never flying again because his face impacted the panel as a result of lap belt only. I love my BAS belts.

  9. Photos of the seat belts.....

    1. Shoulder harnesses are important for front seat occupants, but they are almost useless if the seats -- like those pictured here -- don't have head restraints. The shoulder belts will save your life for 1/2 second until your neck is snapped when your head jerks back after impact.

    2. Headrests/high seat backs are needed in automobiles because your head jerks back during primary impact if another vehicle collides into the rear.

      Sudden stoppage of an aircraft during a forward motion crash doesn't jerk your head backwards.

  10. Shoulder restraints are available between $500 and $1500 per seat, plus installation. Lots of info on site.

  11. This is who died, the son who is a Jr.

  12. since as far back as we've been hurling our bodies forward on land, sea and air ... "With only a lap belt, the occupants are subjected to a jackknifing action which may impact the head and upper torso on control wheels, instrument panels, and other objects directly in front of the occupant. Sometimes the occupant submarines under the lap belt, and subsequent decelerations then place the belt load in the upper abdominal area. This may cause injury to the lumbar spine."

  13. He ran a pawn shop, was he looking to flip the plane? You can hire a pilot to check out your new purchase, or you can take a flying lesson in it, which is cheaper?

    1. Appears that he really was taking steps to become a pilot:

      Airmen registry has a MICHAEL THOMAS TURNER II student pilot listed, first class medical January 2021, student certificate 4/8/2021. Registration of the Beech in his name 03/04/2021.

  14. Preliminary report out. Looks to be fuel exhaustion right?

  15. Left tank breached and had enough fuel to blight the turf over a distance of 65 ft. Perhaps they ran the right tank dry and couldn't get restarted after selecting left tank. Notice that the report did not state the as-found position of the fuel selector valve.

    "Grass blighting was evident at the initial left wing impact location and continued along the wreckage path to the main wreckage."

  16. Tom loved life, but on this particular day he loved death better.