Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Cessna 152, N25513: Fatal accident occurred June 29, 2021 at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (KSGJ), St Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida

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 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 


Location: St. Augustine, FL
Accident Number: ERA21FA274
Date & Time: June 29, 2021, 14:27 Local 
Registration: N25513
Aircraft: Cessna 152 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On June 29, 2021, about 1427 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N25513, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida. The flight instructor and a passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The purpose of the local flight was to take the passenger, a prospective student pilot on a discovery flight. Preliminary radar data indicated the airplane departed SGJ at 1344 from runway 13. The airplane flew about 14 miles south, then returned to circle the city of St. Augustine, Florida, and finally flew north along the coastline about 21 miles before turning south to return for landing.

A witness observed the airplane approach runway 13 about 100 ft above ground level with the wings swaying up and down about 1 ft in each direction. He also stated the nose of the airplane appeared to be in a nose up attitude before the airplane pitched down about 45° and impacted the runway. The impact was followed by a fire that engulfed the airplane as it slid about 200 ft before coming to rest.

The airplane was located about 927 ft before the displaced threshold for runway 13 at SGJ on a heading of 148°. All components of the airplane were accounted for on scene. Ground scars were consistent with the propeller spinner and left wing impacting the asphalt first followed by the nose wheel. Witness marks in the asphalt and on the spinner indicated an impact angle of about 38°.

The majority of the cockpit, cabin and instrument panel were consumed by fire. The inboard portion of the right wing was consumed by fire, including the fuel tank. Both the left and right forward and aft wing attach fittings remained connected via the attach bolts. The wing support structure through the upper cabin was consumed by fire. The left-wing sustained fire damage at the wing root, but the fuel tank remained intact and about 2.5 gallons of 100 low lead aviation fuel was drained from the tank. No debris or water was noted in the fuel. A majority of the fuel lines in the fuselage were consumed by fire. The tail section was consumed by fire from the approximate fuselage station 75 to 133. The empennage remained intact and attached the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator was mostly consumed by fire. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained intact. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained intact and sustained fire damage to the right side. Flight control continuity was established by tracing the flight control cables from the cockpit controls to the respective flight controls.

Examination of the engine revealed that crankshaft and valvetrain continuity were confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated using a tool inserted into the vacuum pump drive pad. Compression and suction were attained from all four cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted. The carburetor was impact separated, fragmented, and the fuel inlet screen was absent of debris.

The propeller was impact separated from the engine crankshaft flange and found on the runway about 45 ft from the engine. One propeller blade was twisted toward the cambered surface along the blade longitudinal axis. The blade exhibited chord-wise scoring and leading and trailing edge gouges. The other propeller blade was twisted toward the flat surface along the blade longitudinal axis. The blade tip was curled toward the blade face. That blade also exhibited chord-wise scoring and leading-edge gouges.

Multiple slash marks, consistent with propeller strikes, were observed on the asphalt surface near the initial impact point.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N25513
Model/Series: 152
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SGJ,10 ft msl 
Observation Time: 14:44 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /25°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: St. Augustine, FL
Destination: St. Augustine, FL 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.967187,-81.350362 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.







40 comments:

  1. AWOS and track data:

    KSGJ 291825Z AUTO 09009KT 10SM CLR 28/25 A3019
    KSGJ 291830Z AUTO 10010KT 10SM CLR 29/24 A3019
    KSGJ 291835Z AUTO 09011KT 10SM CLR 28/24 A3019

    https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N25513/history/20210629/1744Z/KSGJ/KSGJ

    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a26ca8&lat=29.973&lon=-81.365&zoom=14.1&showTrace=2021-06-29&trackLabels

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely tragic. Unfortunately Florida Flyers has a disregard for safety and MX. I believe this is the 6th Florida Flyers plane that has been totaled in the last few years. My condolences to those affected by this accident, as someone that has flown N25513 (probably over 100 times at Florida Flyers) I am deeply upset by this event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So they are dangerous but you flew there over 100 times?

      Delete
    2. Hindsight is 20/20. I was a young CFI eager to build time for the airlines.

      Delete
    3. Checking your claims found two pilot error non-fatal, no MX problem crashes associated with this school. What are the other 4 events you believe happened that don't show up in searches?

      N35585 Simulated engine out practice:
      https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/99842/pdf

      N6135M Fuel Exhaustion:
      https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/92581/pdf

      Delete
    4. The two listed are pilot error correct, which develops from lack of safety standardization. Florida Flyers leases planes from owners typically so it is difficult to search and yield results. Here are a couple articles I was able to find of accidents that happened before or during my time as a CFI at Florida Flyers. There was also a Duchess that crashed recently (2017 I believe) but I can not find the article.

      https://www.news4jax.com/news/2017/11/20/small-plane-makes-belly-landing-in-st-augustine/

      https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/199106

      https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/164439

      Delete
    5. Different former student here, yup, unfortunately there’s disregard for flight training, I believe it comes from the top, they always had an attitude of sucking all your money.
      That attitude unfortunately translated into the foreign instructors and well, there are a couple more incidents that you should know of:

      A CPL rated pilot during ME training mistook the flat lever on a duchess for the landing gear, it collapsed on the runway during a touch and go, he was with an instructor that I didn’t really like, he had the macho persona.

      On 2017 a foreign student also crashed on a piper during CPL training, she switched tanks during the upswing leg while doing touch and go’s, the engine quit and they crash landed just before the runway.

      They keep their planes up to FAA standards, but they instructors, particularly the foreign (middle east guys) are really lacking, if not trash tbh.

      Delete
    6. The Duchess incident happened with the Chief Pilot, which proves the lack of qualification and standard of training. As for the CPL incident you mentioned with the Arrow in 2017, the NTSB found no probable cause for that accident! Can you believe that?! They basically admitted to switching the tanks to OFF which is so easy to do in that plane (there is no safety stop), yet there was no official probable cause listed. Again that goes with standard of training, never switch tanks, in any airplane, under 1,000'AGL.

      Delete
    7. Actually, I was at the airport, the duchess incident WAS NOT with the chief CFI, It was with another MEI and an American pilot, of course I cannot say names here, but I’m certain neither SG nor SM where flying when that happened, the MEI on that flight was ES.

      The same instructor supposedly (unconfirmed) once went flying (while as a student) on an arrow, I was told, on very heavy, gusty winds, and landed the arrow so hard the landing gear penetrated the wing.

      The CPL incident was shameful tbh, she should have know better, for real, who tf changes tanks on the upwind leg, when the engine needs the biggest and most reliable flow of fuel, I’m still baffled by that. Congrats to the instructor who got the plane “back”. However, this does show that the instructors there are negligent, they don’t supervise the students, they just sit there… also, little to no MTT or CRM training, I bet the instructor didn’t even know she was changing fuel tanks.

      I had instances of them looking at their phone the entire flight and charging me for it.

      Can’t say that about the American instructors, they were the best, really cared for my training, the foreigners, damn, they are the worst. (Colombian, Puerto Rican, Arab, etc…) my only bad experience I had with an American, was a female one that was fired because she lied about being sick, and was then seen flying her BF’s plane about of the same airport *sigh*

      Delete
    8. That place was a zoo! I wish I could say the same about the American instructors, mine all sucked. All mine lied about being sick all the time and would be late or cancel on me and or would sleep in the plane. They constantly complained about how much they hated their job because of the moral and terrible leadership or lack of leadership. That place was a joke. I regret spending my money there. I basically taught my self everything I needed to know to get by. I could not imagine being a CFI there.

      Delete
  3. Pinned google map image of wreckage location based on news video:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:29.967248+-81.350195

    ReplyDelete
  4. The last ping shows a ground speed of 64 kts and a descent rate that is suggesting a descent angle of 6 degrees. A little steep and a little fast, in part unstable, but doable. Some X-wind as well, but nothing unusual @ KSGJ.

    Official stall speed for 152 with flaps down is 43 kts, in reality a little less. Based on those numbers it is hard to believe that this was a slow speed stall. The numbers suggest a forward slip

    I second the previous remarks about sloppy Mx and safety culture @ Florida Flyers, at least in previous years.

    According to this report

    https://www.wokv.com/news/local/ntsb-instructor-prospective-student-were-introduction-flight-st-augustine-plane-crash/IQBXKNB6LBGQ5BI3ZEPWACPZH4/

    one victim, presuambly the student, was a foreign national and the flight was supposed to be a discovery flight. I personally doubt the discovery flight portion of the story. Florida Flyers has earned a reputation to focus on students from Egypt, Middle East, India and Western Europe, so most if not all of thm need TSA clearance to start their initial training. The discovery flight exemption of the TSA was in previous years the loophole Florida Flyers had used to start pilot training prior the approval.

    If we assume the information that it had been a discovery flight is correct, then it would be unusual to fly unusual maneuvers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That "last ping" ADS-B 64 knot data point at 27:38 in FlightAware's track log can further informed by three more data points the aircraft transmitted at 27:41, 27:45 and 27:50 shown in AdsbExchange's track recording:

      Time GndSpd VertRate
      27:41 63 KT -512 ft/min
      27:45 60 KT -512 ft/min
      27:50 59 KT -1024 ft/min (At GPS location 29.971+-81.356)

      The final available data point at 27:50 is approximately 2000 feet distant from the wreckage location (Measured from 29.971, -81.356 google map pin in link below).

      There was a big sink rate going on with the possibility of crashing onto the highway. The "discovery flight" fudging practice for foreign students certainly is a good fit to the observed maneuvers, unstable approach and crash.

      The three additional data points are here:
      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a26ca8&lat=29.972&lon=-81.358&zoom=17.0&showTrace=2021-06-29&trackLabels&timestamp=1624991271

      Mapped location of 59 KT -1024 ft/min data point:
      http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:29.971+-81.356

      Delete
    2. obviously the 512 and 1024 number cannot be used as accurate data point. 1024 is exactly double of 512. this is the number that the gps or computer was able to pick up. so that number seems to be rounded off from the actual numbers.

      Delete
    3. She was from Germany and had no experience at all she just wanted to know how it feels to be in a cockpit it was her second day at this school. She was one of my best friends.

      Delete
    4. The 512 and 1024 values look suspicious only because most people are not aware that vertical rate data encoding in ADS-B transmissions from the aircraft uses a least significant bit of 64 Ft/Min.

      If you look in Adsbexchange at vertical rates in the left side data panel for any data point on any flight, the vertical rate will always be a multiple of 64. The value displayed represents the actual transmitted raw data from the aircraft, not something "picked up" in error.

      Any ADS-B vertical rate data you are accustomed to seeing that is not a multiple of 64 is the result of a calculation made by comparing two altitudes over a time span or by a processing algorithm, not by displaying the unadulterated raw data transmitted by the aircraft at each data point.

      Reference: Bit 38 to 46 definition/assignment in ICAO DOC 9871 Tables A-5 and A-6, readily viewable beginning at pdf sheet 70 (document page marked 54) here:
      https://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/2851.pdf

      Delete
    5. Recorded ADS-B data should *always* be taken with a grain of salt. It's not designed to be a highly accurate track log and altitude deltas can be particularly inaccurate. Straight and level tracks in the plane I fly have shown up as winding tracks at fluctuating altitudes on ADS-B tracking sites. Like the accident airplane, my plane is leased from Christiansen and they typically outfit their leased aircraft with Tailbeacon ADS-B out transmitters, which don't tend to be the super accurate ADS-B data sources.

      Delete
  5. I agree with your statement about sloppy mx and safety culture. A few years ago it was one of the reasons I decided to change the flight school.
    I also totally agree with you about the loophole called discovery flights they used to start flight training prior the TSA approval.
    So many other things happened when I was a student there that I didn't feel good to come back to that school anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like this is he gathering place of the unofficial Florida Flyers Alumni Association - all with similar experiences

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was scheduled for a discovery flight years ago there. We preflighted a plane, found a maintenance issue, got a new plane, couldnt get it to start, got another one, same story. Never completed the flight. Went next door to FACT, got all my certs/ratings, built my time for the airlines there as a CFI, and now I am at the regionals with ZERO issues or safety concerns.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a former CFI at Florida Flyers I can attest to the poor MX. It worsened even further during 2020 as layoffs of maintenance personnel were done due to COVID. It was a big difference in maintenance quality between Florida Flyers and the aircraft I trained in at ATP.

    As to how this tragic event transpired it remains to be seen until NTSB finishes their investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like all you folks that have had bad experiences there should be contacting the FAA about this place. Sounds like the place needs to be shutdown. Maybe this girl would still be alive or at least maybe prevent some other innocent person from dying.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I wonder why the names of the pilot and the "prospective student" continue to be unreleased at this late date.
    d4a

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CFI was local. He was a graduate from FSCJ/Sunrise up at KVQQ.

      Delete
    2. The prospective student pilot was a foreigner.

      Delete
  11. Florida Flyers has been a shady company for a long time. Rainer Hueckels aka Rainer Hueckels-Loeffeck aka Rainer Pereira da Silva is known for this disregard of rules. He had operated SAM SAINT AUGUSTINE AVIATION MAINTENANCE Inc. - this company had been in charge for most of the Florida Flyers maintenance - for years after the company has been subject of a dissolution in 2015 (see: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ConvertTiffToPDF?storagePath=COR%5C2015%5C0120%5C68580065.tif&documentNumber=P14000012248 ).In late 2020 he has formed SAINT AUGUSTINE AVIATION MAINTENANCE LLC ( http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ConvertTiffToPDF?storagePath=COR%5C2020%5C1104%5C00213120.tif&documentNumber=L20000338154 )using the domain www.sam-aviation.com of the defunct company.
    It is my impression that the next Dean Internationl Flight School case study is just around the corner.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nothing in the preliminary report points to maintenance fault. Witness describes the stall.

    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103374/pdf

    ReplyDelete
  13. an aspiring pilot here considering Florida Flyers. Coz they are the only ATO that I could find that fulfilled the requirements of the regulator of my country(In EU). After reading all the different experience of the alumni, feel like ive made a bad choice. hope they refund registration fee, And hope anyone here can suggest me a good ATO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All training organizations are constantly under pressure to balance cost and performance. You could be assigned a problem aircraft or poor instructor at any of them on any given day.

      Ask schools for their incidents & accidents metrics. If they refuse, go elsewhere.

      Cancelling FF only makes sense if your own search through incident history in NTSB records and FF's response to your inquiring about incidents and accidents per hours flown validates the comments you see here and is poorer than other schools available to you.

      Delete
    2. I've been trying to get records of accidents and incidents but so far it's been not an easy task. Also trying to get in touch with the alumni is also a big challenge as many don't respond to the DMs!!.
      I'm not just concerned about accidents and incidents, I'm also concerned about the quality of training. Like mentioned in one of the earlier comments, the instructors are not as experienced. I have no idea the validity of those claims and I'm not able to find someone who can respond to these claims, apart from the management or the faculties, coz I don't trust they will be honest about it.

      Delete
    3. Quality is going to be difficult to assess. Every school will be operating with significant numbers of instructors who are there primarily to build their time toward meeting the 1,500 hours of flight experience requirement. Your own path will likely require you to do the same. Good luck!

      Delete
    4. Good luck with your attempt to get a refund from Florida Flyers. If there is anything I can guarantee - this not going to happen with Mr. Hueckels and Bettina. I suggest that you talk to Dr. Schwahn, the CEO of EDAZ airport. He has a lot of good advise how to combine US flight training with EASA requirements. There are a few other possibilities in Florida. Florida Institute of Technology @ KMLB with top notch aircrafts and very good maintenance or Aviator College / European Flight Training @ KFPR are worth a look.

      Delete
    5. if i had a dime for every European that has had a difficult time at FFL i would have my own flight academy. no kidding.

      Delete
    6. How did you make a payment? Was it a credit/debit card? I can help you. I had the same thing happen to me and got a refund from my bank. The instructor and owner of the school later ended up here on Kathryn's report. He killed two people on a discovery flight after allegedly taking off in tail wind conditions with an overweight aircraft. THREE attempted take offs. FF also removes all the bad reviews to cover up their crime. Same happened in my case. At least I'm safe. These places are never worth it.
      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2020/07/piper-pa-28-140-cherokee-fatal-accident.html

      Delete
    7. I've made payment using debit card, but it is was not a domestic transaction.

      Delete
    8. Debit cards only allow you to dispute a charge within 60 days of making the transaction in the U.S. Also, being an international transaction doesn't help. You might want to check with your bank to see if disputing the charge is a possibility. I would straight to their main office of the school and ask for my money back. So many accidents are alarming. Nobody wants to be a statistic. Also, tell them that you will call the local media on them if they don't return your money. The local media is always willing to cover such schools. Mine did too and prevented many people from dying. Two years later, the school is now shut. It catches up eventually. The owner refused to return my money. I got the government involved and got my money back eventually.

      Delete
  14. An obituary has been published for the June 29, 2021, death of a 27-year-old male flight instructor who "was currently employed with Florida Flyers Flight Academy in St. Augustine".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No One has named the CFI or the student!! Any idea who they are?

      Delete
    2. Joshua Michael "Josh" Moore was the instructor

      Delete
  15. I knew the instructor personally and flew with him many times. He was smart, hard working, and a skilled pilot. I don't believe he could have let the aircraft stall on short final. The eye witness report was a non-pilot who saw it while driving down the road.

    ReplyDelete