Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Cessna 501 Citation I/SP, N66BK: Fatal accident occurred May 29, 2021 near Smyrna Airport (KMQY), Rutherford County, Tennessee

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances shortly after takeoff.

JL&GL Productions LP

Date: 29-MAY-21
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N66BK
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 501
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 7
Flight Crew: 1
Passengers: 6
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
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

Joe and Gwen Lara

Brandon Hannah

Jonathan and Jessica Walters

David and Jennifer Martin

BRENTWOOD, Tennessee — Crews wrapped up search and recovery efforts Wednesday on a Tennessee lake following a small plane crash that killed seven people on Saturday.

Among the victims, actor William Lara and his wife, Gwen Lara, who founded Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood in 1999, as an extension of her popular book “The Weigh Down Diet.”

Investigators previously said a major part of the investigation will involve looking at the pilot’s training and records to help determine the cause.

“I know there was a question on his medical exam and whether it was up to date, and we were able to find that and get that into the Federal Aviation Administration, so that will hopefully soon be updated on their website to reflect that, said Rod Day.

Day, a Remnant Fellowship Church member, told NewsNation the pilot had “about 40 years of experience.”

“(The pilot) owned (the plane) for a little over a year and he flew it often,” Day said.

Several other church leaders were also on board, they were identified as:

Jennifer J. Martin
David L. Martin
Jessica Walters
Jonathan Walters
Brandon Hannah

Naomi Swindell, another church member, told NewsNation she “actually got to work with all of them; they were amazing people.”

“Gwen and Joe were just amazing. Gwen … she really did live a life of service, and she cared about every single person she came in contact with,” Swindell said. “Along with all those people — David and Jennifer Martin, Jonathan and Jessica Walters, Brandon Hannah — they were all amazing people. “They were all well respected in the community and by every single church member. I mean, I cannot say enough good things about them truly.”

Brentwood, Tennessee

The seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost May 29, 2021 were some of the finest and most loving people that you would ever come across. During this horrible tragedy, our church would greatly appreciate prayers.  

We want everyone who was affected, especially the children of the passengers, to know that they are very loved and our church will be taking special care of the children’s needs in these coming years. 

Gwen Shamblin Lara was one of the world’s most kind, gentle, and selfless mother and wife, and a loyal, caring, supportive best friend to all. She lived every day laying down her own life to ensure that others could find a relationship with God. Because of that, her memory will definitely remain for a long time as she has a place in millions of people’s hearts around the world through her work with Weigh Down Ministries and Remnant Fellowship Church. Her wonderful and supportive husband, Joe Lara, will also be greatly missed.  

The other passengers who perished in the crash were Remnant Fellowship leaders who were very involved in the community and loved by many –  David and Jennifer Martin, Jonathan and Jessica Walters, and Brandon Hannah. 

On behalf of Remnant Fellowship Church, we would like to thank the First Responders and all who have helped our church and these families during this difficult time.

Finally, as far as Remnant Fellowship Church and Weigh Down Ministries are concerned, Michael Shamblin and Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah, Gwen’s two children, and the church leadership intend to continue the dream that Gwen Shamblin Lara had of helping people find a relationship with God.

Remnant Fellowship Church


  1. Certificated flight training at FlightSafety International, Atlanta, Georgia. They are the best of the best!

    1. Have had a lot of training through FlightSafety in the past 22 years. Great instructors and curriculum; EXTREMELY high standards and worth the extra coins! I can assure you Mr. Lara had the BEST aviation flight training experience he ever received, bar none.

    2. Superb training does not necessarily translate to superb learning and superb judgment and decision making. The overcast lifted a couple hours later....a delay in departure could have possibly averted this tragedy.

  2. In response to what "dwn" said at the top, if what N66BK stated is true above about getting 500 type rating at FSI, a *very* expensive training school (and for good reason), he surely must have been single pilot rated to fly this 501. I would presume that one generally doesn't buy these jets then go there to just half-ass get a type rating in a single pilot certified jet requiring a second type-rated pilot in the right seat. But, nothing is out of the question when it comes to reading reports on KR as we all know. The AP reported that Hannah was in the right seat, and while licensed with instrument & multi, he had no commercial and no 500 type rating as second in command (a requirement even for SIC). Hopefully this jet was better maintained than the pilot's medical.

    1. Check out the FAA airman's data....Both Lara and Hannah got their last medicals in Nov of 2017....ergo both expired in Nov of 2019....they were both flying on long expired medicals...odd part is Hannah got his PPL in Feb of this year....without a valid medical ? None of this adds up. Lara got his commercial in March of 2020...again, with an expired medical....perhaps money does talk.

  3. If the plane was a 501 then you don't need any single pilot certification to fly it. It's a single pilot airplane. That's what the "1" stands for in "501". Anyone with a CE-500 type rating can fly it single pilot. Insurance standards may dictate a different training regime but that's not regulatory.

    1. Is this correct? I own a Citation M2 that is qualified for single pilot operations. However, to operate this aircraft single pilot, you much have a C525S license. Without the "S" at the end to signify single pilot qualified, you can't operate it without a qualified copilot. Just because an aircraft is built as single pilot approved, you still need a single pilot rating to fly it.

    2. That is incorrect Mark. You have to get a single pilot exemption for any CE500 series (and many other single pilot aircraft). The SPE allows a type rated PIC to fly any aircraft in the CE500 type series as single-pilot. FlightSafety themselves have all the details on getting a single pilot rating for the CE500 (and many other SP certified aircraft). And I quote:

      "All of our Cessna I, II, S/II and V Learning Centers offer Single Pilot Waiver training."

    3. Mark this not accurate. "Anyone with a CE-500 type rating can fly it single pilot." Although a CE-500 type cert is required for the CE-501, you do not automatically qualify for SPE. You must also receive and pass additional single pilot training including passing the single pilot practical test (ck ride) with the appropriately qualified DPE. A logbook entry must be entered stating as such with the correct legalese as to what model aircraft the SPE applies to. Also, the the exemption is valid for 12 months, at which point the pilot must recertify to keep the SPE valid.
      The aircraft must have a minimum equipment of Autopilot with Approach Coupling Capability, Flight Director System, Boom Microphone, Transponder “ident” button on pilots control wheel.

    4. Reply to anonymous June 03/2021 @12:30. To fly the CE/M2 single pilot which is a CE-525 You must have a CE-525S designation on the type certificate.

    5. ^ Yep, that's just what I said in the post ....

    6. I was just verifying that you are 100% correct because you asked "Is this correct" in the post.

    7. Not true with a CE-500 type cert that does not designate SIC required which is the case here. No SPE is required for the 501. SPE is required for the remainder of the 500 series aircraft except the 551 model.

    8. Anonymous is incorrect. Unknown is right. Anyone with an unlimited CE-500 type rating and current 61.58 proficiency check can fly the 501 or 551 because the respective type certificate of each aircraft requires only a crew of one pilot. Until a few years ago, you only needed a type and a current BFR to fly the 501 or 551.

      The other CE-500 series aircraft currently require a crew of two. There are several exemptions like the Cessna 4050 exemption which allow a single pilot to be exempt from the requirements of FAR §§ 91.9(a) and 91.531(a)(1) and (2) requiring an SIC. The exemption holders (schools) teach an FAA approved course, usually 5 days, and there is a check ride done to PTS (ATP) standards at the end, which must include demostration of circling approaches in order for the pilot to be circle single pilot.

      In the audio, the "alarm" doesn't sound like an overspeed, which in the 500 series is a single high pitched tone cycling on and off rapidly. The alarm sounds like an ELT, which could be triggered by 5G's of force from IMC aerobatics during a loss of control. The high airspeed indicates the pilot didn't pull the power back as he should have. The co-pilot's airpseed indicator sets off the overspeed alarm, which is either at 262 kts down low for bird strike, or MMO of .705 or .755 depending on the model. In any event, besides being grossly over both climb speed, the regulatory 250kts, and the aircraft's VNE, 300 kts at 2000' is a sign there was loss of control, and yanking and banking down low in IMC at that speed is a receipe for disaster.

      These airplanes are getting really cheap, almost disposable.
      We're going to see a lot more LOC accidents.

  4. Having experience at Flight Safety like others on this board, F/S wouldn't sign off or even train him in May of 2020, if he didn't have the minimum requirements for the course. One of those items is a current and valid Medical Certificate.

  5. This is a tragic accident. Joe Lara obviously had the ratings and was typed to be qualified to operate this aircraft. But since he was typed in the 501 in May of 2020, he had limited time in the new jet. I am curious as to how much total time he had and how much was in the 501. The plane was headed to Florida with 7 on board, so it was heavy with fuel and pax. If he lost an engine after takeoff with that load, it would be a handful to bring it home. Hope we can learn something from this that will make us all safer. RIP

    1. NO BRAINER..lack of current IMC, lack of time in "new" Jet, simulator's do not have exactly same instruments and autopilot....where do I scan, how do I use this autopilot???
      Immediate IMC after take off...LOC due to spatial disorientation will be the finding I am sure.

    2. the clouds @1600 ft....neither pilot has a current medical...what more needs to the said.

  6. He entered IMC not long after takeoff. How current was he? He sounded stressed when communicating with ATC after he entered IMC. His comm on the ground was non-standard but when he got into the soup you can hear the stress level go up. He exceeded Vne at one point and after that the descent rate was all over the place (broken airplane control surfaces?).

  7. Spatial disorientation, looks just like the crash of the 182 out of Gainsville Georgia earlier this year. Climbing right turn entering the clouds. Doesn't hold heading or altitude, over VNe on the plane. Parts may or may not have broken off, will be hard to determine because they ended up in a lake.

    1. Yes .. or like the Burke Lakefront CJ4 crash in Dec. 2016

  8. He was safety minded and made a big effort to get quality training not all that long ago. He looks like he had high performance A/C experience. How on earth could a superbly trained pilot like this lose it so fast just by entering IMC? Don't jet pilots train the use of autopilot routinely? If he was not experienced with the airplane I would think use of autopilot before entering IMC would be a no brainer. Baffling and very sad story.

    1. I am not a civilian Citation pilot, and I have no idea what is taught at FSI and other training sites, but in the F-14 and the A-4, I entered IMC or blasted off the ship dark nights, and the autopilot was not an option. We hand-flew the jet after takeoff thru the initial departure and handled the radios and such with the motto "Aviate - Navigate - Communicate." To fly the airplane first is always top priority, and this means you have your clearance and freqs ready to go before brake release. This is a mindset the pilot must have if he's gonna punch up into the goo shortly after takeoff.

      For experienced Cessna guys and FSI, please feel free to correct me or adjust my noggin on this. It just seems best to hand-fly the airplane until you're established with positive rate and well inro the SID or departure heading. Climbing!!

    2. Thanks for your service Mike! God I miss the Tomcat. And yes unlike a lot of others who saw "that movie" in 1986, I already knew what it was and had models of it as a boy. But back on topic, yes, I was always trained to have your next COMM freq dialed up while on the ground to switch between like departure after tower. That said, when I flew a 414 twin single pilot, I felt more safe using the autopilot climbing into IMC having to manage everything, not the least of which were watching engine gauges and manually controlling all six power levers on top of watching primary flight instruments, short-handing ATC commands for readback, dealing with NAV frequencies and dial settings, etc. I have no experience flying jets outside of right seat in a Mustang with an S-rated pilot. I will say there's a lot less to manage in that with the glass and just two power levers vs. the old steam gauge piston 414 I used to fly!

    3. Etac, glad you liked "that movie." The plot was awful, but the flying scenes were mostly good and much of the O'Club drama at the bar wasn't too bad. The jet was a lot of fun to fly. But I digress . . . .

      Let me be devil's advocate and ask, what do you do if the autopilot won't engage, it disengages, or it steers incorrectly? How do you know, how do you guard against that? As for the six power levers, at takeoff and initial climb, with a piston twin, I assume the safest mode is to keep the throttles at takeoff / full power until you're a safe altitude and positive rate, before you adjust throttle and prop? I don't recall a Baron being any different or very complicated.

      My point is that leaning on the automation so early after takeoff can lull one into false security and if the avionics fail, what is the mindset and instrument scan needed to catch all that? I haven't flown in years and I admit that modern day training and automation are way ahead of what I was taught and experienced, but I was never trained or had the option / luxury to engage HAL and let it fly me away from the ground.

      Just my two lira worth.

    4. Mike S is spot on, solid fundamentals will carry one through adverse situations.
      I see a lot of FSI praise here and assumptions that some one is top notch because they got through, that is not necessarily true. They have a short time to get people through so a lot of the training is use of automation. In my opinion there is not enough IMC no Flight Diretor raw stick skills in the programs.

    5. Mike S the procedure for civilian jet single pilot procedures are very similar to what you described. Yes we have everything ready to go like departure frequency in the stby, and the correct flight plan all in the FMS. After liftoff, there’s no hard and fast set rules as to when to turn on the Autopilot but many professional pilots such as myself, hand fly the jet through positive climb, initial heading change, flap retraction and Minimum AP engagement altitude which could vary depending on the equipment but generally above 400 feet AGL. Sometimes I hand fly all the way up flight altitudes but that’s rare especially in really busy ATC environments like departure out of KORD or KJFK for example. Also if the departure is on a SID, the proper procedure is to turn on the AP at safe altitude, ie above 1000 feet AGL, and let the AP fly the SID and you monitor the progress.

  9. Leave flying jets to professional full time pilots.

    1. Disagree. If the person, any person, is qualified and proficient, let him fly a jet. What do you say about people who fly light GA aircraft who crash?

    2. Dale Jr's professional full time pilots that crashed his Sovereign due to pilot error ?

    3. That mishap (all mishaps have a chain of events) involved a "certified" crew that acted unprofessionally with zero CRM and got behind the airplane, infected with land-it-itis. That mishap chain had PLENTY of links. Recall the L-1011 crash into the Everglades. A certified and professional airline crew executed a perfectly wings level controlled flight into terrain while distracted, working on a secondary equipment issue that had their full attention. No one was left minding the store. The fact is, as long as there are humans, we will crash airplanes. A zero-defect mentality, or "only" professional pilots to fly jets, is a red-herring.

  10. Amazing effort by all to recover aircraft and occupants. Hats off to all those involved.

    1. Actually, kudos to all the taxpayers that made this recovery possible. Without them, there are no boats, no helicopters, no side scanning radar, no specialized equipment, no salaries. It's not all about the responders. This is their job, it's what they signed up for. So, thanks to the taxpayers.

    2. I wonder how much effort would have been expended if some guy in a Cherokee Six went in?

    3. The ONLY information the divers had to relay on was from the FAA saying it was "small jet"; not a "Cherokee Six". The recovery teams do not discriminate. Be sure thank the following recovery teams: Rutherford County Fire Rescue, Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management, Metro Nashville Police Department, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.

    4. I was involved in the search for, and recovery of a Cherokee Six two years ago. Multiple agencies and probably over a hundred different LEO/EMS/Fire personnel when all was said and done.

    5. Who is it that pulls you out of a burning vehicle a taxpayer or a fireman/police officer? My first word of thanks will be to the person who risked their lives to save mine.

  11. After studying the flight history of N66BK, it appears that Lara first starting flying the 501 in the Symrna area on 2/26/21. That's a little over 3 months ago, so not really sure how much IMC exp he could have obtained in 90 days. Flight Safety is good training, but nothing substitutes for actual left seat time in the aircraft in real conditions.

  12. I swear political comments from all sides in nearly all the forums I visit. A spreading cancer...hate poison.

    If you are smart enough to fly an aircraft you have enough judgement to keep it STRICTLY about aviation and possible cause of the mishap.

    1. ^ Agree wholeheartedly.
      We cannot legislate what pilots think. We can legislate how pilots behave in particular circumstances.

  13. Click on the trace line to start 2 minute playback!.

    1. Why is there no vertical rate shown while viewing that?

  14. Why is 'vertical 'rate' not shown when viewing that?

    1. It is shown. Look more closely. Bottom left corner. 29,000 fpm down.

  15. The high speed buildup through the turn and heading error afterwards suggests that full attention was being required just to hand fly on essential attitude instruments in IMC. Managing thrust to control airspeed and navigating to proper heading immediately became under-served duties.

    This accident is similar to the 182 Gainesville profile, but with excessive thrust applied.

    Compare the accident day track speeds to a modest departure of 23 May:

    Accident day:

    23 May:

  16. The answers were probably forever buried in the soft mud at the bottom of the shallow lake. 0 visibility for the divers and only some parts of aircraft recovered in small pieces.

  17. Someone comment mentioned that 501 parts were found in trees or woods near lake . If true, over speeding above VNE could have caused parts of elevator to fall off, making recovery from dive impossible. Can anyone confirm parts of 501 were found in woods near crash site .

  18. Neither pilot had a valid medical and both appear to have gone thru accelerated training and received multiples ratings, including rotorcraft. Flying passengers with a medical 2 years out of date ? Had the pilots lived, they would have both had their licenses suspended or revoked for such illegal behavior, at the very least Lara, the alleged PIC.

  19. It may be of value, but probably not. I took early retirement from USAirways in 1996. I was tired of such regulated flying. I got a job flying a Citation 501SP.
    I enjoyed the free nature of flying as a corporate pilot again.
    One morning, departing Fort Payne, Alabama, I was shocked to see my airspeed degrading while in the climb. Somehow, my brain connected to the fact that my thrust levers were "rather retarded."
    Now some fifteen years later, I cannot explain how this happened. It was subtle, and I was within a minute or so of crashing.
    I did have a young man asking a lot of questions, but that usually meant nothing.
    This little item almost killed us, and I still wonder if anyone would have figured out why we died.

    1. Are there friction locks on the power levers in the Citation? Could this have been a factor in your circumstance? Pilot Lara's situation appeared to involve over-speed rather than under-speed as in your situation.

    2. There are no friction locks, as such, but the throttles were in the wrong place. As I stated, I cannot figure out what I did wrong. It simply happened. The amount of force needed to move the throttles on the Citation is simply perfect. Go figure.

  20. A copy of Lara's medical was obtained from one of the DPE's and was valid through Nov 2021. This was validated by the NTSB. The FAA website had not been updated properly. Hannah's medical was also valid as he was under 40 yrs old and under the 5yr medical rule.

    1. That's exactly what Rod Day (POA) told the news media. He said everything about the flight was legal and has the proof. A lot of misinformation about credentials of the pilots on board and slanderous allegations are out there on aviation YouTube channels and forums. I know for a fact there are lawsuits in the works....

    2. Mr. Day did more than tell them, he reportedly gave news4 a copy of the currently valid November 2019 AME's exam. Story linked below includes these statements:

      "News4 Investigates received a copy of the medical certificate from the church and sent it the FAA for clarification."

      "A FAA spokeswoman referenced our questions to the NTSB."

      "A NTSB spokesman said they have not reached the paperwork portion of their investigation yet."

      "The medical certificate provided by the church does cite the signature of Dr. Bruce Hollinger, a Nashville-area senior aviation medical examiner, as the examiner."

      "A representative from Hollinger's office emailed in response to our questions, including they had been instructed to forward all questions to the FAA."

      It is sad that the expired medical story line has not been officially resolved and that the local AME was not at liberty to confirm the authenticity of the 2019 exam (due to investigation protocol or perhaps HIPAA restrictions).

      The validity of the form received by news4 should easy to formally authenticate or disprove. If valid, it is cruel to delay official acknowledgement.


    3. captured YouTubers criminally trespassing on private property owned by the church and parishioners whilst making prejudicial attacks of the congregation and the deceased. Stalking, harassing, etc., all in video evidence.

    4. The FAA Airmen Registry has been updated and now shows the November 2019 Medical Exam date for Mr. Lara, authenticating that his medical certificate was/is valid until November 2021.

      Chief investigator Jeremy Finley for "News4 Investigates" should run the correction to his earlier story. News4 website shows his email:

    5. They certainly didn't visit the church properties with good intentions. Good intentions would be been giving condolences - fellow pilot and his family and extended family members on the fatal flight. That was never done. Instead what the church got was a lot of bashing, they don't deserve that inhuman behavior. The followers of one particular YouTube channel are similar to BLM protestors .... disdainful for government agencies, lack of respect for people and private property.

    6. That one particular YouTube channel claimed that the pilot in the N3RB crash had a co-pilot aboard and the pilot intentionally crashed the plane knowing he would kill the co-pilot. But no second person was on the plane - the murder claim was a hurtful, untruthful smear against the memory of the pilot.

      There may be a simple purpose for the smears.

      Smearing the lost pilots and families sensationalizes the stories, increasing the number of views, which causes the youtube algorithm to recommend the videos to more people. More recommendation from the algorithm to new people who are not subscribers means more will be exposed to his relentless bashing of the NTSB and FAA. He advises his fans not to subscribe, explaining the algorithm's action.

      Not wanting to maximize the number of subscribers is unusual for a youtube channel. It could be that the smears are just amplified tragedy farming to increase views in service to some deep-seated animosity against NTSB or FAA. Perhaps some FAA regulatory event in the youtubers own life as a pilot is motivating his actions.

    7. I imagine you're talking about the "tiny little itty bitty fledgling youtube channel." That content provider absolutely jumps to unjustified conclusions. He also has a tremendous hard-on for the NTSB (excuse the phrase) and is completely refractory to criticism of any kind. Some of what he preaches is very valuable (AQP, DMMS for example) but he is way to quick to declare that his "determination" is unarguable and to assign blame.

  21. Some notable correlations using the preliminary report:

    1. Controller issued "climb and maintain 15,000" at 1055:11, after the final radar return data point at 1055:05. The pilot lost control while operating to the heading 130 @ 3000' instruction. The 15k instruction was never heard by the pilot.
    2. Pilot was directed to 130 heading just as he was reaching the original 090 heading, while vertical error was building up undetected. He got behind at that point and never caught up.
    3. Vert rate/ADSBMSL/GndSpeedKts/Head/Time/Comms (AdsbExchange)
    i:-1344/2600/254/083/54:27 Dep calls: "On frequency?" (Acknowledged)
    j:-2048/2600/259/089/54:28 Dep says: "Turn right to hdng 130°"
    u:+6784/2400/280/160/64:47 Dep calls: "copied heading?"
    x:+3968/2900/269/149/54:52 Pilot responds “130...Bravo Kilo”
    H:-29056/0600/158/078/55:05 Departure calling: "climb/maintain 15K"
    4. You can see responses at data points c & d to level out, then focus is on heading, but controller updates to 130 degrees just as pilot is reaching previous target of 90 at j, interrupting scan of vertical conditions to continue the turn. Altitude loss is noticed at p after reaching target heading. Departure calls about heading overshoot at u during panic climb, pilot responds after getting back to 3000 at x. Pilot effort to correct heading to 130 neglects pitch control and it just gets away from him as he passes thru 130 heading.

    1. AdsbExchange data used for the correlation is at:

      Preliminary report link for N66BK is:

    2. The panic climb ends at data point y as the pilot recovers to 3000' at which time he verbally acknowledges the 130 heading. At this point, the aircraft is still responsive to pilot input and the pilot's attention shifts to correcting the heading from 160 back toward 130, to catch up to the departure controller reminder of the required heading.

      The pushover into extreme dive after completing the panic climb to 3000' at data point y suggests that Inversion Illusion took over while his instrument focus and attention was on heading correction.

      "Inversion illusion. An abrupt change from climb to straight and level flight can create the illusion of tumbling backwards. The disoriented pilot will push the aircraft abruptly into a nose low attitude, possibly intensifying this illusion."

      See 8-1-5 Illusions in Flight:

  22. I only have fifty years of experience as a pilot, so my opinion probably means little. However, things happen quickly in airplane lapses of attention. These Joe Lara seemed to be almost the epitome of a talented pilot. He flew the MU2 Marquise, which is arguably the most demanding of aircraft ever built.

    The Mu2 series scared the crap out of me, when I had hundred of hours in real airplanes; the Beech Dukes, TC Barons, all of the King Airs of the 70's.

    This guy was talented, and then he died.
    It is very sad , and the cause of the crash will never be solved to my satisfaction.
    Things happen.
    The world has lost a lovely group of people and I am at a loss as to why.