Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza, N236BC: Fatal accident occurred March 15, 2021 near North Perry Airport (KHWO), Hollywood, Broward County, Florida

Megan Bishop was driving with her 4-year-old son Taylor on a residential road next to the North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines one afternoon last March when a single-engine airplane suddenly dropped out of the sky soon after takeoff and broadsided her SUV. The crash killed the two men who were aboard, both of them licensed pilots. Bishop escaped her vehicle with a severe facial laceration, broken ribs, and a cracked spine. But her son became trapped in the wreckage. He was pulled out by first responders and taken to Memorial Regional Hospital, where he died less than an hour after the accident.

More than four months have passed, but the grieving mother “constantly lives with violent images of Taylor Bishop’s traumatic death.” She has described her memory of the day as “living in a nightmare.” Last month she filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Broward County court against the pilots' estates and a group of defendants who had allegedly inspected or serviced the plane, a Beech Bonanza aircraft, which documents obtained by New Times reveal had been purchased from an owner in South Africa in late 2020.

The lawsuit claims the plane should have been grounded in light of mechanical problems it exhibited before the March 15 flight and raises the larger question of whether there ought to be more oversight in the private aircraft-resale industry.

"The general-aviation market space — sometimes it has a tendency of becoming the Wild, Wild West," says a Broward County pilot who works at the North Perry Airport and spoke to New Times on the condition that his name not be published, for fear of repercussions on his aviation business.

"People hide behind certifications, and the minute that an airplane is handed over to the eventual end user, you're done and it's hands-off," the pilot says. "It's like a used-car dealership. Get an airplane, patch it up, and resell it."

A lack of oversight of general-aviation aircraft maintenance and assembly is accompanied by a disproportionately high rate of crashes among private planes versus commercial airliners: The fatal-accident rate for general aviation has hovered around 1 per 100,000 flight hours in recent years, while commercial airliners have racked up millions of flight hours without a fatal incident.

As for the Beech Bonanza, the unnamed North Perry pilot says it was shipped from South Africa and reassembled upon arrival in South Florida. Though the plane underwent an airworthiness certification process in order to fly in the United States, he believes regulators need to scrutinize the private aircraft-resale industry more closely, saying that it's not uncommon for plane buildouts and maintenance to be rushed when an aircraft is going up for sale.

Documents obtained by New Times show that the Beech Bonanza plane went through its airworthiness certification process only a few weeks before the crash. The mandatory process, which involved inspections and a review of the plane's maintenance history, concluded on March 6, nine days before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board, whose investigation into the crash is still underway, released a preliminary report noting that the Beech Bonanza's engine was backfiring on March 15 during the preflight runup, a procedure pilots run through to ensure all is right with their engines before takeoff. One witness said the engine was "sputtering" on the taxiway.

"He heard cycling of the propeller 'a few times' and the engine backfired when power was increased during each sequence," the NTSB report states.

Bishop's attorney, Nicole Martell of DiPietro Partners, claims that because the plane was showing signs of engine trouble at the airport on March 15, it should never have been allowed to take off. The attorney suspects mechanical problems with the plane were already evident six days before the crash — when, she says, a post-certification flight was quickly terminated.

Pilot Yaacov Nahom, whose company FL Eagle Aviation owned the plane (along with several others), died in the crash alongside Grant Hustad, Jr., also a registered pilot. Nahom was in the primary pilot's seat while Hustad was in the first officer's seat to Nahom's right, according to the court records. The unnamed North Perry pilot says Nahom was in the business of buying and reselling planes, and that the team of mechanics who worked for him was known at the airport as a "Band-Aid crew" for their stock-in-trade: quickly patching up aircraft for resale.

FAA records show that both Nahom and Hustad were experienced pilots. Hustad, 71, had a commercial pilot license that was issued in 2012; Nahom, 63, was registered as a private pilot; his license dated back to 2017. In the aftermath of the crash, a Minnesota publisher who'd flown with Hustad told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Hustad was an “extremely careful pilot."

Bishop's lawsuit lists Ryan Bivens, Patrick Coulton, and Charles Mente as additional defendants. Bivens was a Federal Aviation Administration designee who signed off on the Beech Bonanza's airworthiness certificate. (Designees are not FAA employees but are authorized to issue airworthiness certificates on the agency's behalf.)

Reached on the phone by New Times, Bivens explained that his work on the aircraft was procedural, largely limited to a conformity inspection to ensure the aircraft met "type-design" — meaning, for example, that the plane was equipped with the proper propeller and parts. Ensuring the integrity of its mechanical aspects was not his responsibility, he said.

New Times could not reach Coulton or Mente through employers listed on their professional profiles. Coulton also did not respond to a request for comment via a social-media account he maintains. The two are listed in FAA documents as technicians who worked on the plane.

Orlando-based pilot and attorney Guy Haggard tells New Times the investigation into the crash is in its early stages and could take more than a year to be completed. He cautions that the engine backfiring on the taxiway was not necessarily an indication of imminent disaster.

"Sometimes when you test the magnetos, you can get an engine backfire or a rough engine because there is carbon buildup on the spark plugs," explained Haggard, who is not involved in the lawsuit or the NTSB inquiry.

Haggard added that NTSB investigators will likely be looking into the March 9 flight records to see what, if any, mechanical problems surfaced that day.

In a separate court case, Endurance Assurance, Nahom's insurer, contends it has no obligation to cover Bishop's claim over the accident because the Beech Bonanza was not one of the planes listed in Nahom's insurance policy, which offers $1 million in liability coverage, with a $100,000 limit for each passenger.

According to the Dallas Business Journal, Florida has no general law that requires private aircraft operators to maintain liability insurance.

The case is pending in the Southern District of Florida.

"This is an unimaginable tragedy. Ms. Bishop, with the support of her family, has taken time to focus on her healing and treasure Taylor's memory," says Martell, Bishop's attorney. "He was a sweet, funny, and smart boy. And he had an incredible family behind him."

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.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida
Continental Aerospace Technologies; Mobile, Alabama 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

FL Eagle Aviation Inc

Location: Pembroke Pines, FL 
Accident Number: ERA21FA154
Date & Time: March 15, 2021, 14:59 Local 
Registration: N236BC
Aircraft: Beech B36TC
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 15, 2021, about 1459 eastern daylight time, a Beech B36TC, N236BC, was destroyed when it collided with a vehicle and the ground after takeoff from North Perry Airport (HWO), Pembroke Pines, Florida. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger in the airplane and a passenger in the vehicle were fatally injured. The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness at HWO reported that he heard an engine run-up being performed near taxiway Bravo before the airplane’s departure. He stated that the engine was sputtering, “like rough idle.” He heard cycling of the propeller “a few times” and the engine backfired when power was increased during each sequence. He further reported that the engine rpm sounded “…high, very high. From low to full rpm repeatedly which was more than a normal run-up. He was doing it fast.” The witness did not observe the airplane’s takeoff.

According to recorded air traffic control communications, the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 10L and the pilot was instructed to enter the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, which was acknowledged. There were no distress calls received from the airplane during the flight.

A pilot-rated witness who was located about 775 ft and 307° from the departure end of runway 10L reported that he observed the airplane in a very low climb at a “very slow rate.” He attributed the takeoff to be a soft field takeoff. The witness had diverted his attention when he heard the airplane suddenly experience a total loss of engine power, adding that it “failed completely.” At that time the airplane was about 100 to 200 ft past the departure end of the runway and at an altitude “definitely lower than 300 ft above ground level.” The airplane remained at the same attitude for 1 to 2 seconds, then started a “gentle” right bank while maintaining same pitch attitude. The airplane then “stalled,” spun, and pitched nose down. He heard a bang sound and noted an explosion.

Several video recordings located around the accident site captured the impact sequence. One of the videos revealed the airplane’s right wing impacted the ground while nearly simultaneously impacting the side of the vehicle. The engine separated during the impacted sequence and a postcrash fire began about 2 seconds after the right wing contacted the ground.

The airplane was recovered and retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N236BC
Model/Series: B36TC NO SERIES 
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: HWO,9 ft msl 
Observation Time: 14:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0.52 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3900 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 100°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Pembroke Pines, FL 
Destination: Pembroke Pines, FL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Aircraft Explosion: On-ground
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 25.998414,-80.231454 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 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. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.


  1. I would not ever listen to an attorney, most of them are bottom feeders and only looking out to see how they can profit from sad cases like this. The Bible has much to say about FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY.

  2. The lawsuit won't bring back her child but it surely will line up the lawyers' pockets at 30% of contingency. And make flying a little less affordable and popular for the rest of GA while contributing absolutely 0 to the safety of flying.

    1. "30% of contingency"
      It depends on the agreement. It could be more or less.

    2. "30% of contingency"
      It depends on the agreement. It could be more or less.

      ^^Well sure, just like in all lawsuits. But in aviation related law and wrongful death plaintiffs, that is about the industry average (35% to be more precise with figures between 10% up to 50% depending on case type and district). So he's correct on throwing that out there as as generic number for keeping things simple.

  3. This lawsuit is exactly why an aircraft engine costs 3-4 times what it should. In this case you can’t get blood from a stone. Sounds like the company has little money, little expertise, little insurance and very little care about the public. In the end this case will burden the judicial system more than
    It has to , and basically end In a small settlement for the mother of the deceased child and will make the lawyer a nice paycheck hopefully enough to hold her over to chase another ambulance is the near future.

    1. ^^And this lawsuit is an example of why Cessna stopped building the 172 for 10 years after the 1986 P-model. A decade later resurrected with the R-model in 1996. Several other GA models and manufacturers did as well for a while. All because of family lawsuits.