Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Beechcraft S35 Bonanza, N876T: Fatal accident occurred October 03, 2021 near Western Carolina Regional Airport (KRHP), Andrews, Cherokee County, North Carolina

Dwaine Leon Thompson and Bobbie Collins Thompson

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances in a wooded area. 

Highrider LLC

Date: 03-OCT-21
Time: 15:30:00Z
Regis#: N876T
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: S35
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Flight Crew 1
Pax 1
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

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.

Crews found the wreckage of a plane crash that killed two people in the North Carolina mountains after days of searching.

The Beechcraft S35 Bonanza took off from Western Carolina Regional Airport just before 8 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Minutes later, air control in Atlanta “received a signal from the aircraft emergency location transmitter.” 

The sheriff’s office said crews searched for the missing plane and the occupants throughout that night and into Monday afternoon — but didn’t find anything.

Crews then located the plane’s wreckage Tuesday and confirmed that both people onboard died when the plane crashed into a mountainside just north of Andrews, which is about 95 miles west of Asheville.

“The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office extends our prayers for the family and wishes to express our sincere gratitude to all those (who) were involved in bringing this to a conclusion,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the way to investigate the crash.


  1. Surrounded by mountains on 3 sides. Looks like the plane took off from 8 and flew into the side of the mountain. Departure procedure and NOTAMS with an abundance of information.

    1. Additional Remarks: ARPT SURROUNDED BY HIGH TERRAIN.

      WESTERN CAROLINA RGNL (RHP) TAKEOFF MINIMUMS AND (OBSTACLE) DEPARTURE PROCEDURES AMDT 1A 14JAN10 (10014) (FAA) TAKEOFF MINIMUMS: Rwys 8, 26, max. 180 KIAS 3400-2, max. 210 KIAS 3400-2½, max. 250 KIAS 3400-3.
      DEPARTURE PROCEDURE: Rwys 8, 26, procedure NA at night. Remain within 3 NM of Western Carolina RGNL while climbing in visual conditions to cross airport westbound at or above 4900. Then climb to 7000 via heading 251° and HARRIS (HRS) VORTAC R-356 to HRS VORTAC before proceeding on course.

    2. ADS-B review/mapping/topo comparison is consistent with simple CFIT during night climb over the dark mountain terrain leaving KRHP.

      Trip was from Texas to Pennsylvania. Track coming in to KRHP suggests a divert for weather ongoing at the time. The 3.5 hours spent on the ground at KRHP resulted in nightfall before flight was resumed.

      The last recorded ADS-B data point in Flightaware's track log (pinned on the google map linked below) is about a half mile before reaching the continuous 4,400' MSL ridge line that stretches across the flight path at that point between Joanna(Teyahalee) Bald and Little Bald, as seen on the Topozone map (zoom in/out to see named features).

      The aircraft's uncorrected pressure altitude was 3,750 MSL and ground speed was two miles per minute while climbing at approximately +700 ft/min on a 42° heading. Continuation of that heading and ground speed puts the aircraft at the ridge in less than one minute.

      Pinned Flightaware data point:

      Topozone map:


  2. Totally basic CFIT 101. Textbook. Sadly synthetic vision would have helped here... from an iPad or android phone of all things.

    1. As known, even the best trained with hours in the soup are not immune to "spatial disorientation, the mistaken perception of one’s position and motion relative to the earth.
      Any condition that deprives the pilot of natural, visual references to maintain orientation, such as clouds, fog,
      haze, darkness, terrain or sky backgrounds with indistinct contrast (such as arctic whiteout or clear, moonless skies over water) can rapidly cause spatial disorientation. Pilots can compensate by learning to fly by reference to their instruments. But a malfunction of flight instruments, such as a vacuum failure, in conditions of reduced visibility can also end in spatial disorientation, with the same lethal results." faasafety

    2. @gretnabear pointless much? He said if using an additional artificial source of VISUAL references, they might have faired better. And that's absolutely true with the new synthetic vision systems. Absolutely fantastic, removing a TON of the "mistaken perceptions" and even ADDING additional graphic warning indications for orientation, natural and artificial obstacles, traffic, rate of descent, and ground proximity. I can say confidently that this accident and thousands of others would be easily prevented with synthetic vision.
      The meaningless faasafety quote you supply no doubt addresses flying with steam gauges compared to looking outside.
      Pretty simple to comprehend.

    3. Many CFITS durimg initial climb after takeoff are "almost made it" events while pointed at terrain the pilots knew was out front. This pilot, like so many others, did not follow the published departure procedure instruction to gain altitude before crossing the terrain.

      Pilots who don't follow departure procedures will still have CFIT accidents with synthetic vision active. Basic airmanship discipline is lacking in these accidents.

    PO BOX 817
    HUMBLE TX 77347-0817
    County: HARRIS
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    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third
    Medical Date: 3/2019
    BasicMed Course Date: 5/26/2021
    BasicMed CMEC Date: 3/17/2021
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 9/8/2010