Friday, June 03, 2022

Beechcraft 19A Musketeer Sport, N7641R: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2022 at Oroville Municipal Airport (KOVE), Butte County, California

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

Location: Oroville, California
Accident Number: WPR22FA196
Date and Time: June 2, 2022, 12:18 Local
Registration: N7641R
Aircraft: Beech 19A 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 2, 2022, about 1218 Pacific daylight time, a Beechcraft 19A Musketeer airplane, N7641R, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Oroville Municipal Airport (OVE), Oroville, California. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a video of the accident flight captured by a witness, who was also a student of the accident pilot, the pilot and passenger completed an engine run-up and subsequently taxied to runway 13. The engine sounded smooth and continuous as the airplane lifted off the runway in about 1,300 ft and transitioned into a climb. Approximately fifteen seconds later the airplane began to descend. The airplane started another climb about four seconds later, which was immediately followed by a right turn. The airplane’s rate of turn began to increase during the turn at which time the video ceased. The witness reported that the airplane impacted the ground seconds after he terminated the video to assist the occupants of the airplane.

The witness reported that he flew the accident airplane with the pilot about 2 weeks prior to the accident. After an uneventful preflight inspection and engine run-up they taxied to runway 31 where they began a ground run. They performed two attempted takeoffs and aborted both due to performance issues. According to the witness, the pilot and pilot-rated passenger had planned to fly the airplane on the day of the accident to troubleshoot the performance deficiency.

The airplane came to rest in an approximately 40° nose down attitude on a heading of about 097° magnetic, about 500 ft south of the departure end of runway 13. All major components were accounted for at the accident site. The left wing remained attached to the fuselage, and the right wing was partially separated at the wing root. The fuselage frame was deformed about midspan and the tail was canted slightly left of the fuselage. Both the stabilator and rudder remained connected to the empennage at their attachments. The engine remained attached to the engine firewall, which was wrapped around the engine accessory case. Both propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub, which was still connected to the engine crankshaft. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N7641R
Model/Series: 19A 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: KOVE, 187 ft msl 
Observation Time: 12:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C /6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / 17 knots, 180°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.8 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Oroville, CA 
Destination: Oroville, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.485833,-121.61194

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Date: 02-JUN-22
Time: 19:20:00Z
Regis#: N7641R
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 19
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Flight Crew: 1 fatal
Pax: 1 fatal
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Missing: No

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

66-year-old Kurt Dunning of Chico (right) was identified as one of the two victims of Thursday afternoon's plane crash at the Oroville Airport by the Butte County Sheriff's Office. 


OROVILLE, California — The Butte County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) confirmed the identities of the two men who died after a plane crash at the Oroville Airport Thursday afternoon.

BCSO Community Relations Coordinator Megan McMann confirmed the men as 75-year-old Ronald McHale of Oroville and 66-year-old Kurt Dunning of Chico. The two were pronounced dead after the plane they were in crashed just after noon on Thursday.

The Oroville Police Department and CAL FIRE Butte County are unsure how much more information will be released Friday, but say that the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration continue to investigate the origin of the crash.


  1. Recently had an opportunity to fly a Musketeer sport while doing an insurance checkout for a student. Most airplanes have a reserve of power to get you out of trouble...not so with this airplane. It's truly marginally powered. Even though Oroville is low elevation I wouldn't be surprised to find out density altitude was an issue.

    1. No specific time in the initial info, but Oroville being UTC-7 makes 3 PM = 22:00Z for reference. It was 33C(91F) in afternoon METARS:
      KOVE 030253Z AUTO 17011KT 10SM CLR 31/08 A2973
      KOVE 030153Z AUTO 16013KT 10SM CLR 33/08 A2973
      KOVE 030053Z AUTO 17010KT 10SM CLR 33/07 A2973
      KOVE 022353Z AUTO VRB06KT 10SM CLR 33/08 A2975
      KOVE 022253Z AUTO 15007KT 10SM CLR 33/08 A2977
      KOVE 022153Z AUTO 19005KT 10SM CLR 33/07 A2979
      KOVE 022053Z AUTO 17008KT 10SM CLR 32/07 A2979
      KOVE 021953Z AUTO 18011G17KT 10SM CLR 31/06 A2980

    2. Incorrect Metars.
      Correct METAR for the closet time to the accident (c. 12:20 local/19:20Z)

      METAR: KOVE 0218:53 Z (11:53 local) Auto 17010G15KT 10SM CLR 29/08 A2982 RMK A02 SLP097 T02940078 D/A 1,974 ft

    3. Density altitude played ZERO factor in this crash.

    4. Disagree with marginally powered aircraft unless you have it fueled to the gills with 60 gal. Half tanks and two people it should have had ample power for climb out unless some unforeseen action happened. Looks like it went straight in, poor souls.

    5. Turnback stall they tried to save the plane instead of landing straight ahead. They had a field straight ahead just push the nose over and land the thing.

    6. The impossible turn :( Kurt D. was my long time neighbor and I'm really sad about this

  2. I was told that the entire accident sequence (everything but the impact) was recorded by someone on the ramp, he was asked to record the departure by one of the pilots because of "known problems on climbout", both occupants were reportedly CFIs.

  3. Sad! Yet another "lawn dart sort of arrival" in a field that (per the above pictures) seems quite suitable for a "rolled-on touchdown." Kids," - sez this retired sport pilot who landed gliders in such fields perhaps 20 times - "don't DO this (lawn dart thing)!"

  4. Looks like it hit left wing down first as the right wing was hardly touched on ground impact. Also the frozen left wing aeleron deflected slightly up as is the elevator may help investigators. If it was caught on video as someone above claims, hopefully they can put all of these pieces together to find the cause. RIP to both men and condolences to their families. Vintage GA aircraft that are marginally powered are not to be taken lightly as their higher powered more modern replacements.

  5. Based on news report of 'south runway' and metar, appears Rwy 20 @ 6020 x 100 ft. / 1835 x 30 m was in use. Photos appears to show impact was beyond the rwy threshold yet within the perimeter fence, thus on straight climb-out. Total engine failure, no time to drop the nose, stall, min rotation.

  6. They used runway 13 that day. It’s the shorter of the two runways.

  7. 2 very old CFI's. What a shame they didnt want to learn and practice EFATO. Even some students have pushed the nose down and landed in front from an engine fail at 200 agl like these 2 old CFI's didnt do. So dam shameful. I learned EFATO 4 kinds in 1996 and taught it in my CFI years

    1. They probably hadn't practiced engine failures on take off in years. Sudden engine failure took them by suprise all they could think of was turning back to the airport stall spin.

    2. Not taken by surprise if reports of it being an engine troubleshooting flight are true. Unclear how anyone else knows what they were thinking.

    3. It might not have been "EFATO" but rather partial loss of power which may have contributed to the loss of control.

  8. Most older pilots are experienced and may have fought in war zones or even fire zones. Some kids today don’t always appreciate knowledge of flight environments, Why would they ask for the flight to be video recorded? Some things about this incident don’t add up. Where’s the photos of all of the debris? Or even small flags documenting evidence, even human evidence. It looks like this may have happened within a rural airport. Is there an air traffic control recording?

    1. From the discussion on POA:
      "There’s a whole slew of info on this one coming out. Apparently a few days before the crash the plane had an engine out on climb out where the pilot landed it back on the runway. The left seat pilot was a 1/4th owner of the plane and was trying to trouble shoot it. No joke he asked someone to stand at the end of the runway and film the plane so his mechanic could see what it does and when it does it (meaning the engine failing). Crazy right? So we probably will see some kind of video of this crash eventually. I have a friend that trained with the CFI in the left seat. They did two lessons and my buddy decided to get another CFI as this one was really unorthodox. Kind of a cowboy."

    2. Not at all in reference to these pilots but to the poster above in general - Many older pilots also have decades of their bad habits being reinforced. They also learned to fly in a period where CRM and encouraging questioning of one's decision weren't as prevalent as today.

      Hard to generalize - we've all flown with great and horrible older pilots. The CFI that solo'd me (my first flight with him) brushed off my concerns that we were probably over gross in a 152, and yelled at me when I tried to turn to get separation from an oncoming aircraft (ATC gave me a turn five seconds later).

      On the other hand, I flew with a new member of our flying club years ago who wanted to go up and do some familiarization with me to get to know the aircraft. Asked lots of questions and genuinely wanted to learn the airplane (172). I was a 100 hour private pilot at that time. Him? Retired USAF and NWA - tends of thousands of hours in widebody and fighter attack aircraft, including combat sorties.

  9. I own this model airplane, Beech 19A. It is a very capable airplane and I love it. I consider it a 2 place plane. I removed the rear seats and got a discount on my insurance. I have licensed for over 50 years. If you can pass a medical and a BFR you should be clear to go.

    As with any airplane, if you have engine failure, full or partial, lower the nose. Below 500' AGL, land straight ahead.

  10. The mass of today's adult male is 200lb plus, women not far behind from the 160lb range when the likes of the smallest Cherokee, Musketeer, and 172 were introduced for 2-3 adults. Ditto the much earlier 2 pax models. Throw in DA and accidents are waiting to happen in heavy weather.

    1. They stalled due kept nose up after engine failed. It was not DA or weight.

    2. TAS stall speed increases with DA and weight, so those could very well be causal to the rapidity of stall onset. To put it another way, DA and weight alone do not directly cause accidents, it is the stall that results from those two factors reducing safety margins in the flight envelope.

  11. There are old pilots and bold pilots.....however there are no old, bold pilots, saying sadly, still stands.....

  12. Another tragic loss of life for no good reason. Trouble shoot on the GROUND, not in the air. And when it quits at low altitude, do not attempt to turn back towards the airport - just land straight ahead and call the insurance company.

  13. It is easy to criticize these guys, but not easy to emulate their mindsets. As a maintenance test pilot with Beech Aircraft in the 80's, I had the good fortune to experience a few score of engine failures, mostly in Barons, Dukes, etcetera.

    I never had an engine failure in a King Air. Every engine failure was a complete surprise. It always took me at least ten seconds to calm down, figure out what had happened, and deal with the catastrophe.

    One really fun takeoff occurred taking off to the northeast out of FTY (Atlanta) in 1985. The vibration from the failed engine shook the airplane so violently that the wristband on my heavy Tag Heuer (pilot watch) broke, and the dang thing slapped me on the left side of my head. The airplane was a turbocharged Baron (TC-3).
    I was so upset about the broken watch that I spent a few seconds bitching to the tower. I always loved the new push-to-complain switch on my portable David Clark system.
    The left engine had almost completely puked. It was about seven in the morning, and I didn't drink coffee at the time.

    My strategy was to go for Vx as I sank into the ravine west of FTY while I decided that an identify'/feather would be in order.

    I picked the correct engine and I was told that I sank out of sight. When I reappeared, the tower asked if I needed any assistance.

    I was too embarrassed to talk for a while. When I achieved an amazing 200-300 FPM rate of climb, I went straight for the fuel farm northwest of FTY.

    When I got to about 1,000 AGL, I decided to make a careful turn to the right and head back to FTY. I distinctly remember the tower asking me if I needed any assistance. I told them that another pilot would be helpful, but nothing else. As I lined up on a very long final for the southwest runway, I couldn't ignore the six or eight vehicles lining the left side of the runway. No one wants to miss an airplane crash.

    I learned that morning that a piston-engined twin is a bitch to taxi on one engine.
    When our mechanic took off the cowling on the engine that had failed, he looked at the induction hose that had come off, pronounced the problem to be nothing. He came back out with a hose clamp and told me I was good to go.

    1. Needed to be a pilot like Tommy Conklin for that one. Seems like a prop blade would have to be thrown to set up vibe conditions to break a watchband AND propel the watch upward for a head impact.

    2. How would you know? How is that relevant to a fun anecdote?

  14. Probably arguing about who was the better CFI......answer: NEITHER !!!

  15. In gymnast's terms, they stuck to their landing.


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