Friday, July 08, 2022

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N5235P: Fatal accident occurred July 02, 2022 near St Louis Metro-East/ Shafer Field (IL48), St Jacob, Madison County, Illinois

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Gallo, Mitchell

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; St. Louis, Missouri 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

Location: St. Jacob, Illinois 
Accident Number: CEN22FA298
Date and Time: July 2, 2022, 11:35 Local 
Registration: N5235P
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 2, 2022, at 1135 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-250, N5235P, was involved in an accident near St. Jacob, Illinois. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airline transport pilot received serious injuries and a private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by the private pilot under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

A witness stated that he saw the airplane had made several takeoff and landings prior to the accident. He heard the airplane taking off again and said the “engine started to sputter right after it lost power, in and out couple of times.” The right wing then dropped down, and the airplane started to rotate clockwise as viewed from above. The airplane impacted terrain near the departure end of runway 13.

The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N5235P
Model/Series: PA-24-250 
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: BLV,459 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:32 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1700 ft AGL 
Visibility: 5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: St. Jacob, IL 
Destination: St. Jacob, IL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 38.728889,-89.803056 (est)

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances just beyond the departure end. 

Date: 02-JUL-22
Time: 16:39:00Z
Regis#: N5235P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 Serious Injuries
Pax: 1 Fatal
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
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.

Robert Leroy Binger
October 3, 1961 - July 2, 2022

Robert Leroy Binger, 60, of Lake City, Florida and formally of Collinsville, Illinois died on Saturday, July 2, 2022 from injuries sustained in an airplane crash near St. Jacob, Illinois.

He was born on October 3, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri to Melvin and Ruth Ann (Haar) Binger.

Robert married Tammy Weygandt in Paducah, Kentucky on August 8, 2002.

The loving husband and father worked as a registered nurse for 20 years.  He was a licensed pilot and airplane mechanic who enjoyed boating, building cars and spending time with his family.  Robert was a member of ICS International Comanche Society, the AOPA and the NRA.

Besides his wife and mother, Robert is survived by a daughter, Kristin (John) Mayo of Collinsville, IL; a son, Sean (Brandy) Binger of Maryville, IL; 2 step sons:  Tyler Puricelli of St. Louis, MO and Anthony  Jr(Katie) Puricelli of St. Louis, MO; 4 grandchildren:  Ava, John Jr, Ashley and Clara; a sister, Patricia (Steven) Johnson of Anchorage,  AK; 2 nephews:  Benjamin Johnson and Christopher Johnson and a niece, Lisa Binger.

Robert is preceded in death by his father; a brother, Thomas Binger and a nephew, Trevor Johnson.

A memorial visitation will be held Saturday, July 16, 2022 from 2:00-5:00 pm at Wojstrom Funeral Home & Crematory

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for memorial donations to be made to the charity of your choice.

Professional services entrusted to the care of Wojstrom Funeral Home & Crematory in Granite City, IL.

Online guestbook and obituary available at

ST. JACOB, Illinois - Illinois State Police has released more information on a single airplane fatal crash today in rural St. Jacob at Keck Road, just west of Illinois Route 4 in Madison County.

The crash occurred at approximately 11:39 a.m. A 60-year-old Lake City, Florida, man died in the accident and a 39-year-old man from Edwardsville suffered life-threatening injuries.

These are the details from the Illinois State Police report:


Unit 1 – Piper PA-24-250 Comanche


Unit 1 – Buck E. Martin, a 39-year-old male from Edwardsville, Illinois – Transported to a regional hospital with life-threatening injuries.


Unit 1 – Robert L. Binger, a 60-year-old male from Lake City, Florida – Deceased

PRELIMINARY: Preliminary information indicates the following occurred: The aircraft took off from St. Louis Metro East Airport. For unknown reasons, the aircraft lost altitude and crashed on Keck Road just west of Illinois Route 4. The pilot of the aircraft was transported to a regional hospital with life-threatening injuries and the co-pilot was pronounced deceased on scene by the Madison County Coroner. This is an on-going investigation and no further information is available at this time.

A single-engine plane circled near a Madison County airport multiple times before it crashed on Saturday, causing the death of a Florida man and injuring an Edwardsville man.

According to FlightAware flight tracking data, the aircraft traveled southwest after leaving the Eagle Creek Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, and flew to Madison County. 

The two pilots then circled five times at the St. Louis Metro-East/Shafer Field Airport destination in the 30 minutes prior to the crash at 11:30 a.m. Their plane also gained and dropped in altitude multiple times before the crash off Keck Road near St. Jacob.

Robert L. Binger, 60, of Lake City, Florida, died in the crash. Buck E. Martin, 39, of Edwardsville, was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Here are additional details from FlightAware flight tracking data from Saturday:

At 8 a.m. Central time, the Piper PA-24-250 Comanche took off from St. Louis Metro-East/Shafer Field Airport in Madison County and arrived at Eagle Creek Airport in Indiana at 9:14 a.m.

The plane left the Indiana airport at 9:29 a.m. 

While arriving at its Madison County destination, the aircraft was at an altitude of 1,725 feet at 10:40 a.m

At 10:50 a.m., the aircraft was at 825 feet while going 87 mph. 

The aircraft did not go below 79 mph and maintained an altitude under 1,125 feet for 40 minutes before the crash.

Binger was the registered private co-owner of the Piper PA-24-250 Comanche which was manufactured in 1958, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The other name on the aircraft’s registration is Tammy Binger, whose relationship to Robert Binger was not immediately available.

FlightAware, an aviation company, posted information online on the path of the flight on Saturday. 

FlightAware provides real-time positions and predictive flight tracking for aircraft flying over land worldwide.

The weather conditions on Saturday morning were rainy and overcast. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.


  1. What a bummer, for the people and the plane. I own a Comanche 250 built in '58. they are an amazing airplane.
    Appears they were practicing or training as they did 5 landings or low approaches. Interestingly, all seemed fine on FA. Very well flown track and altitude control.. Appears a hand flown enroute portion. Very consistent speed control and pattern as represented on FA. The only anomaly I see is the final upwind leg was extended more than the previous 4 prior to turning crosswind. No telling if that involved other traffic. Additionally, this model holds 60 gallons fuel, 56 usable. They flew for 2 hours and probably consumed 23-24 gallons. The fuel selector valve is only L/OFF/R and if they started with full tanks they would have needed to switch fuel tanks at least once. Annoyingly, it's been my experience, to get the tanks truly topped off your required to bring the fuel level ALL THE WAY UP to the overflow holes in the fill tube. If the tank is only filled to the bottom of the fill tube your likely 2+ gallons short of full on that side.
    Good luck to the injured person. Hopefully they can provide additional info asap.

    1. They flew IL48 ---> KEYE ---> IL48. Unless their 15 minutes on the ground at KEYE included a top off, you can add the 1h 14min spent flying from IL48 ---> KEYE to the fuel burn conversation. :-)

  2. I agree with the above assessment. A very capable airplane that I always felt needed an escape mechanism from an inadvertent tank outage. It used fuel pretty quickly, and could catch one by surprise if practicing, or otherwise busy.

    1. explain "needed an escape mechanism from an inadvertent tank outage."

    2. I enjoyed flying the -260 model. It was a screamer, and not a big chore to fly manually on long hauls. The -180, though, was under-powered.

    3. I fly a 180 and I don't consider it underpowered. Of course, I transitioned from a PA28-140!!!

  3. 4 fuel tanks installed on Comanches increase the possibility of fuel starvation, if pilots aren't fully trained on the fuel system. Imbalances and fuel selector misplacement are also possible. The prop looks like it was turning--slowly--during the impact sequence. Add to these factors the frustration and confusion of the pilots after they initiated several go-arounds while attempting to land, and there's a good case for fuel starvation being a causal factor.

    1. The initial approach to IL48 was a landing, as indicated by the nine minute ADS-B gap time in the track log between the Sat 11:48:01 AM EDT and Sat 11:57:10 AM EDT data points and their related locations.

      They weren't being frustrated and going around, they got that landing done on the first approach, then after the 9 minutes between coming in and going out again, they added the series of T&G's.

      Flightaware's plotting algorithm straight-lines through data gaps, hiding that initial landing if you don't check the data log, looking for time gaps that are too long to represent a continuous pass at any time gapped point in the track.

    2. To be clear, this Comanche only had two fuel tanks. 30 gal each.

  4. Looking at the control wheels it appears that the plane was being flown from the right seat … at the end anyway.

    1. I only see that the right yoke is broken and the right panel is bent more that the left. Are you saying the left seat was unoccupied?

    2. No … whoever was flying was doing it from the right seat … his hands were on the yoke during impact

    3. I done think the yoke was broken by anyone’s hands. Chances are a pilot flying would have one hand on the yoke and one hand on the throttle. More probable is the person’s body impacted the yoke causing it to break.

    4. Most of the control mechanisms are compromised in a crash and often much of the damage you see is caused by the airplane being cut open to extract victims, so visual interpretation is not always as it seems.
      An accident inspector told me once that they can usually tell who was "flying" at impact as they virtually always have broken thumbs.
      I look at the photos and I it doesn't give me a clue who was manipulating the controls at impact.

  5. partially bent props, possibly not at full power.

    1. This is aggravating. Is this a question? No part of this comment is relevant as none of this info would help explain how this airplane ended up out of control. Would it help if the prop blades were totally bent? Geeesh.

  6. left flap missing, torn on landing? thus lowered!

    1. Again, nothing about this is relevant. Lowered or not, at some point in the flight sequence either configuration would have been appropriate.

  7. Circling the field for 30-40 minutes would definitely deplete the 1/2 hr of day-time reserve fuel requirement ... or am I missing something here?

    1. clearly not 'circling the field!' per the track log. @

  8. CLEARLY you can't read a track log.
    Look at this, zoom in and put in motion.

    1. I'd say touch and go, 5 final down slopes, and departure up slopes, PIC was not 'circling the field!' a rectangular roller coaster ride ....

    2. The 9 minute time gap that is part of the initial arrival before taking off again indicates a full stop landing. They weren't circling and "hoping to land".

  9. Right control wheel both sides broken. That guy was pulling it all the way up in panic and stalled it. Then with the impact he went forward too and broke both sides, I bet not using the shoulder harness either.
    As a CFI, i had to yell at bad pilots many times to not pull up with both hands. Easier to stall it that way. Panic is the enemy. They had a field to land instead of stalling and crashing. like that. Another panic and stall crash.