Saturday, September 17, 2022

Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III, N62FC: Fatal accident occurred September 14, 2022 in Conway, Horry County, South Carolina

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): Williams, David

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Charles Lewis; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida 

Location: Conway, South Carolina
Accident Number: CEN22FA419
Date and Time: September 14, 2022, 12:22 Local
Registration: N62FC
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-201 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On September 14, 2022, about 1222 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-201 airplane, N62FC, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Conway, South Carolina. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight departed Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, about 1205, and was enroute to Columbus County Municipal Airport (CPC), Whiteville, North Carolina. Shortly after departure from MYR, the pilot reported to air traffic control (ATC) that he was having problems with the compass which resulted in difficulty maintaining assigned headings from ATC. He stated that he wanted to return to the airport and was not declaring an emergency. About 30 seconds later, the pilot reported a loss of engine power. He informed ATC that he was unable to make it back to MYR and had identified an off-field landing area.

Surveillance video captured the airplane as it flew low near trees but did not capture the accident sequence due to a power surge when the airplane impacted a powerline. Witnesses nearby reported seeing the airplane and stated that they heard no engine sound.

The airplane first impacted an estimated 40 ft tall pine tree and then a powerline and came to rest against a berm along a gravel roadway. The right wing and vertical stabilizer separated during the impact with the pine tree and powerline respectively. A post-crash fire ensued which consumed much of the wreckage and back burned to the tree from the initial impact.

A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 connecting rods separated. The left engine crankcase half was fractured inboard of the No.4 cylinder mounting pad. The Nos.3 and 4 connecting rods were separated from their respective crankshaft rod journals and the damaged rod ends were visible through the crankcase fracture. During disassembly of the engine, a vacuum pump cover (item No. 13 in Figure 1 below from the Lycoming Parts Catalog) was removed from the vacuum pump drive pad and no gasket (item No. 11), or remnants of a gasket, were found. Other engine components were removed, and all had remnants of a gasket despite the thermal damage. 

A review of maintenance records found within the accident debris field revealed that the airplane had just undergone an avionics upgrade at a maintenance facility in Myrtle Beach. According to the director of maintenance, the airplane had been at the facility for about 6 to 7 weeks before the accident flight, which was the first flight following the upgrades. The work performed included removal of the vacuum system, installation of two Garmin G5 instruments, and installation of a Garmin GFC-500 autopilot system. The length of time at the facility was due to supply chain issues and not any underlying maintenance concerns. He also stated that the only work conducted on the engine was the removal of the vacuum pump and installation of a blanking plate on the vacuum pump drive pad. No record of the blanking plate installation was found in the logbook entry, nor was there a mention of an engine runup following completion of the work.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N62FC
Model/Series: PA-28R-201 
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: KMYR, 25 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C /16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 20°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Myrtle Beach, SC (MYR)
Destination: Whiteville, NC (CPC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.812086,-78.967363

Aircraft experienced engine issues and crashed in a wooded area and caught on fire.

Date: 14-SEP-22
Time: 16:22:00Z
Regis#: N62FC
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28R
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal 
Pax:  1 Fatal
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Operation: 91

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.

Terry Michael Druffel
OCTOBER 2, 1955 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Terry Michael Druffel, age 66, of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina passed away on September 14, 2022. Terry was born October 2, 1955. Arrangements will be announced.

Barrie Andrew McMurtie
MARCH 28, 1950 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Barrie Andrew McMurtie, age 72, of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina passed away on September 14, 2022. Barrie was born March 28, 1950. Arrangements will be announced.

HORRY COUNTY, South Carolina (WBTW) — A plane that crashed Wednesday in the Conway area leaving two people dead experienced engine issues, according to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Two people were on the small plane that crashed in the woods and caught fire near McNeill Street in the Conway area, according to authorities.

Barrie McMurtrie, 72, and Terry Druffell, 66, both from Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, died from injuries due to the crash, according to Darris Fowler with the coroner’s office.

One of the people on board was listed as flight crew and the second was listed as a passenger, according to the FAA.

The Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III crashed about eight miles north of Myrtle Beach, according to the FAA. The FAA said the information is preliminary and subject to change.

The plane was registered to McMurtrie on June 8, according to FAA registration records.

Pilot Clayton Caldwell has more than 200 hours of experience with that type of plane. He said an engine issue in low altitude with little room to recover is a pilot’s worst nightmare.

“Taking off and landing tends to be the area when most issues tend to happen,” Caldwell said. “It’s kind of a dangerous situation because you have to decide: is it safer to turn back toward the airport, or are you going to put yourself in a more dangerous situation by trying to turn back versus just spotting and looking out to find a safe place to land.”

“Very popular choice for people who are training, for people who just want to get their first plane, or just people who want to get their complex endorsement,” Caldwell said. “Just a very, very popular plane, especially for the cost.”

Caldwell said the plane takes a “Complex Airplane Endorsement” on top of regular flight training because it has retractable landing gear.

Data from shows the plane left Myrtle Beach International Airport at 12:07 p.m. and was in the air for about 10 minutes before it crashed. The plane flew parallel to Highway 501 before making a left turn and crossing Highway 544. The plane then made a right turn and flew back across Highway 501, and then another right turn back south towards MYR.

In radio traffic on from Myrtle Beach International Airport obtained by News13, authorities are heard discussing the crash at about 12:15 p.m.

“I can see fire,” a person says. “It looks like they probably hit the trees short.”

Multiple people in the audio can be hard saying that they saw smoke.

“Multiple vehicles on scene,” someone said. “It doesn’t look good.”

Editor’s note: The air traffic audio below has been edited down to a condensed version of the full audio, which spanned a 30-minute period between noon and 12:30 p.m.

Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told News13 Wednesday afternoon in an email that the agency will be investigating the crash and expects to have an investigator at the scene late Wednesday or early Thursday.

According to Holloway, the investigator will document the scene, examine the aircraft and gather information about air traffic communications, radar data and weather reports. The agency will also try to talk to witnesses and request maintenance records of the aircraft and the medical records and flight history of the pilot. 

“It is important to note that it is very early in the investigation,” Holloway said in a statement. “NTSB does not determine cause in the early part of the investigative process.  This is considered the fact-gathering phase of the investigation. I suspect that [a] preliminary report may be available in about 10 business days.  A typical NTSB investigation can take 12-24 months to complete and determine cause.” 


  1. Why is there no ADS-B track on Flight Aware . Was their transponder turned off ? Were they talking to Myrtle Beach Approach

  2. Why is there no ADS-B track from
    Ocean Isle to Conway on Flight Aware. ?

  3. No tracking from MYR to Conway on but there is tracking on

  4. No ADS-B track on Flight Aware for crash flight but there is an ADS-B track for crash flight on Flight Radar 24 that looks like planet crashed near golf course not in woods .


  6. Same maintenance shop installed elevator trim tabs backwards on a Navaho that crashed k on adt year killing American Airlines pilot owner .

    Wonder if FAA will revoke their repair station license or individual AP or AI

  7. Not many comments on this crash . Lots of crashes due to maintenance issues .

    Seaplane crash in Washington State caused by lock ring missing from elevator Jack screw