Sunday, May 01, 2022

Aviat A-1 Husky, N180HU: Incident occurred April 30, 2022 at McClellan Airfield (KMCC), Sacramento, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California 

Aircraft landed, bounced due to a wind gust and left wing hit the runway. 

California Department of Parks and Recreation

Date: 30-APR-22
Time: 20:15:00Z
Regis#: N180HU
Aircraft Make: AVIAT
Aircraft Model: A-1
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Metro Fire of Sacramento -

Metro Fire crews responded on McClellan Airfield for a small aircraft that experienced a hard landing. 

The aircraft sustained bent wheels, and skidded on the runway.

No injuries reported.

Stan Stewart: Meet the pilot behind the aircraft flying in formation over Citrus Heights, California

Stan Stewart next to his Beechcraft Debonair before a formation flight on April 30, 2022.

Low-flying planes traveling through the skies in distinctive formation have drawn the attention of residents on the ground in Citrus Heights and surrounding areas.

The single-engine aircraft are part of a formation flying clinic organized each spring by Stan Stewart of Sacramento, who is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and owner of a 1959 Beechcraft Debonair aircraft.

Stewart’s clinic at McClellan Air Force Base is just one of several such training groups around the country, and several other formation flights are currently active at McClellan. The pilots follow FAA rules governing formation flying before taking off, and de-brief after each flight to point out areas where pilots can improve.

“Formation flying is pretty serious,” Stewart said. “We brief the flight, fill out this card, then we fly the brief. We do exactly what we said we’re going to do.”

Although the group has no formal meetings or agendas, the Stewart’s team has performed for events like memorials and parades in the past.

This year’s clinic also includes retired USAF pilot Doug Jenkins, former Lockheed Martin employee Bruce Poluton, and his brother, Doug Poluton, a retired American Airlines Captain.

All of the pilots own and operate their respective Beechcraft aircraft, the namesake for the group.

“We got an airbrush artist to create this logo,” Stewart says as he shows the design on the back of a t-shirt. “Two Bonanzas with surf boards on them, and we said hey that’s great now we’re going to call ourselves the Beech Boys.”

The flight’s path takes them from McClellan Airport to one of four practice areas over Folsom Lake and surrounding areas. Altitude and airspace restrictions from Mather and other area airports, take the aircraft over Citrus Heights, Stewart said. The group is also required to fly at elevations under 1,600 feet due to Sacramento International Airport airspace.

Stewart was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam war, but decided to join the Air Force. After leaving the service, he was recruited by a Sacramento company along with a few other former Air Force personnel. The job was short lived, he says, but he chose to remain in the area.

“After two weeks, I left,” Stewart said. “After another week, they all left. But I liked Sacramento so I’ve been here ever since.”

After participating in a formation flight of Bonanzas to Oshkosh, an annual event in Wisconsin, Stewart says he realized the need for a more formal approach to formation flight training.

“You can’t just put a big formation like this together,” he said. “So we started training and had our first clinic in Stockton in 2003 or 2004.”

Since then, Stewart’s team has been seen practicing from time-to-time in the skies over Citrus Heights.

“We appreciate your patience in us flying over and hope we don’t disturb your peace and tranquility,” Stewart said of flying over the city. “We are doing serious aviation practice and building proficiency.”

Shortage of pilots forces Cape Air to submit 90-day notice to end passenger air service to Quincy; airline can’t leave until replacement is found

QUINCY, Illinois — After agreeing to a four-year, $10.8 million contract in September to be the essential air service provider for Quincy Regional Airport, Cape Air notified the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday of its intent to end passenger air service in Quincy. 

Andrew Bonney, senior vice president of planning for Cape Air, which is based in Hyannis, Maryland, signed the 90-day notice that was submitted Tuesday to the DOT.

“Cape Air gives this notice with reluctance and regret — and principally due to a shortage of pilots,” Bonney wrote.

Members of the aeronautics committee learned of the news during its meeting Wednesday afternoon. Gabriel Hanafin, interim airport manager, told the committee Cape Air can’t leave until the DOT selects a new airline to service Quincy.

“The DOT will have to first approve their request to pull out,” Hanafin said. 

Hanafin also said the DOT will conduct the search for a new EAS provider at no cost to Quincy. He said Cape Air plans to continue service as normal, maintaining 18 flights a week to both Lambert International in St. Louis (at a one-way cost of $47 a flight) and O’Hare in Chicago (at a one-way cost of $72 a flight) until DOT selects a new airline.

Cape Air was awarded the contract on Sept. 27, beating bids from Boutique Air out of San Francisco and St. Louis-based Air Choice One.

Hanafin said he learned Tuesday that Cape Air is pulling routes from Puerto Rico and the New England area, and a route that opened in February in Burlington, Iowa, also is being pulled.

“It’s not just a Quincy thing, and it’s not just a Cape Air thing,” Hanafin said.

Asked if Quincy’s flight schedule could change after the 90-day notice expires, Hanafin said, “That would be something to contact Cape Air about.”

Stacie Schuchardt, Midwest marketing manager for Cape Air, had not returned phone and text messages asking for comment as of 4 p.m.

SkyWest announced in March its plan to end service to 29 cities because of the pilot shortage. However, the website Live and Let’s Fly reported the Department of Transportation blocked the plan, arguing the carrier must continue to serve each city until replacements are found.

Airline Weekly, an online publication about the airline business, reported in March that the pilot shortage in the U.S. will get worse before it gets better. Joseph Allman, chief financial officer for Republic Airways, the second-largest regional airline in the country, told people at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Americas conference that he sees the shortage to be at its worst during the second and third quarters of 2023.

Mayor Mike Troup said he learned of Cape Air’s decision from one of its senior vice presidents on Monday afternoon. He said after the aeronautics committee meeting that he would like to meet with Cape Air officials to discuss what can be done.

“Can we modify the number of flights? Does it have to be a direct flight from Quincy to Chicago and Quincy to St. Louis? What would it make it easier, more palatable, more affordable for everybody?” he said. “Let’s sit down and talk.”

How the pilot shortage has affected Quincy Regional Airport first came to light during the April 13 meeting of the Quincy City Council. Whitney Mintert told aldermen that a friend had planned to fly from Quincy to Chicago on a Sunday afternoon. However, the flight never showed and Mintert’s friend never was notified of a cancellation.

Troup told aldermen at that meeting that Cape Air canceled “some 40 percent of our flights” from Quincy in February and March.

Hanafin told the aeronautics committee Wednesday that the flight completion rates in April had improved — 91 percent for St. Louis and 75 percent in Chicago. Enplanements were up more than 35 percent for the two routes last month — 285 to St. Louis and 267 to Chicago.

Troup said Cape Air has done a better job that most regional commercial airlines to attract pilots. The airline also is flying its new brand of aircraft — nine-seat Tecnam P2012 Travellers — out of Quincy, “so they’re making a commitment there,” he said.

The mayor hopes Congress could modify the number of hours needed to become a licensed commercial pilot. He also said he reached out to the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for help.

“We can’t tolerate losing all airline service,” Troup said. “That doesn’t help Quincy, and it absolutely doesn’t help our region. It’s an issue that’s related to the pandemic, and we still have to deal with the ramifications. 

CAPE COD, Massachusetts (WBZ NewsRadio) — The nationwide pilot shortage in the United States is taking its toll on major airlines, and now regional airlines are feeling the impact.

Cape Air has announced they will be reducing the number of their flights serviced between Cape Cod and Nantucket, forcing the airline to run that route on a Monday through Thursday schedule.

"There is an industry-wide pilot shortage, and we just don't have enough pilots to fly our schedule, so we had to pull down some of flying that we had currently out for sale, and that included Hyannis to Nantucket," CEO of Cape Air Linda Markham told WBZ's Tim Dunn.

The decrease means Cape Air will offer that route with just one to three flights a day, down from its current six a day availability. Markham says there are several reasons for why there's a shortage of pilots.

"The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that pilots retire at age 65, there's fewer pilots leaving the military, and there's high cost and lengthy training. The Covid pandemic really exasperated the shortage because so many of the airlines offered early retirement and did furloughs, and those pilots are not coming back," Markham said.

The scheduling changes are expected to take effect for Cape Air around mid-June of this year, with no indication how long the abbreviated service will be in place.

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (KASE) runway closing for next two weeks

Runway will reopen after maintenance on May 16

Starting Monday, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport runway and taxiway connectors will be closed for the next two weeks for maintenance and repairs.

“Aircraft operations will be limited to emergency medevac and mountain rescue operations,” according to a news release from Pitkin County.

The closure goes into effect Monday, and runway will reopen at 7 a.m. May 16.

Cessna 172N, N737LY: Accident occurred May 01, 2022 at Ocean County Airport (KMJX), Toms River, New Jersey

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 did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Location: Toms River, New Jersey 
Accident Number: ERA22LA217
Date and Time: May 1, 2022, 18:20 Local
Registration: N737LY
Aircraft: Cessna 172N Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On May 1, 2022, at 1820 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N737LY, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Toms River, New Jersey. The flight instructor and student pilot had no injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight instructor, he stated they took off from Old Bridge Airport (3N6), Old Bridge, New Jersey about 1700 and flew to Ocean County Airport (MJX), Toms River, New Jersey, to practice some landings. The first landing was a straight-in approach to runway 14 and it went well. The second landing was a simulated engine out and it went well. The third landing was going to be another
simulated engine out on runway 14 but when the student pilot turned the airplane for final approach, they were too high. The flight instructor asked the student pilot what he would do in this instance and the student pilot said he would land on runway 6. The flight instructor told him to set up for landing on runway 6 and when they were at an altitude of about 400 ft above ground level, the flight instructor told him to go ahead and apply full power since it all looked good. When the student applied full power, the engine did not respond. The flight instructor took over control of the airplane and tried to land on runway 24. The flight instructor knew they would not make the runway, so he tried to land in the grass. The left wing contacted a fence and flipped the airplane over. The airplane came to rest inverted. Both pilots egressed the airplane. The grass caught fire from the wing contacting the fence, but the airplane did not catch on fire.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the right outer wing was bent down 90 degrees and the main spar was bent. The vertical and horizontal stabilizer was fractured off and only held on by control cables. The main landing gear was fractured off. The left-wing leading edge was damaged by contacting the fence and bent the main spar. The nose landing gear was separated off.
The airplane was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N737LY
Model/Series: 172N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: KNEL,103 ft msl
Observation Time: 18:00 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C /4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 9500 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 140°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Old Bridge, NJ (3N6)
Destination: Toms River, NJ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude:  39.927425,-74.294197 (est)

Aircraft crashed into the perimeter fence after engine issues and caught on fire.

Date: 01-MAY-22
Time: 22:20:00Z
Regis#: N737LY
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

A small plane crashed Sunday afternoon into a fence alongside County Route 530 at Ocean County Airport in Berkeley. 

"Nobody was injured. Everybody got out ok," said Berkeley Police Sgt. Taylor Butler. 

A pilot and flight instructor, who were not identified, were inside the plane when it crashed, he said. 

The Ocean County Sheriff's Department is leading the investigation due to the proximity of the crash to County Route 530.

We have a confirmed plane crash at Robert J. Miller Air Park in Berkeley Township with a fuel spill.

Emergency responders are on the scene. 

It appears the pilot and any passengers were able to vacate the plane. 

It is unknown if there are injuries at this time. 

Incident occurred May 01, 2022 at Teterboro Airport (KTEB), Bergen County, New Jersey

Teterboro, New Jersey - A small plane bound for Maryland made an emergency landing in New Jersey Sunday morning after smoke was reported in the aircraft cockpit, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to NJ Advance Media.

The single-engine Piper PA-32 landed safely at Teterboro Airport in Bergen County at about 11 a.m. Sunday “after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit,” said an FAA spokesman, noting that the information was still preliminary.

It was unclear Sunday afternoon how many people were aboard the plane.

Federal authorities said the plane departed from Norwood Memorial Airport in Norwood, Massachusetts, and was on its way to Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

When asked about the cause of the incident or if it resulted in any injuries, the FAA referred questions to airport authorities. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and manages the airport, did not immediately respond to questions about the incident, and local police also did not respond.

The Piper PA-32 has capacity for six people plus a pilot, according to an online database.

The FAA is investigating the incident, an agency spokesman said.

Keith Freitas: Airports director gives an overview of Camarillo Airport (KCMA), California

Keith Freitas, the county’s director of airports, gave a 10-minute presentation about the Camarillo Airport at the West Ventura County Business Alliance’s business and economic outlook luncheon April 14 at Spanish Hills Country Club.

The keynote speech, which was followed by questions from those in attendance, provided a brief overview of the airport, which Freitas said remains relatively unknown to the general public.

“There are so many different entities at the airport that do great things that we don’t broadcast,” Freitas said during his keynote speech. “We need to do a better job of connecting with the community.”

From an economic standpoint, the Camarillo Airport creates 1,750 jobs, and generates $115 million in payroll and $230 million in revenue for the county per year, said Freitas, who is six months into his role as airports director.

More than 60 businesses operate on the airport’s 650 acres, Freitas said.

The number includes aviation related companies, such as flight schools and hangars, as well as non-aviation businesses like the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County and Waypoint Cafe. The airport is also home to the county fire department’s headquarters and the agricultural commissioner’s office.

Freitas dispelled rumors that Amazon plans to use the airport for cargo jet traffic.

“There was a lot of turmoil, and anybody that has been in this community has heard (the rumors),” he said. “There has been, in the six months I’ve been here, no discussion within the county or the airport staff about Amazon coming into the Camarillo Airport.”

He also said there are no plans for any other commercial service to use the airport.

Private aircraft take off and land at the airport daily, and Freitas said the number continues to grow.

He said the airport’s main development project is CloudNine, a group of private aircraft hangars and office suites.

The $34-million project, proposed by Westlake Village-based developer RKR Inc., consists of four 25,000-square-foot hangars. Each will be leased to a corporation or airplane owner and will have an additional 5,000 square feet of office space.

Construction began last May, and the hangars—expected to generate about 360 to 600 flights— will likely be ready for tenants this summer, according to previous Acorn coverage.

Freitas said CloudNine cleared the city’s process last month and recently received the final permit from the county.

Drones and electric aircraft, Freitas said, are also on the horizon and could potentially take off from and land at the Camarillo Airport.

Drones can be used to deliver packages, monitor wildfires and determine the health of crops, while electric planes that can take off and land vertically are not only less harmful to the environment, but also quieter than fuel-powered planes.

“The great thing from an airport standpoint is that it’s community friendly,” he said.

Freitas said he is still in no rush to update Camarillo’s airport master plan. Cities, he said, typically revise the plans every 10 to 20 years, and Camarillo’s was completed nearly 11 years ago.

“We have one in place that is just fine, and that’s what we’re working off right now,” Freitas told the audience.

Last year, an airport master plan update process was started and stopped amid widespread opposition to the possibility of commercial flights.

Freitas said he would rather conduct a noise compatibility study and revisit the master plan update in two or three years.

Warbirds Museum day; a nostalgic look at aircraft of the past

FEATURE – Aviation evokes nostalgia for many people. World War I brought tales of biplanes and triplanes with lore of famous flying aces such as “The Red Baron.” The 1920s boasted the solo transatlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh in “The Spirit of St. Louis” while World War II was famous for its dogfights in P-51s and long-range bombing raids in well-known crafts such as B-17s. After World War II was the dawn of jet aircraft, punctuated by the now-famous Tom Cruise classic Top Gun in the mid-1980s.

Southern Utah residents don’t need to go far to see that nostalgia on display. The Western Sky Aviation Warbirds Museum next to the St. George Regional Airport displays tons of it.

The museum was the brainchild of Jack Hunter, a retired Colonel in the United States Air Force. He served active duty in the Strategic Air Command from 1966 to 1970 as well as an Aircraft Maintenance Staff Officer from 1980 to 1990. Throughout his illustrious Air Force career he was also a group commander and squadron commander. He retired from the Air Force in 1996. Since then, he has owned and operated a few fixed base operations and served as a lead pilot for Rocky Mountain Healthcare Life Flight. He counts among his greatest successes when he served as Director of Flight Operations at Utah State University, where he hired, trained and supervised flight instructors.

Looking at his career, Hunter obviously has a passion for aviation. He moved to the St. George area to work for Sky West Airlines and has since remained, founding the museum to both fuel his passion and to share it with area residents and visitors. 

“I started doing this crazy thing and then it snowballed,” Hunter said.

The museum opened in 2006 at the old St. George Airport and moved near the new airport in 2011. Hunter used a lot of his own money to get the museum off the ground and did not receive any funding from St. George City in the initial process nor in the move to the location. The museum has not received any grants or government funding either.

“It was an expensive move here,” Hunter said of the relocation to the new airport.

The museum earns its operating-expense money from donations and its special events. The museum also receives RAP Tax funding as well.

“We’re just trying to maintain what we have here,” Hunter noted.

All the museum guides are volunteers. Hunter said he wishes he had the money to hire them full time. Most of the volunteers, like Hunter, have aviation experience and have worked in the aviation industry in some capacity. These guides have fun stories to tell museum guests.

One guide, Rusty Restaino, said he likes to tell visitors how far aircraft safety has come. During World War II, 14,000 airmen were killed during training flights and 45 percent of all aircraft losses were non-combat, he said. He said he also enjoys giving museum visitors a tour of a jet engine, explaining the parts of the engine as well as aircraft parts most people do not even know exist. 

The museum’s largest hangar includes three jet engines on display, including one of the very first jet engines ever produced in the late 1940s, the bulky British NEN-10/Russian VK1A engine. 

Restano said he loves answering questions and teaching those who did not know much about aviation previously.

Most of the planes in the museum’s collection are donated or on loan from private owners. All of the planes are still airworthy. Hunter admits that the planes haven’t flown much lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He and his staff can’t just fly them for fun. They have to be flown during special events such as airshows, he said, especially since fuel is so expensive and they can go through hundreds of gallons an hour.

To keep the museum’s planes airworthy takes a lot of work. Sometimes they have to send parts back east to be remanufactured and sometimes it’s hard to find the right parts, Hunter said. For instance, once the company who remanufactures parts for the museum said one job would take four months and it turned into 14 months to see it through to completion.

The museum’s claim to fame is that it is home to the only A-37 (a Vietnam-era jet) that is still flying, Hunter said.  The plane is on loan from a private owner, Charlie Largay, who lives in Montana. Largay’s foundation also provides money for the museum’s operating expenses.

There are no planes with Southern Utah ties in the museum, Hunter admitted, but there are tributes to pilots who now live in Southern Utah or have lived here among the museum’s hangar displays, including World War II aces Richard Fleischer and Alden Rigby as well as Bill Gorton, Kay Eckardt and even lady engineer Nancy Wood.

The museum also pays tribute to the flying career of Utah’s 2nd district U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart, who Hunter said is a friend of the museum. Stewart was an Air Force pilot who flew on the world-record non-stop flight around the world.

Several paintings by noted aircraft artist R. G. Smith are also on display. Hunter said he has over a thousand books and other aviation memorabilia, but no space to display them. The museum hopes to add another hangar and acquire more planes in the coming years.

The museum just received a former Buffalo Airways C-54, which is a World War II-era four-propeller powered plane – the same type of plane that the late “Candy Bomber” Gail Halverson flew during the Berlin Airlift in 1948. The plane arrived from Florida on April 28.

During the flight to St. George, one of its engines went out over the Grand Canyon, but it still made it safely to the St. George Airport. The museum will dedicate the plane to Halverson’s honor, Hunter said.

The Museum’s Primary Fleet


One of the first fighter jets developed by the Soviet Union, the single seat MIG 15 UTI first saw service in 1949 and was the primary fighter jet of North Korean and Chinese forces during the Korean War (1950-1953). 

MIG 17 

The MIG 17 was the successor to the MIG 15 and built to be more stable with its wings swept back 45 degrees and a more angular tail. It was the primary fighter of the Soviet Union and also flown by the Viet Cong against American military forces during the Vietnam War.

British Provost

Featuring a Rolls Royce Viper engine and produced between 1958-1967, the Provost was a British jet-powered trainer for the Royal Air Force until 1993. Hunter said the Provost is the museum’s most economical plane, costing $800 per hour to fly.

T-38 Talon

A two-seat supersonic jet trainer, the T-38 is still in service and has been a primary training plane of both the U.S. Air Force and Navy. It is currently planned on being phased out and replaced by the T-7 Red Hawk.


A lightweight two-seat fighter is similar to the T-38 trainer and was used for reconnaissance missions.

Cessna T-37 (Tweet)

This small, twin-engine jet trainer was a primary training aircraft for the U.S. Air Force for 52 years. The last one was produced in 2009.

A-37B Dragonfly (Supertweet)

Used as a light attack plane and ground support during the Vietnam War, the one the museum has boasts an interesting history as the North Vietnamese captured it and flew it in combat on their side, but the U.S. recaptured it later on. As far as the museum knows, it is the only A-37 still flyable, Hunter said. The A-37 is the precursor to the more-famous A-10 Warthog.

Visiting the Museum

The Western Sky Aviation Warbirds Museum is located just north of the St. George Regional Airport. It features displays in two hangars as well as a few planes outdoors.

The museum hosts two big events in Mid-May each year – an armed forces celebration airshow and 1940s-themed hangar dance. For more information, look at the museum’s events page or its Facebook page. The airshow features classic airplanes such as a World War II era P-51 as well as a B-17, which attendees have the opportunity to ride in.

The museum’s hangars also play host to high school dances and other private events throughout the year. Those who would like to host event at the museum should call the museum at 435-669-0655.

The museum is always looking for volunteers to help out and donations to help with its operating expenses.

“Our volunteers are tremendous,” Hunter said, “but we don’t have enough.”

For more information about the museum, visit its website.

Story and photos:

Dick Rochfort: A Late Missed Approach at Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (KGUC), Colorado

Dick Rochfort, ATP, CFII - Master Instructor

Ride along with Master Instructor Dick Rochfort on an in-flight demonstration of the techniques and procedures for a late Missed Approach using the Departure Procedure at Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport in a G500 Txi equipped Piper PA46 Meridian.  Dick uses proper call-outs and well documented, disciplined procedures to ensure the safety of this challenging flight. Dick Rochfort is a full-time pilot trainer specializing in the Piper PA46 Matrix, Malibu, Mirage and Meridian aircraft. He provides pre-purchase valuation, training, corporate service and expert witness services worldwide. 

You may view hundreds of additional videos and articles about flying the PA46 aircraft at or contact Dick directly at 

Fly Safely - Train Often

Aircraft Structural Failure: Piper PA-28-235, N8991W; fatal accident occurred May 31, 2020 in Carlinville, Macoupin County, Illinois

Daniel Shedd, front left, texted his mother this photograph on May 31, 2020 shortly before he left Creve Coeur Airport with his college friends. The pilot, Joshua Sweers, is at front right. In the back row at left is John Camilleri and the man next to him is Daniel Schlosser. The plane crashed near Carlinville, Illinois. 

Joshua Sweers

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Carlinville, Illinois 
Accident Number: CEN20LA201
Date and Time: May 31, 2020, 15:46 Local 
Registration: N8991W
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Aircraft structural failure 
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


Position data depicted the airplane in cruise flight on a northeast course toward the destination airport at 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl). Shortly before the accident, the airplane entered a left turn with a gradually steepening bank angle. After completing a 360ยบ turn and returning to a northeast course, the airplane immediately transitioned into a right turn that continued until the airplane again returned to a northeast course. Airplane bank angles reached 50° and 60° in the left and right turns, respectively. As the right turn continued, the airplane entered a descent and the airspeed increased. The bank angle ultimately reached about 110° (right wing down), the pitch attitude reached 63° nose down, and the airspeed increased to over 200 kts during the descent. The maximum computed load factor based on the available data was 4.72 G. The position data ended when the airplane was between 2,000 ft and 2,500 ft msl (1,400 ft and 1,900 ft above ground level). At the end of the data, the airplane was in a steep, spiral dive and about 35 kts above the never-exceed airspeed (VNE). The airplane was established on a southwesterly course away from the accident site at that time.

The wreckage debris path was oriented on a northeasterly course and was about 400 ft long. The wreckage distribution was consistent with a low-altitude inflight break up. In addition, the presence of all airframe structural components and flight control surfaces within the debris path was consistent with the airplane being structurally intact as it approached the accident site. A postaccident examination revealed that the wing structure failed as a result of overstress. No preimpact anomalies with respect to the flight control system were identified. As a result, the steep descent was likely an intentional action by the pilot but for reasons that could not be determined.

The investigation did not have any data from which to determine the flightpath from the final data point to the accident site. However, because the final segment of the flightpath was toward the southwest and the debris path was oriented to the northeast, it is clear that the pilot attempted to pull out of the dive and, in doing so, reversed course. That maneuver, which was initiated from a steep, spiral dive and above VNE, resulted in the pilot inadvertently exceeding the ultimate load factor for the airframe. The excessive load factor caused the separation of the wings and stabilator, and a loss of control of the airplane.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s attempted recovery from a steep descent which inadvertently exceeded the ultimate load factor of the airframe and resulted in a low-level inflight breakup.


Aircraft Center wing box (on wing) - Capability exceeded
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering Aircraft structural failure (Defining event)
Maneuvering Loss of control in flight
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On May 31, 2020, at 1546 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-235 airplane, N8991W, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Carlinville, Illinois. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) and Appareo Stratus position data, the flight departed about 1518 and proceeded on a northeast course toward the intended destination, ultimately climbing to an approximate altitude of 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl). About 1543, the airplane entered a 15° banked left turn which continued until the airplane was on a southwest course. About 1545, the left turn steepened to about 50° and continued until the airplane returned to a northeast course. About 25 seconds later, the airplane rolled out of the left turn and immediately into a 60° banked right turn. The airplane reached an altitude of 5,685 ft and had slowed to about 85 kts during the right turn. The airplane then entered a descent, and the airspeed began to increase. At 1545:54, the right turn steepened to about 110° right bank.

By 1546:07, the airplane altitude decreased to 2,850 ft, the descent rate increased to over 18,700 ft/minute, and the airspeed increased to over 200 kts. During this timeframe, the pitch angle recorded by the Stratus unit decreased from +10° (up) to -52° (down) and decreased further to -63° (down) before the end of the data. The data ended about 1546:10. At that time, the airplane altitude was between 2,000 ft and 2,500 ft msl (1,400 ft and 1,900 ft above ground level). During the timeframe covered by the available data, the maximum computed load factor of 4.72 G occurred about 1546:06.

At the end of the data, the airplane was in a steep, spiral dive and about 35 kts above the never-exceed airspeed (VNE) of 171 kts. The airplane was established on a southwest course at that time and oriented away from the accident site located about 0.15 nm north-northeast from the final data point. The investigation did not have any data from which to determine the flight path from the final data point to the accident site.

A witness reported observing the airplane “going up and down,” doing “dips in the air.” She noted five or six “dips” where the airplane would “come back up” each time. She subsequently observed the airplane enter a “nosedive” and begin “spiraling down.” The airplane was initially heading south when it entered the dive and appeared to be intact at that time. As it neared the ground, the airplane “burst into pieces in the air.”

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: August 7, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: December 28, 2019
Flight Time: 93.9 hours (Total, all aircraft), 28.8 hours (Total, this make and model), 38 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 11.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N8991W
Model/Series: PA28 235
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1964 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 28-10571
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 1, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2900 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2235 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-B4B5
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 235 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

A weight and balance calculation based on estimated occupant, baggage, and fuel loadings, suggested that the airplane was within the gross weight and center-of-gravity limitations specified by the airframe manufacturer.

The airplane was certificated as a normal category airplane. The applicable limit load factor was 3.8 G’s. The corresponding ultimate load factor was 5.7 G’s.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 3LF,691 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:55 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 110°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Maryland Hgts, MO (1H0)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Charlotte, MI (FPK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 15:19 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 39.241664,-89.915557

The airplane wreckage was located in an open field adjacent to a storage building and a pond. A portion of the left wing passed through the storage building roof and came to rest within the building. The debris path was about 400 feet long. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, engine, and propeller. The fuselage was fragmented, and the cabin was compromised. The engine was damaged consistent with impact forces and the engine mount was fragmented. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Both wings, the vertical stabilizer, and the stabilator had separated from the fuselage. All flight control surfaces were located within the debris field. The wreckage distribution appeared consistent with a low-level, in-flight break up.

A postaccident examination revealed that both wings had separated at the root. The wing spars exhibited upward bending adjacent to the fracture surfaces consistent with positive load factors (pitch up) at the time of the separation. The fracture surfaces exhibited a dull, grainy appearance consistent with overstress. The ailerons, including the counterweights, were separated from the wings and located within the debris path. Control cable and control rod separations were consistent with overstress.

The stabilator was separated except for the center spar section which remained attached to the aft fuselage hinge points. The balance weight and mast remained attached to the center spar section, and the stabilator control cables remained attached to the mast attachment points. The cables were continuous to the cockpit area. The vertical stabilizer was separated with exception of the aft spar which remained attached to the fuselage. The rudder remained attached to the spar at each hinge point. The rudder control cables were attached to the control surface and were continuous to the cockpit area. 

No preimpact anomalies with respect to the flight control system were identified.