Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Pilot reported cloud conditions before crash near Virginia airport

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report investigating the crash of a single-engine plane on Dec. 3 near Warrenton-Fauquier Airport.

A Beech C23 single-engine Sundowner (tail number N76SB) was destroyed on Dec. 3 when it was involved in an accident near Midland, Va. The pilot, Simmie Adams, 62, was fatally injured.

Tracking data collected by the NTSB revealed that the pilot departed from runway 15 at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport at about 1:08 p.m. EDT and conducted several practice instrument approaches to Stafford Regional Airport and Culpeper Regional Airport before returning to Warrenton-Fauquier to land.

According to preliminary information obtained from air traffic control, the pilot provided several weather reports during his flight that included “cloud heights.”

After receiving the weather reports, air traffic controllers cleared Adams to return to Warren-Fauquier and land on runway 33. Adams advised air traffic control that he intended to cancel his instrument flight rules clearance in the air once he descended below the clouds.

Tracking data revealed that the airplane descended toward runway 33 and was lost about 4,350 feet short of runway 33. The pilot made no distress calls over the radio during the approach, the NTSB said in their report.

The NTSB said the airplane collided with 80-ft-tall hardwood trees on a 330-degree heading about 0.35 miles east of runway 33.

“There was a post-accident fire that consumed most of the forward fuselage and cockpit,” the NTSB said. “The right wing separated during the impact with trees.”

Recorded weather near the time of the accident included 1 ¾-mile visibility in mist and a cloud ceiling of 300 ft.

The NTSB continues to investigate the accident.

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