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Fatal Plane Crash in Florida linked to engine and oil pressure problems

On January 4, 2013, a small airplane carrying three passengers crashed into a Florida home approximately located one mile south of the Flagler County Airport. Investigators and Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were on scene on the day of the crash. While findings have not been made public thus far, the communications between the pilot and the Air Traffic Controllers moments before the crash were relayed.

Michael Anders.jpgWe now know that the 1957 Beechcraft H35 Bonanza took off from Port Pierce, FL and was on its way to Knoxville, TN. There were three people on board: Duane Shaw (59) from Albany, KY, Charissee Peoples (42) from Indianapolis, IN, and the pilot Michael Anders (57) from Albany, KY (right). The three occupants had actually stopped in Fort Pierce on their way up from the Caribbean where they had been vacationing.

Shortly after takeoff, Anders contacted the Air Traffic Controllers and notified them of a problem with the airplane. The small aircraft was vibrating, oil pressure was inadequate, and the cabin became engulfed with smoke. “I need some help here” Anders told the ATCs. When asked, he advised there were “three souls on board”. According to FHP, the airplane also flew into bad weather at some point, even though it is too early to say whether bad weather played a role in the plane’s demise.

Below is an edited transcription of communications between Michael Anders and Daytona Approach:

Pilot: Daytona, This is 375 Bravo. We’ve got vibration in a prop. I need some help here.
Approach: 375 Bravo, Roger, the closest airport is 12 o’clock, 12 to 1 o’clock and five miles and are you IFR capable and equipped?
Pilot: Yeah, I’m IFR we are just, we are getting a little vibration, we got oil pressure problem, we are going to have to drop quickly here.
Approach: November 375 Bravo is clear to Flagler, it be radar vectors, descend and maintain 2000 on your present heading.
Pilot: 2000 on present heading, 375 Bravo. Thanks for your help.
Approach: You’re welcome. 375 Bravo. How many people on board and how much fuel you got?
Pilot: Three souls on board. We’ve got plenty of fuel.
Tower: Ok, I just need a number.
Pilot: Ah, four hours, three people on board and four hours of fuel
Approach: Roger that, 375 Bravo and which engine I’m sorry you said is the vibration in your engine, is that correct?
Pilot: That’s correct. We got a propeller or something going. I’m backing it up here to see.
Approach: November 375 Bravo. Continue your present heading again. We are going to put you close to the Flagler County Airport for runway two niner. We are going to try to get you as close as we can to the airport. Right now they are showing broken 900 foot ceiling, so an instrument approach is going to be necessary to get in there. What are your intentions?
Pilot: Roger, give us the localizer please.
Approach: Ok, the best we can do is an RNAV at that airport or we can reverse course back to Daytona is the only precision approach we have in our air space for the ILS is Daytona.
Pilot: We don’t need a precision approach. Is there anything with a localizer or anything VFR.
Approach: No, all of our airports right now are IFR. All ceilings are hovering right around 900 to 1000 feet.
Pilot: We’ll take the nearest one and try to break out at 1000 but I don’t have RNAV capability.
Approach: 35 Bravo, Roger we can do a surveillance approach and guide you in to the airport. Are you OK with that?
Pilot: I’m lovely with that.
Approach: 375 Bravo, Roger, descend and maintain 2,000 feet and contact Daytona approach
Pilot: Thanks for your help.
Approach: You’re welcome.
Tower: 375 Bravo, Daytona Approach descend and maintain 3,000
Pilot: 3,000 current heading
Approach: 375 Bravo turn right heading 060
Pilot: This is 375 Bravo. We’ve got zero oil pressure but we’ve got cool cylinder heads.
Approach: 375 Bravo Turn right heading one five zero
Pilot: Right turn, one five zero for 375 Bravo, (not clear or inaudible)
Approach: November 75 Bravo turn further right now to two six zero.
Pilot: Two Six Zero. We are beginning to see the water here.
Approach: 75 Bravo your five miles southeast of the field. .. Turn further right two seven zero.
Pilot: Two seven zero on the heading. I’m at 1,600.
Approach: November 75 Bravo turn right, two niner zero That’s going to put you four miles straight in. two niner zero and you could descend to your minimum descend altitude. Again the published minimum descend altitude for … two nine is 560.
Pilot: Roger that we are at 1,200
Approach: November 75 Bravo, Roger now you are going through final just slightly turn right 310, 310 for your four mile straight in
Pilot: 310. Four miles straight in
Approach: November 75 Bravo Advise when you have the airport in sight…Flagler advises cleared to land runway two nine.
Approach: November 75 Bravo. Heading 320 … advise when you have the airport in sight.
Approach: …Bravo heading 320 two miles from runway Approach: Five bravo you still with me?
Approach: Three seven five Bravo, Daytona?

The entire communication lasted less than 11 minutes.