“The Pilot Sounded Like He Was In A ‘Panic.'”
Location: Citra, FL Accident Number: ERA21LA020
Date & Time: October 13, 2020, 20:15 Local Registration: N631PF
Aircraft: Aero Commander 100 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:
On October 13, 2020, about 2015 eastern daylight time, an Aero Commander 100, N631PF, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Citra, Florida. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.
The sister of the pilot who resided at the private airport property where the airplane departed reported that the pilot was in Ocala, Florida all day on personal business and after he had driven back, the pilot informed her that he was going to take a “quick flight.” The airplane departed about 1930, and about 15 minutes later, the pilot called on the phone to ask her to take her car to the runway and light it up with the headlights. The pilot informed her that he had lost sight of the runway and the airplane was low on fuel. She further stated that the pilot sounded like he was in a “panic.” Additional neighbors arrived and attempted to light up the runway with their vehicle’s headlights, but the airplane appeared to fly towards the east, away from the runway. She lost contact with the pilot about 2014 and attempted to call him several times, but was unable to reach him.
The airplane was subsequently located about 2 miles southeast of the airport. It impacted a swampy area in 5 ft deep water with dense brush. It was inverted in a nose down attitude and partially submerged. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office documented the accident site with photographs and drone footage which revealed significant compression damage and buckling of the airplane’s fuselage aft of the cockpit. The empennage remained relatively intact and all control surfaces remained attached to their respective locations. The cockpit and engine compartment were submerged.
As of the date of this report, the wreckage had not been recovered.