Pilot Radioed The Controller And Requested The Nearest Airport That Was Not Covered In Fog

Location: Tallahassee, FL Accident Number: ERA22LA082
Date & Time: December 7, 2021, 07:57 Local Registration: N80YD
Aircraft: Beech S35 Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 7, 2021, about 0757 eastern standard time, a Beech BE-35, N80YD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Tallahassee, Florida. The pilot received minor injuries.

The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. According to the pilot, a preflight inspection of the airplane was conducted with no anomalies noted. He stated, “I checked the oil quantity and found 11 quarts.” During the run-up, the pilot reported “everything looked normal, nothing out of range” then departed for Columbus Airport (CSG), Columbus Georgia, on an instrument flight rules flight plan about 0624. About 1 hour and 30 minutes into the flight, at 6000 ft, the pilot reported smelling something burning in the cabin and within about 30 seconds, “the smell increased with a distinct smell of oil.”

The pilot radioed the controller and requested the nearest airport that was not covered in fog. The pilot continued to monitor the gauges, stating, “everything was normal, why am I smelling smoke.” Then, he watched as the oil pressure decreased to zero and he declared an emergency, then opened the side window to evacuate the smoke in the cabin. He was instructed to turn southeast towards Tallahassee International Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida, and descend to 3000 ft to set up for an ILS 27 approach into TLH. As he continued southeast, the engine began to “sputter” and then quit. As the airplane descended through the fog, the piloted stated, “I saw trees and didn’t believe I would make it over them, so I pointed the airplane between two large trees and pulled the nose up.” The airplane impacted trees about 4 miles east of TLH; the pilot self-evacuated the airplane and received minor injuries.

Postaccident photographs of the airplane provided by Tallahassee airport operations personnel revealed substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and the left ruddervator. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov