The Pilot, Who Owned The Airplane, Did Not Possess An Instrument Rating

Location: Crab Orchard, KY Accident Number: ERA22FA085
Date & Time: December 10, 2021, 16:51 Local Registration: N5704V
Aircraft: Beech V35 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 10, 2021, about 1651 eastern standard time, a Beech V35, N5704V, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Crab Orchard, Kentucky. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The visual flight rules cross-country flight originated at Okeechobee County Airport (OBE), Okeechobee, Florida, on the morning of the accident with intermediate stops at Flagler Executive Airport (FIN), Palm Coast, Florida, and Baxley Municipal Airport (BHC), Baxley, Georgia. The pilot purchased 46 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel at OBE and the passenger purchased 25 gallons of fuel at BHC. Both fuel purchases were from self-service pumps and no other services were requested. The accident flight departed BHC about 1426, destined for Stuart Powell Field Airport (DVK), Danville, Kentucky, which was the pilot’s home airport.

According to preliminary Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data, the flight approached an area about 14 nautical miles southeast of DKV at an altitude about 300-400 ft above ground level (agl). The airplane then proceeded north for about 1 mile and began a left 270° turn to the east, followed by a right turn until the airplane was heading north. The airplane then pitched up, gaining about 500 ft, as it approached rapidly rising terrain. The last two data points indicated a descent, the last data point was located about 275 ft south of the accident site.

The accident site consisted of a heavily-wooded area on rising terrain. The landowner was home at the time and heard the airplane prior to the accident. He reported that he heard the airplane coming down, and the engine was “very loud, getting louder, and running at high speed” with no interruption until he heard the “boom” from the ground impact. He never saw the airplane in flight.

Initial examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that all major structural components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane struck the top of a 50-ft-tall oak tree before colliding with terrain. The measured descent angle from the tree breaks to the initial impact crater was about 75° nose down. There was no fire.

The pilot, who owned the airplane, did not possess an instrument rating. According to his pilot logbook, he accumulated about 965 hours of flight time, including 24 hours during the 90 days prior to the accident. The closest airport with weather reporting capability was DVK, which was located about 13 miles from the accident site. The reported weather at DVK at 1655, included a 500-ft ceiling and 10 miles visibility. The wreckage was retained for further examination.