This Was The First Flight Since He Purchased The Airplane

Location: South Haven Charter Township, MI Accident Number: ERA22FA351
Date & Time: August 2, 2022, 08:00 Local Registration: N9784Q
Aircraft: Smith Aerostar 600 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On August 2, 2022, about 1030 eastern daylight time, a Smith Aerostar 600, N9784Q, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near South Haven Area Regional Airport (LWA), South Haven, Michigan. The air transport pilot and commercial pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a friend of the pilot, he spoke to the commercial pilot/owner on the morning of the accident. He said the commercial pilot purchased the airplane about five years ago and had been working on it since then. This was the first flight since he purchased the airplane and he planned on staying in the traffic pattern to conduct a few touch-and-go landings. He went on to say the air transport pilot had flown in to fly with the pilot. When the friend arrived at the airport, he noticed the airplane was not in the traffic pattern. After a few hours, he became concerned and assumed that the airplane landed at another airport. Later that evening, the wife of the commercial pilot called the friend and said she had not heard from her spouse. They contacted the local authorities and reported the airplane was missing. The airplane was found the following morning.

The airplane came to rest oriented on a magnetic heading of 010° in a heavily wooded area about one mile north of LWA. All major components of the airplane were still connected to the airframe and located at the accident site. The cockpit and instrument panel were destroyed by impact forces. The fuselage displayed impact and crush damage. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and displayed impact damage. An examination of the wings revealed the ailerons and flaps were still attached and displayed impact damage. Flight control push-pull tube continuity was observed from the primary flight control surfaces to the cockpit section. 

The empennage was separated from the fuselage and the left and right elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal stabilizer. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and displayed impact damage. Initial examination of the engines revealed impact damage and they will be further examined once recovered. The propellers remained attached to both engine crankshaft flanges. The left propeller blades displayed aft bending. The right propeller blades displayed chordwise scoring and aft bending.

The wreckage was recovered and retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov