Deadliest Light Plane Crashes

Searches were suspended on Wednesday for the light plane with eight souls aboard that crashed off the coast of Carteret County, NC, on Sunday. The remains of all eight occupants had been located, along the plane’s fuselage. The expansive search started Sunday afternoon, after ATC at MCAS Cherry Point saw the craft disappear from radar. The command post was operating at Down East FD in Sea Level. The Coast Guard said that over 2,000 square-miles were searched.

What’s the historical perspective? It might be the worst private plane crash in state history. From Mike’s records, here’s his list of deadliest air crashes involving non-commercial or non-military aircraft:

1983, Jan 9 – Craven County – Seven killed, Beech D55, struck by F4C Phantom fighter about 30 miles south of MCAS Cherry Point at 1644 EST, after the private plane had entered restricted airspace, and the fighter was launched to intercept. The collision occurred in conditions of poor visibility. Several factors contributed to the collision.

1981, Feb 7 – Chapel Hill – Seven killed, Cessna 340A, collided with trees on final approach to Horace Williams Airport at 1910 EDT. Occurred during foggy conditions with zero visibility. Aircraft was also 554 pounds over maximum gross weight. Probably cause determined as improper IFR operation.

1992, May 15 – Greenville – Six killed. Piper PA-32-260. Crashed into wooden terrain shortly after take-off from Pitt-Greenville Airport at 0639 EDT. Dense fog conditions were present. Probable cause determined as failure of pilot to maintain proper climb rate after becoming spatially disoriented, with related factors of adverse weather, pilot’s self-induced pressure to make the file, and total lack of IFR experience.

1973, Apr 13 – Greensboro – Six killed. Cessna 402A. Crashed and burned upon impact in a field, about two miles from PTI airport, near an industrial park. Crash occurred after take-off at 2212 EDT. Probably cause determined as flight control system failure, elevator and elevator tab control system, after a connecting bolt came loose.

1971, Jul 2 – McDowell County – Beech S35. Crashed in adverse weather in/near Old Fort at 1235 EDT. Probably causes determined as pilot continued VFR flight into adverse weather conditions, and exceeded designed stress limits of aircraft. The plane disintegrated, and was located three days later.

1968, Jan 20 – Stokes County – Piper PA-31. Crashed in/near Tobaccoville at 1217 EDT, pilot believed to have been practicing stalls. Aircraft entered a flat spin. Probably cause determined as failure to obtain/maintain flying speed.

See Mike’s database for crashes with five fatalities, plus lists of commercial and military air crashes of significance (and with far greater numbers of fatalities).

See NTSB reports at the Aviation Accident Database & Synopses site

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