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Raleigh-Durham Airport Fire-Rescue Aircraft Accidents

Last updated: March 13, 2018


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Fatal & Notable Air Accidents Around Raleigh/RDU

1929 to 1950

1929, plane crashes at Poindexter Field. Pilot is killed at airstrip located outside city limits. Fire department responds. Incident is first fatal airplane crash in Raleigh. (January 11, 1929)rfd

1940, Light plane crashes on Highway 15-A, 300 yards south of Raleigh Municipal Airport. Both people aboard killed the Fairchild 24. The next day, the plane bursts into flames while being towed from site. Unknown if fire department responds. (February 12, 1940)no12feb40, 13feb40

1941, Army plane on nighttime approach to Raleigh airport. The A-24 Douglas dive bomber slices off tops of several pine trees and crashes and burns in the middle of a tent encampment of the 25th Air Base Group. Plane bursts into flames immediately after striking a recreation tent and a mess tent. Pilot is killed and plane's radio operator is thrown from the plane, injured but able to walk away. Two men in the recreation tent are also injured. Fire department is not called. (November 10, 1941)rt, no11nov41

1942, twin-engine Army bomber crashes after taking off at Raleigh Airport. Aircraft strikes group of scrub pine trees about 75 feet from the end of the shorter of the airports two runways, remains airborne for about three-quarters of a mile, and lands in middle of small swamp about 9:30 a.m., kill two airmen and seriously injuring the other five crew members. Six are transported to Rex Hospital, where one dies later. All are burned and suffer other injuries. Rescuers include employees of Serv-Air, operators of the airport, and golfers playing on nearby Raleigh Golf Course. Plane is not carrying any bombs, but 50- caliber machine-gun ammunition is detonating as rescuers arrive. Ambulances are dispatched. Fire department is not called. (August 9, 1942)no10aug42

1943, pair of Army pursuit planes crash about three miles south of Raleigh on Garner Highway. Both pilots killed, two of three aircraft flying in formation at time of accident. Raleigh fire department is dispatched at 11:02 a.m. and immediately sends one unit. (October 29, 1943)no30oct43

1944, Army Air Corps bomber crashes in Garner. Two crew members are killed after a B-17 bomber crashes into a wooded area, five miles southeast of Raleigh. Eight others parachute to safety. The fire department is notified of the accident at 5:30 p.m and sends two trucks and twelve men to the scene. Firefighters are directed by Chief R. W. Butts, who is one of the first officials to arrive at the scene. Highway Patrol officers and military authorities arrive at about the same time. The burning wreckage is scattered over an area 600 yards long and 100 yards wide. Bombs and bullets continue exploding long after the crash. Spectators attracted the scene are warned to keep clear for fear of further explosions. (May 9, 1944)rt10may44, no10may44

1947, light plane crashes into woods west of Wake Forest. Three people are killed in the crash of the twin-engine, five-passenger Light plane. One passenger is rescue before the plane begins to burn, but later dies at the scene while the badly burned bodies of the others are being recovered. The crash site is located five miles west of town. The Raleigh Fire Department also responds. (January 15, 1947)rt15jan47

1947, light plane crashes during air show at O'Neal Flying Service field, two miles north of Raleigh. Both the pilot and passenger are killed when their plane, one of three engaged in demonstrated precision spins at an altitude of 2,000 feet, plummets wildly to the ground. The accident occurs at 3:20 p.m. and the wreckage is discovered a half-mile from the northern end of the runway. Fire department is not summoned. (June 1, 1947)


1950 to 1969

1953, FATAL, Army C-47 transport crashes in Crabtree Park. Just before midnight on January 2, 1953, an Army C-47 transport plane crashed in Crabtree Park while attempting an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport. The weather was raining with dense fog. Three of the four crew members were killed. The fourth member survived, T-Sgt. Edward Matus, who walked to the airport, arriving at the Eastern Airlines office at 1:00 a.m. He followed the "sounds of airplanes taking off." He was rushed to Duke Hospital. The crash was the first fatal airplane accident "since the airport came under civilian operation in 1946." The plane was flying a "routine training flight" from Stewart Air Force Base, in Newburg, NY, to Donaldson Air Force Base, in Greenville, S.C, with a stop at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville. They attempted a landing a Pope, but "visibility there was zero." They diverted to Raleigh-Durham, where visibility "was about a one-quarter of a mile." Their last radio contact with Pope was at 10:41 p.m., when the crew reported "icing at 9,000 feet."

Matus remembered being struck and falling to the floor in the plane, then waking up in the wreckage. He followed the sounds of airplanes to the airport. "Bleeding profusely despite a crude tourniquet," the survivor stumbled into the nearly empty office. He was "pale with shock and dazed." He couldn't tell from which direction he had come. He was treated at the hospital for "shock and multiple cuts." Wikipedia Photo The 100-person search party included "police, Civil Air Patrol officials, and Air Force investigators." After hours of searching, Highway Patrol officers were sent to the hospital, to retrieve one of the survivor's shoes. The lawmen also procured bloodhounds from the "Cary prison farm." They attempted, though unsuccessfully, to retrace the survivor's steps. None of the residents of the area reported hearing a plane crash. Six hours after they started, a 25-member search party located the wreckage and the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. The plane had crashed in thick woods, some 1,000 yards from the park's picnic area. The wings were sheared by the trees, and the tail section separated. The area "reeked of high-octane gasoline" but there was no fire, as the pilot had cut power. The plane's gear was down. The wreckage was "less than two miles from the airport's control tower."

The dead airmen were Capt. Louis R. Gossman, pilot, First Lt. Norman W. Joyce, co-pilot, both of Donaldson Air Force Base, and First Lt. Robert W. Shaw, of Pope Air Force Base. The area was subsequently secured, though "crowds of curious persons" had converged on the wreckage earlier, "picking up souveniers from the broken parts of the plane." Cars also jammed the gate at the park entrance, and caused traffic problems on the highway. The process of moving the wreckage started on January 4. (January 2, 1953)rt03jan53, no04jan53, no05jan53

1964, plane crashes at Raleigh Municipal Airport. Single-engine aircraft, only recently purchased, begins losing power about 100 feet above the runway after taking off. Pilot attempts to turn around and plane nose-dives to earth. Pilot is killed, passenger, nine year-old son, survives. (August 1, 1964)no02aug64

1965, FATAL, Light plane crashes into lake at Umstead State Park while attempting landing at airport. Five people killed after landing in freezing waters about two miles south of airport. Searching party finds body of woman floating near the plane. Crash occurs between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Plane is found in middle of 55-acre lake, submerged except for portion of tail. (February 25, 1965) no26feb65

1965, FATAL, one-person rotorcraft crashes. Pilot is killed during low-altitude, high-speed maneuver as part of final day of third annual Popular Rotocraft Association fly-in. Aircraft crashes around noon from some 20 feet off the ground. (June 27, 1965) no28jun65

1966, FATAL, one-person rotorcraft crashes on east end of east-west runway. Pilot is killed instantly when aircraft plummets an estimated 1, 500 feet. Accident occurs about 11:30 a.m. (October 22, 1966) no23oct66

1968, FATAL, twin-engine Light plane crashes on take-off, crashing about a half-mile away from the front of the main terminal. One passenger killed; two others injured. Incident occurs about 12: 20 a.m. Aircraft is headed west and crashes about 2,300 feet from the end of the runway, having veered around 750 feet to the left. (December 17, 1968) no17dec68


1970 to 1979

1970, FATAL, twin-engine Light plane crashes south of Interstate 40. All five passengers killed while aircraft attempts landing in fog. Late-night crash site is not discovered until morning. (April 2, 1970).no

1971, FATAL, single-engine Light plane collides with Eastern Airlines passenger jet southwest of airport. Both people aboard Cessna 206 are killed when McDonnell Douglas DC-9 descends on top of it, while on final approach to Runway 5. Accident occurs at 1:46 p.m. Cessna crashes. Flight #898 carries 23 passengers and four crew. NTSB determines probable cause as "inadequacy of air traffic control facilities and services in flight paths of the two aircraft and the configurations physically limited each flightcrew's ability to see and avoid the other aircraft." (December 4, 1971)no, ntsb/asn

1972, single-engine Light plane crash lands on rural road near airport. The nose gear of the Cessna 182 is torn off and the plane flips on its back and becomes tangled in some power lines, about ten feet off the paved road. Both occupants are transported to the hospital by State Highway Patrol helicopter, which located the crash site at 12: 35 p. m. about two miles northeast of the airport. (April 13, 1972)no14apr72

1974, light plane crashes at/near airport. Piper PA-28 crashes at 4:02 p.m. Two fatalities.  (September 17, 1974)ntsb

1977, Light plane crashes on Ridge Road after striking steeple of Highland United Methodist Church. Accident occurs about 4:48 p.m., the Cessna 150E crashing into the front yard of a house a block away from the church. The pilot's body is thrown clear of the crash, across a driveway, and into a chain link fence. No fire is discovered at either the church or the crash. Neighbors plug the leaking fuel tank with sticks and begin searching for the pilot's body. Twisted piece of metal remains draped on peak of church roof, while shattered parts of aircraft are scattered throughout yard of residence at 1924 Ridge Road. The aircraft was returning from a brief flight to Durham Sky Park when radio communications were lost at 5:10 p.m. At 5:53 p.m., the Raleigh-Durham Airport tower was notified of the crash by the police. NTSB report cites probable cause as pilot "diverted attention from operation of aircraft" and "failed to see and avoid objects or obstructions" and was engaged in "unwarranted low flowing." Read NTSB reports. (June 19, 1977)no20jun77

1978, FATAL, twin-engine Light plane crashes near airport. Aero Commander 680 disappears from radar at 8 p. m. and begins emitting automatic distress signal. About 300 searchers, including private citizens who join after hearing about the crash on their CB radio, are hampered by fog, swampy, wooden terrain, difficulty tracing the emergency transmitted of a downed craft. One or more local television stations scroll message across bottom of screen announcing crash and that authorities need everyone with a CB radio to report to the airport. People begin streaming into airport with cars lined up on I-40 and US70 for at least a mile in each direction. Airport Road is equally crammed, with people chasing down all sorts of reports and little convoys of cars and trucks going everywhere. Meanwhile, a member of Raleigh's Civil Air Patrol is attempting to take-off when his Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) is activated, sending rescuers to the north area of the airport.

After a Coast Guard helicopter from Elizabeth City equipped with triangulation equipment arrives, a command post is set up on Interstate 40. The wreckage site is narrowed to an area south of I-40 and, about an hour, is spotted by members of the search party. Two survivors are located, one who is pinned in the wreckage for five hours and later listed in fair condition, and another with frostbite on both legs and multiple abrasions and cuts, having apparently been thrown from the plane and discovered wandering about 200 feet from the wreckage crying "Mama, help me. "Four others are dead. Cause of crash is not immediately known, though one of survivors says the plane "hit one hell of a tall tree, " lost its left wing, and spun to the ground. Authorities also discover at least $20, 000 in cash and about 2 pounds of marijuana in the wreckage. Read NTSB reports. (February 13, 1978)no15feb78, oh



1980, FATAL, single-engine light plane crashes into wood area about half-mile from runway. Pilot is killed and passenger is critically injured. They are testing flying a new plane when the crash 8:12 p.m. southwest of the airport. Controllers lose contact with the plane between 8:10 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. After almost an hour's search, the wreckage is located by airport firefighter Eddie Pegram. The first "rescue alarm" is received at 8:15 p.m. The plane is found in a wooded area, with the nose down. Both male occupants were trapped in the plane. Extricating the injured passenger takes about an hour. He's transported to Wake Medical Center by Cary Area Rescue Squad. Read NTSB reports. (February 12, 1980)rt13feb80

1985, FATAL, experimental home-built plane crashes at Umstead State Park shortly after takeoff. Pilot of McClellan J. Grote Dragonfly is killed. Owner/builder prepares aircraft for its first flight, including high-speed taxi tests, repairs to a brake line, and engine adjustments. Two 17.6 pound barbell eights are tied to the wing lift bulkhead with 5/16 inch hemp rope for purposes of weight and balance. Decision is made for owner's father, an experienced pilot, to fly initial test flight. Pilot makes a high-speed run with option to takeoff, but aborts when engine developed a miss. Pilot performs a satisfactory run-up and becomes airborne on next attempt. After taking off, pilot remains in traffic pattern and turns onto a downwind for Runway 23. Aircraft then noses over and crashes in a near-vertical descent. Two helicopters utilized in search effort, one from North Carolina National Guard and one from WRAL-TV. Subsequent examination of flight control system reveals no evidence of pre-impact malfunction. All fractures show evidence of overload failure. Ballast weights were not secured in accordance with normal aeronautical practices. There is evidence that they could have come loose and jammed the flight controls or shifted the center of gravity. Read NTSB reports. (February 22, 1985) ntsb, oh

1986, FATAL, twin-engine Light plane crashes at Umstead State Park after takeoff. Pilot and wife are killed after Piper PA-60 taking off from Runway 14. Ground witnesses and control tower observe aircraft using nearly all of runway for takeoff roll. After an abrupt rotation, controller observes aircraft yaw to left and make low-altitude left turn. Seconds later, the aircraft rapidly descends into the trees and catches fire. Left propeller is found in feathered position and left engine is consumed by ground fire. No evidence of internal engine failure. Witnesses heard the aircraft takeoff with a series of loud backfires 25 days prior to accident. Injector nozzles on right engine were leaned to correct the problem after six hours of operation one week later. Pilots log fails to show any recent training in single engine procedures. Same pilot was surrounded by Secret Service agents a few weeks earlier during visit by President Ronald Reagan, after attempting to taxi out during time President is on the airport. Pilot is held until President gets off airport. Conspiracy theories abound after pilot's death just a short time later. Read NTSB reports. (July 24, 1986) ntsb, no, oh

1988, FATAL, American Eagle commuter plane crashes at RDU. Twelve people killed. Visit this page. (February 19, 1988)

1988, FATAL, Light planes collide near airport. Two people are killed and one person is uninjured aboard Piper PA-28R and Cessna 172, both departing for formation flight to Petersburg, VA. Piper is lead aircraft and Cessna is wingman. Cessna pilot later reports that during takeoff and initial climb, the lead aircraft begins to accelerate ahead of him. The Piper turns slightly right and levels at approximately 1500' as the Cessna tries to regain position and keep lead aircraft in sight. Wingman reports having difficult seeing lead aircraft with city lights in background. Wingman's aircraft begins "building up momentum" and he trims to level off at 1500'. After flight is cleared to contact departure control, wingman looks away to locate and change radio frequencies. While changing frequencies, he loses sight of the lead aircraft. Subsequently, the Cessna converges on the Piper, but the wingman doesn't see it until just before his prop and nose gear strike the vertical fin and fuselage of the piper. The Piper enters an uncontrolled descent and crashes. The Cessna's engine loses power, but the wingman makes a successful forced landing on Runway 32 with a failed nose gear. Read NTSB reports. (May 25, 1988) ntsb

1989, FATAL, Light plane crashes near airport. One person killed aboard Beechcraft E55 after flight departs airport at 11:19 a.m. At 11:22 a.m., flight is cleared to Tar River VOR. Pilot "rogers" instructions as last recorded conversation. Witnesses report hearing engines revving up before aircraft impacts ground. One witness reports seeing airplane is nose-low attitude before impact. No weather difficulties were reported by pilot and no depictions of thunderstorm activity within the flight plan vicinity were seen on radar. No pre-impact failure or malfunction is found. Radar data shows some instability in heading, altitude, and airspeed between 11:20:51 a.m. and 11:23:40 a.m.. Read NTSB reports. (August 10, 1989) ntsb


1990 to 1999

1991, FATAL, news helicopter crashes in field in Fuquay-Varina. The Aerospatiale AS350D Astar, operated by WTVD, is returning from a reporting assignment in Wilmington when it crashed at 12:15 a.m. into a open rural field off Highway 401. The craft skidded for about thirty yeards, and landed upright. The fuselage split into two pieces, and the front of the cockpit was destroyed. Four people were aboard, and one survived, ejected from the craft. He was injured and walked a half-mile through dense woods to get help. It took about forty-minutes for him to reach the house. He was transported to Wake Medical Center with a broken ankle and deep cut on his arm. Rescuers located the crash site at 3:45 a.m. Read NTSB reports. (December 7, 1991)times-news08dec91

1992, FATAL, single-engine Light plane crashes near airport. Four-seat Piper Cherokee goes down about a half-mile behind a Toyota dealership at 9100 Glenwood Avenue about 10: 45 p. m. Both persons are killed, including a Wake County Commissioner. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight had been cleared for Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to airport. Low ceilings and fog at time of accident. Examination of radar data shows aircraft heading varying numerous times from one side of the approach to the other. Aircraft is found in wooded area approximately one mile from airport, on the centerline for the ILS. Examination of aircraft reveals navigational instruments operating within factory specifications. Examination of instrument landing system at airport reveals system is operation within specifications. Read NTSB reports. (February 18, 1992) ntsb

1994, single-engine private plane crashes near airport. Piper Cherokee goes down in heavily wood area near Hickory Grove Church Road, about three miles from airport. Pilot and passenger walk from wreckage to nearby house to report crash about 9:45 p. m. Both are transported to Wake Medical Center and later listed in stable condition. From NTSB report:

On April 14, 1994, at 2157 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 140, N6380W, collided with trees during a forced landing, about 3 miles northeast of the Raleigh-Durham Airport, Raleigh, North Carolina. Visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal, night flight operated under 14 CFR Part 91, with no flight plan filed. The airplane was destroyed; the pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The flight departed the Allegheny County Airport, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 1830 hours.

According to the pilot, he diverted into Raleigh to refuel, but while on final the
engine quit. The pilot elected to leave the fuel selector on the right tank; the right fuel gauge showed approximately one half tank of fuel. Attempts to restore full engine power failed, and the pilot selected an area along the final approach course to runway 23R for a forced landing.

Examination of the airplane disclosed that the left fuel tank was half full and the right tank was ruptured. A few drops of fuel was recovered from the gascolator assembly. During an interview with the pilot, he stated that he forgot to change the fuel selector before the engine quit. (April 14, 1994)

1994, FATAL, American Eagle commuter plane crashes in Morrisville at night, approximately 5 miles short of runway. Fifteen people killed. Visit this page (December 13, 1994)

1995, FATAL, single-engine Light plane crashes on airport property. Piper PA-28 clips trees and crashes into wooded area. Both persons are killed. Pilot is unable to land at Franklin County airport in Louisburg, NC, following two radar approaches and two instrument approaches due to low clouds and visibility, and diverts to RDU for instrument landing system approach. According to radar data, flight path of aircraft deviates from side to side of localizer course centerline for most of approach. Aircraft impacts terrain approximately 1/2 mile northeast of approach end of Runway 23L at approximately 400 feet MSL. The decision height for the ILS runway 23L approach is 636 feet MSL. (July 5, 1995) ntsb

1997, FATAL, single-engine Light plane crashes in woods on airport property. Pilot is killed after Cessna 172 disappears from radar at 8: 11 p. m., six minutes after take-off. Wreckage is located at 11:18 p. m. From NTSB narrative:

On December 24, 1997, about 2008 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172M, N12172, registered to a private individual, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed shortly after takeoff from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed, and the instrument rated private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight departed 2 1/2 minutes before the accident.

The pilot used N12172 to commute to his hospital emergency room practice in Florence, S. C. , from his home in Ahoskie, N. C. The pilot and N12172 arrived at the Raleigh-Durham Airport on December 19, 1997, and N12172 was parked until December 24, 1997, on the ramp of Piedmont Aviation, a local FBO. During that time the pilot and his family flew commercially to Denver for a vacation. On the day of the accident, the pilot and family had returned to Raleigh-Durham, where the family drove home, and the pilot planned to fly N12172 to his work in Florence.

According to taped conversations between a person identifying himself as the pilot of N12172 and Raleigh-Durham AFSS, for the time frame planned for his flight, a cold front was moving through the area. A low pressure area was centered west of the Carolinas, "pushing to the east" and a high pressure area prevailed to the northeast of the Piedmont area with clearing not forecast until about 0800 the next morning. The observed and forecast weather along his intended route, in general, was; ceilings between 200 and 1200 agl, reduced visibility in rain, mist, fog, and an occasional thunderstorm. En-route winds at the requested altitude, 6, 000 feet, were 190 degrees at 32 to 34 knots, and level 3 precipitation could be expected nearer Florence.

A person identified as the pilot of N12172 received five weather briefings from the Raleigh-Durham Automated Flight Service Station for an IFR flight: one at 1709 where he says, "I'm not gonna file IFR, I'm gonna check again", another at 1806, where he suggests that he will get a new forecast at 7 P. M. , a third at 1904 where he says, "thank you sir, I'll think this over a minute", a fourth at 1915 where he files his IFR flight plan to Florence, and the final brief at 1939. When the AFSS briefer queries the pilot about his choice of alternate airports, the pilot mentions his concern about a suitable alternate and answers, " Raleigh-Durham, barely".

According to transcripts of communications with the FAA ATCT at Raleigh-Durham, shortly after takeoff , the pilot made the following transmissions at the times indicated: (1) 0106: 38, he read back a new altimeter setting given by the local controller by repeating, "two nine eight eight one seven two, (2) 0107: 20, ". . . do you. . (unintelligible). . ", (3) 0107: 21, when requested by the local controller to state his heading, the pilot of N12172 responded, "172 has got uh a vacuum problem". The departure clearance would have required a right turn after takeoff, but radar data shows N12172 commencing a left turn that continued until ground impact about 1. 3 miles northwest of the tower on a heading of about 82 degrees.


The pilot's current logbook was not recovered. At the time of the pilot's application for his third class medical on August 8, 1997, he had stated his flight time as 693 hours with 100 hours flown within the last 6 months. FBO personnel in Florence estimated the pilot had been commuting there by private airplane for about 1. 5 years.


The 1951weather observation for the Raleigh-Durham Airport was: 6 miles visibility in light rain and mist, sky condition, 400 feet overcast, temperature, 46 degrees F. , dew point, 46 degrees F. , altimeter setting, 29. 89 inches of mercury, remarks, rain ended 2006, and rain began 2027.


The wreckage of N12172 was located about 1. 3 miles northwest of the geographic center of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, about 500 yards west of the west perimeter road called Aviation Parkway, in dense pinewoods within the airport boundary, but outside the fenced area. Initial impact appeared to be with tree tops about 40 feet above ground level by the left wing, in a near wings level attitude, on a heading of 82 degrees. The wreckage path was about 120 feet long with some scattering of fuselage fragments up to 180 feet from initial impact. The descent angle, relative to the terrain, was about 18 degrees from initial collision to ground collision. The left wing and strut were found on the ground near initial impact. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, engine and propeller, empennage, and right wing. There was a postcrash fire from about the instrument panel forward. Most through-firewall hoses and cockpit instruments were destroyed by the fire. The propeller, still attached to the crankshaft flange, exhibited uniform rearward bending of both blades, with about 4 inches fractured and missing from one blade. Chordwise striations and burnishing, heavier at the leading edges, were evident on both blades. Two sections of pine tree trunk exhibited helical shaped carving with faint transfer of gray paint. The engine had torn loose from its mount and was displaced right-of-centerline, about 4 feet from the main wreckage, inverted, and exhibited evidence of impact with trees prior to ground collision. The vacuum pump, oil filter/housing and oil-cooler bypass, alternator, carburetor, and muffler assembly had broken their respective mounts, and were found detached. Read NTSB reports. (December 24, 1997)


2000 to Present

2001, FATAL, twin-engine Light plane crashes near airport. DeHavilland DHC-6 crashes near the center of Umstead State Park while on approach to the airport. Pilot is killed and two passengers are transported to Wake Medical Center after control tower loses radar contact with plane 12: 22 a. m. Emergency workers are notified of possible plane down at 12: 40 p. m. A park ranger discovers the wreckage lying across Company Mill Road after smelling jet fuel, about 2. 5 miles southeast of the airport at 3: 28 a. m. no From NTSB report:

Accident occurred Monday, July 31, 2000 at RALEIGH, NC
Aircraft: Dehavilland DHC-6-200, registration: N201RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

The flight had proceeded without incident until a visual approach was made to the destination airport, but a landing was not completed because of poor visibility due to ground fog. The pilot then requested vectors to another airport, and was advised by ATC that he was below radar coverage, and he could not be radar identified. The pilot stated he would proceed to a third airport; he was given a heading, instructed to proceed direct to the airport, and report the field in sight. He was told to over-fly the airport, and might be able to descend through a clearing in the clouds. An inbound air carrier flight reported instrument meteorological conditions on the final approach to a parallel runway. At a location of 1. 13 miles east of the airport, the flight, for no apparent reason, turned south, away from the airport. The last radio contact with pilot was after ATC told him his heading was taking him away from the airport and he said he was turning back. The last known position of N201RH was 1. 95 miles southeast of the airport, at 500 feet MSL. According to the statement of the passenger that was sitting in the co-pilot's seat, ". . . all we could see were city lights and darkness underneath us. We were in a right turn, when I saw the trees and subsequently hit it. " According to the pilot's log book and FAA records revealed a limitation on his commercial pilot certificate prohibited him from carrying passengers for hire at night and on cross-country flights of more than 50 nautical miles. The records did not show any instrument rating. As per the entries in his personal flight logbook, he had accumulated a total of 1, 725. 2 total flight hours, 1, 550. 9 total single engine flight hours, and 184. 3 total flight hours in multi-engine aircraft of which 145. 6 hours were in this make and model airplane. In addition, the logbooks showed that he had a total of 487. 3 cross country flight hours, 61. 9 total night flight hours, and 21. 6 simulated instrument flight hours. (Monday, July 31, 2000)

2001, FATAL, Light plane crashes into house at 7609 Stone Horse Court near Umstead Park. The Piper PA-46-350P had attempted one landing and was going around for another attempt. Upon striking the house, the building exploding, possibly from a ruptured natural gas line. One person was inside the home, and he escaped with slight injuries. Three people were aboard the aircraft. Two were thrown from the plane. The house was destroyed by the fire, which rekindled the following day. The explosion and fire also destroyed a nearby vehicle, and caused minor damage to surrounding homes. Responding agencies included the Raleigh Fire Department and the Durham Highway Fire Department.

From NTSB preliminary report:

"On December 12, 2001, about 1906 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N41003, operated by M&M Aero LLC, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 business flight impacted with a private home in a residential area about 2 miles southeast of the Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) Airport, Raleigh, North Carolina. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. An IFR flight plan was filed and activated. The airplane and a house were destroyed. The private rated-pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. There were no injuries on the ground. The flight had originated from the Dothan, Alabama Airport at 1600 central standard time. According to Air Traffic Control (ATC) the flight was picked up over the Buzzy intersection at 9, 000 feet and the pilot requested lower. He was given 6, 000 feet and once he joined the localizer, he was given a further clearance to 3, 000 feet. In addition, he was asked to maintain 170 knots until the final approach fix.

The pilot was cleared for the ILS Runway 5R approach and was observed on radar at 2, 900 feet, at a speed of 150 knots at the final approach fix. The local tower controller issued the pilot clearance to land runway 5R and gave him the rollout runway visual range (RVR) of 4, 000 feet.

Radar showed that after crossing the final approach fix the flight maintained an altitude of 2, 900 well above the glide path and a ground speed of about 118. During the entire approach until midway down the runway the flight never descended below 2, 000 feet. The controller asked the pilot if he was going around and he answered he was. ATC cleared the pilot to maintain 2, 000 feet, and fly runway heading, which the pilot read back correctly. Radar data showed the airplane turned right to a heading of about 123 degrees then descended to 1, 400 feet and within 5 seconds climbed to 1, 600 feet. The flight stayed at 1, 600 feet for about 30 seconds and then disappeared from radar.

The reported weather at RDU at 1803 was: wind calm, visibility 1/4 mile, ceilings 100 broken, 800 overcast, temperature 52 degrees F, and dew point 52 degrees F, altimeter 30. 31 in Hg. " Read NTSB reports. (December 12, 2001)

2004, FATAL, Light plane crashes into small lake near Brampton Moors apartments off W. Chatham Street in Cary. The Mooney M20M was on approach to RDU, having made two aborted attempts to land. Five miles from the airport, it veered off course, and crashed iat 3:20 p.m. The plane clipped trees and barely missed the apartment buildings before striking the lake and breaking apart. Fragments landed just twenty feet from buildings. Two occupants were aboard, both killed. At least one neighbor witnessed the crash, and jumped in the water, hoping to find survivors. Responders located the downed aircraft at 3:45 p.m. Rescuers used diving equipment to locate the victim(s) in approximately eight feet of water. Responders included the Apex Fire Department's dive team. Read NTSB reports. (May 3, 2004)ntsb, wral?05may04

2005, FATAL, National Guard AH-64 Apache helicopter crashes near Buckhorn Dam on the Cape Fear River on the Chatham and Lee county line. Crash occurs about 8:30 p.m. The helicopter, with a two-man crew and no weapons, was on a routine training mission. The National Guard lost communication about 8:00 p.m. Responders established a command post at the Lee County Boat Ramp, and used all-terrain vehicles to search wooded areas near the crash site. Rescue efforts were hampered by the darkness, by rain, and confusion to where the craft may have crashed. Responders were assisted by a North Carolina State Highway Patrol helicopter, and another National Guard helicopter. The wreckage was found about 10:30 p.m. Power lines were found down on both sides of the river, near the dam. (May 6, 2005)wral06may05


American Eagle Commuter Jet Crashes - 1988 & 1994

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