Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cirrus SR-20, Air Akhtar Heating & Air Conditioning LLC, N477TC: Fatal accident occurred February 28, 2016 near Navasota Municipal Airport (60R), Grimes County, Texas


NTSB Identification: CEN16FA111
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 28, 2016 in Navasota, TX
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N477TC
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 28, 2016, about 0850 central standard time, a Cirrus SR-20, N477TC, collided with the terrain following a loss of control in Navasota, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot/certificated flight instructor and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to Air Akhtar Heating & Air Conditioning LLC and was operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the David Wayne Hook Airport (DWH), Spring, Texas, at 0817.

The last air traffic control contact with the airplane was at 0821, shortly after its departure from DWH. A still photo from a security camera at the Navasota Municipal Airport (60R), an uncontrolled airport, showed the airplane heading north on the taxiway at 0847. A pilot, who was practicing touch and go landings at 60R, reported seeing the wreckage southeast of the airport around 0900. He subsequently reported the accident to local authorities. This pilot stated he did not hear or see the accident airplane in the area prior to seeing the wreckage, but that he had been in the area only long enough to have performed two touch and go landings. Runway 17 was being used for takeoffs and landings at 60R at the time of the accident.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

GRIMES COUNTY, TX (KTRK) -- A Houston mother and father are grieving over the loss of their children who died yesterday in a plane crash in Grimes County.

Jessicka, 11, and seven-year-old Erika Argueta were among the four killed when the plane went down near the Navasota Municipal Airport. They were flying with their mother's boyfriend, 40-year-old Amjad Sultan. He was taking flying lessons and hoping to become a pilot, according to his family. Also killed in the crash was the instructor, 67-year-old Russell Reina.

Investigators say the wreckage was only located by another pilot who spotted it and called it in to authorities.

Christina Argueta, who speaks only Spanish, told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview that she had just been flying with Sultan on Saturday. During that flight she took her two youngest girls, age three and four. There wasn't enough room to fit the older children during that trip. They flew Sunday. Argueta says her girls loved Sultan like a second father.

Morris Ayala is the biological father of the girls and says he never would have let them fly with an inexperienced pilot. He and Argueta are separated. He didn't find out about the death of his children till he came to Argueta's apartment to pick them up Sunday afternoon.

The NTSB is still investigating. So far authorities can't say what caused the crash.

Story and video:

Amjad Sultan, Student Pilot and Aircraft Owner

NAVASOTA, TX (KTRK) -- FAA and NTSB officials continue to investigate a plane crash near Navasota Municipal Airport that killed four people.

There were difficult steps for Jeff Akhtar to take just before sunset Sunday. He was about to take his first look at the plane wreckage where his younger brother, Amjad Sultan, lost his life.

"He was the American dream," Akhtar said of his brother.

Sultan, 40, was a successful businessman who lived the American dream after moving from Pakistan 30 years ago. Yet there was still a goal the father of four longed to accomplish like his brother had, learning to fly.

"I want to fly the plane before I die so last month he bought it and this month he died," Akhtar said his brother told him.

He says his brother was learning to fly his own plane and was with his flight instructor Sunday morning. He'd been training about two months. His girlfriend's two young daughters were along for the ride when the plane crashed. Investigators say there was no call for help to give them any clues as to what might have happened.

Another pilot and student team spotted the wreckage near the Navasota Municipal Airport a couple of hours after they took off from Hooks airport near Spring.

"No citizens saw it that we know of," Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said. "Thank goodness there's no homes in the area, it's a rural area, not a habituated area."

Akhtar says his brother was always helping others from people who couldn't afford air conditioning to those who didn't have money to fly back to Pakistan to visit family. But whatever went wrong happened so quickly, there was no time for him to call for help.

"It's an accident, nobody's fault. I hold nobody responsible for that, not even him. That's why we pray," Akhtar said.

Investigators will be at the Grimes County scene this week to try and find the cause of the crash.

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Two men and two young siblings from the Houston area were killed when their single-engine plane crashed Sunday near the Navasota Muncipal Airport, prompting a federal investigation by the NTSB and FAA.

The pilot was teaching the plane’s owner how to fly, but it wasn’t known who had control of the Cirrus SR-20 when it went down in a partially-wooded area roughly half of a mile south of the landing strip.

Russell Reina, a 67-year-old Montgomery resident, was instructing 53-year-old Houston businessman Amjad Sultan, who was working on  his pilot’s license. He brought with him his girlfriend’s daughters — Erika Ayala Argueta, 7, and her older sister, Jessika Delmira, 11.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell said the plane, which had four seats, took off from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring at about 8:20 a.m.The wreckage was spotted by another pilot and his student, based out of Easterwood Airport in College Station, as the pair prepared to practice landing at the Navasota strip at about 9 a.m., Sowell said, adding that it wasn’t known exactly when the plane crashed not far from Texas 105.

“There was no mayday or anything like that,” Sowell said, adding that there’s not a traffic control tower at the Navasota airport. “It’s unknown right now if they were trying to land or there was a mechanical issue. It was a fairly new plane and there was an open field right near the airport. No homes, no businesses.”

The National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive from Chicago on Monday, while officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were at the site Sunday afternoon. Emergency crews with the sheriff’s department and the Department of Public Safety used ATV’s to reach the scene, which was pinpointed by a pilot with an air ambulance helicopter from CHI St. Joseph. All four were pronounced dead at the site, Sowell said.  Roughly 20 to 30 members of Sultan’s family came to the Navasota airport to be near where their loved ones died.

“It’s a very sad, sad situation,” Sowell said. “It’s horrible enough that four people were killed, but those two young children ... that’s not supposed to happen.”

Original article can be found here:

Addressing the media 
Jimmy Morgan, left, who serves as public information officer for the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, and Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell address the media late Sunday afternoon after a Cirrus SR-20 crashed 1 ½ miles southeast of Navasota Municipal Airport Sunday morning killing all four passengers.

Discussing the facts 
Jimmy Morgan, front, who serves as public information officer for the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, and Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell address the media Sunday afternoon.

Cirrus SR-20 crash scene 
A Federal Aviation Administration investigator, left, looks over the crash scene located 1 ½ miles southeast of Navasota Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon. A Sunday morning crash of a Cirrus SR-20 claimed the lives of four individuals.

NAVASOTA, Texas 11:20 p.m. UPDATE: The Grimes County Sheriff's Office released the names of the four people killed, ranging from 7 to 67 years old:

Russell Reina, 67, Montgomery
Amjad Sultan, 53, Houston
Jessicka Argueta, 11
Erika Ayala Argueta, 7

4:25 p.m. UPDATE: The FAA has confirmed it was a single-engine Cirrus SR-20 plane which was discovered about 9:20 a.m. a half-mile southeast of Navasota Municipal Airport Sunday morning.

The wreckage was originally spotted by another plane flying in the traffic pattern at the Navasota airport.

The plane originally departed from David Wayne Hooks Airport in Houston at 8:17 a.m. local time.

The tail number of the plane is N477TC and it was registered to Air Akhtar Heating & Air Conditioning LLC in Houston.


Four people are dead after a plane crash near the Navasota Municipal Airport, according to law enforcement.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell told News 3 the four-seater aircraft is about a mile south of the airport in a wooded area. Two adults and two children are the victims.

In clarifying a timeframe for the crash, Sowell says the crashed plane was spotted shortly before 10:00 a.m. Sunday, but it is unclear when it went down, and that it's possible it crashed late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

ATVs are being used to get to the crash site. Sowell says a CHI helicopter assisted in locating the aircraft. Numerous agencies are working together at the scene, including the Grimes County Sheriff's Office and DPS. The FAA arrived on scene Sunday afternoon as well.

As of 11:30 a.m., crews were working to remove the bodies from the aircraft.

Navasota's airport is located off Highway 105 on the west side of the city.

No other information on the crash has been made available at this time.

According to KBTX's Pinpoint Forecast Team, in the late night and early morning hours, winds were sustained around 15 miles per hour, gusting to 20-25 from the south.

Original article can be found here:

Data shows the Cirrus-modeled planes have a long history of crashes, dating back to 2001, with more than 280 recorded crashes. Since then, more than 200 people have died in accidents involving a single engine Cirrus model plane worldwide, including 158 in the US. The map shows the location of each accident, based of Federal Aviation Administration data.

Four people, including two children, were killed in a plane crash near the Navasota Municipal Airport on Sunday morning, Grimes County Sheriff Donald Sowell confirmed. 

The crash involved a  Cirrus SR-20, a small aircraft seating four people, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Lynn Lunsford. The plane was discovered at around 9:20 a.m. by a pilot flying near the Navasota airport, who spotted the wreckage in a partly wooded area about a half-mile southeast of the airport's runway, Lunsford said.

All four passengers were confirmed dead, Sowell said, and their identities have not been released. 

According to the FAA's registry, the plane is registered to Air Akhtar, a Houston heating and air conditioning company. Navasota is about a half-hour southeast of College Station.

The cause of the accident is still undetermined pending an investigation, but data obtained from the FAA shows the Cirrus-model planes have a long history of fatal crashes, dating back to 2001, with more than 280 recorded crashes.

Since then, more than 200 people have died in accidents involving a single engine Cirrus-model plane worldwide, including 158 deaths in the US. According to the data, Cirrus-modeled planes has the sixth most accidents among single engine planes within the last 10 years. 

 The plane departed from David Wayne Hooks Airport in Houston at 8:17 a.m before crashing nearly an hour later in a wooded field just off a winding asphalt road that leads to a quiet open field.

The stillness is only interrupted by gusts of wind and zooming single-engine planes soaring from a barely visible runway over the open pastures and above a gate that leads to marshy golf course.

Past the gate and off what starts as a gravel path far off from the runway are the remains of the destroyed plane, hidden behind the trees and barricaded by yellow tape. 

Not much can be seen except the tip of the tail, and depending on the angle, a little of the plane's fuselage.

Read more here:

Two adult males and two female children died in a Sunday morning plane crash nearly 1 ½ miles southeast of Navasota Municipal Airport in a partially wooded area in a pasture on ranch land, according to Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell.

The single-engine Cirrus SR-20 plane is registered to Air Akhtar Heating & Air Conditioning LLC in Houston. The crash scene was discovered by a plane attempting to land at Navasota Municipal Airport, according to Jimmy Morgan, who serves as public information officer for the Texas Dept. of Public Safety.

“At approximately 9:19 a.m. (Sunday) morning, we had a pilot flying over the airport at the municipal airport here in Navasota who spotted an airplane down in a pasture,” Morgan said. “They reported the airplane to Easterwood Airport somewhere around 9:53 a.m. The sheriff’s department did locate an aircraft downed and found the four deceased occupants of the airplane.”

The names of the four who died in the crash are being held until the next-of-kin are notified. The bodies of the deceased were removed Sunday morning by Grant Holt and taken to Nobles Funeral Chapel, according to Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell. He also said Justice of the Peace John LeFlore was on the scene.

According to Morgan, the last contact the plane had with air traffic controllers was shortly after takeoff from David Wayne Hooks Airport.

“We understand they left Hooks Airport out of Spring, Texas somewhere around 8:17 a.m. (Sunday) morning,” Morgan said. “The last contact they had with the plane was somewhere around 8:21 a.m. (Sunday) morning.”

Sheriff Sowell said his department was notified of the downed plane “a little after 9 o’clock.”

According to Sheriff Sowell, Federal Aviation Administration investigators are working to determine the plane’s flight path and its where it was traveling to at the time of the crash.

FAA investigators arrived on scene around 2:30 p.m. Sunday and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to arrive in Navasota on Monday, according to Sowell.

“(Monday) morning, the NTSB investigators will be here,” Sheriff Sowell said. “They are flying here from Chicago. We will be sitting on the scene all night. When (the NTSB investigators) arrive they will be conducting their investigation.”

Sheriff Sowell said “nobody saw the plane crash” and “nobody had any reports” of the crash until it was discovered by the plane attempting to land at the airport.

According to Sheriff Sowell, the crashed plane had a 30-minute flight to Navasota.

“We don’t know what their flight plan was,” Sheriff Sowell said. “That is being investigated by the FAA. No citizens saw it that we know of. It is in a rural area, and that is the good thing that it was not in an inhabited area.”

Sheriff Sowell described the crash as a “hard crash-landing” and “there is lot of debris.” The veteran law enforcement official said the cause “could be one thing or 20.”

“The only eyewitnesses we have would be after-the-fact being a pilot and he had a student pilot with him,” Sheriff Sowell said. “They were fixing to land at the Navasota airport. I assume they were doing recon and were trying to land and saw the wreckage. They reported it to the airport in College Station and we tracked it down from there.”

Morgan said “there were no reports of any plane having problems” and his department was not “aware of” if the plane made any call for help.

Original article can be found here:

NAVASOTA, Texas - Two adults and two children were killed in a plane crash near Navasota Municipal Airport, according to the Grimes County Sheriff's Office. The children's ages are from 5 years old to 12 years old.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Cirrus SR-20 aircraft was spotted in the trees around 9:20 a.m. Sunday by the pilot of another aircraft. The pilot called authorities.

Investigators say it appears it was a hard landing in a wooded area about half a mile from the airport's landing strip.

Family members said one of the victims was Amad Sultan, 40.

“He started screaming and yelling that, 'Before I die, I want to buy a plane and I want to fly the plane before I die,'” said Sultan's brother Jeff Akhtar. “Last month, he bought it. This month he died.”

Akhtar said Sultan was learning to fly when his Cirrus SR-20 crashed. Sultan, his girlfriend's two daughters and a flying instructor died.

“It's just an accident. I hope nobody else is held responsible but him,” said Akhtar.

Another pilot spotted the wreckage in a wooded area about a half a mile from the runway and called for help.

“The only eye witnesses we have would be after the fact. He had a student pilot with him and they were to land at the Navasota airport,” said Grimes County Sheriff Donald Sowell.

A father of four, Sultan was born in Pakistan, but lived in the United States for 30 years. His brother said he worked hard, owning several businesses and helped others.

“He was the American dream,” said Akhtar. “We lost him, but we also lost somebody who probably had children, as well. Tragedy for our country. Tragedy for people in the community. It's so sad. I wish we could've done something about it.”

The FAA said the aircraft originally departed from David Wayne Hooks Airport in Houston at 8:17 a.m., but are not sure when the airplane crashed.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

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