Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tecnam P92 Echo Super, Houston Light Sport Aviation LLC, N323BR: Fatal accident occurred February 01, 2016 at Houston Southwest Airport (KAXH), Texas


NTSB Identification: CEN16FA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 01, 2016 in Arcola, TX
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 1, 2016, about 1015 central standard time, a Tenam P92, light sport airplane, N323BR, impacted terrain near Arcola, Texas. The airplane was destroyed, the flight instructor was fatally injured and the student pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Houston Light Sport Aviation, LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The local flight was originating from the Houston Southwest Airport Houston, Texas at the time of the accident.

A witness reported that the airplane departed on runway 09; about midfield the airplane was in a nose high attitude. The airplane's left wing dropped and the airplane entered a left turning descent.

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted a parked Cessna 172, and came to rest on a Gulfstream American AA5A airplane. A post-crash fire consumed much of the AA5A and accident airplane.

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane was recovered for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

ARCOLA, Texas - The flight student who survived a Ft. Bend County plane crash that killed his instructor is speaking out about the experience. 

Nezabian Thomas, 20, is in the Air National Guard and took up flying lessons in January as a hobby.

"It was a New Year's goal of mine to start flying," Thomas said in a phone interview with KPRC 2 News.

But at the start of Monday's lesson with 68-year-old instructor Johnny Johnson, Thomas said things went very wrong when they caught a strong crosswind just after takeoff.

"Me and my instructor are trying to correct and after that we didn't have enough thrust to climb anymore, so the nose went down and next thing you know you've got three seconds, you hit the ground. It was at a pretty bad angle too," Thomas said.

He was able to save himself, crawling out of the flaming wreckage, but his 68-year-old instructor died.

"He's a very safe pilot, so I never thought this could happen to him. How do you prepare for this?" said Johnson's wife, Benjie Sanderson.

From his home nearby, Francisco Roque saw the column of thick, black smoke and began driving toward it as he photographed it with his cellphone.

“I live right next door. I was headed out, and I saw the heavy smoke coming out of the hanger and grabbed my camera and started recording.” Roque said.

Johnson worked for Houston Light Sport Aviation, a flight school based at the airport, and owner of the aircraft. Investigators said he had logged thousands of hours in the air. Thomas, they said, had flown five previous times with the school's instructors.

Sanderson said her husband loved to fly and loved to teach others.

"If he had to die unexpectedly, I really do believe this would have been his choice,” said Johnson’s stepdaughter, Mary Redwine. "I'm sure he regrets someone else was injured in the process."

Federal Aviation Administration investigators were expected to arrive late Monday.

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Johnny Johnson


ARCOLA, Texas - A plane crashed and burned at an Arcola air strip Monday morning.

Flight instructor Johnny Johnson, 68, was killed and student Thomas Nezabian, 20, was critically injured.

The crash happened around 10:20 a.m. at the Houston Southwest Airport on McKeever Road in Fort Bend County.

The single-engine, two-seater plane, a Tecnam P92 Echo Super, had just taken off when something went wrong.

“He was unable to make a safe landing," said DPS Trooper Eric Burse. "He clipped one stationary airplane before landing on top of a third aircraft.”

Two of the planes burst into flames.

Johnson, who worked for Houston Light Sport Aviation, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had only been with the company for about a month, but reportedly had thousands of hours of flight time.

Johnson had devoted his life to flying—a skill he was trying to pass on to another generation Monday.

"We sit and talk and visit periodically for 45 years. He's been a pilot at least for 30 years," said Vern Kirby, who has known Johnson since 1972 when they met as salesmen in Houston. "It has to be a gust of wind or something that caused it because not only was Johnny a good pilot but he was conscious. I've been in that seat next to him more times than I could count."

Johnson was also a member of the US Air Force Auxiliary squad--specifically its civil air patrol. Beyond flying, Johnson was also running for a congressional seat with the Libertarian party.

"We'd talk almost every day about the situation. He's much more a freedom fighter than I would be, but I'm officially his campaign manager," Kirby said.

Francisco Roque, who lives nearby, saw the black smoke.

“I was hoping everybody was OK," Roque said.

Nezabian was rushed by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital with severe burns. He was able to crawl out of the burning plane and is expected to survive.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

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