Tragic Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee Private Plane Crash Kills Young Pilot near Micanopy, Florida
November 16, 2023
A 21-year-old pilot was killed Tuesday, November 13, when the Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee private plane he was flying crashed in Paynes Prairie State Park near Micanopy, Florida. The pilot was the sole occupant of the Piper aircraft that departed from Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Florida en route to Keystone Heights Airport - 42J in Starke, Florida.
Weather Conditions, Air Traffic Control & Flight Rules
According to media reports from nearby Gainesville TV and radio station WUFT, rain and storms were passing through the intended flight path for most of Tuesday. WUFT reported that despite the poor weather conditions expected during the day, the air traffic controller advised the pilot that the weather would be VFR (visual flight rules), meaning the pilot could proceed navigating on his own visually by remaining clear of bad weather, rather than IFR (instrument flight rules) meaning the pilot would follow his instruments and be monitored at all times by ATC, who would also be required to provide weather information and assist in keeping the aircraft free of dangerous weather. Here, the air traffic controller reportedly advised the pilot to wait 1-2 minutes for weather conditions to improve so that he could proceed under VFR . The pilot complied and waited 3 minutes and then took off. Subsequently, the pilot encountered deteriorating conditions and despite pleas for assistance from ATC was unable to remain clear of the dangerous weather which, apparently, led to the crash.
The fixed-wing single-engine Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, registry number N7806W was manufactured in 1964 and equipped with a Lycoming O&VO-360 SER (Reciprocating) engine.
Kreindler Represents a Family Following a Similar Crash
Kreindler is currently handling a similar tragic private plane crash case that also occurred in Florida, also under poor weather conditions and also involved potentially fatal air traffic control failures. In that case (Van’s Aircraft RV-9A airplane), the NTSB final report found that the probable cause was air traffic control’s failure to provide hazardous weather information to the pilot which resulted in the flight encountering strong updraft conditions, leading to loss of control of the aircraft and subsequent inflight break-up. The NTSB further concluded that had the pilot been given the pertinent hazardous weather information the accident could have been avoided.
Kreindler Aviation Attorney Pilots
Our staff of attorneys include five veteran military pilots, including partners Justin Green (USMC), Brian Alexander (U.S. Army) and Dan Rose (U.S. Navy).
Partner Brian Alexander on Air Traffic Control Issues
In a recent Simple Flying podcast, Kreindler partner Brian Alexander offered several possible solutions to ongoing staffing and safety issues within the Air Traffic Control segment of the Aviation Industry. These suggestions include introducing an apprenticeship program and also increasing salaries within the industry to be more competitive with other post-collegiate options.
Kreindler’s Experience with Air Traffic Control and FAA Cases
Kreindler has a long history of successfully investigating and prosecuting Air Traffic Control (ATC) cases against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition to our current case mentioned above that involved the Van’s Aircraft RV-9A airplane, Kreindler’s partial list of cases that involved air traffic control failures, includes:
Piper Cherokee airplane crash, Prince George’s County, MD - intentionally disabling MSAW aural alert system and failure to provide complete and accurate weather information and low altitude alert, resulting in an impact with terrain.
Piper 425 Conquest airplane crash, Islip, NY - failure to provide minimum safe altitude warning on landing at MacArthur Airport, Islip, NY, resulting in crash short of the runway.
Piper Lance airplane crash, Great Smoky Mountains, TN - family traveling to Florida - ATC gave improper vector below minimum safe (vector) altitude resulting in aircraft crashing into rising mountainous terrain.
Cirrus SR20 airplane crash, Stewart International Airport, Newburgh, NY - FAA air traffic controllers failed to provide minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) alert to Cirrus SR20 aircraft on final approach into New York Stewart International Airport.
Korean Airlines Flight 801 Boeing 747 airplane crash, Asan, Guam - approach control facility on Guam failed to provide low altitude safety alert and misprogrammed the minimum safe altitude warning system.
Continental Airlines Flight 1404 Boeing 737 airplane crash, Denver, CO - ATC failure to give correct and complete landing information concerning crosswinds resulting in aircraft inability to remain on the runway.
Socata TBM 700 airplane crash - New Bedford, MA - air traffic control provided inaccurate radar vectoring on an approach and incomplete weather information.
Socata TBM 700 airplane crash - Morristown, NJ - failure to provide accurate and complete icing information and failure to vector to a safe altitude, leading to loss of aircraft control in a TBM 700.
Swedish Student Pilots aircraft collision, California - midair collision involving flight school aircraft.
Cessna 172 aircraft collision, Farmingdale, NY - midair collision at local NYC airport, ATC failure to monitor traffic, provide safety alert, improper vectoring, etc.
Hawker Beechcraft BE35 airplane crash, Bethpage - Long Island, NY - ATC directed aircraft in distress to a no longer existing runway at a private airport that had been closed for 10 years, resulting in aircraft forced landing on railroad tracks, killing the pilot.
Preliminary Accident Investigation
Alachua County Sheriff and Fire personnel were able to locate the wreckage several hours after the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will investigate this fatal Piper PA-28 Cherokee crash.
In the Media
Responsibilities of Air Traffic Controllers
Kreindler partner Justin Green represented families following the tragic midair collision over the Hudson River in New York that also involved pilots flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and was linked to significant air traffic control failures including a distracted controller using a personal cellphone moments before the crash. Following that tragedy, attorney Green wrote the article, Assessing Duties of Pilots, Controllers After Collision Over the Hudson, addressing the responsibilities of pilots and air traffic controllers and the rules for aircraft traversing the busy airspace around Manhattan.
About Kreindler & Kreindler
Kreindler is the preeminent aircraft accident law firm in the world and works with the country’s leading experts in airplane and helicopter operations, maintenance, aerodynamics, and design. Our aviation accident attorneys have investigated and uncovered the causes or contributing factors to numerous crashes, even in cases where the official government investigation failed to do so, or came to mistaken conclusions. Kreindler aviation accident cases have resulted in many of the highest plaintiffs’ recoveries on record.
Photo of Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee via Flickr byTomás Del Coro