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N243KW accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Destin, FL
30.393534°N, 86.495783°W

Tail number N243KW
Accident date 01 Jan 1994
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-310P
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On January 1, 1994, about 1420 central standard time, a Piper PA-46-310P, registered to the pilot, George M. Batsche, crashed while circling to land at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, Destin, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated about 1248 eastern standard time from the Naples Municipal Airport, Naples, Florida.

According to a witness familiar with aviation, he estimated that the ceiling was 500 feet or less with rain and fog and he also estimated that the visibility was 1/2 to 3/4 mile. He observed the airplane descend wings level to about 200 feet below the ceiling flying west of runway 32 paralleling the runway with the landing gear extended. He observed the wings rocking then heard the engine power increase and the airplane entered a left bank of at least 60-80 degrees slight nose-up attitude. The nose of the airplane pitched down but the wings rolled level. During the descent the airplane collided with several trees, then a fence and the ground. The airplane came to rest in a backyard of a house and according to the fire department, there was a postcrash fire which was extinguished using AFFF.

According to another witness, the airplane was flying north bound west of runway 32 about 150-200 feet above ground level and the engine was running with no evidence of sputtering. The airplane entered a shallow left bank which increased and the nose of the airplane pitched down. The airplane descended nose and left wing low. He further stated that the engine sound was "steady."


Information pertaining to the pilot is contained in the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation. Additionally, according to Piper Aircraft training personnel, he had attended the Piper Malibu 46-310P refresher training course on July 6-8, 1993. No biennial flight review or instrument competency check were accomplished during the training. The pilot did fly twice in a simulator which lasted a total of 2.6 hours. One of the simulator sessions included the pilot performing one each of an ILS, localizer back course, and NDB approaches. Additionally, two flights were flown in the airplane, the first on July 6, 1994 which lasted 1.6 hours. The second flight occurred on July 8, 1994, which lasted 1.6 hours and consisted of one each VOR, and NDB approaches. The pilot's logbook was not located; therefore, no determination could be made as to whether he was instrument current according to 14 CFR Part 61.57 (E)(1). According to the pilot's son who is a pilot, his father was instrument current.


Information pertaining to the airplane is contained in the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation, and NTSB Form 6120.4 Supplements A and B. Additionally, review of the aircraft logbook revealed that the last recorded altimeter and pitot static system check occurred on July 23, 1987.


A surface observation was taken at 1438, at the Eglin Air Force Base, Valparaiso, Florida, which revealed the following conditions existed; the ceiling was measured to be 700 feet broken, 3,000 feet overcast, visibility was 3 miles with light rain, the wind was from 080 degrees at 6 knots and the altimeter setting was 30.10 inHg. Eglin AFB is located about 326 degrees magnetic and 6 nautical miles from the accident airport.


The pilot was in contact with Eglin Air Force Base Approach controller and was executing the ASR approach to runway 32 at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, Destin, Florida. At 1403.10, the accident pilot contacted the approach controller and advised that the flight was level at 4,000 feet. The approach controller acknowledged and advised the pilot of the above mentioned weather observation. The pilot acknowledged this and asked if the current altimeter setting was 30.11 inHg, to which to controller responded in the affirmative. The controller advised the pilot of the heading and altitude to fly in the event of lost communications. The approach controller issued headings and altitude during the approach and advised the pilot that the minimum descent altitude (MDA) is 440 feet. At 1419.58, the approach controller advised the pilot that the flight was over the missed approach point and if the approach lights are not in sight, climb and maintain 1,000 feet turn left heading 250 degrees. About 9 seconds later the pilot advised that the airport was in sight and that he would be circling to land. The approach controller stated that he may proceed visually and cancel the IFR clearance when on the ground or through the Destin Unicom. There were no further two-way radio communications with the pilot of the accident airplane. According to the individual monitoring the UNICOM radio at the destination airport, the accident pilot did not contact the UNICOM frequency.

Review of recorded radar data revealed that the last recorded radar return was at 1418.38. At that time the altitude indicated 1,300 feet and the airplane was at 30.21.51N latitude, and 086.25.34W longitude. At that time the airplane was about 3 nautical miles southeast of the airport.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane collided with trees during a nose and left wing low descent, then the airplane collided with a wooded fence and the ground. The airplane came to rest about 15 feet from a house. Both wings were separated outboard from the landing gear which was extended. Additionally, the left horizontal stabilizer was separated. Examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The fuel filter/drain was checked for contaminants; none were found. The right magneto switch was "on" but the left switch was not located. The engine was removed for a test run at the manufacturer's facility in Mobile, Alabama, in the presence of an FAA inspector. Certain components were replaced due to impact damage (listed in the FAA's report) and the engine was started and found to operate to 2610 rpm. According to the type certificate data sheet No. A25SO, the maximum rpm is 2600 from sea level to 24,000 feet.


Postmortem examinations were conducted on the pilot and passenger by Edmund R. Kielman, M.D. The cause of death for the pilot was listed as internal exsanguination due to transected thoracic aorta and cardiac ruptures. The cause of death for the passenger was listed as internal exsanguination due to traumatic transection of thoracic aorta.

Toxicological examination was conducted on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs. Dextromethorphan was detected in the blood (.094 ug/ml, ug/g) and urine. Additionally salicylate (12.500 ug/ml, ug/g) was detected in the urine.


According to the fire department, the postcrash fire was extinguished using a 1 3/4 foam line.


Examination of the wreckage revealed that the lapbelt attach point on the right side of the seat for the furthest aft right seat failed due to overload. The male/female ends of the buckle were connected.


The wreckage was released to Mr. H. Joe Kothe on March 15, 1994.

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