On February 17, 1996, a Piper PA-60-601P, N956AF, registered to Palmetto One Ltd., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean at an undetermined time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane is missing and is presumed to be destroyed. The commercial pilot is missing and is presumed to be fatally injured. The flight originated from Swainsboro, Georgia, at about 1930 eastern standard time and the destination airport was Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Transcripts of recorded communication between Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), and N956AF revealed n956AF established initial radio contact with Jacksonville ARTCC at 1938. At 1942, N956AF informed Jacksonville ARTCC, "aero star six alpha fox with a problem.... I'm very dizzy and I I can't see." There were no other known recorded radio communications with N956AF.
A controller, from the Fleet Area Control Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC), located at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, stated they were notified of the in-flight emergency by Savannah Approach Control. A short time later, Savannah approach lost radio communication with N956AF, and requested FACSFAC to track the airplane on radar. Radar contact was lost with N956AF at 2130. Attempts to locate N956AF by aerial intercept were uneventful. All shipping vessels located along N956AF flight course, were notified of the airplane's estimated fuel exhaustion point based on known performance and flight path data. No contact has been reported and the search was suspended on February 19, 1996.
The pilot's wife stated her husband called her on the telephone prior to departing Swainsboro. During their conversation, he stated he had a headache and believed it was due to tension from attending a seminar earlier in the day. He informed her that he would be home no later than 8 PM, and that he would check in the airplane to see if he could find some tylenol.
A review of the pilot's medical records, on file at the Federal Aviation Administration, Aeromedical Certificate Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot indicated on his application for a second class medical certificate on April 3, 1992, and May 5, 1993, that he had a medical history of unconsciousness and did not explain the loss of consciousness on his application. The FAA Aeromedical Certification Division sent a certified letter to the pilot on May 5, 1992 requesting an explanation for the loss of unconsciousness. The pilot replied in a letter dated May 15, 1992, that he had been involved in a car accident. Further review of the pilot's medical records revealed the pilot was being treated for hypertension with Norvasc and chlorthalidone prescription drugs.