MIA02LA061
MIA02LA061

On February 16, 2002, about 0800 eastern standard time, a Ted Smith Aerostar 601P, N715RM, registered to and operated by Trans Porter International Airlines, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 business flight impacted the ground near, Belle Glade, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The commercial rated-pilot reported serious injuries. The flight had originated from Boca Raton, Florida, at 0730, and was en route to Marathon, Florida, to pick up some individuals and then fly them to North Carolina.

The pilot said he was aware of reported thunderstorms near the departure airport, and along his route of flight. He said, initially he "paralleled" the weather to the west and north of the line of storms. He flew west for about 20 minutes looking for a hole in the storms to penetrate, without any success. He turned back to the east, and climbed to an altitude of 13,500 feet. He noticed what seemed to be an opening to the south, and turned southbound "through the hole," for about 2 or 3 miles, when "the hole closed." He turned the airplane to the right to reverse course, when he "accidentally penetrated a cell." At this point he said he "lost control of the airplane, and was turned upside down...heading straight down towards the ground...traveling at a high rate of speed...the airspeed indicator was pegged." He said he was able to level the wings, reduce power and raise the nose. He said he was then able to "slow" the airplane for a "controlled crash landing," straight ahead in a sugar cane field, about 25 miles southeast of Belle Glade, Florida.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Report, the pilot told a deputy at the accident scene, that at an altitude of about 13,000 feet, in the middle of a large storm, he lost control of the airplane, the airplane began spinning out of control, that he was not able to regain control until he reached 2,000 feet, where he was able to lift the nose of the airplane, and impacted in the field. The sheriff's report stated that the distance from the initial impact area to where the airplane came to rest was about 75 yards. The deputies observed about 15 to 20 gallons of fuel.

The airplane was released to Mr. Charles Maynard, Claims Adjuster for for the owner's insurance company, on February 20, 2002.


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