Sun, Jun 25, 2006
Inflight Breakup Indicated
Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report suggests
an inflight breakup preceded the May 31, 2006, crash that killed the pilot
and three passengers aboard a Piper Dakota near Manahawkin,
The report states the non-instrument-rated private pilot was
turning back for Old Bridge Airport (3N6) after determining weather
would prevent him from reaching the intended destination of Bader
Field (AIY) in Atlantic City, NJ. Instrument meteorological
conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no VFR flight
plan was filed for the flight.
About 20 minutes after departing Old Bridge, the pilot contacted
the Atlantic City Approach Control facility, asked for flight
following services, and advised he would be proceeding back to Old
Bridge. The controller acknowledged the call, and advised him to
contact another controller on a different frequency. After
establishing contact with the second controller, the pilot was
advised to change his transponder code for positive identification.
No further communications were received from the pilot.
Preliminary radar data depict two returns in the vicinity of the
accident site, the first at 3,700 feet MSL, and the second about
four seconds later at 1,600 feet.
Several witnesses reported hearing a loud sound, similar to an
explosion, and seeing pieces of the airplane falling to the ground
before the airplane itself impacted trees and terrain.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for
airplane single engine land and had 193 total hours of flight
experience-34 in the accident airplane make and model.
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