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Thu, Sep 15, 2016

NTSB Prelim Indicates Pilot Was Avoiding Thunderstorm In FL Fatal Accident

Plane Went Down In The Ocean Near Hollywood, FL

The NTSB has released its preliminary report on an accident which occurred on September 3, 2016 about 0952 eastern daylight time. A Cessna 172N, N6091E, was destroyed when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean while maneuvering off the coast near Hollywood, FL. Both on board were fatally injured.

Using dental records, the Broward County Medical Examiner's office identified the men as pilot Frederick Gautzsch, 73, of Boca Raton, and pilot-rated passenger Robert Chartrand, 66.

The airplane departed from Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP), Pompano Beach, Florida, and was destined for Ocean Reef Club Airport (07FA), Key Largo, Florida. The airplane was owned by Volux Aviation LLC. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

While transitioning along the shoreline, the pilot contacted air traffic control and requested to fly below 500 feet above ground level. The air traffic controller approved the request but advised the pilot of "heavy Precipitation at the 12 o'clock position and 4 miles ahead," and further stated "you should turn left and go off shore 3 miles to avoid the thunderstorm." The pilot acknowledged the communication by stating "roger" and 3 minutes later the pilot reported "I am turning back to the north." The air traffic controller approved the turn and no further communications were received from the accident airplane.

The wreckage was subsequently located about 2 miles east of the Hollywood shoreline, submerged in the Atlantic Ocean in about 15 feet of water. The airplane was recovered and the wings exhibited accordion crushing from leading edge to trailing edge. Flight control cable continuity was established from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces. The measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to a nose-down trim. Engine valve train continuity was verified and thumb compression was established by rotating the propeller.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate was issued on July 6, 2015. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 795 hours.

(Image from file, not accident airplane)

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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