Bonanza Crash in Florida Caught on Ring Camera (Updated)

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Three are dead in the crash of a Beech A36 Bonanza in Florida today, and the driver of an SUV on the road just east of the field is in critical condition. (Originally, both individuals in the SUV were in critical condition, but late news is that the child passenger succumbed to his injuries.) Horrifyingly graphic evidence of the crash appeared on local media this afternoon, caught on a Ring doorbell camera. The Bonanza and its pilot and passenger have not been identified, but reports confirm they perished in the post-crash fire. (WARNING: The graphic crash sequence is visible in the video linked below.)

Local reports are saying that the aircraft took off from North Perry Airport in Hollywood, Florida, on Runway 10 Left. It appears the Bonanza had engine trouble and the pilot attempted a 180-degree turn to land on Runway 28 Left, which displaced is less than 1500 feet south of the departure runway. Images from the Ring camera show the Bonanza, with the gear still up, in a steepening right bank toward the runway, just miss the roof of a house and then make hard contact with the SUV, which was driving north on SW 72nd Avenue. The airplane’s right wing appears to have been breached and a plume of fuel spray can be seen on the video. Before sliding to the airport perimeter fence, the airplane catches fire. In other images from the scene, the engine can be seen torn off the firewall.

The aircraft has been identified as N236BC, a 1996 Beech B36TC registered to FL Eagle Aviation in Hollywood, Florida. The identities of the pilot and passenger still have not been released.

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56 COMMENTS

  1. RIP. The temptation to make a return to land is huge…the outcome mostly disastrous. Keeping the aircraft flying and under control is far more successful. I speak from experience… People advocating a return to land maneuver training or tips really worry me.

    • Yes keeping control is the priority. However, there may have been ZERO good options, and there weren’t. we don’t know if he was trying to land on the street. Avoid other homes, etc. Look at the good maps and you will see, nowhere to go. If it was return to land, maybe it was to get to flat ground on airport property going south. We just don’t know.

    • Looking at the map it seems few straight ahead options. It was either the Turnpike (the field in the exit off the end of the runway looks somewhat like an option) or return to the airport. The field next to the home depot or school would be rough but survivable and likely not to have bystanders at least with our current social distance world. There is a golf course also but its a ways away. I always make it a rule to review satellite images (and verify if I can as I approach for landing) for spots that are my emergency options. One thing I fear is hurting someone on the ground. However I think airport property (forget the runway) in this case is probably your best engine out option… none are great so I would be getting altitude as fast as possible at an airport like that. There are some local airports I avoid for this very reason.

      • Maybe I’m looking at the wrong map, but in such a situations, a “few” options can be enough to keep you and your pax alive. I *aways* google map unfamiliar (I’m very familiar with my own) airport and look at takeoff abort options. It takes 5 minutes. It appears that “SW 9th St” is an option. SW 10th St is an option. I mean … a 180 was his best option?

        • Those are options however in that area all those surface streets are likely highly populated with traffic, and each intersection will have red light posts. Knowing Florida city streets trying any of those surface streets would of resulted in a car collision. Sure if you looked and it was empty go for it, but not very likely. I mean you got to know your airplane, altitude etc and know a controlled crash in a horrible location is better than a stall spin trying to make a better location. Also don’t know how far out and altitude he/she had when the engine trouble occurred. IF closer to the turnpike or the clover leaf exit that would at least have traffic in the same direction, but even there that road is often bumper to bumper the 2 times I’ve been on it (I don’t live in FL)

          • Actually doing street view 9th st seems like a low use road, you would make a mess but a controlled landing there probably is the best option as it doesn’t seem to have over head power lines either.

    • As others have pointed out, sometimes attempting a 180 actually is your best bet. Possibly if this pilot had some training, he might have made it (or at least not have perished in the crash). But even more important than that would have been for the pilot to do a takeoff briefing, and determine the minimum altitude to attempt a turn-back. Just as one can use “gates” for landing, one should use “gates” for takeoff. For me in the aircraft I fly, I call out passing 50 or 60 kts (depending on the plane) on the takeoff roll, and if it’s not before a pre-determined point on the runway, I abort. Same thing for the climb-out; I call out 1000 AGL, and if the engine quits before that, I have no option but to land straight ahead within a 60-degree window.

      • Having survived an engine out after takeoff – a 180 is NOT your best bet and should not be recommended. A loss of control is a lot worse than other options. You cannot train effectively for this unless you spend time and effort per type aircraft AND per specific conditions/airport, AND know exactly from which point/height it is/isn’t possible. Engines also fail in partial-power modes or intermittent modes. Fly the aircraft, maintain control, configure as required/possible, pick a spot and stick to it. Having said that…sometimes there are just no good options.

        • No, most often a 180 is not your best bet, but in some cases it is. And it can be done safely, if certain specific criteria are met. It’s the blanket statement of “never attempt a 180 after takeoff” that does no good, as with most blanket statements. One could also argue that since the natural tendency is to want to return to the airport, everyone should receive training in making a 180 so they can see for themselves under controlled circumstances when it truly is an impossible turn, rather than figuring out for the first and last time when it happens for real.

          • Gary, I agree it can work but MUST be practiced in same make-model that one normally flies or owns. 1000AGL is standard rule of thumb but how many practice with full fuel or near or at max gross weight?, which would be the time it would happen. Would 1000AGL be enough? Also have to factor wind and experience what impact different wind directions and speeds will affect the maneuver. Looks to me like this poor pilot was trying to do the 180 but not enough altitude. Also a tough situation as landing in residential neighborhood not a good option either. Planning for that always helps but as others have said, sometimes there are no good options. My prayers to his family for their loss.

    • When did ignorance become a point of view? Know your options before takeoff, know your plane, practice – practice – practice. If you didn’t practice landings would you be any good at it? Let’s kill this dangerous myth about the “impossible turn” and make it the “possible turn” or a least know your options. Get educated with these links and practice with an instructor. https://airfactsjournal.com/2020/12/an-engineering-approach-to-the-impossible-turn/ https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2011/may/19/impossible-turn-practice-makes-possible

  2. When I fly GA, I don’t fly anything other than a Cirrus with CAPS. The awful truth is that pilots don’t rise to the occasion but fall back to basic training. The sad reality is that the typical GA pilot isn’t proficient enough to guarantee a good outcome when faced with a low altitude engine failure.

      • Closing to fly a non-CAPS equipped aircraft is a choice. If I didn’t have CAPS I would not to fly at all. Non parachute equipped high performance aircraft have an abysmal fatality rate when engine quits. Many Cirrus pilots have used the CAPS system and are here today to tell their story. This accident was a perfect example of why smart pilots would pool resources if necessary and buy a plane that allows for options when things go wrong. To argue to the contrary runs counter to the safety data, logic and plain old common sense.

          • Over a decade ago, choosing CAPS was statistically a poor choice for safety. The record on Cirrus has improved, but it’s still not number one. I’m not even sure it’s better than a 172 from the seventies.

            I’m happy you have found a plane you have such faith in, but let’s not call everyone else’s baby ugly.

        • Having owned a Cirrus, yes CAPS is another tool for the kitbag and I loved having that options. No telling at this point if he was high enough to even deploy CAPS, so what you are saying could be mute. Gary B. is also correct though in that many don’t have the option of flying a Cirrus or any other plane with CAPs or BRS. The vast majority of planes flying today are not Cirrus. It would be great if that was the option for all, but…

        • Having owned a Cirrus, yes CAPS is another tool for the kitbag and I loved having that options. No telling at this point if he was high enough to even deploy CAPS, so what you are saying could be mute. Gary B. is also correct though in that many don’t have the option of flying a Cirrus or any other plane with CAPs or BRS. The vast majority of planes flying today are not Cirrus. It would be great if that was the option for all, but… Saying it’s a “choice” is BS as Cirrus are hard to find for rent and expensive to own.

          • Its not BS, the choice is have a BRS or simply not fly…I chose not to fly any single engine piston airplane that doesn’t have a BRS system. I’d rather drive or ride on SWA.

    • The parachute is only recommended above 400′, so not sure if it applies in this case. Also if there’s no place to land, not sure where the parachute would end up. If on a busy road, you’re be hit by car traffic.

      https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2018/march/flight-training-magazine/how-it-works-airframe-parachute

      > To argue to the contrary runs counter to the safety data, logic and plain old common sense.

      Nah, I don’t agree with your idea of common sense. I also haven’t seen any safety data that said a parachute would help proficient pilots. Mostly newbies flying VFR into clouds need it from what I’ve read.

      I obtained advanced ratings so I would know how to fly when the time came.

  3. I dunno. It seems to me that losses of engine power immediately after take off that result in loss of altitude require a place to aim the descending aircraft. If the airport is surrounded by buildings of any sort, rather than open or farm fields, there is really no “choice”.
    This issue, the loss of power below a few thousand feet with no available place to (relatively) safely land, is my primary fear. And even though I know it’s a relatively rare occurrence, the fact is that these events occur frequently enough to remind me of the facts that when power is lost at low altitude without a flat place to land, the outcome is usually pretty traumatic, and frequently deadly.

  4. Looking at the airport on Google Maps, it’s pretty apparent that the airport has been in the developers’ sights for a long time. The density surrounding the airport is stunning. It won’t be too long from now before you see “Coming Soon: North Perry Airport Estates”. Should make a nice gated community.

    • Rich, I hope you have strengthened your resolve to pursue aviation. It is first of all a whole bunch of fun, meeting some great people (like the folks in this discussion), seeing some great sights, visiting new places, and accomplishing goals many people never even think of. I’m no Charles Lindbergh, but I love aviation, and I hope you’ll also develop a passion for the art of aviating that transcends the bounds of a “hobby.”

  5. I have practiced quite a few engine-out scenarios in my 182, and at first I was horrified by how fast it came down with the engine windmilling. We are all used to landing with partial power – at least with the engine spinning at zero-thrust – the majority of the time considerably more. With that big fan twirling around, it’s like having an 8-foot diameter coffee table in front of you. Regardless of what the PR people at Cessna say, my best estimate is an L/D of about 4 @ 90 MPH. The second surprise was how important the angle of bank was. Not 50°, not 40°. For my airplane it has to be 45° every time. Too shallow and you are too far out when you run out of altitude; too steep and you descend too fast to make your landing point. You have a lot of options if you practice, but if you are not ready when things go quiet, you will be far, far behind the airplane the whole way down. Practice engine-out with your instructor; it will completely change your POV.

  6. At this point nobody knows why the pilot decided to return to the airport. For all we know the engine may have been delivering partial power, cueing the attempt to return, and then lost all power before being able to make it back to the runway or even the airport property. All the speculative scolding and chiding are misplaced. Let’s wait for the investigation and see if we learn more about the circumstances which led to a tragic outcome.

  7. I feel altitude quickly is you friend, be it single or twin after takeoff. Altitude gives you more options and at least gives you more time to make a more informed decision. Therefore, I preach climb at VY and full throttle after departure until at least 1000′ agl. This is especially true for twins. The folks that immediately, gear up, accelerate to cruise climb, and throttle back, lose the opportunity if altitude needed. All of our airplane engines won’t mind at all having full throttle for a minute or so. I do realize that this theory appears to not apply in this accident case though.

  8. I did my PPL at Perry and I was often concerned about the options when using either 90 R or L, especially doing night work, either departing or arriving. The airport is pretty much surrounded by housing.
    On 90 L in particular, you arrive over a 4 or 5 story apartment complex. I was advised by my instructor that there were few good options in any case, so the choices were between a backyard, which probably had a pool, the top of houses or a street that would be full of cars and covered in wires, or take your chances and come back.
    They nearly made it back, short of the very large field by just a few feet. Unfortunately the SUV was in the absolute wrong place at the wrong time, but that road runs at the fence.
    It’s a problem when housing is built around airports, right up to the fences.

  9. What I see all too often are pilots that configure their initial climb after take off at higher airspeeds resulting in a low angle climb. (No judgement on the pilot in question). I’m not necessarily advocating the 180 return to airport but it is very difficult to pull off when you remain at low altitudes moving further from the airport. If you want to practice this maneuver make the initial climb at best angle. It’ll give you more altitude and keep you closer the the airport.

  10. North Perry was my home base until 9 months ago; I’m also a fellow Bonanza owner. How tragic. It’s very easy to second guess the pilot looking at Google Maps, but when you’re in the air 400 AGL, there are no good options, especially from 10R/L. The turnpike is packed with traffic. The streets are surrounded by trees. Looks like he almost made it; quite possibly the SUV led him to try to stretch his glide. Very, very sad to hear that the innocent child on the ground died. I hope the driver pulls through.
    I remember only a few minor accidents/incidents during my 5 years there. Now there have been 4-5 (I believe another with fatalities) in the last 6 months. It makes me wonder if this is due to covid (both pilot currency and maintenance). It’s a very busy GA airport with lots of training, banner towing, sightseeing and private flights, one of only 2 in the Miami area that haven’t been taken over by business jets. There have been calls by some to close North Perry for quite a few years. This could very well be the final straw, and will leave no great options around Miami for piston pilots. What a tragedy all around.

  11. Well folks, a 180 degree turn has saved my arse before. I teach it to every student after their PPL ride and use it on every flight review. The maneuver made it possible for two of the pilots that come to me for a flight review to be alive today. I believe that when one is in trouble, you should be capable of executing ANY option that might be available to you to save your life.
    That being said, real estate developers have been encroaching onto lands around airport properties for years now and the FAA seems to NOT demand a runway clearway from the county or state governments. When that happens, you are left with little or no options when an engine quits.

    • Indeed. Property rights issues are always complicated, but there should have been more protection from development around airports. Zoning commissions are mostly terrible, and big cities mostly prove it.

  12. Absolutely heartbreaking. Thoughts and prayers with the family of that child. We may never know the whys or why nots, but all the monday morning quarter-backing and smug analyses from the pilot group are pretty disgusting. As an instructor, I PROMISE you most of us (yes me included) would not handle this situation correctly if caught off-guard. How many of us actually do a TO briefing? How many of us practice executing it? This accident has spoken to me and my own complacency.

    When the report comes out, lets take what we can learn from it and try to be better from it.

    • Great comment. Really, my biggest take away from most comments here was that we should probably not have comments enabled for this kind of news.

      It’s a tragedy, but the armchair commentary at this stage is of low value and I find it disrespectful.

  13. I appreciated what James W has said. Unless you have actually experienced total power loss with a wind milling prop on a single. None of your training done with idle power will prepare you for the glide angle combined with the difference in control authority when the engine quits.

    I have suffered a total loss of power in a Bonanza, although it was a short bodied V tail. It began with a power loss, followed with some power, with it eventually quitting. This resulted in forced landing in a field after fighting several times for altitude to get past ground saturated suburban housing and a crowded, rush hour interstate. A glide angle allowing for a 4:1 glide ratio is very accurate vs the average 8-10:1 most airplanes will achieve with an idling engine.

    None of us know what actually happened. But I know the terror of a windshield full of homes, trees, powerlines, and traffic in a high performance airplane, with a totally silent engine, coming down at the angle that is needed to sustain some sort of controllability. This includes the natural siren emotion to instinctively pull back on the yoke with that view out of the windshield gets bigger and bigger.

    My sympathies to all the families involved and to the pilot’s last moments trying to do the what he or she thought was the right thing. I have made conscious decisions not to fly into or from some airports surrounded by suburban and urban sprawl because of the limited or no options. This is not the time to armchair quarterback an accident with so few details of what actually went wrong and why.

  14. Prayers for the victims. God bless them. I recall an article I read near the beginning of my training that stated in essence a pilot who does not stall his aircraft will likely survive the landing. This idea was reinforced ad nauseam (literally) by Bill Kershner (RIP) during his 3 day upset recovery class I was fortunate to attend at Sewanee. I practice departure stalls in SIM and with my CFII whenever possible and have done so at least 6 times in the past 6 months. I’ve no idea if I could have landed the accident plane or have survived that horrific crash. However, I am certain that at touchdown my aircraft would not be in an uncontrolled configuration except maybe following a midair or inflight breakup.

  15. If you’re going to do 180s, then they need to be practiced over and over in each airplane you fly until you are totally comfortable with racking into a tight turn (ball in the center) and doing it. I’ve been an Aeronca kinda guy for years. In my last one, a Chief, at 400’agl, assuming you need to do one, a 180 being the best choice, easy to do with a little room let over. Before every departure at various airports I would add 400′ in my head to the field elevation and note that as my minimum turnaround altitude. Below that, left or right slight or straight ahead, whatever was best. For the first 400′ I was focused on the engine might quit. Now with my Tri Pacer, no decision at about any altitude. Just look down because that’s where you are about to land. But, practice, practice and then you have another tool in you bag of tricks….if ever needed. And….these remarks are not at all disrespectful. Any accident is an opportunity, unfortunate opportunity to think about how we could have found ourselves in the same situation. Think about it and consider it now while arm chairing, not after the motor stops.

  16. So sorry for the pilot’s family and the family of the people in the SUV. RIP. If we understand the scenario, I have had this scenario happen to me. The engine quit at 400 ft AGL. I can say that the pilot probably had less than 7 seconds to process what happened, transition from nose up to nose down, configure the aircraft, switch off the fuel, etc. In my case, there was a mobile home park off the end of the runway and a straight ahead landing would have put us smack in the middle of a mobile home. To the left was an industrial park. To the right was an open salt water marsh. Fortunately I had made a mental note before departing of the surroundings and when the engine quit, I headed for the marsh. No one was injured. Here is the key message. Practice this situation! This is what Paul B did with me and it saved my life the lives of my passengers. Have an instructor surprise you on take off by reducing power to idle. Practice making decisions until it is second nature. Paul made a video of this on you tube which is worth watching.

  17. My thanks to the commenters on this tragedy, a situation which we have, or may, face in our time as aviators. Before the pundits grab a hold of this accident and spoon-feed us their analysis, it’s valuable that there is discussion going on just amongst ourselves. I personally have learned a few things, so it’s not wasted if I’m a better pilot because of this discussion. For the Cirrus vs non-Cirrus pilots, whether we fly a 172 or Cirrus, we accept the risks each airframe poses when we get into the plane, so it behooves us to know what to do beforehand and be prepared – I’ll add the phrase here to “expect the unexpected.” To mitigate risk to the point of not flying is certainly a choice, but we’re aviators because something about flying strikes a chord in us and motivates us to fly, and do the very best we can when we fly.

  18. ENGINE FAILURE:
    Pre-think takeoff: Think ABORT until Vr (SE) or V1 (ME). After liftoff (SE): Think PUSH (Stick) and LAND. After liftoff (ME): Think PUSH (Stick & Rudder), Gear & Flaps Up, Identify, Verify, Feather and LAND.
    For those who are proficient enough to return to the airport (SE): I recommend using Vx climb to 1000 AGL and turn into a crosswind to increase chance of reaching the airport when attempting to return to the departure airport after engine failure.

  19. “After liftoff (SE): Think PUSH (Stick) and LAND.” I personally think this line cinches the deal for SE pilots. When your gut reaction to low power or engine out is to slam the yolk/stick forward to the stops and stomp the left rudder you’re going to arrive back at runway altitude with lots of options. Cartwheeling in as demonstrated in the video above will not be your problem.

  20. Looks like the plane was stalled but possibly it clipped a tree or power line? Don’t know, but the powerful takeaway for me is that flying under control at lowest speed into a bad place is always better than a stall. Everyone knows this but the video is a graphic reminder. Very sorry for the victims and families.

  21. Lots of “bluster” in these posts. The sad reality is much different and I’m really pissed because this time a mother lost her child. The lack of professionalism I see within the General Aviation Community and within comments on this thread, makes me sick to my stomach.

    For those of you thinking, if this were me, and I had an emergency, I could handle it…you’re wrong. Since GA pilots seem to kill themselves with predictable regularity, here’s some unvarnished truth about your community.

    The vast majority of GA pilots are recreational amateurs and hobbyists. The fact is they don’t have a true respect and appreciation for the unforgiving nature of the machines they are getting into. Why else would someone happily climb into a machine with a deadly single point of failure without giving it a second though?

    Moreover, the amateur GA pilots I’ve encountered see very little value in spending any time or money on “meaningful” training with critical expert who might give them a less than flattering critique. And lastly, most GA pilots don’t fly often enough to maintain any “real” proficiency. As such, when things don’t go to plan, they do not have the requisite skills needed to handle a real-life emergency.

    If you disagree and think I’m a jerk for calling GA pilots out…that’s fine, but ask yourself these 5 questions.

    1. How many simulated low altitude engine failures or emergency turn-back exercises have you practiced in the last 12 months?
    2. How many idle power landings have you accomplished to a full touchdown in the last 12 months?
    3. Have you EVER flown “out of currency” (landings, BFR’s, IPC’s, medical), Flown below VFR or IFR minimums, scud run, or flown over gross etc…?
    4. Was your last bi-annual review flown with a “buddy” and did it consist of 3 Touch and Goes and a meal afterwards?
    5. Do you fly infrequently or less than 10 hours per month?

    If you answered “Zero” to 1, and 2 or “Yes” to either 3, 4, or 5 then you are “that guy”. Things are not going to go well for you when Mr. Murphy decides to pay you a visit. Like it or not, hate the messenger or not, that’s the reality. Ignore it at your peril.

    • While much of what Mr. George Perry wrote rings true, and I agree with continuing training being essential, I believe the trend over the past 50 years to make initial training more “user friendly” in an attempt to increase the pilot population has some bearing here.

      Like George, I too have had mechanical failures in different aircraft that made immediate landings necessary. The time required and actions made by a person fall back to rote reaction in a highly stressed situation. I had a primary instructor who felt I should know as much as possible about my aircraft and demonstrate that knowledge when called upon. I learned and became comfortable with unusual attitude entry and recovery before solo with no roll or pitch limitations. This was burned into my core memory in the early ’70s, and became rote.

      According to the EDM-930, ~35 seconds after advancing the throttle for takeoff I rolled to a stop facing the opposite direction on the departure runway at KVBT. I remember seeing 400′ AGL go by on the altimeter and retracting the gear. I remember the engine failing to zero-thrust. I remember seeing the attitude indicator in a right roll between 45 and 60 degrees and pitch down between 2 and 3 bars. I have no memory of an intentional act to enter this configuration. I remember extending the gear and rolling wings level, and I remember pulling up elevator just before a rather firm touchdown (but no damage to the aircraft or occupant).

      I attribute all of this to rote reaction because I really never thought about it. Asked afterward, I had to admit that departing to the North leaves no options because of encroachment, and I did understand that before takeoff.

      Initial training needs to include more than just the basic “license to learn” requirements.

    • Oh please…The public perception exists because GA pilots (as a group) are unprofessional and kill themselves with predictable regularity. And Residential encroachment is a reality. Should we cordon off hundreds of acres around every airport so hobbyist pilots a place to crash without killing anyone other than themselves? You’re living in denial.

      • My head is spinning from the conflicting argument you are proffering. Are you suggesting there is no “public perception?” Large or small, military or civilian, the public — to varying degrees — will resist airports. Remember the film, “Airport?”

        And what’s with the ad-hominems? This is a professional site, so respond proportionally and accordingly. Thanks.

        I research these situations extensively, and the fact is that — in the long term — “public perception” far outweighs airmanship as the causation for determining if an airport remains in service.

        Ultimately, these issues boil down to political influence — or even the “risk/reward” of an airport’s presence.

        So there … I offer my opinion to you and the readers without one foot in a mud-hole.

  22. All the ideas here are guesswork and maybe good lessons. But, without knowing if the aircraft had a mechanical issue or pilot incapacitation that caused the extremely low altitude accident, it’s all acedemic. None of it is helpful before weighing all the facts. Best to have the NTSB findings before pontificating and offering “shouldda.” advice before the cause is in.

    When those findings are out, post them here for a discussion. Otherwise, we’re just hanger-flying.

    –jp