A Cessna 414A crashed into an unoccupied home in Colonia, New Jersey, on Tuesday, setting the house on fire and damaging nearby residences. No one on the ground was hurt, but the pilot, identified as Dr. Michael Schloss, perished in the crash.
Weather at the time of the crash had deteriorated from 10 miles’ visibility with broken clouds at 800-1000 feet and an overcast layer with bases at 2000 feet just 15 minutes earlier to 2 miles in mist with the overcast ceiling at 700 feet. Schloss was traveling from Leesburg airport in Virginia to New Jersey’s Linden Airport (KLDJ) when the accident occurred.
According to data on FlightAware.com, the aircraft appeared to proceed normally until Schloss was on the GPS-A approach to Linden. According to witnesses who saw the Cessna flying “lower than normal” and judging by the FlightAware track, the 414 appears as though it could be at or near the minimums on the initial approach segments. The approach minimums are 740 feet MSL some 3 NM before the final approach fix. The approach then requires a 49-degree right turn at the final approach fix with a 2.1-NM visual segment to the runway; minimums along this segment are 620 feet. The Cessna came to rest 3.6 miles from the approach end of Runway 9.
Schloss was a highly experienced, IFR-rated pilot who had been the president of EAA’s Warbirds of America.