A new TBM 900 (type is formally listed as a variant of the TBM 700) registered to a Rochester, N.Y., LLC crashed off the east coast of Jamaica Friday after the pilot reportedly became incapacitated on a planned flight from the aircraft’s home base to Naples, Florida. Rochester officials have identified the occupants of the aircraft as Rochester developer Larry Glazer, president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association, and his wife Jane Glazer. According to FlightAware, the plane took off from Rochester at 8:26 a.m. on an IFR flight plan at 28,000 feet and was due in Naples at 2:32 p.m.
About midway through the flight over North Carolina the pilot told Atlanta Center that he had a problem, according to NBC news and liveATC.net. “We have an indication that is not correct on the plane,” the pilot said, immediately requesting a lower altitude, from FL280 to FL180. His descent may have been momentarily restricted to FL250 and shortly thereafter, ATC lost radio contact with the aircraft.
It veeredsoutheast and crossed over the Atlantic over the South Carolina coast, according to FlightAware. Continuing across the Florida Straits and over Cuba, it crossed into Jamaican airspace before crashing about 14 miles from landfall. NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft until it reached Cuban airspace, but returned to base north of Cuba. Debris was spotted in the area of the crash Saturday and the Jamaican Defense Force is continuing the recovery effort.
The F-15 pilots reported seeing the pilot slumped over the controls before the plane’s windows frosted over. Reuters quoted unnamed FAA officials as saying radio contact was lost with the aircraft about an hour after it left Rochester. Glazer was the first customer for the new variant of the aircraft and took delivery at the TBM display at Sun ‘n Fun in April. The crash comes less than a week after a Cirrus SR22 crashed off the coast of Virginia with an unresponsive pilot in the cockpit. That flight went through restricted airspace around Washington and also prompted a NORAD response. Only a few pieces of the Cirrus were recovered before the search was called off.