Buzzing kills two

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Osborn, Mo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The airplane made a low pass in front of a witness’s house.

The witness made a video recording of the first pass, which showed the airplane at tree-top level. The airplane came around for a second pass and hit the trees.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to conduct low-level passes above a residence and his failure to maintain sufficient altitude.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA158

This February 2012 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.


  1. You know what they say about “Old Pilots” and “Bold Pilots”, guess this guy fits the later definition.

  2. Think of it as evolution in action.

  3. TXAA examined the six leading pilot errors that cause accidents, as stated in the Nall report (AOPA). TXAA is promoting iPLEDGE.
    This pilot violated G = Ground hurts.

    P – Peek at the gas tank (don’t run out of fuel)
    L – Look at the weather
    E – Elude VFR into IMC
    D – Do not stall – keep airspeed up
    G – Ground hurts – no buzzing!
    E – Exclaim – Shout GUMPS
    Take the PLEDGE!

  4. When it comes to flying, nothing worse than a low aptitude, yes you read that correctly.

  5. Never, ever make that second pass. There is no profit in returning to the scene of the crime. For that matter, don’t make the first pass and nobody will ever know what you were thinking.

  6. Far more auto accidents cause injury to those outside of the accident vehicle than aircraft do. That never seems to be mentioned.

  7. Lee Ensminger says:

    His 3rd class medical and all the “certified” safety features in the world wouldn’t have prevented this, and it’s the reason the FAA will never achieve their goal of zero deaths: You can’t fix stupid. Meanwhile, it’s another “accident” statistic that makes GA look unsafe. When an idiot kills him/herself in a car, it’s recognized for what it is-stupid operation of an automobile. When it’s an airplane, somehow the FAA thinks they can fix it, or spend our last dollar trying!

  8. trentsmill says:

    Low wing, high trees. No mention of drugs. Too bad.

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