Twin Engine Crash in Clearwater, FL


Well-Known Member
So, last night we're eating dinner in front of the T.V. and watching the local news. They are reporting "Breaking News" that a twin engine plane had just crashed in a neighborhood near Clearwater Airpark, killing two on board and a third on board got out.

The wx SUCKED last night - heavy TS and low, low vis... so, I'm sure the guessing will be rampant as to what happened. Haven't seen the paper yet this morning.

Anyway - the ONLY person that Channel 8 interviewed was a resident of the neighborhood saying that she "lived in fear because we are so close to the airport".


She went on to say that they had been woken up at 3 o'clock in the morning by "airplane headlights shining in our windows"..... because "they take off and land at all times of the day and night".

First of all - NO ONE ON THE GROUND WAS HURT OR KILLED. No property was damaged other than a couple of trees.

Looked to me like the pilot did a great job avoiding the houses and property....

... and SHE is the ONLY person they interviewed... Later in the evening, they were running with the story that the crash has sparked debate over the existance of the airport - so close to a residential neighborhood.

Jiminy CHRISTMAS.... G/A cannot catch a break!!

Go figure.

Your thoughts?

Aaaaaaaargh. If I didn't have to go hop in the shower and go to work, I'd blast a letter to the editor off to the newspaper.

People never understand that they never demolish houses to build a general aviation airport.

Generally they're built in the middle of nowhere, a golf course is thrown in for a buffer zone, then a business springs up nearby to service the golf course traffic and airport traffic. Someone builds a trailer park on the cheap property by the airport. And the someone builds some 'high rent'-style houses on the golf course side with a 'view' and now the parties on with development.
Here's the story in the Tampa Tribune this morning:

Clearwater Plane Crash Kills 2
Published: Aug 23, 2003

CLEARWATER - They were almost home.
After having spent the day in St. Augustine, a retired pilot, his son and his son's friend were in a twin-engine Piper Navajo on Thursday and about to land at the Clearwater Executive Airpark, said David W. King, who runs the airpark for the city.

The pilot had his wheels down, apparently in preparation for a landing on the airpark's only runway. But then he brought the wheels back into the craft, as if to ascend and approach from a different angle, King said.

Moments later, at 4:46 p.m., the plane crashed into a driveway at 1840 Greenlea Drive, a tree-shaded suburban neighborhood a few blocks northwest of the airpark, fire and police officials said.

Two men nearby - one a resident of the neighborhood, the other who stood in front of a business down the street - rushed to the wreck, said Pinellas sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha.

They grabbed garbage cans, filled them with water from a drainage ditch, and doused the flames long enough to pull out Bradley J. Kendell, 22, of Clearwater, Pasha said. He was flown by helicopter, badly burned and with several broken bones, to Tampa General Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, Pasha said. His condition Thursday night was unavailable on request of his family.

For the other two occupants, retired pilot Bruce Thomas Kendell, 56, of Clearwater, and Daniel Thomas Griffith Jr., 24, of Port Richey, nothing could be done.

The flames had grown too strong by the time firefighters arrived, said District Chief Hugh Yeager of Clearwater Fire & Rescue.

``We couldn't get them because of the amount of fire that was in the body of the plane,'' Yeager said. It wasn't until 5:20 p.m. - more than a half hour after the crash - that firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze with foam, Yeager said.

The bodies of Kendell and Griffith were removed by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office a few hours later, said Pasha.

The main rescuer of the younger Kendell was burned and was treated at the scene, Yeager said. Neither he nor the other rescuer wished to talk to the media, Pasha said.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were at the scene Thursday night, and the National Transportation Safety Board had been notified, Pasha said.

``It just seemed to fall, as opposed to come down at an angle or glide,'' Pasha said.

The elder Kendell and Griffith had licenses to fly single-engine and multi-engine aircraft, according to a Web site that accesses FAA information. The younger Kendell had a license for single-engine aircraft only. Pasha said Bradley Kendell was not piloting the plane but officials were unsure which of the other two occupants was.

Lisa Graff, who lives two houses down from the crash, heard a bang, and her teenage daughter, Britt Sellers, rushed outside. Sellers watched as firefighters appeared to gain control of the blaze, only to see it flare up again.

``It was all flaming and stuff, and then I saw them take a man away on a stretcher and they put him in an ambulance,'' said Sellers, a senior at Countryside High School. ``I was scared.''

To her mother, the wreck was the latest example of the danger a small airport poses when it is surrounded by a suburban area.

``We've lived here for a long time, and this is probably the third or fourth [crash] I've seen myself in a quarter- mile radius,'' Graff said.

``They fly in early, and they fly in late. One night we had lights from an airplane shining into our window at 3 in the morning,'' Graff said.

``It's just very dangerous to have in a residential neighborhood,'' she said.

Clearwater Executive Airpark, 1000 North Hercules Ave., sits on 62 acres, and has a single runway 3,300 feet long. There are 125 planes kept there - one of them the Piper Navajo that crashed, King said.

There is no tower and no air traffic controller, King said; instead, whoever uses the airport listens to the same radio frequency and announces over it when he or she is about to use the runway, and from which direction.

King talked to the elder Kendell Thursday morning before the trip to St. Augustine. The trip had something to do with one of the young men attending college there, or planning to, King said.

When the Navajo returned, it was windy, King said. A pilot at the airport saw it approach, and its gear withdraw back into the belly of the plane. That's typically a sign a pilot has reconsidered a landing, and has decided to give it another try, perhaps from an angle more suitable given the direction of the wind, King said.

``We're all very sad here,'' King said.
That sucks. Both the crash, and the article.

I've got some Navajo time flying out of a 3400 ft. runway, and it could get a little dicey at times- especially with a full load, or on a hot day. Wonder what really happened...