ANOTHER NEEDLESS ENGINE FAILURE, ANOTHER TWO NEEDLESS DEATHS, MORE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN GRIEVING
A Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza departed JFK Airport in New York on a rainy night returning home to Cleveland where their families awaited their return.
The pilot, Boruch Taub and his passenger Binyamin Chafetz took off on a routine flight when all of a sudden, the aircraft lost its climb rate and on-board diagnostics revealed that power in at least one cylinder was lost and oil pressure was decreasing.
Air Traffic Control afforded magnificent assistance to this pilot trying to give him radar vectors and reassurance to the Westchester New York Airport nearby but the workload and the loss of engine power was just too much to make the Instrument landing System to Runway 16 at the airport.
The pilot was cool, calm and followed directions in this most highly stressful environment but sadly the aircraft crashed into trees near the airport and both occupants were killed.
The engine in this model aircraft has failed and failed again in service. In fact, in one popular model, the primary source of accidents is the failed engine of similar make and model as this one.
I owned a similar aircraft many years ago and once I became aware of and the victim of its litany of engine problems never owned one again.
Here is the problem with reciprocating aircraft engines. They are old designs. They fail catastrophically too often. Failed cylinders are epidemic, this engine likely had a rod put through the cylinder wall or crankcase causing loss of oil pressure and the loss of power in the entire engine. There is no current alternative but anyone who flies a reciprocating engine powered aircraft is risking a catastrophe every takeoff. But the industry has been slick by misrepresenting the frequency of failures, near failures and potential failures so pilots think it will never happen to them. It does and it will.
I attach the air traffic control communications which is instructive. First it teaches us that ATC can be of invaluable assistance in an emergency. It teaches us that some pilots make us proud to be in that community because of their professionalism, even in fear of death. You can read more in the article in The Stamford Advocate.
Be prepared to cry, the knowledge that no matter how hard these men tried to save each other, it was not enough will break your heart.
May the memories of Boruch Taub and Benyamin Chafetz be a blessing to their families.
Arthur Alan Wolk
January 22, 2023
Contact The Wolk Law Firm
p: (215) 545-4220
c: (610) 733-4220
f: (215) 545-5252
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