N501AP Aero Commander 500 ditched at sea, pilot okay . . .


FlightAware Flight Tracker

Plane crash in Bimini

Monday, 09 June 2008
A pilot escaped without injuries when his twin-engined aircraft, in which he was the sole occupant at the time, ditched into the sea between North and South Bimini, early Monday afternoon.

At about 1:10 pm, pilot Norman Aranha, 52 yrs of Charleston, Weston, Florida, departed from the Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport in New Providence after dropping off three passengers, headed back to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Executive Airport aboard the white Aero-Commander aircraft r/n N501AP, that is owned by Atlantic Jet Management Company. As he was flying over North Bimini, the right engine on the aircraft suddenly failed, resulting in the pilot turning around and descending in an attempt to land on South Bimini.

However, as he was approaching South Bimini, the left engine also failed, causing him to ditch the aircraft into the sea, about a half mile south of the tip of North Bimini, opposite the Bimini Sands Resort.
Chief Councillor Tasha Bullard-Rolle along with other persons who witnessed the aircraft going down into the sea, immediately dispatched several boats to the scene, one of which rescued the pilot and ferried him ashore at the Bimini Sands Marina.

The aircraft sank to the bottom in about 35 to 40 ft of water.

A local diver was able to retrieve the pilot’s personal belongings and the flight documents from the sunken plane.

The Civil Aviation Department out of New Providence, along with the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, DC, will be conducting an investigation into this incident.


How cynical have I become in my dotage that the first thought to enter my mind after reading the above was that he ran it dry!

Glad the pilot was unhurt.


That’s not cynicism! That’s sound logic! Yeah, there’s an microscopically small chance the two engines happened to go out at the same time for differing reasons, but my money would be on fuel deprivation.


Or, fuel contamination.


Sound, but that tends to result in more than one aircraft falling out of the sky.


Mmmm…not necessarily source contamination though James. But rather poor or lack of sumping/maintenance practices…http://www.websmileys.com/sm/sad/533.gif


I thought of that as well Mark, but I was giving the pilot the benefit of the doubt that he’d properly sumped before takeoff. Miscalculating your fuel state is a simple error in planning, failing to properly pre-flight your aircraft is an act of arrogance I hesitate to accuse anyone of without more info.


Not so much a cynic, JHEM, but a realist.


Thanks all, kind of hope I’m wrong. There’s a lot of explanations for fuel starvation other than simple stupidity, look at what happened to John Denver.


John Denver’s passing was very sad to me. I met John several times, and spent an afternoon with him looking over military jets preparing for the Toronto Intl Airshow.

He was type rated for his Lear 35 N31WS which he called Windstar. He also flew his Lear in bare feet because he has a deformed toe which made it uncomfortable in shoes.

N555JD was the Long EZ registration, which he only owned for 17 days before the crash, and picked it up the day before the crash - as it had been in the paint shop.

John’s accident, included his medical that should have barred him from flying, inexperience in his new airplane, failing to fuel the aircraft, and the bottom line - not knowing where the fuel tank selector was on this home built Long EZ.

AvWeb’s report on John Denver accident


As for this accident, although unknown at this time, fuel starvation seems very possible.

From Air Safety Network, here is a list of fuel starvation accidents; CLICK HERE.



From watching the pre-flights conducted by some :open_mouth: …maybe I’m the cynic… :confused:


Amazing that there are as many “kick the tires and light the fires” folks still around as ever! That herd never seems to stay thinned out. :wink: