Spike in Fatal Plane Crashes Around North Perry Raises Safety Concerns

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Spike in Fatal Plane Crashes Around North Perry Raises Safety Concerns
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Spike in Fatal Plane Crashes Around North Perry Raises Safety Concerns

After taking off from North Perry Airport on October 17, an Aventura II plane crashed into a nearby Miramar home, fatally wounding the plane’s two occupants. A mother and her infant child were inside the house, but escaped without injury.

As of the morning of October 18, the wrecked plane was still dangling upside-down in the residential neighborhood. 

The accident is at least the seventh fatal crash since March 2019 involving a plane that flew from North Perry, a general aviation airport in Pembroke Pines. Residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods have expressed concerns over their safety given the spate of accidents, some of which have involved planes nosediving directly into residential areas.

Residents still have fresh memories of a March 2021 accident that killed a 4-year-old boy on a road next to North Perry. A private plane, whose pilot was trying to dash back to a runway following an engine failure, smashed into a vehicle driving on a residential road just outside North Perry. Two men aboard the plane and the child, who was a passenger in the car, were fatally injured.

Miramar resident Johanna Moya, who has lived six blocks from the airport since 2000, tells New Times “something has to change.”

“I’m genuinely very nervous. I have a new baby and it terrifies me she can be out in the yard and this happens,” Moya adds.

North Perry is a popular hub for flight instruction. Several planes flying to or from the airport with student pilots aboard have been involved in recent crashes resulting in injury or death. Other accidents in the past few years have involved experimental or amateur-built aircraft.

New Times’ review of a National Transportation Safety Board database lists at least nine aircraft crashes involving North Perry Airport that resulted in death or serious injury since March 2019.

March 1, 2019

A recently-hired banner tow pilot was operating a banner-tow plane when he departed from North Perry Airport. During the flight over Hollywood Beach, the 28-year-old pilot began a right turn at 250 feet above ground level over a heavily congested area with tall buildings. The plane hit the 16th and 17th floors of a 19-story building in Fort Lauderdale, killing the pilot. The National Transportation Safety Board found the “pilot’s failure to maintain proper altitude and clearance” resulted in the collision.

October 5, 2019

During a training flight from North Perry to a practice area in the Everglades, the flight instructor told the commercial pilot to “release the controls” as part of a power-off stall demonstration. The 24-year-old did not let go of the controls and the instructor could not stop the stall, causing the plane to fall and crash into the marshland. Both sustained serious injuries in the crash.

May 12, 2020

After a plane departed and headed towards a practice area west of the airport, the flight instructor reported the right engine failed about 10 minutes into the flight. The instructor took over the plane and headed back to the airport when he told North Perry air traffic control the plane could not maintain proper altitude. As he attempted to land on the street in Pembroke Pines, the plane struck a powerline over a busy intersection. The plane was engulfed in flames, seriously injuring the instructor and fatally injuring the pilot receiving training.

August 28, 2020

Two pilots died when they crashed into a building in Pembroke Park while trying to divert to North Perry. As they were heading to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, the pilots experienced an engine problem, which forced them to divert to North Perry. After the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board discovered a broken electrical wire had caused an inaccurate reading of the fuel quantity, and the airplane lost engine power because it ran out of fuel.

November 23, 2020

After taking off from North Perry, the pilot of an amateur-built Lancair Legacy FG reported to air traffic control that the plane’s engine was running rough. He headed back to the airport and tried to land but crashed into the ground 200 feet away from a runway. The pilot died in the crash.

March 15, 2021

Minutes after takeoff from North Perry, a Beech Bonanza plane tumbled out of the sky and crashed into a car driving alongside the airport in Pembroke Pines. The vehicle driver’s 4-year-old son suffered fatal injuries. A local plane dealer, the owner of the aircraft, died alongside another man who was aboard the plane. Both men were pilots.

September 27, 2021

A student pilot and a flight instructor flew to Naples Municipal Airport to practice landings. On their way back to North Perry, the plane was losing power. The plane made a forced landing in Miramar near the airport. Both the student and instructor sustained severe injuries.

February 19, 2022

The pilot and two passengers of a helicopter that was heading to North Perry sustained serious injuries after the helicopter suddenly lost power and crashed into the water in Miami Beach.

May, 14, 2022

After a plane landed on Herman B. Fultz Bridge over the Haulover Inlet and struck a set of vehicles, a fire broke out in the cabin, and the pilot suffered fatal injuries. Two plane passenger were severely injured, and five people on the ground were hurt. The plane had made a fuel stop at North Perry Airport before the crash; the pilot reported the engine problems about 20 minutes after taking off from North Perry.