East Texas pilot from Shelby County crash that killed 2 was not cleared to fly in bad weather

Local News

CENTER, Texas (KETK) – 73-year-old John D. Scull, the pilot on board the plane that crashed outside of Center on Wednesday lacked certification to fly in bad weather, according to pilot records from the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to FlightAware, an aviation service that tracks aircraft movement, in the final minutes of the flight, the plane entered a small thunderstorm that was just over Center.

The flight path indicates that he may have become disoriented. It shows the plane circling back and forth, apparently lost.

The day began in Del Norte, Colorado when Scull took off from Astronaut Kent Rominger Airport at 9:19 local time and landed in Gainesville, Texas at 1:57 p.m. Less than an hour later, Scull took off at 2:39 p.m. and headed for Center.

The last reading on FlightAware from the aircraft was at 4:38 p.m. Less than two minutes later, DPS troopers and first responders were sent to reports of a plane crash just one mile from the airport. Scull and 81-year-old Carolyn Hooker Scull were pronounced dead.

Final moments flight path from John Scull’s flight on May 20 shows the plane fly into a storm

Scull is registered in Tenaha and was issued his pilot license back in August 2010. He is cleared as a private pilot to operate a single-engine aircraft, which is shown below.

John Scull’s pilot information from FAA records

However, his “Ratings” indicate that he was not cleared to operate “instruments only” which is what happens when pilots are caught in clouds or bad weather and cannot see the ground.

The storm that was over the Center airport was relatively small and it remains unknown if getting caught in the storm was a case of bad luck for Scull.

Listed below is another pilot’s license who is a commercial airline pilot certified to fly with instruments only. It is listed as “Instrument Airplane.”

“Instrument Airplane” means the pilot is certified to fly using only their instruments

Similar Accident

The crash bears a striking resemblance to an accident from March 2019 when four Texans were killed when a plane went down in Harrison County.

51-year-old William Robert Kendrick was piloting the multi-engine aircraft, which he was not certified to fly. He also had not flown in 15 years.

Kendrick flew into a thunderstorm on his way to New Orleans and lost control of the aircraft. The plane broke apart in mid-flight due to the stresses that the storm put on it and killed the four people on board.

Kendrick, his wife and daughter, as well as his son-in-law perished. The final NTSB report blamed his poor planning, the weather, and the stresses on the plane as causes in the accident.

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