Lowcountry Air Crash Victims Identified

FATHER, SON ABOARD PLANE STRUCK BY MILITARY JET || By FITSNEWS || Two South Carolina residents – a father and his son – have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of this week’s mid-air collision between an F-16 fighter yet and a Cessna 150M. Piloting the Cessna at the time of…


|| By FITSNEWS || Two South Carolina residents – a father and his son – have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of this week’s mid-air collision between an F-16 fighter yet and a Cessna 150M.

Piloting the Cessna at the time of the collision was 30-year-old Joe Johnson of Berkeley County.  Emergency responders are still searching for his body.  His father, 68-year-old Mike Johnson, was the plane’s passenger.  His body has been recovered.

Both father and son lived in Pinopolis, S.C.  Joe Johnson was a former minor league baseball player.  His father was a retired teacher turned carpenter.

Also identified?  U.S. Air Force major Aaron Johnson, who was piloting the F-16 at the time it struck the Cessna – which had just taken off from the Berkeley County Airport.  According to military officials, Johnson was practicing “instrument approaches” at the time of the collision. He was taken to a medical facility at the military’s Joint Base Charleston for observation in the aftermath of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting an investigation into the crash – which occurred shortly after 11:00 a.m. EDT yesterday.

“We are in the very early phases of our investigation,” an NTSB spokesman told reporters.

The NTSB is reportedly combing a large debris field for clues as well as examining flight data from both aircraft.


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Squishy123 July 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I’m surprised Kathryn Dennis would admit knowing someone who only owned a $10k airplane.

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm

A 10k airplane?

this pains me but July 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

While they are plains and a tad more expensive than $10K, they actually aren’t as much as you think. You can get a used one anywhere from $17,500-to about $32,000 and they haven’t made new ones (C150’s or C152) in years so as much of an ass as he is he isn’t too far off with his $10k comment

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 5:21 pm

That has to be a joke? Boats cost far more than that. Heck, it cost me 10k in REPAIRS for a BOAT and not top of line.

So basically what you are saying is it was an air tank?

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm

It is my personal opinion those flying the Cessna were not air safety savvy. Private license has far less restrictions than a F-16 pilot. I also read they were rising in altitude when the collision happened. Did they clear their flight? Probably not.

On the opposite side of that debate, I strongly doubt the F-16 fighter pilot is going anywhere any time soon. He is a valuable asset who can do no wrong. Pilot training is rigorous, much more so than civilian, in my opinion. He is government property. He is an asset. They are highly trained and given the few facts, sounds like the Cessna was at fault.

I feel confident saying the F-16 pilot will not be found at fault.

RogueElephant July 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

As sophisticated as the F-16 is the pilot should have been aware of the Cessna long before he was even close. Must have been texting. Isn’t that what all accidents are blamed on now a days?

FAA cert ###2162 July 8, 2015 at 3:42 pm

basic rule of navigation……..the LEAST maneuverable vehicle has the right of way…….

Victorious Secret July 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Yes, that is the general rule; key word being “general.” But, you might also want to read up on instrument flight rules coupled with the rules regarding controlled airspace, while looking at the Charlotte VFR sectional.

I’ll wait further facts before forming a hypothesis. But we know the F-16 was conducting instrument training (so says their spokesman). Therefore, it is extremely likely that he was radar contact with Charleston approach control.
This accident also occurred between 2,000 and 3,000 feet (so says their spokesman). The Cessna likely filed VFR (assuming it filed a flight plan) and had a duty to see and avoid. Additionally, Berkley County (“MKS”) does not have a contact tower (as the airport is shown in magenta on the VFR sectional). Therefore, the Cessna should have made a CTAF call announcing its departure of MKS and also should have contacted Charleston approach as soon as it had left the MKS airspace (or sooner–preferably monitoring both with dual radios, but likely not equipped). Approach should have been able to deconflict.

Conversely, the Cessna could have also properly ignored the semicircular rule if it chose to remain below 3,000 (no idea if it was actively climbing during the accident).

In any event, small “mom and pop” Cessna-type pilots are notorious for not wanting to make the necessary radio calls and would rather just hop from airport to airport. I realize this is blatant generalization, which is why I abstain from passing judgment until more information comes out.

The transponder data will very valuable–along with the actual weather conditions at that time, namely cloud location.

Ultimately, there is still much to determine. It will likely take the NTSB well over a year to publish an official report. I imagine the Air Force will have an internal report completed much sooner.

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I glimpsed your post, but it is my “guess” they did ignore the rules (assuming you are correct): “Cessna could have also properly ignored the semicircular rule if it chose to remain below 3,000.”

To the best of my knowledge anyone flying needs approval from Air Traffic Control. Maybe things have changed and I am catching up.

While I might say fighter pilots are above the law, so to speak, because they are a government asset and the training is rigorous. I also believe the rigorous training is important, however, they too make mistakes.

When you compare a F-16 fighter pilot skills to a private pilot – it’s like dinosaurs and piss ants.

FAA cert ###2162 July 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm

re-check your 2nd paragraph……… not actually true depending on airspace…… that vfr cessna had no obligation to report to ATC….a DAMN good idea to do so, but not obligated…. you can fly VFR most all of the State of SC and not speak to ATC….i personally don’t recommend it, but it can be done

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Ooops — IF that is the case, therein lies the problem. Might be why they are taking so long to explain. IF that is the case, makes absolutely NO sense in an airspace. Particularly in a state where there are military bases. But hey —

pilot July 9, 2015 at 7:15 am

No, you would be wrong. Most general aviation pilots never talk to approach, it is not required.

FAA cert ###2162 July 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm

agreed with most of that………however, …..simulated or even actual instrument approach, i believe it was under VFR conditions…every pilot’s obligation is to see and avoid, even if on and IFR plan…… the F16 would not have been likely monitoring the CTAF at 50J and (given the sectional in my hand) the Cessna is under NO obligation to report to CHS being their physical location if not inbound..good idea? hell to the yeah, but not obligated to do so
bottom line, i find it hard to believe the F16 not contributory….and, sadly, likely the tower at CHS as well…..transponders being operative
i do not have CHS plates in hand, but i doubt he was on a strict approach at that locale if not actually ON an ifr plan, and either way i certainly hope that CHS approach plates +/or corelating intersections give effect for the proximity and prescence of 50J such as to avoid these horrific events
sad all way around….possible early retirement with no fringe benefits for the jet-jock or the screen reader at CHS……i hope not……but sadly i find it hard to blame GA aircraft in vicinity of their GA field in a vulnerable attitude and speed being of primary blame here

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 4:46 pm

There was a case of a man just this year who put helium balloons to his chair and ended up parachuting off. In the past, there was one guy who actually made it into the airspace. Pilot looks out the window and here is a guy in a lawn chair with like a case of beer floating next to him. He radios in – you aren’t going to believe what I just saw.

I’m sure it’s somewhere on the internet to look up, but civilians don’t always fly by air code.

Victorious Secret July 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Completely agree that the fast mover also had a duty to see and avoid if under VFR conditions.

Similarly, if the Cessna is crossing upon an instrument approach path, he better damn well be monitoring approach. You are correct, he may not “have” to be talking to approach (based on airspace of course), but you could also similarly argue that the “had” to be in radio contact when crossing an established corridor or IFR approach/departure path.

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Not if they have not reported their intent to fly. It is most likely the Cessna was at fault, but rest assured IMO, they will be. IMO.

Lynn July 8, 2015 at 4:31 pm

LOL – well, if I had to guess the Cessna pilot was texting. I can’t even text and type haha! True story.

F-16 Pilot Also To Blame July 9, 2015 at 1:00 am

But the Cessna was in the 16’s radar and warnings should have activated, unless turned off.

pilot July 9, 2015 at 7:11 am

You are a complete idiot. That area is uncontrolled airspace so there is no clearance needed to climb. The requirements to become a FAA pilot are the same. F16 pilot should have had additional systems training for an obviously more complex aircraft and there is obviously radar and avoidance equipment on the F16. How can you possibly think that the Cessna is at fault? You are not a pilot, that’s for sure.

Near Miss July 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Luckily the engine piece stopped at the trailer and didn’t go through it, otherwise we might have lost our favorite little failed blogger, GT.


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