FAA, NTSB investigate plane flipping in severe weather at Orlando airport, killing 1

Plane was taxiing on a runway when it was flipped by wind gust

As the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigate a twin-engine plane that flipped over during a severe storm at the Orlando Executive Airport Thursday, News 6 is learning new information about who uses the aircraft.

ORLANDO, Fla. – As the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigate a twin-engine plane that flipped over during a severe storm at the Orlando Executive Airport Thursday, News 6 is learning new information about who uses the aircraft.

Audio recordings from air traffic control also give new insight into what was happening in the air and on the ground as the storm moved in before 5 p.m.

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A voice on a recording from the airport’s tower can be heard saying, “just a heads up, based on the way this weather to the south is moving we are probably going to be IFR here in the next 10 or so minutes.”

Both pilots and controllers can be heard talking about the rain, lightning, and wind. Around 5 p.m., a call went out to a plane with registration number N43RG. No response is heard.

On Friday afternoon, the FAA confirmed that is the Diamond DA42 aircraft that flipped over with two people on board. Investigators say it was taxiing for departure when it was flipped over by a wind gust.

“It was going to be departing our main runway, runway 7,” said Judith-Ann Jarrette, the director of the Orlando Executive Airport.

Airport authorities say one person died, and the other was hurt. The person who died was later identified as Alfa Ekele. The name of the person who was injured has not been released. An incident notice on the FAA’s website shows the person who survived has minor injuries.

Based on the tail number, News 6 found photos of the aircraft on social media pages for the company MyFlight. The website for the flight school features pictures of similar planes. When News 6 reached out for a statement, they responded via email “at this time we are not commenting on the situation.”

Wind gusts over 60 miles an hour were recorded at the time the plane flipped. Downed trees and branches are visible in the area surrounding the airport.

“If you drive on to the airport, you’ll see a lot of debris on the roads right now,” said Jarrette.

Jarette said a second plane that flipped over on the north side of hangar 11, causing other aircraft on the ground to collide with each other. No one else was injured.

“One of the aircrafts was unoccupied. It was parked on the ramp of our fixed base operator,” said Jarrette.

Other audio recordings from air traffic control include a repeated announcement that the airport is closed and operations are suspended. Airport officials say when the weather is severe they will hold aircraft that has taxied out.

The FAA and NTSB investigation is ongoing.


About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.