After Sloppy Preflight, CAP Member Trio Perish Enroute to FAA Safety Seminar

Civil Air Patrol Board of GovernorsCivil Air Patrol Pilots Col John Tilton, David Williams and Capt William Young perish in airplane crash.

by LesMis Wing | AuxBeacon News Contributor

[Editor’s Note: On July 20th 2018, a comment and contact submission provided the first of a two part correction to our oversight in not reporting this accident. Part 1 presents the accident and NTSB findings and Part 2 details the Pineda/Tilton/Courter/Carr history. Thank you for politely correcting our omission, we will briefly pin the post before placing into correct sequence.]

Col John E. Tilton Jr., an Airline Transport Pilot and deposed Civil Air Patrol BOG member and former Southeast Region and Alabama Wing commander, flew two Mississippi Wing Civil Air Patrol officers to their deaths on 13 NOV 2012. Lt Col David Williams was the Mississippi Wing Stan/Eval officer and Capt William C. Young was the finance officer for the Major James S. McKinnie Composite Squadron. N717RL, the Piper A-32-300 carrying the three men, crashed into a house in a residential area shortly after takeoff from Hawkins Field Airport (KHKS) around 5:10 p.m. according to authorities. The airplane caught fire and injured one homeowner who received second degree burns but escaped through a window. The family was forced to stay in a motel and the injured party was repeatedly in and out of the hospital for treatment.

Col John E. Tilton, Civil Air Patrol ATP pilot

Fire consumes N717RL after private crash of Civil Air Patrol leaders in Jackson, MS.

Just as you have shown in other stories on your blog, Civil Air Patrol’s spin was all praise that ignored the fact that Tilton had been removed from the Board of Governors for cause and that his membership was previously terminated from the program by former national commander Maj Gen Amy Courter only to be restored by Chuck Carr after Courter timed out. See Part 2 to follow.

“The CAP family is deeply saddened by this tremendous loss,” said Col Carlton Sumner, Mississippi Wing commander. “These fine men served selflessly [not really, as Part 2 will show] in the military and/or in CAP. Their legacy will be marked by tireless service, devotion to duty and with great personal integrity and character. They touched innumerable lives as friends, business associates, mentors, instructors and leaders.”

The NTSB investigation discovered that prior to Col Tilton’s accident flight the airplane had sat in its hangar for the past two months with its fuel tanks half full under varying temperature conditions.

The manager of the hangar facility described the pilot’s preflight inspection as “real quick.”

About 2 minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported an “engine problem” to air traffic control and turned the airplane back toward the airport. The airplane subsequently descended at a steep angle, consistent with a stall, into a house located in a populated area. The airplane impacted the roof, came to rest upside down, and was subsequently mostly consumed in a post-crash fire.

It is [most] likely that condensation occurred in the half-filled fuel tanks during the previous 2 months that the airplane was sitting in the hangar under varying temperature conditions. The pilot had the opportunity to eliminate the condensation during the preflight inspection, but given witness statements indicating that the pilot was in a hurry and his oversight of the under-inflated tire, it is likely that the pilot’s preflight inspection was inadequate, which resulted in his failure to notice the fuel tank condensation.

Probable Cause and Findings

On 7 MAR 2014 the NTSB released their Aviation Accident Final Report on Tilton’s flight The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in his failure to note the water in the fuel tank due to condensation, which subsequently shut down the engine in flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s self-induced pressure to expedite the departure.

Col John Tilton, Southeast Region Commander

Col John Tilton, Civil Air Patrol

Related Stories

John E. Tilton Removed from Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors

♦ John E. Tilton Reinstated to Board of Governors

♦ Gen Amy Courter Terminates John E. Tilton’s Civil Air Patrol Membership

♦ Gen Chuck Carr Restores Col John E. Tilton’s Membership

3 Comments on "After Sloppy Preflight, CAP Member Trio Perish Enroute to FAA Safety Seminar"

  1. Avatar ABEvalTour | July 27, 2018 at 02:37 | Reply

    This story is TRUE. We can all read the accident report at and we can read about Tilton and Pineda on

  2. Avatar Allen H. Booze | July 22, 2018 at 22:51 | Reply

    Bowling? HAHAHAHA. Bowling is the POS who gave us the embarrassment of Tony Pineda, introduced Paul J. Albano and who wasted corporate funds on the SER Cruise Ship Conference and the NASCAR scandal. Double Billin’ Bowlin’. Bowling should have been terminated with the others but emerged nearly unscathed.

    Do they trot him out, you ask?

    Only with the cadet nubes who don’t know the corrupt history. Look at the photo. That’s Bowling with SER CC Barry Melton as well as former Booze Allen employee and FAA Operations Supervisor and Larry Julian’s [redacted] Al Van Lengen. This current photo of the good fellas alone is worth five different stories on your blog.

    Wait till we feed you the story on Carl Levin, Allen Peck, George Ross and Tom Harkin. You have most of this on your site, but not in the way the members will understand.

    [link removed]

  3. Avatar Bowling Burn | July 22, 2018 at 13:02 | Reply

    Man! I’ve not seen Civil Air Patrol on fire like that since Maj Gen Richard L. Bowling ‘s wasteful #46 crashed and burned at the 2002 Funai 250 in Richmond, Virginia. Do they trot him out much?

    [Admin: link removed, photo added]

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