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Status:Preliminary - official
Date:Saturday 29 May 2021
Type:Silhouette image of generic C501 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
Operator:JL&GL Productions LP
Registration: N66BK
MSN: 501-0254
First flight: 1982
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1B
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Total:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Smyrna Airport, TN (MQY) (   United States of America)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Smyrna Airport, TN (MQY/KMQY), United States of America
Destination airport:Palm Beach-Palm Beach County Airport, FL (LNA/KLNA), United States of America
A Cessna 501 Citation I/SP crashed into Percy Priest Lake, shortly after takeoff from Smyrna Airport, Tennessee (MQY).
The airplane departed at 10:53:06 and made a climbing right turn to the east and the pilot was instructed to contact Nashville departure control. At 10:54:27, when the airplane was about 3 miles north of the airport, a departure controller contacted the airplane and asked if they were "on frequency." The pilot responded with, "N66BK with you." The controller then instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading 130°; however, the pilot did not acknowledge. At 10:54:46, the controller asked the pilot if he "copied" the heading instruction. The pilot responded about 4 seconds later and said, "130...Bravo Kilo."
At 10:55:11, the controller instructed the pilot to climb and maintain 15,000 ft msl, but there was no response. The controller then made multiple attempts to re-establish communications with the airplane; however, there were no further communications.
A review of radar data revealed that after the pilot established contact with departure control the airplane made a series of heading changes along with several climbs and descents before it entered a steep, descending left turn. The last radar return, at 10:55:05, indicated the airplane was at an altitude of about 700 ft msl, descending about 31,000 ft-per-minute, on a heading of
A witness was fishing about 150 ft west of the Fate Sanders Recreation Area boat ramp located on Lake Percy Priest, about 2.7 miles northeast of MQY. He described the weather as a very low ceiling in mist. The witness saw the airplane impact the lake in a "straight down" nose first attitude. He did not see any evidence of fire or an explosion.

The aircraft took off from runway 32 at 10:53 and commenced a climbing right hand turn. After reaching 2900 feet the aircraft descended to about 1800 feet before climbing again to 3000 feet. The aircraft then began a rapid descent and impacted the water of Percy Priest Lake.

Weather at the time of the accident included a 1300 feet overcast.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation ongoing
Accident number: ERA21FA234
Download report:
Language: English


METAR Weather report:
15:56 UTC / 10:56 local time:
KMQY 291556Z 31010KT 10SM OVC013 14/12 A3004 RMK AO2 SLP178 T01390117

16:03 UTC / 11:03 local time:
KMQY 291603Z 30011KT 10SM OVC013 14/12 A3004 RMK AO2


photo of Cessna-501-Citation-I-N66BK
photo of Cessna-501-Citation-I-N66BK
accident date: 29-05-2021
type: Cessna 501 Citation I
registration: N66BK

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Smyrna Airport, TN to Palm Beach-Palm Beach County Airport, FL as the crow flies is 1204 km (752 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
languages: languages


Citation I

  • 377 built
  • 71st loss
  • 41st fatal accident
  • 5th worst accident
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