NTSB releases new details in Myrtle Beach banner plane crash investigation

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 7:32 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – New information from the National Transportation Safety Board is shedding light on how a banner plane may have crashed in July.

The Piper PA-12 plane went down on July 31 near 40th Avenue North while it was maneuvering in the flight phase.

The initial preliminary report from the FAA did not give a reason for the crash and instead stated that the plane crashed into the water for unknown reasons.

However, in NTSB’s preliminary report, the agency states the pilot claimed the plane’s engines stopped producing power. When this happened, the plane was 500 feet above the ground and parallel to the beach.

The pilot tried to restart the engine, but the engine once again quit moments later, according to the report. The pilot, who suffered minor injuries, ditched the airplane in the ocean, which caused “substantial damage to the fuselage,” the report reads.

The only person on board was the pilot, who was able to safely get out of the plane and was helped by witnesses on the beach.

The FAA and the NTSB are working together in the investigation.


The July 31 crash was not the first time the NTSB has investigated the aircraft with tail number N3036M.

RELATED: NTSB reports show banner plane involved in Myrtle Beach crash has history of accidents

In July 1995, the small plane went into a ditch at an airport in North Myrtle Beach. The report shows that the plane had been started, but the pilot got out of the plane to change hooks from the banner and the throttle was not in an idle position. The report shows the plane taxied away from the pilot and went into a ditch.

There were no injuries, but the plane suffered “substantial damage.”

Then in April 2009, a report shows the pilot lost control of the plane during a landing in Georgetown and left the runway. The NTSB determined the accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain directional control. The report shows the contributing factors were the pilot’s lack of experience with the make and model of the plane.

No one was hurt in the crash, but the plane’s left landing gear collapsed and the left wing was bent upward.

WMBF News reached out to the FAA regarding the plane’s history back in August. The FAA stated that a plane involved in an accident can be safely flown again provided that any damage is properly repaired.