Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N8924Y: Fatal accident occurred November 05, 2021 near Rock Hill – York County Airport (KUZA), South Carolina (2023)

Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina

Accident Number: ERA22FA047

Date and Time: November 5, 2021, 19:26 Local

Registration: N8924Y

Aircraft: Piper PA30

Injuries: 1 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 5, 2021, about 1926 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-30 airplane, N8924Y, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Rock Hill, South Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot departed the Rock Hill (York County) Airport-Bryant Field (UZA), Rock Hill, South Carolina, in another airplane with a friend to fly to the Savannah-Hardin County Airport (SNH), Savannah, Tennessee, to pick up the accident airplane, which he had recently purchased. The mechanic who had performed the last annual inspection on the airplane, received a call from the pilot at SNH during which the pilot told him that it was his first flight in a twin Comanche, and they discussed the fuel tanks. The pilot indicated that he was going to fly to the Hartselle-Morgan County Regional Airport (5M0), Hartselle, Alabama, to pick up the airplane’s logbooks.

The pilot later called the mechanic from 5M0 and stated, “Well, I made my first flight in a twin Comanche. Everything went great.” He further stated that he had picked up the airplane’s logbooks and that his next stop was the LaGrange-Callaway Airport (LGC), LaGrange, Georgia before returning to UZA. Fuel purchase receipts indicated that 35.78 gallons of 100 LL aviation gasoline were purchased at LGC at 1620.

The pilot subsequently called the mechanic from the airplane at 1838 to report that he was in the vicinity of UZA and the landing gear circuit breaker kept popping. The pilot began to circle south of UZA while the mechanic provided guidance on the manual gear extension process. The calls repeatedly dropped; however, the final call began at 1913 and dropped at 1926 after the pilot stated, “I gotta add some power.”

The airplane impacted a wooded area about 4 nautical miles south of UZA. The airplane came to rest in an upright, nose-down attitude oriented on a true heading of 297°. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane’s nose was impact crushed upward and aft and the nose and cockpit area were fragmented. The fuselage was fractured aft of the wing roots and displaced upward. The empennage, with the stabilator and rudder intact, was fractured about 2 ft aft of the baggage door and deformed over the top of the fuselage and was found resting on the right wing.

The right wing was accordion-crushed aft and fractured about 9 ft from its root with the outer wing section laying on top of the inboard section. The right engine compartment and engine were intact; however, the propeller was impact separated from the engine at the crankshaft flange and mostly buried in the soil. Examination of the propeller revealed leading edge damage, twisting and chordwise scratches. The main landing gear remained attached to the wing and was noted in the “down and locked” position.

The left wing leading edge was impact damaged. The engine compartment and engine remained intact with the propeller attached to the crankshaft flange. Examination of the propeller revealed leading edge damage, twisting and chordwise scratches. The left main landing gear was noted in the “down and locked” position with its fractured oleo tube deformed aft at the fractured area. There was odor consistent with aviation fuel at the accident site.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area.

The stabilator and rudder trims were neutral, and the flaps were in the retracted position.

Fuel was found within the gascolator bowls, engine driven fuel pumps, fuel lines, and fuel servos. Recovered fuel tested negative for water contamination.

Both engines were rotated via the crankshaft flange and thumb compressions, valve action, and crankshaft continuity were confirmed.

All magnetos were impulse coupled and sparked at all towers.

All spark plugs remained installed and displayed normal coloration when compared to the Champion AV-27 chart except for the right engine bottom No.1 spark plug which was impact destroyed.

Oil was found in various oil lines throughout the engines and rocker covers.

The oil filters were opened and found to have minor carbon, ferrous, and non-ferrous material.

Examination of both engines did not reveal any preimpact anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

A portable GPS, a multi-function display unit, and the green landing light bulb were retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper

Registration: N8924Y

Model/Series: PA30 C

Aircraft Category: Airplane

Amateur Built:

Operator: On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC

Condition of Light: Night

Observation Facility, Elevation: UZA,669 ft msl

Observation Time: 18:54 Local

Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles

Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C /2°C

Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear

Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 50°

Lowest Ceiling: None

Visibility: 10 miles

Altimeter Setting: 30.3 inches Hg

Type of Flight Plan Filed: None

Departure Point: LaGrange, GA (LGC)

Destination: Rock Hill, SC (UZA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Substantial

Passenger Injuries: N/A

Aircraft Fire: None

Ground Injuries: N/A

Aircraft Explosion: None

Total Injuries: 1 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude: 34.922803,-81.049551

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N8924Y: Fatal accident occurred November 05, 2021 near Rock Hill – York County Airport (KUZA), South Carolina (1)

Robert Anthony Prestininzi

Fort Mill, South Carolina

June 1, 1972 - November 5, 2021

Rob was born June 1, 1972 in Lakeland, Florida and he passed from this life November 5, 2021 in Rock Hill, SC. He was 49 years old, and he packed more “life” into those 49 years than many who live double that number of years.

Rob graduated from Gibson County High School (Dyer, TN). He received a Bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master’s degree from Mississippi State.

Rob served as a Deputy Sheriff with Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department in Murfreesboro, TN. During his tenure, he served as a patrol deputy officer, a drug investigator, and a detective. After leaving law enforcement, he went into residential home building. He moved into the financial markets serving as a Vice-President of Investigations with LPL Financial and then became a loan originator with Guild Mortgage. In 2020, Rob fulfilled a life-long dream when he became a flight instructor. Rob was an avid runner, completing over fifteen 100 mile runs.

Rob is survived by: His wife Briana, His two sons; Slater (10) and Kai (1 month). His Parents Cindy & Mike Prestininzi (Dyer TN), Brother Philip (Cassie) Prestininzi (Dyer, TN), Sister Jamie (Justin) Carr (Dyer, TN). Three nieces and three nephews. Extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins and more friends than you could possibly count.

Rob was also an avid “smiler”. Anyone blessed with the privilege of spending time with Rob will attest that seeing his smile made it impossible not to smile with him. You were left feeling like you had just been with someone who thought you were the most important person in the world.

Celebration of Life 11-20-2021 11am @ the Field Trail Barn at the Anne Springs Close Greenway: 195 Adventure Road, Fort Mill Celebration in Tennessee 12-4-2021 11am-3pm Rutherford County Sportsmen’s Club @ 1231 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN

In Rob’s youth he spent a lot of time with his great-grandparents, Charles and Elsie Slater. These great-grandparents had such a profound impact on Rob’s life that he named his first son after them. Although Rob’s firstborn, Slater Cruz, never met them, Rob made sure a part of them would live on in his son… and because he was that kind of person… a lot of Rob will live on too.

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N8924Y: Fatal accident occurred November 05, 2021 near Rock Hill – York County Airport (KUZA), South Carolina (2)

Robert Prestininzi


A Fort Mill pilot killed in a Rock Hill plane crash was a flight instructor for a Charlotte school that did business at the Rock Hill/York County airport, officials said.

Robert Prestininzi, 49, was the pilot and sole occupant of a small plane that crashed nose-first in woods near Heckle Boulevard in southern Rock Hill around 7:30 p.m. Friday, according to the York County Coroner and National Transportation Safety Board.

The airport is in northern Rock Hill near S.C. 161.

The cause of the crash is unclear. No structures or people were hit on the ground, The Herald previously reported.

Prestininzi had been a flight instructor at FlyCarolina Flight School since 2020, the company said on Facebook. The company is based in Charlotte and has schools at airports in Rock Hill, and Monroe and Concord in N.C., according to the company.

Prestininzi was returning on a flight to Rock Hill, according to FlyCarolina. He had been teaching at Rock Hill for more than a year.

“He was well liked and respected by students and staff alike. He will be missed,” the company said. “Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

FlyCarolina Operations Manager Chris Sanchez confirmed to The Herald on Monday Prestininzi was a flight instructor, but declined further comment.

FlyCarolina is listed as a flight school on the Rock Hill/York County Airport website.

Officials have not said if the flight Prestininzi was on when the crash happened was personal or business.


The investigation into the crash is ongoing, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told The Herald Monday.

The plane’s flight track, analyzed by the NTSB, showed it circled the Rock Hill area before the crash, Knudson said.

The Piper PA-30 twin engine aircraft was on its way to the Rock Hill airport from an airport in LaGrange, Ga., according to Knudson and a Federal Aviation Administration statement.

LaGrange is southwest of Atlanta near the Alabama state line.

On-site investigators are expected to finish field work Monday, Knudson said, and a preliminary report could be available within two weeks. A full report on the crash could take a year or more, he said.


Prestininzi worked for a Charlotte mortgage company and had been in financial services in the Charlotte and Fort Mill area for about 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Prestininzi had been a deputy for six years through 2001 at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The staff at the sheriff’s office near Nashville are heart-broken to hear of the death of someone who still is remembered and loved in the law enforcement community, said spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni.

Prestinizi, known as Rob, rose through the sheriff’s office ranks from patrol deputy to drug investigator and detective, said Capt. Chris Haynes of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was one of the most driven and hardest workers I have ever worked with in my life,” Haynes told The Herald Monday in a statement. “He always had the most positive outlook on everything in life and the way he could talk to people was what set him apart. You could be a millionaire or a bum on the street and Rob could carry on a conversation with you and leave you a better person for just having talked to him. Heaven gained a great person.”

Prestininzi was also an avid runner who was a longtime member of the Rock Hill Striders running club, a club member posted on Facebook.

Funeral arrangements have not been released.


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