Don't know how many of you knew Andy Holub, brought dive gear here from Miami in
his plane. He died in a crash yesterday.
PEMBROKE PINES -- An experienced Miami pilot twice tried to land Thursday
morning at North Perry Airport before crashing into a truck in the front
yard of a home 200 yards northeast of the runway.
The pilot, Andy Holub, 58, the only person on board, died in the crash.
Just before crashing about 8:15 a.m., witnesses said the pilot of the kit
plane, a four-seater, single engine Supercruiser TR4, aborted two attempts
to land, didn't attain enough altitude after the second pass, banked sharply
and crashed into the front yard of a one-story stucco home at 7051 SW 10th
The plane ripped down power lines, sheared the top off a 40-foot palm tree
and crashed into a Ford F-150 pickup. The palm's branches shattered the
plane's windshield. The impact sent the front end of the truck into the
front of the home, damaging the exterior and shattering windows.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. No one else was injured.
FAA records show Holub was certified to fly single- and multi-engine private
Colin Bailey, who lives in the area, was walking with his brother along
Southwest 11th Street when he heard the plane overhead.
"The engines were going on and off and it was flying way too low," Bailey
said. "It was making a 90-degree turn and then we heard the crash."
They ran to the scene and found several people trying to help the pilot. At
least one power line was down, lying across the plane, and the smell of fuel
filled the air.
Rick St. Germaine, a neighbor, heard the crash and was first to reach the
"I leaped over a downed power line and checked the pilot for vitals," said
St. Germaine, adding he learned first aid in the Air Force. "He was slumped
over the seat, had blood on his forehead and it looked liked his lower jaw
was broken. I shook him, checked for breathing and a pulse on both sides of
his neck. There was nothing."
St. Germaine said he was surprised the pilot died.
"It didn't look like he was that badly damaged and neither did the
aircraft," he said.
Moments later, Luz Tapia, 72, peeked out the home's front door. Neighbors
warned her to go back inside because they feared gas fumes could ignite.
Tapia, of Ecuador, was visiting her son, who owns the home, daughter-in-law
and grandchildren. She was home alone and said she heard nothing before the
"I was in the kitchen, 20 feet from the crash. I heard something terrible,
and I thought I was going to die," Tapia said. "When I was able to see it, I
screamed because I almost died with the plane on top of me."
The crash knocked out electricity and phone lines for about three blocks in
Holub took off from Tamiami Airport in Kendall on Thursday morning and
established communication with the control tower when he was 10 miles west
of North Perry Airport, National Transportation Safety Board investigator
Alan Yurman said. According to Yurman, here's what happened:
On his first landing attempt, Holub was just shy of the runway and decided
to circle the airport. The tower told him to follow a traffic pattern and
make all right turns.
On his second attempt, Holub traveled three-quarters of the way down the
runway when he changed his mind, pulled up but failed to attain much
altitude. He then made a sharp left turn and disappeared from the tower's
"He was in communication with the tower the whole time and never gave any
indication of any distress," Yurman said.
He added that Holub was supposed to pick up a passenger about 8 a.m. and
then fly to El Salvador. The passenger, whose name was not released, was at
the airport when the plane crashed, he said.
Holub's estranged wife, Lenor Felicetti, was visiting relatives in San
Francisco, Calif., and learned of her husband's death from her brother,
"She's very sad and in shock," he said.
Holub got his pilot's license in his 20s, Pinero said. He described him as
quiet and likeable and said he had a business exporting diving equipment to
Belize and Cancun.
"It was shocking, all of a sudden the guy was gone. He was a very good
person," he said. "He was a nondrinker, a nonsmoker, and he liked sports."
One of Holub's stepsons, Dominique Felicetti, 14, spoke well of his
"All he really wanted to do was do that business with airplanes even though
everybody kept suggesting that he shouldn't because it doesn't bring in good
money," the teen said.
The plane Holub flew was built five years ago in Camarillo, Calif. The
original owner, a California man, sold it about two weeks ago for about
$70,000, the man's wife said. It never gave any problems, she added.
The new owner, Solly Melyon, president of Pulsar Aircraft Corp. in El Monte,
Calif., said the company bought the plane and flew it across the country to
Lakeland for an air show. Melyon flew with another pilot and said that it
was a safe plane with more than 300 hours of flying time.
Pulsar had hired Holub at least once before and contracted with him again
recently to fly the plane to Miami and then to Gainesville this week for
upholstery work. Holub, who Melyon said had more than 13,000 hours of flying
experience, was scheduled to return the plane to California next week. He
did not know of a trip to El Salvador.
"He was a very experienced pilot," Melyon said. "This is what strikes me as
Holub filed no paperwork about his intended destination and was not required
to because he was flying in good weather and wasn't using instruments, NTSB
investigator Yurman said.
A typical Supercruiser kit plane takes about 1,300 hours to build and costs
$50,000 to $100,000, though they can cost as little as $5,000, said Dick
Knapinski, a spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh,
Knapinski said homebuilt aircraft are lighter, faster and more
fuel-efficient than similar production aircraft.
He said there is no information that the Supercruiser TR4 was more
accident-prone than others.
"Eighty percent of all aircraft accidents turn out to be pilot error," he
said. "And a very significant number of accidents involving homebuilt
aircraft occur in the first 10 to 20 hours of getting used to the airplane."