On a Sunday afternoon in September 2009, a Piper Saratoga with four aboard was approaching Fort Lauderdale on an IFR flight plan from Gainesville. The Florida weather was fine, with scattered clouds and mild winds. The airplane was at 3,800 feet, on a heading of about 145 degrees, and was being handled by Miami Approach.
Then – “Mayday mayday mayday mayday; 2467Y has a fire in the engine.”
MIA – N2467Y Miami, roger, are you going to try and make it to Executive Airport? That’s the closest airport to you, sir.
67Y – We’re trying. … We got smoke in the cockpit and we’re trying to get to the … nearest airport.
MIA – N2767Y [sic] roger, fly heading of 110, proceed direct to Executive Airport. That’s the closest airport actually to you.
67Y – 110 on the heading, 67Y.
MIA – N67Y the Pahokee airport is actually the closest airport to you. It is 23.93 miles away. Do you want to try and get to Pahokee or do you want to get to Exec?
67Y – We’d like to get to Exec. I think what we did is we, we definitely got, we were able, we have power. I think we’ve lost one … cylinder or something like that; we can see some fire coming off the nose. The smoke in the cockpit has dissipated. We can maintain altitude, ah, will just have to keep you posted. …
MIA – N67Y you wanna still try to make Fort Lauderdale Exec; that is, it is 24 miles away, is that, that’s the … do you want to try to continue to Exec, correct?
67Y – We’re gonna try and continue to Exec, 67Y.
MIA – N67Y, keep me advised, sir.
67Y – Will do, 67Y.