On November 22nd, 2023, a Cirrus SR 22T (tail number N17DT) crashed in a cornfield located in Shelby County, Indiana, near the Shelbyville Municipal Airport.
On board was Nathan Allen Finney, age 42 from Bloomington, IN, and Warren Bruhl, age 59 from Northbrook, IL. Reportedly, Finney had recently purchased the aircraft and was on a training flight with Bruhl as the flight instructor. Bruhl worked for Gambit Aviation. The company confirmed Bruhl’s death in a Facebook post.
Indiana State Police and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of a plane crash about a mile north of Interstate 74 in Shelby County at 4:50 p.m., ISP said in a news release.
Officers found smoke rising from a burning single engine aircraft that had crashed in the middle of a cornfield.
“After the fire was extinguished, the remains of one adult man was visible in the wreckage,” ISP Sgt. John Perrine said in the release. “Troopers continued to examine the damaged aircraft and later that evening the remains of a second adult male was located in the wreckage.”
“Being in the rural area, in a cornfield, creates some issues with accessibility to the scene,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine. “And then now it’s dark, and so obviously hinders a little bit of the investigation as well.”
The FlightAware website tracked the Cirrus SR22T single-engine airplane departing from the Monroe County Airport in Bloomington, IN at 4:05PM, however, radar contact was lost near Shelbyville, IN at 4:46PM.
According to sources, it has been stated that a witness, who was traveling eastbound on I-74, saw a small airplane to her left flying over a field southbound.
The witness stated that the airplane was very low and looked stalled or as if it was hovering or hanging. The witness estimated the airplane’s altitude as 200 ft above ground level. As the airplane approached the witness’s position, it took a sharp turn to the left or east. Immediately after turning east, the airplane seemed to lose all control. The left wing dipped, and the airplane was fully sideways; the wings were vertical.
The airplane rotated to the right with the wings vertical. The witness thought that the airplane rotated to the left one more time and then leveled out extremely low to the ground. The airplane disappeared behind trees at an estimated altitude of 50-100 ft above ground level. A second or two after disappearing behind the trees, the witness saw a fireball and thick black smoke. The witness stated that no parts came off the airplane and there was no deployment of the rocket from the airplane’s parachute system before the airplane’s impact with the ground.
Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that it was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The main wreckage was in a corn field and included the fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine. The airplane was oriented on a tail to nose southwesterly heading. The main wreckage was about 40 ft from a ground scar that exhibited impressions of the left and right wing leading edges with an airplane nose impression in the center of both wing impressions. The nose impression contained propeller blades. There were marks consistent in shape with propeller slash marks near the outermost area of the right wing impression. The flight control system was confirmed continuity. The wing flap jack screw extension equated to fully retracted wing flaps. The aileron trim was neutral. The elevator motor extension could not be determined due to impact damage.
On the day of the crash, Bruhl shared photos on Facebook of him and Finney flying in the Cirrus.
“It’s moments like this I cherish,” Bruhl wrote. “Training Nathan Finney yesterday in his new 22T and assisting his development in the next chapters of his flying passions. IFR flying above the clouds and back on a night approach in IFR into his home airport BMG. Much to be THANKFUL FOR this year.”
Nathan Finney, was the founder of Finney Hospitality Group, which according to the company has five restaurants in Bloomington along with others throughout the state, including Indianapolis, Carmel, West Lafayette and Mishawaka. The other man was identified as Warren Bruhl DC, a flight instructor from Illinois who was also a chiropractor, according to Gambit Aviation, which posted about Bruhl’s death in a social media post.
Finney opened The Tap in Bloomington in 2012, which was followed by the Tap Brewing Company, Yogi’s, Social Cantina, and Smokeworks, according to social media posts, and was contracted to open a location at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Finney Hospitality Group released a statement Sunday.
Finney lived in Bloomington with his wife and two young children.
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