Flight Instructor Killed By Moving Propeller At Beverly Airport


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Flight Instructor Killed By Moving Propeller At Beverly Airport

By Jim Douglas

August 30, 2010 - Michael Costales, age 30, a flight instructor at Beverly Municipal Airport, was struck and killed by an aircraft moving propeller on Saturday. Costales had taxied his aircraft out to the run-up area of the active runway, 34 at Beverly Municipal Airport.

While doing his run-up, he noticed an aircraft next to him, who also was doing their run-up, was having difficulty in securing the aircraft canopy. A run-up area is a point on the airport that a pilot will taxi the aircraft before takeoff and perform aircraft systems check.

At this designated spot, the pilot will check aircraft instruments, throttle up engines to check for any problems, set in proper radio frequencies and secure the aircraft. If all systems are operating properly the pilot will then contact the tower to inform them he or she is ready for takeoff.


At about 12:30 PM, Costales got out of his Piper PA 28 Cherokee aircraft to assist another flight instructor and his student with fastening the canopy of their PiperSport aircraft. An aircraft canopy is the transparent enclosure over the cockpit of some types of aircraft. As Costales got out of his aircraft and walked toward the other aircraft, he was struck by his aircraft?s propeller. The student pilot in the PiperSport aircraft called 911 but Costales was killed instantly. The airport was then shut down for a couple of hours as investigators tried to figure out what caused this horrific event.

Normal operating procedures call for when an aircraft has only one pilot at the controls and the pilot is going to exit the aircraft, the pilot must shut down the engine before exiting the aircraft, especially at a run-up area of the airport when the aircraft if facing the wind. At this spot on the airport, wind shift and wind speed can change. The aircraft break can come loose from its break or the aircraft can be jolted from its position. 

Costales had been employed by Beverly Flight Center as their head flight instructor. People who knew him said he was always at the aircraft teaching and flying and he loved flying, "He was a great guy, loved the airport, and loved his job." Officials report his death appears to be an accident but an autopsy will be performed.

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