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Malcolm P. Clevenstine, 71, a Palm Coast Industrialist, Is Dead From Injuries in Saturday’s Plane Crash in Palatka

| March 22, 2014

A Cessna 400 similar to the one that crashed in Palatka today. (Pyrrhos Papadopoulos)

A Cessna 400 similar to the one that crashed in Palatka today. (Pyrrhos Papadopoulos)

Saturday update (March 22)–Malcolm P. Clevenstine, the 71-year-old passenger in a single-engine Cessna that crashed in Palatka Saturday, died a few hours after the crash. He had been taken to Shands Hospital with critical injuries. Clevenstine, of Mallory Court in Palm Coast, was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol reported Sunday.

Clevenstine was the owner of two corporations previously registered in Florida–Texas-based Warfab Field Machining and Erection Corp., which moved its principal operations to Hallsville, Texas, but operated across the United States, and Heavy Equipment Steel and Consulting LLC, which was still an active Florida corporation at the time of his death.

“Examples of Warfab products include large offshore machine housings that could weigh as much as 15 tons, a barrel mud mixing trailer, a custom frac tank for the oil and gas industry or a 120-cubic-yard, 120,000-pound bucket used on a drag line in the mining industry,” a profile of Clevenstine and his company in a Texas newspaper last year stated. “The company also performs various types of repair and maintenance work. Knowing that downtime for industrial equipment that’s broken or scheduled for maintenance can cost a company millions of dollars, Warfab says it has developed specialty tools and machining processes to help complete such work faster. The company also works to help its clients by using computer modeling to help develop parts it says last longer.”

The original story about Saturday’s plane crash is below.

Two Palm Coast Men Injured as Their Plane Crashes After Touch-and-Go in Putnam County

Two Palm Coast men were injured, one of them critically, when their single-engine plane crashed into a pond’s embankment Friday morning (March 21) behind a Lowes store in Palatka.

Richard Carrara, 73, of Old Oak Drive in palm Coast, was piloting a 2008 Cessna 400, which he owns, and practicing touch-and-go maneuvers at Kay Larkin Airport in Palatka. With him was Malcolm Clevenstine, 71, also of Palm Coast.

Carrara told a Florida Highway Patrol investigator that as he was attempting to gain altitude from a touch-and-go landing, the aircraft’s engine stalled, causing the plane to crash.


Clevenstine was critically injured–he “sustained incapacitating injuries,” according to the FHP report–and evacuated to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Carrara was also taken to Shands, but with minor injuries.

“Cessna are very good, structurally built aircraft,” Col. Jack Howell, the Palm Coast pilot and head of Teens-in-Flight, the pilot-training program. He explained the likeliest scenaro of the crash: “It wasn’t the engine that stalled, the engine doesn’t stall, it’s the wings that stalled, which means his angle of attack, the geometric angle that he’s heading, the higher angles, is what caused the air over the top of the wing to stall, and as a result you don’t have any lift, and of course if you don’t have the altitude, this is what happens, you end up on the end of the runway or in the trees. I’m sure that’s what happened–he exceeded the safe angle of attack.”

The Palatka Police Department was first on scene, turning over the investigation to the FHP, which routinely treats plane crashes as traffic accidents, then turns over the scene to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, both of which were due in Palatka this afternoon.

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11 Responses for “Malcolm P. Clevenstine, 71, a Palm Coast Industrialist, Is Dead From Injuries in Saturday’s Plane Crash in Palatka”

  1. This Is Ridiculous says:

    The “AMATEUR SKIES”! Told everybody these moonlighters can’t fly. Waiting for one to crash into my house in the L section.

  2. Outsider says:

    I think we need to be very careful about speculating about what did or did not happen. While there is often confusion around the term “stall” when discussing aviation, and as Howell says, the wing will enter an aerodynamic stall if an excessive angle of attack is induced. However it is quite possible that the engine lost power, for any number of reasons. The aircraft could very well have glided to the impact point without entering an aerodynamic stall, and simply hit the bank during the forced landing. Without actually witnessing the event, it would be impossible to know what happened and we should wait for the completion of an investigation by the appropriate agencies. My best wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured.

  3. Steve Wolfe says:

    With regards to the engine stalling, I believe the pilot was referring to the engine quitting or failing to respond to the throttle. Of course, absent engine power, there’s only one end in sight, and if his glide path ended where the embankment begins, it wouldn’t be a good ending. Depending on his altitude when he lost power, his glide path could have given him little time to react and set up a better approach to his emergency landing.

    This is a good reminder to all pilots to routinely practice their emergency procedures, but please, not above populated areas. Outside my house I often hear the sounds of engine power suddenly chopping or restoring in a manner suggestive of stall or spin/stall recovery practice in GA aircraft overhead. I always jerk my head up because if I can see such a maneuver and identify the N number I will contact the airport to report them. I know the difference between partial throttle and idle, so it isn’t just aircraft reducing altitude to the traffic pattern.

    I hope Mr. Clevinstine will fully recover. And best wishes, Mr. Carrara.

  4. The Truth says:

    A tragedy, like so many others we deal with on a daily basis. Please cherish each and every day. Try not to let things get you down or upset. There’s always someone out there who’s dealing with something much worse.

    My thoughts and prayers will be with Mr. Clevinstine’s family during this incredibly difficult time.

  5. Genie says:

    It is with great sadness that I extend my sympathy to the Clevenstine family.

  6. Dennis says:

    Mack was one of the nicest men I ever had the honor of knowing. He also has a very nice family, my thought and prayers to them. RIP

  7. Av8hermommy says:

    [Note: please do not tell other commenters not to speculate. You want your freedom to comment. Let them have theirs. Thanks.--FL]

    I very seriously doubt the pilot said “the engine stalled” as that is not the correct verbiage for engine problems when accociated with an aircraft.

    Additionally, stalls are permitted overhead at certain altitudes however, stalls can occur at any speed or power setting so let’s not get our proverbial “panties in a wad” over what we “think” we may hear. If you are close enough to clearly read a tail number and are not near an airport where the plane may be taking off/landing, you should probably call it in. Otherwise, objects overhead aren’t as close as you may think.

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      I guess you are referring to my comments. I don’t simply “think” I know something about flight. I do have a good idea of the altitude of aircraft. I am a former licensed GA pilot. And you can’t speculate any better than I what verbiage you might use after you come within an inch of losing your life and see your friend and passenger injured.

      By the way, isn’t “very seriously doubt” simply what YOU “think?”

      When I trained for my license we always flew to “practice areas,” specifically because they were not populated, so even forced landing practice would not scare people below. My instructor had me practice stalls and spins in the practice area. I hope Flagler Airport’s training is conducted with the same courtesy. There is plenty of unpopulated space to train in around here, so there’s no reason to put other people in the slightest danger with severe training maneuvers.

      Further, if you are flight savvy, you should also be sharp enough to surmise from by my name that there are no panties in my wardrobe.

      I am going to speculate, one more time here, that hubris isn’t typical of private pilots around here.

      My condolence to the Clevenstine family.

  8. Paul says:

    Shocked to see this. Mr. Clevenstine and his family are wonderful people and friends. He will be missed.

  9. Donna Heiss says:

    I am devastated. Mack will be forever missed. A gentle man with a heart of gold. I have no words, only deep sadness.

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