The NTSB recently finished its investigation of the October 28, 2013, accident involving a Cessna Citation 500 in which a nationally-known minister and the pilot were killed. Pastor Edward Dufresne, who was 72 years old, led the World Harvest Church in Murrieta, California, and used the twin-engine jet in his travels around the country for preaching engagements. His 49-year-old pilot was properly certificated and experienced for single-pilot operation of the Citation. Dr. Dufresne had made an appearance in Wichita, Kansas, the day before the accident. His next speaking engagement was at a church in Schertz, Texas. The flight had departed Mid-Continent Airport at about 10:07 a.m., and was en route to New Braunfels Regional Airport, New Braunfels, Texas. In the vicinity of Derby, Kansas, the airplane entered an uncontrolled descent and was destroyed in the impact and post crash fire. There was a partial in-flight break-up, since the outer portion of the left wing was found on the ground more than one-half mile from the main wreckage. As investigators probed the events leading up to the accident, they found some things which make one wonder whether the pilot somehow felt he was immune from not only FAA regulations, but also from the hazards we humans face when we knowingly put ourselves in risky situations.
The 1975 jet had accumulated an estimated 7,810 flight hours at the time of the accident. It was originally certificated with seating for two pilots and seven passengers. The original type-certificate data sheet called for a minimum crew of two; a pilot and co-pilot. However, the FAA granted an exemption allowing single-pilot operation for Citation 500 series aircraft provided certain criteria were met by both the pilots and the airplanes. This airplane was purchased by Dufresne, Inc., in 2005, after having been registered to more than a dozen other owners.