Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Inmate claims he was used to test safety of state airplane: Problem Solvers investigation

Major Tim Keeton

Dennis Rowe

CENTENNIAL, Colorado -- Dennis Rowe says he will never forget the words "guinea pig" when he was flown in the governor's airplane January 10th.  At the time, Rowe was a Jefferson County inmate being transported to Prowers County in southeast Colorado to face charges related to an outstanding warrant for traffic infractions.

"I knew something was wrong. I knew the word 'guinea pig.' That was a red flag in my head," said Rowe.

A pair of Colorado State Patrol troopers escorted Rowe from the Jefferson County jail in Golden to Centennial Airport. He was flying to Lamar, Colorado on a government plane which CSP operates to fly the governor, state dignitaries and sometimes, inmates.

"Cool, I get to fly on an airplane. That's cool. Oh cool, it's the governor's plane, that's really cool. Wait a second. You said, 'guinea pig,'" is the reaction Rowe remembers he had when troopers told him the plane needed to be tested to make sure it was safe for Gov. Jared Polis.

"They said I was kind of a guinea pig and I said, 'kind of a guinea pig?' And he says, 'yeah, we need to make sure the plane is going to pressurize above 18,000 feet before the governor rides on the plane.'"

The plane ride happened two days after Polis was inaugurated on January 8th. It turns out pilots had noticed pressure issues with the governor's airplane since November. Out of 35 flights, nine have had what troopers call "pressurization abnormalities."

"We've known about this problem before this. It's not something that impacts airworthiness of aircraft in any capacity," insisted Major Tim Keeton with CSP.

Keeton acknowledges the plane had a camera installed to record if valves were working properly and flight records obtained by the Problem Solvers show the plane was flown at about 18,000 feet to monitor pressure readings. But Major Keeton says there was never any danger to Rowe, the two state troopers on board or the pilot.

"I think a lot people don't understand aviation. And if they hear of any problem, they think the plane will fall out of the sky. And of course that's not the case with this," explained Keeton.

Furthermore, Keeton says troopers never used the very words that caused Rowe much anxiety.

"Our troopers are very adamant that they did not at any point in time call him a guinea pig, that they were explaining to him what they were doing on the airplane and he drew that conclusion on his own," Keeton said.

It's not unheard of for state troopers to use the governor's airplane to transport inmates if circumstances warrant it. In 2018, CSP flew six inmates in the plane.

So far in 2019, Dennis Rowe is one of two inmates to be flown.

But Rowe says if the plane needed need to be tested or monitored -- even for minor abnormalities -- it shouldn't be done with a person on board who has no say in the matter.

"I don't want to die in a plane crash. That's not something I want to do," said Rowe.

But Keeton says the only thing that went wrong was Rowe's perception.

"Sounds dangerous, but in fact, it never was," said Keeton. "We would of course never put a citizen in jeopardy, but also don't have any state troopers with a death wish who want to go risk their own lives. So I think it's important to make that distinction that every human being on that aircraft has the same jeopardy if the airplane crashes and we would not absolutely expose anybody to that risk."

Troopers determined that on Rowe's flight there were no pressure issues. Keeton says CSP will conduct an internal investigation to review how Rowe was treated but remains confident his flight was no different than others involving inmates.

As for the plane, Colorado State Patrol sent it back to the manufacturer Beechcraft in Wichita, Kansas but experts were not able to replicate the pressurization issues.

Colorado State Patrol has since determined the plane is 100 percent safe to fly.

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Accident occurred May 22, 2019 in Terry, Hinds County, Mississippi

TERRY, Mississippi (WLBT) - A plane crashed in Terry on Lebanon Pinegrove Road Wednesday evening, confirms Major Pete Luke.

The 50-year-old pilot from Raymond told investigators that as he approached a landing strip on Jenkin Road, the plane’s engine failed, causing it to crash into power lines and then catch on fire.

According to a witness, the wheels of the plane caught the power lines and flipped upside down.

The witness also said that the pilot unbuckled his seat-belt and fell onto the ground and ran to safety.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the crash.

Law enforcement and emergency vehicles are on the scene.

Entergy is also on the scene. Several homes near the accident are without power.

Story and video ➤

TERRY, Mississippi (WJTV) - UPDATE: According to Major Pete Luke, the plane's pilot says the crash was due to an engine failure. 

The pilot says that he was approaching a landing strip on Jenkins Road, when the engine failed, causing the plane to crash into the power lines and catch fire. 

Hinds County Sheriff’s Investigators and personnel from the FAA will be investigating the crash.  

No injuries were reported. 

Hinds County Sheriff's Department is investigating a small plane crash near Lebanon Pinegrove Road and Jenkins Road in Terry. 

HCSD Major Pete Luke says preliminary reports show the plane crashed into power lines and is fully engulfed in flames. 

Luke says the pilot is alert and moving around. 

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  have been notified of the crash. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-28-180, N4248T: Incident occurred May 21, 2019 in Miramar, Broward County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Landed on a highway.

Date: 21-MAY-19
Time: 15:17:00Z
Regis#: N4248T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 28 180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

MIRAMAR, Florida  - A small plane made an emergency landing Tuesday morning on U.S. Route 27 near Krome Avenue in Miramar.

Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg said Terry Cress was flying from Immokalee on the way to North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines when the engine of the Piper PA-28 started making some strange noises.

Cress decided not to chance it and landed the plane in a turning lane along busy U.S. 27.

The plane landed in the northbound lanes, just north of the Miami-Dade County line. 

"He landed very softly," witness Marta De La Rosa said in Spanish. "I'm so emotional because it was so dangerous." 

Cress and his passenger were not injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident and said the plane experienced an engine-related problem.

Story and video ➤

MIRAMAR, Florida  (WSVN) - New video released to 7News shows a different view of a plane’s emergency landing in Miramar.

The small plane had to make an sudden landing on U.S. Route 27 on Tuesday morning after the pilot said there was an issue with the engine.

Instagram user “Rafagonzalez92” posted the video on his story showing the aircraft taxiing on the highway.

The plane landed safely with no injuries to the pilot or passenger on board.

The aircraft remained on scene Wednesday morning while the FAA continues to investigate.

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MIRAMAR, Florida (WSVN) - Police and fire rescue crews responded to a plane making an emergency landing on U.S. 27 in Miramar, near the county line.

The call came in just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday of a small plane trying to land at North Perry Airport, near the area of Pines Boulevard and U.S. 27 in Pembroke Pines.

Officials said the pilot had contacted the tower to report engine trouble.

The Piper PA-28 ended up landing safely near the area of North Krome Avenue and U.S. 27, near Honey Hill Road.

7Skyforce HD flew over the scene where Florida Highway Patrol, Pembroke Pines Police and Miami-Dade Police cruisers could be seen surrounding the aircraft.

“I don’t know what happened,” said an onlooker.

“It’s crazy, bro,” said another witness. “It’s only in Dade, only in Dade.”

Two men were on board when the aircraft came down. They were not hurt.

The pilot and passenger could be seen walking around the plane and talking with officials.

The engine cowling was removed and could be seen on the ground in front of the Piper.

Martha Betancourt, woman who works at a food truck nearby said she witnessed the landing. She recorded cellphone video moments after it touched down on the roadway.

Another view of the plane’s landing was posted onto one Instagram user’s story showing the aircraft taxiing on the highway.

Speaking through a translator, Betancourt said the men on board came over to her truck and were a little shaken up.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said they are working with Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue on the call.

Authorities have been consulting with the pilot to figure out the best way to remove the plane.

The aircraft remained on the roadway Wednesday morning.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the landing.

Story and video ➤

Hughes 369D, registered to Schuman Carriage Company Ltd doing business as Magnum Helicopters, N369MH: Incident occurred May 21, 2019 -and- Accident occurred August 08, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii

Made precautionary landing.

Date: 21-MAY-19
Time: 21:46:00Z
Regis#: N369MH
Aircraft Make: HUGHES
Aircraft Model: 369D
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii
Boeing Helicopter; Mesa, Arizona
McDonnell Douglas Helicopter; Mesa, Arizona

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Honolulu, HI
Accident Number: WPR18LA221
Date & Time: 08/08/2018, 0920 HST
Registration: N369MH
Aircraft: Hughes 369
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Sightseeing 

On August 8, 2018, about 0920 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Hughes 369D helicopter, N369MH, experienced a significant inflight vibration event, which resulted in the pilot executing an emergency landing to a school field in Honolulu, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and his 3 passengers were not injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to Schuman Carriage Company Ltd, and operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 136 air tour flight, doing business as Magnum Helicopters. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight. The flight originated from the operator's facility at Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, Hawaii about 0909.

The helicopter was the lead aircraft in a two-helicopter flight that was proceeding east/southeast from HNL, approximately along the shoreline. According to the pilot, the helicopter was in cruise at an altitude of about 1,800 ft. when he felt "severe" vibrations and then heard a "loud bang," after which the helicopter began to shake "violently." The pilot lowered his collective control and entered a power-on autorotation, with the intent of landing the helicopter in a grassy clearing in a residential neighborhood. He radioed his colleague in the trailing helicopter regarding his intentions, and then advised his passengers of the same. The pilot reported that the vibrations caused the transponder to work free of its panel mount. He also stated that even small tail rotor pedal inputs significantly worsened the vibrations.

The pilot made a partial run-on landing onto the targeted clearing. He reported that on first contact, the helicopter bounced about a foot into the air, and that the remaining slide on the dry and rocky grass field was rougher than he expected. The helicopter came to a stop upright, and the pilot shut down the engine. After the rotor blades stopped their rotation, the pilot had the passengers exit the helicopter. The landing field was part of a public school grounds, and the pilot released the passengers to the care of the school staff, while he examined the helicopter, and coordinated with his company.

The landing site was situated about 13 miles east of HNL, and the event occurred about 11 minutes after the helicopter departed HNL. Both the departure location and the landing site were situated at an elevation of approximately sea level.

Contrary to applicable regulations, the operator recovered the helicopter back to its facility, and began disassembly for repair without NTSB or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) knowledge or approval. More than a day after the event, the NTSB became aware of the operator's maintenance activity, and instructed the operator to cease that activity, because evaluation indicated that the helicopter had been substantially damaged, and that the helicopter was therefore now the subject of an NTSB accident investigation.

Photographs and descriptions provided to the NTSB indicated that multiple tail rotor blade and gearbox components had failed during in-flight operation. The helicopter and removed components were preserved for subsequent detailed examination by personnel from the NTSB and other agencies.

The pilot held commercial and flight instructor certificates with helicopter ratings. He reported that he had about 7,300 hours total flight experience, including about 2,400 hours in the accident helicopter make and model. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in January 2018, and his most recent flight review was completed in March, 2018.

FAA records indicated that the helicopter was manufactured in 1978, and was equipped with a Rolls-Royce 250-C20B series turboshaft engine. The helicopter was registered to the operator in September 2012. Prior to that, the helicopter had been registered in Panama, Florida, Texas, and California. The operator reported that the helicopter had a total time (TT) in service of about 14,328 hours, and that the engine had a TT of about 17,176 hours. The helicopter's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed in January 2018.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N369MH
Model/Series: 369 D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Schuman Carriage Company Ltd
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commercial Air Tour (136)
Operator Does Business As: Magnum Helicopter
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HNL, 10 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / 21 knots, 20°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Honolulu, HI (HNL)
Destination: Honolulu, HI (HNL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None
Latitude, Longitude: