Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ireland: Direct flights to United States facing fresh threat

Fears are growing that Northern Ireland's direct air link to North America may be axed as part of a merger deal involving Continental Airlines, which currently operates the loss-making route.

The Belfast-Newark route was initially threatened because air passenger duty on transatlantic routes is 20 times higher in the UK than the Irish Republic.

A Treasury review is looking at the issue but has reached no conclusion.

Now a merger between Continental and United Airlines is planned, aimed at saving $1bn a year in operating costs and focusing on profitable routes.

Next year they are expected to be flying a single, streamlined operation called United.

Last month Finance Minister Sammy Wilson told the Belfast Telegraph: "Whether we can get decisions from the Treasury to coincide with the decision timetable for Continental is something which I have some concerns about."

His comments followed a series of warnings from Continental bosses that they could not compete with the lower tax rate in Dublin.

When they opened the route in 2005 it was profitable and they hoped to grow the service, but rises in air passenger duty in the UK and corresponding falls in the Republic undermined the business model.

Continental is currently making a loss on the route because it is absorbing the £3.2 million APD levy on flights out of Belfast in order to keep prices competitive with its own flights to Newark from Dublin.

Conor McAuliffe, Continental's managing director of Europe, said a family-of-four flying from Belfast would be subject to £240 in APD, but "if they go on the modern road to Dublin Airport they are paying €12".

APD is an excise duty which is charged on the carriage of passengers from a UK airport.

There are four destination bands based on geographical distance from London.

Each has two rates of duty depending upon the class of travel, so there are eight different rates. Cargo planes and private jets are exempt.

VIDEO: Chief Executive Officer of REDjet clears air on Repairs

by bajanreporter on Sep 8, 2011

Ian Burns, CEO of REDjet, said Tuesday 6th Sept that a third aircraft would be added to its fleet in December and another in the first quarter of 2012. Two more would be added by the end of next year.

"These will create over 75 new jobs in quarter one of 2012 and another 75 in the latter part of 2012 . . . A lot of those jobs will be in Barbados," Burns said.

The airline is also preparing to launch six additional routes in the next six months, starting with Trinidad to Guyana on Monday. The other routes include St Lucia, Panama, Jamaica, St Martin and Antigua.

Meanwhile, chief operations officer Kevin Dudley said the airline was still standing behind the safety and reliability of the existing MD82 aircrafts.

He said it was the most popular aircraft ever built and there were about 600 or 700 still operating in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world.

REDjet apologizes to customers affected by recent disruption in scheduled flights …says safety one of main reasons for not flying.

REDjet officials will be working on implementing a more effective communication system in an effort to deliver a better quality of service to its customers.

Chairman and CEO of the low cost airline, Ian Burns, made this announcement yesterday during a press briefing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri.

Burns was at the time addressing concerns raised after several of REDjet’s flights were cancelled during the period August 21 to September 2, affecting more than 900 of the airline’s passengers.

According to the official, the disruptions were due to problems with the hydraulic system on one of the two aircraft currently used by the airline.

He said, “REDjet faced disruptions in Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad, and being a consumer-focused airline, we thought it absolutely necessary to speak to the public and consumers in an attempt to set the record straight.”

During the disruption period, there were 11 cancellations and 15 delayed flights, and of the 953 passengers that were affected, the airline was able to grant refunds to 771 and re- book 183.

Burns noted that the airline staff did everything in their power to mitigate the effects of the delays, but were faced with several constraints.

“As we always said, we have five promises, and one is that we will always be honest and tell it like it is; this is one where we have not done things as we would have liked to, and we are putting up our hand and apologizing to people,” he offered.

He said that the hydraulic problem that one of the aircraft developed coincided with the scheduled maintenance of the other plane, and while the airline made preparations to have an auxiliary aircraft on ‘Wet Lease’, this was delayed.

REDjet’s CEO said, “We knew that in September each of our aircraft was due for checks; to try and cover, this we applied to the Barbados Civil Aviation Authority on August 9 for what is called a ‘Wet Lease’, to bring in auxiliary aircraft to bring in additional capacity to cover for the event that we had a maintenance issue; it took until August 30 to get approval.”

He acknowledged that this is the first commercial issue that the airline has been faced with since its launch in April, and emphasized that REDjet officials will do all that is necessary to ensure that there will be no recurrence in the future.

Communication Issues

In the wake of the issues facing the airline, which affected customers in Barbados and Guyana, REDjet’s CEO expressed appreciation to the Government of Guyana and to Guyanese customers for their continued support.

“We cannot say enough to our passengers about how sorry we are, and we want to assure you that the management team and staff worked tirelessly to contact people affected,” he stated.

As to the delays in promptly communicating to customers the reasons for the disruptions, he pointed out that the airline faced “structural issues” with their communications system which was bombarded with additional traffic in addition to its daily load.

He gave his assurance that systems will be put in place to integrate and strengthen communication systems, in addition to strengthening passengers’ contact information for greater accessibility.

He said, “It is very important that we recognized this as an issue; we had a complex problem and the engineers genuinely thought they would get the issue fixed, and we thought we would leave it until the last moment; in future, we will need to be more decisive when we make these calls, so that passengers can get earlier notification.”

Burns revealed that there was a marginal reduction of 10 percent in bookings since the delays, and stressed that the financial viability of the airline has not been affected.
 
“We are addressing these issues and we will get better,” he said.

Safety First

Meanwhile, REDjet’s Director of Maintenance and Chief Operations Officer, Kevin Dudley, affirmed that the airline never compromises on issues of safety.
“We take safety 100 percent seriously, and our engineers and pilots would never dream of taking an aircraft that was not 100 percent ready for our passengers and crew to fly safely; we always make that commitment to everybody, and we will never change that.”

He reiterated that the airline’s engineers worked around the clock, supported by the aircraft’s manufacturers, Boeing in Seattle, to have the hydraulic problem rectified as early as possible, but this proved more complex than anticipated.

As to the importance of the hydraulic system to the overall functioning of the aircraft, Dudley said, “The hydraulic system provides control of power for the flight control and the landing gear, wheels, brakes and steering; as you can imagine, it is a very integral and important part of the aircraft system… safety was one of the main reasons that we have not been flying, why the aircraft was grounded.”

He assured that the aircraft is now back in service, and fully operational.

http://www.guyanachronicleonline.com

Firefighting DC-10 remains grounded. Bastrop County, Texas

Alberto Martínez /AMERICAN-STATESMAN
It will take a few days before a DC-10 jetliner, now at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, can douse blazes, officials say

BASTROP COUNTY — A converted DC-10 jetliner that can drop 11,000 gallons of fire retardant remained grounded Thursday because officials have no pilot to fly it and because the pump loading system was still being assembled.

But as news of the grounded plane drew complaints from evacuated residents, officials said the plane's delayed deployment was expected — and that it has not slowed or hampered firefighting efforts to contain the massive Bastrop Complex blaze that officials have said is one of the most destructive in state history.

"The plane arrived (Wednesday) from San Bernardino (Calif.), and we knew that it would take two days to get it operational," said Holly Huffman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Forest Service. "We have a number of air resources already in place that we are using."

Huffman and Bastrop County officials said the DC-10 owned by private contractor Ten Tanker arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Wednesday, and the pilot began a mandatory period of two days off required by federal law after he had worked so many hours.

Huffman said the plumbing system used to load fire retardant onto the plane also arrived in Austin on Wednesday by truck, and a crew immediately began assembling it. She said that the "plant" takes two days to install and test.

"The (DC-10) has to fly with a lead plane and that lead plane is in place and ready to go," she said. "As soon as the plant is completed and tested, and the pilot is ready, it will be in operation.

"I know some people don't understand. But this is the procedure for this, and we have to follow that procedure."

Asked why the agency did not seek other pilots to fly the DC-10 to perhaps get it airborne faster, Huffman said the pilot has to be certified for that specific firefighting plane. The agency also faces competition for pilots from other states, particularly California, that also are fighting blazes, she said.

The tanker can make a difference once it takes flight, Huffman said, because it can spread retardant in a swath 50 feet wide and three-fourths of a mile long. It flies at about 560 mph and can make many runs per day with a 15- to 20-minute reloading time.

In the meantime, she said, aerial tankers, so-called "scooper" planes and Chinook helicopters continue fighting the fire that stretches to the south and east of Bastrop. In all, Texas on Thursday had 65 airborne firefighting resources in place — and 59 of those are available to fly, officials said.

"We have enough aerial resources to fight these fires," said Mike Fisher, Bastrop County's emergency management director. "We knew when we ordered (the DC-10) up that it would not be available for several days, and that was part of the plan.

"Not everything can be available immediately and you plan for that. How long does it take us to get out of Afghanistan?"

http://www.statesman.com

Nigeria: Foreign Airlines Not Moving Out of Abuja Airport - Minister

Lagos — The Minister of Aviation, Stella Adaeze Oduah has refuted claims in some sections of the media that foreign airlines are threatening to pull out of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, following the recent bomb blast on the UN building.

Speaking through her spokesman, Joe Obi, the minister said it was not true because no airline, local or foreign has complained about the security measures put in place at the nation's airport let alone pulling out.

Some newspapers had reported foreign airlines are opting to relocate from their Abuja operations to Lagos or to stop in the interim, pending when they consider Abuja safer.

Similarly, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, Media Assistance to Director General, NCAA said NCAA has no knowledge of the threat. "It's not to my knowledge. I don't know where they got that information from."

http://allafrica.com

No injuries reported after Piper Archer and Cessna 172 have separate mishaps at Deer Valley Airport, Arizona.

Plane crash at Deer Valley Airport. No injuries reported when plane went off end of runway


PHOENIX — There were two mishaps involving small planes near Deer Valley Airport, but no reported injuries.

A small single-engine airplane was forced to land in the desert outside the airport Thursday after reporting engine failure.

The Piper Archer owned by the TransPac flight school landed two miles south of Carefree Highway and north of Loop 303.

The Arizona Republic says it was the second plane to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Deer Valley Airport on Thursday.

The first was a Cessna 172 that had a collapsed landing gear after a hard landing on the airport's runway.

It's still unclear why the first plane was forced to land or whether a student was flying the second plane.

http://www.therepublic.com

Man says he was called back to Hawker Beechcraft but later told there was no work

(WINFIELD, Kan.) — Imagine getting the call-back letter you've been waiting two years for, only to have it's offer withdrawn a week later.

That's what happened to Zach McCaslin. He was laid off from Hawker Beechcraft back in 2009. In August, he received a certified letter saying he was being called back.

"We were very excited because the insurance is so much better and pays better and everything was better when I was there."

McCaslin gave notice at his job and his wife made arrangements to drop their insurance, all in anticipation that Zach would be going back to Hawker. But last week, the company called with bad news.

"They said they were going to fulough people off the of the line where I was going to work and they were going to have to withdraw the job offer."

We contacted Hawker Beechcraft which said situations like this are unfortunate and very rare.
"It made you sick to your stomach because the insurance is gone, that was my last day at work and I didn't know what we were going to do," said McCaslin.

Zach's jobs is going to let him continue to work part-time, and the family should have insurance again by the middle of the month. But Zach says he has no idea if he'll ever get to return to the job he's been hoping for.

"I don't know if they'll ever call me back."

http://articles.kwch.com

Piper Archer Makes Emergency Landing in North Phoenix, Arizona


PHOENIX - The pilot of a small plane has made an emergency landing in the desert, 2 miles south of Carefree Highway between the 303 and Carefree Highway.

The plane took off from Deer Valley Airport and started experiencing mechanical problems.

The two people aboard were not hurt.

The investigation is ongoing.

Wyoming Valley Airport: Aircraft displaced as a result of floods


WYOMING – Instead of taking to the air, eight planes from the Wyoming Valley Airport hit the highway Thursday in search of higher ground and protection from the rising waters of the Susquehanna River.

The airport, located directly behind the levee system holding back the river, was closed and most of its aircraft relocated.

The planes traveled less than a mile to the Wyoming Monument from the airport. Most of of them were pulled by vehicles and a few motored up Wyoming Avenue under their own power.

The planes had been moved during other flooding threats, said Joe Lukesh, who lives near the monument. He said he thought a similar move was made during Hurricane Eloise in 1975.

The collection of aircraft on the grass of the monument attracted onlookers who took pictures, including pilot Bill Starr.

Starr came to see if his plane was among them.

“These are some of the ones that are down on the lower end,” said Starr.

The monument grounds and the surrounding neighborhoods did not flood during Tropical Storm Agnes in June 1972, said Starr who lives nearby on Butler Street.

He said he suspected his plane was in a hangar at the airport.

“In ’72 that hangar flooded,” he said. “But the hangar won’t flood as long as the dike holds.”

http://www.timesleader.com

Tires of Air India plane burst while landing in Goa, passengers safe

Panaji: Around 105 passengers on board an Air India flight from Kuwait had a miraculous escape when the tires of the aircraft burst while landing at Goa airport this morning.

"The tires of the AI flight from Kuwait burst while landing at the Goa airport at around 8am today. All the 105 passengers are safe. We are making arrangements to take the passengers to their destination (Chennai)," an AI spokesperson said from Mumbai.

Airport officials said flight AI 976, flying from Kuwait to Chennai via Goa, met with the accident around 8.30 a.m.

They, however, claimed that the tires burst as the plane was heading towards the taxiway.

Last week, a Turkish Airlines plane with 104 people on board had skidded off the Mumbai airport taxiway with its landing gear getting stuck in the mud near the main runway leading to flight disruptions for four days.

Qantas restructures, outlines Asia plan. But no word on its Pacific services

A regional aviation analyst says the restructure announced by Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, could lead to the airline selling its shares in Air Pacific.
Qantas last month announced it was getting rid of about 1,000 jobs in Australia as part of a controversial revamp of its international arm.

The airline says the move is a bid to return its international operations to profit. It plans to launch two Asia-based airlines and buy 110 new Airbus planes.

While the Qantas announcement spoke of expanding in Asia, it made no mention of changing its services in the Pacific.

Qantas has a significant shareholding in Fiji’s national carrier Air Pacific and regional aviation analyst Jim Bradfield (a former chief executive of Solomon Airlines, Royal Tongan Airlines and Palau Micronesia Air) told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the changes made by the Australian airline could lead to it selling its investment.

“This may mean that they would be more keen to have that shareholding either purchased by the Fiji Government, or perhaps another player,” he said.

An article by the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation on July 19 titled ‘Air Pacific ‘will not fail’ as restructuring continues; ownership questions remain’ quoted Dow Jones as saying Qantas wants the government of Fiji to pay F$70 million (US$40 million) to acquire out its stake in the carrier, although the Fiji government only appears to be willing to pay a fraction of this figure.

According to the report, the Fiji Government is wanting to pay Qantas around F$1 per share for the Air Pacific stake, compared with the price Qantas is asking of close to F$5.50 per share.

Concerns have also reportedly been raised about the codeshare element of the agreement. As part of its written proposal, Qantas said it would continue to codeshare on Air Pacific-operated services to Australia, New Zealand and the US (the carrier also has codeshare agreements in place with Alaska Airlines, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific and a FFP partnership with American Airlines).

Qantas also offered to step down from Air Pacific’s board and be “pleased to provide” two Qantas executives, Simon Hickey and Paul Edwards, as “advisers” to Air Pacific.
 
Qantas, according to the Dow Jones report which cited a copy of the proposal from Qantas to the Fijian government last year, had recommended the carrier either cancel new aircraft orders; sell and lease back aircraft; refinance a hangar; and sell the Sofitel Hotel on Fiji’s Denarau Island to fund the acquisition of the 46.3% of Air Pacific owned by Qantas. Fiji’s government is the largest shareholder in Air Pacific with a 51% stake.

While still the largest carrier in the market, Air Pacific has struggled to compete since the arrival in 2009 of Virgin Australia and Qantas LCC subsidiary, Jetstar, and has seen a 51% erosion of its market share.

“LCCs now hold an 18% capacity share of the Fiji market, although the figure is higher on international routes to/from Fiji. Air Pacific has also been affected by the global financial crisis, flooding in Fiji and losses on fuel hedging,” the CAPA article says.

Air Pacific CEO Dave Pflieger, who has held the position for the past 12 months, stated he would not let the airline fail and has introduced a downsizing and restructuring programme to improve the carrier’s competiveness.

In an interview with The Fiji Times on July 16, 2011, Pflieger stated his aims for Air Pacific include returning it to profitability, ensuring an enjoyable flying experience for customers and making the airline a good company for employees. The restructure, he said, was deemed necessary to sustain the longevity and sustainability of the airline and to ensure it can effectively compete on a global scale.

As part of restructuring programme, Air Pacific is implementing a three-pronged approach: having the right skills and expertise; improving the basics such as safety, OTP and customer service; and improving infrastructure, fleet, schedule, network and bringing costs under control. This also involves staff rationalisation and is necessary as Air Pacific is one of the largest foreign income earners in the country.

While various shareholders have come and gone over the years, Air Pacific is now owned by the Fiji Government (51%), Qantas (46.32%), with minor stakes held by Air New Zealand (1.94%) and the governments of Kiribati (0.27%), Tonga (0.27%), Nauru (0.08%) and Samoa (0.12%).

Asian expansion
Asia is seen as the world’s fastest-growing aviation market and Australian carrier Qantas’s decision to seek a bigger slice of it is a smart, and long overdue, decision, analysts say.
 
“It’s the growth market,” CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison said of Asia. “The domestic market is mature with increasing competition, so this is pretty much a no-brainer.

“It will create a lot of positives in the medium to long term.”

The airline has said its international operations are expected to post a pre-tax loss of $AU200 million ($US210 million) in 2010/11, hit by high fuel costs, natural disasters and an expansion by Middle East and Asian carriers into Australia.

Robert Bruce, a Hong Kong-based analyst at investment bank CLSA, said Qantas’s problems had been compounded by neglecting Asian routes.

“They’ve concentrated on flying to Europe over the top of Asia and now those routes are under increasing pressure from existing carriers plus the Middle Eastern carriers coming in,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
CAPA said the move to Asia should help stem the losses.

“The consolidation will immediately reduce losses and could in the long term see yield increase unless competitors pick up on the lost traffic,” it said in a research note.

Growth region

According to the International Air Transport Association, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 30 percent of global traffic by 2014, up from 26 percent currently, and Qantas plans to cash in.

To help achieve its goals, its budget offshoot Jetstar will partner with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi to create a new subsidiary in Japan to capitalise on a market that is growing fast at the low-cost end.

But it also has plans for the corporate sector and will set up a premium joint-venture carrier most likely based in either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

As part of the shake-up, Qantas will no longer fly out of Bangkok and Hong Kong into London, with partner British Airways taking up the slack.

In explaining his rationale, chief executive Alan Joyce said within 20 years, 16 percent of the world’s middle-class will be in East Asia.

“China may already have the world’s fourth largest population of millionaires, and India the 12th. There are many, many millions of premium travellers in waiting,” he said.

Qantas is also keenly aware of the opportunities presented by a Southeast Asian open skies initiative scheduled for 2015, under which national airlines of the 10 ASEAN nations will be free to fly between regional capital cities.

http://www.islandsbusiness.com

Solomon Islands: Work on upgrading airstrips in the country will start soon.

This was revealed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation Jeffery Wickham.

Mr Wickham said all tenders had already been awarded to contractors that will carry out the upgrading work and work in all airstrips will start soon.

He said the ministry had concentrated on upgrading the existing airports before starting at new ones.

“We are concerned with the service we provide and therefore work needs to be done to improve it.”

However he said work plans of creating new airports will work inline with the Solomon Airlines.

This is to ensure that airports worked on will be used by the Solomon Airlines for its services.

“There is no point to create new airports but with no airline services.

“Services provided by these airports are not only for travelling but are economically important too,” Mr Wickham.

http://www.solomonstarnews.com

North Korea Jammed United States Reconnaissance Plane GPS

A U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft made an emergency landing during annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises in March when North Korea jammed its GPS device, it emerged Thursday.

According to a report the Defense Ministry submitted to Democratic Party lawmaker Ahn Kyu-baek of the National Assembly's Defense Committee, the RC-7B took off from its base at 8:30 p.m. on March 4 but had to make an emergency landing about 45 minutes later due to disruption of its GPS functions by jamming signals transmitted from Haeju and Kaesong in North Korea at intervals of five to 10 minutes that afternoon.

The jamming signals also disrupted the GPS devices of coastal patrol boats and speed boats of the South Korean Navy. Several civilian aircraft in the Gimpo area were also affected.

The North deploys vehicle-mounted jammers that can disrupt signals within 50-100 km and is reportedly developing a jamming device capable of disrupting signals more than 100 km away.

http://english.chosun.com

Engine Failure: 3 OK after plane makes emergency landing. Maricopa County, Arizona.

PHOENIX - A plane has reportedly made an emergency landing in a desert area in the northwest Valley.

The Phoenix Fire Department says the small aircraft landed in the desert two miles south of Carefree Highway between Loop 303 and the Carefree Highway.

The pilot had apparently reported engine failure before landing in the desert.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said its helicopter has flown over the scene and the crew reported it appeared the plane landed safely and three people were out and appeared to be OK.

Unknowns remain for air service here: Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Manager Steve Sievek described Wednesday’s meeting with Great Lakes Airlines and Minnesota Department of Aeronautics personnel as beneficial but said there continued to be more unknowns than knowns regarding the future of air service in Brainerd.

The informational meeting in the Twin Cities included representatives of outstate airports and Minnesota’s two U.S. senators. Sievek said Thursday in his email that Rep. Chip Cravaack’s office was not represented.

Sievek said Great Lakes, which has been identified as a likely replacement air carrier when Delta Air Lines terminates its service to Brainerd, discussed its operation and plans.

Great Lakes, he said, serve 42 communities with more than 300 flights a day. All flights go into the Denver hub and there’s a strong relationship with United Airlines. Great Lakes, he said, is looking to expand into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and wants to serve seven of the eight communities affected by Delta’s pullout. This group would include all of the affected Minnesota airports, two in Iowa and two in the Dakotas. Great Lakes’ start-up service in Minnesota would be with the Beech 1900 aircraft. Great Lakes was in the Twin Cities working out gate arrangements with the MSP airport and putting together an interline agreement with Delta.

Great Lakes, Sievek said, was non-committal on equipment upgrades, frequencies or seasonal fluctuations because the representatives don’t know if they’ll be the successful bidder and their concerns about the future of funding for the Essential Air Service program. If selected, Sievek reported that the Great Lakes Air Lines personnel said they would aggressively pursue the new market.

http://brainerddispatch.com

Delta moves to all jet service at Central Wisconsin Airport

MOSINEE, Wis. (WSAU) – Delta Airlines has changed over to all jet service at Central Wisconsin Airport.

Delta is eliminating their Saab 340 propeller aircraft from their fleet. They'll be replaced with newer Canadair passenger jets. The newer planes have a 50 passenger capacity as opposed to the older 38 passenger model.

Airport manager Tony Yaron says the move means an average 6 percent increase in passenger capacity at CWA, and means faster travel to Minneapolis and Detroit. He also says if these new flights sell out that Delta is considering adding a 7th flight in and out of the airport daily.

United and American Eagle already serve CWA with jet service to their destinations.

http://wsau.com

Cessna 208B Caravan, N207DR and Cessna 207, N73789: Accident occurred September 02, 2011 in Nightmute, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC11FA091A 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2011 in Nightmute, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N207DR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.


NTSB Identification: ANC11FA091B

Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2011 in Nightmute, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA T207A, registration: N73789
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.  


A Cessna 208B and a Cessna 207 collided in flight in daylight visual meteorological conditions. The Cessna 208B and the Cessna 207 were both traveling in an easterly direction. According to the Cessna 207 pilot, the airplanes departed from two neighboring remote Alaskan villages about the same time, and both airplanes were flying along similar flight routes. While en route, the Cessna 207 pilot talked with the Cessna 208B pilot on a prearranged, discreet radio frequency, and the two agreed to meet up in flight for the return to their home airport. The Cessna 207 pilot said that the pilot of the Cessna 208B flew his airplane along the left side of her airplane while she was in level cruise flight at 1,200 feet mean sea level and that they continued to talk via the radio. Then, unexpectedly and unannounced, the pilot of the Cessna 208B maneuvered his airplane above and over the top of her airplane. She said that she immediately told the Cessna 208B pilot that she could not see him and that she was concerned about where he was. She said that the Cessna 208B pilot then said, in part: "Whatever you do, don't pitch up." The next thing she recalled was seeing the wings and cockpit of the descending Cessna 208B pass by the right side of her airplane, which was instantly followed by an impact with her airplane's right wing. She said that after the collision, the Cessna 208B passed underneath her airplane from right-to-left before beginning a gradual descent that steepened as the airplane continued to the left. It then entered a steep, vertical, nose-down descent before colliding with the tundra-covered terrain below followed by a postcrash fire. Unable to maintain level cruise flight, the Cessna 207 pilot selected an area of rolling, tundra-covered terrain as a forced landing site. 

An examination of both airplanes revealed impact signatures consistent with the Cessna 208B's vertical stabilizer impacting the Cessna 207's right wing. A portion of crushed and distorted wreckage, identified as part of the Cessna 208B's vertical stabilizer assembly, was found embedded in the Cessna 207's right wing. The Cessna 208B's severed vertical stabilizer and rudder were found about 1,000 feet west of the Cessna 208B's crash site.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance while performing an unexpected and unannounced abrupt maneuver, resulting in a midair collision between the two airplanes.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 2, 2011, about 1335 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 208B airplane, N207DR, and a Cessna 207 airplane, N73789, collided in midair about 9 miles north of Nightmute, Alaska. Both airplanes were being operated as charter flights under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 in visual meteorological conditions when the accident occurred. The Cessna 208B was operated by Grant Aviation Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, and the Cessna 207 was operated by Ryan Air, Anchorage, Alaska. Visual flight rules (VFR) company flight following procedures were in effect for each flight. The sole occupant of the Cessna 208B, an airline transport pilot, sustained fatal injuries. The sole occupant of the Cessna 207, a commercial pilot, was uninjured.  The Cessna 208B was destroyed, and the Cessna 207 sustained substantial damage. After the collision, the Cessna 208B descended uncontrolled and impacted tundra-covered terrain, and a postcrash fire consumed most of the wreckage. The Cessna 207’s right wing was damaged during the collision and the subsequent forced landing on tundra-covered terrain. Both airplanes were based at the Bethel Airport, Bethel, Alaska, and were returning to Bethel at the time of the collision. The Cessna 208B departed from the Toksook Bay Airport, Toksook Bay, Alaska, about 1325, and the Cessna 207 departed from the Tununak Airport, Tununak, Alaska. 

During separate telephone conversations with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge on September 2, the chief pilot for Ryan Air, as well as the director of operations for Grant Aviation, independently reported that both pilots had a close personal relationship.

During an initial interview with the NTSB IIC on September 3, in Bethel, the pilot of the Cessna 207 reported that both airplanes departed from the neighboring Alaskan villages about the same time and that both airplanes were en route to Bethel along similar flight routes. She said that, just after takeoff from Tununak, she talked with the pilot of the Cessna 208B on a prearranged, discreet radio frequency, and the two agreed to meet up in-flight for the flight back to Bethel. She said that, while her airplane was in level cruise flight at 1,200 feet above mean sea level (msl), the pilot of the Cessna 208B flew his airplane along the left side of her airplane, and they continued to talk via radio. She said that the pilot of the Cessna 208B then unexpectedly and unannounced climbed his airplane above and over the top of her airplane. She said that she immediately told the pilot of the Cessna 208B that she could not see him and that she was concerned about where he was. She said that the Cessna 208B pilot then said, in part: "Whatever you do, don't pitch up." The next thing she recalled was moments later seeing the wings and cockpit of the descending Cessna 208B pass by the right the side of her airplane, which was instantaneously followed by an impact with her airplane’s right wing.

The Cessna 207 pilot reported that, after the impact, while she struggled to maintain control of her airplane, she saw the Cessna 208B pass underneath her airplane from right-to-left, and it began a gradual descent, which steepened as the airplane continued to the left and away from her airplane. She said that she told the pilot of the Cessna 208B that she thought she was going to crash.She said that the pilot of the Cessna 208B simply stated, “Me too.” She said that she watched as the Cessna 208B continued to descend, and then it entered a steep, vertical, nose-down descent before it collided with the tundra-covered terrain below. She said that a postcrash fire started instantaneously upon impact.

Unable to maintain level cruise flight and with limited roll control, the Cessna 207 pilot selected an area of rolling, tundra-covered terrain as a forced landing site. During touchdown, the airplane’s nosewheel collapsed, and the airplane nosed down.  The Cessna 207’s forced landing site was about 2 miles east of the Cessna 208B’s accident site. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Cessna 208B:

The pilot, age 24, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and multiengine land ratings. The pilot’s most recent second-class medical certificate was issued on December 23, 2010, and contained no limitations.

According to information provided by Grant Aviation, the pilot's total aeronautical experience was 3,710 flight hours with 875 flight hours in the accident airplane make and model. In the 90 and 30 days prior to the accident, the pilot accrued 320 flight hours and 92 flight hours, respectively.

On August 30, the pilot's duty day started at 0800 and ended at 1930, and he flew 4.0 hours. On August 31, his duty day started at 0800 and ended at 2000, and he flew 6.3 hours. On September 1, his duty day started at 0800 and ended at 1930, and he flew 4.5 hours. On the day of the accident, September 2, his duty day started about 0800, and he flew about 3.0 hours before the accident.

According to the operator, the pilot was hired by the company on August 22, 2008, after satisfactorily completing the new hire training curriculum, including Cessna 207 pilot-in-command (PIC) ground and flight training. On August 28, 2008, he was assigned to fly as PIC of Cessna 207 airplanes at the company base in Bethel.

On August 13, 2011, the pilot was upgraded to captain of Cessna 208 airplanes. His most recent ride 14 CFR 135.293 airman competency/proficiency check was on May 31, 2011. A company check airman administered the check ride.

Cessna 207:

The pilot, age 25, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. Her most recent first-class medical certificate was issued on April 28, 2011, and contained no limitations.

According to information provided by Ryan Air, the pilot's total aeronautical experience was 1,670 flight hours, with 216 flight hours in the accident airplane make and model. In the 90 and 30 days prior to the accident, the pilot accrued a total of 209 flight hours and 48 flight hours, respectively.

On August 30, the pilot's duty day started at 0800 and ended at 1700, and she flew 2.8 hours. On August 31, her duty day started at 0800 and ended at 1600, and she flew 2.3 hours. On September 1, her duty day started at 0800 and ended at 1700, and she flew 2.4 hours. On the day of the accident, September 2, her duty day started about 0800, and she flew about 3.0 hours before the accident.

According to the operator, the pilot was officially hired by the company on May 18, 2010, and, at that time, her total flight experience was 690 hours. She completed her initial company training, including Cessna 207 PIC ground and flight training, on May 18, 2010.

On June 5, 2010, she successfully completed her initial second-in-command (SIC) pilot training for CASA 212 airplanes, which included both ground and flight training, and she was assigned to fly SIC in CASA 212 airplanes at the company's base in Bethel.

On June 8, 2011, she completed her initial operating experience in Cessna 207 airplanes, and she was assigned to fly as PIC of Cessna 207 airplanes at the company base in Bethel.

Her most recent 14 CFR 135.293 airman competency/proficiency check ride was on June 2, 2011. A company check airman administered the check ride in a company Cessna 207 airplane in Bethel.

Company Information

  Grant Aviation

Grant Aviation holds a Part 135 operating certificate for commuter and on-demand operations. Company facilities are located at Anchorage, Bethel, Dillingham, Emmonak, Homer, and Kenai, Alaska.

A review of the company's operations manual revealed that the president, director of maintenance, director of operations, and chief pilot are designated as having the authority of exercising operational control over company aircraft and/or flight crews. The president, chief pilot, director of maintenance, and director of operations all reside in Anchorage.

In addition, the company operations manual states, in part: “The pilot-in-command always retains the final authority for safe operation of the aircraft and compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.”

  Ryan Air

Ryan Air holds a Part 135 operating certificate for commuter and on-demand operations. Company facilities are located at Anchorage, Bethel, Aniak, St. Mary’s, Emmonak, Unalakleet, Nome, and Kotzebue, Alaska.

A review of the company's operations manual revealed that the president, director of maintenance, director of operations, and chief pilot, are designated as having the authority of exercising operational control over company aircraft and/or flight crews. The president, director of maintenance, and director of operations reside in Anchorage, and the chief pilot resides in Bethel.  

In addition, the company operations manual states, in part: “The Pilot-in-command always retains the final authority for safe operation of the aircraft and compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.”

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

Cessna 208B:

The Cessna 208B airplane was an unpressurized, single-engine turboprop, equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114A engine that produces 675 horsepower.  It was outfitted with a Hartzell three-bladed propeller with composite blades.

The airplane had a total time in service of 8,483 hours. The airplane was maintained on an Approved Airworthiness Inspection Program (AAIP). The most recent inspection event was on August 21, 2011, 46 hours before the accident.

The Cessna 208B’s paint scheme consisted of a base color of white with red accent striping which extended along both sides of the fuselage.  The wings, vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and elevators were all painted white. 

Cessna 207:

The Cessna 207 airplane was unpressurized and was equipped with a single, reciprocating Continental Motors IO-520F engine that produces 300 horsepower.

The airplane had accumulated a total time in service of 19,562.9 hours. The airplane was maintained on an AAIP. The most recent inspection was accomplished on August 3, 2011, 47.2 hours before the accident.

The Cessna 207’s paint scheme consisted of red and black, with silver accent striping which extended along both sides of the fuselage.  The wings, vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and elevators were all painted red. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station is at the Toksook Bay Airport, Toksook Bay.  On September 2, 2011, at 1356, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: Wind, 130 degrees at 14 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds, 1,100 feet overcast; temperature, 46 degrees F; dew point, 42 degrees F; altimeter, 29.84 inHg.

Pilots who were flying in the area about the same time as the accident reported unlimited visibility with patchy clouds between 1,500 to 2,000 feet.

COMMUNICATIONS

According to the pilot of the Cessna 207, both pilots were communicating on a prearranged radio frequency of 126.30.

Both airplanes were operating in Class E airspace. The pilots were not in contact with any air traffic control facility, nor were they required to be.

Radar coverage was not available in the accident area at the flights’ altitudes.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Cessna 208B:

The wreckage of the Cessna 208B had extensive ground impact and fire damage. Portions of the airplane wreckage were still burning when the NTSB IIC and the Alaska State Trooper arrived at the scene.  A majority of the main fuselage, cockpit/cabin area, and engine were found embedded in a large crater.

The entire cockpit/cabin area from the instrument panel to just forward of the horizontal stabilizer was consumed by fire.

The Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114A turbine engine was found imbedded, vertically, into the tundra-covered terrain, leaving only the aft portion of the engine accessory gearbox visible.

Portions of the incinerated fuselage structure and the wings of the airplane were in a vertical, nose-down attitude. The longitudinal axis of the fuselage was oriented on a magnetic heading of about 040 degrees. (All heading/bearings noted in this report are oriented toward magnetic north.)

The entire airplane was separated into several main groups. The wings were separated from the fuselage and displayed extensive spanwise, leading-edge-aft crushing and folding. The forward spar of each wing was compressed to its respective aft spar. The wings were oriented in a near-vertical attitude with the leading edge of the wings oriented down, about 2 feet beneath the surface of the soft and spongy terrain. Each aileron and flap assembly remained attached to the trailing edge of their respective wing. Both wing lift struts were still attached to the wings, but both were separated at the lower fuselage attach points as a result of fuselage incineration.

The empennage separated from the fuselage just forward of the vertical stabilizer attach point. The empennage was inverted and located just aft of the incinerated fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer displayed leading-edge-aft crushing and upward buckling on the underside of the stabilizer. The left horizontal stabilizer displayed aft crushing about midspan and aft compression and folding of the leading edge along the outboard half of the stabilizer.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder assemblies were severed about 18 inches outboard of the fuselage attachment points. The upper portions of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were not found at the main wreckage site.  The fracture surfaces that were present on the aluminum sheet metal of which the vertical stabilizer and rudder are constructed showed significant tearing and ripping signatures that extended from the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer aft to the trailing edge of the rudder.

Wreckage Path

The farthest portion of wreckage was found about 1,500 feet west of the main wreckage site of the Cessna 208B. The area was marked by the discovery of portions of the Cessna 208B’s fragmented vertical stabilizer, which included portions of the black rubber leading-edge deicing boot. The flattened portion of the vertical stabilizer’s leading edge had red paint transfers matching that of the wing of the Cessna 207. 

A large portion of the Cessna 207’s severed right aileron was discovered about 1,400 feet west of the Cessna 208B’s wreckage site. Attached to the severely distorted and crushed portion of aileron were portions of structural wing stringers, as well as a small portion of the Cessna 207’s aft main wing spar. The aileron had black rubber smears embedded into the trailing edge.        

The Cessna 208B’s severed rudder and vertical stabilizer were found separately, but close together, about 1,000 feet west of the main wreckage site.  The fracture surfaces on the lower portions of both control surfaces matched those portions still attached to the Cessna 208’s empennage.

Cessna 207:

The wreckage of the Cessna 207 was about 2 miles east of the Cessna 208B’s wreckage site, in an area of hilly, soft, tundra-covered terrain.  With the exception of a large portion of the airplane’s right aileron, all of the airplane's major components were found at the main wreckage site.

The airplane’s right wing trailing edge sustained extensive structural damage during the collision. About 48 inches of the airplane’s right aileron was missing, and the outboard portion right wing flap was crushed and folded inward toward the fuselage.  An 18-inch section of the aft wing spar was fractured and compressed forward about 6 inches beyond the rest of the aft wing spar assembly. The severed portion of wing spar was held into place by only small shreds of aluminum wing skin. The entire outboard section of the right wing was buckled and distorted.

A portion of crushed and distorted wreckage, measuring about 6 inches by 4 inches, was discovered imbedded into the trailing edge of the right wing. The portion of wreckage was painted white, and it had a part number 2631000-16 stamped on the back. The part number was identified as a structural doubler assembly for Cessna 208 airplanes, which is installed on the upper portion of the vertical stabilizer assembly.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the Cessna 208B pilot’s remains was done under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, on September 6, 2011. However, the report notes that, due to the limited amount of remains presented at the time of the autopsy, the medical examiner’s cause of death was attributed to extensive thermal charring. The report also notes that blunt force injury could not be excluded.  

No toxicological examination was done due to the lack of suitable specimens.


  NTSB Identification: ANC11FA091A
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2011 in Nightmute, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N207DR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.



NTSB Identification: ANC11FA091B

Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2011 in Nightmute, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA T207A, registration: N73789
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.



This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 2, 2011, about 1335 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 208B (Caravan) airplane, N207DR, and a Cessna 207 airplane, N73789, collided in midair, approximately 9 miles north of Nightmute, Alaska. Both airplanes were being operated as visual flight rules (VFR) charter flights under 14, CFR Part 135, in visual meteorological conditions when the accident occurred. The Cessna 208B was operated by Grant Aviation Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, and the Cessna 207 was operated by Ryan Air, Anchorage, Alaska. The sole occupant of the Cessna 208B, an airline transport pilot, sustained fatal injuries. The sole occupant of the Cessna 207, a commercial pilot, was uninjured. Both airplanes sustained substantial damage during the midair collision. After the collision, the Cessna 208B descended, uncontrolled, and impacted tundra-covered terrain. A postcrash fire consumed most of the wreckage. The Cessna 207 was further damaged during a forced landing on tundra-covered terrain. Both airplanes were based at the Bethel Airport, Bethel, Alaska. The Cessna 208B departed from the Toksook Bay Airport about 1325, and VFR company flight following procedures were in effect for the flight to Bethel. The Cessna 207 departed from the Tununak Airport, Tununak, Alaska, about 1315, and VFR company flight following procedures were in effect for the return flight to Bethel.

During separate telephone conversations with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge on September 2, the chief pilot for Ryan Air, as well as the director of operations for Grant Aviation, independently reported that both pilots had a close personal relationship.

During an initial interview with the NTSB IIC on September 3, in Bethel, the pilot of the Cessna 207 reported that both airplanes departed from the neighboring Alaskan villages about the same time, and both airplanes were en route to Bethel along similar flight routes. She said that just after takeoff from Tununak, she talked with the pilot of the Cessna 208B on a prearranged, discreet radio frequency, and the two agreed to rendezvous for the flight back to Bethel. She said that while in cruise level flight at 1,200 feet msl, en route to Bethel, the pilot of the Cessna 208B flew his airplane along the left side of her airplane, and they continued to talk via radio. She said that the pilot of the 208B then unexpectantly and unannounced climbed his airplane above, and overtop of her airplane. She immediately told the pilot of the 208B that she could not see him, and she was concerned about where he was. She said the 208B pilot then said, in part: "Whatever you do, don't pull up." Moments later, the next thing she recalls was the 208B's impact with her airplane's right wing.

The 207 pilot reported that after the impact, she saw the 208B pass underneath her airplane, and it began a gradual descent, which steepened as the airplane continued to the left and away from her airplane. She said that she told the pilot of the 208B that she thought she was going to crash. The pilot of the 208B stated that he also thought he was going to crash. She said that she watched as the 208B continued to descend, then it entered a steep, vertical, nose down descent, before it collided with the ground. She said a postcrash fire started instantaneously upon impact.

The 207 pilot said that while struggling to maintain control of her airplane, she was unable to maintain altitude, and she selected an area of rolling, tundra-covered terrain as a forced landing site. She said that during the emergency descent, she had limited roll control, and the airplane's stall horn was on during the entire emergency approach. The airplane touched down on the soft terrain, and the nose landing gear collapsed.

On September 3, the NTSB IIC, along with an Alaska State Trooper, and a Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector from the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), examined the wreckage sites. The wreckage of the Cessna 207 was located about 1 mile to the east of the Cessna 208B. Both aircraft came to rest in an area of tundra-covered, hilly terrain.

The Cessna 208B's severed vertical stabilizer and rudder assemblies were found about one-half mile west of the main wreckage site, and along the two airplanes' reported flight route. A large portion of the Cessna 207's right aileron was found near the 208's rudder and stabilizer.


The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the Aug. 2 midair collision and plane crash that killed 24-year-old Kenai pilot Scott Veal.
(Courtesy Alaska State Troopers)


ANCHORAGE, Alaska—   A 24-year-old Kenai pilot who died in a Sept. 2 plane crash near Nightmute after a midair collision was flying in formation with his girlfriend when he pulled up over her aircraft without warning, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report says Scott Veal’s Cessna 208B, operated by Grant Aviation Inc., took off from Toksook Bay at about 1:25 p.m., ten minutes after a Cessna 207 operated by Ryan Air and piloted by his girlfriend, 26-year-old Kristen Sprague of Idaho, took off from Tununak. The pilots were the sole occupants of each aircraft.

Sprague told investigators she and Veal were both headed to Bethel, and they agreed by radio to meet up for the flight at an altitude of 1,200 feet, with Veal flying to Sprague’s left. The two pilots continued to fly in formation, chatting via radio.

At about 1:35 p.m., Veal unexpectedly pulled up and maneuvered his aircraft directly above Sprague’s, causing her to radio Veal that she couldn’t see him and was concerned about where he was. Veal then radioed back, saying in part, “Whatever you do, don’t pull up,” just before his aircraft collided with the right wing of Sprague’s plane.

Veal’s aircraft lost its vertical stabilizer and rudder in the collision, causing his plane to fall below Sprague’s and to the left in a steepening dive. Sprague’s plane lost a large section of its right aileron, and she radioed Veal saying she thought she would crash -- receiving a response that he thought he would crash as well.

As Sprague watched, Veal’s plane plummeted vertically into the ground, where it immediately burst into flames. Although Sprague was still in the air, her plane was losing altitude as she fought to maintain control and she selected an area of rolling tundra for a forced landing. The aircraft’s stall horn was on throughout the approach and the front landing gear collapsed on impact, but Sprague was uninjured.

Investigators found the pieces of both Cessnas lost in the collision about half a mile west of Veal’s crash site, about nine miles north of Nightmute.

The crash is Alaska’s third midair collision this year, following a July 10 incident in Lake Clark Pass after which both planes landed safely and the July 30 accident near Trapper Creek after which one plane crashed, killing a family of four.

NTSB Identification: ANC10LA019
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 17, 2010 in Kwigillingok, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/12/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N207DR
Injuries: 8 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Passengers reported that prior to departing on the accident flight they observed ice on the wings and described the weather as foggy, with freezing rain. Shortly after takeoff, at an estimated 200 feet above the ground, the pilot reported a series of power fluctuations, coinciding with a loss of altitude. The pilot stated that he engaged the emergency power lever, and that power was restored, but not before the airplane collided with a frozen lake, damaging the right wing. The airplane subsequently became airborne, and the pilot elected to fly to another village to land.

A postaccident inspection disclosed no mechanical anomalies with the engine or its accessories, and the airplane was flown to its base after the wing was repaired without any engine problems noted. A weather study by a Safety Board meteorologist determined that the area was subject to light snow showers, freezing fog and mist, and surface temperatures below freezing, all conducive to wing/airframe icing. During an interview with Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the pilot acknowledged seeing “a trace of ice” on the wings. The limitations section of the airplane's flight manual supplement "Known Icing Equipment," states, in part: "Takeoff is prohibited with any frost, ice, snow, or slush adhering to the wings, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, control surfaces, proper blades, or engine inlets." The limitations section also includes the following: "WARNING, EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF FROST, ICE, SNOW OR SLUSH ON THE WING MAY ADVERSELY CHANGE LIFT AND DRAG. FAILURE TO REMOVE THESE CONTAMINANTS WILL DEGRADE AIRPLANE PERFORMANCE AND MAY PREVENT A SAFE TAKEOFF AND CLIMBOUT."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's decision to take off with ice-contaminated wings in freezing rain and mist, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


 On February 17, 2010, at 1657 Alaska standard time, a Cessna 208B, N207DR, sustained substantial damage during impact with terrain following takeoff from Kwigillingok Airport (GGV), Kwigillingok, Alaska. The airline transport pilot and his seven passengers were not injured. Grant Aviation, Anchorage, Alaska, was operating the aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The intended destination was Kipnuk, Alaska, and a company flight plan had been filed.

The pilot said that the takeoff was normal, but at 200 feet above the ground and in a turn, he observed a reduction in power. He moved the emergency fuel control lever forward, and power was restored. Before the sink rate could be reversed, the airplane impacted the surface of a frozen lake, and 5 feet of the outboard right wing was bent up. The aileron was not damaged. For safety reasons, the pilot chose to fly straight ahead for 8 miles to Kongiganak, Alaska, where the flight landed without further difficulty.

The operator's maintenance personnel inspected the engine and airframe, and determined that the right wing required a major repair to restore it to an airworthy condition. After a field repair of the right wing by the operator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a ferry permit for a one time flight from Kongiganak to Anchorage. The operator found no discrepancies with the engine, and it operated normally during the ferry flight.

The pilot reported to a FAA inspector that the cloud condition was 500 feet overcast with 2.5 miles visibility in light snow. There was a light wind from the north at approximately 3 to 5 knots. When the inspector asked the pilot if the airplane had ice on it when it departed Kwigillingok, he stated that there was a "trace" of ice on the wings. When interviewed by the FAA inspector, passengers made the following statements:

1. "There was freezing rain."

2. "The plane was iced up and when it took off it stalled."

3. "The weather was icing rain….There was some ice on the wings before they took off from Kwigillingok."

There was no weather reporting facility at Kwigillingok. The closest weather reporting station was at Kipnuk, Alaska, about 26 nautical miles west of the accident site. At 1656, the reported conditions were: wind 050 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; cloud condition, broken at 400 feet, overcast at 3,300 feet; temperature 23 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 23 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 29.67 inches of Mercury. The pilot told the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) investigator-in-charge that the cloud condition was an indefinite ceiling at 500 to 600 feet with light snow, and the temperature was 30 degrees Fahrenheit. An NTSB meteorologist did a weather study and found that the area was subject to light snow showers, freezing fog and mist, and ground temperatures were below freezing.

The limitations section of the Cessna 208B flight manual supplement "Known Icing Equipment," states, in part: "Takeoff is prohibited with any frost, ice, snow, or slush adhering to the wings, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, control surfaces, proper blades, or engine inlets." The limitations section also includes the following: "WARNING, EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF FROST, ICE, SNOW OR SLUSH ON THE WING MAY ADVERSELY CHANGE LIFT AND DRAG. FAILURE TO REMOVE THESE CONTAMINANTS WILL DEGRADE AIRPLANE PERFORMANCE AND MAY PREVENT A SAFE TAKEOFF AND CLIMBOUT."

If you hear a plane flying close to the ground Monday… … Don't panic. It's a routine venting of natural gas from a pipeline in Spokane Valley.

Gas Transmission Northwest LLC, a partly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., said in a news release that the company will vent a 36-in. diameter pipeline in preparation for upgrades to the line. The process, called a “blow-down,” is considered routine and doesn't pose a threat, but it's very, very loud, the company said.

“Even if you know it's coming, it can be disconcerting. It can sound like a jet airplane circling the house at low altitude for about 45 minutes,” a company spokesman said.

The company has notified about 2,400 households near the site, at 32nd Avenue just east of Barker Road, the release said. The blow-down begins at 10 a.m. Monday. Access to the area will be restricted and some roads will be closed for the duration of the venting. For information, contact Steve McNulty at (509) 533-2833.

http://www.spokesman.com

Aerocon Swearingen SA-227 Metroliner, CP-2548, Flight A4-238: Accident occurred September 06, 2011 in Trinidad, Bolivia

NTSB Identification: DCA11RA098 
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 06, 2011 in Trinidad, Bolivia
Aircraft: M7Aero SW3, registration:
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On September 6, 2011, an Aerocon Swearingen SA-227 Metroliner, registration CP-2548 performing flight A4-238 from Santa Cruz to Trinidad (Bolivia) with 7 passengers and 2 crew, was on approach to Trinidad when radio contact was lost. The airplane was located three days later during search efforts. Six passengers and two crew were fatally injured, and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged.

The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil(DGAC)of Bolivia is investigating the accident. The NTSB designated a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the DGAC's investigation as the state of manufacture under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Ministerio de Obras Públicas, Servicios y Vivienda
Viceministerio de Transportes
Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Palacio de Comunicaciones
Av. Mcal. Santa Cruz No. 1278
4° Piso
La Paz
Bolivia

Website: www.dgac.gov.bo



Rescuers in Bolivia found no survivors in the wreckage of a plane that went missing earlier this week and crashed with nine people aboard, the country's aviation authority said Thursday.

Air crash in Bolivia. 
Photo: AFP


The Aerocom airline plane was carrying seven passengers and two crew members on a flight from the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz to Trinidad in the country's northeast when it vanished from radar on Tuesday.

"Rescuers reached the crash site in the afternoon and confirmed that there were no accident survivors," the Bolivian General Aeronautics Directorate (DGAC) said in a statement.

The wreckage of the plane was found 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) northeast of the city of Trinidad, in the Amazon jungle province of Beni, said Aerocom spokesman Nelson Kinn.

Two of the passengers killed in the crash were Colombians, Kinn said.

Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon, who is heading the rescue efforts, told reporters that rescuers were transporting the bodies to the provincial capital Trinidad, a city of some 130,000 in the Bolivian Amazon basin some 600 kilometers northeast of La Paz.

Local media earlier reported that the plane was just 10 miles from Trinidad when air traffic controllers lost track of it.
The passenger plane that went off the radars in Bolivia on Tuesday was found 500km to the north-east of the administrative capital of La Paz.

There were seven passengers, a pilot and two crew members on board. The plane has apparently crashed in the selva 15 km.


http://news.ph.msn.com

Cirrus SR22 G2, Windsor Ltd LLC, N159JW: Fatal accident occurred September 08, 2011 in West Liberty, Ohio.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA629 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 08, 2011 in West Liberty, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N159JW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Several witnesses reported hearing a low-flying airplane. One witness stated that he heard the engine go silent three times and then rev back up twice and that he saw the airplane in about a 75-degree nose-low attitude. Another witness stated that he observed the airplane complete a 360-degree loop and then go into a “direct vertical climb, reach its pinnacle, and begin to fall tail first with a partial spin.” He lost sight of the airplane behind trees. He then heard a “thud” and observed a black mushroom cloud appear above the tree line. Radar track data showed an airplane with a ground speed of 40 knots near the accident site at the time of the accident; the track was consistent with the performance of the aerobatic maneuver described by the witnesses. At the time of the accident, the sky was overcast with low clouds. The examination of the wreckage indicated that the airplane impacted the ground in about a 45-degree nose-low attitude. The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicological reports indicate that, at the time of the accident, the pilot had recently used at least five impairing drugs: diazepam, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and marijuana. All of these drugs work synergistically to create psychomotor slowing and interfere with judgment and executive functioning. It is very likely that the pilot was impaired by drug use at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s improper decision to fly aerobatic maneuvers at low altitude, which resulted in a loss of control and impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment due to his recent use of multiple impairing drugs. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 8, 2011, about 1122 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N159JW, impacted a cornfield near West Liberty, Ohio, and was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. The private pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to Windsor Ltd LLC and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Bellefontaine Regional Airport (EDJ), Bellefontaine, Ohio, about 1118.

Witnesses reported that the pilot intended to land at Urbana, Ohio, located about 15 nautical miles (nm) south of EDJ and pick up a passenger. They were planning to fly to Jackson, Ohio, located about 100 nm southeast of EDJ. The passenger reported that he expected to be picked up at Urbana around 1115, but the airplane never arrived. 

A witness who lived about 5 miles north of West Liberty, Ohio, stated that she was in her house with the window open when she heard an airplane approaching about 1115. The airplane sounded loud like it was just above the treetops. The engine sounded fine with no missing or sputtering. She stated that the airplane was "…too low. Way, way too low."

A witness who lived across the road from where the airplane crashed reported that he heard an airplane approaching at a low altitude, but he thought initially it was a 4-wheel all-terrain vehicle. He heard the engine go silent three times, and then it revved back up twice. He saw a glimpse of the airplane through the window, and it was in a 75 degree nose low attitude. He stated that he did not recognize it as an airplane until it impacted the ground. He reported that the sky was overcast with uneven low clouds, and that the fog had cleared earlier in the morning. 

A witness, who was about 3/4 of a mile northeast of the accident site, stated that he observed the airplane performing a vertical loop. He saw the airplane complete the 360 degree loop, and then he observed the airplane go into a "direct vertical climb, reach its pinnacle, and begin to fall tail first with a partial spin." He stated that there seemed to be a loss of sound from the engine sometime during the climb, but then it re-engaged as the airplane turned nose down. He lost sight of the airplane behind trees. He heard a "thud" and 15 seconds later observed a black mushroom cloud appear above the tree line. 

There were no communications recordings with any Federal Aviation Administration facility.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 51-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. He was not an instrument rated pilot. He held a third class medical certificate that was issued on August 29, 2010, with no limitations listed. The pilot's logbook indicated that he had a total of 591 flight hours, which included 399 flight hours in the accident airplane. His last flight review was conducted on September 2, 2011. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a single-engine Cirrus SR22, serial number 1159, manufactured in 2006. The engine was a Continental 310-horsepower IO-550N engine, serial number 917371. The airplane seated four and had a maximum gross weight of 3,400 pounds. The airplane was certificated in the normal category and was not designed for aerobatic operations. Aerobatic maneuvers and spins are prohibited. The last annual maintenance inspection was conducted on May 2, 2011, with a total time of 682.5 hours. The pilot's logbook indicated that the airplane was flown 3 hours since the annual inspection in May. The pilot purchased the accident airplane in 2006. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1120, the surface weather observation at EDJ, located about 7.3 nm north of the accident site, was: winds 360 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 3 miles; overcast ceiling at 600 feet; temperature 16 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury (Hg). 

The airport elevation at EDJ is 1,122 feet. 

The elevation at the Grimes Field Airport (I74), Urbana, Ohio, and located 15 nm south of EDJ is 1,068 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in a cornfield about one mile west of West Liberty, Ohio. The examination of the initial point-of-impact and the debris field revealed that the airplane impacted the terrain on a magnetic heading of about 110 degrees. The cut through the high corn made by the airplane's landing gear, fuselage, and wings indicated that it was in about 45 degrees nose down attitude with a 10-degree left wing low attitude at impact. 

The initial ground impact crater was located about 16 feet from the first row of corn that was struck. The crater was about 8 feet long, 6 feet wide and 8 inches deep. One propeller blade and the nose landing gear leg were located near the crater. The wreckage debris field, which was 27 feet wide, extended east about 120 feet from the initial impact. The main wreckage came to rest about 90 feet from the initial point-of-impact. The fuselage was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. 

The wings, horizontal stabilizer, and vertical stabilizer exhibited impact and fire damage. Aileron control cable continuity was confirmed. The flap actuator shaft was found in the "Flaps-Up" position. The left and right landing gear assemblies were separated from the wings. The rudder cable continuity was confirmed from the elevator control torque tube to the rudder bellcrank at the fuselage station 306 bulkhead. The elevator cable continuity was confirmed from the elevator control torque tube to the elevator bellcrank at the fuselage station 306 bulkhead. The pitch trim motor was in about the neutral pitch trim position. Cockpit documentation was not possible due to extensive impact and fire damage. 

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) rocket motor was located left of the debris field about 43 feet from the initial point-of-impact. A visual examination of the rocket motor revealed that the rocket motor propellant was expended. The parachute assembly was located about 50 feet from the initial point-of-impact and outside the left side of the debris field. The packed parachute was partially separated from the "D-bag." 

The engine exhibited impact and fire damage. The cylinders remained attached to the engine. The top spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal operating signatures when compared with the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. The cylinders were inspected using a lighted boroscope, and the combustion chambers exhibited light colored combustion deposits. The engine was rotated and continuity was established from the rear of the engine to the forward nose seal area of the crankshaft. Thumb compression was obtained on cylinders one, three, five, and six. Cylinders two and four had impact damage to the bottom of the cylinders and the push rod housings. The crankshaft was fractured between the propeller flange and the engine nose seal. The crankshaft fracture surface exhibited 45 degree shear lip fractures and spiral cracking. 

The examination of the propeller revealed that the crankshaft propeller flange remained attached to the propeller hub. Two of the propeller blades were fractured from the propeller hub at the base of the blades. The third propeller blade remained attached to the propeller hub. All three blades exhibited multi-directional bending, chord-wise scratching, and gouges in the leading edges. 

The Avidyne Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the Avidyne Multi-Function Display (MFD) installed in the accident airplane received extensive heat and impact damage. Two surface mounted flash memory chips recovered from the PFD, and the memory card recovered from the MFD were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Division for examination. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was performed at the Montgomery County Coroner's Office in Dayton, Ohio, on September 9, 2011. The "Cause of Death" was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. The following substances were identified in the toxicology report: 19.73 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in blood (cavity); codeine not detected in blood (cavity); 0.161 (ug/ml, ug/g) codeine detected in liver.; 0.152 (ug/ml, ug/g) diazepam detected in blood (cavity); 0.458 (ug/ml, ug/g) diazepam detected in liver; dihydrocodeine detected in blood (cavity); 0.201 (ug/ml, ug/g) dihydrocodeine detected in liver; 0.46 (ug/ml, ug/g) hydrocodone detected in liver; 0.091 (ug/ml, ug/g) hydrocodone detected in blood (cavity); 0.999 (ug/ml, ug/g) nardiazepam detected in liver; 0.21 (ug/ml, ug/g) nordiazepam detected in blood (cavity); 0.219 (ug/ml, ug/g) oxazepam detected in liver; 0.43 (ug/ml, ug/g) oxazepam detected in blood (cavity); oxycodone not detected in blood (cavity); oxycodone detected in liver; temazepam detected in liver; 0.094 (ug/ml, ug/g) temazepam detected in blood (cavity); 0.7593 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol (marijuana) detected in heart; 6.3795 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol detected in lung; 0.0959 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marijuana) detected in heart; and 0.1686 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid detected in lung.

Acetaminophen is an analgesic marketed under the brand name Tylenol. It is available over the counter and by prescription in a number of combination medications. Diazepam is a Schedule IV controlled substance from the benzodiazepine class marketed under the brand name Valium. Nordiazepam is a metabolite of diazepam. Oxazepam and temazepam are psychoactive metabolites of diazepam and in addition are marketed separately as Schedule IV controlled substances under the brand names Serax and Restoril. Codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are unique drugs and not metabolites of one another; all are opiate analgesics (narcotics). Codeine is a Schedule II controlled substance and is marketed in combination with acetaminophen under the brand names Tylenol #2, #3, and #4. Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance and is marketed under brand names Percocet and Roxicet in combination with acetaminophen as well as OxyContin when in isolation. Hydrocodone is a Schedule III controlled substance and is marketed under the brand names Lortab, Vicodin, and Norco. Dihydrocodeine is an active metabolite of hydrocodone. Hydromorphone is an active metabolite of hydrocodone and is a Schedule II controlled substance marketed under the brand name Dilaudid.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Division inspected the PFD memory chips. The visual inspection of the units showed signs of extreme thermal damage to the chips packaging and some bent leads. One chip had a hairline fracture on the back-side of the chip packaging. X-ray imaging of the chips showed no signs of internal damage to either of the chips' die or bond wires. Readouts of the chips were attempted but were unsuccessful. No PFD data was recovered. 

The MFD memory card was found in good condition. The card was downloaded using the manufacturers' recommended procedures. The memory card contained 125 data files. One data file was identified as recording during the accident flight. The data file was about 7 minutes in duration. 

Three plots of the MFD data were produced by the Vehicle Recorder laboratory and are available with the docket material associated with this accident. The plots cover the time period from 11:14:20 EDT to 11:21:30 EDT. Plot one contains the basic engine parameters, including engine speed, oil pressure, oil temperature, and cylinder temperatures. Plot two contains electrical system and fuel used information. Plot three is a Google Earth image with the recorded flight path. The MFD did not record any altitude information. 

The MFD data indicated the airplane started to taxi for takeoff at 11:15:36 and started the takeoff roll at 11:17:54. The airplane departed from runway 7 and turned to a heading of about 170 degrees en route to Urbana, Ohio. The data indicated that the airplane stayed on this heading for about 6 nm until the MFD stopped recording engine data at 11:21:24. The accident site was located about 1.4 nm on a 167 degree heading from the last data point recorded. 

About 10 seconds before the MFD stopped recording data, the engine RPM dropped from 2,200 rpm to 1,900 rpm, the manifold air pressure (MAP) decreased from 22 MAP to 15 MAP, the fuel flow dropped from 16 to 9 gallons per hour, and the exhaust gas temperatures recorded a slight decrease in temperature. All engine parameters indicated that the engine was operating within the normal range during the flight up to the time when the MFD stopped recording data. 

Approach radar track data was obtained from the air traffic control tower at Port Columbus International Airport, Columbus, Ohio, located about 48 nm from EDJ on a 118 degree heading. The radar track data indicates that an aircraft using the visual flight rules transponder beacon code of 1200 departed runway 7 at EDJ about 11:18. After departure, the aircraft turned to a magnetic heading of about 168 degrees, flying at 2,000 feet about mean sea level (msl), +/- 200 feet. Radar contact was lost with the aircraft 3.4 nm to the south southeast of EDJ at 11:20:17. From 11:19:12 to 11:20:08, the aircraft had an average ground speed of 146 knots. The aircraft's altitude shows a descent from 2,000 feet at 11:15:54 to 1,800 feet at 11:20:08 with an average rate of 869 feet per minute. 

At 11:21:59, radar contact was regained on the aircraft for only four radar returns, 7 nm south of EDJ. Assuming a straight line flight track during the lost radar coverage (11:20:17 to 11:21:59), the aircraft had an average ground speed of 136 knots. The last three radar returns show an average ground speed of 40 knots. The last two radar returns (11:22:08 and 11:22:13) show a descent rate of 100 feet (+/- 99 feet) from 2,300 to 2,200 feet msl. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The MFD is not equipped with an ON/OFF switch. To disconnect the MFD from electrical power, the MFD circuit breaker located on the Avionics Non-Essential bus would need to be pulled. The circuit breaker panel is located within the pilot's reach next to the central pedestal. Turning off the main avionics switch would disconnect the MFD from electrical power; however, all avionics equipment would be turned off as a result. 

The MFD generates new data files for each power-on cycle. The oldest record is dropped and replaced by a new recording once the storage limit has been reached. MFD data are sampled every six seconds, and are recorded to memory once every minute. If an interruption of power occurs during the minute between MFD memory-write cycles, data sampled during that portion of a minute are not recorded. 

The transponder is equipped with an ON/OFF switch. The transponder's circuit breaker is located on the Avionics Non-Essential bus.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA629 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 08, 2011 in West Liberty, OH
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N159JW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 8, 2011, about 1122 eastern daylight time (edt), a Cirrus SR22, N159JW, sustained substantial damage when it was partially consumed by a postimpact fire after it impacted a cornfield near West Liberty, Ohio. The private pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to Windsor Ltd LLC and was operated by the pilot as a personal flight under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 1116 from the Bellefontaine Regional Airport (EDJ), Bellefontaine, Ohio.

At 1120, the surface weather observation at EDJ, located about 6 nautical miles (nm) to the north of the accident site, was: winds 360 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 3 miles; overcast ceiling at 600 feet; temperature 16 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury (Hg).

The 51-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. He was not an instrument rated pilot. He held a third class medical certificate that was issued on August 29, 2010.



Jeffrey S. Watson




West Liberty Fire Chief John Esch emerges from a cornfield along Township Road 192 in Liberty Township after evaluating the scene of single-engine plane crash that killed local businessman Jeffrey S. Watson Thursday about 11:20 a.m.







WEST LIBERTY -- Ohio State Highway Patrol is looking into what caused a small plane to crash in southern Logan County Thursday morning -- killing 51-year-old pilot Jeffrey S. Watson, of Bellefontaine.

The OSHP confirmed the plane went down near West Liberty, near Township Road 192 and north of Road 193, just after 11 a.m. There was no word on what caused the crash.

Along with OSHP, the West Liberty Police Department, Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Troopers from the Marysville Post, along with other emergency medical and fire crews, responded to the crash.

Public safety crews cut a swath through a cornfield to reach the crash site. Wreckage from the plane could be seen scattered across the area. They discovered the 2004 Cirrus --- described as a fixed wing, single-engine aircraft -- engulfed in flames.

OSHP says Watson was ejected from the aircraft upon impact and declared dead at the scene by the Logan County coroner. He’d departed from the Bellefontaine Municipal Airport and was bound for the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County.

Carol Thurman told ABC6/Fox28 News' Tom Bosco that she ran toward the site just as soon as he heard the plane's impact.

"It come over this way ... here. And they were wondering why it didn’t land in here.”

Thurman says she and her husband have lived in the area for more than 40 years. She said she thought she heard an ATV running near her home about 11:30 a.m.

"He heard the noise coming over from the East. Sputtering, some sputtering ... It kept getting louder, kind of cutting in and out ... and then we heard the thud.”

That thud turned out to be much bigger than Thurman expected.

“I was hoping I would find somebody alive," she said. “I got my boots, and a sheet, and my rubber gloves. I’m a nurse. And my first instinct was to go see if I could do anything to help.”

Behind a wall of corn stalks, smoke and fire poured out from the site of where the plane went down.

Thurman says she couldn't see the crash until she got close. Then came word of tragedy.

"I could tell that he wasn’t with us anymore, so the only thing I could do was cover him up with a sheet.”

No official reason for what caused the crash has been given. The incident remains under investigation.


WEST LIBERTY, Ohio (WDTN) - The Logan County Sheriff's Department has now identified the victim of a fatal plane crash Thursday near West Liberty.

Jeffrey S. Watson, 51, of Bellefontaine was ejected from the aircraft when it crashed in a field off of Township Road 192 north of Township Road 193 in Liberty Township.

Investigators say Watson left the Bellefontaine, Municipal Airport enroute to the Rhodes Airport in Jackson County just before 11:30am.

His Cirrus single engine aircraft was engulfed in flame in a cornfield when emergency personnel arrived.

The Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene investigating the cause.

WEST LIBERTY, Ohio (WDTN) - The Logan County Sheriff's Department has now identified the victim of a fatal plane crash Thursday near West Liberty.

Jeffrey S. Watson, 51, of Bellefontaine was ejected from the aircraft when it crashed in a field off of Township Road 192 north of Township Road 193 in Liberty Township.

Investigators say Watson left the Bellefontaine, Municipal Airport enroute to the Rhodes Airport in Jackson County just before 11:30am.

His Cirrus single engine aircraft was engulfed in flame in a cornfield when emergency personnel arrived.

The Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene investigating the cause.

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — The pilot who died in a single engine plane crash Thursday has been identified as 51 year old Jeffrey Watson, a businessman from Bellefontaine. Investigators say Watson was the only person on board. Logan County coroners pronounced him dead at the scene. Neighbors say they heard the 2004 Cirrus engine revving erratically just before the plane went down in a corn field near West Liberty. The FAA has been called in to investigate the crash.

WEST LIBERTY, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say at least one person has died in a small plane crash in western Ohio.

Logan County sheriff's and federal authorities say the plane went down near a township road intersection in West Liberty shortly after 11 a.m. EDT. They didn't immediately know whether there was more than one person aboard the plane or what kind of aircraft it was. They also didn't immediately know where the plane had left from.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating.

WEST LIBERTY, Ohio - The pilot of a small plane was killed Thursday morning when the aircraft crashed into a cornfield.

The crash occurred at about 11:20 a.m. just west of Township Road 192, just west of West Liberty, 10TV's Andy Hirsch reported.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jeff Watson died in the crash. He was 51 years old.

Firefighters said that the plane was engulfed when they arrived at the scene.

Authorities were working to determine where the plane took off from and its destination.

Carol Thurman lives near the cornfield and heard the plane before it crashed, Hirsch reported.

“Almost like a 4-wheeler cutting in and out,” said Thurman. “It didn't sound like an airplane. It just kept sputtering and sputtering, as if it was going to start."

Thurman’s husband called 911. Thurman grabbed supplies and ran to the cornfield to see if she could help, Hirsch reported.

“(I) grabbed my boots and I grabbed a sheet. I'm a nurse, and I think my nurse instinct took over, and some rubber gloves and I ran out through the corn field," Thurman said.

Thurman made her way to the pilot, who was ejected from the aircraft. She said she knew there was no saving him.

“He was already gone, so I just basically covered him up with a sheet,” Thurman said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration said officials from the National Transportation Safety Board will be at the scene of the crash Friday morning.