Sunday, September 18, 2011

Three arrested over fake pilot stunt. Auckland International Airport.

BREAKING NEWS: Police have arrested and charged three men for their respective roles in trying to get a man masquerading as a pilot on to a plane at Auckland International Airport.

The charges, under Section 56A of the Civil Aviation Act 1990, relate to providing false information to ground staff at the airport on Saturday.

The penalty for this offence is 12 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

The Auckland men, who include a 33-year-old company director, a 26-year-old film producer and a 32-year-old broadcaster, are to appear in the Manukau District Court this afternoon.

Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock says an investigation began soon after the fake pilot, believed to be part of a MediaWorks film crew, tried to gain access to a restricted area at the Domestic Terminal.

3News earlier reported the imposter was Wannaben star and former Pulp Sport host Ben Boyce, but it is now believed it was an extra from the Saturday night comedy show.

A MediaWorks spokeswoman said she understood the show's crew were meeting with police this morning.

"So we're not able to comment until that meeting's been concluded."

She could not comment on whether MediaWorks management was aware of the plan beforehand.

Earlier today, a pilots association security worker said he wanted to see a TV crew "behind bars for a short time of reflection" after attempting to get a fake pilot onto a plane.

Airline Pilots' Association aviation security co-ordinator Paul Lyons slammed the attempt by a MediaWorks film crew to gain access to a restricted area at Auckland Airport at 2.30pm on Saturday.

"I think it's ridiculous that a film crew should try a stunt like this in a secure setting.

"It's one thing to be pulling stunts on people at their workplace, but to be carrying on at an international airport where security issues are real is demeaning, and quite frankly outrageous."

The fake pilot left the airport when Air New Zealand staff at the gate refused to let him board without the required photo identification.

Police described the man as a European in his late 20s or 30s, more than 1.8m tall, and of medium build. He had brown hair and distinctive tattoos on his forearms.

He was wearing a white shirt with epaulets with gold bands, a dark tie, blue trousers, dark shoes, a dark cap, a silver-winged badge and was carrying a large black briefcase.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said they were awaiting the result of the police investigation and would not comment.

"They're obviously treating it as an important matter and we want to see what actually did happen," he said.

Aviation Security Service general manager Mark Everitt told Radio New Zealand the man was seen getting into a waiting van.

Everitt defended the fact the imposter was allowed to leave the airport without security being called. He said airport staff may have believed he was a pilot due to his uniform and the excuse he used for not having proper ID.

"The issue of a person being in a uniform could have meant that the staff members may have believed that the person was a pilot because there was a discussion around the identification...

"And the explanation given as to where the identification card was. I can't comment further than that," he said.

"The person then left that area with instructions to get that identification or verify it through the Aviation Security Service."

All airport staff were required to carry the ID, he said.

Everitt wouldn't say whether the possibility that it was a prank was being considered, or on suggestions the man was spotted giving the thumbs down signal to someone in the van.

The airport had beefed up security as a result, with pilots briefed to expect further checks, he said.

"The outcome will be more inconvenience for genuine airport workers and pilots in terms of their verification if you like as they report to duty and move through airports in their day."

Earlier today Prime Minister John Key said he suspected the incident was a prank but Pilot's Association president Glen Kenny expressed concern at the similarity of the uniform to a real pilot's uniform.

"It's heartening to know that when someone does something as serious as trying to impersonate a pilot, they didn't get anywhere with it," Kenny said.

However, he said he was concerned that the uniform looked "pretty close" to authentic when such outfits were "incredibly difficult to come by".

"Air New Zealand consider the sale and distribution of their uniforms a very serious matter, and go to great lengths to track them - old and new," Kenny said.

"You don't tend to see pilot uniforms in a costume hire place.

"They're so rare you'd almost have to manufacture it yourself and then you'd struggle, hopefully, to make it look right."

The manager of one of Auckland's biggest costume shops, First Scene, said they hadn't hired out the uniform in question but said such costumes were easily distinguishable from the real thing.

"People who know what uniforms are supposed to look like can just tell instantly," costume manager Jacqui Whall said.

Most uniforms were fairly plain though people could add to them to make them look more realistic.

Whall said she did not think it was possible to hire or buy an authentic pilot's uniform in Auckland.

She was not aware of any of their costumes being used in such a manner in the past.

"That I know of, we've never had anybody hire anything and end up in police custody or anything like that," she said.

Police spokesman Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock said yesterday the effort the man went to get to the airport's restricted area was of "a significant concern".

However, Lovelock said this morning police were not commenting further and hung up, while an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the incident was now a police matter and refused to comment.

Auckland University of Technology journalism lecturer Greg Treadwell said such a stunt for television ratings was "a bit sad".

"I think it's such a sensitive issue, this is unfortunate timing, not funny and pretty teenage-type stunt to be honest."

He said there were times for the media to test such things but said this particular incident was "dangerously provocative".

With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, he said he was not worried about this story being picked up by global media and reflecting New Zealand in a negative light.

"I guess it would be unfortunate if the overseas media treat it as more serious than it really is... Even if that did happen we'll live with it. We take a fair amount of mocking from the world on a variety of things from sheep to whatever and it's just another one of those."

Turbulence causes minor burns on flight

An Ambulance was dispatched to Sydney airport on Monday morning after injuries were reported on an incoming flight.

Ambulance crews were alerted at 8.30am eastern time that severe turbulance had caused hot liquid to spill on an inbound flight.

Sky News was told five passengers and three crew were injured and treated at the scene.

Sky News understands it was tea or coffee spilt on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney via New Zealand.

VIDEO: Bushplane Days - Water Bomber Ignites Forest Fire Awareness

Watch Video:

Edie Suriano, organizer of Bushplane Days, was enthusiastic about this years’ event – “We have a CL – 415 water bomber that will be putting on a show for us – it is an opportunity for younger children to come in and learn a little history about the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, why we are here and the importance of forest fire prevention.”

Along with Edie was the announcer and former MNR pilot, Collin Reid who was available to comment on the specifics of the CL – 415, “It was manufactured in Montreal at Bombardier Aerospace, and is capable of carrying seven tonnes of water – which is roughly 14,000 lbs. It usually takes 10 – 12 seconds to load and has four bomb doors which can open all at once or sequentially. The plane itself weights 50,000 lbs and usually reaches a speed of 120 mph before dropping above 300 feet. The ‘super scooper’ also has a Pratt-Whitney Engine, which was made in Canada, and 2,380 horsepower. The MNR currently has 9 of these planes in their possession, all are Canadian made, and for the sole purpose of fighting forest fires.”

In order to get the children involved in learning about the history of such planes, Edie indicated that they had devised a strategy – “each child receives a passport and once they complete their station, they are given a corresponding sticker. Yesterday, we had Spiderman visit and today we have Smokey the bear. We also have two planes – water bombers – a DHC 2 Beaver developed by the late Tom Cook and a 215 water model – which are still used today but rather smaller that the CL – 415 you will see later on.”

Four other gentlemen, Mike Ward, Kevin Shaw, Waylon Littleton and Joe Pinder, members of the MNR manned a table providing pamphlets and other information regarding this year’s forest fires, prevention tips, as well as other tools for visitors to learn more. “This year there were roughly 1200 forest fires reported in the province of Ontario and 60% were believed to be caused by lightening,” Ward states.

While waiting for the water bomber to arrive with its action packed display of heights and capability, I had the opportunity to take a scenic flight on the “Air Dale,” a service the Bushplane offers at $55 dollars a person. While in flight, we were able to view the bomber on its approach to “scoop-up” and dispel. The site was a wonder to see and for sure riveting enough to bring about forest fire awareness as well as a respect for those who have entered into such line of work.

Special thanks to Dale Flieler and Jeff McClain the pilots of CL – 415. 

Watch Video:

Lubbock, Texas: Recent aircraft tragedies may have impact on local aircraft shows

The sights and sounds from the tragedy in Reno lingering with many. A P-51 mustang named "The Galloping Ghost" lost control , and killed nine.

At a young age, Chris Whiting always had a thirst for learning about aviation, and it showed by the spouting of dates regarding the P-51 aircraft, in Reno, that took its catastrophic final flight.

"It has raced off and on since the late 40's there are very few aircraft if any that have raced that long," he said.

Whiting said it was not only the aircraft that will be missed, but the person inside.

"The pilot of that particular aircraft was very well know amongst air racing and aviation community," he said. "He had been flying mustangs a long period of time that itself is a tragedy and of course the crowds death."

He said with the recent events this is something that is not common.

"Very unusual circumstance because I don't know of any other instance in the last fifty-years in the U.S., where fans or the spectators were injured in any kind of way like this," he said.

Besides being unusual, Whiting said these recent events will be a major loss for the historic aspect of aviation, and said when it comes to aircraft shows, preparation is vital.

"For our air show, we always abide by FAA rules with 1500 hundred foot gap between the show line and the crowd line and no one except air craft crew are allowed passed that line during the show," he said.

Inside the hangar in Slaton a North American T-28, the same type of plane that crashed in West Virgina, and because of these tragedies Whiting said the future of aircraft shows is unknown.

"I don't know, I honestly don't know, he said. "I don't know what kind of impact this will have have to our air show, or air shows around the country after this."

Airline pilots unimpressed with apparent TV stunt

Airline pilots are far from impressed a television stunt appears to be behind an attempt by an imposter pilot to get past security at Auckland Airport.

The man is reportedly an actor from TV3's comedy show Wannaben, and police are currently meeting with the makers of the MediaWorks TV programme.

The show stars Ben Boyce who's best known for the spoof sports show Pulp Sport.

Airline Pilots' Association aviation security coordinator Paul Lyons wants to see the perpetrators punished.

"Quite frankly it's a personal view, I would like to see some time served, a brief period of time served so they can reflect on their actions," he told Newstalk ZB.

"There's an appropriate time for comedy, everyone likes a laugh but security is not a laughing matter and it's taken very seriously by all staff at the airport."

Mr Lyons says if airport staff breach security provisions, they're up for summary dismissal.

Mediaworks says it won't make any further comment until the conclusion of the meeting with police.

On Saturday afternoon, the man dressed as a pilot approached ground staff at the domestic terminal.

After being challenged by ground staff, he left in a Toyota Hiace van with tinted windows.

Excitement, speed key to air racing's appeal -- and risk

By Greg Botelho, CNN
CNN's David George contributed to this report.

  • Air shows, which may include races, generate $110 million annually in the U.S., Canada
  • The first air race was in 1909, and today millions attend such competitions worldwide
  • There have been 13 air show deaths in U.S. this year, an official says
  • An official predicts that air racing "will be the world's predominant sport in 10 years"

(CNN) -- Crashes had whittled the expected field from 22 to five, with wreckage from at least a dozen aircraft at one point strewn about the French airfield.

But it did not deter between 300,000 to 500,000 from flocking to the Betheny Plain outside Reims for the final event, drawn by the rush of seeing planes turn, twist and race through the air -- and not deterred by the evident risk.

That account, from the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, was from 1909. More than 100 years later, air shows -- which may include air races -- continue to draw millions. In the process, they generate $110 million annually in the U.S. and Canada alone, according to John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows.

A spike this year in fatalities at such events has raised fresh questions about safety. But it has not detracted from the enthusiasm of many aviation enthusiasts, who still view such races as enthralling competitions.

"It's exciting, it's incredibly moving to see these airplanes do what they do and handle the way they are," said aviation analyst Jim Tilmon, himself a former pilot in the U.S. military and with American Airlines, who then compared it to its risks and thrills with auto racing and other sports.

Such danger was apparent Friday, when pilot Jimmy Leeward's P-51 aircraft plunged into spectators during a qualifying run at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show outside Reno, Nevada. Nine people -- including the pilot -- were killed, with many more injured.

A day later, U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Nate Nueller said an aircraft crashed at a show in Martinsburg, West Virginia, killing the pilot. Cudahy noted there had been at least 13 deaths at U.S. air shows this year -- after none for 2009 and 2010.

Mike Cummings, crew chief for the Blue Thunder racing team, watched Leeward's World War II-era plane fly over his head, invert, go into a loop, then slam into the ground. He called the crash "very traumatic (for) the very close-knit" air racing community, be they people such as himself who knew Leeward personally or other enthusiasts worldwide of the sport.

Still, he said it would not deter him from continuing to participate. Nor would he hesitate to bring family members, as he has done often in the past, to watch planes race.

"(My kids) love the air races," said Cummings. "They realize it's dangerous, that it's not a Sunday afternoon in the park."

Air races are sometimes a part of, but distinct from, "air shows," which generally are exhibitions in which pilots demonstrate aerobatics and other aerial moves.

In a race, pilots compete against one another to see who can go fastest. There are several forms, the most high-profile being the Red Bull Air Race circuit in which competitors race against a clock and do aerobatic maneuvers, before being compared. Its pilots come from around the world -- Japan, Brazil, England and beyond -- oft competing in picturesque locales in front of hundreds of thousands of people, including well over 1 million recently in Dubai.

The Reno race, by contrast, was a lap race. Competitors, typically five to eight at a time, fly a predetermined number of laps in large ovals that range from 3 to 8 miles, depending on the type of plane.

And the fledgling Sky Challenge racing circuit is a head-to-head race that melds the two concepts while adding various safety measures. CEO Peter Newport said he is currently criss-crossing the globe for meetings to set up future events.

Whatever the air race form, Newport said the common challenge is balancing the desire to maximize both excitement and safety. The latter becomes a bigger challenge than with conventional aircraft, since the pilots -- however well-trained -- are trying to push their planes to the limits.

Those involved in such events point out the numerous safety checks in place. Only 320 pilots, for instance, are certified to fly in air shows, much less air races, said Cudahy.

And the Federal Aviation Administration notes that its employees closely examine a race course, monitor pilots' practice runs, examine their and their planes' safety records and observe the races themselves. This is all in addition to pre-race inspections of the aircraft.

Still, as authorities learned again Friday, there are limits to what can be done when pilots are trying to get the most from their aircraft -- especially if there's an unanticipated mechanical failure.

"An air race is a very, very high-speed race close to the ground with aircraft that have been modified to fly much faster than were originally designed to fly," Tilmon said. "You can call this an extreme sport (because the plane and pilot) are being pushed to the absolute edge."

Newport, for one, believes that new technology can make such events safer without losing any of the sport's luster -- something, he said, is needed to encourage more young people to go into aviation. And he thinks that, once the safety questions are answered, air racing should grow even more popular and take its place among conventional sports like baseball, soccer, golf and the like.

"I think air racing will be the world's predominant sport in 10 year's time," said Newport, anticipating it could be a huge spectator and revenue draw without heavy expenses such as building stadiums. "The challenge is (balancing) excitement and safety... Unless you achieve those two things, it's hard to see how it becomes a global sport."

CNN's David George contributed to this report.

Florida: Air show organizers shocked by fatal crashes in Nevada, West Virginia

BREVARD COUNTY --  The aviation world is reeling this weekend from two deadly plane crashes at air shows across the county. For two annual air shows in Central Florida, the crashes especially hit home.

The Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville organizes the Tico Air Show in Titusville every March. Spokesman Col. Terry Yon said James Leeward, 74, the pilot who died in the crash in Reno, was a member at the museum.

"He was well-known in our community and the Warbird community," Yon said. "The loss is like the loss in a family."

Nine people were killed in the crash at the National Championship Air Races, including Leeward, who was from Ocala. A World War II-era plane also crashed Saturday at a West Virginia air show.

Central Florida is a prime location for air shows, with the Tico show, and the Cocoa Beach Air Show scheduled for early November. The air shows attract thousands, but organizers said there is a lot of work and preparation involved in each flight.

"Safety of the public is the number one concern from the very beginning," Yon said. :The pilots are briefed. We have a lot of other people involved in the safety of the air show, and anytime something goes wrong it's a shock to the whole community."

Pilot Richard Tanner has been flying for years. "There is a lot of prep," he said. "If you don't prepare, it's problems and not many people want to have problems when they are flying."

Everything is taken into consideration -- there are height, distance and altitude regulations when it comes to the planes and the crowds. Pilots are encouraged to take their time while performing.

"There's a great military presence in Florida," Yon said. "A lot of people just love to see not only the modern military jets, but these vintage warbirds."

The Cocoa Beach Air Show happens in November.
The Tico Air Show happens in March.

Air New Zealand plane lands safely after engine flames

An eyewitness has described hearing a loud bang and seeing flames leaping from the engine of an Air New Zealand jet, as it made its final approach into Auckland International Airport last night.

The 747 was about 800m in the air, on final approach, when Manukau resident Kevin Ward heard a loud bang overhead, while outside his property - and immediately looked up.

"I saw what I thought was an emergency beacon - but then realised it was flames coming out of the outer starboard engine."

Air New Zealand confirmed flight NZ118, from Sydney to Auckland, experienced a "power surge" in one of the 747's four engines - shortly before landing, around 8:40pm. As per standard procedure the engine was shut down, the airline said in a statement.

"No local standby was required and the aircraft landed without incident.”

The aircraft is now being inspected by engineers.

Inside the cabin, there was an unusual bang followed by a repetitive thumping noise; which lasted around 15 seconds.

Nobody seemed too panicked; however some people were looking around a little bewildered.

Once the plane had landed, the pilot explained briefly the aircraft had suffered a technical problem, but had landed safely.

A flight attendant onboard said it was a rare occurrence.

House fire – not plane crash – sends Fort Erie firefighters scrambling

FORT ERIE – Emergency crews in Fort Erie rushed to the scene of a house fire after receiving a mistaken report that a small plane had crashed in a neighborhood near Town Hall.

When firefighters arrived at 987 Scott Ave., they found a single-family home fully engulfed in flames.  Fortunately, the lone occupant of the residence was helped to safety by a passerby who saw smoke and entered the home to alert the person.  No one was injured as a result of the fire, which could easily have been a tragedy if it was not for the actions of the Good Samaritan, police say.

An official at the scene speculated the person who placed the original 911 call likely saw a small plane descending behind trees to make a landing at a nearby private airstrip about the same time smoke began billowing into the sky from the fire scene.

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 Marquise, Mitts Corp., N80HH: Accident occurred January 18, 2010 in Elyria, Ohio

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

National Transportation Safety Board -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:

NTSB Identification: CEN10FA097 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 18, 2010 in Elyria, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/12/2011
Aircraft: MITSUBISHI MU-2B-60, registration: N80HH
Injuries: 4 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.

On his first Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach, the pilot initially flew through the localizer course. The pilot then reestablished the airplane on the final approach course, but the airplane’s altitude at the decision height was about 500 feet too high. He executed a missed approach and received radar vectors for another approach. The airplane was flying inbound on the second ILS approach when a witness reported that he saw the airplane about 150 feet above the ground in about a 60-degree nose-low attitude with about an 80-degree right bank angle. The initial ground impact point was about 2,150 feet west of the runway threshold and about 720 feet north (left) of the extended centerline. The cloud tops were about 3,000 feet with light rime or mixed icing.

The flap jack screws and flap indicator were found in the 5-degree flap position. The inspection of the airplane revealed no preimpact anomalies to the airframe, engines, or propellers. A radar study performed on the flight indicated that the calibrated airspeed was about 130 knots on the final approach, but subsequently decreased to about 95–100 knots during the 20-second period prior to loss of radar contact. According to the airplane’s flight manual, the wings-level power-off stall speed at the accident aircraft’s weight is about 91 knots. The ILS approach flight profile indicates that 20 degrees of flaps should be used at the glide slope intercept while maintaining 120 knots minimum airspeed. At least 20 degrees of flaps should be maintained until touchdown. The “No Flap” or “5 Degrees Flap Landing” flight profile indicates that the NO FLAP Vref airspeed is 115 knots calibrated airspeed minimum.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the instrument approach, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain.


On January 18, 2010, at 1405 eastern standard time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, N80HH, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during an instrument approach to runway 07 (5,002 feet by 100 feet, asphalt) at the Lorain County Regional Airport (LPR), Elyria, Ohio. The pilot, the pilot-rated passenger in the right seat, and two passengers seated in the cabin received fatal injuries. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight departed the Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), Gainesville, Florida, about 1100, and was en route to LPR. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) transcripts indicated that the airplane was approaching LPR on a heading of 325 degrees. At 1335:51, ATC informed the pilot that he could expect radar vectors for the instrument landing system (ILS) Runway 07 approach to LPR.

At 1345:53, ATC informed the pilot that he was 4 ½ miles from RAWLS, the final approach fix for the localizer (LOC) Rwy 07 approach, and instructed him to turn right to a heading of 050 degrees, maintain 2,600 feet mean sea level (msl) until established on the localizer. The flight was cleared for the ILS Runway 07 approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance.

Radar track data indicated that the airplane flew through the inbound course of 070 degrees and continued on a 055 degree heading. At 1347:03, ATC instructed the pilot to turn to 090 degrees to intercept the inbound course. The ATC controller also stated, “I didn’t adjust for the wind there.” At 1347:19, ATC instructed the pilot to turn to 100 degrees and asked the pilot if he wanted to continue the approach, or take radar vectors to get reestablished on the inbound course, since he would be intercepting the inbound course near or at RAWLS. The pilot elected to continue the approach.

At 1348:27, ATC instructed the pilot to change radio frequency to LPR’s advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged the frequency change.

At 1349:33, the pilot advised ATC that he was executing a missed approach. The radar track data indicated that the airplane’s altitude during the approach was never lower that 1,500 feet msl. The decision height for the ILS Runway 07 approach was 994 feet msl.

At 1350:29, ATC instructed the pilot to climb to 2,500 feet msl and turn left to a heading of 280 degrees for radar vectors for the ILS Runway 07 final approach course. The pilot requested that the controller extend the outbound leg to provide more time to get established on the inbound course. The radar track data indicated that the airplane was about 11 miles from the airport before it turned inbound to intercept the inbound localizer course.

At 1358:18, ATC instructed that pilot to turn left to 100 degrees, maintain 2,600 feet msl until established on the localizer, and he was cleared for the ILS Runway 7 approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance.

At 1901:12, ATC instructed the pilot to change to the advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged the frequency change.

Radar track data indicated that the airplane’s altitude increased to about 3,000 feet msl when it turned inbound and intercepted the localizer. The altitude was about 2,200 feet msl when it crossed RAWLS (The altitude at RAWLS is depicted as 2,263 feet msl). The airplane continued inbound and the altitude continued to decrease. The radar track data indicated that the airplane was about 1 mile from runway 07 when the altitude was about 1,300 feet msl (about 506 feet above ground level (agl)). The last radar return indicated that the airplane’s altitude was about 1,000 feet msl. The radar track data indicated that the airplane’s heading started to go left of the centerline when it was about 1,400 feet msl, and it continued to “drift” left until the last radar return. The last radar return was about 0.19 miles (about 1,000 feet) left of centerline. The linear distance from the last recorded radar return to the initial impact point was about 750 feet.

A witness, who was waiting at the airport for the airplane to arrive, reported that he heard the radio transmission on the Unicom frequency and was looking to the west to observe the airplane as it landed. He reported that he saw the airplane as it descended out of the clouds. He stated that it was in a nose low attitude, rolling to the right into a steep right turn (initially he thought it might have been a left turn) with the wings at almost a 90 degree position relative to the ground. He stated that the airplane was “definitely out of control” when he saw it. A “huge cloud of snow” was created by the subsequent impact and when it cleared, he observed the airplane wreckage at the west end of the airport property. He stated that it happened very fast - “in the blink of an eye.” He reported that the airplane’s landing light was not turned on.

Another witness reported that he heard the airplane as it was approaching his house near the airport. He stated that he looked out a window and saw the airplane about 150 feet above the ground. Using an airplane model to describe the airplane’s flight profile, he indicated that he observed the airplane in about a 60 degree nose low attitude with about an 80 degree angle of bank to the right.


The 30-year-old pilot held an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate for single-engine land airplanes, multi-engine land airplanes, and helicopters. He was also a certified flight instructor with single-engine airplane, multi-engine airplane, and helicopter ratings; and he was an instrument instructor in airplanes and helicopters. The pilot's latest first class medical certificate was issued on November 29, 2007.

The pilot’s flight logbook was not obtained during the course of the investigation. On April 15, 2009, the pilot had reported on an aircraft insurance form that as of 4/15/2009 he had a total of 2,010 flight hours. He had 1,285 multi-engine flight hours with 1,250 hours flown in the MU-2 make and model. He had 231 flight hours in helicopters. He recorded 290 hours of flight in actual instrument conditions. He flew 180 hours in the MU-2 within the preceding 12 months, and had flown 30 hours of instrument flying within the preceding 12 months.

The pilot’s training records were obtained from the SimCom Training Center located in Orlando, Florida. The training records indicated that the pilot obtained his initial MU-2 simulator training in October of 2002. Records indicated that the pilot returned to SimCom for recurrent MU-2 simulator training on a yearly basis. On January 28, 2009, the pilot attended the SimCom Training Center and received a certificate signifying that he had satisfactorily completed a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 108 compliant MU-2 Recurrent course for the MU-2B-60 model. The pilot was scheduled to return to SimCom for recurrent MU-2 simulator training on January 25 – 27, 2010.

The owner of the airplane reported that the pilot was a competent pilot and was qualified to fly the MU-2 single pilot. The owner and the accident pilot routinely flew together, and they would switch pilot and copilot responsibilities. He stated that they routinely flew in instrument conditions and had often flown IFR approaches in actual instrument conditions. He stated that the accident pilot was a good instrument pilot and that there were no issues with his flying or his technique. The pilot had worked for the owner of the airplane for about 13 years.

The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. His flight logbook was not obtained during the course of the investigation. During his third class medical examination on October 10, 2008, the pilot reported that his total flight time was 190 hours. The airplane owner reported that the pilot rated passenger was not performing the duties of copilot during the flight. The pilot rated passenger had flown with the pilot on numerous other flights, including flights from GNV to LPR. He also held an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic rating. He was employed by the airplane owner to maintain the accident airplane and a helicopter operated by the owner.


The airplane was a twin-engine Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, serial number 732, and was certified for single-pilot operations. Its maximum gross weight was 11,575 pounds and it seated 10. The Honeywell TPE-331-10 engines were flat rated to 715 shaft horsepower. The last annual maintenance inspection was conducted on April 3, 2009. The airplane had flown approximately 90 hours since the last annual inspection and had a total time of 6,799 hours. At the last annual inspection, both the left and right engines had 2,910.4 hours time since overhaul (TSO).

A review of the airplane’s maintenance records indicated that Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2000-09-15 was complied with. The AD required that a de-ice monitoring system, an automatic autopilot disconnect system, and a trim-in-motion alert system be installed on the airplane. The AD was intended to assist in preventing departure from controlled flight while operating in icing conditions.

The maintenance records indicated that the airplane’s autopilot roll servo had been replaced on September 23, 2009, with an overhauled unit. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had all the autopilot primary servo’s and trim servo’s removed for inspection.

A Bendix KLN-94 GPS was installed in the airplane. The KLN-94 automatically switches to NAV when a localizer frequency is selected by the pilot. Therefore, the NAV sensing is automatic and the course deviation indicator (CDI) correctly displays the localizer.


At 1353, the surface weather observation at LPR indicated the following conditions: Winds 240 degrees at 9 knots, 2 miles visibility, mist, overcast 500 feet, temperature -1 degree Celsius (C), dew point -3 degrees C, altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury (Hg).

The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Depiction Charts for 1100 and 1400 depicted an extensive area of IFR conditions over the region. The closest VFR conditions were over 200 miles south of the accident site.

The NWS Pittsburg 0700 sounding depicted a moist low-level environment with the lifted condensation level at 407 feet agl. The sounding had a relative humidity of 80 percent or more from the surface to approximately 8,000 feet. The freezing level was at the surface and the entire sounding was below freezing even with several temperature inversions noted between 7,500 and 10, 900 feet.

The NWS Current Icing Product indicated an approximately 70 to 80 percent probability of icing conditions below 3,000 feet in the vicinity of the accident site at 1400.

Numerous pilot reports indicated that there was an extensive overcast layer of clouds extending over Ohio with bases from 100 to 1,200 feet and tops at 2,200 to 3,800 feet. There were 12 reports of light rime to mixed type icing, and 4 reports of light to moderate intensity icing conditions in clouds below 3,000 feet.

A Cessna Citation XL landed at LPR about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the time of the accident. The Citation pilot reported that they flew the ILS Runway 07 approach and did a circle to land maneuver to runway 25. The pilot reported that they entered the clouds at 3,000 feet above msl and received radar vectors for the approach. He stated that the visibility was good above the clouds and there was no turbulence in the clouds. They leveled off at the Minimum Descent Altitude and flew the right hand circling pattern at 1,300 to 1,350 feet msl (about 500 to 550 feet agl). He said they had 3 miles visibility and he remained clear of clouds during the circle to land maneuver. The airplane’s anti-icing and deicing equipment were on during the approach. He observed about 1/8 inch of ice on the nose of the airplane when they pulled the airplane into the hangar. He reported that the airplane was in the clouds for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

The ATC transcripts of the Cleveland Approach Controller, who was handling the accident airplane during the instrument approach, indicated that the controller had stated that the tops of the clouds were about 3,000 – 3,100 feet msl with light rime or mixed icing. He stated that the wind was 210 degrees at 30 knots at 8,000 feet msl and that there was “similar wind down low.”


The approach plate for the ILS or LOC RWY 7 approach indicated the following information:
1) The localizer frequency was 111.7.
2) The runway length was 5,002 feet and the airport elevation was 794 feet.
3) The approach course was 070 degrees.
4) The glide slope/glide path intercept altitude was 2,400 feet msl.
5) The straight-in landing minimums were 994 feet msl decision height with a 1/2 mile visibility.
6) The circling approach landing minimums were 1,240 feet msl minimum descent altitude with 1 mile visibility.
7) Missed approach: Climb to 1,400 feet, then climbing left turn to 3,000 feet via heading 270 degrees, then left turn direct to DJB VOR/DME and hold.


The airplane impacted a field within the airport’s boundary. The initial impact point was about 2,150 feet west of runway 07 threshold and about 720 feet north of the extended centerline of runway 07. The wreckage path was about 194 feet long and was oriented on a heading of about 100 degrees magnetic. The wings and landing gear separated from the fuselage. The cockpit cabin had partially separated from the rest of the fuselage during the impact sequence, but the flight control cables were not severed. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. There was no post impact fire.

A piece of the green navigational lens and the strake from the right wing tip tank were found near the initial impact point. A crater about 6 feet wide by 7 feet long and 18 – 24 inches deep was located about 21 feet east of the initial impact point. The four-bladed right propeller and the right wing flap were located near the crater. The right wing tip tank was located about 61 feet along the wreckage path. The outboard section of the right wing was located about 79 feet along the wreckage path. The left engine was located about 123 feet along the wreckage path with the propeller still attached, but with two blades missing from the hub. The two other blades were located in the debris field. The cockpit and fuselage were located about 143 - 170 feet from the initial impact point. The left wing was separated from the fuselage, but was located next to the main wreckage. The left wing tip tank and the right engine were located about 170 feet and 179 feet along the wreckage path, respectively. One of the left propeller blades was located 194 feet from the initial impact point.

The on-site inspection of the wreckage revealed the deformation of the right wing tip tank was about 60 degrees to the left. The inspection revealed that the landing gear was extended and the flaps were set to 5 degrees. The pitch trim indicator was about 15 degrees nose up, the rudder trim indicator was about 1 – 2 degrees right, and the aileron trim was neutral. The trim surfaces corresponded to the indicated trim settings. The power levers were forward and above the flight idle position. The left condition lever was found forward of the stop and the handle was broken. The right condition lever was found on the forward stop at the Take-off/Land position. The generator switches and the battery master switches were found in the OFF position. The left engine auto-ignition switch was found in the Continuous position, and the right engine auto-ignition switch was found in the Auto-ignition position.

The inspection of the overhead switch panel revealed that it had impact damage that cracked the panel through the middle of the switches. The switches in the overhead switch panel were in the OFF position. The four top lights on the Anti-Ice panel were intact. When 24-volts was applied to each light bulb, the light went on. The four bottom lights on the Anti-Ice panel could not be tested due to impact damage.

The airplane was equipped with an M-4D Automatic Flight Control System. The flight controller and mode selector are provided in separately mounted units, which are operationally equivalent to a single-unit controller. The M-4D autopilot mode selector controller has 6 modes of operation. Each mode had 4 light bulbs behind the mode faceplate. All the light bulb filaments of each mode were inspected. All the filaments were intact and there were no indications of filament stretch. The light bulbs on the flight controller AP/ON switch were inspected. All the filaments were intact and there were no indications of filament stretch.

The flight control cables were examined for continuity. The elevator and rudder push-pull rods and cables exhibited continuity from the flight controls to the control surfaces. The wing spoiler cables had continuity from the control yoke to the mixer box located in the wing center section. The push-pull tubes from the mixer box to the spoilers were broken and exhibited impact damage. The attach points of the push-pull tubes to the spoiler bell cranks exhibited continuity. The right outboard spoiler was found in the down position. The right inboard spoiler was attached but it was broken and moved freely. The left inboard and outboard spoilers were in the up position.


The autopsies of the pilot and pilot-rated passenger were conducted on January 20, 2010, at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, Cleveland, Ohio. The “Cause of Death” for both was noted as “Blunt force trauma to the head, neck, trunk and extremities with cutaneous, skeletal, soft tissue, vascular and visceral injuries.” Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Reports were prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. The results for both were negative for all substances tested.


Autopilot Servos

The autopilot servos and associated parts from the airplane were examined at Autopilots Central in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 17, 2010, under NTSB oversight. The following parts were bench tested: 1) Pitch Primary Servo 2) Pitch Servo Capstan Assembly 3) Roll Primary Servo 4) Roll Servo Capstan Assembly 5) Yaw Primary Servo 6) Yaw Servo Capstan Assembly 7) Yaw Trim Servo and 8) Pitch Trim Servo.

Bench tests revealed that the Primary Pitch Servo servo functioned correctly; however, the output torque was slightly under the minimum limit during counter-clockwise rotation. The servo passed all other tests. The Pitch Servo Capstan Assembly passed the clutch torque test. The Roll Primary Servo functioned correctly; however, the Velocity Generator Output test was slightly under limit, measuring 1.77 volts (min limit = 1.8 volts). The servo passed all other tests. The Roll Servo Capstan Assembly passed the clutch torque test. The Yaw Primary Servo functioned correctly; however, the Residual Drag test was slightly over the maximum limit of 30 inch-ounces, measuring 32 inch-ounces. Residual Drag is the torque required to rotate the pinion gear on the servo when the servo is NOT powered (no clutch current). The Yaw Servo Capstan Assembly passed the clutch torque test. The Yaw Trim Servo functioned correctly and passed the specified tests. The Pitch Trim Servo would not function in the clockwise direction. All other testing was satisfactory. Observing an exemplar servo in an MU-2 aircraft revealed that counter-clockwise rotation of the trim servo drive pulley provides nose-up trim and clockwise rotation provides nose-down trim. The pitch trim servo was analyzed by Autopilots Central’s technician to determine loss of clockwise rotation. Findings determined that relay K1 was faulty (relay contact #2 bad). A jumper was connected between relay K1, pins 1 and 2 to provide confirmation. The servo operated in the CW direction with the jumper installed, confirming that relay K1 was faulty. It could not be determined if relay K1 was faulty prior to impact or was faulty as a result of the impact.


A teardown and examination were conducted on the two Honeywell Model TPE331-10-511M turboprop engines, serial numbers P-36169C and P-36070C that were installed on the airplane. The inspection took place at the Honeywell Investigation Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 29 - April 1, 2010, under NTSB oversight.

The examination revealed that both engines exhibited similar impact damage. Both exhibited rotational scoring of the first-stage compressor impeller shroud, the leading edges of the first-stage impeller blades were bent opposite the direction of rotation, rotational scoring through 360 degrees on the second-stage compressor housing impeller shroud, and rotational scoring on the shroud line of all second-stage compressor impeller blades. Both engines exhibited rotational scoring on the second-stage turbine blade tip shroud, rotational scoring on the honeycomb seal on the second-stage turbine rotor blade tips, rotational scoring on the shroud line edge of all third-stage turbine rotor blade tips, and rotational scoring on the knife seals on the third-stage rotor. The engines also exhibited metal spray deposits adhering to the suction side of the second-stage turbine stator vanes, and to the suction side of the second-stage turbine blades. Both had rotational scoring damage to the sun gear and propeller shaft.


An inspection of the Hartzell propellers, model HC-B4TN-5-JL, was conducted at Ottesen Propeller Service, Phoenix, Arizona on March 31, 2010, under NTSB oversight. The inspection of the left propeller revealed that all four blade clamps/counterweights were at a low or reverse pitch position. The piston/cylinder/spring assembly had separated from the hub but was still connected to the propeller by link arms. The number (No.) 2 and No. 3 blades had separated from their blades clamps. The No. 1 blade had not rotated in its clamp, and the No. 4 blade had turned in its clamp approximately 40 degrees toward lower pitch. The reverse pitch stop was intact and unremarkable. The feather stop was unremarkable and did not have significant impact marks. The start locks were intact. The start lock plates (on the blade clamps) were undamaged with no impact marks. The cylinder had separated from the hub and the attachment threads were damaged. The cylinder was partially covered with mud that provided an indication of the (external) piston position. The piston was approximately 1-21/32 inch from the feather position, which equates to 34.8 degree blade angle. The pitch change rod had an impact mark at the point where the rod exits the front spring retainer. The mark was 2-21/32 inches from the aft side of the flange on the pitch change rod. This is a low/reverse pitch position, in proximity to the start lock position (2.5 degree blade angle). The No. 1 blade was bent forward approximately 100 degrees at mid-blade. It was not twisted. It had gouges in the leading edge. The No. 2 blade was bent aft approximately 10 degrees at mid-blade. It was twisted toward low pitch. The blade shank was sheared and the blade had separated from the propeller. The outer 4 inches of the tip was partially torn off. It had gouges in the leading edge. It was twisted toward low pitch.

The inspection of the right propeller revealed that the propeller had separated from the engine due to a fractured engine shaft. All four blades were in a reverse pitch position, but could be manually turned (No. 3 could not be manually turned until mud was removed). Blade clamp link screws had separated and were missing from blades No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4. The piston guide collar and one blade counterweight were missing. The piston/cylinder/spring assembly had separated from the propeller. The beta tube was bent and fractured on the aft side of the spring assembly. The No. 1 and No. 2 blades had not rotated in their clamps. The No. 3 blade had rotated in its clamp approximately 20 degrees toward lower pitch. The No. 4 blade had rotated in its clamp approximately 20 degrees toward lower pitch. The reverse pitch stop was intact and unremarkable. The feather stop was unremarkable and did not have significant impact marks. The start locks were intact. The start lock plates (on the blade clamps) were undamaged except for a small gouge in No. 1 start lock plate. The cylinder had separated from the hub and the attachment threads were damaged. The cylinder was partially covered with mud that provided an indication of the (external) piston position. The piston was approximately 29/32 inch from the feather position, which equates to 48.8 degree blade angle. The pitch change rod was intact and unremarkable. The No. 1 blade was bent aft approximately 20 degrees at 1/4 radius. It was twisted toward low pitch. The No. 2 blade was bent slightly aft at the tip. It was twisted toward low pitch. The No. 3 blade was bent aft approximately 70 degrees at 1/4 radius. It was twisted toward low pitch. The blade had leading edge damage. The No. 4 blade was bent aft approximately 70 degrees at 1/4 radius. It was twisted toward low pitch. The blade had leading edge damage.

Aircraft Radar Study

A NTSB Vehicle Performance Specialist conducted an aircraft radar study. Available ASR (radar), ARSR (radar), and ATC transcript data were processed and plotted to define the aircraft flight path, ground track, ground speed, rate of climb, and ATC communication event time history. No aircraft-based acceleration, airspeed, attitude, engine, flight control input, flight control surface position, or external atmosphere parameters were recorded. However, radar, meteorological, and estimated aircraft configuration data (i.e., flaps, gear, weight, and center of gravity) were used with a simplified Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 aerodynamic model to estimate the aircraft airspeed, attitudes, load factors, and engine power required as a function of time to match the accident flight trajectory. No attempt was made to model aerodynamic degradation due to potential in-flight wing, tail, engine, or propeller ice accretion.

The calculated results indicated that the calibrated airspeed was about 130 ±10 knots on the final approach, but subsequently decreased to about 95–100 knots during the 20-second period prior to loss of radar contact. During the final approach and descent but prior to the airspeed decay, the calculated flight path angle was about -3 ±1 degrees, the calculated bank angle was about 0 ±10 degrees, and the estimated angle of attack (AOA) ranged from about 4 – 6 degrees. During the airspeed decay period, the estimated AOA increased by about 6 – 8 degrees (to about 10 – 14 degrees), depending on the assumed engine power setting. According to the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 AFM, the flaps 5 minimum control speed is 99 knots and the wings-level power-off stall speed at the accident aircraft weight is about 91 knots.

Airplane Flight Manual Checklists

The MU-2B-60 Airplane Flight Manual’s Approach Checklist indicated that the flaps are lowered to 5 degrees when the airspeed is below 175 knots calibrated airspeed (KCAS). The landing gear is lowered when the airspeed is below 175 KCAS. The NOTE states: “It is recommended to set the flap switch to the 5 degree position and confirm the 5 degree indication light illuminates before going to the 20 degree position.” Airspeed is 140 KCAS minimum.

The Before Landing Checklist states the following WARNING:

“Use of 40 degree flaps for landing considerably restricts the go around capability should an engine failure occur in the approach or landing phase.

During landing, do not select 40 degree flaps when operating in icing conditions. The FAA has determined that ice accumulations on the tail plane of many aircraft may result in a reduced down force on the horizontal stabilizer when full flaps are used. This reduced down force may result in the aircraft pitching nose down.”

The Before Landing Checklist states that the Flaps are set to 20 degrees (Below 155 KCAS) or 40 degrees (Below 120 KCAS). The airspeed is per the Section 6 Performance Charts for the appropriate weight and flap setting.

The MU-2B-60 Airplane Flight Manual contains Section 6 Performance Charts for “Landing Approach Speed – Flaps 20 Degrees” and “Landing Approach Speed – Flaps 40 Degrees,” but it does not have a chart for a landing approach speed using 5 degrees of flaps.

SFAR-108 Approach and Landing Profiles

The SFAR-108 ILS and Missed Approach profile indicates that 5 degrees of flaps are used on the outbound leg of the procedure turn and when flying inbound on the localizer. The minimum airspeed when using 5 degrees of flaps is 140 knots (25 – 30 percent torque). Check gear down, flaps 20 degrees when approaching glide slope (G/S) intercept (One dot below G/S). The minimum airspeed with 20 degrees of flaps is 120 knots. Perform landing check (Approximately 25 percent torque). When landing is assured, check flaps 20 degrees (or 40 degrees of flaps below 120 knots). At the threshold, fly Vref airspeed (20 percent torque). At touchdown, retard the power levers to flight idle stop.

The SFAR-108 No Flap or 5 Degrees Flap Landing indicates that 150 KCAS minimum (25 – 30 percent torque) is flown on the downwind leg. Lower the landing gear when abeam the landing zone using 140 KCAS minimum. Complete the landing checklist. Turn onto base leg 1.5 miles past landing zone. Set 0 degrees or 5 degrees of flaps. Airspeed is 140 KCAS minimum. Sink rate is 500 – 600 foot per minute (fpm) (Approximately 26 percent torque). Check sink rate on base leg. Turn final with airspeed slowing to NO FLAP Vref (115 KCAS minimum). At the threshold torque is 20 percent. Airspeed is NO FLAP Vref (115 KCAS minimum). At touchdown, slowly retard power levers to flight idle stop.


The owner reported that neither he nor the accident pilot used the autopilot while flying instrument approaches for landing. He stated that during the approach, the flaps were set to 5 degrees at 175 knots and 20 degrees of flaps at 155 knots. He stated that the approach is normally flown at 150 knots with 20 degrees of flaps. At the bottom of the approach at 115 knots, then bring in the flaps to 40 degrees.

The owner reported that he had never seen the accident pilot use 5 degrees of flaps below 500 feet in visual flight conditions. He stated that the accident pilot always used 20 degrees of flaps from the initial approach point (IAP) to the missed approach point (MAP). The owner stated that it was a “mystery” to him why the flaps were set at 5 degrees of flaps.

Waterwood Estate, Sotheby's, CBRE
The Waterwood Estate includes a helipad and a helicopter hangar - helicopter sold separately. The 160-acre property includes 2,300 feet of Lake Erie frontage, a marina, a pier, a floating dock and a two-acre fishing reservoir.

ERMILION, Ohio -- One of Northeast Ohio's most unusual - and at $19.5 million, priciest - homes is for sale, offering well-heeled buyers a shot at 160 acres of lakefront property. The Waterwood Estate features several rotating floors, two indoor pools, a private marina and a helicopter landing pad -- helicopter sold separately.

Built in 1991, the Vermilion mansion was home to inventor Donald Brown and his wife, Shirley, who died in a plane crash last year. Brown was best known for inventing drop ceilings, the ubiquitous suspended ceilings used in office buildings, schools and homes. But the Waterwood Estate has only one drop ceiling, in a mechanical area of the house.

The airplane that crashed on January 18, 2010 at Lorain County Airport was hauled from the property by Leiby Construction. The plane had to lifted with straps and then hauled to a truck for transport to a hangar for investigators to look at.

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, David E. Finnegan (rgd. owner & pilot), N9932V: Accident occurred September 17, 2011 near Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1), Maine

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA493
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 17, 2011 in Greenville, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/05/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9932V
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.

On the morning of the accident, the airplane was observed circling at low altitude in a left turn about 1 mile southwest of the departure airport with the pilot visibly waving at people on the ground. During the third and last circle, the airplane pitched nose up, decelerated, then pitched nose down steeply and descended toward the ground. The airplane then rotated to the left with its nose still pointed down, turned about 180 degrees from its original direction of travel, then disappeared from view. Moments later the sound of an impact was heard.

Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any evidence of preimpact malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Toxicological testing of the pilot revealed the presence of carbon monoxide in his blood; however, the carbon monoxide level was consistent with a heavy smoking habit. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (marijuana) was also detected in his lungs but not in his blood, and THC corboxylic acid was detected in his urine, liver, and lungs. However, the THC findings were consistent with a remote usage of marijuana (that is, not immediately before flight), and the absence of THC in his blood indicated that the pilot was likely not impaired.

Download of a portable GPS discovered in the wreckage confirmed the witness' observations of the airplane’s flightpath and that the pilot was maneuvering at low altitude (less than 500 feet above ground level) when the airplane decelerated below its aerodynamic stall speed and entered a spin. Review of manufacturer's published data indicated that altitude loss during a stall recovery could be as much as 250 feet, and 1,000 feet of altitude loss for a one-turn spin and recovery could be expected.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while manuevering at low altitude, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin and subsequent impact with terrain.


On September 17, 2011, about 0813 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N9932V, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering near Greenville, Maine. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed, for the local personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, that departed Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1), Greenville, Maine.

On the evening before the accident, the pilot had a conversation with a friend. During the conversation his friend advised him that he had bought some property near the airport and would be clearing away some of the vegetation on the following day. The pilot advised him that he would fly out in the morning and visit him.

According to witnesses, on the morning of the accident, the airplane was observed circling at low altitude in a left hand turn about 1 mile southwest of (3B1), with the pilot visibly waving at people on the ground. During the third and last circle, the airplane was observed to pitch nose up, decelerate, then pitch nose down steeply and descend towards the ground. The airplane then rotated to the left with its nose still pointed down, turned approximately 180 degrees from its original direction of travel, then disappeared from view. Moments later the sound of an impact was heard.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land.

He had been involved in a previous accident which had occurred on October 20, 2007(NTSB accident number NYC08CA017) when he struck several tree tops while performing touch and go landings at night and then landed hard on the runway substantially damaging the Cessna 152 which he had been flying.

His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on May 17, 2011. According to pilot records, he had accrued 2,310.7 total hours of flight experience.


The accident aircraft was a four-seat, single-engine, strut braced, high-wing airplane of conventional metal construction. It was equipped with non-retractable tricycle landing gear and was powered by a carbureted, 150 horsepower, Lycoming O-320-E2D, 4-cylinder, air cooled engine.

It was certificated in the normal and utility category and was equipped for operations in instrument meteorological conditions. It was equipped with a stall warning system and its instrument panel was designed around the basic "T" configuration. The attitude indicator and directional indicator were located immediately in front of the pilot, and were arranged vertically with the attitude indicator on top. The airspeed indicator and altimeter were located to the left and right of the attitude indicator, respectively. A turn and bank indicator was also installed and was mounted to the left of the directional indicator.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1974. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on March 30, 2011. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued 6499 total hours of operation.


The recorded weather at 3B1, at 0756, included: variable winds at 4 knots, temperature 8 degrees C, dew point 3 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.35 inches of mercury.

Visibility and sky conditions were missing from the automated report however witnesses reported no obstructions to visibility at the time of the accident.


Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction of the airplane or engine.

During the impact sequence the airplane came into contact with several trees about 20 feet above ground level before impacting in an approximate 35 degree nose down attitude in a heavily wooded area.

Examination of the accident site revealed that a 15 foot wide and 45 foot long wreckage path existed, which began at the first tree strike and was oriented on a magnetic heading of 225 degrees.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that all of the major components of the airplane were present. The fuselage, exhibited multiple areas of crush and compression damage. The right wing had separated from its mounting location and was fragmented into two sections and the left wing was folded back at an approximate 45 degree angle. Both fuel caps were closed. Control continuity was established for all of the flight controls to the breaks in the cables which made up the system, and which exhibited evidence of tensile overload. The wing flaps were up. The throttle control was 3/4 open, and the mixture control was full rich. The cabin doors latching assemblies were in the closed and locked position.

Examination of the propeller and engine revealed evidence of a broken prop tip, s-bending, and leading edge gouging on one blade, and chordwise scratching on the other. Drive train continuity was confirmed throughout the engine and thumb compression was evident on all cylinders. Oil was present in the rocker boxes. The spark plugs appeared normal and were light gray in color. Both magnetos would produce spark at all towers. The carburetor fuel strainer was clean and free of debris. The main discharge nozzle appeared normal, and the float assembly was functional. The needle valve was functional, and fuel was present in the float bowl.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maine.

Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.

Toxicological testing of the pilot was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The pilot's forensic toxicology report revealed:

" >> 12 (%) CARBON MONOXIDE detected in Blood
>> 14.46 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Urine
>> Cotinine detected in Urine
>> Cotinine detected in Blood
>> Ibuprofen detected in Urine
>> Nicotine detected in Urine
>> Nicotine detected in Blood
>> 1.0809 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana) detected in Lung
>> Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana) NOT detected in Blood
>> 0.0125 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Urine
>> 0.0094 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Liver
>> Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Lung
>> Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) NOT detected in Blood"


During the wreckage examination, the remains of a Garmin GPSMAP 496 portable global positioning system (GPS) navigation receiver was discovered in the wreckage. Download of the unit by the NTSB's recorders laboratory revealed that data from the accident flight had been captured and stored by the unit.

Review of the data revealed that the flight path correlated to the witness descriptions of the event and just prior to the accident and at 08:12:44 the airplane was at a GPS altitude of 1,661 feet and a groundspeed of 62 miles per hour (MPH). Two seconds later, at 08:12:46, the airplane was at a GPS altitude of 1,522 feet (452 feet above ground level) and had decelerated to 51 MPH.

According to the Cessna 172M Owner's Manual; stall speed, power off, at 2,300 pounds (maximum gross weight) with an aft center of gravity was 57 mph.

Comparison of the recorded data with published data for a similar model airplane revealed that altitude loss during stall recovery could be as much as 250 feet and at least a 1,000 feet of altitude loss should be allowed for a one-turn spin and recovery.

Uncoordinated Flight

According to the pilot's flight instructor, the pilot would sometimes fly in an uncoordinated manner especially during steep turns where the ball in the instrument mounted turn and bank indicator (turn coordinator) would sometimes be "1/2 ball out", indicating that the airplane was slipping (in a sideslip) or skidding (yawing).

Airspeed Control

According to Cessna's Pilot Safety and Warning Supplements, flying other than published airspeeds could put the pilot and airplane in an unsafe situation. The airspeeds published in the airplane's operating handbook had been tested and proven to help prevent unusual situations.

The document also advised that the pilot should be familiar with the stall characteristics of the airplane when stalled from a normal 1G stall and advised that any airplane can be stalled at any speed.

Stall Warning System

The airplane was equipped with a stall warning system. An aural warning was provided by a pneumatic type stall warning system. The system consisted of an inlet in the leading edge of the left wing, an air-operated horn near the upper left corner of the windshield, and associated plumbing.

As the airplane would approach a stall, the low pressure on the upper surface of the wing would move forward around the leading edge of the wings. This low pressure would create a differential pressure in the stall warning system, which would draw air through the warning horn, and would result in an audible warning between 5 to 10 miles per hour above the stall in all configurations.

Stalls and Stall Recovery

According to the FAA, a stall occurs when smooth airflow over the airplane's wing is disrupted, and the lift degenerates rapidly. This is caused when the wing exceeds its critical angle of attack (AOA). This can occur at any airspeed, in any attitude, with any power setting. If recovery from a stall is not achieved in a timely and appropriate manner by reducing the AOA, a secondary stall/and or spin may result. All spins are preceded by a stall on at least part of the wing.

The key factor in recovering from a stall is regaining positive control of the aircraft by reducing the AOA. At first indication of a stall the airplane AOA must be decreased to allow the wings to regain lift. The next step in recovering from a stall is to smoothly apply maximum allowable power to increase airspeed and to minimize the loss of altitude.


According to the FAA, a spin may be defined as an aggravated stall that results in what is termed "autorotation" wherein the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. As the airplane rotates around a vertical axis the rising wing is less stalled than the descending wing creating a rolling, yawing, and pitching motion. The airplane is basically being forced down by gravity, rolling, yawing, and pitching in a spiral path.

The spin is caused when the airplane’s wing exceeds its critical angle of attack (stall) with a sideslip or yaw acting on the airplane at, or beyond, the actual stall. During this uncoordinated maneuver, a pilot may not be aware that a critical angle of attack has been exceeded until the airplane yaws out of control toward the lowering wing. If stall recovery is not initiated immediately, the airplane may enter a spin. If this stall occurs while the airplane is in a slipping or skidding turn, this can result in a spin entry and rotation in the direction that the rudder is being applied, regardless of which wingtip is raised.

According to the Cessna 172M Owner's Manual, the stall characteristics of the airplane were conventional and the airplane was inherently resistant to spins.

To perform an intentional clean entry into a spin for training or practice, the airplane would need to be decelerated at a faster rate than is used for stalls. Then just as the stall occurred, full up elevator, full rudder in the desired spin direction, and momentary full engine power would need to be applied.

As the airplane would begin to enter the spin, power would need to be reduced to idle and full pro-spin elevator and rudder deflections would need to be maintained, and the application of ailerons in the direction of the spin would also help to obtain a clean spin entry.

During extended spins of two to three turns or more, the spin would tend to change into a spiral, particularly to the right. This would be accompanied by an increase in airspeed and gravity loads on the airplane. If this occurred the manual cautioned that recovery should be accomplished quickly by leveling the wings and recovering from the resulting dive.

The manual also advised that to recover from an intentional or inadvertent spin, to:

1. Retard the throttle to the idle position.
2. Apply full rudder opposite the direction of rotation.
3. After one-fourth turn, move the control wheel forward of neutral in a brisk motion.
4. As the rotation stops, neutralize the rudder, and make a smooth recovery from the resulting dive.


According to the NTSB aircraft accident data, while a higher proportion of weather accidents are fatal, more fatal accidents occur in maneuvering flight than any other pilot-related category. Some of the accident maneuvers (such as turns in the airport traffic pattern) were necessary but poorly executed. Others were risky activities like buzzing attempts, low-altitude night flights, or attempted aerobatics by untrained pilots and/or in unapproved aircraft.

Most were initiated at low altitudes, giving the pilots little time or room to respond if anything went wrong.

More than half began with stalls or other losses of aircraft control at altitudes too low to allow recovery indicating that these accidents were indicative of poor judgment, than lack of knowledge or skill. Three-quarters of these accidents were fatal.

GREENVILLE, Maine — A small Cessna airplane crashed near Greenville Municipal Airport on Saturday morning, killing the pilot, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said Sunday night.

“It crashed under unknown circumstance near the Greenville [Municipal] Airport on Saturday,” he said. “The pilot was the only person onboard and the pilot was killed.”

Killed in the Cessna 172M crash was David Finnegan of Woburn, Mass., Greenville police Chief Jeffrey Pomerleau confirmed Sunday night.

“At 8:13 yesterday, we got a call that a plane was seen going down near the Eagle Stream Road,” he said. Greenville police and fire responded and, with the assistance of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and game wardens, found the plane shortly afterward.

“Mr. Finnegan was pronounced dead at the scene,” Pomerleau said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, as they do with all fatal airplane crashes, Peters said.

“Because of the death of the pilot, it becomes a NTSB investigation,” he said.