Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Illinois: Lifeline at Rockford's OSF Saint Anthony marks 30 years of airlifts

AMY J. CORRENTI | RRSTAR.COM
Mechanic Matt Anderson does an engine inspection Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, on a Lifeline helicopter at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.


ROCKFORD — OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center celebrates 30 years of its Lifeline medical helicopter program Wednesday, and staff say health system officials have invested in major equipment upgrades and training during the last few years to make the aircraft more dependable and in demand for the region.

Officials will rededicate the helicopter this afternoon just as efforts are ramping up to bring a new one to the medical center. Peoria-based OSF Aviation, which is part of Saint Anthony’s parent system OSF HealthCare, has ordered four new EC145 helicopters to replace its current fleet.

The new helicopters will be delivered and put into service by next summer.

The Illinois Department of Transportation provided the first medical helicopter to the Rockford region in 1981. Officials at Rockford’s three hospitals agreed that OSF would staff it and the aircraft would be based at the medical center.

At the time, it was the first hospital-based helicopter in the state and the 13th in the nation.

The Rockford crew now is using its fourth helicopter since then, a Bell 230 aircraft it received in 2006. That’s the same year OSF Aviation formed to serve as a vendor to both Lifeline and Life Flight at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Last year, health system officials started making major upgrades of the four helicopters in OSF’s fleet, including the one in Rockford.

Medical staff now have night vision goggles that help them see during evening hours. The goggles also help them steer clear of trees and electrical wires during flight and assist with landings in rural areas.

The helicopter is also equipped with a traffic collision avoidance system that helps avoid other aircraft and a warning system that also helps pilots avoid obstacles during flight.

Pilot Don Kilgore said older helicopter technology was more “reactionary than proactive” in dealing with obstacles. The helicopters today also have improved positional reporting and phone systems.

The Lifeline helicopter is certified to fly by instrument flight rules, which means pilots have the technology and training to fly and land when visibility is lower during bad weather. There’s still a strict rule that all members of the flight crew — nurse, paramedic and pilot — have to agree to accept and continue the flight.

“It takes three people to say ‘go,’” said Kim Jerie, chief nurse for the Lifeline program. “If somebody is not comfortable, it takes one person to say ‘no.’ There are no repercussions. We train all of our people to speak up.”

“It comes down to capabilities, even among the pilots,” Kilgore said. “There are pilots running at different personal capabilities. I might turn down a flight and another guy might take the flight.
These guys are running at their own particular personal comfort zones. And we want people to say — sometimes it’s just that gut feeling — ‘Hey, I’m just not comfortable with this.’”

Lifeline is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation with 17 medical crew members, four pilots and two mechanics. Jerie said the helicopter goes out on about two calls a day, but that’s just an average — some days, there are no calls; other days there can be six or seven calls.

The majority of the helicopter’s work is in transferring patients from hospital to hospital, and the crew works with hospitals generally within a 50-mile but up to an 80-mile radius. About 20 percent of the helicopter’s calls are for on-scene responses, like car crashes or farming accidents.

In that respect, Jerie said, the crew has a great working relationship with local emergency medical service agencies. The groups have worked together to establish preprogrammed rendezvous points in rural areas where the helicopter can meet ambulances and emergency personnel in areas that are obstacle-free and clearly marked.

For instance, the ethanol plant in Lena is a rendezvous point. Officials there keep an area mowed where the helicopter can land and installed windsocks to mark the area.

“I feel blessed to have my job and work with the crews I work with,” said Karen Daub-Larson, a flight nurse. “Working for OSF, it’s a very good company, and knowing that they put safety first for us in the aircraft makes our job easier to do.”

http://www.rrstar.com

Nassau County, New York: FAA Fields Questions, Offers Some Relief to Residents Rattled by Plane Noise. Aviation officials look to bring some relief at night by monitoring altitudes of JFK flights.

Watch Video:   http://newhydepark.patch.com
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Nassau County residents rattled by loud jets flying over their homes can look forward to some relief from the noise, but not as much as they were hoping for.

At Monday's meeting of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee, FAA officials said that although their main goal in redesigning New York's air space is to make it safer and more efficient, they are also working on being a better neighbor.

They plan to bring more peaceful nights to the communities affected by the air traffic by closely monitoring the altitudes of planes flying into and out of JFK airport at night.

"It's a start," James Clark, of the Federal Aviation Administration, told TVASNAC representatives and residents gathered at Lawrence High School on Oct. 24 for the meeting, which also included officials from TRACON, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Aviation Development Council.

TVASNAC, which represents 13 villages of the Town of Hempstead, including Garden City, New Hyde Park, Long Beach, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Valley Stream and the newest addition, Malverne, has been working with officials to address how "the takeoff and landing of airplanes over our communities has all too often interruped the quiet enjoyment of our suburban lifestyle," explained Kendall Lampkin, the committee's executive director.

They have proposed the FAA work more closely with the Port Authority to make noise abatement a priority and establish a joint information service that would handle complaints and keep residents informed of any changes to runway use that might result in an increase in noise levels.

Some TVASNAC representatives have also suggested harsher penalties for pilots who fly below required altitude levels, restrictions on noisy cargo planes or establishing a no-fly-zone over Long Island at night. Residents, many who have become quite knowledgeable of the subject after years of research and interrupted sleep, want to see less air traffic, environmental studies conducted and more rotation of runways to spread out the burden of excessive noise amongst other communities.


Qatar Airways Airbus A330 pilots use hand signals after radio failure

BRATISLAVA (Slovakia) Qatari pilots flying a passenger liner with apparent radio failure used hand gestures mid-air to explain the communications glitch to the puzzled pilots of two Slovak fighter jets, a Slovak official said on Tuesday.

Two Slovak war planes intercepted and escorted the Qatar Airways Airbus A330 out of Slovak airspace after the aircraft failed to make contact with Slovak air traffic controllers, Slovakia’s Defence Minister Lubomir Galko said on Tuesday, quoted by the local SITA news agency.

“We’re obliged to mobilise our fighters in cases where our airspace is violated or radio contact is not made,” Galko said.

The Qatari plane, en route from London to Doha, entered Slovak airspace on Saturday morning from the neighbouring Czech Republic.

Two Slovak MiG-29 fighter jets took off from the Sliac air force base at 10.54am (0854 GMT) and made visual contact with the plane’s crew at 11.08 am, Galko said.

The Slovak fighters escorted the distressed plane to Hungarian airspace. Galko also denied rumours sparked by an anonymous email sent to Slovak media by a person claiming to be an air traffic controller that the two Slovak jet fighters had come close to colliding with a Boeing passenger liner.

“No security regulations were breached and the flight (of the MiG-29s) was completely in line with the rules,” Galko said.

Slovak air traffic control has nevertheless launched an investigation into the allegations.

http://www.omantribune.com

Rebreather divers find Swiss plane wreck lost 34 years ago - Portugal. Madeira island at 110mts deep. 36 fatalities. SA de Transport AĆ©rien Flight 730 – Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle 10R. Porto Novo, Madeira Island.





Two Portuguese divers have found the wreckage of an outbound charter flight from Geneva that sank near Porto Novo on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

“The plane is virtually intact, even the wings are there, only the cockpit is missing” diver Jose Marques told Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias. “What we found is practically a grave,” he added.

Two kilometres off the shore and at 105 metres below the surface, divers found all the seats, life jackets, gas masks and even passengers’ clothing on seats. There were no human remains of the people who died in the accident: 36 lost their lives, but only 19 corpses were recovered at the time.

The plane, belonging to Swiss airline SATA, left on December 18th 1977 from Zurich with 52 passengers on board ready to spend their Christmas holidays in Madeira. After a stopover in Geneva, the flight continued its way to the mountainous Portuguese island.

Shortly before landing, the crew made a fatal coordination error, flying too low. When approaching the island, they lost sight of the runway but an optical illusion made them land in the Atlantic Ocean, four kilometres away from the Funchal airport. The investigation concluded that neither of the two pilots was authorized for night landing.

The jet remained on the surface of the water for two minutes before plunging rapidly to the bottom of the sea, survivors told local media at the time. Most of the passengers were unable to free themselves from their seat belts, and went down with the plane. Others died of poisoning from the jet’s fuel.

New plan for airport is topic of October 27 sessions: Bellingham International Airport (KBLI ), Washington.

A new master plan for Bellingham International Airport is the topic of public events Thursday, Oct. 27, at Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave. The sessions will be noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

The planning effort, required by the Federal Aviation Administration, will take about a year to complete and will include analysis of current and future airport activities. The Port of Bellingham will study the airport facilities, property and surrounding area. Also on the agenda are growth projections and possible improvements needed to accommodate them.

Port officials say the effort is just beginning and more community meetings will be held. Information about the master plan, and a chance to comment, is at portofbellingham.com.

Plane crash survivor struggles to make ends meet. Bradbury, Australia

Pain physical and financial: Air crash survivor Paul Graham with his wife Sanfe and two of his children, Asya, 3, and Xzavier, 1. 
Picture: Luke Fuda 

Rescue: Mr Graham being winched from the crash scene.

BRADBURY plane crash survivor Paul Graham is selling his tools, cars and everything else to pay the bills and feed his family.

Last month the father of four was the sole survivor of a ultralight plane crash in which his friend and pilot Gary Malane died.

The crash left the 32-year-old plumber with spinal injuries and unable to continue work at his plumbing business, 7 Star Plumbing.

"I'm going to have a big garage sale and just sell everything and then we'll move down the coast where I can rent for free with my aunt and try to pay the mortgage because I'm already behind," Mr Graham told the Advertiser.

"I've sold a lot already — a couple of motorbikes and all my toys — because I know I can't ever ride them again."

Mr Graham said the pain in his back was getting worse.

"The nerves are starting to heal and I can feel the pain now," he said. "The doctors don't want to touch anything until the pieces mend themselves a bit because it's too dangerous to open it up and do anything.

"I still can't go to the toilet properly and I can't drink beer any more because I get a bit headachy and I get anxious and think I'm going to die."

He said he was still coming to terms with what had happened.

"To tell you the truth I haven't even registered that I've been in a crash — it's like nothing's happened," Mr Graham said.

"I haven't even grieved for my mate yet because I think he's still around."

Mr Graham said his two older children had been quiet since the crash but his younger ones didn't understand.

"They know not to come near me because they know I'm injured but they don't really know about it," he said.

The garage sale is at 51 Chisholm Crescent, Bradbury, from today to Sunday. Details: 0427 881 249


Police chopper 'intelligence-driven'. (Australia)

Queensland's first police chopper could carry corporate sponsorship as it hunts down crooks on the Gold Coast during a six month trial paid for by the city council.

Its performance will be assessed midway through the trial to see if the state government will spend the money to make it a permanent feature for the Queensland Police Service.

The Gold Coast City Council's $500,000 won't be enough to keep the eye in the sky aloft for as long as it would like, so major corporations will be approached to top up the funding by another $100,000.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke says the first half of the trial will run through the city's busiest time of the year, from the first day of November until the end of January.

The Bell Long Ranger chopper operated by successful tenderer, Perth-based Heliwest, will fly 20 hours each week on jobs decided by police based on intelligence.

If extra funding can't be found flying hours will be trimmed back to 15 hours a week for the second half of the trial.

Police Minister Neil Roberts says the state government will use an interim report on the chopper's effectiveness to decide if it should become a permanent part of the police force's anti-crime arsenal.

"We think this is a very important opportunity for Queensland Police to properly evaluate the benefits of a police helicopter," Mr Roberts said.

He denied the government's hand had been forced in trialling a police helicopter.

Mr Roberts said the exercise is being treated as a genuine trial but any decision on making the chopper permanent would depend on the initial evaluation.

"This is a matter that the Gold Coast City Council has put its hand up to trial, we're grateful for that opportunity, and we're going to use it appropriately," he said.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said he had no qualms about seeing appropriate corporate logos on the chopper during the trial if it helps extend flying time.

"This is a great start, and we understand the hours in the first three months at least are comparable with interstate jurisdictions in terms of both the patrol times and the total weekly time as well," he said.

Simplify tax laws for pilots, judge urges Ottawa, Canada

Fresh from defusing a potential strike by flight attendants, Ottawa is being asked to referee a dispute involving another group of Air Canada employees – pilots who live abroad and are fighting tax authorities over paying on only the portion of their work hours they spend in Canadian air space.

The situation has created such complicated court cases that Parliament needs to come up with new rules, according to the latest judicial ruling on a pilot's income tax dispute.

“It would be a blessing to bring an end to all the endless manoeuvring,” Mr. Justice Cameron McArthur of the Tax Court of Canada wrote in a new judgment on one of about 40 cases in which Air Canada pilots are appealing their income tax assessments.

The cases involve Air Canada pilots who have established residence in another country. Under the Income Tax Act, Canadians who live in a foreign country are taxed on income they earn for duties performed in Canada.

Pilots with foreign residency had already whittled away a chunk of their pay that was subject to Canadian income tax. Since 2005, they are no longer taxed on the portion of time on domestic routes that transits through U.S. airspace.

Another pilot tried to go further with a push to cut the taxable portion of international flights even more by including overseas layovers when calculating duty time.

Judge McArthur didn’t buy the argument, and said he had had enough.

“Many [Air Canada pilots] have quite legally taken advantage of the Income Tax Act … to substantially reduce their Canadian tax liability by becoming non-residents of Canada,” Judge McArthur says in his Oct. 12 ruling. But some pilots have been “overly aggressive” in their attempts to limit the amount of taxes they pay, triggering an overreaction when the Canada Revenue Agency reassesses their income tax filings, the judge says.

With pilots and the CRA sparring in court over what proportion of various flight routes is taxable, “perhaps it is time for the legislature to say enough is enough and set a firm percentage for non-resident A/C pilots,” he writes.

His ruling dealt with a tax assessment appeal by former Air Canada captain Gordon Price, a senior pilot who lived in Bermuda but commuted to Toronto to fly mostly international routes. About 40 other Air Canada pilots have similar appeals, the judge noted.

In the past, non-resident airline pilots were taxed for the income earned on domestic flights but not for what they earned on international flights. However, in the 2005 case of Air Canada pilot Mark Sutcliffe, who commuted to Toronto from Lewiston, N.Y., the court ruled that pilots should be taxed on only the portion of their flights that is over Canadian air space, whether the flights are domestic or international.

In the latest case, Mr. Price wanted to decrease the proportion of the tax he owed on the pay he received for a long-haul flight by extending the amount of time he could be considered to have been on duty.

He said that, as a long-haul pilot, he could be away from home for several days on each flight. During that time, he said, he remained on duty even when he wasn’t in the air: planning, dealing with reports, communicating with authorities.

Even the time he spent resting before flying back to Canada was part of his duty because of work regulations requiring minimum rest times, he argued.

Increasing his on-duty hours would effectively spread the amount of time covered by the flat fee Mr. Price received for a flight, thus decreasing the proportion of time he had spent in Canadian airspace on each trip, and the amount of taxable income.

The CRA, however, said the calculation should involve only the time Mr. Price flew his jetliner, which increased the percentage of the on-duty time in Canada.

The judge wasn’t convinced by Mr. Price. “Being away from home on layovers might be a condition of employment, but the pilot was paid based on flight time only … it is unreasonable to give the same value to an hour spent flying an aircraft with an hour at a hotel in Tokyo.”

Mr. Price and the CRA also differed on how to calculate other routes. Mr. Price, for example, testified that 90 per cent of a Vancouver-Toronto flight is spent over the United States, while the government took the position that domestic flights are fully taxable, regardless of the airspace over which they are flown.

The two sides in the case pored over data from Nav Canada, which operates the country’s air traffic control system.

“There was a mountain of data records to be condensed into useable percentages with the hope that the parties could arrive at reasonable allocations,” the ruling said.

Judge McArthur settled for figures on which Mr. Sutcliffe and the CRA had previously agreed, ruling that Mr. Price should be taxed for 31 per cent of the Vancouver-Toronto leg and 49 per cent of the return flight.

The judge suggested that legislators require non-resident pilots to be taxed at a 60-per-cent flat rate.

“There is a serious need for a simpler method,” he wrote.

Nicole Eva Pigeon, a CRA spokeswoman, said the agency is reviewing the decision and “considering our next steps” but wouldn’t comment further.

Air Canada’s 6,800 flight attendants, who have been in a dispute with the airline over wages, working conditions, pension changes and plans for a discount carrier, were forced to withdraw the strike threat this month when the federal government referred the matter to the national labour board.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com

Loaded guns in checked bags aren't on TSA's radar. A handgun that fell out of a duffel at LAX exposes a loophole in security.

For all the security improvements at airports after 9/11 — full-body scans, bans on liquids, pat downs — there is one check that airports aren't doing.

Bags checked at airline counters are scanned for possible explosives but not for loaded guns.

The loophole became apparent over the weekend at Los Angeles International Airport, when an undeclared, loaded .38-caliber handgun went undetected from the airport and almost onto an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland. It was discovered by ramp workers, who said the gun fell out of a duffel bag as they were about to load it on the plane.

At first, the incident appeared to a be a breakdown of LAX's extensive weapons detection system.

But Transportation Security Administration officials said they are not required to screen for loaded weapons in checked luggage, only in carry-on luggage. TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said the duffel bag in question went through an explosives scanner, as do all checked bags. It did not generate an alert.

"It may be an issue for some agency or the airline, but it's not a TSA issue. Our mandate is to screen baggage for explosives," he said.

No other organization claimed responsibility for catching loaded guns in checked bags either. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the TSA is the only agency with authority to enforce federal airline security regulations. The FAA does not have staff checking baggage at airports.

It's illegal to pack a loaded gun in checked luggage and illegal to pack even an unloaded gun without declaring its presence. Violations of the regulations can carry a federal civil fine of up to $11,000 as well as possible criminal penalties.

Airlines ask customers to declare guns when they check in but do not screen the baggage for weapons.

Steve Lott, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Assn., a trade group for airlines, said that since creation of the TSA after the attacks of 9/11, airlines ceded baggage-screening authority to the agency.

Policies implemented to make screening more efficient may have meant that some non-explosive prohibited items, including guns, are more likely to get through.

When TSA instituted an explosives detection system to scan all checked bags, machine operators had to look at a screen image of the contents of each bag, said Quinten Johnson, a Florida-based aviation security consultant and former TSA federal security director at four airports in the Southeast. When they did so, they would frequently catch guns and other unauthorized items.

But in the interest of improving efficiency, the agency switched to a system in which the machine alerts the operator to bags containing potential explosives and operators are not required to look at the screen image for each bag. Melendez said the current protocol was rolled out at airports beginning in 2002.

Johnson said the effectiveness of the machines has not changed at all in terms of finding explosives, but it is now less likely that other prohibited items, including guns, will be detected.

"When it comes down to improving efficiency over looking for guns in checked bags, efficiency won over," he said.

He and some other experts said having loaded weapons in the cargo hulls of planes poses little threat because passengers don't have access to them while in flight. But some say they do present concerns.

"It's a combination of a security and a safety issue," said Glen Winn, another aviation security consultant and a former director of security at United Airlines. "If the gun goes off — and it was a loaded gun — you have potential for damage to the hydraulic, the electrical and the fuel system of the plane."

There have also been some incidents in which people have been injured by guns in checked bags that discharged accidentally. Congress amended the law to prohibit carrying loaded firearms in checked baggage in 1980 after a Denver baggage handler was killed by a gun in a checked bag that discharged.

In 2000, a loaded gun went off in an Alaska Airlines flight bound from Portland to Anchorage. The bullet passed through the floor of the cabin and lodged in a diaper bag. Most recently, a United Airlines employee in Louisiana was shot in the leg in July by a rifle that was accidentally fired at the check-in counter while a customer was trying to declare it.

It was unclear whether the owner of the gun found at LAX, who was questioned and released, would face sanctions.

http://www.latimes.com

Piper PA-44-180 Seminole, Hillsboro Aviation Inc., N3062H and Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, N5938S: Accident occurred October 25, 2011 in St. Paul, Oregon

http://registry.faa.gov/N3062H

http://registry.faa.gov/N5938S

 
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA020A  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in St. Paul, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N3062H
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Uninjured.


NTSB Identification: WPR12FA020B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in St. Paul, OR
Aircraft: BEECH V35, registration: N5938S
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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.
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 Beech V35 and Piper PA-44-180 collided in flight in a common practice area for airwork. The flight instructor in the Piper reported that at an altitude of about 7,500 feet mean sea level (msl), he told the pilot receiving instruction to conduct a simulated emergency descent. The instructor stated that the pilot receiving instruction executed the simulated emergency descent and recovered to cruise flight at an altitude of about 4,500 feet msl before they continued toward a local airport. As the flight continued, the instructor observed a single-engine airplane that appeared to be on a converging course, and he transmitted a position report on the intended destination airport's common traffic advisory frequency. The instructor stated that after making a slight heading change and descent, he re-established visual contact with a single-engine airplane, which was then behind and above the Piper’s position. He then scanned the area ahead of the Piper’s position from left to right. The instructor said he then felt a jolt along with a violent shudder in the airplane followed by an uncommanded left roll and yaw. The instructor took control of the airplane and made a forced landing to a nearby open field.

Review of recorded radar data revealed that the Piper was on a northwesterly heading at 7,700 feet msl when it initiated a right descending turn. Meanwhile, the Beech was traveling on a continuous northeasterly heading at an altitude of about 2,400 feet msl. The last recorded radar target for each airplane before the collision showed that the airplanes were on converging paths; the Piper was at 2,800 feet msl on a northeasterly heading and maneuvering west of the Beech, which was at an altitude of about 2,400 feet msl on a north-northeasterly heading. During examination of the recovered wreckage, transfer marks were identified consistent with the radar-derived collision angle. Both airplanes were operating in visual conditions when they collided.

Based on relative positions of the airplanes, and given the other airplane traffic in the area, it seems likely that the single-engine airplane the Piper instructor observed before the collision was not the Beech with which the collision occurred. It could not be determined if either pilot could see the other just before the collision; however, based on the airplanes’ relative positions and flight attitudes, it seems unlikely. The Piper was maneuvering in a left bank at the time and it is likely that the Piper’s wing and engine blocked the Beech from the Piper pilot's field of vision. Additionally, the Beech pilot’s view of the Piper, which was above and to the left of his flight path, would likely have been blocked by the airplane’s door post and cabin roof structure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot was unable to see the other aircraft to avoid a collision.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On October 25, 2011, about 1610 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N3062H, registered to and operated by Hillsboro Aviation, Hillsboro, Oregon, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight and a Beech V35, N5938S, registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided midair about 5 miles northeast of St. Paul, Oregon. The Beech was destroyed and the Piper was substantially damaged. The airline transport rated pilot in the Beech sustained fatal injuries. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot receiving instruction in the Piper were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The local flight for the Piper originated from the Mc Minnville Municipal Airport (MMV), Mc Minnville, Oregon, about 1536, destined for the Aurora State Airport, Aurora, Oregon. The local flight for the Beech originated from the Stark's Twin Oaks Airport, Hillsboro, Oregon, at 1539.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the CFI onboard the Piper reported that following an uneventful departure from MMV, they climbed to an altitude of about 5,500 feet mean sea level (msl), and conducted a series of maneuvers including slow flight, steep turns, and stalls, prior to climbing to an altitude of about 7,500 feet msl. He then briefed the pilot receiving instruction on the procedures for a simulated emergency descent while conducting various clearing turns and announcing their intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for the practice area (122.75 mhz) and UAO (122.7 mHz). The CFI stated that the pilot receiving instruction then executed the simulated emergency descent, and recovered to cruise flight at an altitude of about 4,500 feet msl. The flight then proceeded on a northerly heading towards UAO with the intent of entering the airport traffic pattern. The CFI added that while on a northerly heading, he switched to the UAO CTAF and announced their location, altitude, and intentions.

The CFI further reported that while maintaining an altitude of 4,500 feet msl, he was scanning the area for traffic and observed a single-engine airplane at the 5:30 to 6 o'clock area and above their altitude. The CFI stated that the traffic was on a convergence course towards their location and appeared to be in a slightly steeper than average descent. He instructed the pilot receiving instruction to initiate a left descending turn in an effort to avoid the observed traffic and transmitted a position report on the CTAF for UAO. Following an approximate 10 to 20-degree heading change, the CFI re-established visual contact with the single-engine aircraft that was behind and above his position. The CFI then looked forward and scanned from the 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock position. Subsequently, he felt a jolt along with a violent shudder in the airplane followed by an un-commanded left roll and yaw. The CFI immediately took control of the airplane, and thought they had possibly struck geese. He then initiated an emergency forced landing to a nearby open field.

Witnesses located in various aircraft adjacent to the accident site reported that prior to the collision; they observed the Beech V35 on a northerly course in cruise flight.

Review of recorded radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that at 2208:15, the Piper was traveling in a northwesterly heading at 7,700 feet msl until 2308:39, where a descent was observed. The data depicted the Piper continuing a descent and initiating a right descending turn while the Beech was traveling on a northeasterly heading at an altitude of 2,400 feet msl. The last recorded radar target at 2310:03 for each airplane prior to the collision depicted both airplanes on a converging path over the Champoeg State Heritage Area. The Piper was observed at an altitude of 2,800 feet on a northeasterly heading located west of the Beech, which was at an altitude of 2,400 feet msl on a north-northeasterly heading. Further review of the radar data revealed a third airplane located south of both accident airplanes at an altitude of 3,900 feet.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Piper PA-44-180

The certified flight instructor of the Piper, age 31, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He also possessed a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. A first-class airman medical certificate was issued on July 1, 2011, with no limitations. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 1,600 total flight hours.

The pilot receiving instruction in the Piper PA-44-180, age 23, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. A first-class airman medical certificate was issued on July 29, 2010, with no limitations. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 55 total flight hours.

Beech V35

The pilot of the Beech, age 58, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land ratings and a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also possessed a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. A third-class airman medical certificate was issued on March 19, 2011, with the limitation "must have available glasses for near vision." The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 2,250 total flight hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Piper PA-44-180

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear, twin-engine airplane, serial number (S/N) 44-7995165, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360-E1A6D (serial number L-152-77T) and Lycoming LO-360-E1A6D (serial number L-430-72T) engines, rated at 180 horse power. The airplane was also equipped with a Hartzell model HC-C2YR-2CLEUF and HC-C2YR-2CEUF adjustable pitch propellers. The paint theme on the airplane was predominately a maroon red color along the bottom of half of the fuselage and engine nacelles, with white along the upper portion of the fuselage, engine nacelles, and wings.

Beech V35

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear, single-engine airplane, serial number (S/N) D-8145, was manufactured in 1966. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-520-B (serial number D-8145) and, rated at 285 horse power. The airplane was also equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed adjustable pitch propeller. Review of photographs prior to the accident indicated that the paint theme on the airplane was predominately in white color with blue and green stripes along the fuselage from the nose to the empennage. The leading edge of the wings and bottom portions of the wing tip tanks were blue in color. The ruddervators were white in color, and the elevators and trim tabs were blue in color. Review of FAA records revealed that the V35 was equipped with pulsating high intensity lighting.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A review of recorded data from the Aurora State Airport, Aurora, Oregon, automated weather observation station, located about 5 miles east of the accident site, revealed at 1553, conditions were wind from 360 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point 4 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.37 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the wreckage of the two airplanes were scattered over an area of about 2 miles. Various debris including the empennage, tail cone, and rear seat, from the Beech and nose cowling from the Piper were located throughout campgrounds A and B within the Champoeg State Heritage Area.

The Beech came to rest upright within a heavily wooded area about 0.3 miles north of the Champoeg State Heritage Area and was mostly consumed by fire. The Piper came to rest upright in an open field about 1.5 miles west of Champoeg State Heritage Area. An approximate 6 foot portion of the roof and fuselage structure of the Beech was located about 120 feet southeast of the main wreckage of the Piper.

Wreckages of both aircraft were recovered to a secure location for further examination.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Oregon State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the pilot of the Beech on October 26, 2011. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was “blunt force injuries.”

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, volatiles and drugs were tested, and had negative results.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Review of the accident area on both the FAA Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Sectional Chart and FAA Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) revealed that the accident site was located about 7 miles southeast of an outlined high intensity flight training area, as noted within the AFD. In addition, numerous airports with various CTAF frequencies were located within 15 miles of the accident site.

On October 28, 2011, at the facilities of Garmin AT, Salem, Oregon, the Garmin 430 GPS/Radio unit and Garmin SL30 radio were removed from the Piper. Both units were installed on a test bench with power subsequently applied. The primary active radio frequency observed on the Garmin 430 was 122.700 Mhz. and the secondary non active frequency was 123.000 Mhz. The Global Positioning System (GPS) position captured within the Garmin 430 was N45 15.03', W122 52.64'. The primary active radio frequency on the Garmin SL30 was 135.670 Mhz, and the non-active secondary frequency was 118.520 Mhz. The radios from the Beech were not tested due to the extensive impact and fire damage sustained and an active radio frequency could not be determined.

Examination of the recovered wreckages of both the airplanes was conducted on July 25, 2012, at the facilities of Nu Venture Air Services, Dallas, Oregon.

Examination of the recovered Beech wreckage revealed that the inboard areas of both the left and right wings and forward fuselage structure exhibited thermal and fire damage. The separated approximate 6-foot portion of fuselage structure that was located near the wreckage of the Piper exhibited scratches and maroon paint transfer marks along the upper roof structure and above the upper left and right side window cutouts. The scratches and paint transfer marks were measured at an approximate 59 degree angle from left to right along the centerline of the fuselage.

The right aft side of the fuselage, associated roof structure, which included the area of the registration number, aft and upper areas of the right baggage door frame was separated from the fuselage. The forward upper area of the baggage frame structure exhibited an area of displaced structure in an outward bend (from left to right when looking forward from the tail of the airplane) with a material black in color smeared within the fracture surface. An area of maroon paint transfer, oriented on an approximate 59 degree angle from the airplane centerline (from left to right) was observed on the white upper portion of the separated structure.

Examination of the recovered Piper wreckage revealed blue paint transfer located on the bottom side of the fuselage about 5 inches aft of the aft spar.

The forward portion of the fuselage from the nose cowling bulkhead exhibited inward crushing at an approximate 45 degree angle, which extended about 8 inches inward along the right side of the fuselage, and contained embedded organic debris (dirt and grass). Two antennas on the bottom side of the fuselage (one forward near the nose cowling bulkhead and one aft) were separated from their mounts and not located. An area of white paint transfer was observed on the right side of the fuselage just aft of the nose cowling bulkhead. When looking along the fuselage from forward to aft, the nose structure appeared to be displaced slightly towards the left wing.

The left wing remained intact, and the engine remained secure via its mounts. The flap and aileron remained attached via their respective mounts. The left propeller assembly remained attached to the left engine and left wing. A maroon paint transfer was observed on the left propeller spinner. One blade exhibited a leading edge gouge with some slight blue paint noted about 7 to 10 inches from the root of the blade, and the propeller blade tip was separated. The opposing blade exhibited a leading edge scratch and maroon paint transfer about 16 to 17 inches outboard of the propeller blade root, and the propeller blade tip was separated. Both separated portions of the propeller tips were located within the wreckage of the Beech. The left main landing gear was separated from the strut assembly. The strut assembly and landing gear assembly had organic debris (dirt, grass) embedded within them. The pitot tube located on the outboard portion of the wing was pushed upward into the wing structure.

The right wing remained intact, and the engine remained secure via its mounts. The flap and aileron remained attached via their respective mounts. Upward bending and damage was noted to the right flap and aft portion of the right engine nacelle. A small area of blue paint transfer was observed on the right main landing gear strut.



 NTSB Identification: WPR12FA020A 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in St. Paul, OR
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N3062H
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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 October 25, 2011, about 1610 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N3062H, registered to and operated by Hillsboro Aviation, Hillsboro, Oregon, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight and a Beech V35, N5938S, registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided midair about 5 miles northeast of St. Paul, Oregon. The airline transport rated pilot in the Beech V35 sustained fatal injuries. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot receiving instruction in the Piper PA-44-180 were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The local flight for the Piper PA-44-180 originated from the Mc Minnville Municipal Airport (MMV), Mc Minnville, Oregon, about 1536, destined for the Aurora State Airport, Aurora, Oregon. The local flight for the Beech V35 originated from the Stark's Twin Oaks Airport, Hillsboro, Oregon, at 1539.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the CFI onboard the Piper PA-44-180 reported that following an uneventful departure from MMV, they climbed to an altitude of about 5,500 feet mean sea level (msl) and conducted a series of maneuvers including slow flight, steep turns, and stalls, prior to climbing to an altitude of about 7,500 feet msl. He then briefed the pilot receiving instruction on the procedures for a simulated emergency descent while conducting various clearing turns. The CFI stated that the pilot receiving instruction then executed the simulated emergency descent and recovered to cruise flight at an altitude of about 4,500 feet msl. The flight then proceeded on a northerly heading towards UAO with the intent of entering the airport traffic pattern.

The CFI further reported that while maintaining an altitude of 4,500 feet msl, he was scanning the area for traffic and observed a single-engine airplane on a convergence course towards his location that appeared to be in a slightly steeper than average descent. He instructed the pilot receiving instruction to initiate a left descending turn in an effort to avoid the observed traffic. Following an approximate 10 to 20-degree heading change, the CFI re-established visual contact with the single-engine aircraft that was behind and above his position. Subsequently, he felt a jolt along with a violent shudder in the airplane followed by an un-commanded left roll and yaw. The CFI immediately took control of the airplane and thought they had possibly struck geese. He then initiated an emergency forced landing to a nearby open field.

Witnesses located in various aircraft adjacent to the accident site reported that prior to the collision; they observed the Beech V35 on a northerly course in cruise flight.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the wreckage of the two airplanes was scattered over an area of about 2 miles. Debris from both airplanes, including the empennage, tail cone, and rear seat, from the Beech V35 and nose cowling from the Piper PA-44-180 were located along the debris path, which was located in Champoeg State Park. The Beech V35 came to rest upright about 0.3 miles north of the Champoeg State Park and was mostly consumed by fire. The Piper PA-44-180 came to rest upright in an open field about 1.5 miles west of Champoeg State Park. The wreckages of both aircraft were recovered to a secure facility awaiting further examination.


  Beech V35, N5938S

  Piper PA44, N3062H


WILSONVILLE -- The twin-engine Piper flown by a Beaverton flight instructor and a Hillsboro pilot under instruction dived down on the smaller aircraft, smashing it to pieces and sending its pilot crashing to his death, police said Wednesday.

Capt. Ken Summers, Yamhill County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said witnesses to Tuesday's midair collision northwest of Aurora State Airport told investigators that the larger Piper PA-44 Seminole was executing training maneuvers in the area, making a series of rapid ascents and descents shortly after 4 p.m., when it came down upon a Beech Bonanza V35 that had taken off from the Twin Oaks Airpark in Hillsboro.

The Piper's underside then struck the Beech.

"It was literally cut in two," Summers said.

The Beechcraft -- in pieces -- then careened out of control and spiraled into ground. Pilot Stephen L. Watson, 58, of Beaverton, a retired Oregon State Police sergeant, was killed.

The crippled Piper then limped to Champoeg State Heritage area, where it made an emergency landing in an open field just west of the park. The plane, registered to Hillsboro Aviation, appeared to have damaged landing gear.

Flight instructor Travis Thompson, 31, of Beaverton and student Henrik Murer Kalberg, 23, a resident of Holmestrand, Norway, living in Beaverton, walked away uninjured. Social media websites identify Kalberg as a student, runner, tennis player and instrument-rated general aviation pilot.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed the men Wednesday but declined to disclose what they learned. Thompson did not return a call requesting comment. The Oregonian was unable to reach Kalberg.

On Wednesday, investigators began what could be a yearlong slog -- collecting evidence and testimony, then analyzing the results in hopes of reconstructing the events.

The NTSB, aided by investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration, Oregon State Police and sheriff's deputies from Yamhill and Marion counties concentrated Wednesday on interviewing witnesses to the collision and the crash. Clackamas County deputies submitted reconnaissance video they shot while flying the sheriff's office airplane over the crash site. FAA investigators sorted the radio and radar data from Portland International Airport

Investigators also collected, bagged and documented parts of the Beech Bonanza, turning them over to a company the NTSB contracted to help with crash reconstruction. The wings, engine and cockpit came down near Wilsonville road, just west of Earlwood Road. A tail section was found 40 feet up in a tree.

Joshua Cawthra, who is leading the NTSB investigation, stressed that the area of the collision is not under formal air traffic control, and the pilots were flying by "visual flight rules."

"Part of the role of a pilot is to see and avoid other aircraft," Cawthra said.

Cawthra said initial information indicated that the neither plane suffered from mechanical failure, though a witness, Dan Sullivan of Salem, who was camping at Champoeg park, said he heard the Beech Bonanza sputter and backfire before recovering.

The NTSB will issue a preliminary report within five days. The final investigation could take six months to a year.


Beech V35, N5938S 

 This is a photo taken near the A and B campground loops of Champoeg Park around 4:15 pm Tuesday when Scott Nations heard a loud thump and saw a man making a cell phone call near this piece of wreckage.
Photo by Scott Nations

Beech V35, N5938S 
 Debris from Tuesday air collision taken by Chris Havel, Communications Coordinator for the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department.

Piper PA-44 Seminole, N3062H


A plane seat lies on the ground at Champoeg State Heritage Area after two planes collided in midair. 

Beech V35, N5938S  

This is a photo taken near the A and B campground loops of Champoeg Park around 4:15 pm Tuesday when Scott Nations heard a loud thump and saw a man making a cell phone call near this piece of wreckage.
Photo by Scott Nations



Piper PA-44 Seminole, N3062H made an emergency landing after a mid-air collision. 


Debris from Tuesday air collision taken by Chris Havel, Communications Coordinator for the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department.



A 58-year-old Beaverton man perished in Tuesday’s fatal midair crash outside of Wilsonville.

The man, Stephen L. Watson, was alone in the fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, according to his wife, Gale Watson. The Federal Aviation Administration aircraft database lists the plane as a V35 model manufactured in 1966.

The plane Watson was flying collided with a fixed-wing twin-engine Piper aircraft that’s registered to Hillsboro Aviation, located at 2831 N.E. Cornell Road. That plane was manufactured in 1978, according to the federal aircraft database.

The two people in the Piper landed the crippled plane at the Champoeg State Heritage Area and managed to walk away without needing medical treatment. Their names were not available this morning. Max Lyons, the president of Hillsboro Aviation, was in a meeting this morning with the survivors and was not immediately available for comment.

Watson was listed in a national pilot database as a flight instructor. For the past two years he kept his plane at Twin Oaks Airpark, a small family-run facility in Hillsboro, said manager Danny Stark.

"He loved to fly," Stark said. "Most of the time he flew by himself. He had a good cross-country airplane."

Stark said Watson took off about 2:30 p.m., about 20 minutes before the crash. He said that many people might consider the 1966 an antique but that the aircraft was in excellent mechanical condition.

"That's the kind of guy he was," Stark said.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Keith Holloway, said a federal investigator is at the scene of the crash this morning.
======

A white-knuckle emergency landing at Champoeg State Heritage Area saved the lives of two people aboard a small plane Tuesday after a midair collision northwest of Aurora State Airport.

The damaged two-engine plane limped into an open field just west of the park and touched down safely. The pilot and a passenger emerged shaken but uninjured. They refused medical treatment and walked away.

The second plane, a smaller single-engine model, spiraled down in a fiery crash north of Wilsonville Road, killing at least one person.

None of the occupants was identified.

Peter Asai of Springfield was camping at Champoeg with friends when he heard a loud noise shortly after 4 p.m.


"I heard this loud 'BAM!' overhead, like cars colliding," Asai said. "So I look up, and there's a white and turquoise small plane, and a larger dark plane -- and a big cloud of debris and fluttering paper."

Asai said he saw one plane "spiraling out of the sky without a tail."

The more damaged plane crashed in a stand of mature maple and fir trees across the Willamette River from the park, off Wilsonville Road, just west of Earlwood Road. "A huge brown cloud came up above the treeline, just like a column of dirt billowing into the air," Asai said.

A Champoeg Road resident looked up as soon as he heard the collision.

"I heard a 'POP!' and looked up and saw one of the planes falling," said Wesley Coulter, who lives close to the park. "It started spiraling downward and accelerating."

While in midair, the plane then broke into three pieces. The tail and a large piece of metal broke from the fuselage, Coulter said.

Late Tuesday, Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree said there were some indications that a second person may have been aboard the plane that exploded on impact, but the wreckage was burning, making it difficult for emergency responders to approach.

Crabtree said deputies were able to track the plane's owner through a partial tail number in the wreckage. However, he said the name would be withheld until the family had been notified.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators and deputies from Yamhill and Marion counties secured the scene and planned to remain onsite overnight. The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to launch an investigation Wednesday.

Crabtree said the severely damaged plane shed parts for miles, creating a debris field stretching from the initial collision to the impact site. Part of the plane's fuselage landed south of the Willamette River, with other parts landing north of the river.

Wreckage was scattered across three areas of the park, according to Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Havel said 40 to 50 people were at the park at the time of the crash, but no one on the ground was injured. A plane seat landed near the park's campground, and other debris hit a black Ford F-350 truck owned by Diane Sitton of Sherwood.

Witnesses near the site heard, saw and felt the crash.

Robert Nelson, who was home with his wife on Wilsonville Road, said he was certain the collision was an earthquake.

"The whole house shook, the dishes rattled, and I thought it was the big one," Nelson said.

Neighbor Barbara Forbes heard what sounded like a plane sputtering just before the floor of her home began to shake.

"I went to look out on the river because often there are planes landing there, but I didn't see anything there," Forbes said. "Then I went out to my front yard and saw that there were cars that were backed up (on Wilsonville Road) and I knew something was wrong."

Forbes said she walked down the road and helped a neighbor direct traffic out of the area, including giving directions on how to get to Newberg without going back to the highway.

"Our goal was to get people to slow down, turn around before they careened into each other," Forbes said.

Authorities closed Champoeg park during their investigation. Meanwhile, traffic on Wilsonville Road was diverted north on Earlwood Road, around the crash site.

Initial reports of the collision were picked up in radio messages intercepted by the Portland International Airport tower. Air-traffic officials then relayed the reports to emergency dispatchers in Clackamas, Marion and Yamhill counties at 4:19 p.m.

Scott Conyers, who lives near Champoeg Park, said good weather lures pilots who take off from Aurora State Airport and follow the scenic Willamette River down the valley.

"On a sunny day," Conyers said, "it's just like a highway."

Reporters Everton Bailey Jr. and Steve Mayes contributed.

Witness describes plane spiraling out of the sky without a tail
Peter Asai of Springfield was camping with friends at Champoeg State Heritage Area west of Wilsonville when he heard a loud "Bam!, like cars colliding."

"So I look up and there's a white and turquoise small plane, and a larger dark plane, and a big cloud of debris and fluttering paper."

Asai said one of the planes was "spiraling out of the sky without a tail."

Asai followed the spiraling plane as it dropped behind trees in a wooded area north of the park. "A huge brown cloud came up above the treeline, just like a column of dirt billowing into the air, with pieces of debris rolling out."

Federal aviation authorities confirmed that one of the planes was able to land safely, with both occupants uninjured, at Champoeg State Heritage Area. The other crashed across the Willamette River, off Northeast Wilsonville Road, west of Earlwood Road. One person was confirmed dead in the crash.

Nearby, Robert Nelson was at his home in the 35000 block of Wilsonville Road, just north of the Willamette River, Tuesday when he heard what he thought was an earthquake.

"The whole house shook, the dishes rattled and I thought it was the big one," he said.

A neighbor, Barbara Forbes, heard what sounded like a plane sputter just before the floor of her home began to shake.

"I went to look out on the river because often there are planes landing there, but I didn't see anything there," she said. "Then I went out to my front yard and saw that there were cars that were backed up (on Wilsonville Road) and I knew something was wrong."

Forbes said she walked down the road and helped a neighbor direct traffic out of the area, including giving directions on how to get to Newberg without going back to the highway.

"Our goal was to get people to slow down, turn around before they careened into each other," Forbes said.

Reporter Everton Bailey Jr. contributed to this report.

WILSONVILLE -- Authorities confirmed at least one fatality in a plane crash west of Wilsonville, following a mid-air collision northwest of the Aurora State Airport this afternoon.

The other plane in the collision landed safely with two people avoiding injuries.

Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree said one plane crashed in a stand of mature maple and fir trees north of the Willamette River, off Wilsonville Road, just west of Earlwood Road. He said emergency responders were not yet sure whether anyone else was aboard the plane when it went down.

"We aren't sure, quite frankly, if there were more people on the plane at this point," Crabtree said.

Crabtree said the plane apparently broke up mid-air, leaving a debris field miles long, stretching from the collision to the crash.

He said part of one plane's fuselage landed south of the Willamette River, with another part landing north of the river.

Crabtree said the other plane in the collision sustained much less damage and made a safe emergency landing in Champoeg State Park, on the Marion County side of the Willamette. He said two people were aboard the plane and emerged uninjured.

"They're OK," he said.

Names of the victim and other people involved were not yet available.

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation.

Robert Nelson, who was home with his wife on the 35000 block of Wilsonville Road, said he was certain the plane collision it was an earthquake.

"The whole house shook, the dishes rattled and I thought it was the big one," Nelson said. "We had someone here cleaning the carpet, he left the house and called us back saying the police blocked off Wilsonville Road because a plane crashed."

Champoeg State Park has been closed. Meanwhile, traffic on Wilsonville Road has been diverted north on Earlwood Road, around the crash site.

Initial reports of the collision were picked up in radio messages intercepted by the Portland International Airport tower. Air-traffic officials then relayed the reports to emergency dispatchers in Clackamas, Marion and Yamhill counties at 4:19 p.m.

NEWBERG, Ore. -- Two small planes collided in mid-air over the Newberg area late Tuesday afternoon, sending one crashing to the ground, officials said.

The pilot of the second plane managed to make an emergency landing in Champoeg State Park, according to Capt. Ken Summers with the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office.

Summers said there were survivors in the plane that made the emergency landing but it did not appear that anyone survived the other crash.

"The plane in Yamhill County is absolutely totally destroyed. It’s just a burned patch in the woods,” Summers said.

He said the crash scene was located in a heavily wooded area between the Willamette River and the highway. The plane crash also ignited a fire, but it has been extinguished, Summers said.

Witnesses reported an explosion and a huge column of thick, black smoke just after 4 p.m., Monday on a tree farm located at 35150 Wilsonville Road. Others reported seeing a plane spiraling to the ground and debris flying into Champoeg State Park.

A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board told KGW this was an "active NTSB investigation" involving two general aviation airplanes.

The Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police responded to the scene.

Champoeg State Park has been closed as a safety precaution.

WILSONVILLE -- Federal aviation authorities confirm that one of the planes in a mid-air collision this afternoon northwest of Aurora State Airport was able to land safely.

The other plane crashed across the Willamette River, off Northeast Wilsonville Road, west of Earlwood Road, where emergency crews are converging.

"One airplane landed safely, but the other crash," said Allen Kenitzer, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. "This is all the information we have at this time."

At least one report from the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office indicates one plane sustained less damage in the collision and subsequently landed safely at Champoeg State Park. However, that remains unconfirmed.

Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree said he has been briefed on the incident, he still is sorting out the facts.

One of the planes is thought to have broken up in the collision, with one wing coming down in Champoeg State Park and the fuselage crashing north of the Willamette River off Wilsonville Road, west of Earlwood Road.

There is no indication whether pilots or passengers were injured in the collision or the crash.

Sgt. James Rhodes, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said radio reports from the Portland International Airport tower were relayed to emergency dispatchers at 4:19 p.m.

The Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police are responding.

WILSONVILLE -- Yamhill County authorities confirm that two small planes collided northwest of Aurora State Airport this afternoon, sending at least one of them crashing to the ground west of Wilsonville.

Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree said he has been briefed on the incident, saying that emergency crews still are trying to sort out the accident.

"I am headed there right now," Crabtree said.

One of the planes is thought to have broken up in the collision, with one wing coming down in Champoeg State Park and the fuselage crashing north of the Willamette River off Wilsonville Road, west of Earlwood Road.

The other plane is said to have sustained less damage, but no further information is available. One unconfirmed report said the plane was able to land safely.

There is no indication whether pilots or passengers were injured in the collision or the crash.

Sgt. James Rhodes, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said radio reports from the Portland International Airport tower were relayed to emergency dispatchers at 4:19 p.m.

"The first report said a wing from one plane was on one side of the Willamette River, with the rest of the plane on the other side," Rhodes said.

Search and rescue crews are looking in the Champoeg Park campgrounds, where some wreckage is reported to have fallen.

The Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police are responding.


NEAR NEWBERG, Ore. – Two planes collided in midair Tuesday afternoon and went down near Newberg, according to the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office.

One plane was able to land safely in Champoeg State Park and the second plane crashed in the area of the 35000 block of Wilsonville Road nearby and across the Willamette River from the first location, said Capt. Ken Summers with the sheriff's office.

The sheriff’s office says there are survivors at the Champoeg State Park location but is not sure about the Wilsonville Road location.

It is not known at this time where the planes originated.

Champoeg State Park is one of the most popular campgrounds in Oregon because of its proximity to Portland. It is also a historical site that draws tourists. During the summer months, the campground fills up quickly. It is unknown how many people are staying there this week.

WILSONVILLE -- Authorities are investigating reports of a mid-air collision by two small planes northwest of Aurora Airport.

Initial reports by emergency dispatchers indicate wreckage from at least one of the planes may be in Champoeg State Park, west of Wilsonville. The other is thought to be in the 35300 block of Wilsonville Road, near Earlwood Road.

No information is available about injuries to pilots or passengers.

Sgt. James Rhodes, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said radio reports from the Portland International Airport tower were relayed to emergency dispatchers at 4:19 p.m.

"The first report said a wing from one plane was on one side of the Willamette River, with the rest of the plane on the other side," Rhodes said.

The Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police are responding.

NEWBERG — An airplane reportedly crashed south of Newberg in the 35000 block of Wilsonville Road about 4:30 p.m. today, according to the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office.
A second plane may have crashed in the area of Champoeg Park, the sheriff's office said.

"I'm going 90 mph trying to get through traffic and I can't talk," Sgt. Steve Warden of the sheriff's office said.

An incident command post has been established and Wilsonville Road is closed in the area of Rennie Road, according to Yamhill Communications Agency radio traffic.

NEWBERG, Ore. -- Two small planes collided in mid-air over the Newberg area late Tuesday afternoon, sending one crashing to the ground, officials said.

The pilot of the second plane managed to make an emergency landing in Champoeg State Park, according to Capt. Ken Summers with the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office.

Summers said there were survivors in the plane that made the emergency landing but it did not appear that anyone survived the other crash.

"The plane in Yamhill County is absolutely totally destroyed. It’s just a burned patch in the woods,” Summers said.

He said the crash scene was located in a heavily wooded area between the Willamette River and the highway. The plane crash also ignited a fire, but it has been extinguished, Summers said.

Witnesses reported an explosion and a huge column of thick, black smoke just after 4 p.m., Monday on a tree farm located at 35150 Wilsonville Road. Others reported seeing a plane spiraling to the ground and debris flying into Champoeg State Park.

A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board told KGW this was an "active NTSB investigation" involving two general aviation airplanes.

The Newberg Fire Department, Yamhill County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police responded to the scene.

Belgian Expert Examining Middle Tennessee State University Planes For Damage


MURFREESBORO, Tenn - Middle Tennessee State University has flown in an expert from Belgium to examine planes that were damaged in a recent hail storm.

MTSU Aerospace chair Wayne Dornan said the expert arrived Monday night, and has been inspecting 27 planes from the schools fleet.

Several airplanes belonging to MTSU and five other schools were pounded with golf ball-size hail last week and grounded until they are cleared for flight.

Dornan credited a new warning system the university was testing with saving lives.

As the storm started approaching the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, flight dispatchers used the new system, installed just three weeks ago, to get a handful of planes in the air to land in time.

No one was injured, but the school was left with only three planes in their training fleet.

"A plane like this cannot fly that kind of a storm," he said.

MTSU was hosting a handful of other universities for a regional flying competition. Planes from about five universities were at the airport when the storm hit.

Experts planned to check each plane before the university decides if it needs to lease or borrow temporary ones until its entire fleet is fixed.

Related Story:
Oct. 21, 2011: Hail Damages MTSU Flight Program Planes

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