Saturday, October 29, 2011

Passengers Grounded for Hours With No Bathrooms or Water. Passengers are getting frustrated. Bradley International Airport (KBDL), Windsor Locks, Connecticut.



For seven hours, the passengers on JetBlue flight 504 have been grounded at Bradley Airport, with no bathrooms and no water, according to passengers on the plane who are Tweeting and others who contacted NBC Connecticut.

The passengers left Ft. Lauderdale, Florida just after 10 a.m., heading for Newark, but the flight was diverted to Bradley, where it had been since 1:30 p.m.

A paraplegic on the flight had a medical issue, and about seven hours after the plane landed, firefighters are taking people off the plane on a ladder, one passenger said.

“Still on the plane. We haven't moved. Now EWR closed. Getting ugly in here. People yelling wanting to get off,” Andrew Carter said via Twitter just before 6 p.m.

JetBlue Flight 1013 from Boston to New York has also been grounded for hours and they ran out of water, @HedgeyeENERGY tweets. A vehicle will be towing them to one of the gates.

The airline released a statement Saturday night.

"JetBlue is doing everything possible to ensure our customers affected by today's unusual combination of weather and infrastructure issues are being well cared for," said Victoria Lucia, JetBlue spokesperson. "We apologize for the experience."

The JetBlue flights were two of 23 airplanes diverted to Bradley Airport Saturday, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy.  The state was trying to move 1,000 cots to the airport late Saturday to help make stranded passengers comfortable, Malloy said.

It was unclear why the passengers were made to stay on the planes for hours before finally being let off.


Brochetti Pietenpol Aircamper, N486LB: Accident occurred October 29, 2011 in Vienna, Ohio

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA049 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Vienna, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: BROCHETTI LOUIS PIETENPOL AIRCAMPER, registration: N486LB
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The experimental amateur-built airplane impacted trees and terrain after a loss of engine power during takeoff. The pilot reported that the initial takeoff roll was normal and described the subsequent loss of power during the climb as gradual and continuing. Although postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that one of the engine's spark plug wire terminals was not attached to its respective spark plug, the pilot’s description of a gradual power loss during the climb was not consistent with a spark plug wire detachment, which would have resulted in a rapid loss of power. According to a Federal Aviation Administration carburetor icing chart, the temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were conducive to carburetor icing. The pilot attributed the loss of engine power to carburetor ice. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the spark plug wire became dislodged from the spark plug during the impact sequence, and the loss of engine power was a result of carburetor icing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The loss of engine power during climb after takeoff due to carburetor icing.

On October 29, 2011, about 1646 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Brochetti Pietenpol Aircamper, N486LB, impacted trees and terrain following a loss of engine power on takeoff. The airplane was departing from the Smith-Stewart Field Airport (79OH), Vienna, Ohio. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to it's wings and fuselage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and the intended destination was the Warren Airport (62D), Warren, Ohio.

The pilot reported that the airplane had not been flown in the previous three to four weeks and that it had rained on the morning of the accident flight. He stated that he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and found no anomalies. During the preflight inspection fuel was drained from each of the fuel tanks but was not collected for visual inspection. The pilot stated that the engine start and taxi were normal. He reported that the airplane lifted off during takeoff as expected but then would not climb as expected. The airplane subsequently impacted trees at the end of the runway.

At 1651, the recorded temperature and dew point at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, about 4 miles north of the accident site, were 5 degrees Celsius, and 0 degrees Celsius, respectively. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-09-35, the temperature and dew point were in the range for serious carburetor icing potential.

In his report, the pilot surmised that carburetor icing or contaminated fuel may have contributed to the loss of engine power.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by FAA inspectors revealed that one of the engine's spark plug wire terminals was not attached to its respective spark plug. No other evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation were foun
d.


 Jeffrey Jardine fills out a witness report Saturday evening after his friend's experimental 1990 Pieton Pole Air Camper crashed shortly after takeoff in Vienna Township. The pilot, Ronald Catchpole, 54, of King Graves Road, was taken from the scene in serious condition.

A homemade plane crashed onto a creek bed here soon after it took off from a private air field Saturday, seriously injuring the pilot.

Ronald Catchpole, 54, of King Graves Road, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center after the crash, shortly before 5 p.m. behind a home at 2260 Pleasant Valley Road, said Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Catchpole was flying a 1990 Pietenpol Aircamper, a small plane with an open cockpit that owners assemble at home, police and witnesses said. He had just taken off from Price Field, at the top of a hill above the crash site, when he apparently developed engine trouble. He made it to the tree tops along the creek before crashing.

Holt said Catchpole was stable and conscious when he was taken from the crash site.

================
The small community of Vienna township in Trumbull County was shaken up today after a small plane crashed into a wooded area. The plane went down at around 5:00 Saturday afternoon. The pilot 54-year-old Ronald B. Catchpole of Warren was trapped inside, but has been rescued and taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for treatment.

Witnesses say Mr. Catchpole gained altitude off the runway from the Price Air Field, also known as the Smith-Stewart Field, when the aircraft immediately began to lose power just after clearing the runway. The aircraft went into a wooded area, crashing into a creek.

Hazmat crews were called after 13 gallons of aviation fuel leaked into the creek. The Southington Post of The Ohio State Highway Patrol is still investigating.
=========
Trumbull County's 911 Dispatch says a small plane has crashed in a Vienna Twp. backyard.

It went down around 5 p.m. at 2243 Pleasant Valley Road. Witnesses say the pilot was trapped inside the wrecked plane, but has since been rescued and taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

Officials said 13 gallons of aviation fuel leaked from the plane into a nearby creek, and a HazMat team is on the way to the location to gain control of the situation.

It appears the plane is a kit-built Pietenpol Air Camper. It is considered an experimental aircraft.

Billings, Montana - Air Tran Boeing 757 flight to Milwaukee makes emergency landing

A commercial plane en route to Milwaukee from Seattle made an emergency landing Saturday afternoon because of a problem detected on the plane.

Officials say a windshield apparently cracked during the Air Tran flight, while over eastern Montana.

The Boeing 737 had 124 passengers on board and was reportedly traveling at 558 mph at 39000 ft when it happened.

The pilot declared an emergency and was able to safely land the plane in Billings.

There are no reports of injuries.

Skydiver injured at Washington-Grizzly Stadium flown to Seattle

Skydiver suffers broken bones at Griz game


A member of the Silvertip Skydivers was blown off target during his descent into Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday, then clipped a tree before crashing down onto a cement sidewalk just outside the stadium.

Blaine Wright, a veteran skydiver, was taken to St. Patrick Hospital immediately after the crash and later flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis. The crash occurred just before the 1:05 p.m. kickoff of the Montana-Weber State football game.

Witnesses to the incident said Wright appeared to realize that he was not going to make it into the stadium as he descended in gusty winds, and turned back to try to land on the lawn just outside the southeast corner of the stadium.

The witnesses said his feet clipped a tree before he landed on his back on a cement wall along the sidewalk, then rolled onto the sidewalk itself.

"You could hear bones pop," said J.R. Garcia, who was tailgating in an RV and had stepped outside to watch the three skydivers. "He tried to land here (on the lawn), but the parachute picked him up and he landed right at our feet."

Wright, the first of the three Silvertip skydivers, was knocked unconscious, but had his eyes open and was talking with paramedics before he was immobilized on a backboard, placed on a stretcher and whisked away by ambulance.

A young girl standing on the sidewalk was knocked over after Wright landed and was screaming that her leg was in pain, the witnesses said, but was checked by paramedics and didn't require hospitalization.

Don Lakow of the Silvertip Skydivers said Wright knew he couldn't make his target and deliberately turned to avoid landing in the stadium crowd and injuring spectators.

"He apparently wasn't going to make it over the stadium wall, and to avoid the risk to hitting someone in the stands, he turned around," said Lakow, who monitors wind conditions in the stadium for the jumpers.

Emily Brandon, who was also in the tailgate party, said she called 9-1-1 and that help arrived "almost immediately."

"I talked with them, got a couple of sentences out and then they put me on hold, probably because everybody else was calling, too," she said.

***

The witnesses said that winds in the Hellgate Canyon, which can be very unpredictable, were strong and gusting. Crystal Lake, a weather technician with the National Weather Service in Missoula, said a 12:52 p.m. reading at the Missoula International Airport showed winds at 18 mph and gusting.

"But especially in the Hellgate Canyon, they have much stronger gusts," she said. "It's going to be kind of squirrelly out there."

Flags above the stadium were whipping strongly most of the morning, and at 1:20 p.m. were showing gusts blowing to the northeast, which would have had the skydivers parachuting almost directly into the wind.

Lakow said the skydiving club, which has had a decades-long relationship with UM, tracks wind conditions from an instrument on top of the stadium pressbox. At the time of the jump, those conditions seemed amenable.

However, he said, wind conditions just above the stadium were apparently erratic, a fact that he, the skydivers and the plane's pilot could not have known.

The skydivers, not UM, decide whether to make a jump on any given Saturday, according to UM athletic director Jim O'Day.

O'Day answered a question about that issue on Facebook. The question was posted on Sept. 21.

"This decision is made by the skydivers," O'Day wrote. "Since the east side expansion in Washington-Grizzly Stadium was completed a few years ago, there is now less room for error for their entrance into the field as it has created additional air pockets and wind tunnels. Thus, anytime the wind is gusting at 8 mph or more, it is likely the jumps will be canceled. The skydivers have access to wind gauges in the plane and at the airport for safety purposes."

Reached by phone during the game, O'Day said he was in the locker room with the Grizzly football team at the time of the jump and didn't witness the incident.

Lakow said Saturday's incident was the first mishap in the history of the club's jumps for Grizzly football games.

Lakow said Wright has been jumping with the Silvertip Skydivers for 37 years.

"He's a top-notch jumper," he said.

Experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA), Czech Republic, Interplane SRO Skyboy, N58784: Accident occurred October 29, 2011 in Homestead, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA052 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Homestead, FL
Aircraft: INTERPLANE S R O SKYBOY, registration: N58784
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On October 29, 2011, about 1022 eastern standard time, an experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA), Czech Republic, Interplane SRO Skyboy, airplane, N58784, registered and operated by an individual, incurred substantial damaged from ground impact at Richards Field Airport (04FA), Miami, Florida. Both pilots on board were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from the same airport earlier that day, about 0940.

Witnesses stated that the pilot had performed mechanical work on the airplane during the weeks prior to the accident flight. Earlier that morning he conducted a maintenance test flight, which included several touch and goes and stalls. The airplane had vortex generators installed on the wings as part of the maintenance work. There was a second pilot that was assisting the test flight pilot with the maintenance efforts on the airplane. During the initial test flight she remained on the ground with a radio monitoring the test flight progress. There were no abnormalities identified during this test flight. The pilot landed. The assisting pilot and the test flight pilot both got into the airplane to go fly. The airplane was in the air for about thirty to forty minutes conducting touch and goes, stalls, and air work in the vicinity of the private airstrip. Witnesses observed the airplane flying at slow speed in a north east direction, at an estimated altitude of 300 feet above ground level. As the airplane approach the airport it was observed entering a spin in a near full nose down attitude. The airplane completed three spins before it impacted the ground Witnesses made comments that the engine was running during the flight including the spin.

A global position system (GPS) unit, which was recovered among the wreckage, and a flight control component were retained by NTSB for further examination.




SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Two people are dead after their small plane crashed into an airstrip.

According to Miami-Dade Aviation, a single-engine plane with two people onboard crashed at a private airstrip near Southwest 221st Avenue and 202nd Street, Saturday.

The small plane, known as a Skyboy, was reportedly in the air for a test flight when it took a nose-dive and crashed.

"The aircraft did go down, and unfortunately, it took their lives," said Miami-Dade Police Det. Alvaro Zabaleta. "Unfortunately, they were pronounced deceased on the scene."

The pilot, a man in his 40s or 50s, and a passenger, a woman around the same age, died upon impact. According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, the pilot was said to be very experienced.

Pamela Braggassa, a wife of a pilot that uses the airstrip, said that the pilots were gathering today for a celebration. "This is a party, they get together every year for fun," she said.

Pilots at the airstrip say the man and woman onboard were not married or related.

Investigators took hours to comb over the debris of the plane. The cause of the crash is unknown.

Pietenpol Aircamper (built by Louis Brochetti), N486LB: Accident occurred October 29, 2011 in Vienna, Ohio

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA049 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Vienna, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: BROCHETTI LOUIS PIETENPOL AIRCAMPER, registration: N486LB
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The experimental amateur-built airplane impacted trees and terrain after a loss of engine power during takeoff. The pilot reported that the initial takeoff roll was normal and described the subsequent loss of power during the climb as gradual and continuing. Although postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that one of the engine's spark plug wire terminals was not attached to its respective spark plug, the pilot’s description of a gradual power loss during the climb was not consistent with a spark plug wire detachment, which would have resulted in a rapid loss of power. According to a Federal Aviation Administration carburetor icing chart, the temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were conducive to carburetor icing. The pilot attributed the loss of engine power to carburetor ice. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the spark plug wire became dislodged from the spark plug during the impact sequence, and the loss of engine power was a result of carburetor icing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power during climb after takeoff due to carburetor icing.

On October 29, 2011, about 1646 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Brochetti Pietenpol Aircamper, N486LB, impacted trees and terrain following a loss of engine power on takeoff. The airplane was departing from the Smith-Stewart Field Airport (79OH), Vienna, Ohio. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to it's wings and fuselage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and the intended destination was the Warren Airport (62D), Warren, Ohio.

The pilot reported that the airplane had not been flown in the previous three to four weeks and that it had rained on the morning of the accident flight. He stated that he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and found no anomalies. During the preflight inspection fuel was drained from each of the fuel tanks but was not collected for visual inspection. The pilot stated that the engine start and taxi were normal. He reported that the airplane lifted off during takeoff as expected but then would not climb as expected. The airplane subsequently impacted trees at the end of the runway.

At 1651, the recorded temperature and dew point at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, about 4 miles north of the accident site, were 5 degrees Celsius, and 0 degrees Celsius, respectively. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-09-35, the temperature and dew point were in the range for serious carburetor icing potential.

In his report, the pilot surmised that carburetor icing or contaminated fuel may have contributed to the loss of engine power.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by FAA inspectors revealed that one of the engine's spark plug wire terminals was not attached to its respective spark plug. No other evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation were found.


 NTSB Identification: CEN12LA049 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Vienna, OH
Aircraft: BROCHETTI LOUIS PIETENPOL AIRCAMPER, registration: N486LB
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

On October 29, 2011, about 1646 eastern daylight time, an Experimental amateur-built Brochetti Pietenpol Aircamper, N486LB, impacted trees and terrain while returning to land following a loss of engine power. The airplane had just taken off from Smith-Stewart Field Airport (79OH), Vienna, Ohio. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to it's wings and fuselage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.





Jeffrey Jardine fills out a witness report Saturday evening after his friend's experimental 1990 Pieton Pole Air Camper crashed shortly after takeoff in Vienna Township. The pilot, Ronald Catchpole, 54, of King Graves Road, was taken from the scene in serious condition.


A homemade plane crashed onto a creek bed here soon after it took off from a private air field Saturday, seriously injuring the pilot.

Ronald Catchpole, 54, of King Graves Road, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center after the crash, shortly before 5 p.m. behind a home at 2260 Pleasant Valley Road, said Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Catchpole was flying a 1990 Pietenpol Aircamper, a small plane with an open cockpit that owners assemble at home, police and witnesses said. He had just taken off from Price Field, at the top of a hill above the crash site, when he apparently developed engine trouble. He made it to the tree tops along the creek before crashing.

Holt said Catchpole was stable and conscious when he was taken from the crash site.


==============
The small community of Vienna township in Trumbull County was shaken up today after a small plane crashed into a wooded area. The plane went down at around 5:00 Saturday afternoon. The pilot 54-year-old Ronald B. Catchpole of Warren was trapped inside, but has been rescued and taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for treatment.

Witnesses say Mr. Catchpole gained altitude off the runway from the Price Air Field, also known as the Smith-Stewart Field, when the aircraft immediantely began to lose power just after clearing the runway. The aircraft went into a wooded area, crashing into a creek.

Hazmat crews were called after 13 gallons of aviation fuel leaked into the creek. The Southington Post of The Ohio State Highway Patrol is still investigating.
=========

Trumbull County's 911 Dispatch says a small plane has crashed in a Vienna Twp. backyard.

It went down around 5 p.m. at 2243 Pleasant Valley Road. Witnesses say the pilot was trapped inside the wrecked plane, but has since been rescued and taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

Officials said 13 gallons of aviation fuel leaked from the plane into a nearby creek, and a HazMat team is on the way to the location to gain control of the situation.

It appears the plane is a kit-built Pietenpol Air Camper. It is considered an experimental aircraft.

Vienna fire, police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are also at the scene.

Street may have lessened blow in B.C. plane crash. Beechcraft King Air 100, Northern Thunderbird Air, C-GXRX. Vancouver International Airport.

The general manager of a B.C. airline whose small plane crashed near Vancouver's airport says the accident's only saving grace was the bustling urban street where it came down.

Bill Hesse of Prince George-based Northern Thunderbird Air said the location allowed a quick response to Thursday's crash.

All nine people aboard were pulled alive from the fiery wreckage as Good Samaritans leaped from their cars to help in the midst of rush hour.

Firefighters were also able to quickly get to the scene because a fire station was nearby.

The pilot, 44-year-old Luc Fortin, was gravely injured and died in hospital five hours later with family by his side.
.
'We were extremely fortunate'

"We're so thankful for the bystanders that rushed into this burning aircraft and helped evacuate people out of there, some with grave injuries," Hesse said.

"If it wasn't for those folks and the fact there was a fire hall half a block away — my goodness, I shudder to think ... In this case we were extremely fortunate."

Vancouver Coastal Health says two people remain in critical condition, including one person who had spinal surgery on Friday, while four people were in stable but serious condition. Two were discharged.

Hesse called Fortin, who is survived by a wife and daughter in North Vancouver, an easy-going guy who was very professional. The veteran had logged about 14,000 hours in the cockpit and joined the company in 2007.
.
'Knowledgeable pilot'

"Prior to coming to us, he flew essentially throughout the world — both poles, the Indian Ocean, ferrying aircraft across Africa," he said. "He was a very experienced, knowledgeable pilot."

Which is why the failed landing, which also clipped a car and lamppost as it came down and injured two people less seriously, is such a mystery right now, Hesse said.

"With the amount of data — radar coverage and voice recordings between air traffic control and the pilot, the cockpit voice recorder and the shear number of eye witnesses — I think it really bodes well for us getting a decent answer on this tragedy."

Investigators are now trying to determine what caused a caution light to flicker on midway through the flight, convincing Fortin to turn the Kelowna-bound plane back to Vancouver.

The Transportation Safety Board has said the plane went down after getting clearance to return for landing. It had departed at 3:40 p.m. PT.

In a recording of air-traffic control communications, Fortin sounds calm as the plane swings around and charts its reverse course. He tells a controller he doesn't need any emergency equipment or help.
.
Flight chartered by single group

The Beechcraft King Air 100 was built in the 1970s, which is not an unusual vintage, Hesse said. It got regular maintenance.

The flight was an ad-hoc charter booked by a single group of people, he said. He wouldn't reveal any information about their identities or the purpose of the flight, other than to say they were new clients.

He said the co-pilot, 26-year-old Matt Robic, suffered burns to his body but had stabilized in hospital.

Hesse is based at the company's Prince George headquarters, while Fortin worked from its Vancouver office.

He said the company has a 40-year history but has been owned by the current group since 1999.

He said the only other major mishap he recalls occurred in 2005. Two pilots died in a crash near Squamish, north of Vancouver. A report by the Transportation Safety Board characterized the cause as inconclusive.

B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond also attributed Fortin's manoeuvres to lessening the extent of the potential catastrophe. She called the passersby who rushed in to lend frantic help heroes.

"By all accounts, your actions helped to lessen injuries and may well have saved lives," she said in a statement.

Watch Video: http://www.cbc.ca

King Air 100, C-GXRX: Northern Thunderbird Air. Vancouver International Airport

VANCOUVER - Carolyn Cross looked at the pilot’s shaking hands and was certain everyone on board the little twin-engined aircraft was going to die.

Moments earlier, pilot Luc Fortin told the group of business executives en route to Kelowna that the plane had a small oil leak in the left engine and he was returning to Vancouver International Airport. Most of the passengers just sighed in exasperation.

But Cross, who runs a Vancouver biomedical company, pays attention to small details. She watched the pilot and figured the 13-seat aircraft was in its death throes.

“I looked at his hands and they were shaking, trembling, and at that moment I knew we were going to die.”

She started typing out a farewell letter to her children.

“I calmly take out my iPhone and I start composing letters to my children. And it’s an interesting thing that when you are very certain that you are going to die, you are in a moment of peace,” she said Friday from her bed in Vancouver General Hospital trauma unit. Luc Fortin, 44, was a veteran pilot. His record of 14,000 hours of flying had taken him around the world, to Canada’s north, Antarctica and the Maldives.

Thursday’s charter flight from Vancouver to Kelowna should have been a breeze.

But on this flight, something went wrong with the twin-engined Beechcraft King Air 100 aircraft that Fortin was flying for Northern Thunderbird Air, a company he joined in 2007. It might not have seemed too serious at first. But this would be the North Vancouver pilot’s last flight.

Flight 204 departed YVR at 3:41 p.m. The weather was partly cloudy, eight degrees, the winds from the west at 11 kilometres an hour.

Next to Fortin in the cockpit sat the first officer, 26-year-old Matt Robic, a relatively junior pilot who had joined the Prince George-based company last June and had 1,400 flying hours.

Behind them in the cabin were seven passengers headed to a business executive forum in the Okanagan Valley.

Fifteen minutes into the flight, while the plane was 4,600 metres above Golden Ears Provincial Park, Fortin and Robic noticed a potential problem — an oil indicator light.

At that time, it didn’t seem serious enough for them to request a full-on emergency landing, but they did inform air traffic controllers they were headed back to YVR. At that distance and altitude, YVR — not a smaller and closer regional airport — was a logical place to touch down, given its fire safety response and the fact that Northern Thunderbird Air has an office there, said Bill Yearwood, regional manager of the federal transportation safety board.What happened over the ensuing few minutes is the subject of an intensive ongoing investigation by board.

“That’s our challenge: to determine why what appeared to be a benign indicator problem turned into such a tragic event,” Yearwood said Friday.

“What we do know is that things went horribly wrong as the King Air approached the eastern end of the south runway.”

Yearwood said the plane was about 900 metres away with its landing gear down in a stable approach when it veered 90 degrees to the left and crashed into Russ Baker Way.

The plane hit a lamppost and a car — and exploded in flames — at 4:12 p.m.

“It was fortunate that it was clear enough for them to come to a stop before colliding with too many objects or people,” Yearwood said, with understatement. Cross said her fellow passengers seemed oblivious to the danger.

“The chap next to me was talking about his cottage. He didn’t understand, but I did. I want to say this, and I am making a point about the pilots because I really believe they contributed to our success,” said Cross, chairman and CEO of Ondine Biomedical.

At VGH, where she is in the burns, plastics and trauma unit with multiple fractures, she said it was clear the pilots knew the aircraft was in serious trouble.She said the pilots aimed the nose up, she assumed to gather enough altitude to coast back to the airport.

“They went very high up ... The pilots were taking us much higher than normal and I understand that is because they were going to glide us in. I understood that halfway down. They were doing such a good job, they got so close. I mean, 900 metres away.”

On the final approach to the airport, she said the pilots “shot each other a look.”

“I knew that they were not going to make it despite a gallant effort,” she said.

In a moment of clarity, she looked down at her cellphone to see if there was reception.

“I wanted to make sure my kids would get my letter and it did go, so I was at peace,” she said.

“Suddenly, the pilots were yanking very hard to the left in a very awkward way and I went from looking at the runway to looking at the highway and we were going down into it and that’s when the rest of the [passengers] knew. We crashed and I immediately looked outside because I was at a door window and it was full of flames outside.”When Fortin alerted YVR that he was coming back, air traffic controllers asked him if he wanted to declare an emergency standby, which would have dispatched fire engines to the end of the runway.

He said no and opted for a routine standby, meaning crews in the fire hall at the centre of YVR’s three runways simply stood by.

Staff in the tower watched in horror as the plane banked sharply and crashed on Russ Baker Way, just on the far side of the fence at the end of the runway.

They hit the “crash” button, and within seconds three fire trucks barrelled down the runway apron.

“We didn’t know which side of the fence the crash was on, so two of the trucks went right to the end of the runway,” said Don Ehrenholz, YVR’s vice-president of operations and engineering.

The other fire truck used its reinforced bumper to crash through a runway gate.

But even before any of the professional emergency crews could get to the stricken aircraft, it was ordinary heroes, commuters in the immediate vicinity, who stopped their cars and rushed in where angels might fear to tread.Canada Post employee Steve Baran was on his way to make a letterbox pickup, driving parallel to Russ Baker Way, when he first heard it.

“I heard this ‘ka-shing’ and I looked up and went, ‘Whoa,’” said the 53-year-old father of two.

Baran watched the plane crash and ignite around 50 metres away.

“At first, it didn’t make sense,” he said. “I remember years ago, I saw a pickup hit a car, and it made that same noise, this grinding of metal.”

Baran pulled over and went over to the plane. Looking around, he saw a number of others running toward the wreckage as well.

In what felt like seconds, they formed a line leading up to the plane’s door and began helping passengers get out. Baran said one or two people in front of him pulled people out of the plane before he led them a safe distance away.

“Then somebody mentioned there should be seven people, and we did a count. At first we thought there were six, but there were seven. Then I looked around and thought, ‘Where’s the white shirt with the tie and the bars? I haven’t seen a pilot. And there has to be a co-pilot; they always go in twos.’”

“We turned around and said ‘the pilots,’ but we couldn’t go back in. There was just too much heat. A guy said, ‘No, you can’t. That’s it. Go, go, go.’”Chris Yuen, 21, was biking home from the University of B.C., along Russ Baker Way, when he paused to admire how idyllic his surroundings were.

“There was a break in traffic and I was just pondering how nice it was that there were no cars on the road and I got to cycle on a quiet path,” Yuen said. Then he heard the crash.

“I thought it could be a truck that flipped over or something. I looked back and thought, ‘Holy shit, there’s this burning wreckage sliding towards me.’”

Yuen swerved off the road and jumped over a small ditch. The plane came to a stop 25 to 50 metres behind him, he estimated.

“I ran around, because there was a trail of fuel on fire where I was,” Yuen said.

“It was really hot. Everything was on fire.”

At least 10 motorists stopped and rushed to help the plane’s passengers without hesitation, Yuen said.

But he believes the passengers managed to get the plane’s door open themselves.

“Some people were staggering out. One guy was on his knees; he couldn’t really walk at the time.”

Yuen, who is trained in first aid, tended to a few of the passengers who were helped across the street.

“I did what I could to start first aid, but they were still conscious, so there wasn’t that much that we could do other than keep talking to keep them alert,” Yuen said.

Cross, who was sitting at an emergency exit door, said there were four passengers in front of her and two behind. The impact knocked several people out, including the man beside her.

The flames outside her door prevented her from opening it, but she knew that if she didn’t get out the rest in front of her would die.

“I couldn’t go out. It smelled full of gasoline. I heard the sound of the other group popping out the back door and then they left and I knew I had to get out because the people in front of me were obstructed by my presence and my funny angle,” she said.

“I went to get up and I could not walk. It was as if I had no legs, as if they were blown off. And I thought of my children, and God and the universe gave me the energy and I got up to the door. I said I don’t know what I am going to do now because I can’t get out of the plane, my legs, I can’t get out of the plane.”

Immediately, four bystanders grabbed her and pulled her away from the flaming wreckage.

“And then they went back for more. And people were shouting “the plane’s going to blow, it’s full of gas, we smell gas” but they went back in. It was amazing,” Cross said.

The heroes waded into the flaming wreckage, equipped only with personal fire extinguishers from their vehicles, and dragged out three more passengers.

A nurse from St. Paul’s Hospital named Colleen who happened to be driving in the vicinity stayed with Cross.

“She stayed with me, even though she had a nine-year-old child who was clearly upset in her car. She stabilized me and prevented me from having more back injuries than I already did. She was a trooper.”

But bravery has its limits.

The flames proved too great for the Good Samaritans to rescue the pilot, co-pilot and one other passenger.

Within minutes, a pumper truck from Richmond Fire Hall No. 4 — just a block away — arrived and dumped its entire load of foam on the plane. Still, the flames persisted.

The two YVR trucks on the inside of the fence were able to reach the aircraft with their booms, and within a minute dumped another 15,000 litres of foam.

Over the next 15 minutes flames continued to flare up, making it difficult for the two department’s first responders to get to the trapped people.

Eventually Robic, Fortin and the passenger were dragged to safety, but not before the two pilots were severely burned in the fire. Ambulances threaded their way through the knot of commuter traffic, rushing several less-injured people to Richmond Hospital. The most seriously injured, including Cross, were sent to Vancouver General Hospital.Just five hours after he tried to save his little aircraft, Fortin died of fire-related injuries. He left behind a wife and young child. His death was a blow both to family and those who knew him.

“He was a pretty experienced pilot,” said Bill Hesse, general manager of Prince George-based Northern Thunderbird Air, which has between 60 and 70 employees. “We just want to know what happened.”

Robic remains in critical condition with burns to 80 per cent of his body.

As for the passengers, by late Friday afternoon two remained in critical condition and four in stable but serious condition at VGH, according to Anna Marie D’Angelo of Vancouver Coastal Health.

Two others, including passenger Tony Zanatta, were discharged overnight, one from VGH and one from Richmond Hospital.

Zanatta’s wife Leanne said her husband was extremely lucky to survive.

“He’s home. He can’t talk right now. He’s on some pretty major painkillers, so we’re all trying to regroup as a family.”

Two other passengers have been identified as Cameron Sobolik, president of Vancouver-based Teligence, and his wife Lorelei.

Ian MacLeod, the company’s general counsel, said the passengers all knew each other through a business association.

He didn’t know the extent of the Soboliks’ injuries.

“We just want Lorelei and Cameron to have as little injury as possible and to get back on their feet as soon as possible.”Recordings and radar data from YVR’s control tower have been taken by investigators and witnesses have been interviewed, Yearwood said.

A “black box” containing the pilots’ cockpit conversation — but not any physical data like the plane’s altitude — was recovered. The recordings were sent to the TSB’s lab in Ottawa Friday to be downloaded. Yearwood said he expected to receive the audio from those last few minutes by the end of next week.

Investigators completed the physical inspection of the crash site early Friday morning and soon will do a more in-depth study of the plane in a YVR hangar, he said.

Transport Canada spokeswoman Sara Johnston said that the federal department last conducted an inspection of Northern Thunderbird, including the aircraft involved in the crash, in April 2010 and did not uncover any problems.

Fortin and Robic both had valid commercial pilot licences and medical certificates. Johnston noted that Northern Thunderbird Air is a fully owned independent subsidiary of Central Mountain Air and operates from Prince George, with a base in Vancouver.

The company is authorized for flights under both instrument and visual flight rules; until the crash, it had a fleet of eight aircraft, including three King Air 100 planes, three Beech 1900 aircraft, one Cessna Caravan, and one King Air 350.

A Transport Canada minister’s observer has been assigned to monitor the safety board’s investigation and plans to follow up with Northern Thunderbird in the next few days, she said.Cross suffered several broken ribs and other fractures. But she said that’s a small price to pay for surviving a such a wreck.

“For someone who came out of such a high point in the sky with a malfunctioning plane, I am doing really well,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter because I should be squashed up and dead. I can handle this.”

Her husband Bob was in England and is returning home immediately. Their three children, aged nine to 15, are staying with relatives.

Cross doesn’t know if her children have yet seen her farewell message. But she doesn’t regret sending it and she is eternally grateful to be alive. And she says she owes it all to the heroes in the cockpit and those on the ground who dragged her to safety.

“I laid in bed last night understanding how lucky I am and that I am alive because of these people. I want them to know how brave they were.”

Video: The search for the Cessna 210 - 1981 plane crash mystery. Barrington Tops, Australia.



The search resumes today in the Barrington Tops north-west of Newcastle to find the wreckage of a plane that disappeared without a trace more than 30 years ago.

Teterboro Airport (KTEB) in New Jersey is closed. Nor'easter turns Northeast white.

A classic nor'easter was chugging along up the East Coast and expected to dump anywhere from a dusting of snow to about 10 inches throughout the region starting Saturday, a decidedly unseasonal date for a type of storm more associated with midwinter.

A mix of rain and snow was falling in the mid-Atlantic, with more snow farther inland. The storm has already knocked out power to customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

Flight delays are reported of three hours at Philadelphia International Airport; five hours at John F. Kennedy and Laguardia in New York City; and six hours at Newark Liberty. Teterboro Airport in New Jersey is closed.

The National Weather Service said that as of 2 p.m. today Central Park recorded 1.3 inches of snowfall - the most to fall there in October since snowfall records were kept beginning in 1869.  Forecasters say New York could see up to four inches.  Hartford, Conn., Allentown, Pa., and Worcester, Mass., were among the cities that could get up to a foot of snow, forecasters said.

In Boston, afternoon rain will turn to snow overnight, bringing up to three inches.  Cherry Grove, W.Va., on the edge of the Monongahela National Forest, got 4 inches of snow overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
http://www.cbsnews.com

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KTEB

Wind from the NNE (020 degrees) at 16 MPH (14 KT) gusting to 22 MPH (19 KT) (direction variable)
Visibility 3/4 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Ice pellets, snow
Mist
Precipitation last hour 0.06 inches
Temperature 33 F (1 C)
Windchill 23 F (-5 C)
Dew Point 33 F (1 C)
Relative Humidity 100%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.85 in. Hg (1010 hPa)
Pressure tendency falling rapidly
ob KTEB 292009Z 02014G19KT 3/4SM R06/4500V5500FT PLSN BR OVC005 01/01 A2985 RMK AO2 PRESFR P0006

Nigerian Air Force incident not affecting flight operations

The management of the Akwa Ibom International Airport (AKIA) has assured air travelers that the crash landing of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft near the airport would not affect flight operations.

Seven NAF airplanes taking part in this year’s staff continuity training exercise and sports weeks departed the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar enroute to AKIA, but six of the aircraft landed safely while one of them with two pilots on board crash landed 1,100 metres from the runway with no damage to the airport facility.

In a statement by the managing director of the airport, Jari Williams, a copy of which was made available to Businessday, it added that the incident was offsite the airport ‘with no recorded damage to airport facilities.’ According to the statement, NCAA has given clearance for continuous flight operations into and out of the airport.

“The management of AKIA wishes to assure the flying public that AKIA is safe for flight operations in line with our current certification,’’ the statement said. The two pilots were reported to be hale and hearty and were under observation as a matter of procedure. Meanwhile, the wreckage of the crashed aircraft has been evacuated from the site of the incident by officials of the airport under the supervision of NAF officials.

The wreckage was conveyed in a truck to a section of the airport at about 8 a.m. as part of the investigation exercise being carried out by NAF investigation team. The AKIA was inaugurated in 2009 and has recorded huge patronage by travelers from Akwa Ibom and the neighbouring states.

Both the Akwa Ibom airport and the Margaret Ekpo international airport were jointly earmarked as the operation zone for the 2011 staff continuity training exercise and sports weeks of the NAF. The preliminary exercise began at the AKIA on Tuesday October 25 and has been very successful until the incident which occurred on Friday October 28.

http://www.businessdayonline.com

Twin Cessna That Reported Engine Problem Lands Safely at Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut.

A twin-engine Cessna which reported engine problems late Saturday morning– prompting air traffic controllers to declare an emergency– landed safely at Bridgeport-Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford.

The FAA says the plane, registered out of Southampton, New York had five people aboard, including the pilot. The plane reported a problem with its left engine about ten miles from the airport.

Air traffic controllers at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks declared an emergency before the plane landed safely at 11:17 a.m., said the Federal Aviation Administration.

No injuries were reported.

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KBDR
 
http://connecticut.cbslocal.com

Temco GC-1B (Swift), N3825K: Accident occurred October 02, 2011 in Ewell, Maryland

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA002 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 02, 2011 in Ewell, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2012
Aircraft: TEMCO GC-1B, registration: N3825K
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

The pilot made an uneventful 45-minute cross country flight from his home airport to the destination airport. About 10 minutes into the return flight, the airplane was cruising over water at 2,000 feet mean sea level when it experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot attempted to glide to an island and performed emergency procedures; however, he did not verify the position of the fuel tank selector. The airplane glided about 2 miles before ditching in the water. The airplane was equipped with main and auxiliary fuel tanks that held 26 and 9 gallons of fuel, respectively, and the engine burned about 9 gallons of fuel per hour; the pilot reported that both tanks were full when he departed from his home airport. The pilot further reported that, if he had accidentally left the fuel selector positioned to the auxiliary fuel tank prior to departing his home airport, he would have had just enough fuel to fly the outbound leg, begin the return leg, and lose engine power where he did. When the airplane was recovered, the fuel selector was found positioned to the auxiliary fuel tank. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. In the pilot’s operating handbook for the airplane, the procedure for an engine failure during flight stated that, for airplanes equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank, the pilot should ascertain that the fuel selector valve is on a tank containing fuel.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's improper fuel management in that he did not verify the fuel selector position before beginning the flight or after the power loss, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation and subsequent ditching.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On October 2, 2011, at 1513 eastern daylight time, a Temco GC-1B (Swift), N3825K, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a ditching in the Chesapeake Bay, near Ewell, Maryland. The certificated airline transport pilot received serious injuries and the passenger was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Washington Executive Airport (W32), Clinton, Maryland. The flight originated from Tangier Island Airport (TGI), Tangier, Virginia, about 1500.

During a subsequent telephone interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot stated that prior that day, he flew uneventfully from W32 to TGI. During the return flight, the airplane was cruising at 2,000 feet mean seal level to remain below an overcast cloud layer at 2,200 feet. About 10 minutes after departure, while flying over water, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. At that time, the pilot was in radio contact with air traffic control, and advised of his emergency. The controller acknowledged the transmission and provided a vector to the nearest land, which was Smith Island, Maryland, about 6 miles east of the airplane. While gliding toward the island, the pilot performed emergency procedures, which included activating the carburetor heat, checking the magnetos, activating the fuel boost pump, and positioning the mixture to rich. The pilot did not mention switching the fuel tank selector position as part of the procedure. He remarked that if he had accidentally left the fuel selector positioned to "Aux," prior to departing W32, he would have had just enough fuel to fly from W32, to TGI, and lose engine power near Smith Island.

The pilot added that his airplane did not have a good glide ratio, and estimated that he only glided about 2 miles before ditching in the water. Other airplanes and helicopters circled the area about 20 to 30 minutes after ditching; however, the pilot and passenger were wearing dark clothes and were not seen. The pilot and passenger then attempted to swim to Smith Island. The waves were high and the passenger was unable to complete the swim.

The wreckage was located on October 6, 2011, by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It was resting in 25 feet of water, about 2 miles west of Smith Island.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 48, held an airline transport pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He also held a commercial pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on December 3, 2009. The pilot reported a total flight experience of 6,800 hours; of which, 130 hours were in single-engine airplanes. Of the 130 hours, 120 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. The pilot had flown the make and model accident airplane 8 hours during the 30-day period preceding the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear tailwheel airplane, serial number 3514, was manufactured in 1948. It was powered by a Continental O-300, 145-horsepower engine, equipped with a fixed-pitch wooden propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on March 25, 2011. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 4,470 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 85 hours since overhaul. The airplane flew 35 hours from the time of the last annual inspection, until the accident.

The airplane's fuel selector had three positions; "AUX," "MAIN," and "OFF." The auxiliary fuel tank held 9 gallons of fuel and the main fuel tank held 26 gallons of fuel.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Patuxent River Naval Air Station (NHK), Patuxent River, Maryland, was located about 15 miles northwest of the accident site. The recorded weather at NHK, at 1452, was: wind from 250 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 miles in light rain; few clouds at 2,000 feet, broken ceiling at 3,600 feet, overcast ceiling at 4,400 feet; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point 8 degrees C; altimeter 29.88 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was recovered from Chesapeake Bay on November 26, 2011 and examined at a recovery facility. Underwater video recorded just prior to recovery revealed that the fuel selector was found in the "AUX" position. Additionally, the fuel selector was noted in the "AUX" position at the recovery facility. The engine had separated during recovery. The empennage had also separated and was not recovered. Both wings were intact and remained attached to the fuselage. The fuel tanks were breached and contained saltwater. The right aileron was up and the left aileron was down. The left and right flaps were partially extended. Control continuity was confirmed from the yoke to the ailerons. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the pedals in the cockpit to the cable cuts at the point the empennage was separated. Elevator control continuity could not be confirmed due to lower fuselage impact damage.

Examination of the engine revealed that the left magneto had separated and the right magneto remained attached. One wooden propeller blade had separated about 1-foot outboard of the propeller hub and the other wooden propeller blade remained attached. The valve covers and sparkplugs were removed for examination. The sparkplug electrodes were intact with no preimpact debris noted. When the propeller was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valvetrain continuity were confirmed. Additionally, thumb compression was attained on all cylinders.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the passenger on October 4, 2011, by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of The Chief Medical Examiner, Norfolk, Virginia. The cause of death was noted as, "drowning; contributing, multiple blunt trauma."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Review of the make and model engine operator's manual revealed that the average fuel burn for the engine was 9.27 gallons-per-hour during cruise flight.

Review of a pilot operating handbook for the make and model airplane revealed:

"Engine Failure During Flight

If airplane is equipped with auxiliary fuel tank, ascertain that fuel selector valve is on tank containing most fuel…"



Mary Lagerquist

Lanny Ross struggled to push his 78-year-old mother through the surf toward shore.

On a cool, cloudy October afternoon, his two-seater plane had smacked into the Chesapeake Bay, stranding them both amid 5-foot waves.

His mother's right eye was swollen shut, her teeth had pierced her bottom lip, and her nose was broken. Miles from land, the sun was setting and they were shivering, when his mother spoke.

Hold my hand, she told him.

What's wrong? he asked her.

Hold my hand, she said again.

He grabbed her fingers and held them for a moment. Then he went back to pushing her toward land.

Mother-and-son outing

Lanson "Lanny" C. Ross III, 48, had lived far from his parents for decades because of his career with the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. But this autumn, his parents, Mary Lagerquist and Lanson "Lance" C. Ross Jr., had driven across the country from Washington state in a motor home to visit Lanny and his wife at their new home in Fort Washington.

After Maryland, the parents planned to head to Florida to visit Lanny's older brother — wrapping up their long East Coast swing before Lance would pursue treatment for prostate cancer.

"One last hurrah," Lanny recalled recently from his home. Six feet tall and solid, his head is shaved, his mouth is wide and toothy. Lanny is talkative, though his emotions are well-protected. His directness comes across as macho, coarse even.

Lanny had never flown with Mary, who, even into her late 70s, was beautiful, adventurous, an accomplished musician. They were close, and tried to speak by phone every day.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, they took off from Hyde Field airstrip in Clinton, a short drive from Andrews Air Force Base, where Lanny works.

"More than anything else on this trip, she wanted to ride in that little airplane with Lanny," said Lance. "[Mary] was waving at me as they went down the runway, and grinning as big as a [Cheshire] cat."

Conditions were not ideal for the 63-year-old restored Globe Swift. The cloud deck that day was at 2,200 feet, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That was lower than Lanny would have liked. He's most comfortable if there's at least 3,500 feet of airspace.

Still, the flight to Tangier Island, Va., was short and smooth.

During his six months in Maryland, Tangier Island became Lanny's default place to fly. It's not far — about a 45-minute trip — and the flight path avoids Washington's restricted airspace. It's also home to delicious crab cakes.

Lanny and Mary didn't stay long. They walked through town for less than an hour, appreciating the long-inhabited island's gravestones and reading the names of memorialized vets. And they stopped for lunch, buying a to-go container of cream of crab soup.

Mary thought Tangier was a treasure, Lanny said, and joked that she should move there.

Back at the airstrip, another pilot was getting into a plane and wearing a yellow inflatable life preserver with a light attached to it.

"I thought it looked cute," recalled Lanny, who was flying without life preservers; he did not think the width of the bay demanded it.

At 3:35 p.m., Lanny and Mary took off from Tangier, according to the NTSB.

Within 10 minutes, they had climbed to 2,000 feet and "were just settling in for the return," when the plane's only engine went quiet.

A life in the air

Lanny had bought the antique Swift around the time of his marriage in 2005.

Allison Ross — soft-spoken, tall and blond — is a military nurse and an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, licensed to repair and overhaul most aircraft components. She helped bring the Swift back to life.

"I'd work all week and then I'd have a plane to repair," Allison said. "We'd be out there all day working on it. It was like an old car; we refurbished it."

After four long years and much expense, the couple had a pristine "bird," as Lanny calls it.

They had the exterior repainted white, with red accents. Photos show a gleaming metallic grille and a propeller with visible wood grain, both unblemished. The cockpit was enclosed with unspoiled glass.

For Lanny, the Swift was a pleasant diversion that allowed him to continue a lifelong dream of flying.

Lanny announced to his parents at age 12 that he wanted to join the Air Force, his father said. And in 1978, at age 15, he and a friend rode their bicycles from Washington state to Washington, D.C., so Lanny could introduce himself to his representatives in Congress and prime them for military academy recommendations. He wanted to prove that he could finish what he'd started.

"Lanny went away a little boy and came back a young man," the father said.

Lanny graduated from the Air Force Academy in the mid-1980s and was on active duty for seven years. He flew during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama. He's been a full-time reservist since the mid-'90s and works as an Air Reserve Technician, planning routes and training crews in case of nuclear attack.

Before the accident, he was scheduled to deploy to Iraq during the last week of October. His unit is supporting the troop withdrawal.

"Lanny, he's through-and-through a pilot," Allison said. "All he wants to do is fly."

Miles from shore

As the Swift's engine stalled, Lanny heated the carburetors first, thinking that they might have iced up. Still no rumble.

He checked the instruments, changed the fuel mixture to rich and activated the fuel boost pump.

Still nothing.

He set the glide speed at 80 mph and called a mayday to Patuxent Approach, the air traffic controller for the area, which is run by the Navy. There was no time to turn back to Tangier, he told the controller. The better option was to get as close as possible to the land off to their right.

Already they were down to an altitude of 1,200 feet when Lanny veered the plane to the right. He hoped the 40 mph tail wind would push them a bit farther toward solid ground.

"I think if I said anything to Mom, it was, 'Mom, we're going to have to ditch this thing.'"

In less than three minutes, they hit the water — three miles from land.

The wind that had pushed them closer to shore also increased the force with which the plane hit the water, and next to him, Mary's face slammed twice into the control panel.

Musical education

Music always had been the focus of Mary's life.

"She wanted a marimba from the time she was a little girl," recalled her sister, Lyla Stoike, who lives in Sequim, Wash. But their parents made her learn the piano first.

"When she was 13 she got a marimba, which is like a giant xylophone," Lanny said. "By the time she was … 16 she was playing with the Kansas City philharmonic orchestra. In her youth, Mary even accompanied Bob Hope and played on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

After graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois, she earned a master's degree from a music conservatory in Chicago.

Into her golden years, she performed — with her childhood marimba teacher — on cruise ships that traveled the globe.

Ultimately, "she played herself deaf, pounding on that thing," Lanny said.

"Mary was a beautiful lady. She was not a great musician," said Lance, who had been her husband of 32 years before their divorce. "She was a performer. She got up in front of a crowd and she lit them up."

After the crash

There was no time to climb out of the Swift before it was under the waves.

Lanny tried to release his mother from her seat, but he couldn't find the belt latch under her bulky sweater. He resurfaced without her.

But right behind him she "bobbed up like a cork."

Lanny saw a seat cushion, a headset pouch and a plastic bag filled with frozen soup floating around them. He grabbed the freezer bag and pulled out the soup, then tried to fill the bag with air, but it wouldn't stay inflated.

His mother seemed dazed, Lanny said, but she was able to float on her back. Lanny was furiously treading water, which hovered around 70 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

At least 20 minutes passed before Mary asked Lanny if they'd been in a crash.

Soon after the crash, helicopters and small planes appeared in the sky, and Lanny was certain they'd been seen.

The Maryland State Police used two helicopters in the search. The Coast Guard sent out an aircraft and a boat. Maryland Natural Resources Police assisted with two boats.

"We waved and we splashed. We waved and we splashed. We waved and we splashed," Lanny said. "And we get nothing."

They treaded water for an hour before Lanny decided they needed to head to shore, which he could see only from the peaks of the highest waves.

As Mary swam, she continued to veer off course. Lanny, exhausted by righting her path, instructed her to float on her back. He pushed his mother by her legs, as if her head were the bow of a boat, chopping through the waves.

The pushing went on for an hour, as Lanny tried to get them closer to the coast. That's when Mary told him to hold her hand.

He told her he couldn't tread water next to her and still make progress toward shore. But with greater urgency, Mary began pleading with him.

Then he lied — saying that he could see nearby houses, getting bigger by the minute.

His mother kicked her legs, and Lanny took two strokes and went back to push her again. Her legs were limp.

Mary was dead.

Fatigue sets in

Back in Fort Washington, Allison began to wonder why Lanny and Mary had not returned. She knew Lanny did not fly in the dark; the plane had no landing lights. Allison tried to get through to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The FAA told us to call Lockheed [Martin, which tracks flight plans]. … Lockheed told me at that time that they had lost contact with him and that they'd contacted search-and-rescue. That's when it really hit me," Allison said.

Lanny had left his mother behind, to float away in the wake. He described the decision to leave her battered body as "cold and calculating." But he reasoned that his mother would have wanted Lanny to save himself, not worry about her lifeless body.

As the sun went down, Lanny's back hurt and he was shivering, but he continued to push through the waves. By 6 p.m., he reached a narrow sandbar where he could touch bottom. His spirits lifted and he continued to move toward land.

Lanny was getting close. He could finally see lights on the shore.

But a marsh and a bay, called Shanks Creek, still separated him from the twinkling lights of Smith Island's Rhodes Point.

The hour spent crawling through the bog was the most physically demanding part of the journey, Lanny said, and his body began to falter. Lean and strong, he had been on a fitness kick during the 10 weeks leading up to the crash and thinks it improved his chances of survival.

"I knew I wouldn't drown, but I was in and out and in and out of the water with the wind and the sticky, stinking mud, crawling on my hands and knees, fighting fatigue and hypothermia," he said.

He focused on a bright, yellow glow at one home. He could see lights through a window.

"I guess it was about 8 o'clock, I'm starting to watch a ball game, a football game, and I heard somebody come to my door bang and yell, 'Help me. Help me,'" said William "Max" Cline.

Cline was not entirely surprised to see Lanny, dripping at the door. He'd seen and heard the search helicopters going back and forth all evening.

Lanny told Cline about his mother, how he'd tried to push her to shore until he realized that she was lifeless.

"He wasn't upset. I think he was just in shock," Cline said. "He never really cried or nothing."

He put Lanny in the shower to warm up.

"He couldn't hardly talk, he was so cold," Cline said. "I turned the water on him, then I come out and called 911 and got all of the EMTs and everything over here to come get him."

Soon the rescue teams took over. Cline hadn't even learned Lanny's name before he was flown, by helicopter, to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

Leslie Marsh, Cline's daughter-in-law, called Allison. Within 10 seconds, Marsh said, Allison asked about Lanny's mother.

"She was kind of hysterical some," said Marsh, who lives next door to Cline. "I had to repeat things to her. I think the only thing she really understood was that he was alive."

After midnight, Lance and Allison arrived at the hospital.

Lance recalls: "When I walked in, he just burst into tears. 'Dad, I killed my mother.'"

'We will get better'

Mary's body was found the next morning, floating in weedy, shallow waters off the southern tip of Smith Island, in Virginia. Lanny, who received a verbal report on the autopsy, said it showed that she had three fractured ribs, a broken jaw, a shattered cheekbone and a major wound on her right shin.

Officials at the Maryland State Police, the agency responsible for investigating Mary's death, concluded that the death resulted from the accident. The Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, meanwhile, is waiting for the results of routine toxicology reports before ruling on a cause of death.

Maryland Natural Resources Police searched for the plane for two days, and found it in about 25 feet of water, almost exactly three miles from Cline's home on Rhodes Point. It is waiting to be recovered, once Lanny's insurer approves the expense.

The NTSB, responsible for determining the cause of the crash, cannot move forward until the plane is pulled up from the bay.

"Water recoveries are a tricky thing," said Robert Gretz, the NTSB investigator handling the case. "Sometimes it's up in a couple days; sometimes it takes months."

Once recovered, the Swift's airframe, engine and fuel system will be scrutinized, Gretz said. Continental Motors Inc., which made the engine, has agreed to provide a technician to examine the powerplant.

Mary was cremated and buried in a family plot in Minnesota. Injuries prevented Lanny from attending his mother's burial, but his father and one of her closest friends were present.

Lanny, with one broken vertebra, will be in a back brace for at least three months. He plans to fly again once he has healed.

Within two weeks of the accident, he poured a detailed account of the day into a letter he shared with a few people. He says he didn't want to have to repeat the tale over and over.

"We will get better. We will get through this," Allison said, Lanny nodding by her side, less than three weeks after the crash. "It's just going to take some time. It's still very raw."

http://www.baltimoresun.com
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 02, 2011 in Ewell, MD
Aircraft: TEMCO GC-1B, registration: N3825K
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

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.

On October 2, 2011, about 1545 eastern daylight time, A Temco GC-1B (Swift), N3825K, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a ditching in the Chesapeake Bay following loss of engine power, near Ewell, Maryland. The certificated airline transport pilot received minor injuries and the passenger was fatally injured after exiting the airplane following the ditching. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Washington Executive Airport (W32), Clinton, Maryland. The flight originated from Tangier Island Airport (TGI), Tangier, Virginia, about 1535.

During a telephone interview with a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot stated that prior that day, he flew uneventfully from W32 to TGI. During the return flight, the airplane was cruising at 2,000 feet mean seal level to remain below an overcast cloud layer at 2,200 feet. About 10 minutes after departure, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. At that time, the pilot was in radio contact with air traffic control, and advised of his emergency. The controller acknowledged the transmission and provided a vector to the nearest land, which was Smith Island, Maryland, about 6 miles east of the airplane. While gliding toward the island, the pilot performed emergency procedures, which included activating the carburetor heat, checking the magnetos, activating the fuel boost pump, and positioning the mixture to rich. The pilot added that his airplane did not have a good glide ratio, and estimated that he only glided about 2 miles before ditching in the water. After the ditching, the pilot and passenger attempted to swim to Smith Island; however, the waves were high and the passenger was unable to complete the swim. The wreckage was located on October 6, 2011, by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It was resting in 25 feet of water, about 2 miles west of Smith Island. Further examination of the wreckage was planned following recovery.