Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cessna 150M, N66246: Fatal accident occurred September 29, 2012 in Fredericksburg, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA583
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Fredericksburg, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 150M, registration: N66246
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

During takeoff in good visibility and calm wind, about 100 feet above ground level, the airplane made a 90-degree left bank and descended in a spiral until impact. The wreckage was located in a residential area, about 1,000 feet from the departure end of the runway. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicological testing of specimens from the pilot revealed results consistent with prior consumption of alcohol at levels that could degrade decision-making and psychomotor performance. Additionally, testing revealed the presence of an antidepressant. Alcohol can aggravate drowsiness caused by the medication; however, the investigation could not determine the degree of interaction between the medication and alcohol.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during initial climb. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment due to alcohol.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 29, 2012, about 1715 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N66246, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain, following an in-flight loss of control during initial climb from Shannon Airport (EZF), Fredericksburg, Virginia. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The owner of the airplane reported that he was a longtime friend of the accident pilot. The airplane was based at EZF and not flown often. The accident pilot was allowed to borrow the airplane whenever he wanted; however, he only flew it for 2 hours during April 2012, and the accident flight. No other flight hours were accrued during 2012 and the last annual inspection was completed in November 2011. Although the accident pilot was also a certificated mechanic, no maintenance work was performed on the airplane prior to the flight or in 2012.

The pilot fueled the airplane with 15 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation gasoline before the accident flight. According to a witness, who was a flight instructor, he and a student pilot were practicing landings in another airplane at EZF. The flight instructor heard the accident pilot report his intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency, which were to back-taxi on runway 6. Subsequently, during an approach, the flight instructor observed the accident airplane on departure from runway 6, about 100 feet above the trees. The accident airplane made a 90-degree left bank, and began to turn left until the nose descended and the airplane disappeared behind terrain. Other witnesses, who were on the ground near the accident site, reported seeing the airplane spinning as it descended.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 48, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. He also held an airframe and powerplant certificate. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on March 31, 2011. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,050 hours. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the last entry was dated September 3, 2011, when he received his biannual flight review. Other than the 2 hours flown in the accident airplane during April 2012, the investigation could not determine if the pilot had any additional recent flight experience.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, high-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane, serial number 15075950, was manufactured in 1974. It was powered by a Continental Motors O-200, 100-horsepower engine, equipped with a McCauley fixed-pitch propeller. Review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that its most recent annual inspection was completed on November 23, 2011. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 5,417 total hours of operation. The engine had accumulated approximately 3,568 total hours of operation since new, and 1,680 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 3 hours since the most recent annual inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at EZF, at 1715, was: wind calm; visibility 10 miles; clear sky; temperature 21 degrees C; dew point 7 degrees C; and altimeter 29.92 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was located at the end of a cul-de-sac, about 1,000 feet and 040 degrees from the departure end of runway 6 at EZF. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage was intact, oriented on a heading of 060 degrees, resting vertically on the engine and leading edges of the wings. No debris path was observed and the only severed tree branches were directly above the wreckage.

The right wing exhibited impact damage along the leading edge. The right wing flap remained attached and was in the retracted position. The right aileron remained attached and was in a neutral position. The right wing fuel tank was compromised, but still contained some fuel. The left wing also exhibited impact damage along the leading edge. The left wing flap remained attached and was extended; however, the left wing flap cable had separated consistent with impact forces. The left aileron remained attached and was in an upward position. The left wing fuel tank had been compromised during impact and did not contain any fuel.

The aft section of fuselage and the empennage were buckled and canted to the left. Elevator, rudder, and elevator trim continuity were confirmed from their respective flight control surfaces to the mid cabin area, where the cables were crushed under the seats. Continuity was confirmed from the left aileron to the control yoke and the right aileron to the right wing root. The right aileron and right flap cables had been cut by rescue personnel. Additionally, the right aileron push-pull rod had separated at the aileron, consistent with impact forces. Measurement of the elevator trim jackscrew corresponded to an approximate neutral setting. Measurement of the flap actuator jackscrew corresponded to the flaps retracted position.

The cockpit area was crushed and part of the instrument panel was destroyed. The seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained intact. The right seatbelt was cut by rescue personnel and the left seatbelt was unlatched by rescue personnel. The throttle lever was in the full forward position. The mixture control was about .5 inch from the full rich position. The carburetor heat was off. The tachometer needle was indicating 1,750 rpm. The magneto switch was selected to both.

One propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching and gouging on the cambered side. The other propeller blade was bent aft at the outboard end and buffed at the tip. The propeller flange had sheared from crankshaft, consistent with impact forces. The propeller hub remained attached to the propeller flange and the spinner was crushed inward. The No. 4 cylinder was impact damaged and the front of the engine crankcase was shattered, which allowed for visual inspection of the front side of crankshaft, camshaft, and lifters. Due to impact damage, the crankshaft could not be rotated by hand; however, borescope examination of all four cylinders did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The rocker arms and valve springs were manually actuated with a crowbar and no anomalies were noted. The electrodes of all eight sparkplugs remained intact and were unremarkable, with the exception that the bottom sparkplugs were oil soaked and the No 4. top sparkplug appeared to have been running richer than the others. The oil filter was opened and no metallic contamination was observed. The carburetor was disassembled for inspection. The floats, accelerator pump and needle were intact and no fuel was present. The starter and vacuum pump were dislodged from the rear accessory section of the engine. The mixture and throttle linkage remained attached and the air filter was absent of debris. The magnetos were also dislodged, but the ignition leads remained intact. Spark was produced at all leads when the magnetos were subsequently rotated on a test bench.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of Virginia, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Richmond, Virginia, on October 1, 2012. Toxicological testing, ordered by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, revealed "…Pleural Cavity Blood: -Ethanol 0.08% by weight by volume…"

Toxicological testing was also performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Review of the toxicological report revealed:

"…117 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine
70 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Brain
67 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle
Citalopram detected in Liver
Citalopram detected in Urine
N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in Liver
N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in Urine…"

Additionally, putrefaction was noted as no.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A handheld global positioning system (GPS) receiver was recovered in the wreckage and retained for further examination by the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC. Data was successfully downloaded; however, there was no data for the accident flight.


Accident occurred Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Fredericksburg, VA

Aircraft: CESSNA 150M, registration: N66246
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 September 29, 2012, about 1715 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N66246, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain, following an in-flight loss of control during initial climb from Shannon Airport (EZF), Fredericksburg, Virginia. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The owner of the airplane reported that he was a longtime friend of the accident pilot. The airplane was based at EZF and not flown often. The accident pilot was allowed to borrow the airplane whenever he wanted; however, he only flew it for 2 hours during April 2012, and the accident flight. No other flight hours were accrued during 2012 and the last annual inspection was completed in November 2011. Although the accident pilot was also a certificated mechanic, no maintenance work was performed on the airplane prior to the flight or in 2012.

According to a witness, who was a flight instructor, he and a student pilot were practicing landings in another airplane at EZF. The flight instructor heard the accident pilot report his intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency, which were to back-taxi on runway 6. Subsequently, during an approach, the flight instructor observed the accident airplane on departure from runway 6, about 100 feet above the trees. The accident airplane made a 90-degree left bank, and began to turn left until the nose descended and the airplane disappeared behind terrain. Other witnesses, who were on the ground near the accident site, reported seeing the airplane spinning as it descended.

The wreckage was located at the end of a cul-de-sac, about 1,000 feet and 040 degrees from the departure end of runway 6 at EZF. The wreckage was oriented on a heading of 060 degrees, resting vertically on the engine and leading edges of the wings. A handheld global positioning system receiver was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC, for data download.

 
Kyle Morton

 
John B. Morton Jr.



FREDERICKSBURG, Va. –

Thirteen-year-old Kyle John Morton and his father John B. Morton, Jr. were laid to rest Friday, following a funeral that drew hundreds of people including many of Kyle’s middle school classmates.

The funeral service was held at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center at 10 a.m. There, two closed caskets draped in flowers sat side by side at the front of the room.

John Morton and his son Kyle, who lived in Stafford’s White Oak area with their family, enjoyed spending time together and were doing just that Saturday when the elder Morton borrowed a Cessna 150M from a fellow pilot and took off with his son at Shannon Airport in Spotsylvania.

They were both killed when the plane crashed at River Heights mobile home park near the airport. Witnesses said the plane went straight up and quickly came down, crashing.

During the funeral service, Kyle Morton was described as “a great kid with a big heart” who sought to serve the Lord.

Although no one was prepared for this day, John and Kyle Morton were because they were both very much in touch with God, according to their family.

John Morton’s interests included aviation, traveling and mechanics.

He worked for the FBI at Quantico as a computer-electronics technician, held a master’s degree in computer information systems and previously worked for 14 years for United Airlines at Reagan National Airport.

Kyle Morton was an eighth-grader at Dixon-Smith Middle School in Stafford. He loved sports, air-soft, fishing and sports cars. In his obituary, he was remembered for his optimistic and positive attitude.

The crash is being investigated by the Virginia State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Survivors include wife and mother Kristy Morton; daughter and sister Adriane Morton, a junior at Stafford High School; John Morton’s mother Catherine Morton of Columbia, S.C.; his sister Linda Morton of Tennessee; in-laws Marge and Oliver Parson of Fredericksburg; sister-in-law Mindy Ball of Fredericksburg; brother-in-law Greg Parson of Utah; six nieces; and one nephew — Kyle’s cousins.

The Stafford man piloting the plane that crashed over the weekend at Shannon Airport is listed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a commercial pilot and airplane mechanic.

Other details about John Morton Jr. weren’t available Monday, but students at two Stafford schools were dealing with the death of his son, Kyle, who was an eighth-grader at Dixon-Smith Middle School.

Two Facebook pages also have been created to honor Kyle and his father.

On one, Adriane Morton posted a thank you and added: “I will miss my dad and brother so much.”

The 13-year-old boy and his father died Saturday when the single-engine Cessna 150M plane they were in plummeted and crashed in the River Heights mobile home park near the airport.

On Monday, the school system sent crisis prevention teams to Dixon-Smith and Stafford High School, which Kyle’s sister attends, according to Valerie Cottongim, school system spokeswoman.

The team, composed of guidance counselors, psychologists and other school system employees trained in crises, set up a safe room at the schools so students and staff could talk about any issues they were having.

Homeroom teachers told students at the schools about the deaths and Dixon-Smith sent a letter home to parents, Cottongim said.

Another part of the crisis response allows students to write notes to the family.

The plane crashed shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday while John Morton was conducting take-offs and landings, according to the Virginia State Police, who also reported that Morton had been working on the plane.

Robert Stanley, the airport’s operations manager, gave a different version, telling the FLS that the crash happened on the first takeoff.

Witnesses in River Heights told The Free Lance-Star that they saw the plane climb sharply before it went into a nosedive that sent the plane crashing into the ground near a house and van at the end of Carrie Court.

The state police, Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. There were no new details available Monday, but the NTSB will release its preliminary report within 10 days.

Morton did not own the plane, but Stanley told the FLS that Morton had a deal with the owner to use the plane. Donald Hockaday, of Woodford, is listed as the plane’s owner. He did not respond to phone messages.

On Monday, Stanley said John Morton didn’t fly out of the airport much and that he didn’t know the man or his son. But he noted that he has heard good things from others at the airport about Kyle Morton.

“Everything I’ve heard is he was a nice young man with manners,” he said.




Stafford County residents John Morton, Jr., 48, and his son Kyle Morton, 13, died in a Saturday plane crash near Shannon Airport in Spotsylvania County.

They were the only passengers of the single-engine Cessna 150M plane that nose-dived into the trees at the end of Carrie Court in the River Heights mobile home park. No homes were damaged and no one on the ground was hurt.

The plane crashed at about 5:10 p.m. Saturday, shortly after takeoff from Shannon. Eyewitnesses in River Heights reported seeing the plane climb sharply before tipping over and crashing nose-first into the ground, narrowly avoiding a house and a van parked at the end of Carrie Court.

On Sunday, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident along with State Police, and the cause of the crash has not been determined.

“Weather had nothing to do with it. Fuel had nothing to do with it,” said Shannon Airport Operations Manager Robert Stanley. “But something happened.”

Stanley, who sells fuel at the airport, said that while Morton did not own the plane, he had a deal with the owner to use it on occasion.

“He was an experienced pilot,” Stanley said.

The weather at the time of the crash was perfect for flying—70 degrees, calm winds, 10 miles visibility and a ceiling of 12,000 feet.

River Heights resident Kimberly Chew was driving on Tidewater Trail when she saw Morton’s plane taking off.

“It was going up pretty steep, steeper than normal, anyway,” she said. “Then it looked like he was turning to come back to the airport. I think he just turned too sharp and lost control of it.”

State Police reported that John Morton had been working on the plane prior to the crash. The police also said Morton had been practicing take-offs and landings. Stanley disputed that notion, saying the crash came on Morton’s first take-off of the day. Stanley said onlookers and River Heights residents may have been confused by other planes—there are several Cessnas at Shannon that look nearly identical to the one Morton was flying.

While the runway at Shannon remains open, fuel sales at the airport have been suspended pending the investigation. Stanley said it is standard procedure for the FAA to shut down sales after an accident until tests can rule out fuel as a factor in the crash.

Investigators had not cleared the crash debris as of noon Sunday, but they did plan to take away the mangled wreckage by the end of the day. The crash victim’s bodies were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy early Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, the plane sits at the end of Carrie Court, a reminder to residents of both the tragedy of the crash and the good fortune that homes and people on the ground were spared.

According to Free Lance-Star archives, Saturday’s fatal crash was the first at Shannon Airport since 2006, when Mitchell Strother crashed his single-seat plane into an adjacent field. Although there have been several other crashes at the airport since 1990, you have to go back to a skydiving accident in 1980 for another recorded fatality.



 



UPDATE: John B. Morton Jr., 48, of Stafford, had been working on the Cessna 150M single-engine plane  and conducting take-offs and landings from Shannon Airport. During one of these exercises,

the plane suddenly fell from the sky and crashed landed, striking a tree off of Carrie Court.


There was no fire or hazmat situation associated with the crash. No structures or residences on the ground were struck; nor was anyone on the ground injured.

Morton and his son, Kyle J. Morton, 13, of Stafford, both died at the scene. Their remains have been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy.

 The NTSB and FAA both arrived on the scene Saturday night to conduct their owninvestigations into the incident. The state police investigation into the cause of the crash remains ongoing at this time.

State police has secured the scene overnight, as investigators will return in the morning to further their investigations.”

BY JONAS BEALS

A plane crash in Spotsylvania County near Shannon Airport claimed the lives of two people Saturday evening.

As of press time Saturday night, Virginia State Police had not identified the pilot or passenger, although authorities think they lived in the Fredericksburg area.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a plane—a single-engine Cessna 150M—climb sharply on takeoff from Shannon, only to pitch forward and nose dive into the trees at the end of Carrie Court in the River Heights mobile home park. No one on the ground was injured, and no homes were damaged in the crash.

But it was a close call. The blue-and-white plane was a crumpled mass at the end of the street, mere feet from a trailer home and only inches from a blue van parked in the trees at the edge of the blacktop.

There are several houses within about 100 feet of the crash site. One of them belongs to Kevin Morgan, who was pulling up to his home shortly after 5 p.m., when he heard a loud noise.

“As I was putting the car in park, the plane came down,” he said. “I saw the plane hit the ground.”

Morgan said that he immediately ran to the wreckage and moved branches to get to the victims. He reached into the plane and touched one of the victims, only to find there was no pulse.
He noticed fuel pouring from the twisted plane and backed away. “It was clear and evident there were no survivors,” he said.

About 10 minutes later, fire department vehicles arrived. About 30 minutes after that, the scene at Carrie Court did not seem, at first, to be unusual for a clear, cool Saturday evening. There were kids on bicycles, scooters and skateboards.

But there was also police tape, holding back the curious and concerned, some of them unable to get into their own houses. Beyond the police tape were flashing lights, state police cars, Spotsylvania fire trucks, ambulances, rescue workers, firefighters and police officers.  Floodlights made up for the setting sun. And there were two stretchers, empty.

Then there was the plane, recognizable only by the rumpled tail that slouched over a pile of white metal.

“I saw it take off,” said Jason Ison, who was at the Wawa across Tidewater Trail from the neighborhood where the plane crashed. “It looked like it was going up at a little too much of a steep angle.”

“We heard the engine, then nothing,” said Patricia Roberts, who lives in River Heights. “Then we heard a big explosion.”

But there was no explosion of the Hollywood variety—no fire at all, although some residents of Carrie Court said they could smell the fuel from the wreck.

Roberts said she recognized the plane from years of living under the airport’s flight path. “His engine is always loud,” she said.

Renee Johnson was in her kitchen when it happened. “It hit the trees. It happened so fast,” she said.
Her husband, Douglas, ran out the door and was soon climbing over the wreckage to look for signs of life. He didn’t find any.

Robert Stanley, operations manager at Shannon Airport, confirmed that the plane was housed there. He said that the owner of the Cessna, a Woodford resident, was not in the plane when it crashed.

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