Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cessna 177 Cardinal, N3435T: Accident occurred January 21, 2012 in North Vernon, Indiana

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA143
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 21, 2012 in North Vernon, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 177A, registration: N3435T
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.

The non-instrument-rated pilot was conducting the accident flight under visual flight rules (VFR) without a flight plan in dark night conditions. Before the flight, the pilot obtained several weather briefings indicating that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed along his route of flight. Postaccident review of weather and radar data indicated that the airplane descended into instrument meteorological conditions near the destination airport. Based on the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the adverse weather conditions present at the time of the accident, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane. Federal Aviation Administration guidance indicated that spatial disorientation can occur when there is no natural horizon or surface reference, such as night flight in sparsely populated areas similar to that of the accident area and in instrument conditions. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The non-instrument-rated pilot's decision to fly into known instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot's spatial disorientation and loss of airplane control.


On January 21, 2012, at 2041 eastern standard time, a Cessna 177A single-engine airplane, N3435T, sustained substantial damage when it impacted wooded terrain near North Vernon, Indiana. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and visual flight rules (VFR) flight following services were provided for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight departed Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), Lake in the Hills, Illinois, approximately 1830 central standard time, and was destined for the Madison Municipal Airport (IMS), Madison, Indiana.

Air traffic control information revealed the pilot requested VFR flight following near the Boiler VHF Omnidirectional Range/Tactical Aircraft Control (VORTAC), Lafayette, Indiana, at an altitude of 7,800 feet mean sea level (msl). At 2036, the pilot was instructed to contact the Louisville air route traffic control center, which the pilot acknowledged. No further communications were received from the pilot. Radar data showed the airplane in a gradual descent from 7,800 feet msl to 2,800 feet msl, before radar contact was lost approximately 14 miles northwest of IMS.

The airplane impacted wooded terrain adjacent to a residence. The homeowner reported he heard a low flying airplane, looked out the back window of his house, and noticed a small fire in the woods behind his residence. The homeowner called 911 and rescue efforts commenced.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on August 25, 2010, with the limitation for corrective lenses.

According to the pilot's logbook, he accumulated 458 total flight hours, 12 hours of simulated instrument flight, and 36 flight hours at night. The pilot's most recent flight review was conducted on December 1, 2011.


The airplane was a 1969-model Cessna 177A, which is a single-engine, high-wing airplane, with fixed-tricycle landing gear, and was configured for 4 seats. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-360 series reciprocating engine, rated at 180 horsepower. The engine drove a Hartzell 2-blade constant speed propeller.

The airplane's maintenance records were not located during the investigation. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration, dated June 19, 2008, indicated a total airframe time of 4,269 hours.


At 2056, the Columbus Airport, Columbus, Indiana, automated weather observing system (AWOS), located 27 miles northwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 080 degrees at 6 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, overcast clouds at 1,500 feet above ground level (agl), temperature minus 3 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.22 inches of mercury.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1900 indicated a high pressure ridge extending over Indiana with the station models surrounding the accident site indicated winds from the east at approximately 5 to 10 knots, overcast clouds, temperatures in the mid 20's degrees Fahrenheit (F), with temperature-dew point spreads of 4 degrees or less. Several stations in Kentucky to the southeast through south of the accident site reported fog and mist.

A review of the NWS weather radars surrounding the period indicated no weather echoes over southern Indiana or the route of flight surrounding the period. 

The NWS Weather Depiction Chart for 1900 depicted an area of instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions extending over southern Indiana and Ohio, and most of all of Kentucky.

Pilot reports across the accident area confirmed a low layer of overcast clouds with bases from 1,700 and 1,900 feet and tops from 2,500 to 5,000 feet. Multiple reports of icing conditions were reported in the clouds. At 2110, a pilot operating a CRJ regional jet over Evansville, IN (EVV) west of the accident site reported encountering moderate rime icing during descent into an overcast layer of clouds, with tops at 5,000 feet.

The closest Terminal Forecast (TAF) to the destination airport was from Louisville, Kentucky, and Covington/Cincinnati, Kentucky. Marginal VFR (MVFR) to IFR conditions with mist (fog) and low ceilings were forecast for the period. 

An Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory for IFR conditions was active for the accident location at the time of the accident. No advisories were current over Indiana for icing or turbulence.

The pilot obtained several Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) weather briefings on selected stations during the day. A route weather briefing to IMS was requested at 0800. All the subsequent updates were for weather conditions near the departure airport at 1046 and 1914.

At the time of the accident, both the Sun and the Moon were more than 25 degrees below the horizon and provided no illumination. 


An examination of the accident site and airplane revealed the airplane's right wing contacted a tree approximately 50 feet agl. The airplane impacted several trees prior to coming to rest on the ground. The wreckage debris path was approximately 150 feet in length along a measured magnetic heading of 235 degrees. A postimpact fire partially consumed the fuselage and fragmented wings. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

The left and right wings were fragmented and sections were located within the debris path. The ailerons and flaps were fragmented and separated. The flap jackscrew was found in the retracted position.

The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer were separated. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. 

Several semi-circular indentations were noted on the fragmented sections of the wings, vertical stabilizer, and horizontal stabilizers, consistent with tree impacts.

Several flight control cables displayed broomstraw fractures consistent with overload failures. No abnormal disconnects or failures were noted with the flight control system.

The cabin area, from the firewall extending aft to the baggage compartment, was consumed by fire. The forward seat assemblies were separated from the cabin floor. The instrument panel was destroyed and several instruments were separated from the panel. The cockpit throttle lever was pulled aft approximately 3 inches and bent in that position. The mixture lever was pulled aft, and the propeller lever was in the full forward position. 

The engine was separated from the airframe and came to rest forward of the main wreckage. The engine crankcase was fragmented and the accessories were separated. The propeller assembly was separated from the crankshaft. Both propeller blade tips were separated from their respective propeller blades. The propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub.

Postaccident examinations did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction.


The Jennings County Coroner's Office performed the autopsy on the pilot on January 25, 2012. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was extensive blunt force trauma, and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy. Tests were negative for all screened substances.


FAA's Advisory Circular (AC) 60-4A, entitled "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," states that disorientation is caused by a lack of visual reference to the natural horizon, and can be brought about by low visibility, night conditions, and reflected light from the anti-collision rotating beacon. Disorientation can cause the pilot to inadvertently place the airplane in a dangerous attitude. To avoid becoming disoriented, the Advisory recommends that pilots obtain training and maintain proficiency in aircraft control by reference to instruments, to rely solely on those instrument indications, and to avoid flying in poor or deteriorating weather conditions.

(Jennings County, Ind.) - Saturday evening at approximately 8:41 p.m. Jennings County Dispatch received a 911 call of a plane crash south of County Road 600 South in near Dupont.

Officers responded to the scene and located a single engine Cessna out in a field several hundred yards from the roadway. Officers reported two fatalities; one male and one female.

Indiana State Police identified those victims as Versailles residents Gregory L. Wehr and his wife Candace S. Wehr, both 55-years-old.

They were enroute back to Madison Municipal Airport from Chicago when their 1968 single engine Cessna went down in the field.

Federal Aviation Administration officials arrived on scene just after midnight Sunday to begin their investigation. It could be several weeks before the cause of the crash is determined.

Candace Wehr was a former South Ripley Community Schools teacher.

JENNINGS CO., Ind. - Two people are dead after a plane crashed Saturday night in Jennings County.

According to a release, the plane crashed at 8:41 p.m. south of County Road 600 South in Jennings County.

Officers responded to the scene and located a small, what is believed to be a single engine Cessna out in a field several hundred yards from the roadway, police reports stated.

Police say one man and one female have died.

At this time, police say they do not have any more information to report.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials have been notified and are expected to arrive on scene by midnight tonight or shortly thereafter, according to a release.

Texas family survives Honduras plane crash into ocean

A group of strangers rescued a North Texas family after the plane they were in crashed into the ocean.

A tropical adventure turned into a terrifying fight for survival for a vacationing Richardson family when their plane crashed into the ocean.

A group of strangers risked their lives to save the Atkinses on Jan. 11 along the coast of Roatan, a small island in the Caribbean off Honduras.

"We crashed," said Andy Atkins, an attorney in Dallas. "We lost an engine, is what I was told, and we crashed into the ocean and flipped over and were stuck underwater."

Atkins; his wife, Jenny; and their 4-year-old son, Logan; were on a sightseeing ride. Atkins said he had flown in the small seaplane once before to enjoy the sights along the coast of Roatan.

"It was just an awesome fun ride, that's all I can tell you," he said. "Great views and great pictures and a slow-flying plane that felt very stable."

The plane's pilot helped Atkins get to the surface, but there was no sign of his wife and son.

"I dove back under looking for them, came back, got air, went immediately back down, and I just came up and I had Logan in my arms and, by the time i got to the surface, Jenny was also at the surface with the pilot holding her," Atkins said.

Several people on a nearby boat quickly dove in to save them.

"We were all still in shock at that point," Atkins said. "We knew that we had survived the initial crash, but we didn't know where it was going to go from there."

Remarkably, a U.S. Navy doctor and another physician were among the divers on much a larger boat. They immediately started treating Atkins' wife and son.

"They screamed that there's two doctors on board," he said. 'They got both of them on the back of that boat to give them oxygen and treated them with all their skill."

The entire family spent days in a hospital before returning home late Thursday night.

"It reaffirms your faith in people and humanity that so many people stepped in to help that didn't have to," Atkins said. "We appreciate that we feel like we've been given a second chance, and we want to try and help other people when we see other people that need help."

The Atkinses are already planning another family trip to Roatan in June.

"It only strengthens our feelings about Roatan," Atkins said. "It was a terrible accident and, obviously, we're not going to be going up in any planes like that again."

Friday, January 20, 2012

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Suspected hoax prompts Coast Guard search - Avon Lake, Ohio

LORAIN — The Coast Guard is investigating a suspected hoax that launched a two-hour search and rescue operation near the shores of Avon Lake.

The Coast Guard received approximately 11 Mayday calls on a radio distress channel about 3 a.m. yesterday.

Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, issued an urgent marine information broadcast asking area boaters to respond if anyone saw anything.

The man believed to be sending the distress calls was then heard blowing in to the radio, repeating the broadcast information broadcast and “not sounding like a person who was in actual distress,” according to Coast Guard Petty Officer George Degener.

Despite this, the Coast Guard dispatched a 25-foot rescue boat from Cleveland and a Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Detroit. The search location was narrowed to a half mile off Avon Lake by obtaining a line of bearing from the distress calls’ signal hitting radio towers.

“They weren’t able to find anybody out there,” Degener said. “They didn’t see any signs of a boater in distress.”

The helicopter was called off mid flight when it decided the call was bogus. The Coast Guard canceled the search around 5:30 a.m., he said. The suspicious responses from the radio operator and the lack of correlating reports of missing or overdue people prompted the cancellation.

“Having these assets out on the water and searching takes away from someone who may actually be in trouble. It could cause someone to lose their life because we aren’t able to respond to the person really in need,” Degener said. “Not only does it take away from the possibility of rescuing someone, it puts our crews at risk as well.”

Degener confirmed it is possible that the radio operator was on land using a handheld device.

All distress signals are recorded, so his voice could be recognized if another call is issued and criminal charges could be pursued if he is caught, he said.

Individuals who issue false alarms face jail time and hefty fines, Degener said. He said a similar situation in Detroit recently got an individual sentenced to 18 months in jail and a $14,000 fine.

“If you are found guilty, you are responsible for the cost of the rescue,” he said.


CANADA: Airport tunnel tab flies past $500M (with video)

By Rick Bell ,QMI Agency

Now we have a number.

It’s over half a billion bucks for the airport tunnel and all the other work needed on Airport Tr. since the tunnel has been green-lighted by city council.

The number is, so say the city brass, “preliminary in nature.” There will be updates soon and often and in time the dollars will no doubt inflate.

For now, it’s about $528 million.

And the city can’t cover $200 million-plus of the tab unless the feds or province throw into the beggar bowl or council sometime in the future heads to the bank and borrows.

The $3.3 billion in dough the province turned over to Calgary for building projects until 2018 is all gone.

That cupboard is bare.

To take a trip down memory lane, almost a year ago, council thumbs-upped the airport tunnel and pledged $294.8 million for the east-west tunnel on Airport Tr. running from Barlow Tr. to 36 St. N.E. under a new airport runway along with roadway improvements.

But turning Airport Tr. into an east-west expressway costs.

Interchanges at Barlow Tr. and 19 St. N.E. and ramps to and from the airport terminal are pegged at $77 million for the city’s share.

Future interchanges on Airport Tr. at 36 St. N.E. and Metis Tr. and 60 St. N.E. add up to $132 million excluding the land cost.

Future roads east of the tunnel and buying land for interchanges ring in at about $24 million.

There is also a $42 million roadway being built on 96 Ave. N.E., what Airport Tr. is called west of Deerfoot, going from Harvest Hills Link N.E. to Deerfoot Tr. and a $3-million two-lane stretch of Airport Tr. already open between 60 St. N.E. and Stoney Tr.

The last council covered the budgeting for them.

In the report, the city higher-ups say this airport tunnel and Airport Tr. scheme will reduce travel time for airport terminal workers.

They say the tunnel will “significantly reduce vehicle travel times in the vicinity of the airport” and “congestion along Country Hills Blvd. N.E. is anticipated to be reduced.”

In a report the city paper shufflers cooked up earlier this year, they said if the city didn’t go for the tunnel and motorists went around the airport runway — by travelling northbound on 36 St. N.E. and using Country Hills Blvd. and Barlow Tr. — the travel time is roughly five to eight minutes extra.

Of course, under former mayor Dave Bronconnier the city didn’t go for the Airport Tr. tunnel and extension because of cost since the half-billion figure was being discussed.

The deep thinkers at the city transportation department told the airport people “an eastward extension of Airport Tr. was not an essential component of an effective long-term city road network” though they now say it “will advance the city-wide road network.”

With a new mayor dedicated to the tunnel and some new aldermen on board it all changed.

A much lower number, the cost of the tunnel alone, was the dollar figure most in the public eye.

And council made a decision when a whole lot of Calgarians had no idea where the tunnel was even going.

A lot of taxpayers also believed it was all about getting to the airport faster for all Calgarians rather than about an east-west expressway in the northeast.

Ald. Gord Lowe, Bronco’s budget boss and still a guy asking plenty of questions, pushed this past November to get the best numbers the city bosses could nail down.

He simply wanted to know the cost when everything is built.

“We’re now in the ballpark and it’s a hell of a big wakeup,” speaking of the $528 million he agrees is the number as we both navigate through a confusing city document.

You can tell the longtime alderman feels some vindication.

“This report validates the numbers we had when we decided we weren’t going to do it. We looked at the price tag and the benefits and they didn’t match.”

Defenders of the tunnel say the $132 million in interchanges east of the tunnel are in the future and another council’s headache.

Lowe says the taxpayer remains the same and Job One is simple.

Council has to come up with a plan to find dough beyond the usual wishful thinking and predictions of pots of gold.

“The implication for the Calgary taxpayer is immense,” he says. 

Cayman Islands: Owen Roberts International Airport runway extension going inland. Cayman Airways routes to Dallas, Panama.

The long awaited extension of the Owen Roberts International Airport is planned to commence this year.

Speaking at the Fidelity Cayman Business Outlook conference at the Westin Casuarina Resort on Thursday, Premier McKeeva Bush said the plan would be to extend the runway inland instead of into the North Sound. Previous plans had called for an extension both ways, but he said the cost of extending the runway inland would be “$8 to $11 or $12 million, maybe a little more” while extending it into the North Sound would cost $35 million.

“What say ye?” he asked the estimated 350 people in attendance, adding the decision to go the least expensive route made sense.

Mr. Bush said extending the runway inland would necessitate “moving the road”, apparently in reference to the portion of Crewe Road in between the Dorcy Drive/Shedden Road roundabout and the Smith Road junction.

“Thank God there’s no ocean to see there,” he said, taking a jab at those who have protested the proposed closure of 2,500 feet of West Bay Road because it will take away their view of the ocean. “I suspect there will be a petition.”

The extension of the runway at Owen Roberts Airport has long been cited as a need in order to facilitate larger, long-haul jets, which are seen as necessary to attract more tourism from Europe and the US west coast. Cayman Enterprise City, the special economic zone that is expected to break ground in the first quarter of this year, has also cited the runway extension as important to the scope of its success.

Mr. Bush said he hoped all the “due diligence” required on the project before it could start would be completed by August of this year.

New Cayman Airways routes

Mr. Bush said government-owned Cayman Airways, which has long been a drain on the public purse, was doing much better, something evidenced by the fact that it was hardly discussed in the political area anymore.

“It’s no longer the political football it was,” he said.

He announced two new seasonal routes are planned to commence this year.

“Cayman Airways will start a Panama route in April, something like two times weekly,” he said, adding the scheduling would run through August. “It will be seasonal for now.”

He also said regular service to Dallas would start, possibly as soon as May.

“That, too, will be seasonal,” Mr. Bush said. 

Airports of Thailand exempts charges to help flood-affected airlines

BANGKOK, Jan 20 - The Airports of Thailand (AoT) on Friday announced that it would exempt landing and parking charges for aircraft to help airlines affected by the flood crisis at Don Mueang airport last year.

AoT closed Don Mueang airport temporarily on Oct 25, as flood waters flowed onto the runways. After being flooded for almost two months, AoT is repairing airport infrastructure and the facility is scheduled to reopen on April 1.

The agency, which manages, operates and develops airports in Thailand, said the charges would be retroactive from Oct 25 until March 2012 before Don Mueang resumes normal operations.

The exemption would cost AoT some Bt110 million in revenue, it said.

The move is part of the rehabilitation measures to help the airlines which were severely hit by one of the worst flood crises in Thailand's history, said AoT.

As for the office and real property rental, service and other charges including retail shops inside and outside the terminals as well as the charges for some airlines that swiftly relocated to temporary facilities at Suvarnabhumi airport, AoT would charge them at the same rate as Don Mueang airport.

AoT estimated that Bt440 million would be spent for repair and maintenance works at Don Mueang, with Bt305 million being used to improve the eastern runway, driveway and parking area scheduled for completion in February. Maintenance work for the western runway, driveway and parking area would cost Bt135 million for commercial service expected to be ready in March.

Currently, AOT has six international airports under its responsibility -- Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Chiang Rai and Suvarnabhumi -- all of which accommodate both domestic and international flights. 


Seaplane training: Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer from Sheble Aviation. Sun Valley Airport (A20) and Colorado River in Arizona.

By transsib on Jan 9, 2012
"Me, training for the seaplane rating at the Sun Valley Airport (A20) and on the Colorado River in Arizona. The plane is a Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer from Sheble Aviation."

Hop-on, hop-off a seaplane!

Air-taxis are hugely popular in Maldives.

…in Maldives, with its exquisite islands crowding a beautiful sea.  The ‘oohs' and ‘aahs' begin the the second the aircraft breaks through the cloud cover for the descent to Male airport. As far as the eye can see, in all directions there is nothing but water — dark blue in some places, light blue elsewhere and a lovely turquoise in other places. Dotting this beautiful sea are hordes of islands — 1,200 in all. Only 90 are inhabited, including Hulhule, a short boat-ride from the capital Male and our destination.

The adventure for someone from north India, who spends most of his life far removed from the sea, starts the moment the plane lands in Male and you are transferred to a seaplane to reach your hotel. And instead of blaring horns and revving engines, all one hears in Maldives is the slow drone of seaplanes taking off or landing. And rather than cars and buses, what you see on the Male waterfront are fire and rescue ships rubbing shoulders with the various boats that transfer people from one island to another.

It is no surprise then that before long you hear yourself talking about taking a boat to go shopping!

And why not? Considering that 90 per cent of Maldives is nothing but water, the main attraction of this island-state is precisely that, and all activities related to it.

You could start off with a seaplane ride that provides breathtaking views of the islands among the many different shades of blue water. In fact, so popular is the seaplane ride that Maldivian air-taxi organises up to 500 flights a week during peak season.

MARYLAND: Up in the air, Harford CAP trains young pilots

Cadet Tech Sgt. Michael Baselice on a recent orientation flight with the Harford Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. Michael, 14, is a fourth generation Civil Air Patrol member and attends Patterson Mill High School in Bel Air. (Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol, Homestead Publishing)

The day many Americans were celebrating the freedoms that Martin Luther King's life stood for, some Harford County residents were experiencing another freedom – the freedom of flight.

The Harford County Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol,U.S. Air ForceAuxiliary, took part in orientation flights with their cadets on Monday, Jan. 16. The orientation flights introduce cadets to aviation and flight instruction.

For many of the cadets, this is their first experience in flying, much less at the control of a plane.

"Our orientation flights not only allow our cadets to learn about flight, but to also experience it as a pilot," 2nd Lt. Tracy Urena, public affairs officer for the organization, said. "They always come off their first flight with the biggest smile on their face which is really rewarding."

Cadets, ages 12-18, fly airplanes and gliders in the Civil Air Patrol. These orientation flights are the first step in the cadets learning how to fly and becoming FAA certified pilots.

"This was my 6th flight. It is such an amazing experience to be able to go up in the air at 14 and already know what needs to be done to fly the plane," Cadet Tech Sgt. Michael Baselice said after landing Monday. Michael is 14 and is a fourth generation Civil Air Patrol member. He goes to Patterson Mill High School in Bel Air.

The objective of the aerospace education mission of CAP is to promote an understanding and appreciation of the impact of aviation and aerospace in participants' everyday lives.

Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. The civilian pilots who volunteer to fly various missions for CAP come from various backgrounds, such as airlines pilots or retired military pilots.

The Harford County Squadron meets 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays at the Harford Airport on Aldino Road in Churchville.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of theU.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 113 lives in fiscal year 2010. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 69 years. It is the largest sponsor annually of Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices ofU.S. militaryveterans.

For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit or

More than 1,500 members of CAP serve in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information, visit


Cairo airport officials seize 420 pounds of frozen cow brains smuggled by Sudanese travelers

Associated Press

CAIRO — Officials at Cairo’s international airport confiscated 420 pounds (190 kilograms) of frozen cow brains on Friday, January 13 from three Sudanese travelers who planned to sell them to Egyptian restaurants, authorities said.

An airport official said it was the fourth time this week that customs officers there had foiled an attempt to smuggle cow brains into the country, reflecting the growth of a moneymaking scheme made possible by some realities of international supply and demand: Cow brains are cheap in Sudan, and Egyptians like to eat them.

A pound of raw cow brains bought in Sudan for less than a dollar can be resold in Egypt for six times as much, airport officials said. That means Friday’s haul could have earned the men more than $1,500.

Restaurants specializing in liver and brains are popular in Egypt. Both items are deep fried and often eaten in pita bread with spicy red sauce.

Airport officials discovered the brains Friday while inspecting large freezer boxes brought in by three travelers on a flight from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. After inspecting the boxes, the officials confiscated the brains since they couldn’t ensure they had been preserved in a sanitary manner.

The brains would be burned, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity under airport rules.

Nhulunbuy Airport , Australia: Man arrested after $60,000 kava bust.

Police seize 61kg of kava. 
Picture: NT POLICE

Northern Territory Police say they seized more than $60,000 dollars worth of kava in Arnhem Land last night.

They arrested a 46-year-old Tongan man at Nhulunbuy after he had arrived there on a flight from Cairns.

Police say they found 61 kilograms of the controlled substance kava.

Watch commander Paul Faustmann says the kava looked like it was going to be sold.

"The kava consisted of 1,080 deal bags and I do believe it has a street value of approximately $62,000," he said.

The man is expected to be charged today.

MARYLAND: Carroll County's Board of Commissioners will make a decision on the airport expansion on January 26th. Carroll County Regional/Jack B Poage Field (KDMW), Westminster.

Credit Kym Byrnes

 Credit Kym Byrnes

The Board of County Commissioners met in front of a packed room Thursday afternoon for a highly anticipated Carroll County Regional Airport discussion.

The previous board of commissioners made a master plan that included the expansion of the airport. The estimated $74 million expansion includes the purchase of 13 acres of land and an increase in the size of the runway.

Simply put, the decision is whether to expand the airport so that it can accommodate increased traffic of larger planes (C3 planes) such as corporate jets, or to remain a C2 airport that can continue to accommodate smaller planes such as single engine planes. At the very least, the current runway will require upgrades in 2017 to the tune of $5 million ($125,000 of which Carroll County will have to pay).

According to a previous article posted on Patch, if Carroll County decides to move forward with the planned expansion, the county would ultimately pay for 2.5 percent of the $74 million. Ninety-five percent would be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the other 2.5 percent would be paid for by the state.

Community members weighed in at the beginning of the meeting. Several residents support the opinion of Silver Run resident James Graham who believe that the airport will not benefit most of the county residents.
"The airport expansion is using tax payer money to benefit a relatively few number of people, that aren't the tax payers," Graham said. "The idea of trying to get business to come by putting money into infrastructure has not panned out across the country, and the costs that are incurred are seldom recouped."

But there were also proponents of the plan in attendance. Barbara Biller is the president of Intellitech and the chair of Carroll County Economic Development Commission, which serves as the advisory board to the commissioners.

Biller said that the Economic Development Commission, which has wide representation in the county, unanimously voted in favor of the airport expansion.

"We have studied the airport expansion effort two times in the last three years and we have unanimously felt that the commissioners should move forward with the expansion project," Biller said.  "This project offers short term construction jobs and long term higher paying jobs."

Surdex Corporation, which provides geothermal data services, announced a proposal at a June meeting to build a 30,000 square foot facility at the airport should the expansion move forward. The facility would be used to consolidate the business' four locations.

Biller added that part of the reason Knorr Brake Company decided to expand their headquarters in Carroll County was due to the possibility of an airport expansion.

As they have done in the past two public meetings, the commissioners explored several airport options, one of which is just an update of the current runway as FAA standards dictate that the current runway would have to be resurfaced around 2017.

Deputy Director of Public Works, Jeff Topper, said that if Carroll County resurfaced the current runway, it would cost about $5 million, approximately $125,000 of which the County would have to pay. The FAA would cover the remaining cost.

The commissioners have also explored costs and benefits associated with moving forward with the planned expansion project. According to Commissioner Roush, the FAA is offering funds through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). He said that the FAA is interested in supporting this expansion project because regional airports can help relieve some of the general aviation congestion from bigger airports (such as BWI). He also said that the FAA funds these projects for safety and access reasons.

But there are time constraints that the commissioners must consider as they make their decision. According to Roush, the environmental impact study that was done to determine if the expansion was feasible does not expire, but the findings of the study expire April 8.

The study took more than a year to complete and cost more than half a million dollars. Additionally, the environmental impact study that was done was only relevant for expansion to a C3 airport, if the commissioners decide to do a lesser project, another economic impact study will be required.

Roush said that the FAA will not fund any airport projects that are not specified in the master plan. Since the airport expansion is currently in Carroll County's master plan, if the county decided to do a project other than the expansion (such as just the airport runway resurfacing project), then it would require a whole new master plan in order to receive federal funds.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the airport decision next Thursday, Jan. 26.

Watch the airport discussion meeting on the Carroll County government website.


Employment Opportunity: Ad Hoc Heli Pilot. Location: Belfast.

Ad Hoc Heli Pilot
Job Reference NI 0000582
Salary: 375 to 375 / day
Location: BELFAST
Consultant: Judith Ragg
Branch: Belfast
Expires On: February 16, 2012

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

Line Pilot Duties: Line flying in government roles as and when they occur Pre-flight and turn around inspections, daily inspections of the aircraft and equipment, refuelling and ground handling to ensure that the aircraft is at maximum readiness for operational deployment Self-briefing regarding Notams, Meteorology, required security states and out of bounds locations for the area / route of operation Pre-flight briefings of crew and passengers Normal captaincy requirements as per the single pilot role

Liaison: Liaison with other line pilots and Chief Pilot in the briefing of non pilot staff in the ASU Liaison with Government Observers during flights to ensure safe flights and that they can complete their jobs/tasks successfully Liaison with Air Traffic Control

Other: Administrative functions as detailed by the Chief Pilot such as recording Flight Time Limitations and producing reports Such other duties as may reasonably be required by the Chief Pilot

The minimum requirements are: 1500hours total time, including 1000hours PIC helicopters, of which 500 hours must be PIC overland in VMC low level operations Minimum 500 hours twin turbine or 1000hours single turbine helicopter 100hours night flying, including 50hours PIC JAR CPL(H) including EC135, BK117C1 or C2 type rating Current class 1 medical. Current Government OPC and previous Line Check. Minimum 25hours PIC in Single Pilot helicopters of similar weight in last 12 months.

Desirable Criteria . Experience of using Microsoft Office / Word/ Excel/ Outlook for the purpose of producing reports, recording Flight Time Limitations (FTLs) and email.

The above reflects the main elements associated with this position it is not intended to be exclusive or exhaustive.

Please note to apply you need to have lived and worked in UK/RO for the last 3 consecutive years.

Airplane seizure at Brawley Municipal Airport (KBWC) connected to smuggling operation, feds say. Brawley, California.

BRAWLEY — Two men could face charges after U.S. Border Patrol agents learned an airplane at the municipal airport here was allegedly used to smuggle undocumented immigrants, officials said.

The arrest of the suspects that federal authorities would not identify marks the third time an airplane was seized in connection with such smuggling since 2010, a press statement reported.

Federal authorities didn’t make the news about last week’s arrest public as the information was in the process of awaiting approval, said Border Patrol Agent Jonathan Creiglow on Thursday.

Few details about the Jan. 10 arrest were available but Creiglow said it wasn’t known how long the smuggling operation has been going on.

The statement reported that Border Patrol agents were conducting “a surveillance” in Brawley and caught two suspected undocumented immigrants being dropped off at an undisclosed location.

The agents pulled over the vehicle and a subsequent interview of the driver and the passenger, who are from the U.S., was conducted.

It was learned that one of the men was a pilot who had an airplane at the Brawley airport. It was also determined that the two suspects were planning to use the aircraft “to further their smuggling operation,” the statement read.

Creiglow said he did not know whether the two undocumented immigrants that had been dropped off that day were actually flown in.

But Creiglow said the aircraft is a Piper II, which is a single-engine aircraft.

Brawley Public Works Director Yasmin Arellano said she never heard of any past connection between the smuggling of undocumented immigrants and the local airport.

But Creiglow said there had been an aircraft seizure at the Brawley Airport in August 2010 and another in 2011 but it was not clear whether that one involved the Brawley airport.

Neither name of the two suspects Border Patrol agents arrested was made available but Creiglow said the U.S. Attorney’s Office is still investigating the matter.

Naples, Florida: See, hear

Arthur Tunnell, Naples

See, hear

It's noon on another beautiful day here in paradise.

I'm sitting out in the lanai reading the Daily News.

I'm thinking, "Ya know, it just doesn't get any better than this."

That's when this small plane decided to circle around a few times (showing friends from out of town, no doubt).

He doesn't do it more than once a week, but I've been meaning to complain for three winters now. I'll bet if you ask the other pilots around here they'll know exactly who I mean — this plane is loud!

Could we start a letter-writing campaign to buy him a new muffler?

And thank you for tearing down the old Daily News plant on Central Avenue. Anywhere else in the country we'd be looking at it for the next 10 years.


Report of plane crash false alarm

HAMPSHIRE – A false alarm that a plane had crashed near Interstate 90 and Route 20 had police officers in two counties temporarily scrambling and a search helicopter in the air early Thursday evening.

Someone called 911 stating that they thought they saw a small plane crash on the horizon west of Hampshire, Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said. At about that same time, a small plane had made a normal landing at the private Casa De Aero Park Airport northwest of town, Gengler said.

Both Kane County and the McHenry County sheriff’s offices began investigating the area near I-90 and Route 20, given that the area is close to the border of both counties, and both had set up command posts, according to scanner traffic.

McHenry County at about 6:30 p.m. let search units, which had found nothing, know that there was no plane down and everyone could stop looking.


Boeing 757-200 Pilot Dies of Heart Failure in Mid-Flight

The co-pilot of a Russian UTair airliner has died in mid-air after feeling unwell while piloting a Boeing en route from Bangkok to Moscow. The plane with 239 passengers on board – all Russian citizens – was able to land safely in Siberia.

­“The co-pilot [Sergey Golev, aged 44] died at 12:25 am, Novosibirsk Time (5:25 pm GMT), three hours after takeoff,” said senior investigator Anastasia Utochkina, as quoted by Life News. “The captain made a decision to descend, while the crew called over the tannoy for a female physician who happened to be among the passengers. However, her attempts to reanimate the man, who was lying on the cockpit floor, failed.”

The captain reportedly attempted to land the plane in China, while reanimation efforts were underway. However, his colleague died during the descent, apparently from acute heart failure. At this point, a decision was taken to land in Russia instead, and the Boeing 757-200 touched down safely at Novosibirsk airport.

The Investigation Department of Russia’s transport authority has launched an inquiry into the case in an effort to uncover the cause of the incident.

Meanwhile, airport officials insist that the co-pilot was merely traveling as a passenger and in no way and at no point was in control of the aircraft.

“The deceased pilot was traveling as an ordinary passenger,” a press officer of Novosibirsk airport Tolmachevo, Irina Levit, told Life News. “The aircraft belongs to UTair airline, where Sergey Golev was employed. There was no threat to passengers.”

However, according to the investigation committee who requested the details of the crew and the results of their pre-flight medicals from Bangkok airport, no such evaluation was performed in Thailand. The last time the crew had had a medical check-up was back at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport a few days previously.


$700,000 airport ramp nears completion at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport (KVVS), Connellsville, Pennsylvania

Members of Fayette County's airport authority on Wednesday discussed a $700,000 ramp improvement project at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport.

Jennifer Andy, a staff engineer for Michael Baker Jr. Inc., updated the board about the ongoing project that is financed by federal, state and local funding.

"We're improving the ramp in the front of the airport terminal," Andy said. "This ramp will provide space where visiting aircraft can pull up and park in front of the building. We're installing fence on both sides of the building, which is the final stage of the project."

Andy said the work should be completed by the end of January.

Board member Fred Davis asked Andy whether a sign will be placed near the ramp to alert small-aircraft pilots about the clearance risk.

"I believe a sign would mitigate any risk for clearance near the building," Davis said. "We need to make sure that a sign is installed for safety purposes."

Andy sought to assure Davis that a sign will be installed, one that will include information for pilots, warning them about the potential danger and the lack of clearance for small aircraft.

Tough to beat an airport for open space. Solberg-Hunterdon Airport (N51), Readington, New Jersey.


What was more “Open Space” than an airport founded in rural Hunterdon Country, New Jersey in 1941? There was no urban sprawl; there wasn’t any sprawl at all. There were no cell towers, there were no schools off the end of the runway and there was no one nearby to complain about noise.

Everyone who has moved into that area since knew and, could not help but know, that there was a local active airport in Readington. If they were not willing to accept the “noise” or “hazards” they associate with an airport they should not have moved there.

For at least the past 15 years there have been continuous and mean attempts by township officials to close the airport in the name of “Open Space.” But what is more “Open Space” than an airport? Except for the holes in the ground it is as open space as a golf course. The very idea that you can condemn an airport based on the concept that you are saving “Open Space” is some kind of joke. It is a great testimony to the citizens of Readington that they are so willing to contribute their tax dollars for “Open Space” that is already “Open Space.” Is this now the true definition of an “environmentalist:” Buy open space to be open space?

How many of you have seen small local airports like Solberg in the areas where you grew up? How many of those are still there? How many new small airports have you seen built and opened since the time you grew up? I do not know of one. These small airports are actually a national treasure and are the only place a person can safely and economically learn an aviation skill. Some may even be the future pilot of a commercial flight you may take some day. Or maybe you would rather that pilot be some alien recruited from England because the United States has no place to train new pilots.

Few of our future aviators will come from the military because there are not that many military pilots being trained any more and in the future there will be even fewer. Many say that airlines should be required to train their own crews and that might well be true. But where do you think this training is going to take place, Newark Airport? It will happen at small fields like Solberg that will only get bigger when those airlines begin looking for training fields.

Maybe they should be careful to what they donate those tax dollars because what they get in place of Solberg Airport may be a lot more objectionable than an airport that accommodates small aircraft and is “Open Space.”

Joseph Hitzel


Trenton, Tennessee: Gibson County Airport (KTGC) Reports Increased Traffic.

An up-tick in the Gibson County economy is coming from an unexpected source - the Gibson County airport.

Even though it is a small facility that caters primarily to businesses and private pilots, workers said their influx in business is benefiting everyone.

On Wednesday, it may have been quiet at the airport because of the weather, but for the past three months, workers said it has been quite busy.

"The year overall has been an up-tick in travel, and we've had a lot more planes coming through for fueling, going to other places and business," said manager Robert Lockard.

So busy, Lockard said they have had an estimated increase of 500 to 750 more flights in 2011 than they did in 2010.

They even had to build a new t-hanger to hold 10 more planes. It is popular for business people.

"If you're going to have businesses coming in this area of West Tennessee, you need airports for the business leaders and CEOs of companies to get to their respected businesses more efficiently and that's what the smaller airports are number one in doing," Lockard said.

Lockard said even though the airport is small and does not fly commercial, they still get travelers from all over the country, and they do not always just stop through to fuel up.

"They stop, they eat, a lot of times they use motels here, so they do contribute to the economy in West Tennessee," he said.

He said he thinks 2012 will be another up year, and hopes to build additional hangers to house more planes.

According to Lockard, the Gibson County Airport recently received grant money from the Department of Transportation, which will be used to trim trees close to the runway, which are getting too tall and could affect the safety area.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

PETITION: SAVE Essex Skypark (W48) from being closed by Baltimore County. Essex Skypark Association.

Signatures: 294 out of 1,000

Why This Is Important:

Essex Skypark is a small, general aviation airport that is publicly owned and open for public use.The Skypark is surrounded by over 500 acres of undisturbed and pristine wetlands and heavy forest. With a 2,100 foot paved runway and one of the few seaplane facilities on the east coast, Essex has been a haven for aviation enthusiasts. It is our intent to demonstrate the viability and need of Essex Skypark to Baltimore County, the State of Maryland and our local community.

Support our desire to keep the Skpark and property open to the Public


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If you have a news item you'd like to share with the community here, or want to let us know about a breaking news event, please email us your submission.

Piper PA-24-180 Comanche, N7648P: Accident occurred January 15, 2012 in Brewster, Massachusetts

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA145
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 15, 2012 in Brewster, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-180, registration: N7648P
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was practicing instrument approaches with a flight instructor. While in a holding pattern, an air traffic controller contacted the pilot after observing his erratic altitude control. The pilot responded, “there’s smoke in the cabin.” About 24 seconds later, the pilot stated that “we’ve cleared the smoke” and that they would continue the flight. This was the last transmission received from the pilot, and it was cut off, and radar contact was then lost. The airplane subsequently crashed into Cape Cod Bay. General fragmentation of the wreckage indicated a high-energy impact with the water. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of an in-flight fire or other anomaly or malfunction that would have precluded normal operation. Examinations of several electrical components, including avionics, wires, and circuit breakers revealed no evidence of overheating or fire.
A study of weather data revealed that, at the time of the accident, the airplane was in instrument meteorological conditions with snow. The National Weather Service Current Icing Product indicated a greater than 50 percent chance of icing at 2,000 feet, which was near the altitude of the airplane before the accident. However, the pilot did not mention icing conditions to the controller.
The pilot tested positive for several medications during postaccident specimen analysis, including diazepam, nordiazepam, tramadol, and warfarin. Since the blood samples obtained were collected from a body cavity, the assessment of pilot impairment was not reliable due to concerns with postmortem redistribution of drugs. The pilot had not reported these medications on his latest third-class medical certificate application. The pilot and flight instructor both tested negative for carbon monoxide and cyanide.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The flight crew’s loss of airplane control.


On January 15, 2012, about 1005 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-180, N7648P, crashed into Cape Cod Bay near Brewster, Massachusetts. The airplane was registered to a private individual and was operated by a private pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the instructional flight from Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (MVY) to Hyannis, Massachusetts (HYA). The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airplane was substantially damaged. The private pilot and a flight instructor were fatally injured.

The pilot filed a flight plan and obtained a weather briefing through the Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) at 1459 on January 14, 2012, the day prior to the accident. The following remark was noted on the DUATS flight plan, “Practice Approaches - PIC: Robert Walker.”

According to his wife, the pilot was practicing instrument procedures as part of an instrument proficiency check. After performing two practice approaches, the pilot requested four turns in holding at MECEJ holding fix. After the pilot reported that he was established in the holding pattern at MEJEC, at 1504:01 (HHMM:SS), the controller queried the pilot on his altitude control, stating that the aircraft altitude was varying by 500 feet. The controller asked the pilot if he needed assistance, and the pilot replied, at 1504:09, “there’s smoke in the cabin.” At 1504:24, the pilot stated, “we’ve got to clear the smoke and uh…” At 1504:33, the last transmission was received from the pilot, “four eight pop I guess we’ll sit we’ll stay in the uh we’ve cleared the smoke we’ll stay in the uh…” Radar and radio contact was subsequently lost.

The pilot’s wife listened to the recorded ATC voice communications after the accident and reported that the voices from the aircraft related to smoke in the cabin were that of her husband, the pilot.

Recorded radar data indicated that, at 1504:05, the aircraft was proceeding in a westerly direction at 2,200 feet above mean sea level (msl). The last reliable radar return, at 1504:45, indicated that the airplane had commenced a right turn and descended to 1,300 feet msl. The wreckage was located about 0.3 nautical miles southeast of the last radar return.



The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. On an insurance application dated January 9, 2012, he reported 676 hours total time, including 111 in the PA-24. His latest document flight review occurred on October 22, 2011.

Flight Instructor

The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, airplane single engine sea, instrument airplane, ground instructor, and flight instructor (airplane single-engine and multiengine, instrument airplane). He reported 7,384 hours of total flight experience on his latest Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical certificate, dated March 30, 2011.


The airplane was a single-engine, low wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number 24-2862. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360-A1D engine rated at 180 horsepower at 2,700 rpm. The tachometer (tach) time observed in the wreckage was 5,049.3 hours.

The aircraft was equipped with an electrically-heated pitot tube. The aircraft was not equipped with ice protection on the wings, stabilator, or vertical stabilizer and was not certificated for flight in icing conditions.

According to the aircraft maintenance records, the last recorded maintenance on the airplane occurred on December 16, 2011, at tach time 5,032.1 hours. The following entry was noted, “Checked for inoperative charging system, alternator circuit breaker found tripped, checked all alternator wiring from firewall forward, found that a 50 amp alternator circuit installed did not match 60-amp breaker called for in InterAv wiring diagram, 50-amp breaker previously approved by FAA form 337 dated 1/20/03, checked alternator brushes, adjusted alternator belt tension, ran engine several times and found charging system working properly, could not duplicate circuit breaker tripping. Replaced both wing tip navigation lamps P/N A7512-12.” The 50-amp circuit breaker was not replaced during the maintenance on December 16.

The last annual inspection on the airplane occurred on July 2, 2011, at tach time 4,983.9 hours.

On June 11, 2008, during an annual inspection, the master circuit breaker was removed and replaced with another 50 amp circuit breaker, part number W23X1A1G50.

The pilot’s wife reported the following maintenance discrepancies during an interview following the accident. In November, 2011, the landing gear would not extend and the alternate extension system was required to lower the gear. On January 4, 2012, the volt meter and amp meter were discharging. She stated that the airplane flew several times after that with no issues. There were no aircraft logbook entries to document the events.

According to the FAA, on December 27, 2011, the pilot was involved in an ATC deviation, and the pilot cited radio problems in his explanation of the event. ATC reported that the pilot did not respond to radio calls and deviated from his last assigned heading and altitude. The aircraft logbook did not include an entry related to a radio repair for the flight of December 27.


The closest weather reporting facility to the accident site was Chatham Municipal Airport (CQX), Chatham, Massachusetts, located about 8 miles southeast of the accident site at an elevation of 63 feet. The CQX weather observation at 0952 reported wind from 320 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 16 knots, visibility 7 miles in light snow, ceiling overcast at 1,600 feet above ground level (agl), temperature 9 degrees Celsius (C), dew point minus 13 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.20 inches of mercury (Hg). Remarks included hourly precipitation less than 0.01 inch or trace and 6-hour precipitation total less than 0.01 inch.

The CQX special weather observation at 1012 included wind from 300 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 1 3/4 miles in light snow, ceiling overcast at 1,800 feet, temperature minus 8 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 13 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.21 inches of Hg. Remarks included hourly precipitation less than 0.01 inch.

A review of the observations indicated that snow first began at Chatham at 0645 EST and continued through the time of the accident with a few periods of brief instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions in a few heavier snow showers.

The next closest weather reporting facility to the accident site was from Barnstate Municipal Airport – Boardman/Polando Field (HYA), Hyannis, Massachusetts, which was the destination of where the practice instrument approach was planned and was located approximately 10 miles southwest of the accident site at an elevation of 54 feet.

The HYA weather observation at 0956 included wind from 310 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 20 knots, visibility 1 1/2 miles in light snow, ceiling overcast at 1,900 feet, temperature minus 11 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 15 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.21 inches of Hg. Remarks included that snow began at 0913 EST, hourly precipitation less than 0.01 of an inch, and 6-hour precipitation less than 0.01 of an inch.

The HYA weather observation at 1056 included wind from 320 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 21 knots, visibility 1 mile in light snow, ceiling broken at 1,700 feet, overcast at 2,600 feet, temperature minus 11 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 14° C, and altimeter setting 30.21 inches of Hg. Remarks included hourly precipitation less than 0.01 of an inch.

A review of the raw observations indicated that snow first started at HYA at 0913 and continued through the time of the accident.

The accident airplane departed from Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, located approximately 32 miles southwest from the accident site at an elevation of 67 feet. The MVY weather observation at 0853 included wind from 340 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear below 12,000 feet, temperature minus 9 degrees C, dew point minus 17 degrees C, and altimeter 30.21 inches of Hg.

The closest upper air sounding or rawinsonde (ROAB) observation was from the National Weather Service (NWS) site number 74494, located at Chatham, Massachusetts, about 8 miles southeast of the accident site. The 0700 sounding indicated a layer of low stratocumulus type clouds with bases near 1,800 feet agl with tops near 4,300 feet. The entire sounding was below freezing, even with two low-level temperature inversions. The soundings supported a chance of light to moderate icing in the stratocumulus type clouds, with the highest probability near the cloud bases.

Two pilot reports in the vicinity reported light to moderate turbulence below 4,000 feet.

Immediately prior to the accident, at 0945, the NWS Aviation Weather Center (AWC) issued their series of Airmen’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) for the northeast and the hourly Convective Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) advisories. The only weather hazard identified over the area was a threat of turbulence below 8,000 feet. No large scale areas of IFR or icing conditions were identified by the NWS outside of convective activity at that time, and no Convective SIGMETs were issued for the area surrounding the period.

The NWS Current Icing Product was issued by the AWC at 1000 on the day of the accident. The chart depicted a greater than 50 percent probability of icing conditions at 2,000 feet over eastern Cape Cod and over the accident site.


The wreckage was found submerged in Cape Cod Bay, at coordinates 41 46.600 north, 70 06.996 west. Inspectors with the FAA observed the recovery of the wreckage. Once recovered, the wreckage was sent to a storage facility at Clayton, Delaware for further examination.

Examination of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of in-flight or post-crash fire and no soot was observed on the recovered wreckage. The forward cabin section contained the instrument panel area, control wheels, rudder pedals, avionics and engine controls. The firewall was present and exhibited impact damage. The engine mount was attached to the firewall and the engine was attached to the mount. All side skins and top and bottom skins were missing as were all window enclosures.

The rudder pedals were in place and the control cables were attached. The engine controls were impact-damaged and could not be moved. The pilot’s control wheel was not present and the co-pilot’s control wheel exhibited impact damage. Both rudder and stabilator trim controls and primary controls were impact-damaged and could not be operated. The cables were traced aft to their separation points. All breaks in the cables showed evidence of overstress or cuts by recovery personnel. The pilot and co-pilot seats were not located.

The primary electrical harness was in place. The circuit breakers were impact-damaged and separated from their mountings in the circuit breaker panel. Several electrical switches were impact-damaged. The pitot heat switch was found in the “on” position, as was the alternate pitot/static air source selector switch. The electrical harness was examined for pre-impact wiring integrity as were various associated components. All panel-mounted avionics were impact-damaged. The aircraft’s primary battery was not recovered. Several electrical and avionics components were removed for examination at the NTSB Materials Laboratory.

The center section of the fuselage had the left inboard wing root section attached. All top, bottom and side skins were breached. Two sets of seat belts were attached to the floor and side wall. One set had the shoulder restraint belt attached to the lap belt. The aft bench seat was located, but was not attached to the structure. The fuel valve was located and noted to be on the “right tank” position. The flap control lever was located and was impact-damaged.

The empennage was comprised of the attached vertical fin with rudder attached and the two stabilator halves. All were attached to the tail cone section in their normal positions.
The vertical fin was attached to the fuselage and exhibited leading edge impact damage and skin separation at its root areas.

The rudder was attached to the vertical fin at its hinge points. It exhibited impact damage and breaching of the skins. The balance weight was not located. Control continuity was traced forward to the aft cabin area separations, then to the forward cabin area separations. All separations exhibited overload signatures or were cut by recovery personnel.

The stabilator assembly was attached to its hinge points on the aft bulkhead. Impact damage was observed on the upper and lower surfaces. Both trim tabs were attached to the stabilator assembly and exhibited minor impact damage. The outboard 4.5 feet of each stabilator/trim tab was removed by recovery personnel. The balance weight was intact. Control cable continuity was traced forward to the forward cabin area. The trim cables were separated by recovery personnel and the trim setting was measured at 0.53 inches at the trim drum, which equated to a slight nose-up condition.

The left wing root section was attached to the fuselage. The main landing gear was damaged from impact and found in the up (retracted) position. The outboard section was breached and exhibited accordion type aft crushing of the leading edge. The fuel tank was not recovered. The upper spar cap was partially separated and bent upward approximately 45 degrees. The left aileron and its balance weight were separated. The weight was located. Aileron control continuity was established to its bellcrank. The aileron control cables were found in the instrument panel area and offered limited movement due to impact damage. The flap was segmented and partially attached.

The right wing was segmented and separated from the fuselage and had leading edge, accordion-type crushing aft. The wing skin was breached at the main fuel tank to inboard sections. The fuel tank was not recovered. The landing gear was attached and was in the up (retracted) position, with impact damage noted. The aileron was partially attached to its hinges and was bent from impact damage. Control cable continuity was established to the aileron bellcrank and then to cable separations. All separations exhibited overload signatures or were cut by recovery personnel.

The propeller hub was fractured and about 60 percent was missing. The propeller blades were not recovered.

An examination of the engine revealed that the right and left magnetos were secure and in position. When removed, both drive gears were intact. When rotated by hand, no internal binding or unusual noises were noted. There was no attempt to produce spark due to salt water and sand ingestion. The ignition wiring harness could not be tested due to impact and salt water damage.

The carburetor was broken away from the engine at its mount. A small piece of the carburetor body was recovered.

The oil pump rotated freely with no binding or unusual noises noted. No internal contamination was noted. The propeller governor drive was intact. When rotated by hand, no internal binding or unusual noises were noted.

The top spark plugs were removed for inspection. All electrodes were impacted with sand. After cleaning with water, the electrodes appeared normal in color and wear when compared to a Champion Check-A-Plug chart.

The vacuum pump was normal in appearance. The drive coupling was intact and was not sheared. The internal vanes and rotor were normal in appearance.

The numbers 2 and 4 cylinders were removed. The valves, rockers, and springs were normal in appearance. The numbers 2 and 4 pistons were removed and examined. The piston surfaces were normal appearance. No metal particulates were observed inside the oil sump. The sump contained sand. After the numbers 2 and 4 cylinders were removed, an attempt to rotate engine was made. When the propeller hub was rotated, engine continuity was established to all accessory drive gears.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and examined. The pump actuator was secure and there was freedom of movement. The odor of aviation fuel was evident when the pump was opened. The material between the fuel pump gaskets was extensively eroded.



The pilot reported, on his most recent FAA third class medical certificate application of December 9, 2010, the following medications: lovastatin (commercially known at Mevacor), which is a cholesterol-lowering medication used to treat elevated lipids, allopurinol (commercially known as Zyloprim), which is used to treat gout, and vitamins. During his most recent FAA examination, it was noted that the pilot was treated for elevated cholesterol with no side effects, and was treated with allopurinol for gout in remission. No other concerns were reported by the pilot and no significant issues were identified by the aviation medical examiner.

The pilot’s wife reported that he did not drink alcohol, and went to the gym for exercise. She also stated that he was working on getting off the medications he was on.

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on January 17, 2012. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as severe multiple injuries and the manner of death was “accident (plane crash).”

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology report indicated no carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol in the blood. Testing of muscle specimens indicated 10 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of ethanol. The CAMI report noted that the ethanol found in this case was from sources other than ingestion.

The following drugs were detected: 0.169 micrograms per milliliter (ug/ml) diazepam in the liver, 0.129 ug/ml diazepam in blood, 0.335 ug/ml nordiazepam in the liver, 0.17 ug/ml nordiazepam in blood, 1.019 ug/ml tramadol in the liver, 0.462 ug/ml tramadol in blood, and warfarin was detected in the liver and blood.

Diazepam (commercially known as Valium) is a prescription benzodiazepine derivative that has anxiolytic, sedative, muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant, and amnestic effects. It is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle spasm. Nordiazepam is a metabolite of several different sedating benzodiazepines which are used as a treatment for anxiety. Tramadol (commercially known as Ultram) is a prescription medication that is a centrally acting sedating narcotic analgesic. The makers of this drug provide warnings that it may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving and operating heavy machinery). Warfarin (commercially known as Coumadin) is a prescription anticoagulant which acts by inhibiting vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors. The medicine is used to treat patients with deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and atrial fibrillation.

The autopsy report noted that the blood used in the CAMI analysis was obtained from a body cavity. According to CAMI, the assessment of pilot impairment from cavity blood samples is not reliable due to concerns with postmortem redistribution of drugs.

Flight Instructor

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the flight instructor by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology report indicated no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs in the blood.


Following the wreckage examination of February 28, 2012, several components and parts from the wreckage were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC for additional inspection. The items included a McCoy MAC 1700 comm/nav receiver, a King KNA-24 audio selector panel, two avionic cooling fans, a Davtron fuel flow indicator, an InterAv overvoltage control, a voltage regulator, power feed cables, a digital amp meter, and two 50-amp circuit breakers, including the 50-amp alternator circuit breaker, part number W23X1A1G50.

All components were x-rayed and visually examined for the presence of electrical arcing, soot, and other indicators of overheating and /or fire. There was no evidence of overheating or fire on any of the examined components.

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA145 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 15, 2012 in Brewster, MA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-180, registration: N7648P
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 15, 2012, about 1010 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-180, N7648P, crashed into Cape Cod Bay near Brewster, Massachusetts. The airplane was registered to a private individual and was operated by the private pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions were present in the area and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the instructional flight from Hyannis, Massachusetts (HYA) to Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (MVY). The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The certified flight instructor and private pilot were fatally injured.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the crew was practicing instrument holding patterns as part of an instrument proficiency check. Air traffic control (ATC) queried the crew about altitude fluctuations, and the crew responded that there was smoke in the cabin. ATC cleared the flight direct to HYA, and the crew responded that the smoke had cleared and they wanted to continue the flight. Radar and radio contact was subsequently lost. The wreckage was found, submerged, in the bay near Brewster.

Weather, recorded at HYA at 0956, included the winds from 310 degrees at 14 knots with gusts to 20 knots, visibility 1 and ½ miles in light snow, and an overcast ceiling at 1,900 feet.

The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility where a detailed examination will be performed.