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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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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

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.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

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.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

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.




Pilot arrested after failing breath test

The pilot of a passenger plane was arrested last night on suspicion of being over the alcohol limit.

The Aer Lingus Regional flight from Bristol Airport was delayed after the man failed a breath test.  The airline had to find another pilot and crew to fly the ATR72 plane to Cork, Ireland. The 24 passengers were told the delay was due to a “technical problem”.  Worried airport staff called police when the pilot went through a passenger security gate rather than a crew entrance and was dressed in civilian clothing. One source claimed he had earlier gone to a hotel with a member of the cabin crew.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: “Officers attended and the man failed a breath test. He was taken to a nearby station and a second test was carried out, which he passed. No offences were disclosed and the man has been released with no further action being taken.”  The legal limit for pilots is nine microgrammes of alcohol in breath, compared to 35 for motorists. A spokesman for Dublin-based Aer Arran, which runs the Aer Lingus Regional flight, said last night: “This is already the subject of a thorough investigation.”

Source:  http://www.mirror.co.uk

Mechanical problems force plane to return to Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV), Florida

A Delta flight with 50 passengers developed mechanical trouble 20 miles after taking off from the Gainesville Regional Airport Thursday afternoon and was forced to return to the airport.

Airport spokeswoman Laura Aguiar said no one was hurt during the incident and added that Delta sent another plane to take the passengers to the flight’s Atlanta destination.  “The pilots noticed a mechanical error and turned around. It landed safely and they deplaned,” Aguiar said. “They had a mechanic come look at the plane and decided that it did need a repair. It flew off without the passengers and Delta sent another plane for the passengers.”

Aguiar said the faulty plane circled over the airport for a while to burn fuel. She added she did not know how long it took for a replacement plane to arrive in Gainesville.  The flight was full with the 50 passengers. She said some of them were stressed over possibly missing connecting flights.

Airbus A380 Cracks Prompt EU Safety Regulator to Seek Inspection

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS’s flagship A380 superjumbo planes will require inspections after additional cracks appeared on structures inside the wings, the European Aviation Safety Agency said.  EASA plans to issue an airworthiness directive today advising airlines on procedures, Dominique Fouda, a spokesman for the agency, said by phone from Cologne, Germany, yesterday. The agency hasn’t yet determined how often the planes will need to be checked, Fouda said.

The planned safety ruling follows separate disclosures last week by Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Qantas Airways Ltd., which said they had found small cracks in parts known as wing-rib feet, which attach the rib, a vertical structure, to the cover of the wing. Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said that while the cracks are “embarrassing,” they pose no dangers to passengers on the 525-seat planes.  “I can’t say I’m proud” of the situation, Enders said in an interview with CNN that aired late yesterday after EASA announced its intention to require inspections. “We’re obviously investigating how it happened. We think we have a good understanding but the investigation is ongoing.” More....

Helicopter crashes among tabletop mountains in southern Venezuela; pilot and 4 passengers dead

CARACAS, Venezuela—A helicopter has crashed during a tour of the tabletop mountains of southern Venezuela, and an official says five people have been killed.

Col. Julio Fuentes tells Venezuela's state news agency that the helicopter crashed Wednesday into Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park.

Auyantepui is a popular tourist destination. The world's tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, cascades down its sheer rock faces.  Fuentes says a pilot and four passengers were aboard the Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopter. Their nationalities haven't been released.

Fuentes says authorities believe the helicopter may have crashed because of rough weather. He says a team reached the crash site Thursday after it was initially spotted by a plane.

Icy conditions close the Renton Municipal Airport (KRNT), Washington

City of Renton crews Wednesday work to remove snow, ice from the taxiways and runways at Renton Municipal Airport.
Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

Renton Municipal Airport is closed Thursday because of icy conditions that make the runway treacherous, according to the City of Renton.  "We coordinated with Boeing and should have it open tomorrow (Friday)," said city spokeswoman Preeti Shridhar. "Our crews have been at it from last night, clearing the snow and slush from everywhere."   All Boeing 737s take off from Renton's airport.

Delta Fight Makes Emergency Landing At Elmira/Corning Regional Airport (KELM), New York.


Big Flats, N.Y. —  A Delta Airlines flight carrying 44 people made an emergency landing Thursday at the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport after the jet suffered a hydraulic failure after takeoff from a Pennsylvania airport.  No one was injured, and the plane landed safely around 2 p.m. Thursday. The jet landed on its second attempt -- it made one pass after pilots determined it was traveling too fast on its first approach.

The flight, Delta Flight 3901, was traveling from Wilkes Barre-Scranton International Airport to Detroit. It was carrying 41 passengers and three crew members.  The airport and Big Flats fire departments responded to the tarmac after the pilot radioed a distress call around 1:30 p.m., airport manager Ann Crook said.

After the plane landed safely, passengers deplaned, and Delta is working to rebook flights. Passengers were also given the option to rent vehicles and continue on to Detroit or return to Scranton. Crook said she expects all affected passengers to have new arrangements by Thursday night.  Delta was flying its own mechanics to the Big Flats airport to inspect the jet. The hydraulic issue affected the jet’s elevation flaps, officials said.

Cessna 172I Skyhawk, N35571: Accident occurred January 19, 2012 in Springfield, Tennessee


NTSB Identification: ERA12LA148 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 19, 2012 in Springfield, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/14/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 172I, registration: N35571
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot was flying the airplane on the second leg of a visual flight rules cross-country trip, which he flew at an altitude of 3,500 feet in order to remain below an overcast ceiling. Approaching the destination airport, the pilot began a cruise descent and, about 10 miles from the airport, began configuring the airplane for landing. The pilot reduced engine power to about 1,500 rpm, set the mixture to full rich, but did not activate the carburetor heat. The engine then lost power, and the pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a field. During the landing, the nose landing gear struck a ditch. Responders noted that fuel was recovered from the airplane following the accident; the engine was run after the accident with no anomalies noted. The temperature and dew point reported on the surface at an airport located about 21 nautical miles from the accident site were conducive to carburetor icing at both glide and cruise power settings.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:The pilot did not apply carburetor heat during approach to landing, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to carburetor icing.
 

On January 19, 2012, about 1455 central standard time, a Cessna 172I, N35571, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Springfield, Tennessee. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Vermilion Regional Airport (DNV), Danville, Illinois about 1215, and was destined for John C. Tune Airport (JWN), Nashville, Tennessee. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a written statement submitted by the pilot, he departed from Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin and stopped at DNV to service the airplane with fuel. After departing from DNV, the pilot climbed the airplane to 3,500 feet in order to remain below a low ceiling of clouds. Several miles north of Springfield, Tennessee, the pilot listened to the JWN automated weather observation and began a cruise descent. About 10 nautical miles north of JWN, and while descending through 2,100 feet, the pilot began to configure the airplane for landing.

The pilot reduced engine power to about 1,500 rpm and set the fuel mixture to full rich, but did not activate the carburetor heat. The engine then "suddenly acted as though it were starved for fuel." With rising terrain ahead, and only being about 800 feet above the ground, the pilot "pumped" the throttle, began searching for a suitable forced landing area, and activated the emergency locator transmitter. As the pilot approached the intended landing field from the east, he realized that the airplane was high and fast, so flew north and circled back in order to set up for a landing to the southwest. The pilot subsequently landed the airplane on the downward slope of the field at an airspeed around 60 knots. During the rollout, the nose landing gear struck a ditch and the airplane nosed over.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage following the accident and reported that the airplane had incurred substantial damage during the accident, including damage to the nose landing gear and firewall. The inspector also noted that when he arrived at the accident scene, about 1.5 hours after the accident occurred, a strong odor of aviation gasoline was present. First responders reported recovering about 5 gallons of fuel that had drained from the airplane, and a local airframe and powerplant mechanic who prepared the airplane for recovery by removing the wings from the fuselage reported that each wing contained an "ample" quantity of fuel. The mechanic also noted normal function of the gascolator and the presence of fuel within it.

After being recovered from the accident scene, the airplane was examined under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. About 2 ounces of fuel were drained from the carburetor drain plug. Since the wings of the airplane had been removed to facilitate transport following the accident, an alternate fuel source was plumbed to the fuel line fitting at the right wing root. The right fuel tank was subsequently selected in the cockpit, and fuel flowed to the gascolator and carburetor. During a test run, the engine started immediately and without hesitation. The engine was then operated at various power settings between idle and 2,500 rpm for about 5 minutes, with no anomalies noted.

The weather conditions reported at Nashville International Airport (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee, elevation 599 feet, located about 21 nautical miles southeast of the accident site, at 1453, included winds from 200 degrees at 10 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 15,000 feet, scattered clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 10 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint minus 04 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inches of mercury.

According to FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, dated June 30, 2009, "Pilots should be aware that carburetor icing doesn’t just occur in freezing conditions, it can occur at temperatures well above freezing temperatures when there is visible moisture or high humidity. Icing can occur in the carburetor at temperatures above freezing because vaporization of fuel, combined with the expansion of air as it flows through the carburetor, (Venturi Effect) causes sudden cooling, sometimes by a significant amount within a fraction of a second." The SAIB provided a diagram which showed the probability of carburetor icing for various temperature and relative humidity conditions. Applying the surface temperature and dewpoint reported at BNA about the time of the accident to the diagram showed that "Icing (glide and cruise power)" conditions prevailed. Among the recommendations in the SAIB to pilots was that pilots should, "Use carburetor heat on approach and descent when operating at low power settings, or in conditions where carburetor icing is probable."







SPRINGFIELD, Tenn.- A small plane has crashed near Springfield in Robertson County. Officials said the plane went down around 2:40 p.m. Thursday.

Witnesses described the plane as a very small plane and that the occupants were not injured in the crash. The plane was a Cessna Skyhawk, registered to William J. Ivey of Nashville. The plane has four seats and was built 1968.

It was unclear what caused the plane to go down.

Reports indicated that this plane had been in crash back in 1976 in Illinois. The report from that crash stated that the 27-year-old pilot was on final approach and undershot the runway, causing the nose of the plane to hit the ground short of the runway.

The identity and number of the people on the plane at the time of crash was unknown. 

A small plane has crashed Thursday afternoon near Springfield in Robertson County.

The crash was reported just before 3 p.m. on Highway 431 South, south of Springfield.

Information about injuries was not immediately known.

Could Peoria riverfront be new home of Prairie Air Show?

PEORIA — The annual Prairie Air Show could find a new home this summer on the Peoria Riverfront, but organizers are keeping details close to the vest.

Brett Krause, organizer of the Prairie Air Show, would neither confirm nor deny rumors Thursday that the show, which has been at the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport for years, could move to Peoria's riverfront in Downtown.  He said there will be a news conference Tuesday to explain details about this year's event. "We have been working since last August to find a way to keep an air show in Peoria," he said, declining to elaborate.

But Peoria Park District Executive Director Bonnie Noble said she has heard talk of the air show coming to Downtown but stressed it was nothing solid. The park district, which manages land on the riverfront and controls the CEFCU concert venue, has not been approached by air show officials for the use of their facilities, she said.  "It could happen downtown. That wold be really cool but I have no formal knowledge of such a move," she said.

Since 2002, the airport has contracted the not-for-profit, Bloomington-based Prairie Air Show Inc. to put on air shows at the Peoria airport, bringing in Thunderbirds, Blue Angels and a number of popular military jump teams. The most recent three-year contract ended last year, despite two, one-year extensions available.  Airport officials have raised concerns with air show organizers about security breaches at gates, cleanup of trash and debris after shows, getting timely approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and other issues, but say none of it was addressed.

"As of right now, there will be no air show,' Gene Olson, director of airports for the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria, said last month. 'And that's kind of what the board wanted to do - to take a year off, and then start fresh in 2013."

For more complete details, please see tomorrow's Journal Star or check pjstar.com later.

25 Aircraft Maintenance Jobs Coming To Forsyth County, North Carolina

Winston-Salem, NC -- Piedmont Propulsion Systems in Forsyth County announced expansion plans Thursday.

The aircraft maintenance company plans to create 25 jobs and invest more than $1.6 million over the next 3 years. The company got a $50,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

According to a news release, the company "repairs and overhauls composite and metal blades, actuators, hubs, governors and control units for major propeller manufacturers." Piedmont Propulsion currently employs 31 full time and 4 part time workers. The company plans to renovate and move into space at Smith Reynolds Airport.

Airworthiness Directives: Cessna Aircraft Company Model 560XL

An unpublished Proposed Rule by the Federal Aviation Administration on 01/19/2012
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This document is unpublished, but on 01/19/2012 it is scheduled to be published and available on this page. Until then, you can download the pre-publication PDF version.
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Rockwell Collins Sees Business-Jet Upturn

By DAVID KESMODEL
The Wall Street Journal

Business-jet manufacturers have begun increasing production, signaling the start of a turnaround after a prolonged downturn, the top executive of aviation-electronics maker Rockwell Collins Inc. said.   "We see a positive direction for the first time in three years," Rockwell's chairman and chief executive, Clay Jones, said on a conference call on Thursday.

Rockwell, which sells cockpit-electronics and other communications systems to Bombardier Inc., Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and other business-jet manufacturers, reported a 14% decline in fiscal first-quarter earnings on Thursday but posted results that beat Wall Street forecasts.  Mr. Jones said business-jet makers recently informed the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company they are raising production levels this year. He predicted the sector could increase sales in 2012 by percentages "in the low double digits" over last year on "generally improving economic conditions around the world."

"It's not a land rush, but after three years of misery, any improvement is encouraging, and we're seeing that improvement generally across the board," Mr. Jones said in an interview. He cautioned that much of the increased activity likely will be felt in the second half of the calendar year.  Among the encouraging signs: production rates for midsize and light business jets are starting to improve, Mr. Jones said. Sales of smaller business jets have been hit especially hard during the slump, while larger, longer-range business jets have proved resilient. More... 

Sky high: Gander International Airport saw big jump in traffic in 2011

Last year was a busy one at the Gander International Airport, and there are no signs things are going to slow down anytime soon.

Gary Vey, President and CEO of the Gander International Airport Authority, is shown at his office that overlooks the tarmac. Traffic at the airport increased 19 per cent last year over 2010, the highest number of movements at the airport since 1989.

The airport posted a 19 per cent increase in traffic over the previous year, making it one of the most active years at the airport in recent memory. "It would certainly be a record increase in the last 20 or 30 years," said Gary Vey, President and CEO of the Gander International Airport Authority. "That's the biggest amount of traffic we've seen since 1989."

Mr. Vey said there are a number of factors that contributed to the growth. "It's a combination of the economy, and increased flight capacity here in Gander, and people are travelling more than they have in the past," he said. "It's a combination of all that." The coming year is poised to be just as busy. Air Canada recently announced it was adding a second daily flight between Gander and Labrador to its schedule.

"We just picked up that second flight, so we're hopeful that's going to be successful, and that should add to our numbers," said Mr. Vey. "We're really hoping for increased capacity. Demand is pretty high." The airport has direct, year-round service to Halifax, Goose Bay and St. John's, with seasonal service to Toronto, Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. More......

Louisiana: Two dead in St. Mary Parish helicopter crash


Cenac Marine Services attorney Berwick Duval identified the passenger as Lanny Ledet, manager of the company's Golden Ranch Plantation in Gheens. He says the pilot was not a Cenac employee. Authorities have not released the pilot's name.

MORGAN CITY -- The helicopter that crashed in St. Mary Parish this morning is owned by Cenac Marine Services LLC of Houma, LA, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's registry.

Someone who answered the telephone at Cenac Marine this morning confirmed it is their helicopter, but could not release additional information.

A Robinson R-44 helicopter crashed around 7:30 a.m. today in a marshy area about 13 miles southwest of Morgan City, according to FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

Two people are reported dead.

MORGAN CITY — The Associated Press is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration through law enforcement that two people are dead in a helicopter crash in St. Mary Parish this morning.

John Sonnier, public information officer with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office, tells The Daily Advertiser that they received a call at 9:01 a.m. today, apparently from a boater, reporting he saw a helicopter crash around Wax Lake between Morgan City and Franklin.

The Sheriff's Office, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Coast Guard are among those responding.

Airports Authority gives nod for parallel taxiway at Mangalore airport

The board of Airports Authority of India (AAI) has approved construction of a parallel taxiway at Mangalore airport in Karnataka.

The new taxiway proposed to be built at a cost of Rs 45.36 crore, will connect the apron at the new integrated terminal building with the runway. The existing taxiway at the airport, which connects the apron to runway, is around 250 mtrs. Process for awarding tenders for the construction of the new parallel taxiway is likely to begin soon. The project is expected to be completed by June 2013. Currently, Mangalore airport has two runways.

Airport Authority panel won't vote on Reno Air Races permit today

The chairman for a special Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority said this morning that the panel would not be voting on whether to give the Reno Air Racing Association a special event license for this year’s event.

Instead, the public hearing this morning will be for information-gathering only. Chairman Jerry Hall first asked for a moment of silence in memory of the victims of last year’s deadly crash during the Reno National Championship Air Race.

After this hearing, Hall said his four-member committee would make a recommendation concerning the special event license to the airport authority. More.....

Qantas explosion caused by defect - ATSB preliminary report


A DEFECTIVE pipe triggered the chain of events that resulted in a mid-air explosion on a Qantas superjumbo, a preliminary report has found.  The 2010 explosion tore through the aircraft's second engine about 15 minutes after the Sydney-bound QF32 plane carrying hundreds of passengers took off from Singapore's Changi Airport.

In the report made public today, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the manufacturing defect in the pipe caused an oil fire, starting a "sequence of events" that ultimately led to engine failure.  "That defect resulted in fatigue cracking in the pipe, so that oil sprayed into an engine cavity where it ignited because of the high air temperature," the report said.

The oil fire then weakened a turbine disc in the aircraft's second engine, the investigation found: "As a result, the disc separated from its shaft, increased its rotation speed and broke into several parts."  Sections of the fractured disc and other engine components went on to penetrate the aircraft's left wing, along with other areas of the plane, causing major structural damage. More...

Fake Ryanair pilots sentenced for smuggling cocaine into Spain

One was a flight attendant for the airline and obtained the pilots' uniforms which helped them to bypass airport security

A gang which used fake pilots to bypass airport security and smuggle regular shipments of cocaine into the country has been sentenced by the Alicante provincial court, after 13 kilos of cocaine were discovered at their drugs store in Benidorm. The street value of the drugs found there in a police swoop in July 2009 is given at close to half a million €.

One of the defendants was a flight attendant for Ryanair who obtained pilots’ uniforms for himself and an accomplice, allowing them to bypass security at Barajas Airport. The attendant, José Antonio H.P., had been under investigation since the start of 2009 and is thought to have been paid 20,000 € for each of the trips that he made as a drugs courier. The two men have each been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.  More.....

Piper PA-24-180 Comanche, N7648P: Fatal 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 as follows:
The flight crew’s loss of airplane control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

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. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

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. 

TESTS AND RESEARCH

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.