Friday, February 03, 2012

Cessna 172E Skyhawk, N3879S: Accident occurred February 03, 2012 in Dinsmore, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA090
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 03, 2012 in Dinsmore, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172E, registration: N3879S
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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

According to postaccident statements from both pilots, the flight instructor took control of the airplane from the student pilot either at touchdown or just before. The airplane bounced several times after touchdown while veering to the right, and the right main wheel rolled off the 48-foot wide runway into the grass. The flight instructor added full engine power to go around. The flight instructor stated that he pulled back on the yoke to try to clear the trees beyond the end of the runway, and the airplane stalled and hit the ground. After the airplane’s right wing tip contacted the ground, the airplane reversed direction and came to a stop. Shortly after the airplane came to rest, a postimpact fire began, which consumed the airplane. The student pilot, who was the airplane owner, reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The flight instructor's delayed remedial action, inadequate recovery from a bounced landing, and failure to attain/maintain adequate airspeed during an attempted go-around.

On February 3, 2012, about 1230 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172E, N3879S, veered off runway 27 during an aborted landing at the Dinsmore (uncontrolled) airport, Dinsmore, California. The airplane came to rest in a field about 50 yards beyond the runway’s end. A post impact ground fire occurred, which consumed the substantially damaged airplane. The commercial pilot holds a certified flight instructor (CFI) certificate, and he was seriously injured. The CFI was providing flight instruction to a student pilot, who was the airplane’s registered owner. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 1115.

The student pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that the CFI directed him to land at the Dinsmore airport. However, on final approach, the CFI took the flight controls away from him. The student released the controls, and he did not touch them again. The wing flaps were extended to the 30-degree setting, and the CFI attempted to land. After touching down on the runway, the airplane bounced several times, the right main wheel rolled off the 48-foot wide runway into the grass, and the CFI attempted to go around. The CFI added full engine power, and the stall warning sounded as the airplane veered back across the runway as it continued to bounce. After the airplane’s right wing tip contacted the ground, the airplane reversed direction as it cartwheeled to a stop. Shortly after coming to rest, a post impact fire began, which consumed the airplane.

During a telephone conversation the CFI said they took off from Garberville about 1130 for an instructional session. He said he does not recall completely but believes he took over the controls either just after the student had landed or just before he touched down. The airplane was veering to the right and he decided to do a go around. The stall warning was going off during the go around at the west end of the runway. He said he was trying to go over the trees beyond the end of the runway; he pulled on the yoke to clear the trees and the airplane stalled and hit the ground.

The student pilot owner said there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

 On 2-3-2012, approximately 12:30 p.m., The Humboldt County Sheriffs Office was notified of an airplane crash at the Dinsmore Airport, Humboldt County. The plane was reported to have struck nose down, and had two occupants that were both injured.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies and medical personnel were immediately dispatched to the scene, along with a California Highway Patrol Helicopter. A Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy was also dispatched to the scene to assist due to the proximity of the airport to Trinity County.

When deputies arrived they learned the plane was a Cessna Model 172 E, built in 1963. The plane crashed as it was landing, and is reported to possibly have stalled. Two Cal-Trans workers were working on Highway 36, and heard and saw the crash. They rushed to aid the injured pilot and passenger. They assisted with removing both victims from the plane before it caught fire and burned. The plane was piloted by a 65 year old male flight instructor from Garberville when it crashed. The other victim was a 30 year old male student pilot from Redway. The 65 year instructor was flown to Redding Mercy Hospital for treatment for broken bones. The student pilot received only minor injuries.

Mike Downey

According to the photographer, Dottie Simmons, “The fuel was ejected burning for some distance….There is nothing left of the plane. But everyone will be OK. That is the plane owner talking to Sheriff Deputy.” She also added, “It was 2 people, one with minor injuries and one flown out with moderate injuries, a few broken bones but, as far as I know, nothing extremely serious.”

UPDATE 1:50 P.M.: KIEM is reporting,

Witnesses on the Scene say one person has been “life flighted” away from the scene. Reports are still coming into our newsroom but what we are being told is that plane was trying to land, flipped over and caught on fire.

UPDATE: 1:47 P.M.: The Humboldt Co. Sheriff Spokesperson Lt. Steve Knight says that “we just got on scene. No details yet.” I’ll update as information comes in.

UPDATE 1:03 P.M.:

The Record Searchlight is reporting,

A California Highway Patrol accident web site, which lists the 12:27 p.m., incident as an aircraft emergency, reports that those who were on the aircraft are out of it and that there were injuries. The extent of those injuries were not identified.

Flames were visible and it was reported that 29 gallons of gas were on board the six-seat airplane.


A plane is said to have crashed at the Dinsmore Airport. Nosedown from first reports. Southern Trinity Area Rescue refused to confirm or deny reports citing that there was too much happening at the time for them to respond to questions. A resident though confirmed that “there was a plane incident” and said there were county vehicles etc. at the accident.

Lyle Johnson

Rescue crews at the scene of a plane crash Friday afternoon near the Dinsmore Airport in Humboldt County. The plane caught fire. At least one person survived the crash and was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

DINSMORE -- A 65-year-old man identified as a flight instructor from Garberville suffered major facial injuries and a broken leg in an airplane crash at the Humboldt County-owned Dinsmore airport off Highway 36 near the Humboldt-Trinity border.

The flight instructor, who was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding for treatment, was able to get out of the airplane with his student before it was engulfed in flames, emergency personnel reported en route to the hospital.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the 30-year-old student from Redway suffered bruises and scrapes in the crash.

The airplane, which crashed nose first, is registered to Tyler P. Lewis of Redway, according to FAA records.

A California Highway Patrol accident web site, which listed the 12:27 p.m., incident as an aircraft emergency, reported shortly after the crash that flames were visible and that 29 gallons of gas were on board the six-seat Cessna 172 aircraft.

The FAA spokesman said the aircraft, which was manufactured in 1963, was destroyed and the cause of the crash, which occurred off the end of the airport's runway, was not yet known.

It was reported that the airplane had stalled as it tried to land and that California Department of Transportation crews working on Highway 36 heard and saw the plane crash, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said.

They rushed to aid of the injured pilot and his passenger, he said, adding that they helped the pair get out of the plane before it caught fire and burned.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

SIU Aviation Students Rack Up Hours. (With Video)

JACKSON COUNTY - Cleared for takeoff.... That's what most students in SIU's aviation program have heard this winter. With only a few winter weather events so far this season, students are spending more time in the sky.

"The more that a student gets done, the quicker they can move through, which obviously helps our retention of those students as well as the graduation rates," says Mike Robertson, an assistant professor at SIU, "Even though last January, if you look back, was a pretty dry one, we still a lot of low-cloud days where we couldn't fly. We had many days like today where it's been sunny and unlimited visibility which has been very nice for the students to get stuff done."

In addition to the sunny skies, SIU aviation students also have new equipment. The school purchased five new Cessna Skyhawk airplanes. It's just another way SIU is preparing its students for the workforce.

"It allows us to keep up with the technology that's out there in the industry. Many airlines and corporate planes that are out there that these students will be flying will have this ethnology -- so it will expose them to the technology during their training. "

The new planes came at a cost of more than a million dollars -- paid for with student flight fees. They include different instrument displays, a moving map and enhanced GPS.

Old Town native joins Maine Warden Service as Eagle Lake pilot

The Maine Warden Service is pleased to announce the hiring of a new Game Warden Pilot for the Eagle Lake patrol. Alex Candlin Barry, a Maine native from Old Town, was selected to fill a vacancy left after the premature death of Warden Pilot Daryl R. Gordon.

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — A new pilot for the Maine Warden Service was selected Friday to fill a vacancy left after a veteran pilot was killed in a plane crash last year.

Officials with the warden service announced Friday that Alex Candlin Barry, an Old Town native and University of Maine graduate, was hired for the Eagle Lake patrol. He takes over the area once served by Warden Pilot Daryl R. Gordon, a 25-year veteran who died last March when his plane crashed on Clear Lake in a remote section of Piscataquis County

Gordon, 60, of Eagle Lake was patrolling alone. He was the 15th game warden to die in the line of duty in the Maine Warden Service’s 130-year history.

Barry holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and joined the Maine Air National Guard in 2003. He attended Air Force pilot training and also attended KC-135 tanker training in Oklahoma. He has been a full-time aircraft commander in KC-135 tankers stationed out of Bangor since April 2005.

Barry gained civilian flight experience with a family-owned Cessna 180 and 185.

“I am very excited to have this position and I am looking forward to getting out and working with department employees,” he said in a written statement Friday.

Warden pilots must possess a commercial pilot license and have experience in the operation of aircraft in bush-type conditions. State officials said that 19 pilots from across the country applied for the position.

“I am very pleased that we were able to bring Alex aboard,” said Chief Pilot Charles Later. “His flight experience in the same type of Cessna’s that we operate all four seasons across the state is crucial to the position. As an aircraft commander for the Maine Air Guard, he has demonstrated the ability to make critical decisions that not only affect the safety of a multi-million dollar aircraft, but more importantly that of his crew.”

Barry is working with Later out of the Greenville Air Base to become familiar with warden service air operations. He will be assuming the Eagle Lake patrol next week.

St. George Municipal Airport provides for emergency belly landing

Emergency belly-landing at St. George Municipal Airport 
Photo courtesy of St. George Municipal Airport

Airport belly-landed on foamed runway | Photo courtesy of St. George Municipal Airport

Emergency belly-landing at St. George Municipal Airport 
Photo courtesy of St. George Municipal Airport

ST. GEORGE – A privately owned aircraft, Air Canada CT-133, suffered a landing gear malfunction in flight this afternoon on approach to St. George Municipal Airport, requiring an emergency landing.

“The pilot got one gear down but could not get the other one down,” said Brad Kitchen, Airport Operations Supervisor and Aircraft Rescue Firefighter for the Airport.

In coordination with Kitchen and Airport Fire Rescue, the pilot retracted the gears and prepared for an emergency landing. ”We foamed the runway, the plane was landed without incident, and they came out,” said Kitchen. The plane was then also foamed as a fire prevention measure.

The plane carried two people, pilot and co-pilot, both local to St. George area and neither were harmed in the incident. There names are not being released at this time.

St. George Fire Department was also on scene as a back-up, although the only service required of it was the refilling of water for the Airport’s firefighters.

Airshow display plane makes emergency landing at St George Municipal Airport(KSGU), Utah.


The Spectrum & Daily News

ST. GEORGE – There were no injuries this afternoon when a vintage civilian aircraft painted as Blue Angel plane made an emergency landing without landing gear at the St. George Municipal Airport.

The runway was foamed prior to landing and fire and ambulance crews were called to the scene. A Life Flight helicopter was placed on standby, but was not needed.

Despite the rough landing, the pilot emerged unscathed.

“They couldn’t have done a better job,” said airport manager Rich Stehmeier, praising the efforts of the pilot and emergency personnel. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

According to Herb Gillen, spokesman for the upcoming Thunder Over Utah air show featuring the Blue Angels, the aircraft involved is not one used in the show. He added the plane, a vintage T-33, was painted to look like a U.S. Navy Blue Angel aircraft, but was not an official Blue Angel plane.

“This is an aircraft that is scheduled to be on static display,” Gillen said. “It won’t fly in the air show.”

Gillen said the pilot was not associated with the Blue Angels.

“He was a private civilian aviator,” Gillen said, adding the plane sustained minimal damage. “He came in, did a belly landing and executed it perfectly.”

Crews are currently working with a crane to remove the aircraft from the runway. Stehmeier said that process shouldn’t take long, adding that significant airport delays would be unlikely.

Occupants escape injury after pilot performs belly-landing

Two people escaped injury Friday after the pilot of small plane performed a belly-landing at St. George’s airport.

Airport firefighter Mike Wilde said the pilot of the an old military plane had been performing maneuvers and was getting ready to land when he realized one of his main landing gear had locked up and wouldn’t lower.

Wilde said the pilot eventually decided to raise all the landing gear and attempt to touch down without any gear, on the plane’s belly.

Rescue crews sprayed foam down the runway to aid the landing of the plane, which was carrying about 100 gallons of fuel.

Wilde said the plane slid about 5,000 feet down the tarmac, sparking a small fire in the craft which firefighters quickly extinguished.

"As bad as it could have been, it turned out very well," he said.

Reno Air Racing Foundation welcomes new board member

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & - The Reno Air Racing Foundation welcomes Jack Prescott, market president for U.S. Bank, as the most recent addition to the board of directors. In his new role, Prescott will assist the board in its promotion of aviation through a variety of programs focusing on literacy, math, science and history.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jack Prescott to our organization and know that he will assist in our mission to encourage aviation in the lives of our youth and be a driving force in the world of flight,” said Gary McDonald, Chair of RARF. “His professional experience will be a great addition to our team, helping us to both educate and inspire.”

Prescott is no stranger to community involvement and volunteerism efforts. In addition to selling pit passes for ten consecutive years at the National Championship Air Races, Prescott also spent his time fundraising and volunteering for organizations such as Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Partners in Education, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce and Education Collaborative of Washoe County. Furthermore, as an aviation enthusiast and local flight instructor, Prescott spends time teaching grade school students basic aviation skills to spark their interest in aviation oriented careers.

Bogota's airport faulty practices 'endangers travelers'

Bogota's El Dorado airport is having technical issues that are endangering passengers and crews, radio station Caracol reported Friday.

Caracol's report is based on the airport controller's daily activities from 7PM on Tuesday February 31st to 1PM on Thursday February 2nd.

During that two day period the El Dorado air control tower lost the radio frequencies that connect it to airplanes no less than ten times. Another frightening occurrence called duplicity, when the tower's computer panel shows two planes where there is only one, occurred seven times.

On the first of February at 7PM, an Avianca flight was duplicated on the computer panel, the incident forced the pilot to continue the flight without aid from the control tower.

Just half an hour later the control tower lost its radio frequency for over three minutes. The malfunction lead two flights to pass each other with only a four-mile distance between them.

Besides these dangerous flying conditions there are staffing issues as well. On Wednesday, one of the fifteen air traffic controllers on duty fell sick and left only five minutes into the shift leaving the control tower short-staffed for the rest of the day.

Another major issue is the waiting time that flights face when landing in Bogota. An unnamed source told Caracol that between the hours of 12 noon and 2PM on Wednesday, there were 30 flights circling the city, waiting to land. These delays impact not only the passengers but the airlines who have to pay for the cost of fuel to keep these planes waiting or to send them to airports in other Colombian cities.

The report concludes with a demand for an explanation from Colombia's department of Civil Aeronautics about these problems and why they continue to allow conditions that threaten the lives of users of air transport, businesses, and citizens who may suffer the consequences of a plane crash.

World War II Veteran, 89, Flies Again Above South Florida. Stuart Newman said flying in the B-17 was "a real thrill"

Andy Newman

Stuart G. Newman, 89, manipulates a target locator aboard a B-17 Friday over Fort Lauderdale. Newman, a B-17 navigator/bombardier during World War II, had an opportunity to fly in the vintage aircraft operated by the Collings Foundation, a Massachusetts-based organization that tours the B-17 and other historic World War II aircraft around the U.S. Newman's last mission on a B-17 was over Europe in April 1945. The B-17, a P-51 and a B-24 are on display at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport through Monday morning, and then will be at Florida Keys Marathon Airport for touring from Monday afternoon through Wednesday at noon.

Stuart Newman flew his last mission of World War II 67 years ago, in the spring of 1945. On Friday he returned to the skies, high above South Florida, in a vintage B-17.

“It was a real thrill being up there, particularly with my son,” said Newman, 89. “Think about it, it’s 60, 65, 66 years since I actually flew this thing. And to be back here and relive those moments was something very, very special, I can tell you.”

Andy Newman arranged for the flight for his dad through the Collings Foundation, which has its fleet of World War II warbirds in town as part of a national tour.

The B-17, operated by a Collings Foundation crew, made a short trip from Tamiami-Miami Airport to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, with Newman manipulating a target locator.

Lt. Newman reflected back to his days with the U.S. Army Air Force, when he flew 35 missions as a B-17 navigator and bombardier. On the 25th he was shot down in Belgium, but British troops rescued him.

“We were convinced of our own immortality,” said Newman, who lives in Miami. “We didn’t think we were heroes. It’s just what we were doing day by day, and we were looking forward to the next meal more than anything else.”

Read more:

Mid-air collision injures 2 pilots in Air Force's AT-3

Two Air Force officers received minor fracture injuries yesterday when an AT-3 trainer plane belonging to the R.O.C. Air Force Academy crashed in a mountain region in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan after touching another plane in mid-air.

The two officers ejected and later landed with parachutes when their plane was completely destroyed.

Two other officers in a separate plane involved in the incident managed to fly back to the Gangshan Air Force Base in Kaohsiung city safe and sound.

Firefighters said the two injured officer were rushed to hospital for treatment. One of them had a bone fracture, while the other sustained hand injuries.

Maj. Gen. Ke Wen-an, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, identified the two rescued officers as 1st Lt. Tseng Kuo-wei, 26, taking the front seat. He has 426 hours of flight experience.

Taking the rear seat was Lt. Col. Chang Kuo-chiang, 37, who has logged 2,030 flight hours on various training and flight missions.

The Air Force Academy said the trainer planes took off from the air base at around 3:37 p.m. for routine training session of airborne formation.

But the incident took place when the AT-3 trainer jets were at 4:10 p.m. when they got too close with a gap of just three feet at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.

During the flight, the plane of Tseng and Chang touched the jet in front of them and clipped the left part of its horizontal stabilizer at the tail.

The slightly damaged plane managed to fly back to base.

But Tseng and Chang lost control of their plane which abruptly started dropping and forced them to jump out of the plane with parachutes before it crashed at the upstream section of Shiwen Creek on the border of Fangliao and Chunjih townships of Pingtung County.

Ke said preliminary probe ruled out foul weather factors or mechanical glitches. Human error during the training could have caused the mishap.

But he also stressed that the real factor will be determined only after the completion of more detailed investigation.

AT-3 aircraft have long been used in Taiwan for training Air Force pilots.

'The jets were also employed for flight shows for certain events. Several AT-3 jets took part in the Oct. 10 National Day celebrations of the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) last year by flying over the Presidential Office in Taipei and releasing colored smoke trails over the sky.

But AT-3 aircraft were also known to have been involved in several incidents resulting in the deaths of seven pilots and injuring another nine since 1988.

Cartels Take Drug War To The Skies: Smugglers Transport Drugs In Ultra-Light Planes

POSTED: 8:49 am MST February 3, 2012
UPDATED: 9:07 am MST February 3, 2012

DEMING, N.M. -- New Mexico's southern border with Mexico is the main ground for the trafficking war against illegal drugs, but Target 7 has learned smugglers have taken the battle to the air.

Authorities said age-old drug smuggling techniques are as strong as ever.

"(The drugs are hidden) in gas tanks, propane tanks, tires, things like that or simply backpacked across from Mexico," New Mexico State Police Officer Beau Johnston said.

But a new threat from above is emerging along our southern border, and law enforcement representatives admit that a lot of their tools don't do much good when it comes to fighting it.

Target 7 obtained nighttime video from the National Geographic Channel's "Border Wars" that shows an ultra-light aircraft zipping across the border, dropping illegal drugs and then disappearing into the night.

"If they get away with it once or twice, what is to say I can't do it three or four more times," Johnston said.

Johnston is one of the state police's top drug trackers and has closed the books on hundreds of cases. But when his department stumbled on a wrecked ultra-light aircraft near New Mexico's bootheel last August, Johnston knew it was something different.

"(They're) cost effective and harder to detect," Johnston said.

Some of the planes cost as little as a few thousand dollars and they can swoop in to make precise drops below 500 feet. They fly so low that radar detection is difficult at best.

While smugglers continue to use traditional methods, federal authorities said they've documented more than 500 flights across the border in the past few years.

Sen. Tom Udall, along with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, sounded a major congressional wake-up call by getting legislation passed to stiffen the penalty for using ultra-lights to transport drugs.

"You're, in a very real sense, flying under most of the protection that the US has put there on the border," Udall said.

Johnston said it's a step in the right direction, but the border battle rages on.

"What worked last year, may not work this year. So we've got to stay current," Johnston said.

Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority: CEO dumps 'Far from expected'. New marketing plan introduced

Written by Bill O’Driscoll

Four weeks into his new job, Chris Baum has been a busy CEO at the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority.

A new marketing campaign targeting Northern California will be up and running by March 1. The tourism agency’s slogan, “Far from expected,” is gone. And the word is out to staff: As a destination, Reno-Tahoe will not escape prospective tourists’ attention.

“We want people to have Reno-Tahoe tops in their minds, whether they want it or not ... something they can’t escape,” Baum told the RSCVA board Thursday in his first monthly report. “We are keeping the logo. It’s good, solid and competitive. ‘Far from expected’ is dead. We’re not using that anymore.

“I think we can do a lot better, and we will,” he said. “We’re getting somewhere in my first 27 days. There’s a lot more to come. No reason to waste time.”

Baum’s no-nonsense demeanor in the face of recession impressed board members — just as it did in December when they unanimously approved him after a two-hour interview. “Way to hit the ground running,” said Beth Cooney, executive director of marketing at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

“There’s a new captain in the house,” said Glenn Carano, a Silver Legacy Resort Casino executive. “I look forward to (Baum’s) aggressiveness in marketing. We’re marching forward.”

He later added to Baum, “Thank you very much” for the decision to discard the “Far from expected” slogan that dates to 2009 and Baum’s predecessor, Ellen Oppenheim.

Baum, a former Detroit tourism executive, took the $225,000-a-year post after a nearly year-long search to replace Oppenheim, who resigned last February amid faltering room tax revenues and budget cuts that cost the agency dozens of jobs.

Baum told the board he is working with Stan Can Design, an advertising/branding firm in Reno, to develop the radio/billboard marketing campaign across Northern California, the Reno-Tahoe region’s primary tourist draw.

“I think you’ll be very pleased with the new message,” he said. “We want people not to just look at the ads but create trips. Stay tuned for what we think will be a very exciting turning point for this organization.”

Discussion also focused on the region’s image after last fall’s National Championship Air Races crash, which killed 11 and injured more than 70, and the fatal biker gang shooting at the Nugget during Street Vibrations, as well as the more recent wildfires which destroyed a total of 59 homes.

Baum downplayed any adverse impact from these events on the region’s tourism.

“The fires are the story more people recall,” he said. “Planes crash, people get shot. These stories blend into the wallpaper. When some jerk drops ashes out in a field, I don’t think it’ll hurt us at all.”


On Thursday, the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority approved a dozen 2012 special events receiving a total of $197,500 in RSCVA funds as recommended by an independent review panel:
$75,000: National Championship Air Races
$40,000: Reno Tahoe Open
$10,000: Great Reno Balloon Race
$10,000: Beach Sports Festival
$10,000: Reno River Festival
$10,000: American Cowboy Team Roping Association National Finals
$10,000: Xtreme Bulls
$10,000: Street Vibrations Fall Rally
$7,500: Artown
$5,000: Street Vibrations Spring Rally
$5,000: USA BMX Silver Dollar Nationals
$5,000: Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival


Convention will affect airspace over Tampa, Florida

By TED JACKOVICS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 03, 2012

TAMPA -- Airspace over parts of Tampa could be closed at times during the Republican National Convention and other restrictions on flights could be in effect throughout the Aug. 27-30 event, local officials said Thursday.

Commercial flights at Tampa International and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International airports probably will be unaffected by additional security involving the RNC.

The issues are among those convention planners and aviation officials are grappling with as they prepare to deal with 50,000 visitors, many arriving on airline, charter and general aviation flights, and the activities of 7,500 volunteers, several thousand of whom might be working at Tampa International. The effort is similar to planning for a Super Bowl, though on a larger scale.

"This has a different feel and a different set of demographics," Tampa International Airport vice president of operations Ed Cooley said.

Cooley has headed the aviation subcommittee working in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Host Committee and city, state and federal officials since March 2011. Robert Burr, another veteran Tampa International executive, will take over Cooley's RNC obligations when Cooley retires at the end of the month.

The event is big enough that the military will assign fighter jets to patrol the area at various times.

The impact of the influx of visitors will be most evident on the ground. The Transportation Security Administration will assign additional security officers to keep passenger lines moving smoothly.

Many of the 300 luxury buses that will be chartered to provide trips for delegates between hotels in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the downtown Tampa convention site will be making trips to and from the airport.

He said the airport also must plan to handle more rental cars, taxis and limousines.

"How're we going to get the most out of our time on the international stage?" he said. "We are going to put our brand out there."

The undetermined variable throughout the convention period is the number, whereabouts and impact of protesters.

"Who knows if it's going to be 5,000, 2,000 or 10,000 protesters?" Cooley said. Local planners generally cite a figure of 10,000 protesters, although some try to downplay those numbers.

Tampa officials are working with aviation officials in Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee, Polk, Pasco and Hernando counties on convention-related issues.

As a result of temporary flight rule restrictions prohibiting general aviation aircraft within a 10-mile airspace radius of the event during specified periods of time, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is preparing for a large influx in general aviation and corporate traffic, spokeswoman Michele Routh said. That will mean some secondary runways will have to be closed to park the overflow jets and planes.

Man disregarded no-fly order to go fly, feds say

Andy Johnson, left, owner of Tidewater Flight Center, watches as student Nathan Estes checks out one of the flight school's planes at Chesapeake Regional Airport on Wednesday, July 19, 2006.
(Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)

Andy Johnson was charged with flying without a valid pilot's license.

By Tim McGlone, The Virginian-Pilot
February 3, 2012


During a day of flight instruction over Chesapeake Regional Airport last fall, pilot Andy Johnson, flying a vintage two-seater, performed a triple spin and other aerobatics, including a simulated engine failure that caused the plane to plummet from the sky.

With his student behind the controls in the back seat, Johnson helped guide the plane in for a landing from the front seat. The plane bounced on the runway, and as they tried to stabilize it the propeller struck the ground. Neither was hurt.

But the real problem that day, according to federal authorities, is that Johnson's pilot's license had been revoked after previously being suspended.

In a rare federal prosecution, Johnson was charged with flying without a valid pilot's license. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in U.S. District Court this morning and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

The criminal case is a culmination of numerous problems for Johnson and his now-defunct Tidewater Flight School.

Johnson, 30, of Barnards Cove Road in Virginia Beach, opened his school in 2006 at the Chesapeake airport, located among farmlands in the southern end of the city. He had obtained his first pilot's license in 1998, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Business took off for Johnson in those initial years. He went from training with one plane to having 20 employees and 18 aircraft, according to an interview Johnson did in June last year with Inside Business. He told the newspaper he had opened a satellite training center at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

By last spring, the Chesapeake Airport Authority began having issues with the way Johnson was operating his business. Instead of signing off on a new annual lease in April, the authority voted to offer Johnson a month-to-month lease, according to minutes of the authority's meetings last year.

When Johnson's lease came up for annual approval in August, the authority had reservations. Authority Chairman Kevin Hubbard said he couldn't recommend approval without significant management changes at the flight school, according to the August meeting minutes.

The board voted to approve another one-month lease as long as Johnson removed himself as general manager, which he did, according to the minutes.

Hubbard said this week that the authority at that time had been made aware of issues with Johnson and his license. Meeting minutes from August say that the FAA investigated Johnson and his company for flying planes in unfavorable conditions caused by a fire in the Great Dismal Swamp. No citations were issued.

"We were told at one point that there was a suspension, or that he had voluntarily turned it in," Hubbard said. "We have been given information with issues and what the FAA was looking into."

The FAA first suspended Johnson's pilot's license for 120 days in 2009, based on incidents that occurred in 2007 and 2008.

Records provided by the FAA say that Johnson operated an aircraft "in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another." The records also say that he operated planes that were not in airworthy condition. The agency would not provide more specific details.

The FAA said it later discovered that Johnson, on at least nine occasions, flew various aircraft in violation of the suspension order. As a result, on June 13 last year, the FAA revoked Johnson's pilot's license for 10 months.

According to a court filing, that didn't stop Johnson, either. He continued flying and giving lessons out of the Chesapeake airport.

On Sept. 23, he took an unidentified student up in a Citabria two-seater, a plane designed for aerobatics. The student, sitting in the front seat, conducted four landings without incident.

Four days later, Johnson and the student went up again. This time Johnson was in the front and the student in the back.

Johnson demonstrated for the student a three-rotation spin, two loops, two rolls, and an emergency decent after a simulated engine failure, according to the court filing. On their second attempt to land, the plane bounced and the propeller struck the runway.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General opened an investigation and filed the criminal charge against Johnson last Friday. In its complaint, an agent reported that Johnson asked the student not to tell anyone about what had happened. The student refused.

The student "further stated that he would have never taken flight instruction or flown with Johnson if he knew that Johnson was prohibited from flying," an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint says. The affidavit also states that Johnson gave a lesson to another student on Oct. 7.

At the airport authority's November meeting, the board voted to terminate its contract with Johnson and his flight school, according to minutes of that meeting.

Other court records state that Johnson was giving lessons to other students during this period as well.

Three of his former students have filed lawsuits in Chesapeake General District Court seeking the return of their flight school fees after Johnson closed down.

One student, a Navy man, paid Johnson $2,500 in advance for flight lessons he never received, according to the man's lawyer, Albert Hartley. The student didn't know Johnson's license had been revoked at the time.

Now, the student is out of luck in getting his money back, even though he sued Johnson. Johnson filed for bankruptcy Jan. 10, giving him protection from creditors while his finances are sorted out in court. (The bankruptcy filing says Johnson's company had revenues of $700,000 last year.)

"My poor Navy guy says I don't understand how they can do this," Hartley said. "My guy would have never paid him money if he knew his license was revoked."

Johnson, through his attorney Tim Anderson, declined to comment.

According to DOT records, this is only the third time in the past 18 months that the agency has charged someone with flying without a license.


Piper PA-24-180, 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.


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.

Oulton Hues

Robert Walker

February 3, 2012
Written by David Still II

Molly Johnston has questions, and she asked them at the Feb. 1 meeting of the Cape Area Pilots Association at Cape Cod Community College.

On Jan. 15 her husband, Robert Walker of East Falmouth, was killed when the 1961 Piper Comanche they co-owned crashed off Brewster. Oulton Hues, 73, of Edgartown and Norwood was also on board and killed in the accident.

Two radio transmissions – one indicating smoke in the cockpit, the other that it had cleared – were received at the Barnstable Municipal Airport Tower, both sent by Walker.

Johnston said she reported the plane overdue to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, contacted the State Police and Coast Guard and other agencies, and was told by each that they would get back to her. None did, she said.

Johnston is an instrument-rated pilot and the immediate past president of CAPA. She said that as she sought answers, she called the wife of Hues, who indicated a state trooper was in her yard, but wouldn’t say why. No trooper went to Johnston’s house.

By the time she was told that her husband died, she already knew, having received an update from the CBS website on her iPhone.

“It made a horrifying situation all the more horrifying,” Johnston told the Association.
“I want answers,” she said.

Among Johnston’s questions is why she, as co-owner of the plane, was not contacted or questioned as part of the search investigation. Her husband filed the IFR (instrument flight rules) plan for the flight and was known to be aboard.

More than that, she wants to know why “information was withheld by every agency I contacted.”

Along with an explanation as to why she could not get any responding agency to call her back, Johnston would like the public record clarified regarding the plane’s maintenance record. Johnston said that the plane was last inspected in July 2011, not June 2010 as indicated in the initial reporting.

The meeting’s main speaker was Amy Lind Corbett, the New England Regional Administrator, who heard Johnston’s questions.

Before starting her talk, Corbett acknowledged Johnston and offered her condolences. She said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident and the FAA is assisting.

Corbett said such investigations are done “with the hope that this type of accident will never be repeated.”

Along with an overview of her background and the FAA’s New England Region, Corbett’s presentation included a brief film on the next wave of air traffic control and safety technology, which relies on satellites, plane-to-plane to plane and plane-to-ground tracking systems pioneered in Alaska.