A lawsuit filed against the federal government by a Beaufort couple whose home was badly damaged in the 2007 crash that killed a Blue Angels pilot could be headed for trial.
George and Shirley Smith filed the suit in October 2010, claiming their home on Pine Grove Road was destroyed in April 2007 when the landing-gear assembly of an F-18 Hornet piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis crashed through the roof of their one-story house, according to federal court documents.
The couple is seeking $2.45 million, claiming they continue to feel the psychological effects of the crash and that their property is similarly "psychologically affected," and continues to lose value.
Attorneys for the government asked U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houk to dismiss the suit, claiming the Smiths already accepted a settlement, which relieves the Navy of any liability for the property damage.
Houk ordered the parties to mediation, and said if they could not reach an agreement, they should be ready for trial no later than April 30, according to federal court records.
No agreement has been reached, court records show.
A psychologist from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston was deposed last month after reviewing the couple's medical records, and diagnosed Shirley Smith as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the crash, according to a copy of the evaluation.
George Smith also was diagnosed as "stressed and compromised by the difficulties that stem from the Blue Angels crash," the evaluation said.
Attempts this week to reach the Smiths were unsuccessful.
The crash occurred during the 2007 Beaufort Air Show when Davis, a 32-year-old native of Pittsfield, Mass., became disoriented during a sharp turn that created gravitational forces almost seven times greater than normal.
In the performance's last maneuver, Davis was trailing the other pilots and accelerated to more than 425 mph. The sudden force caused him to lose awareness of his speed and altitude, investigators said.
Davis' F-18 Hornet clipped several trees and broke into pieces that were strewn across backyards near the intersection of Shanklin and Pine Grove roads.
Investigators say Davis never lost consciousness and likely steered the jet in its final moments to avoid hitting homes.
In addition to killing Davis, the crash injured eight people on the ground and damaged dozens of homes.
Jennifer Zeldis, spokeswoman for the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, said the Navy received 22 claims totaling $1.8 million in losses, and all of them have been paid.
According to a 700-page report on the crash released in January 2008, claims ranged from thousands of dollars in property damage, to those who said they were injured running from falling debris, to a man who said he lost his bifocals searching for Davis' body.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE PETERSON AFB AERO CLUB http://registry.faa.gov/N2696C FAA Flight Standards District Office:FAA Denver FSDO-03 Date:14-AUG-16 Time:20:00:00Z Regis#:N2696C Aircraft Make:CESSNA Aircraft Model:182 Event Type:Incident Highest Injury:None Damage:Unknown Flight Phase:LANDING (LDG) City:COLORADO SPRINGS State:Colorado AIRCRAFT ON LANDING, NOSE GEAR COLLAPSED, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO NTSB Identification: CEN12CA157 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Colorado Springs, CO Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/02/2012 Aircraft: CESSNA R182, registration: N2696C Injuries: 1 Minor.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report. The pilot was conducting a series of practice accuracy landings in preparation for a checkride. He reported that he inadvertently forgot to extend the landing gear. He added that he did not remember hearing the landing gear warning horn just before touchdown because he had allowed himself to become fixated on maneuvering the aircraft to the precise landing point. The airplane touched down on the runway surface with the landing gear retracted, which caused substantial damage to the fuselage structure. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions with the airplane. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot did not extend the landing gear before landing.
The Air Force and federal investigators are probing a Saturday incident that closed a runway at the Colorado Springs Airport.
Officials say a single-engine Cessna hit the runway with its landing gear retracted and skidded to a stop. The pilot, who sources said may have forgotten to deploy the gear, was unhurt. The pilot, who officials did not name, was the only person aboard the plane, said John McGinely, airport spokesman.
The plane was heavily damaged.
Firefighters were called the runway just after 2:20 p.m. as the plane, a Cessna Skylane, skidded over the concrete. The plane’s propeller slammed into runway, and the belly of the aircraft dragged sparks. The plane, though, did not catch fire.
The incident happened on a runway that wasn’t being used by commercial planes, so flights at the airport were not delayed. The runways at the airport are shared with neighboring Peterson Air Force Base.
The pilot had rented the Cessna from the Peterson Air Force Base Aero Club, McGinely said. In a news release, Peterson Air Force Base said the pilot landed with “an abnormal landing gear configuration on the airport’s runway 35-Right.”
“The 21st Space Wing’s Safety Office is conducting an investigation in concert with National Transportation Safety Board requirements,” the Air Force said.
The plane was hauled to a hangar, where investigators will examine it for evidence of what caused the belly-landing.
Peterson’s Aero Club is a recreation program run by the base that offers low-cost flight opportunities to military members and retirees. The Cessna that made the belly-landing and several like it are in frequent use at the airport as part of the program.
NTSB Identification: ERA11FA185 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Friday, March 11, 2011 in Smyrna, TN Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/27/2012 Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N310JR Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Shortly after departure, the airplane entered a rapid, full-power, near-vertical descent from about 2,700 feet above ground level to ground impact. The elevator trim actuator was found in the full tab-up or airplane nose-down position after the accident. The flight was the second flight of the day and was the fourth in a series of maintenance acceptance flights after the installation of a new avionics suite and a new autopilot system. Before the accident flight, all of the features of the autopilot system tested satisfactorily on the ground but did not yet function as designed in flight, as the airplane demonstrated a pitch-porpoise tendency when the altitude hold feature was engaged.
According to the technician who performed the installation and troubleshooting work on the airplane, he had accompanied the pilot on the first flight that day and had spoken to an autopilot manufacturing representative upon their return. Another troubleshooting procedure was performed, the technician left for lunch, and the pilot departed alone on the accident flight. When describing a previous test flight, the technician stated that the pilot worked the yoke against the autopilot, and, in response, the autopilot ran the elevator trim to the full nose-down position. The pilot responded by swiping both panel-mounted master switches to the off position (autopilot on/off switch and the trim on/off switch) then attempting to trim the airplane with the electric trim that he had just disabled. According to the technician, the pilot yelled at him to turn the system off, and the technician responded that it was off. He said that the pilot’s actions scared him and demonstrated to him that the pilot really didn't have control of the airplane. He noted that, "After the flight, I told [the pilot] he needed to go back and get in the books and learn to operate the system. He seemed very disoriented with the new technology on this flight and previous flights."
Based on the available evidence, it is likely that, after autopilot engagement, the airplane pitched down as a first action of the pitch porpoise, which may have still existed as a discrepancy in the autopilot operation. In response to the downward movement of the airplane, the pilot likely pulled back on the yoke in an effort to arrest the airplane's descent. As a result, the autopilot would have commanded the trim further toward the nose-down position. Such a scenario would require a greater and ever-increasing physical effort by the pilot to overcome the growing aerodynamic force that would result from the nose-down pitch and increasing speed of the airplane. The pilot may have removed one hand from the yoke to again reach for the panel-mounted trim and/or autopilot master switches. With that action, discounting any physical problem, he may have lost his single-handed grip on the control yoke, and the airplane descended in an unrecoverable nose-down attitude.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper response to a known autopilot pitch divergence anomaly. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to perform a test flight on a system for which he lacked a complete working knowledge.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On March 11, 2011, about 1343 central standard time, a Cessna 310R, N310JR, was substantially damaged during a collision with flat terrain following an uncontrolled descent after takeoff from Symrna/Rutherford County Airport (MQY), Symrna, Tennessee. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the test flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
A review of radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the radar target identified as the accident airplane was tracked for about two minutes of flight. The airplane departed MQY on a southerly heading and climbed to an altitude of 3,200 feet mean sea level (msl). The radar track showed two targets at 3,200 feet, a target at 3,100 feet, and then a target displayed at 2,700 feet. After that, no further targets were displayed. The targets were displayed at 6-second intervals, and the last few targets were almost directly over the crash site.
Several witnesses provided written statements, and all described a nose-down, vertical descent to ground contact. Witnesses described the engine sound as "Full throttle," "wide open," "really loud," and "never let up on [the] throttle." Others said the engine was "puttering" or "quit" before the descent. One said he thought the airplane was a "meteorite."
According to the airplane's owner, the flight was one in a series of maintenance acceptance flights after the installation of a new avionics suite and a new autopilot system. All of the features of the system tested satisfactorily on the ground, but did not yet function as designed in flight. According to the technician who performed the installation and troubleshooting work on the airplane, the accident flight was the second flight of the day, and the fourth in the series. He accompanied the pilot on the first flight that day, and had spoken to an autopilot manufacturing representative upon their return. Another troubleshooting procedure was performed, the technician left for lunch, and the pilot departed on his own.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on January 12, 2011, with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses." He reported 13,000 total hours of flight experience on that date.
The pilot's logbooks were not recovered; therefore, the entire scope of his experience could not be determined.
According to FAA records, an airworthiness certificate was issued for the airplane in 1994. According to recent maintenance records, the airplane had accrued 5,515.5 total aircraft hours. The most recent annual inspection was completed June 19, 2010, at 5,439.1 total aircraft hours.
In an interview, the avionics technician who had worked on the accident airplane said that he had completed an avionics installation, including “glass panel” flight instruments and a digital autopilot, on January 25, 2011. After the installation, a test flight was conducted by the accident pilot and the airplane was observed to "porpoise" when the altitude hold or vertical speed modes were engaged. Troubleshooting was conducted which included the installation of a new autopilot computer, as well as a second test flight on March 3, 2011. Ground testing of the unit produced satisfactory results prior to the test flight.
During the March 3, 2011 test flight, after engaging the altitude hold mode the airplane descended and the accident pilot pulled back on the yoke. At that time, the pilot turned off the autopilot and electric trim using the master switches installed on the instrument panel. The pilot instructed the avionics technician who had accompanied the pilot on the flight to turn the autopilot off because he could no longer maintain altitude. The technician informed the pilot that he, the pilot, had already disabled both the autopilot and the electric trim. The pilot then manually trimmed the airplane and the flight returned to the airport. At the end of the test flight the technician requested the accident pilot read the manuals provided with the equipment before any more flights were conducted. The altitude hold feature of the autopilot was placarded as "INOP" and the airplane was released to the owner.
According to the owner, later that day, he and the accident pilot flew the airplane from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Jackson, Mississippi. He said, "We were flying, heading and NAV modes worked fine, but when altitude hold was engaged, the nose pitched down and the rate of descent was aggressive and about 1,000 feet per minute." When the airplane nosed over, the pilot disengaged "something" but the owner could not recall what feature was disengaged.
Additional maintenance was conducted and on the morning of the accident, the accident pilot and technician again performed an unsuccessful test flight. After landing, the technician contacted the autopilot manufacturer who instructed him to disconnect the flap compensation potentiometer (Flap Position Sensor) which he did. The autopilot manufacturer also shipped a pressure transducer (a component used by the autopilot for altitude functions) the day of the accident. The technician informed the accident pilot of this information and stated he wanted to wait until the pressure transducer arrived and was installed before conducting another flight. The accident pilot said he wanted to fly the airplane. The technician then went to lunch and the pilot departed on the accident flight.
When asked specifically about the March 3, 2011 test flight, the technician stated, "We took off, climbed to 3,000 feet, engaged the altitude hold, and he wanted to work the yoke back and forth, and he had run the trim all the way nose down. We started in a decline, and instead of hitting the disconnect, he hit the two master switches down, auto-pilot on/off switch and the trim on/off switch. When he did that, he disabled the trim button, and while we were descending, he was trying to trim the airplane with the [button] disabled. The pilot yelled at me, 'turn [the system] off' and I told him, 'It is off.' It just said to me, and scared me, that he really didn't have control of the airplane. Once he realized the configuration of the airplane, he trimmed the airplane manually. He was not supposed to hit those switches; he was supposed to hit the autopilot disconnect button. Had he done that, the trim switches still would have functioned properly. After the flight, I told him he needed to go back and get in the books, and learn to operate the system. He seemed very disoriented with the new technology on this flight and previous flights. "
An FAA airworthiness inspector (Avionics) reviewed the Pilot's Operation Handbook (POH), the Service Manual, and spoke with a field service engineer at the autopilot manufacturer with regards to the autopilot installed in the accident airplane. The POH described four ways to disable the autopilot system in the event of a failure or emergency. The POH also outlined two ways to disable the elevator trim. A pilot familiar with the POH would have the ability to disconnect, disable or interrupt the autopilot system using one of the four methods outlined, and still operate the elevator trim electronically.
Review of the service manual and discussion with the field service engineer also revealed that a disconnected Flap Position Sensor would not create any operational anomaly and should not have created an uncontrollable condition for the autopilot.
The service engineer concurred that if, in-flight, the pilot was to pull back on the yoke with the autopilot engaged, the trim would run toward the nose down direction, which would only add to the control effort required to overcome a pitch down condition. Based on industry standard for trim speed (approximately 20 seconds from a full down position to a full up position), about 12 seconds would elapse as the trim ran from a climb position to a full nose-down position.
On or about October 10, 2010, the pilot taxied the airplane through a drainage ditch, which resulted in a left propeller strike and sudden stoppage of the left engine. The damage was reported as minor at the time, and therefore the Safety Board did not conduct an investigation into the event. A review of maintenance records revealed extensive repairs to the airframe and various lifting surfaces, as well as removal and inspection of the left engine and propeller assemblies.
At 1356, the weather reported at MQY, 4 nautical miles to the north of the accident site, included clear skies, and 10 miles visibility. The wind was from 290 degrees at 9 knots, the temperature was 14 degrees C, the dew point was -3 degrees C and the altimeter setting was 30.18 inches of mercury.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on March 12, 2011. There was a strong odor of fuel, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane struck the ground 90 degrees nose down, on a level field of mowed grass, and was almost entirely contained inside the initial impact crater. Only fragments of sheet metal, plexiglass, and individual instruments and radios were found outside the crater. The impact crater was limited to the outline of the airplane, and was consistent with a vertical descent.
The airplane was excavated from the impact crater with two backhoe earth-moving machines. During extraction, control cable continuity was established from the flight control surfaces, to their respective cable breaks, and ultimately to the cockpit area. All cable, pulley, and bellcrank separations were consistent with overload. The elevator trim tab actuator was measured, and the measurement was consistent with a full "tab up" position or aircraft nose down. The cockpit and cabin areas were completely destroyed by impact, and only the dual tachometer and the fuel gauge were readable, as they were ejected from the instrument panel. The flap setting could not be determined, and the landing gear was in the up and locked position.
The left engine was recovered from 7 feet below the surface, and the right engine was recovered from about 10 feet below the surface. The propeller blades from the two 3-bladed systems were recovered, and all 6 blades displayed similar twisting, bending, leading-edge gouging and chordwise scratching. Two propeller blades from the right engine were broken. One was broken at the tip, and the other was broken outboard of the blade root. The fractures were consistent with overload.
Several gallons of fuel poured from each wing as they were extracted from the crater.
Examination of the engines revealed that they were both significantly damaged by impact, and that neither could be rotated at the crankshaft or through the accessory section. The oil pump housing covers from each engine were removed, and examination revealed rotational scoring on each cover. The fuel pumps were partially separated from their mounts, and their driveshafts were fractured. The fractures were consistent with overload. Both pumps contained fuel, and were absent of water and debris.
All four magnetos were separated from their mounts, and were destroyed by impact.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Medical Examiner for the State of Tennessee performed the autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.
Toxicological testing for the pilot was performed by the FAA’s Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Test results were negative for drugs or alcohol.
Video by vietnamfac007 February 22, 2011
"My final flight with Rock Abou-Sakher returning from Covington, Tennessee to Camden, Tennessee"
Smyrna - The widow of a man who died in a plane crash here last year is suing Smyrna Air Center for $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.
In a suit filed Monday in the Middle District of Tennessee of the United States District Court by Catherine Abou-Sakher, six companies including Smyrna Air Center are named as defendants. Garmin International, Garmin AT, Garmin USA, S-TEC Corp. and Cobham Holdings were also named in the suit.
Rock Abou-Sakher, a certificated commercial pilot, was killed March 11, 2011, after the plane he was flying crashed near LifePoint Church shortly after taking off from Smyrna Airport, which is about two miles away.
Smyrna Air Center CEO Robert Fields declined to comment on the lawsuit.
According to the suit, Rock Abou-Sakher was flying the plane for its owner, Hudson Management, on a series of "maintenance acceptance flights" following the installation of a new avionics suite and new autopilot system. The components of the new system were designed, developed, tested and/or manufactured by Garmin International, Garmin AT, Garmin USA, S-TEC Corp. and/or Cobham.
The suit goes on to say that Smyrna Air Center was involved in the sale, installation and testing of the components in the plane flown by Rock Abou-Sakher.
The lawsuit states that Catherine Abou-Sakher is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages from each of the defendants.
Catherine Abou-Sakher contends in the lawsuit that the fatal crash was caused by "the failure of the aircraft's engine, avionics suite, autopilot system and/or other related components."
Her attorney, Keith Williams, of Lebanon-based Lannom & Williams, said Smyrna Air Center had installed a Garmin GPS system and an S-TEC autopilot system in the plane. The two systems didn't work well together and created what is called a "sneak circuit," which occurs when one electronic component conflicts with another, Williams said.
According to Williams, the day before Rock Abou-Sakher's fatal crash, the pilot did several test flights in which the plane nose-dived and he was able to disengage autopilot and steady the plane. On the day of the crash, Rock Abou-Sakher was continuing to test the new components.
"The obvious reason why (the autopilot system) wouldn't disengage is because he was going straight down," Williams said. "A mechanic (from Smyrna Air Center) had been on the phone with Garmin and S-TEC that (day)."
Williams said that while the two components are sold separately, Garmin should have known that their GPS systems would be put in the same cockpits as the S-TEC autopilot systems, as both products are extremely popular.
NTSB Identification: WPR12LA092 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Kalispell, MT Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/29/2013 Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-201T, registration: N38906 Injuries: 3 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.
After takeoff, between 300 and 500 feet above ground level over a residential area, the airplane's engine started to sputter and lose power. The pilot selected the longest street on which to make a forced landing, lowered the flaps, and slowed the airplane to a minimum controllable airspeed. The airplane collided with a number of vehicles and trees, and, in the process, the left wing separated from the fuselage. The airplane rotated inverted and embedded itself into the front of a residential house.
Postaccident examination and testing of the left magneto revealed that the magneto’s distributor block bushing was worn to an extent that it provided significant radial play between the bushing and distributor block. The bushing, which holds the distributor gear axle in place, would permit the distributor gear to intermittently disengage from the drive gear. Once the distributor gear had disengaged from the drive gear, the internal timing of the magneto would be off, which could disrupt the normal ignition sequence and operation of the engine. If the pilot had switched to the right magneto, engine power would have likely been restored. The most recent magneto overhaul was performed in 1989. The engine manufacturer recommends that magnetos be overhauled or replaced 5 years after the date of manufacture or last overhaul, or 4 years after the date placed in service, whichever occurs first, without regard to accumulated operating hours since new or last overhaul.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The partial loss of engine power due to magneto malfunction. Contributing to the accident was the lack of adherence to the manufacturer’s recommended magneto overhaul schedule.
HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT
On February 4, 2012, at 1315 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28R-201T, N38906, experienced a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff, at Kalispell City Airport, Kalispell, Montana. The pilot initiated a forced landing on a residential street where during the landing, the airplane collided with parked vehicles, and a residence. The airplane was registered to the pilot and was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and his two passengers received minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The pilot stated to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) that he fueled the airplane with 45 gallons of AVGAS, taxied to pick up his passengers, and performed a complete engine run-up and preflight checks. During takeoff, the airplane behaved normally and accelerated smoothly. After takeoff, between 300 and 500 feet above ground level (agl) over a residential area, the airplane's engine started to sputter and lose power. The pilot selected the longest street on which he could make a forced landing. He lowered the flaps, and slowed the airplane to a minimum controllable airspeed. The airplane collided with a number of vehicles and trees, and in the process, the left wing separated from the fuselage. The airplane rotated inverted, and embedded itself into the front of a house. The pilot egressed through the pilot's side window, and he assisted with the egress of his passengers.
The low-wing, four-seat, retractable landing gear airplane, serial number 28R-7703283, was manufactured in 1977. It was powered by a Continental Motors Incorporated (CMI) TSIO-360-F, serial number 305278, 200-hp engine, equipped with a Hartzell model BHC-C2YF-1BF constant speed propeller. A review of the airplane's maintenance records showed that an engine overhaul was completed on July 18, 1989. An annual inspection was completed on July 29, 2011, at a recorded tachometer (tach) time of 1,770.3 hours, and time since major overhaul (SMOH) of 322.3 hours. The tach time observed at the accident site was 1,772.65.
Engine Roughness Procedure
The Piper PA-28R-201T Cherokee Turbo Arrow III, Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) provides the following information concerning engine roughness.
Mixture – adjust for max. smoothness Alternate Air – OPEN Fuel Selector- switch tanks Engine Gauges- check Magneto Switch- L then R then both
“The magneto switch should then be moved to ‘L’ then ‘R’ then back to ‘BOTH.’ If operation is satisfactory on either magneto, proceed on that magneto at reduced power with full ‘RICH’ mixture to a landing at the first available airport.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT
The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, engine, tail, and right wing, which impacted a residence at ground level. The left wing had been sheared off at the wing root by a parked pickup truck located approximately 50 yards further up the airplane's line of travel. Light blue colored fluid was observed leaking out of the severed wing. There was no post-accident fire. The engine and cockpit area of the airplane was embedded into the building structure. The following day, Sunday February 5th, the airplane was recovered and moved to a storage location in Belgrade, Montana. During the recovery, approximately 45 gallons of AVGAS was recovered from both wing tanks combined.
On February 22, 2012, technical representatives from the airframe and engine manufacturer examined the airplane under the oversight of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector.
Both ailerons were attached to their respective wing, and control cables were attached to both the aileron bell cranks. The horizontal and vertical tail surfaces remained attached to the rear empennage section; the rudder and the stabilator remained attached. The fuel selector handle was in the left tank position; the throttle and mixture control levers were full forward. The AUX fuel pump switch was in the center OFF position. The auxiliary electric fuel pump was functionally tested by applying battery power to the airplane’s electrical system. The pump was found to function normally on both the low and high switch power settings, drawing in and discharging fuel. The fuel gascolator bowl was removed and bluish fluid consistent with AVGAS was observed. Engine power-train continuity was established by rotating the engine’s crankshaft. The engine driven fuel pump was removed, tested, and found to function normally. The magnetos remained attached to the engine and both produced spark at all of their ignition leads when the engine’s crankshaft was rotated by hand.
The airframe manufacturer technical representative reported that the airframe revealed no pre-impact failure to any flight control surface or flight control system component.
The engine manufacturer technical representative reported that the inspection of this engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented its ability to produce rated horsepower.
TESTS & RESEARCH
A surveillance video camera mounted on an airport hangar captured the airplane’s takeoff departure path. The video shows an airplane immediately after takeoff moving at a constant altitude approximately 75 feet above ground level (agl) from right to left across the screen at a constant speed.
Under the direction of the NTSB IIC, an Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic removed both magnetos from the engine on April 5, 2013. Both magnetos were Bendix model S6LN-25. On April 15, 2013, under the supervision of an FAA inspector, both magnetos were placed in a test fixture, and tested at normal operating speeds. The right magneto, serial number A186072, produced spark on all posts. The left magneto, serial number A186084, produced spark on one post. The A&P mechanic and FAA inspector disassembled the magneto (SN: A186084) and found a worn bushing. This magneto was then packaged, sent to the Analytical Department of Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI), and examined under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. CMI technical experts determined that the magneto’s distributor block bushing was worn to an extent that it provided significant radial play between the bushing and distributor block. The bushing, which holds the distributor gear axle in place, was worn to such an extent that it would permit the distributor gear to intermittently disengage from the drive gear. Once the distributor gear disengaged from the drive gear, the internal timing of the magneto would be off, which could disrupt the normal ignition sequence and operation of the engine.
Review of the engine maintenance records showed that the magneto was last overhauled on July 18, 1989, and had accumulated 324.65 hours since overhaul. Review of the S-20 Series Magneto Service Support Manual showed CMI recommends magnetos be inspected after the first 500 hours in service and every 500 hours thereafter. In addition, magnetos should be overhauled or replaced 5 years after the date of manufacture or last overhaul, or 4 years after the date placed in service, whichever occurs first, without regard to accumulated operating hours since new or last overhaul.
NTSB Identification: WPR12LA092 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Kalispell, MT Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-201T, registration: N38906 Injuries: 3 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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 February 4, 2012, at 1345 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28R-201T, N38906, experienced a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff, at Kalispell City Airport, Kalispell, Montana. The pilot attempted to land on a residential street. The airplane collided with parked vehicles, ending up inside the first floor of a two story home. The pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and his two passengers received minor injures, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The pilot stated to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that he fueled the airplane with 45 gallons of avgas, taxied to pick up his passengers, and performed a complete engine run-up and preflight checks. During takeoff the airplane behaved normally and accelerated smoothly. After takeoff, between 300 and 500 feet above ground level (agl), the airplane's engine started to sputter and lose power. The airplane was over a residential area. The pilot selected the longest street on to which to make a forced landing. He lowered the flaps and slowed the airplane to a minimum controllable airspeed. The airplane collided with a number of vehicles and trees, and in the process, the left wing separated from the fuselage. The airplane rotated inverted and embedded itself into the front of a domestic house. The pilot egressed through the pilot's side window, and he assisted the egress of his passengers.
KALISPELL- Three people are lucky to be alive after crashing their plane upside down into a home earlier on Saturday afternoon in Kalispell.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the unusual circumstances in which a small aircraft spiraled out of control and crashed into a residential home. But what's even more unusual is that all three passengers inside the aircraft walked away with only minor cuts and bruises.
The details surrounding the crash are still limited but Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman says it appears the pilot had taken off from the Kalispell City Airport airstrip on Saturday afternoon, before crashing in a nearby neighborhood on the other side of Airport Road.
"All of a sudden we heard this plane. It started sputtering out. It came over our house and started crashing through trees and went down the street where it ended up upside down in somebody's house," witness Gary Sams recalled.
Sams and his dad Kim say they ran over to the plane after it crashed on Golden Eye Court in search of survivors, but both were skeptical whether they'd find any.
"You're thinking you're going to have some fatalities, but everyone was good," Kim said.
"We started digging into the side of the plane, and a couple of dogs came out first. And then we heard some muffling noises. We dug a little further and there was a passenger hanging upside down. She said 'get me out of here,' and that's what we did," Gary added.
The pilot and his other female passenger were able to get out of the plane and exit through the front door of the house they crashed into.
"The homeowner was not injured. He was actually in the upstairs of the house at the time of the impact. He did assist the passengers of the plane out of the plane itself, so we thank him for that," Dedman told us.
He added the pilot and his two passengers refused medical treatment, but did later go to Kalispell Regional Medical Center on their own accord.
"It's pretty amazing actually, if you look at the amount of damage. How they were able to self-extricate from that plane and walk away. I don't understand how they did that, but luckily they did," Dedman observed.
"It's just amazing. It just shows God's looking out for us. And luckily, there were people around to do something," Gary concluded.
Dedman says all of the agencies on scene were able to secure the perimeter, and are now waiting on the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to come investigate and review the evidence.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and could last for months.
Kalispell - A male pilot and two female passengers were flying in a small plane, just south of Kalispell, when the plane lost control and crashed into a home on Golden Eye Court.
The accident happened Saturday afternoon, just after 1:30 p.m.
Reporter Laura Wilson spoke with several residents in the neighborhood who watched the plane go down.
They tell us they saw the plane weave between trees and houses and they say it looked as if the pilot was trying to land on the road.
The plane crashed into a house.
After the crash, several of the eyewitnesses rushed to the plane and pulled pieces of the plane from the body of the aircraft to help the pilot and passengers who were trapped inside.
A female passenger and two dogs were safely pulled out from the plane.
The pilot and the other passenger exited the plane from inside the house, in which the plane crashed.
Kalispell Fire Chief, Dan Dedman says the pilot and passengers refused medical attention at the scene of the crash, but later checked themselves in to Kalispell Regional Medical Center on their own accord.
Eyewitnesses say the homeowner was inside the house during the time of the crash.
http://registry.faa.gov/N445GH NTSB Identification: WPR12FA091 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Show Low, AZ Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2013 Aircraft: CESSNA T206H, registration: N445GH Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 Serious.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The private pilot departed before dawn in the single-engine airplane with three passengers. One passenger reported that after an uneventful departure, the airplane made an unexpected right turn, with no comment from the pilot. A ground witness observed the airplane in an unusual attitude shortly after takeoff. The airplane then flew out of her view, and a few seconds later, she observed an explosion beyond the runway. The debris field and associated ground scars were adjacent and perpendicular to the runway. The airplane damage and debris distribution were consistent with a high-speed, right-wing-low descent into the ground. All sections of the airplane were located at the accident site, and no anomalies were noted with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The damage to the propeller and turbocharger was consistent with the engine producing power at the time of impact.
The airport's automated weather observation system was reporting 8-mile visibility, but with low broken cloud ceilings about the time the pilot would have been performing his preflight inspection. A rapid degradation in weather conditions occurred over the 10-minute-period following the accident, including freezing dense fog and low overcast cloud ceilings. The airport was located on the outskirts of a town, and the route of flight following the initial turn was toward a sparsely populated area. The moon was below the horizon at the time of the accident.
The pilot did not possess an instrument rating, which coupled with the lighting and weather conditions, could have made him vulnerable to spatial disorientation. The airplane's impact trajectory was consistent with the pilot experiencing this phenomenon. Additionally, an instrument-rated pilot departed from the same runway shortly after the accident unaware that it had occurred. He reported that before departure, he could see haze beginning to form close to the ground but could still see clear skies in his direction of travel and presumed that visual meteorological conditions existed. However, during the initial climb, he inadvertently entered a fog layer, and became disoriented.
The pilot had been taking prescription medication for anxiety, the use of which he did not report in any application for a Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate. Although use of such medication may impair the mental and/or physical ability required for flight, it was not possible to conclusively determine what role, if any, the medication played in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s encounter with low clouds/low visibility conditions during the initial climb, which resulted in spatial disorientation and loss of airplane control.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On February 4, 2012, about 0630 mountain standard time, a Cessna T206H, N445GH, collided with level terrain shortly after takeoff from Show Low Regional Airport, Show Low, Arizona. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and two passengers sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was partially consumed by post impact fire. The personal flight departed Show Low about 1 minute prior to the accident, with a planned destination of Boulder City Municipal Airport, Boulder City, Nevada. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed.
The pilot and passengers were traveling to attend a convention in the Las Vegas area, which was due to start at 1030 Pacific standard time.
A witness who was traveling in her automobile northbound on route 77, about 1,000 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 24, observed an airplane in the sky to her right. It appeared to be descending steeply, and traveling at a high rate of speed. She stated that she was familiar with operations at the airport, and initially thought the airplane was landing. She was concerned that it was flying much higher and faster than appropriate, and that it may overshoot the runway. The witness slowed down, concerned that the airplane may collide with her automobile, and it subsequently passed out of her view behind the elevated runway. She assumed it had landed; however, a few seconds later, she observed an explosion beyond the runway. She immediately reported the accident to her husband, who was a Battalion Chief based at a local fire station. She stated that she could clearly see the airplane prior to the accident, and observed the flashing strobe lights on both wings, as well as a white light. She did not see any smoke, fire, or vapors trailing from the airplane at any time. She reported that about 7 minutes after the accident, the area became enveloped in fog, such that she could no longer see the fire.
An instrument rated pilot departed his house for the airport at 0610. He stated that the weather conditions en route to the airport were clear, and that he could see stars in the sky. Airport security records revealed that he opened the airport gate at 0615. After removing his airplane from the hangar, he noticed haze forming around the street lamps. Concerned that the area may soon become enveloped in fog, he expedited his preflight checks and started the airplane's engine. He began to taxi to runway 24, and as he reached the intersection of runway 21 and the taxiway, the lights for runway 24 turned off. He turned them back on, and lined up the airplane for departure. He could see the runway lights clearly, and observed clear skies directly ahead. He began the takeoff roll, and took off. Once he reached an altitude of between 100 and 200 feet, he entered a cloud layer and lost ground reference. He realized he was inadvertently beginning a left turn, and became slightly disoriented. He began to fly the airplane by reference to the instruments, and just as he was about to turn on the autopilot, the airplane broke out into clear skies. He continued the flight, reporting that the sky was completely clear once he was about 1 mile west of the airport. He was unaware that there had just been an accident, and while he did not see fire on the ground, he stated that his focus was primarily with monitoring the airplane's flight instruments. The airplane did not accumulate any ice during takeoff and initial climb.
Only one of the surviving passengers recalled the accident sequence. She was located in an aft seat, and recalled that the pilot performed an uneventful preflight inspection, engine start, and taxi. The airplane then began the takeoff roll, and shortly after rotation, she felt it turn to the right. She was surprised that the airplane turned so soon, because she did not think they had gained enough altitude. She did not hear anyone talk during takeoff, and the pilot did not voice any concerns. Her next recollection was of waking up on the ground.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A postmortem examination was conducted on the pilot by the Coconino County Health Department, Office of The Medical Examiner. The cause of death was reported as the effect of multiple blunt force injuries.
Toxicological tests on specimens from the pilot were performed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). The results were negative for carbon monoxide and ingested ethanol, and the specimens were unsuitable for Cyanide analysis. The report contained the following findings for tested drugs:
>>Diclofenac detected in Urine >>0.993 (ug/mL, ug/g) Lorazepam detected in Urine >>0.011 (ug/mL, ug/g) Lorazepam detected in Blood
Refer to the toxicology report included in the public docket for specific test parameters and results.
The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued in March 2010, with the limitations that he must have available glasses for near vision.
He reported on his most recent application for a medical certificate the use of prescription medications for the treatment of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and hypothyroidism. Based on the thyroid condition, he was issued a 6-year authorization for special issuance of a medical certificate. As such, he was required to provide the FAA with a status of the condition prepared by his treating physician every 24 months. In September 2010, he provided a letter from a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, rather than his regular healthcare provider, stating that the thyroid condition was stable.
Review of his personal medical records revealed that he had been regularly prescribed Lorazepam since 2007 for the treatment of “anxiety and agitation.” He did not report the use of Lorazepam on any of his previous medical certificate applications.
According to CAMI, Lorazepam is a prescription benzodiazepine used for the management of anxiety disorders and for insomnia, with warnings that it may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks. The therapeutic low and high blood levels are 0.1600 ug/mL, and 0.2700 ug/mL, respectively.
A review of FAA airman records revealed that the 66-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land issued in July 2003.
No personal flight records were located, however, at the time of his last medical application, he reported a total flight time of 1,150 hours, with 60 hours in the previous 6 months. Family members reported that he flew the airplane regularly for business, and often early in the morning.
The high-wing, fixed landing gear airplane was manufactured in 2008, and equipped with a turbocharged, six-cylinder Lycoming engine, and a McCauley three-blade constant speed propeller.
The airplane was equipped with a Honeywell KC140 dual axis autopilot, and a Garmin G1000 Integrated Flight Deck, which included a primary and multifunction flight display. A conventional airspeed indicator, attitude indicator, and altimeter were provided as standby instruments.
According to maintenance records, the airplane had undergone its most recent 100-hour/annual inspection on July 14, 2011. At that time, the engine, airframe, and propeller had accumulated 319 hours since manufacture. The most recent maintenance entry was for an engine oil and filter change, and occurred on January 24 2012, at a tachometer time of 354 hours. Damage to the airplane's instruments precluded an accurate assessment of the total flight hours at the time of the accident.
Fueling records established that the airplane was last serviced on January 28, 2012, with the addition of 46.6 gallons of 100 low lead aviation fuel at Show Low Airport.
Show Low Airport was equipped with an Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), located north of the airport, adjacent to the threshold of runway 24, and 4,500 feet east of the accident site.
An aviation routine weather report (METAR) was recorded at 0615. It reported calm wind; visibility 10 miles; 300 feet broken cloud ceiling; temperature -6 degrees C; dew point -7 degrees C; altimeter 30.15 inches of mercury. At 0635, the visibility had reduced to 8 miles, with a 200-feet overcast ceiling. Over the next 5 minutes the visibility decreased to 1 1/4 miles, and by 0651 freezing fog enveloped the airport, with 1/4-mile visibility and an overcast ceiling of 100 feet.
According to a representative from Lockheed Martin Flight Service, the pilot did not request any weather services. Additionally, there was no record of him obtaining a weather briefing from any Direct User Access Terminal (DUAT) provider. The pilot utilized the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) Internet Flight Planner to calculate his route the evening prior to the flight, but it could not be determined if he used this service for weather analysis. The flight planner indicated that his intended route of flight was on a northwest heading, direct from Show Low to Boulder City.
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department, the beginning of civil twilight began at 0649 in Show Low, with sunrise occurring at 0716. Moonset occurred at 0439.
The airport was located about 1 mile northeast of the outskirts of Show Low, and was immediately surrounded to the north, east, and south by uninhabited terrain.
Airport security records indicated that the pilot entered the airport at 0556. According to airport personnel, the pilot-operated runway lights will illuminate for 20 minutes before automatically switching off.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located about 1,700 feet north of the approach end of runway 6, at an elevation of 6,371 feet mean sea level. The wreckage came to rest in level terrain, adjacent to a water catchment basin. The area was comprised of soft dirt and rocks, lightly interspersed with brush and low trees.
The first identified point of impact was characterized by a 10-inch-wide, 40-foot-long swath of excavated dirt. The ground excavation was oriented on a bearing of about 340 degrees magnetic. A section of wing tip rib was located at the initial disruption, and a green wing tip navigation lamp was located an additional 30 feet downrange. A second ground disruption began 25 feet northwest of the first impact point. This disruption was on a bearing of about 360 degrees, was 25 feet in length, and expanded to a width of 6 feet as it intersected the initial ground disruption. The second ground disruption was about 18 inches deep, and contained a segment of the right landing gear leg brake line, and a section of the nose landing gear scissor-assembly and shimmy-damper. Fragmented sections of the right landing gear wheel pant were dispersed around the area.
The debris field continued 260 feet further to the main wreckage, and contained fragments of insulation material, the remaining nose landing gear assembly, the upper engine cowling, and the pilot's door. The red wing tip navigation lamp was located in the center of the debris field. The nose wheel was located about 200 feet beyond the primary wreckage.
The primary airplane structure came to rest on a heading of 275 degrees. The main cabin had rotated onto its right side against a tree, exposing the inside of the aft cabin. The forward cabin flight instruments were mostly consumed by fire. The engine remained in line with the fuselage, but had separated from the firewall, and came to rest inverted. The right wing was folded underneath the engine, and sustained leading edge crush damage along its entire span, and thermal damage to the fuel tank. The left wing sustained leading edge crush damage to outboard section, starting at the flap/aileron junction, with similar thermal damage in the area of the fuel tank.
All major sections of the airframe and engine were accounted for at the accident site.
Both deceased occupants remained buckled into their respective front seats, which had become detached and ejected from the airframe. The first surviving occupant, located in the aft right seat, remained buckled into his seat, which had also broken free from its moorings and come to rest against the aft bulkhead. First response personnel subsequently removed him from the airplane as it continued to burn. The second surviving occupant was positioned in the rear left seat, which remained attached to the airframe. She was able to unbuckle her belt following the accident, and extricate herself from the wreckage.
All of the airplane's seats were equipped with a seatbelt airbag system manufactured by AmSafe. Examination revealed that all four airbags had deployed during impact.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The following is a summary of the airframe and engine examination. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation. A complete report is contained within the public docket.
The tail section remained intact, and partially attached to the aft cabin at the bulkhead, which exhibited longitudinal twisting damage to its skin sections. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers sustained minimal damage, with all of their respective control surfaces remaining attached. The elevator trim tab actuator was examined; the distance between the actuator housing, and the eye-bolt corresponded to a 5-degree tab-down (takeoff) position when compared to Cessna documentation. The rudder and elevator control cables were continuous from their flight control horns through to their respective cabin control termination points.
The left and right aileron and both flaps remained attached to the wing, with their associated control cables continuous through to the wing root. The flap actuator motor was examined, and displayed actuator thread exposure consistent with a 20-degree flap position, when compared to Cessna documentation.
The backup flight instruments were recovered, and sustained extensive thermal damage, which precluded a determination of their operational status at the time of the accident.
The engine remained largely intact, and had sustained thermal damage to the oil sump, intake manifold, and all ancillary components. All three blades of the propeller remained attached to the hub, which remained attached to the crankshaft. Two blades exhibited chordwise abrasions, leading edge gouges, and tip twist, with the third blade curled aft at the hub.
The throttle, mixture, and propeller governor controls remained attached to their respective engine controls.
The top spark plugs for all cylinders were removed. Visual inspection of the combustion chambers was accomplished through the spark plug bores utilizing a borescope; there was no evidence of foreign object damage and all valve heads appeared intact. The engine’s internal mechanical continuity was established through to the accessory case by rotation of the crankshaft by hand. Cylinder compression was attained on all cylinders, and the rockers and valves appeared to move appropriately.
The turbochargers exhaust impellor blades appeared free of damage, with the assembly continuous to the intake impeller. The intake impeller’s six blades exhibited leading edge damage and bent and broken tips, with corresponding radial scoring of the intake chamber.
The vacuum pump was separated from the engine, and exhibited thermal exposure to its case, mounting pad, and drive coupling. The internal cavity was exposed, and both the rotor and vanes appeared intact.
No radar coverage was available for the accident site at the airport elevation. Additionally, while the airplane's Integrated Flight Deck was capable of recording flight data, the non-volatile memory card required to store such information was not located, and presumed to have either been consumed by fire, or not installed.
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA091 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Show Low, AZ Aircraft: CESSNA T206H, registration: N445GH Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 Serious. This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On February 4, 2012, at 0628 mountain standard (MST), a Cessna T206H, N445GH, collided with level terrain after takeoff from Show Low Regional Airport, Show Low, Arizona. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and two passengers sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was partially consumed by post impact fire. The personal flight departed Show Low about 0627, with a planned destination of Boulder City Municipal Airport, Boulder City, Nevada. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed.
The passengers and pilot were destined for a convention in the Las Vegas area, which was due to start at 1030 Pacific daylight time on the day of the accident.
A witness who was traveling in her automobile north on Route 77, was about 1,000 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 24, when she observed an airplane to her right. The airplane appeared to be descending steeply, and traveling at a high rate of speed. She stated that she was familiar with operations at this airport, and was concerned that the airplane was flying much higher and faster than was appropriate, and that it may overshoot the runway. She slowed down, concerned that the airplane may collide with her automobile. The airplane passed out of her view behind the elevated runway, and she assumed it had landed. A few seconds later, she observed an explosion beyond the runway. She immediately reported the accident to her husband, who was a firefighter based at the airport fire station. She stated that she could clearly see the airplane prior to the accident, and observed the flashing strobe lights on both wings, as well as the white tail light. She did not see any smoke, fire, or vapors trailing from the airplane at any time. Seven minutes after the accident, the area became enveloped with fog, such that she could no longer see the fire.
An instrument rated pilot departed his house for the airport at 0610. He stated that the weather conditions for the ride to the airport were clear, and that he could see stars in the sky. Airport security records revealed that he opened the airport gate at 0615. After removing his airplane from the hangar, he noticed haze forming around the street lamps. Concerned that the area may soon become enveloped in fog, he expedited his preflight checks and started the airplane's engine. He began to taxi to runway 24, and as he reached the intersection of runway 21 and the taxiway, the lights for runway 24 turned off. He turned the lights back on, and lined up the airplane on runway 24 for departure. He could see the runway lights clearly, and observed clear skies directly ahead to the west. He began the takeoff roll, and took off. Once he reached an altitude of between 100 and 200 feet, he entered a cloud layer and lost ground reference. He realized he was inadvertently beginning a left turn, and became slightly disoriented. He began to fly the airplane by reference to the instruments, and just as he was about to turn on the autopilot, the airplane broke out into clear skies. He continued the flight, reporting that the skies were completely clear once he was about 1 mile west of the airport. He was unaware that there had just been an accident, and while he did not see fire on the ground, he stated that his focus at that time was primarily with monitoring the airplane's flight instruments. The airplane did not accumulate any ice during the event.
Show Low Airport was equipped with an Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), located north of the airport, adjacent to threshold of runway 24, 4,500 feet east of the accident site.
An aviation routine weather report (METAR) was recorded at 0615. It reported: calm winds; visibility 10 miles; 300 feet broken cloud ceiling; temperature -6 degrees C; dew point -7 degrees C; altimeter 30.15 inches of mercury. At 0635, the visibility had reduced to 8 miles, with a 200 feet overcast ceiling. At 0655, the weather had deteriorated further with visibilities of 1/4 mile in freezing fog, and an overcast cloud ceiling of 100 feet.
The accident site was located 1,700 feet north of the approach end of runway 6, at an elevation of 6,371 feet mean sea level. The terrain was level, and comprised of soft dirt and rocks, interspersed with brush and 10-feet-tall trees.
The first identified point of impact was characterized by a 10-inch-wide, 40-foot-long swath of excavated dirt. The ground excavation was oriented on a bearing of about 340 degrees magnetic. A section of wing tip rib was located at the initial disruption, and a green wing tip navigation light was located an additional 30 feet downrange. A second ground disruption began 25 feet northwest of the first impact point. This disruption was on a bearing of about 360 degrees, was 25 feet in length, and expanded to a width of 6 feet as it intersected the initial ground disruption. The second ground disruption was about 18 inches deep, and contained a segment of the right landing gear leg brake line, and a section of the nose landing gear scissor-assembly and shimmy-damper. Fragmented sections of the right landing gear wheel pant were dispersed around the area.
The debris field continued 260 feet further to the main wreckage, and contained fragments of insulation material, the remaining nose landing gear assembly, the upper engine cowling, and the pilot's door. The red wing tip navigation light was located in the center right-hand side of the debris field. The nose wheel was located about 200 feet beyond the primary wreckage, about 500 feet beyond the initial point of impact.
Two people from Snowflake-Taylor were killed in the crash.
Photo Credit: Ron Rosedale
Photo Credit: Terence Corrigan - The Independent
SHOW LOW, AZ - As investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in northeastern Arizona to begin their investigation, a member of the Show Low Fire Department recounted the daring rescue of a man involved in a plane crash early Saturday morning.
Captain Chris Francis and his fellow firefighters got the call around 6:30 a.m.
The dispatcher informed them a plane had gone down at the Show Low airport.
"We automatically expect the worst but hope for the best," said Francis by telephone Sunday.
Francis arrived to find a single engine Cessna off the runway and fully engulfed in flames.
Firefighters could also hear the sound of someone screaming for help.
"If we know there's a life to be saved, we're willing to risk our own lives to make that happen," said Francis.
So Francis ran toward the fire and found a total of four people.
Rescuers couldn't do anything for the couple in the front of the plane, therefore Francis focused in on 38-year- old Rob Hatch who sat trapped in one of the plane's rear seats.
"He had severe trauma injuries you'd expect with a high impact accident such as an aircraft collision," said Francis.
While other firefighters tended to 36-year-old Kelly Hatch on the outside of the plane, Francis eventually pulled her husband to safety.
Paramedics airlifted the couple to a hospital in Phoenix.
"It's definitely a team effort," said Francis. "Our shift worked together and accomplished the job".
One day later, Francis received word that Rob and Kelly hatch will survive.
"That's the best news we can get," said Francis. "It's good to know care is being continued and they're on the road to recovery."
The couple in the front of the plane are identified as 66-year-olds Gerald and Ruth Hatch of Snowflake.
Investigators say the Hatch family was headed to Las Vegas when the accident happened.
SHOW LOW, Ariz -- Federal investigators are working to figure out what caused a deadly plane crash in Show Low Saturday morning.
Two Snowflake residents were killed and two others were seriously hurt.
A spokesman with the Show Low Police Department said the Cesna 206 Stationair TC single-engine plane crashed just after taking off from the Show Low Regional Airport.
The plane was engulfed in flames when police and fire units arrived.
Crews found Kelly Hatch, 36, alive 40 feet away from the wreck. Her husband, Rob Hatch, 38, was still in his seat when rescuers also found him alive in the cockpit area of the plane.
Rob's father, Gerald Hatch, and his wife, Ruth, were killed in the crash. Both were 66.
The family is well-known in the area. The Hatch family owns five car dealerships in the Show Low area. Rob is the general manager of the Snowflake Hatch GMC Dealership.
Family said the four were possibly traveling to Las Vegas for a car show.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.
Kelly is being treated for serious injuries at the Maricopa County Burn Center in Phoenix and Rob is being treated at Good Samaritan Hospital.
PHOENIX (AP) — A small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff Saturday in an eastern Arizona mountain community, killing a well-known rural Arizona auto dealer and his wife and seriously injuring his son and daughter-in-law.
The son was pulled from the burning plane by firefighters, while the daughter-in-law was found near the wreckage. Both were flown to Phoenix-area hospitals in critical condition.
The single-engine Cessna 206 crashed just before dawn and burst into flames moments after taking off from the Show Low airport en route to Las Vegas.
The four onboard were affiliated with a series of automobile dealerships in eastern Arizona mountain towns, Show Low police Sgt. Shawn Roby said.
The dead were identified as Gerald Hatch and his wife, Ruth Hatch, of Snowflake-Taylor. Both were 66.
Gerald's 38-year-old son, Rob Hatch, was pulled from the flaming airplane by firefighters, Show Low Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe said. His 36-year-old wife, Kelly Hatch, was outside the plane when firefighters arrived and was badly burned and had a broken femur.
Gerald Hatch was the primary owner of dealerships in Show Low, Winslow and Snowflake, Smythe said. They included two Ford dealerships.
Rob Hatch also worked for the dealerships, as did other family members.
It was foggy and cold at the time of the wreck, but it wasn't known if that contributed to the crash, Smythe said. A Federal Aviation Administration investigator was at the crash site, and one from the National Transportation Safety Board was headed to the town about 150 miles northeast of Phoenix Saturday afternoon.
The loss will be felt through the small communities, Smythe said.
"Clearly they've been here for decades and decades in the Snowflake-Taylor area," Smythe said. "That's where they all lived primarily is Snowflake-Taylor, but as businessmen here in Show Low they were very well-known and well-respected, and it's going to be a big impact."
The police chief said Rob Hatch owed his life to the firefighters.
The battalion chief was first to arrive at the scene and used a hand-held fire extinguisher to keep the flames away from Rob Hatch while crews got a hose running, he said.
"They didn't know how much fuel was left in it, and yet they stood right there by that plane and extricated Rob and got him out and absolutely saved his life," Smythe said.
"Which is what they get paid to do, yeah, but I don't think the average person can recognize the idea of intentionally running up to a flame ball and dragging a person out to save their life, and that's what these guys did this morning."
A plane crash in eastern Arizona has killed a well-known rural Arizona auto dealer and his wife and severely injured the man's son and his wife.
The single-engine plane crashed moments after taking off Saturday morning in Show Low.
Show Low police Sgt. Shawn Roby identified the dead as Gerald Hatch and his wife, Ruth Hatch, of Snowflake-Taylor. Both were 66.
Gerald Hatch's 38-year-old son, Rob Hatch, was pulled from the flaming airplane by firefighters. Rob Hatch and his 36-year-old wife, Kelly Hatch, were flown to Phoenix hospitals.
Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe says Gerald Hatch was the primary owner of a series of automobile dealerships in the eastern Arizona mountain communities of Show Low, Winslow and Snowflake.
Roby says Ruth, Rob and Kelly Hatch also were affiliated with the dealerships.
The plane was headed to Las Vegas.
SHOW LOW — Two people were killed and two others were critically injured in a plane crash early this morning (Feb. 4), just a few yards north of the west end of the runway at Show Low Regional Airport.
The two that were critically injured were taken to Summit Regional Medical Center awaiting air transport. The delay in the air ambulance flight was reportedly due to the heavy fog conditions in Show Low.
According to Show Low Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe, the identity of the victims has not been released pending notification of the family.
It is believed the victims were flying to either Phoenix or Las Vegas.
A motorist saw the plane and the fireball from the crash and reported it to police, Smythe said.
The plane crashed in a open area. The plane came to rest only a few plane-lengths from the point of impact. It is believed that the plane had just taken off from Show Low Airport and airport officials had to temporarily suspend fuel sales to determine if the plane was fueled up before takeoff.
The FAA and NTSB was notified and was enroute to the crash site by 7:30 a.m. .
The Cessna 206 single-engine airplane crashed at 6:29 a.m. after takeoff in in rugged terrain less than a mile north of Show Low Regional Airport, Kenitzer said.
The plane was registered to Show Low Ford Inc.
Show Low Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe said the plane was enroute to the Las Vegas area. He said the injured were in critical condition.
A male and female died and a male and female were taken to the hospital, Smythe said.
He said the victims' names and residences are expected to be released later today.
Although there was fog in the area, Smythe declined to speculate on the cause of the crash.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating this accident.