Friday, May 11, 2012

Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain, AirNet Systems Inc., N3547C: Accident occurred April 11, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia

http://registry.faa.gov/N3547C

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA240 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, April 11, 2011 in Richmond, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-350, registration: N3547C
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The twin-engine airplane was scheduled for a routine night cargo flight. Witnesses and radar data described the airplane accelerating down the runway to a maximum ground speed of 97 knots, then entering an aggressive climb before leveling and pitching down. The airplane subsequently impacted a parallel taxiway with its landing gear retracted. Slash marks observed on the taxiway pavement, as well as rotation signatures observed on the remaining propeller blades, indicated that both engines were operating at impact. Additionally, postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions of the airframe or either engine. The as-found position of the cargo placed the airplane within the normal weight and balance envelope, with no evidence of a cargo-shift having occurred, and the as-found position of the elevator trim jackscrew was consistent with a neutral pitch trim setting. According to the airframe manufacturer's prescribed takeoff procedure, the pilot was to accelerate the airplane to an airspeed of 85 knots, increase the pitch to a climb angle that would allow the airplane to accelerate past 96 knots, and retract the landing gear before accelerating past 128 knots. Given the loading and environmental conditions that existed on the night of the accident, the airplane's calculated climb performance should have been 1,800 feet per minute. Applying the prevailing wind conditions about time of the accident to the airplane's radar-observed ground speed during the takeoff revealed a maximum estimated airspeed of 111 knots, and the airplane's maximum calculated climb rate briefly exceeded 3,000 feet per minute. The airplane then leveled for a brief time, decelerated, and began descending, a profile that suggested that the airplane likely entered an aerodynamic stall during the initial climb.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with the ground.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 11, 2011, at 2127 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350, N3547C, operated by Airnet Systems, Inc. as U.S. Check flight 901, was substantially damaged when it impacted a taxiway after takeoff from Richmond International Airport (RIC), Richmond, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot was seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight, which was destined for Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT), Charlotte, North Carolina. The non-scheduled cargo flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

Two airport firefighters observed the airplane during its attempted departure from runway 20, and during separate interviews, recounted a similar series of events. Both of the firefighters were standing on the airport fire station ramp, located about 1,000 feet east of the intersection between runway 20 and taxiway C. The firefighters reported that the airplane began the takeoff roll normally, but became alarmed as the airplane became airborne before reaching taxiway C, and its pitch increased to an extreme angle. At its maximum pitch angle, the airplane was climbing near vertically, and one of the firefighters remarked that the airplane appeared similar in attitude to an airplane at an air show. He found the airplane's pitch attitude so unusual, he began running toward the airport fire truck with the intent of responding to a crash. The other firefighter continued to watch as the airplane climbed to an estimated altitude about 300 feet above the ground, before it pitched down and briefly leveled. The airplane then pitched down further, and briefly leveled again. The second firefighter then also realized that the airplane would crash, and began preparing to respond.

One of the firefighters remarked that during the initial portion of the takeoff, the airplane's engines sounded normal, smooth, and continuous. The sound then changed as the airplane pitched vertically, giving him the impressions that the engines had "throttled up." He also remarked that the airplane's pitch upward began just about the time the airplane crossed taxiway C, which was located about 2,300 feet from the runway 20 threshold.

According to radar and voice communication data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a radar target correlated to the accident airplane's assigned transponder code began moving from the northern ramp area at RIC toward runway 20 at 2127. About that time the pilot contacted the air traffic control tower and was cleared for takeoff. About 2128:10, the airplane began its takeoff roll from runway 20. Measurement and calculation of the airplane's radar-derived position showed that about 9 seconds later, the airplane had traveled about 950 feet down the runway and reached a maximum groundspeed of about 97 knots. The airplane's reported altitude did not change for another 9 seconds, at which time the altitude increased by 200 feet, about the time the airplane crossed the point where runway 20 intersected taxiway C, and about 1,900 feet from the point where the airplane began the takeoff roll. About 4 seconds later, at 0128:32, the airplane's altitude had increased by another 300 feet, and the calculated groundspeed had decreased to 44 knots. The airplane's calculated climb rate during this timeframe was 3,920 feet per minute. During the next 4 seconds the airplane only traveled 103 feet, and its reported altitude remained constant. The airplane then descended 200 feet during the following 4 seconds, and traveled 270 feet across the ground. No further transponder-correlated radar targets were recorded; however an uncorrelated radar target recorded 5 seconds later placed the airplane 325 feet from the previous correlated radar target and about 200 feet from the initial impact point.

The pilot was seriously injured during the accident sequence and did not regain consciousness until about 1 month after the accident. During a telephone interview conducted about 4 months after the accident, the pilot recalled the sequence of events that transpired immediately prior to and during the accident flight. After performing a preflight inspection of the airplane, the pilot confirmed the airplane's weight and balance as well as the fuel load. The inboard fuel tanks were full and the outboard fuel tanks were about 1/4 full. The pilot then started the engines and performed a run-up check, noting no anomalies. He then taxied the airplane to the fixed base operator where he loaded the cargo. Once the airplane was loaded, he again started the engines, obtained an IFR clearance, and taxied for departure.

After taxiing onto runway 20, the pilot held the brakes and increased engine power to 2,000 rpm, after which he released the brakes and continued increasing the engine power to full. During the takeoff run he rotated the nose upward within the first 1,500 feet of runway, and around 65 knots indicated airspeed. He then pitched the airplane for the climb out airspeed, the blue line on the airspeed indicator. He then tapped the brakes and retracted the landing gear. He also stated that customarily he would retract the landing gear about 3 to 5 seconds after rotation, at an altitude about 200 feet above the ground, and that the landing gear retraction cycle took about 5 seconds.

Once the landing gear had retracted, the pilot stated that he perceived a yawing sensation, with the nose of the airplane gradually pulling to the left, and noted a change in engine sound. He did not note any loud sounds or banging, but did notice a definite difference. He then looked at the manifold pressure gauge and noted that the left engine indicated 0 inches of manifold pressure and the needle was "fluttering." He responded by reducing the throttles of both engines to idle as he wanted to avoid a roll induced when the airplane's airspeed was degraded below the minimum single engine controllable airspeed. The pilot reported that he did not have time to extend the landing gear before the conclusion of the event, and could not recall any of the events that transpired after he closed the engines' throttles.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane singe and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on January 1, 2011 with the limitation, "must wear corrective lenses."

According to the operator, the pilot had accumulated 1,946 total hours of flight experience, 88 of which had been accrued in the 90 days preceding the accident. The pilot had accumulated 31 total hours of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model, all of which were accrued in the 90 days preceding the accident. The pilot began training with the operator on January 27, 2011, and was hired on February 11, 2011. Between February 8 and 10, the pilot completed 4.9 hours of initial flight training in the Beech BE-58, and completed transition training in the accident airplane make and model on February 17, 2011 after 2.1 hours of training.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was manufactured in 1979, and was powered by two Lycoming (L)TIO-540-J2BD engines driving counter-rotating propellers. The airplane's originally certificated maximum takeoff weight was 7,000 pounds; however the airplane had been modified by a supplemental type certificate that increased the maximum takeoff weight to 7,368 pounds. According to the operator, at the time of the accident the airplane was loaded to a gross weight of 6,700 pounds.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 13, 2010, and on that date the airplane had accumulated 17,265 total flight hours. The airplane had accumulated 47 additional flight hours since that time.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 2154 weather observation at RIC included winds from 200 degrees magnetic at 14 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 24 degrees C, dew point 17 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.70 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Richmond International Airport included three runways arranged in a semi-triangular form. Runway 02/20, which was 6,607 feet long by 150 feet wide, was the western most runway on the airport and was paralleled by two taxiways, U and A, staggered to the west. Taxiway C intersected runway 20, taxiway U, and taxiway A, about 2,500 feet from the runway threshold. The airport elevation was 167 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Abrasions and observed on taxiway U were identified as the airplane's initial impact point, and began about 3,500 feet from the approach end of runway 20, and extended about 260 feet south along the taxiway, to where the main wreckage came to rest, oriented roughly 160 degrees magnetic. There were three distinct areas of abrasions, with one area oriented parallel to the taxiway and exhibiting paint transfer of similar color to the airplane's fuselage and wings, while two other areas of abrasions were oriented roughly perpendicular to the taxiway. The perpendicular abrasions consisted of four slash marks in the concrete roughly 2 to 6 inches in length spaced about 4 inches apart.

The majority of the airframe exhibited extensive impact and post-impact fire-related damage, and the empennage was almost completely consumed by fire. The pilot and co-pilot seats remained attached to their respective floor tracks, but their pre-accident positions could not be determined. Most of the cargo netting was fire-damaged, though the remaining portions of net and attaching hardware appeared secured. About 720 pounds of cargo was recovered from the aft portion of the fuselage following the accident, and the distribution of the recovered cargo placed the airplane within the normal weight and balance envelope. Flight control cable continuity was traced from the elevator, rudder, and ailerons to the forward portion of the cabin, and all breakages of the cables exhibited features consistent with tensile overload. Measurement of the elevator trim jack screw correlated to a roughly neutral elevator trim setting.

The right engine exhibited fire and impact damage. The propeller remained attached to the propeller flange with portions of all three blades attached to the propeller hub. The propeller blades were arbitrarily labeled A, B, and C. The blade marked A was bent 90 degrees toward the cambered surface about 1-foot outboard of the hub, and separated about mid span, with the outboard portion not observed. The blade marked B separated 4 inches outboard of the propeller hub with the remaining portion not observed. The blade marked C was twisted toward the cambered side and exhibited S-bending and chordwise scratching. All of the blades were free to rotate within the hub. The propeller governor remained attached and undamaged, oil screen was absent of debris.

The engine was partially disassembled for examination. The crankshaft was rotated using a tool at the vacuum drive pad, and compression and valvetrain continuity was confirmed to all cylinders. The number 1 cylinder exhibited relatively less compression than the other cylinders and was impact damaged on its bottom side. The cylinder was removed for further examination with no damage to the piston or rings and a small rust spot noted near the top of the ring sweep area. No anomalies were noted when examining the interiors of the remaining cylinders with a lighted bore scope.

The engine driven fuel pump was free to rotate and displayed no binding. The fuel injector servo was impact damaged and partially separated from the engine. The mixture control arm was damaged, and none of the control positions were considered reliable due to impact-related damage. The fuel servo regulator section fasteners and safety wires were intact, and the brass plug was snug. The regulator section was disassembled for examination, with no damage to the rubber diaphragms noted. The stem that passed through the fuel diaphragm was broken in the threaded portion. The stem was examined in detail, with a small portion of the fracture smeared, and the remaining displaying dimple-shaped features consistent with ductile overstress. Neither fracture surface displayed any features consistent with a fatigue fracture.

The dual magneto remained attached to the engine, with no damage noted. The magneto was removed, and rotation of the drive shaft produced spark from all 12 ignition leads. All 12 spark plugs were removed and appeared light to dark gray in color, and exhibited normal wear. The ignition harness was fire damaged and not tested.

The oil suction screen and oil filter were removed inspected with no metallic debris noted. The turbocharger remained attached to the engine, light brown combustion products were noted on the turbine wheel, and the turbine was free to rotate.

The left engine exhibited fire and impact damage. The propeller remained attached to the propeller flange with portions of all three blades attached to the propeller hub. The propeller blades were arbitrarily labeled A, B, and C. The blade marked A was bent aft 90 degrees at about mid-span, tip was curled aft, exhibited leading and trailing edge gouges. The blade marked B was separated about 18 inches outboard of the hub and exhibited twisting. The blade marked C was curved forward, separated at about 3/4 span, and exhibited chordwise scoring, with the tip curled forward. All blades were free to rotate within the hub. The propeller governor remained attached and undamaged, oil screen was absent of debris

The engine was partially disassembled for examination. The crankshaft was rotated using a tool at the vacuum drive pad, and compression and valvetrain continuity was confirmed to all cylinders. No anomalies were noted when examining the interiors of the cylinders with a lighted bore scope.

The fuel servo remained attached, with no external damage noted. The servo was disassembled and a small amount of fuel was found in the fuel regulator section. No damage was noted to the fuel or air diaphragms. The engine driven fuel pump rotated freely by hand.

The dual magneto remained attached to the engine, with no damage noted. The magneto was removed, and rotation of the drive shaft produced spark from all 12 ignition leads. All 12 spark plugs were removed and appeared light to dark gray in color, and exhibited normal wear. The ignition harness was fire damaged and not tested.

The oil suction screen and oil filter were removed inspected. The oil filter media contained a small amount of carbon and a trace amount of shiny, non-ferrous metallic particles. The turbocharger remained attached to the engine, light brown combustion products were noted on the turbine wheel, and the turbine was free to rotate.

ADDITONAL INFORMATION

Pilot's Operating Handbook and Performance Calculations

The accident airplane's Pilot's Operating Handbook procedure for a normal takeoff dictated that while holding the brakes, the throttles should smoothly be advanced forward to takeoff power. The procedure further stated, " At 85 KIAS [knots indicated airspeed], rotate to a 10° pitch attitude and allow the aircraft to fly off. Maintain a pitch attitude which will result in acceleration of the aircraft to 95 KIAS at 50 feet. Before airspeed reaches 128 KIAS, retract the landing gear. Continue acceleration to the desired climb airspeed." The procedure for departing from a short field varied slightly and advised that after verifying that the engines were set to maximum continuous power and releasing the brakes, "At 76 KIAS, rotate the aircraft to achieve an attitude that will result in an initial climb airspeed of 92 KIAS. Maintain 92 KIAS until the barrier has been cleared. After the barrier has been cleared, retract the landing gear, the flaps and accelerate to 104 KIAS (best single engine angle of climb)."

The performance charts contained within the Pilot's Operating Handbook detailed the airplane's expected performance dependent on a variety of environmental, aircraft loading, and aircraft configuration parameters. According to the "Normal Takeoff Distance Over 50 Feet" performance chart, 1,950 feet of runway distance were required for the airplane to initiate a takeoff and climb to an altitude greater than 50 feet above ground level. The airplane's calculated "Normal Accelerate-Stop Distance" for aborting a takeoff at an airspeed of 85 knots was 3,100 feet. According to the "Multi-Engine Climb" performance chart, the airplane's expected climb performance with the landing gear and flaps retracted, and a best rate of climb airspeed of 106 knots, was 1,800 feet per minute. The airplane's calculated single engine climb rate with the inoperative engine's propeller feathered, the landing gear and flaps retracted, and a climb airspeed of 106 knots, was 225 feet per minute. The airplane's published minimum controllable airspeed with one engine operating was 76 knots, and the airplane's calculated stall speed given its configuration at the time of the accident was 74 knots.



 
Pilot Anthony Carr


One year ago, a plane crashed at Richmond International Airport — the pilot inside the charred, mangled plane actually survived. Now, the pilot is talking to us about how his life has changed.

The pilot, 25-year-old Anthony Carr, has had a long recovery.

The twin engine plane crashed just moments after take off at Richmond International Airport.

Carr, still alive, was pinned in the aircraft. He suffered 2nd to 4th degree burns to 60 percent of his body.

He also had six broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, internal bleeding, and a fractured face.

"I've had 19 surgeries since April of last year, and probably have at least six or seven left," said Carr.

Carr spent months at VCU Medical Center — it's been a hard journey to get to where he is now.

"It's been pretty grueling. I've had hours upon hours of physical and occupational therapy, ongoing surgeries probably once or twice a month over the past year."

At the time, Carr, at 24 years old, had been flying for about eight years.

He got his private pilot's license at 16 — learning to fly before he could drive.

Carr was a flight instructor for a while and was transferred to Richmond to fly the "Piper Navajo" — a cargo plane.

Carr had a love for flying... but right now he's grounded under workers comp and is seeing a psychologist.

"Obviously, you can imagine it takes a toll on you not only physically but mental things to work through as well."

The first responders who helped rescue Carr were honored by Henrico Fire and EMS this week.

Anthony Carr was there to personally thank them — again — for saving his life.

"I've got an amazing group of surgeons and doctors at MCV that have helped me out, and of course through the grace of the Richmond Airport Fire Dept. and Henrico County Station 6, I've got a lot of support."

Carr said his next set of surgeries will be in the fall.

His love of writing poetry helps him cope during his recovery process.

Original story:   http://www.nbc12.com






NTSB Identification: ERA11LA240
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, April 11, 2011 in Richmond, VA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-350, registration: N3547C
Injuries: 1 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.


On April 11, 2011, at 2127 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350, N3547C, operated by Airnet Systems, Inc. as U.S. Check flight 901, was destroyed when it impacted a taxiway after takeoff from Richmond International Airport (RIC), Richmond, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot was seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which was destined for Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT), Charlotte, North Carolina. The non-scheduled cargo flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to preliminary witness and air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Virginia State Police, the airplane was departing from runway 20. After reaching about 200 feet above ground level, the airplane descended and impacted taxiway uniform, which was located parallel to runway 20. Initial ground scars were observed on the taxiway about 3,500 feet beyond the approach end of the runway, and extended about 260 feet to where the main wreckage came to rest, oriented roughly 160 degrees magnetic. Airport Fire-Rescue responded immediately to the accident scene and extricated the pilot from the wreckage.

The majority of the airframe exhibited extensive impact and post-impact fire-related damage. The empennage was almost completely consumed by fire. Follow-up examination of the wreckage was scheduled for a later date.

A Stingy Spirit Lifts Airline's Profit

By JACK NICAS 
The Wall Street Journal

MIRAMAR, Fla.—Spirit Airlines Inc. SAVE +1.16% has scrimped its way to become, pound for pound, the most profitable airline in the U.S., helping reshape budget air travel by charging for everything from boarding passes to drinking water.

In five years, Spirit has gone from the cusp of bankruptcy to leadership of ultra-low-cost carriers, the airline industry's fastest-growing niche.

While full-service airlines chase big-spending business travelers, Spirit is profiting from fliers who seek to reach their destinations as cheaply as possible. But unlike other U.S. budget carriers, its cut-rate fares include little more than a seat, with nearly everything else sold a la carte. The 40-jet airline counts the bus company Greyhound Lines Inc. as a competitor.

"If a corporation is buying your ticket, you're not going to fly with us. We're OK with that," said Spirit Chief Executive Ben Baldanza, who vacuums and takes out trash at Spirit's low-slung headquarters in this Miami suburb. "More people eat at McDonald's than at Morton's."

Other U.S. carriers have dispensed with the frills of flying—notably budget pioneer Southwest Airlines Co. LUV -0.62% But Mr. Baldanza takes the nickel-and-dime approach to new extremes.

Want a boarding pass? That will be $5, please. Thirsty? Water is $3, though Mr. Baldanza said it was safe to drink from the bathroom tap. A third option is to order ice—the only complimentary item in the cabin—and wait for it to melt.

In 2007, Spirit was the first U.S. airline in decades to charge for all checked luggage—a fee later copied by most other major U.S. carriers. It was also the first to charge for carry-ons in the overhead bin: $30 to $45 a pop, with plans announced last week to push the fees to as high as $100 later this year.

Spirit brings in nearly a third of its revenue for baggage and other services, compared with the industry average of 6%. But its thrift comes at a price. It has one of the industry's worst on-time performances, the least legroom and customers who swear off the airline after one flight.

"I don't like them," said Lauren Piatek, a Chicago hair stylist. She refused to change her travel plans after her boyfriend broke his leg because she didn't want to pay Spirit's $230 fee to change two reservations.

"Yeah, it was a cheaper flight," she said, "but I had to pay for bags, water, everything. You might as well go on a normal airline."

Complaints aside, Spirit has found a market. From 2008 through the first quarter of this year—while larger carriers have posted billions of dollars in losses through bankruptcies—Spirit earned $289 million. Only two U.S. airlines have earned more in the period: Southwest at $1 billion with nearly 700 planes, and Alaska Air Group Inc. at $522 million with 165 planes.

Last year, Spirit earned 40% more per airplane than any other U.S. airline, and at about $1.63 billion, Spirit has nearly the same market value as US Airways Group Inc., LCC +3.57% which carries nine times as much traffic.

In a recent note, Maxim Group airline analyst Ray Neidl wrote that Spirit "flies for one reason only, to make money."

The ultra-low-cost model—pioneered in Europe by Irish carrier Ryanair Ltd.—requires airlines to strip all expendable costs. It means packing more seats onto planes, flying more hours a day and keeping seat prices separate from all related goods and services. Industry analysts say Spirit is the first in the U.S. to master the model, pioneering a route to consistent profits for smaller carriers.

The model isn't for everyone. Many major U.S. airlines focus on luring business travelers and boosting market share, even when it means losing money on some routes. After a decade of consolidation and cost-cutting, most major U.S. carriers are now cruising along profitably.

But Spirit's success pressures other small airlines that compete for budget travelers. Its aggressive pay-for-service practices also may make it easier for the rest of the industry to follow.

Last month, ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Travel Co. ALGT +0.79% became the second U.S. airline to charge for carry-on luggage. Frontier Airlines, a loss-making unit of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., RJET +0.79% is dabbling with the ultra-low-cost model in the back of its planes, where it is considering packing in more seats and charging for carry-ons. Frontier also recently replaced its free cookies with animal crackers sold for $1. "We think there's a lot to learn from" Spirit, Frontier CEO David Siegel said.

Even Delta Air Lines Inc., DAL +3.08% the world's second-largest carrier by traffic, recently introduced so-called basic economy fares on some routes in competition with Spirit. These discounted seats can't be chosen, refunded or changed.

With flights averaging 85% to 90% full, Spirit and Allegiant fly the fullest planes in the industry.

"We fly Spirit whenever we can. We just pack as little as humanly possible," said Kristin Flood, a hair stylist with her belongings stuffed beneath the seat on a recent flight—the only place bags fly free on Spirit.

Walking off the same flight, retired boilermaker Michael Mooney proudly flashed a $77 receipt for his round trip between Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. "There's no way they're making money off me," he said.

Spirit's flight path isn't without risk. It faces higher airport expenses and more congestion as it flies into larger markets. Spirit will also have to keep its union workforce happy—it endured flight-attendant picket lines in March and a rare pilot strike that grounded flights for five days in 2010 in a dispute over hours and compensation.

Spirit is still small—carrying just 1% of the nation's fliers—and one public-relations fiasco, such as a plane crash or lengthy labor strike, could damage its profitability and growth, according to industry analysts.

There are also some famously unhappy customers. This month, Jerry Meekins, a 76-year-old Vietnam veteran with terminal cancer, started a campaign reported on national TV to boycott Spirit after the airline denied his request for a refund when doctors told him he had only months to live and couldn't fly.

"It was time for someone to stand up to them because they're ripping us off and taking our money," said Mr. Meekins, who led a group of fellow veterans picketing Spirit's gates at Tampa International Airport.

Mr. Baldanza first refused to budge. "Nonrefundable's nonrefundable and that's it," he said. In one week, 30,000 people joined a Facebook page to boycott Spirit.

Last week, Mr. Baldanza reversed course and apologized. He promised to personally refund Mr. Meekins. Spirit also will donate $5,000 to a charity in his name. "I did not demonstrate the respect or the compassion that I should have, given his medical condition and his service to our country," he said in a statement.

Mr. Baldanza, 50, is better armed with jokes and a belly laugh. ("Want a water? That's $3," he told a Journal reporter at his office.) Short enough to fit in an overhead bin for one wacky Spirit promotion, Mr. Baldanza often lunches with a pair of colleagues to write the company's racy promos, which are emailed to customers. The company has an ad budget of $2.5 million, about 1% of Southwest's.

The carrier recently caught flak for a sale on flights to Colombia that poked fun at the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal there. ("More bang for your buck," the ad said.)

Spirit largely credits Southwest with paving the way to budget flying. In 1978, when government deregulation gave airlines power to set fares, Southwest lured a new flock of price-minded passengers. Most other airlines offered free meals and higher-priced tickets; Southwest gave out peanuts and sodas.

Over the past decade, bigger carriers also have cut costs, eroding the price advantage of budget carriers. Fares are now largely even across the industry, opening the door for the ultra-low-cost ticket.

Spirit's strategy came out of desperation. Founded in 1964 as Clipper Trucking Co., it moved to the skies two decades later and evolved into a tiny commercial airline. By the middle of last decade, its business ferrying passengers between Florida and the Midwest was near failure.

That's when Bill Franke, an aviation executive, pounced. An early investor in ultra-low-cost airline Ryanair, Mr. Franke cut costs as chief executive of America West Airlines in the 1990s. Later, he started a private-equity firm to invest in discount carriers. Searching for a U.S. airline to out-budget Southwest, Mr. Franke bought Spirit in 2006 and promoted Mr. Baldanza, an industry journeyman, to CEO.

Then the penny pinching began. Mr. Baldanza's team jettisoned in-flight magazines to cut weight and save on fuel. They sold advertising on overhead bins, tray tables and flight attendants' aprons. And they stocked food and drinks once a day, often leaving late-night flights bare.

On Spirit's Airbus A320 aircraft, they removed the reclining mechanisms to fit 178 seats—as many as 40 seats more than its competitor's A320s.

On some routes, Spirit leaves just 30 minutes between landing and takeoff, allowing planes to fly 12.7 hours a day—15% more than Southwest, which revolutionized the quick turnaround. Packing the day with so much flying requires some trips at inconvenient times, and can lead to more tardy flights.

Spirit achieved such productivity by flying at inconvenient times and having more tardy flights, since one late arrival backs up the entire schedule.

There is no receptionist at Spirit's one-story headquarters. Some lights lack bulbs. "We buy pens when we have to," Mr. Baldanza said. "But if you go to a conference and they give you a pen and a pad, absolutely bring that pen and pad back."

In 2010, Mr. Baldanza pushed for carry-on charges. Even Mr. Franke squirmed. "I had friends at other airlines who bet me it was going to be a gigantic failure," said Mr. Franke, Spirit's chairman. He won the bets.

Spirit went public a year ago, and its shares have nearly doubled, closing Friday up 26 cents to $22.61. It added 13 cities since 2011, including Dallas, Denver and San Salvador. Spirit plans to increase its capacity by 25% this year and has airplane orders to roughly triple its size by 2021.

On a dozen of its major routes, Spirit fares are on average 30% cheaper than competitors, according to airfare consultant Harrell Associates.

From Atlanta to Dallas, Delta and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines sell one-way tickets for $109; Spirit charges $51. Even with fees, Spirit is often cheaper. With carry-on luggage and one checked bag, the American and Delta flights would be $134, compared with a Spirit flight as low as $109.

But Mr. Baldanza warned it wasn't always the case: "If you're going to bring a lot of bags, fly Southwest."

The carry-on charges prompt passengers to pack less, he said, making the plane lighter and saving on fuel. Charging for boarding passes prompts more fliers to print them at home, eventually allowing the airline to employ fewer gate agents.

Spirit charges $100 for a pet, or a child flying alone. Customers pay a $17 "passenger-usage fee" each way to book tickets online and another $10 to book by phone. On board, a bag of nuts is $4 and a beer is $6.

Now, Mr. Baldanza said, he is thinking about charging for armrests and tray tables.

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Champion 7GC, N4861E: Accident occurred May 11, 2012 in Rexburg, Idaho

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA200
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 11, 2012 in Rexburg, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7GC, registration: N4861E
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The owner/pilot had completed two touch-and-go landings in the tailwheel-equipped airplane at his home airport and then left the airport traffic pattern to overfly a property south of the airport. For the overflight, the pilot reduced the engine rpm to about 2,100 and operated at an altitude of several hundred feet above the ground. The pilot then noticed that the oil pressure indication had dropped to the bottom of the green arc. He increased the engine rpm but observed the oil pressure continue to decrease. He considered attempting to return to the airport but then decided against that due to the population density between the airport and his current position; he elected to conduct a precautionary landing in a field. On short final for the field, the pilot failed to see the power lines across the field. The airplane struck the power lines then landed hard in the field. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any mechanical abnormalities or conditions that would account for the decreased oil pressure indication, and when the engine was rotated with the starter, the oil pump was observed to produce expected pressure on the gauge and to pump oil.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A decrease in indicated oil pressure while maneuvering at low altitude for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Also causal was the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from power lines during the precautionary landing to a field.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On May 11, 2012, about 1810 mountain daylight time, a Champion 7GC, N4861E, was substantially damaged when it struck power lines during a precautionary landing following a loss of engine oil pressure near Rexburg, Idaho. The pilot/owner and his passenger were uninjured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. 

According to the pilot, he departed the traffic pattern of Rexburg-Madison County Airport (RXE), Rexburg, after conducting two touch-and-go landings. He headed south, and reduced the throttle to 2,100 rpm to overfly a property. At that time, when the airplane was only a few hundred feet above ground level, the pilot noticed that the oil pressure indication had dropped to the bottom of the green arc. He increased the engine to 2,500 rpm, and observed that the oil pressure indication decreased into the upper end of the yellow arc. The pilot considered a return to RXE, but then decided against that due to the population density between the airport and his current position, and elected to conduct a precautionary landing in a field. On short final for the field, the airplane struck power lines that were strung to a pump in the field, and then landed hard in the field. The airplane skidded about 150 feet, and came to rest upright. The propeller, landing gear and fuselage were damaged.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information indicated that the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot reported a total flight experience of 295 hours, including 149 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in November 2011, and his most recent flight review was completed in November 2011. 


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1959, and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The engine was manufactured in 1965, and had a total time in service of 1,289 hours. Per Lycoming Service Instruction 1009, the recommended overhaul interval for the engine was 2,000 hours in service, or 12 calendar years, whichever comes first. Although the engine had exceeded the manufacturer's recommended overhaul interval by a factor of more than threefold in calendar year, the engine had never been overhauled. 

According to the Lycoming operator's manual, normal engine oil pressure is 25 pounds per square inch (psi) at idle speed. In the normal engine operating speed range, minimum allowable oil pressure was 60 psi, and maximum was 90 psi. That range would be denoted by a green arc on the oil pressure indicator gauge. 


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The pilot reported that the 1753 automated weather observation for RXE included winds from 195 degrees at 4 knots, clear skies, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point -7 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury. 


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION 

The airplane came to rest upright in a field, about 3 miles south-southeast of the airport. Both main landing gear struts were deformed up and aft, so that the fuselage rested on the ground. The cowling and firewall were deformed/crushed up and aft, and both propeller blades of the all-metal propeller were bent aft. 

About a month after the accident, the airplane and engine were examined by an NTSB and a Lycoming investigator. There were no indications of any oil leakage from the engine. The spark plugs were pulled and they appeared to be in good condition. A thumb compression check was accomplished, with no abnormalities noted. The engine exhibited continuity throughout its drive train.

Electrical power was supplied to the airplane, and the starter turned the engine over normally. Oil pressure was noted in the cockpit; the gauge indicated 30 psi, which was in the yellow range of gauge, but is a normal value when the engine is turning at below-idle speed. The engine was not started due to the bent propeller blades, and the possibility of unobserved internal damage. The oil line was disconnected and oil was observed to be pumped when the engine was cranked by the starter. No abnormalities with the engine's oil system were noted. The oil quantity was not determined, and no further examination or testing of the engine, oil system, or oil pressure indicating system was accomplished.

Group tries to block use of helicopters to herd bison in Montana

A non profit group is asking a federal court judge to stop the State of Montana from using helicopters to herd bison.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the injunction this week claiming the use of low flying helicopters to herd bison negatively impacts grizzly bears.

The Montana Department of Livestock uses helicopters to herd escaped bison back into Yellowstone Park in order to prevent the animals from spreading brucellosis to cattle. The agency also uses aircraft to conduct high level recognizance and monitor the bison herds.

MT Department of Livestock director Christian Mackay says the agency has not seen any data which shows the helicopters negatively impact the bison. He says the agency used helicopters to herd bison on Friday.

However, the director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Mike Garrity, claims that by using helicopters it forces grizzlies out of their natural habitat.

Garrity said, "The scientific studies done by the Parks Service and the Forest Service show that when [grizzlies] are forced to leave their habitat by things such a low level helicopter flights, they move into the new habitat that they are not familiar with and they have a less likely chance of survival."

Both sides will present their case in federal court on Monday.

Source:  http://www.ktvq.com

Opinion/Editorial: Tampa International Airport must plan next 20 years with care

A Times Editorial 

 Tampa International Airport will have to balance its wants and needs in the coming months as it crafts a master plan for the next 20 years. There is not enough land or money to satisfy every wish. The airport needs to be careful as it becomes an even larger player in the region's economy to remain focused on its primary mission of providing a reliable, convenient and affordable link between the Tampa Bay area and the world.

The airport handles about 17 million passengers a year, and that number is expected to grow to 29 million by 2031. The airport has pushed off plans to build a second terminal to the north until at least 2023, thanks to a slowdown in traffic resulting from rising gas prices and the recession. But the facility still needs more immediate improvements, from ways to ease congestion in the terminal and curbside dropoff areas to more room for rental car facilities.

Some of the upgrades will be fairly ho-hum. Design changes and new technology could make the terminal easier to navigate and maximize the space needed for check-in counters. Curbside pickup has improved; the real challenge is to give visitors an alternative from having to drive into the terminal altogether. The airport is also taking an overdue look at building a gas station at the entrance to its property. That would be a convenience for out-of-town visitors especially, and one that would burnish Tampa's reputation for customer service.

The bigger question is how to balance the airport's aviation needs with its ability to grow as a business. With 3,300 acres, TIA doesn't have the latitude that airports such as Orlando International (13,300 acres) have in accommodating all sorts of airport-related ventures. Tampa, though, is looking at building a transportation center at the south entrance that would include everything from a hotel, retail and rental cars to a monorail hub that would bring passengers to and from the terminal. That is a solid idea that could put underutilized property back onto the airport footprint. Officials also are looking at whether land on the east side could be used for a fly-in medical arts institute.

The master plan is updated about every five years, so no plans, at this stage, are set in stone. But the document will guide early decisions about how the airport intends to grow, the character it will take and the role it will play in the region's economy. The public should take the opportunity to weigh in at the next community meeting, expected in August.

Source:  http://www.tampabay.com/opinion

The lottery of air travel . . . .

By Greg Little
Wayne Independent 

White Mills, Pennsylvania —

Just this week, we’ve reported on a pair of fatal plane crashes which happened in Wayne County. These were both tragic events and my sympathy goes out to all of the families who have been impacted.

The crashes also reminded me of my absolute fear of flying. It’s not like I have never flown, I have, but it’s been a long time and if I have my way, I will always remain on terra firma.

I’m not exactly where the deep-rooted fear came from. Part of it most likely came from my dad who flew exactly one time in his life. You see, his buddy Tony Morris talked my dad into going up with him on a small, single-engine plane. Tony was, well, pretty eccentric. From the story I heard, Tony got the plane going pretty fast and suddenly decided it was time to fly upside down.

The story goes that when the plane came back down to earth, my dad got out and swore he would never fly again. He stuck to that commitment.

It was many years later when my turn came up.

I was working for a newspaper at the time and a friend of mine said her dad was looking for someone to shoot some aerial photos of his factory out in rural Illinois. There was a few bucks involved so I thought I would give it a shot.

I got to the little airport and there was the little plane. Actually, it was a four-seater, so I guess it could have been worse. As soon as we took off I knew I was in trouble. I grabbed on to something, I think it might of been a hand hold, and I never let go. I was scared to death.

My friend had to grab the camera and shoot the photos of the factory. I don’t think they actually had to pry my hands off the bar, but it may have been possible. I was oblivious to anything but putting my feet back on the Mother Earth.

You’d of thought that would have been the end of it for me, but it wasn’t.

Ironically, after not being able to shoot the photos from the plane, my friend’s dad ended up hiring me to work at his factory. That led to another chapter in my life when he sold the company and it moved to Minnesota. I trekked to the great white north and actually enjoyed my job of doing state bidding on large snow plows.

As part of my job, the company decided we should do some trade shows. That meant flying. The first trip was from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. I’m not sure the plane ever did level off because those towns are so close. It was all over in about 30 minutes. I then took a trip to St. Louis and when we landed, it was in the middle of a storm. I just closed my eyes and finally breathed when the plane touched down.

Also in Minnesota, one of the owners of a nearby business invited me and my co-worker for lunch one day. Wow, we thought that was great. We promptly drove to the airport, boarded a four-seater and flew to St. Paul. I was petrified but felt proud of myself for not showing it that badly. My hands didn’t have to be pried off a bar, at least.

The next, and last time, I flew came a few years after that when I was living in rural Montana. I was involved with a Court TV show and it had been nominated for a cable television award. The ceremony was in Washington, D.C. That meant about a four hour drive to Minot, N.D., and then a flight to Minneapolis and a second flight from there to Washington. I was petrified again.

On the way back, the plane left Washington National Airport and right after we took off, it suddenly slowed down. I thought the end was near. As it turns out, it’s mandatory out of that airport that planes reduce speed to reduce noise. It didn’t help.

From then on, it was awful and I felt such a huge sigh of relief when those wheels touched down back in Minot. I was so happy to get off that plane and into my ultra-safe Dodge Omni to travel the high-speed roads of the Great Plains.

Since then, I have steered clear of any winged flight.

I’m still not exactly sure why I have such a deep fear. I think a lot of it is control. I’m the kind of person who will complain that I have to drive all of the time but won’t let Nicole drive, anyway. I can drive entire, long vacations all by myself. I do enjoy driving.

People always tell me how it’s so much more dangerous to drive than fly, but I’m not convinced. I think if you are a very cautious, safe and defensive driver, a lot of bad things can be diverted.

It’s probably pie-in-the-sky thinking on my part, but I can’t find any other way to reason this crazy fear I have of getting into an airplane. (I would get into the space shuttle if it was still flying, so you can now see I am certifiable.)

There’s just something about being in control and there’s also probably that fear of falling for a long period of time before slamming straight into the earth, leading to your demise.

I don’t really have this great fear of death, but maybe it’s the kind of death. I don’t know, I just can’t explain these things.

The whole fear thing is frustrating, but it won’t go away. It means I will likely never go to Hawaii or visit Europe, unless I can win the lottery and take a ship.

Maybe I should start playing the lottery.

Source:  http://www.wayneindependent.com/opinions

Ripon, California: Police Prepare Parachute Aircraft To Combat Crime - Aviation Unit Also Assists With Water Rescues

Ripon Police Department

RIPON, Calif. (KCRA) -- Ripon Police will look to the sky in an effort to fight crime. 

The police aviation unit will use a powered parachute to patrol from above, responding to a recent spike in daylight thefts and burglaries, the Ripon Police Department said on Friday.

Police will also monitor areas over the Stanislaus River as people begin to flock to riverside recreational areas during warmer temperatures.

Since the Ripon Police Department Aviation Unit was formed in 2009, it has assisted with suspect captures, river rescues, missing person searches, accident investigations, homicide investigations, aerial crime scene photography and marijuana grow suppression.

The aircraft, which reaches altitudes of about 10,000 feet, operates best for surveillance at about 2,000 feet.

The department said that the aircraft is economical and has been supplied to police at no cost.

Source:  http://www.kcra.com

Millville Municipal (KMIV), New Jersey: Airport honors its 'father' Lewis B. Finch Jr.

A plaque inside the newly named Lewis B. Finch Jr. Administration Building portrays the late Millville Municipal Airport manager.


MILLVILLE — He’s known as the father of Millville Municipal Airport. 

 On Thursday, the airport was able to give something back.

In a ceremony that included officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the municipal airport and the city, the Millville Airport Administration Building was renamed to honor the facility’s late champion, Lewis B. Finch Jr.

For Millville Commissioner Dale Finch, the son of the former airport manager, it was an emotional day.

“It’s just so humbling; my family is very honored,” said Finch, following the ceremony, nearly at a loss for words. “This place was something he dedicated his life to for 27 years, and this is a tremendous honor.”

Lewis Finch served as manager of Millville Municipal Airport from 1974 until his death in 2002 at the age of 75.  Because of his work, the airport was over the years able to secure millions of dollars in federal  funding to upgrade the runway, taxiway and lighting infrastructure at the aviation center.

He was the recipient of the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame award for his accomplishments at the MIllville airport, and had been honored for outstanding service to the aviation community by the FAA.

However, it took until this week for the airport to officially recognize Finch’s contributions.
His best friend, 90-year-old World War II pilot Bill Rich had been lobbying officials at the airport to honor Finch for years.

He wouldn’t call it “lobbying,” though.

“I’ve been raising hell for the past three years,” he said outside the newly renamed administration building.

Rich flew P-47 Thunderbolts during the war, and trained gunners at Millville Municipal Airport.

He and Finch later helped establish the Millville Army Airfield Museum, where a mural of Rich adorns a wall.

“If Finch could be here right now, he’d be so proud,” said Rich. “He’d have a lump in his throat.

“He was so proud of this base, this airport.”

According to Donna Vertolli, a Millville Army Airfield Museum board member, Finch was not someone who strayed from a mission.

“He was rough and fair, and he got things done,” said Vertolli. “Of course, back then it didn’t take an act of Congress to bring all this to the airport.

“But he worked and worked to make the airport what it is today.”

Those who attended the ceremony to in tribute to Finch included U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo and Millville Mayor Tim Shannon, who recalled memories of the man from his childhood.

“I’ve known Lew since I was 6 years old,” said Shannon. “He loved the City of Millville, but the airport was his baby. When it came to federal funding for the airport, Lew was tenacious, getting as much as he could and no one did more to further its development than Lew Finch. I am pleased that the authority recognized his legacy.”

Source:   http://www.nj.com

Canon Digital Photography Forums: Photo shoot with a private jet

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?p=14404742

CAP plane lands in farmer’s field outside of Bath, New York

 BATH — A single-engine plane landed unexpectedly in a cornfield outside of Bath Friday evening. Nobody was injured.

The pilot of the Cessna 172 reported an engine problem before landing at the field,an FAA spokeswoman said. New State Police and Bath Firefighters responded to the field off of Larue Road in the Town of Wheeler.

The pilot was the only person on the plane, police said. The plane had no visible damage, police said.

The plane is registered to Civil Air Patrol Inc. of Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The FAA is investigating the incident, the spokeswoman said.


Wheeler, N.Y. —  No one was injured this afternoon when a plane made an emergency landing in a field near LaRue Road in Wheeler.

Authorities on the ground were not immediately able to find the plane,  but the pilot called 911 to say he was OK. He was the sole occupant of the Cessna.

Hawker Beechcraft laying off another 150 employees

 WICHITA, Kansas -- Hawker Beechcraft announced Friday that 150 hour and non-hourly employees received 60 day WARN notices.

Last week, the company filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

Officials say the company remains in compliance with the employment levels set in the agreement with the State of Kansas.

Here is the letter released to employees:


Fellow Hawker Beechcraft Employees:

As we continue the process of balancing our production levels to market demand, we face the difficult task of making additional changes to previously planned schedules and resizing our work force.

Today, we are announcing a reduction in force that will impact approximately 150 hourly and non-hourly employees in several areas of the Operations organization on HBC’s Wichita campus. Affected employees are receiving a 60-day Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) today.

We want to emphasize that although this decision to issue WARN notices comes one week after the company filing for Chapter 11 protection, the need for these reductions is driven by market conditions and the need to adjust production schedules, not by the filing itself.

In operating our business in the normal course, we must continue to be good stewards of our cash and balance our production rate with the challenging and rapidly changing environment we continue to face. We will initiate reductions in force to match product demand and implement furloughs as appropriate to ensure that our manufacturing operations are matched to material availability.

While this announcement may cause a distraction, we encourage you to remain focused on your jobs as we carry on our effort to become a smaller, more agile company that will remain competitive in the future.

We will continue communicating with you regarding any news affecting the company and our employees.

Sincerely,

Steve Miller, CEO

Bill Boisture, Chairman


http://www.ksn.com

Beech S35, N176Q: Accident occurred May 3, 2012 in Lake in the Hills, Illinois

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA271
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 03, 2012 in Lake in the Hills, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/15/2013
Aircraft: BEECH S35, registration: N176Q
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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


The commercial pilot and a flight instructor were in the traffic pattern conducting touch-and-go takeoffs and landings on runway 26. A witness reported seeing the airplane in a steep bank as it turned from the base leg of the traffic pattern to the final approach leg. The ground scars and damage to the airplane were consistent with an aerodynamic stall/spin at the time of impact. The wind at the time of the accident was reported from 220 degrees between 11 and 22 knots. The wind encountered on the left base turn to final could result in overshooting the final approach path. Most likely, the pilot was attempting to compensate for overshooting the final approach path and increased the bank angle to bring the airplane back on course. No preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation. Investigators were unable to determine who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident; however, the commercial pilot did not hold a current medical certificate and thus was ineligible to have been acting as pilot-in-command.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's excessive bank angle while on approach to land, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall and spin.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On May 3, 2012, about 1515 central daylight time, a Beech S35, N176Q, was substantially damaged when it impacted a spent quarry, just east of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), Lake in the Hills, Illinois. The commercial certificated pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from 3CK.

The commercial pilot and CFI met at 1130 the morning of the accident at 3CK and flew with a third pilot, in the accident airplane, to DuPage Airport (DPA) West Chicago, Illinois, to pick up another airplane. The commercial pilot and CFI then followed the third pilot to Burlington Municipal Airport (BUU), Burlington, Wisconsin, where the third pilot dropped off the other airplane. The three pilots returned to 3CK. The CFI flew from the left seat for all three flights.

The third pilot reported that after lunch the commercial pilot and CFI returned to the accident airplane with the intention of conducting a local flight. He remarked that the winds at the time were reported as 220 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 22 knots.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took witness statements from several individuals. These witnesses reported seeing the airplane low to the ground. One witness reported seeing the airplane in the traffic pattern for runway 26, conducting touch-and-go operations. This witness also stated that the airplane was in a very steep turn from the base leg to the final approach leg. Several witnesses stated that the engine was running and sounded normal prior to the airplane impacting the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

The pilot, age 82, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. The pilot applied for a third class airman medical certificate on February 17, 2012. The certificate was not issued, awaiting additional medical information in order to determine eligibility. Previously, the pilot had been issued a special issuance third-class airman medical certificate which was not valid for any class after January 31, 2012.

A review of the pilot’s flight logbook indicated that he had logged no less than 2,065 hours total time. He had successfully completed the requirements of a flight review on April 5, 2011, in the accident airplane. On his most recent application for airman medical certification, he reported a total time of 18,077 hours; 30 hours of which had been logged in the previous 6 months.

CFI

The CFI, age 62, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multiengine land, instrument, and glider ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single and multiengine, and instrument ratings. He was issued a first class airman medical certificate without limitations on November 30, 2011.

The CFI’s flight logbook was not made available for review. On his most recent airman medical certificate application, dated November 30, 2011, the CFI reported his total flight time as 7,785 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Beech S35 (serial number D-7427), was manufactured in 1964. It was registered with the FAA on a standard airworthiness certificate for utility operations. A Teledyne Continental Motors IO-520-BB (6) engine rated at 285 horsepower at 2,700 rpm powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a 3-blade, McCauley propeller.

The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on June 1, 2011, at an airframe total time of 4,067 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois, located 18 nautical miles south of the accident site. The routine aviation weather report for DPA, issued at 1452, reported wind 200 degrees at 13 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition few clouds at 3,600 feet, temperature 28 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 18 degrees C, altimeter 29.85 inches.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located in a spent rock quarry. The terrain was uneven, soft, and muddy. The main wreckage included the left and right wing, the fuselage, empennage, and engine and propeller assembly. The wreckage came to rest on a magnetic heading of 075 degrees.

A large ground scar was located approximately 5 feet forward of the main wreckage. The ground scar consisted of three distinct sections but was continuous. The first portion of the ground scar was 1 foot wide and 17 feet long. The ground scar contained paint chips along the entire span, consistent with paint from the leading edge of the wing. This ground scar terminated at a large circular ground scar which was approximately 11 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 6 to 8 inches deep. Broken Plexiglas and torn sheet metal were both found within the second ground scar, which was filled with water. The third portion of the ground scar continued from the east end of the center ground scar and was approximately 12 inches wide and 22 feet long. Red, white, and blue paint chips were found within the ground scar consistent with the leading-edge of the wing.

The fuselage included the instrument panel and cabin area. The instrument panel was crushed and fragmented. Both forward seats had dislodged from their seat tracks. The landing gear handle was in the down position. The fuel selector valve was selected for the right fuel tank. The Kollsman window on the altimeter was set at 29.84.

The right wing included the right flap, right aileron, and right landing gear assembly. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. The right wing flap appeared to be up or retracted. Both the right wing flap and right aileron remained attached to the right wing. The control cables were continuous from the right aileron control inboard to the fuselage. The right main landing gear was down and embedded in the mud directly beneath the right wing. The leading edge was crushed aft.

The left wing included the left flap, left aileron, and left landing gear assembly. The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The wing flaps appeared to be up or retracted. The outboard 5 feet of the wing separated partially and the fuel tank was compromised. The left aileron remained attached to the separated portion of the left wing. The control cables were continuous from the aileron control inboard to the fuselage. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed aft and fragmented. The left main landing gear was down and embedded in the mud directly beneath the left wing.

The empennage included the left and right ruddervators which remained attached to the fuselage. The rudder controls were continuous from the control arms forward to the cabin. The elevator cables were continuous from the aft control arm forward to the first turnbuckle where one cable separated at the turnbuckle bracket. The cables were continuous from the turnbuckle forward to the cabin area.

The engine and propeller assembly remained partially attached to the forward portion of the fuselage. The propeller remained attached to the engine at the propeller flange. All three propeller blades were bent aft, twisted, and exhibited leading edge polishing. The propeller spinner remained attached and exhibited rotational crushing.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

An autopsy was performed by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office on May 4, 2012, as authorized by the McHenry County Coroner’s office. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201200083001). Results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Testing revealed carvedilol in the urine and blood, enalapril in the urine, 0.036 ug/mL zolpidem in the blood and urine, 0.183 ug/mL of Sertraline in the blood, sertraline in the urine, metabolites of sertraline in the blood and urine. Carvedilol and enalapril are used to treat high blood pressure, zolpidem is used for the treatment of insomnia, and sertraline is an antidepressant.

CFI

An autopsy was performed by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office on May 4, 2012, as authorized by the McHenry County Coroner’s office. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was multiple blunt and sharp force traumas and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA’s CAMI, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201200083002). Results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Testing of the blood revealed ranitidine and testing of the urine revealed naproxen and ranitidine. Naproxen is a nonnarcotic analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. Ranitidine is an anti-histamine used in the treatment of gastric acid secretion.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was recovered to a secure hanger in Poplar Grove, Illinois.

The valve covers, fuel nozzles, and upper bank of spark plugs were removed from the engine. The spark plugs exhibited signatures consistent with normal operation as compared to the Champion spark plug chart. The fuel nozzles were free of contamination. The engine was rotated through by hand at the propeller. Air movement was noted at the spark plug orifice on all six cylinders. Rocker arm movement and accessory housing movement were noted. The fuel pump rotated freely by hand with no hesitation. Both magnetos were rotated by hand and exhibited a spark at the end of each lead. Examination of the fuel manifold revealed no anomalies

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Overshooting finals

The FAA’s “Airplane Flying Handbook,” 2004 (FAA-H-8083-3A) states:

Normally, it is recommended that the angle of bank not exceed a medium bank because the steeper the angle of bank, the higher the airspeed at which the airplane stalls. Since the base-to final turn is made at a relatively low altitude, it is important that a stall not occur at this point. If an extremely steep bank is needed to prevent overshooting the proper final approach path, it is advisable to discontinue the approach, go around, and plan to start the turn earlier on the next approach rather than risk a hazardous situation.

Accelerated Stalls

The FAA’s “Airplane Flying Handbook,” 2004 states:

The airplane will, however, stall at a higher indicated airspeed when excessive maneuvering loads are imposed by steep turns, pull-ups, or other abrupt changes in its flightpath. Stalls entered from such flight situations are called “accelerated maneuver stalls,” a term, which has no reference to the airspeeds involved.

Stalls which result from abrupt maneuvers tend to be more rapid, or severe, than the unaccelerated stalls, and because they occur at higher-than-normal airspeeds, and/or may occur at lower than anticipated pitch attitudes, they may be unexpected by an inexperienced pilot.


 CRYSTAL LAKE – The agency investigating last week's fatal plane crash says that the owner of the single-engine plane was flying the aircraft when it went down earlier this month.

Paul Sanfillippo, 82, was piloting the plane May 3 when it crashed in a quarry just a stone's throw away from the Lake in the Hills Airport, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB recently issued a preliminary report on the crash.

The plane crash also killed 65-year-old Scott Clark of Lake Forest.

The Beech 35 Bonanza plane was registered to Sanfillippo, of Grayslake, and the fatal flight originated from the the Lake in the Hills Airport, the report states.

According to the report, there were few clouds in the sky on the day of the flight, and the wind was reported to be 200 degrees with 13 knots. That translates to about a 13 mph crosswind component, explained Dave Hooper, a flight instructor at Blue Skies Flying Services at Lake in the Hills Airport.

Clark was a commercial pilot, and Sanfillippo was a certified flight instructor.

Hooper couldn't say how a light plane like the Beech 35 Bonanza would handle such crosswinds. Airplanes are made with an operator's manual that includes a demonstrated crosswind component, or how much crosswind the plane likely could withstand. Smaller planes typically are designed to handle about 17 knots of crosswind, Hooper explained.

"That doesn't mean you can't fly more than the demonstrated crosswind component," he said. "If you have the skills and are capable of flying beyond the demonstrated crosswind component, you can do so.

"But you can't land an airplane on an angle," he continued. "Eventually you have to use the rudder to straighten the airplane out. There becomes a point when you get too much of a crosswind component, and you wont get enough rudder authority to be able to land the plane."

A witness told police that the plane was flying "low to the ground, in a very steep bank."

"One witness stated that the airplane continued to descend at a steep angle before it hit the quarry," the report states.

NTSB is conducting the investigation and still is working to determine a cause for the crash.

"Our investigation can typically take about a year," NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said. "During that time, we will determine a probable cause of the incident. We do a pretty thorough investigation."

Investigators will analyze the plane, the pilots, the weather and other factors in the final report.

Both Sanfillippo and Clark died from blunt force trauma as a result of the crash, and there was nothing to indicate that either men suffered a medical emergency before the crash, the McHenry County Coroner's Office said at the time.

Source:  http://www.nwherald.com


NTSB Identification: CEN12FA271
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 03, 2012 in Lake in the Hills, IL
Aircraft: BEECH S35, registration: N176Q
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.


On May 3, 2012, about 1515 central daylight time, a Beech S35, N176Q, was substantially damaged when it hit terrain in a spent quarry, just east of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), Lake in the Hills, Illinois. The commercial certificated pilot and certified flight instructor were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from 3CK.

The Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake Police Departments took witness statements from several individuals. These individuals reported seeing the airplane low to the ground, in a very steep bank. One witness stated that the airplane continued to descend at a steep angle before it hit the quarry.

The wreckage was confined to the impact location and included the wings, the engine and propeller assembly, the fuselage, and the empennage. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed aft and fragmented, and the leading edge of the right wing exhibited aft accordion crushing. A large ground scar was located just forward of the main wreckage and measured approximately 50 feet in length.

The closest official weather observation station was DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois, located 18 nautical miles south of the accident site. The routine aviation weather report for DPA, issued at 1452, reported wind 200 degrees at 13 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition few clouds at 3,600 feet, temperature 28 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 18 degrees C, altimeter 29.85 inches.

'Did a Superjet crash? hahaha': Russian flight attendant sacked over Tweet about plane crash which killed at least 45 people

  • 'It's a pity it wasn't aeroflot' plane wrote attendant
  • Rescuers still searching after 12 bodies are found in mountains south of Jakarta
  • Superjet was on demonstration tour of Asia
  • Investigators yet to find out if crash was down to human or mechanical error
A tasteless tweet rejoicing at the news of a fatal plane which cost the lives of up to 45 people has cost a Russian flight attendant her job.

Officials for Russia’s biggest airline Aeroflot wasted no time in firing Ekaterina Solovyeva after she cruelly tweeted ‘hahaha’ after a Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down south of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Wednesday.

The stewardess wrote on her Twitter page: ‘Huh? Did a Superjet crash? Hahaha! This aircraft sucks, it's a pity it wasn't in Aeroflot, that would be one less.’

Ms Slovyeva swiftly removed the insensitive jibe, but not before other users had taken a screenshot and complained to the airline.

About 45 people, reportedly including one American, were aboard the Sukhoi Superjet 100 when it vanished from radar screens during what was meant to be a brief demonstration flight.

The passengers were mostly Indonesian aviation representatives, but there were also eight Russians -- four of them crewmembers and four Sukhoi employees -- as well as an American and a French citizen, officials said.

Salvage crews have located the flight recorder, which may offer clues to the cause of the crash, after the same 90-seat Russian-built jet had performed flawlessly on earlier flights piloted by an expert crew.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly believes there’s a 'good chance' the crash wasn’t related to the design of the plane.

It is believed to be the worst demonstration accident in decades and the outcome of the investigation into its cause will be hugely significant for Russia’s attempt to make an impact on the global aviation scene.

The SuperJet was designed in conjunction with Western partners and equipped with cutting-edge systems, as Russia seeks to win a slice of the regional jet market.

The plane was on a promotional tour of Asian nations and had already carried potential buyers and reporters on flights in Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. It was scheduled to move on to Laos and Vietnam.

Russia has spent about $1.4 billion developing the twin-engine aircraft with an Italian partner, Rome-based Finmeccanica SpA (FNC)’s Alenia Aeronautica SpA. It has a range of 4,600 kilometres (2,800 miles) and costs $35 million, according to the manufacturer.

Flawed design or technical malfunction would be potentially be a big blow for a plane brought into commercial service a year ago.

Frozen in the sands of time: Eerie Second World War RAF fighter plane discovered in the Sahara... 70 years after it crashed in the desert

 
Ft Sgt Copping and another airman were tasked with flying two damaged Kittyhawk P-40 planes (like this one) from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repair

  • Pilot of the Kittyhawk P-40 was thought to have survived crash, but died trying to walk out of the desert
  • Aircraft was found almost perfectly preserved, unseen and untouched, after it came down in 1942
  • Historian describes find as 'an incredible time capsule' and 'the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun's Tomb'
By Paul Harris 

 He was hundreds of miles from civilisation, lost in the burning heat of the desert.

Second World War Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping took what little he could from the RAF Kittyhawk he had just crash-landed, then wandered into the emptiness.

From that day in June 1942 the mystery of what happened to  the dentist’s son from Southend was lost, in every sense, in the sands of time.

But 70 years later, the ghostly remains of his battered but almost perfectly preserved plane has been discovered.

Like a time capsule that could provide the key to his disappearance, it had lain intact alongside a makeshift shelter Dennis appears to have made as he waited, hopelessly, for rescue.

Now a search is to begin for the airman’s remains – as aviation experts and historians begin an operation to recover and display the P-40 aircraft in his memory.

The chance find was made by an oil worker exploring a remote region of the Western Desert in Egypt. It is more than 200 miles from the nearest town in a vast expanse of largely featureless terrain.

Flight Sergeant Copping, part of a fighter unit based in Egypt during the North Africa campaign against Rommel, is believed to have lost his bearings while flying the damaged Kittyhawk to another airbase for repair. All that is known is that he went off course and was never seen again.

Read more and photos:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk