Monday, May 28, 2012

Cessna 172, Diamond Flying LLC, N953SP: Fatal accident occurred May 26, 2012 in St. George, Washington County, Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA230
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2012 in St. George, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N953SP
Injuries: 4 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.

Prior to the flight, the pilot and passengers were at a party, during which time the pilot and all but one passenger (the designated driver) consumed multiple alcoholic beverages. They left to go to another party and while en route, the vehicle was pulled over by a police officer. During the diversion, the group agreed to instead go to a nearby city to gamble.

The flight subsequently departed around 0120 with the airplane about 160 lbs. over its maximum gross weight. An airport video recording that captured the takeoff revealed that the airplane remained either on the ground or in ground effect for over two-thirds of the length of the runway, consistent with the pilot attempting to gain airspeed in the overweight airplane. The airplane then aggressively pitched nose up and climbed out of view of the camera. Seconds later, the airplane reappeared in a near-vertical descent into the dirt area at the end of the runway, most likely due to an aerodynamic stall during the steep climb.

A review of the pilot's toxicological tests found that the post-mortem blood ethanol level was 0.105 percent, which is more than twice the Federal Aviation Administration limit for civil aviators (0.04 percent). The evidence points to ingestion as the primary source of the ethanol in the pilot and implies that his pre-mortem ethanol level was high enough to significantly impair his judgment and psychomotor skills. It is likely that the pilot's consumption of alcohol preflight contributed to this accident. Postaccident examinations of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during an aggressive pitch-up maneuver, which resulted in a low-altitude aerodynamic stall shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment from alcohol consumption and an over-gross-weight airplane.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 26, 2012, about 0120 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N953SP, collided with terrain shortly after departing from St. George Municipal Airport, St. George, Utah. Diamond Flying LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing from St. George with a planned destination of Mesquite, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A friend of the pilot stated that he arrived at a party on the evening of May 25 and the pilot was already there. He recalled both himself and the pilot having several alcoholic beverages (two shots of Southern Comfort liqueur) between 2030 and 2200, but was not aware of his alcohol consumption before or after that time frame; there was also Bud Light and Smirnoff Vodka at the party. He recalled two of the passengers were also drinking alcohol at the party and the third passenger did not consume any alcohol because he was the designated driver for the group. Shortly thereafter, himself, the pilot, and three passengers all left the party and decided to drive to another party.

The friend further stated that while en route to the other party, the vehicle was pulled over by a police officer. While they were all waiting in the car for the officer to complete the traffic stop, one of the passengers suggested that the group should go to Mesquite, since he frequently drove there on the weekends to gamble. The group agreed to go, with the exception of the friend, who decided that he would stay in town instead and he called someone to pick him up from the car's location. Some of the passengers called him a little later to again try to encourage him to go, but he refused and made a last call to them at 0110 when he let them know he was going back to the party. Nobody ever mentioned or gave him any indication that they were going to take an airplane to Mesquite.

The airport was equipped with a video recording system that consisted of a fixed based security camera system. A review of the video files revealed that the airplane could be seen in the night time conditions by the blinking left-wing strobe light and the navigation light mounted on the tail. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 19 and maneuver at a low altitude for the length of the runway while increasing its airspeed. Near the end of the runway (about 2/3 of the way down the 9,300 ft runway), the airplane began a rapid ascent and continued out of the view of the camera. After about 7 seconds, the airplane reappears further down the frame in a rapid descent.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 23, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for single and multiengine land, and instrument flight. His first-class medical certificate was issued on April 16, 2012, and contained no limitations. The pilot was employed by GoJet Airlines, LLC., as a first officer in the Bombardier CL-600 series airplanes.

The pilot's personal flight records were not recovered. On his last application for a medical certificate the pilot reported a total flight time of 3,000 hours.

The pilot's resume submitted to GoJet indicated that he had previously been employed at Comair Airlines; he additionally was employed as a line technician at St. George Jet Center from 2003 to 2006. The computerized flight logs at GoJet reported his last recorded total time as about 2,230 hours, with his last proficiency training occurring about 1.5 months prior to the accident.



The pilot's family stated that the airplane belonged to a friend of the family and the pilot would borrow the airplane occasionally. The owner was not aware that the pilot had intended to fly the airplane the morning of the accident, however, that was not unusual, and the pilot and his father had permission to use the airplane when they desired. The pilot acquired a significant portion of his flight time from the St. George Municipal Airport and would commonly take friends flying without much notice.

The pilot's friend indicated that he did not consume alcohol very often and he had only seen him drink on three occasions in the last 2 years. The pilot's family indicated that he did not consume alcohol.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The Cessna 172S airplane, serial number 172S8153, was manufactured in 1999. The last annual inspection record was not contained in the airplane's logbook, but was provided as a separate entry after the accident. It indicated that the last inspection was completed on August 10, 2011, at a total airframe and engine tachometer time of 1,091.4 hours.



The airplane's Hobbs sheet located within the wreckage indicated that the last recorded flights were performed by the accident pilot on October 17 and 20, where he wrote that he had amassed 18.6 and 4.4 hours, respectively.

Fuel

The last known date that the airplane was refueled at St. George was recorded from Above View Aviation on May 18, 2012. The airplane was fueled with 18.5 gallons, which the fuel technician reported was a top-off to full fuel tanks. The last known fueling occurred at Chandler Air Service, Chandler, Arizona, where the airplane received 20.54 gallons of fuel, which based on the distance calculation from the two airports, equates to additionally being topped-off to full fuel tanks on that occasion.

Using average fuel consumption rates in the airplane flight manual climb and cruise performance charts, investigators conservatively estimated that the airplane had about 28 gallons of fuel onboard at the time of the accident. The disposition of the fuel load between the two standard capacity wing tanks could not be determined. The calculations used are contained in the public docket for this accident.

Weight and Balance

Weight and balance computations were made for the accident takeoff at based on the airplane's empty weight, total moment, and center of gravity that were obtained from the operator's maintenance records. The takeoff condition used the previously estimated 28 gallons of fuel. The occupant weights and seating positions were obtained from the Utah Department Office of the Medical Examiner. The detailed computations are appended to this report.

For the takeoff condition, the gross weight was about 2,710 pounds and the center of gravity was 44.92-inches. The maximum authorized gross takeoff weight was 2,550 pounds with the center of gravity range at that weight between 41.0 and 47.3 inches forward and aft, respectively. Review of the Cessna Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) for the Cessna 172S disclosed that with the flaps in the retracted position, at the maximum gross weight, the stall speed at zero degrees of bank is 48 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and altitude loss during recovery "may be as much as 230 feet." Normal initial climb segment airspeed is 73 KIAS at 3,000 feet msl, with a 620-foot-per-minute climb rate.

Cessna does not provide or supply stall speeds outside the maximum gross weight envelope. The applicable POH states that the airplane's "stall characteristics are conventional and aural warning is provided by a stall warning horn which sounds between 5 and 10 kts above the stall in all configurations."

Ground Speed

The recorded video files were captured from security cameras located at the southwest corner of the St. George's Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Facility and at the upper southwest corner of the South Terminal Building.

One video file disclosed that at 04 seconds and 21 frames into the recording the first indication of the accident airplane appears in the right-hand portion of the frame. The only visible indication of the airplane was the port wingtip strobe, port wingtip position light and white tail navigation light. The airplane continued to cross the image plane toward the departure end of runway 19 until 16 seconds and 22 frames in the recording when the airplane began a rapid ascent in an upward facing arc. The airplane continued ascending upward until 19 seconds and 03 frames when it disappeared out of the upper region of the recorded frame. At 25 seconds and 28 frames, the airplane reappears in the upper region of the frame in a rapid descent. At 27 seconds and 24 frames, the airplane's position lights disappeared behind a bright light bloom from the South Terminal Building's ramp area. No other salient information pertaining to the accident was captured during the 51-second recording.

The other video file reveals that at 04 seconds and 01 frame into the recording the first indication of the accident airplane appears in the right-hand portion of the frame. The only visible indication of the airplane is the port wingtip strobe, port wingtip position light and white tail navigation light. The airplane continues to cross the image plane towards the departure end of runway 19 until 14 seconds and 05 frames into the recording when the last indication of the accident airplane's taillight disappears out of the image frame. No other salient information pertaining to the accident was captured during the 23-second recording.

In an effort to determine an approximate ground speed during the takeoff, geometric reference points were utilized and the time was analyzed as the airplane moved between each of the points. To accomplish this, lines of perspective were created from the center of the camera's lens through each known taxiway light position and beyond the runway centerline. Using the airplane's tail position light, a frame reference was taken at each of the perspective lines as the airplane moved through the image. As the airplane's taillight passed each perspective line, the time in whole seconds and number of carryover frames were recorded. Using mapping software, the distance between each line of perspective along the runway centerline was measured and the resulting average groundspeed of about 107 kts was calculated for the 637 feet of captured video. The last two segments of video showed a decrease of groundspeed from about 107 to 91 kts. The pitch and bank angle of the airplane could not be determined from the video.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at the airport, indicated that about 5 minutes prior the accident the conditions were as follows: wind was from 260 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.60 inHg.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, on the morning of the accident, the time of sunrise was 0618. At the time of the accident, the moon was below the horizon and the sky was dark.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in the hard dirt area (the southerly primary surface) adjacent to the departure end of runway 19. Situated on the level terrain, the airplane came to rest in an inverted attitude and was oriented on a 315-degree magnetic bearing. The main wreckage, which consisted of a majority of the airframe and engine, was located about 525 feet from the edge of the runway.

The first identified point of impact was a ground scar impression about 40 feet from the main wreckage that dimensionally and geometrically resembled the wings with a crater-like impression in the center. The span of the ground disturbance was about 36.5 feet, with red lens fragments located near the east side and green fragments on the westerly side; the airplane's wingspan was 36 feet. Imbedded in the center crater was a portion of a propeller blade and the nose wheel. In the debris field from the ground scar to the main wreckage was oil sump, the propeller and engine accessories.

Contained within the wreckage were bottle caps from Bud light and Blue Moon beer bottles.

The destination airport in Mesquite (elevation 2,000 ft msl), was about 28 nm from St. George Municipal Airport (elevation 2,900 ft msl) on a bearing of about 245 degrees. A mountain range extended longitudinally between the two airports with peaks reaching up to 6,000 ft msl. The surrounding area was unpopulated desert and few lights were in the immediate vicinity. Driving an automobile between the two airports is about 37 nm and would take about 45 minutes.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Utah Department of Health, Office of the Medical Examiner, completed an autopsy on the pilot. The examiner's pathological diagnosis as cause of death was noted as, "Multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicological screenings on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#201200100001) the toxicological findings were positive for ethanol (alcohol). Specifically, the following was detected in the pilot's specimens: 0.105 gm/dL ethanol in blood, 0.121 gm/dL ethanol in brain, 0.098 gm/dL ethanol in heart; methanol and n-propanol was also detected in the blood as well. The toxicology report additionally noted no evidence of putrefaction in the specimens received.

Passengers

None of the passengers were FAA certificated pilots. CAMI additionally performed toxicological screenings on the passengers, of which two were positive for ethanol. One passenger's blood contained 0.088 gm/dL ethanol and the other passenger had 0.160 gm/dL of ethanol detected in his blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Following recovery, the wreckage was examined at a hangar at the St. George Municipal Airport.

Investigators established continuity for the elevators and rudders from the aft bulk head area to the control surfaces. The ailerons cables separated in the cabin overhead area location, with the cable ends exhibiting a broom straw appearance consistent with overload. Continuity was established in the wings (from cabin to their respective bellcranks), but the cockpit area's extensive damage prohibited investigators from tracing the cable paths. The wing flap actuator jackscrew was flush with the body, which, according to the Cessna representative, corresponded to a flaps being in the retracted position. The elevator trim was measured to be 1.3 inches, which the Cessna representative stated was a neutral position.

The Lycoming IO-360-L2A, serial number L-28167-51A, sustained impact damage. Despite several attempts, investigators could not rotate the crankshaft and proceeded to remove cylinders No. 1 and 3 cylinders. The No. 2 and 4 cylinders were examined through the spark plug holes utilizing a lighted borescope. The combustion chambers were mechanically undamaged, and there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation. The valves were intact and undamaged. There was no evidence of valve to piston face contact observed. The gas path and combustion signatures observed at the spark plugs, combustion chambers and exhaust system components displayed coloration that the Lycoming representative said was consistent with normal to lean operation.

There was no oil residue observed in the exhaust system gas path. Ductile bending and crushing of the exhaust system components was observed.

Removal of the fuel manifold (spider) revealed that it contained slight traces of liquid that was consistent in odor with that of Avgas. The diaphragm was pliable and the spring was intact.

The left magneto was broken as a result of impact and could not be functionally tested. The right magneto, which was located away from the engine in the debris field, was rotated by hand. Spark was obtained at each post during rotation.

The vacuum pump was disassembled and the drive gear was found intact; there was no visible evidence of damage. The rotor/vane assembly was also intact and undamaged. Light rotational scoring was observed on both the rotor and housing.

The propeller and its respective flange were broken free of the crankshaft. One blade was twisted and bent aft with leading edge gouges and chordwise polishing/scratches; about 8 to 10 inches of the tip was broken away. The other blade was found relatively straight with some evidence of twisting and chordwise scratching.

There was no evidence of mechanical malfunction or failure with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. A detailed examination report with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this accident.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Regulations

FAA regulation 14 CFR 91.17, alcohol or drugs, in part, stated:

(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil airplane -- (1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage; (2) While under the influence of alcohol; (3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or (4) While having 0.04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood. (b) Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil airplane may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that airplane.

Alcohol Effects

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism addressed alcohol dependent individuals and their automobile driving abilities in publication No. 28, April 1995. It stated that "The tolerance acquired for a specific task or in a specific environment is not readily transferable to new conditions," and that "a driver encountering a new environment or an unexpected situation could instantly lose any previously acquired tolerance to alcohol's impairing effects on driving performance."

Cellular Phones

Within the wreckage, four cellular phones were recovered, all of which sustained too much damage for any data recovery.

COMMUNICATION

The pilot was not communicating with any FAA air traffic control facility during the time period encompassing the accident sequence. The airport and casinos in Mesquite had not received a call from the pilot, a common practice for arriving aircraft that need a shuttle from the airport to the casinos.


NTSB Identification: WPR12FA230 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2012 in St. George, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N953SP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 May 26, 2012, about 0120 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N953SP, collided with terrain shortly after departing from St. George Municipal Airport, St. George, Utah. Diamond Flying LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and three passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing from St. George with a planned destination of Mesquite, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A review of the recorded security camera footage at the airport revealed that the airplane could be seen in the nighttime conditions by the blinking left-wing strobe light and the navigation light mounted on the tail. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 19 and maneuver at a low altitude for the length of the runway while increasing its airspeed. Near the end of the runway, the airplane began a rapid ascent and continued out of the view of the camera. After about 7 seconds, the airplane reappears further down the frame in a rapid descent.

The accident site was located in the hard dirt area (the southerly primary surface) adjacent to the departure end of runway 19. Situated on the level terrain, the airplane came to rest in an inverted attitude and was oriented on a 315-degree magnetic bearing. The main wreckage, which consisted of a majority of the airframe and engine, was located about 525 feet from the edge of the runway's center point.

The first identified point of impact was a ground scar impression about 40 feet from the main wreckage that dimensionally and geometrically resembled the wings with a crater-like impression in between. The span of the ground disturbance was about 36.5 feet, with red lens fragments located near the east side and green fragments on the westerly side; the airplane's wingspan was 36.1 feet. Imbedded in the center crater was a portion of a propeller blade and the nose wheel. In the debris field from the ground scar to the main wreckage was the oil sump, the propeller, and engine accessories.

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at the airport, indicated that about 5 minutes prior to the accident the conditions were as follows: wind was from 260 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.60 inHg.



Zoƫ Keliher, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, explains the process behind her investigation into the crash of the single engine plane in which four people were killed early Saturday as she combs through the wreckage inside a hangar at the St. George Airport Monday, May 28, 2012.





ST. GEORGE – The Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the recent plane crash of May 26, 2012, at St. George Municipal Airport seeks public input.

FAA Inspector Lewis Olsen, out of Salt Lake City, is the investigator in charge of the FAA investigation. He said that he has confirmed that Tanner Holt flew the plane that was involved in the crash of May 26 to Phoenix, Ariz., and back to St. George the week before the crash, returning on May 20. He has not been able to identify the airport in Phoenix that Holt flew into and out of.

“I need to calculate the weight and balance,” said Olsen. In order to do so, he said he needs to determine “how much fuel could he possibly have on board.”

Olsen asked that anyone who knows the passengers that accompanied Holt to Phoenix, and those passengers themselves, contact him directly. He said the questions he will ask are: ”Who went to Phoenix? Where did you park? Did you see him get fuel? And, if so, how much?”

Olsen said that the bodies of the victims of the crash have been transported to the coroner in Salt Lake City.

“Amongst the four there is the smell of alcohol,” Olsen said. “We are doing toxicology.”

He said toxicology is being run on more than just one of them.

The FAA Investigation is a separate investigation from that being performed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

 Authorities on Monday allowed the news media to photograph the wreckage of the single-engine plane that crashed near the St. George Municipal Airport Saturday, killing four Washington County men.

The photographs show the wreckage after it was relocated to the interior of a hangar at the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.

Control Tower Tapes As Pilot Crashes Into San Diego Bay: Pilots Back In The Air 2 Days After Crash

Two days after crashing a plane into San Diego Bay, the two pilots who survived the ordeal were flying again.

New video obtained by 10News shows the moment a single-engine plane splashed into the water due to mechanical problems. The plane made the emergency landing at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the bay in front of the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, near the San Diego Convention Center, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue

"It went right into the water," one witness told 10News. "It hit. It impacted, kind of rolled a little bit and then we saw a head bobbing out of it. We knew someone had made it out of there."10News has learned of at least three other plane crashes for Aerial Advertising, the company that owns the Cessna that crashed.

In 2006, a female pilot lost her life in a crash at Gillespie Field. Also that year, a pilot survived a crash landing on state Route 125 near El Cajon after having engine trouble. In 2010, a pilot had to make an emergency landing at an El Cajon intersection before the aircraft burst into flames. The pilot in that crash survived."It's probably not indicative of any kinds of shortcomings on the part of this particular operator," said local aviation expert Fred George.George told 10News banner towing is inherently dangerous because the planes used for it are not designed for that purpose.

"It requires skill on the part of the pilot to not only pick up the banner and get it airborne," said George.On Monday, the two men who survived Saturday's crash were out flying again. They flew from Gillespie Field to San Diego Bay, towing a banner for the USS Midway Museum that read, "Honor those that keep us safe."George said crop dusters are better suited for banner towing but are rarely used because they are more expensive.

Groupon Good for Flight School, Bad for Neighbors? Neighbors say online coupons for discounted flight lessons out of Santa Monica Airport put their safety at risk

 
 A screen grab of a Groupon for Justice Aviation based at Santa Monica Airport. Credit Jenna Chandler


In the past two months, a Santa Monica Airport flight school has sold more than 480 coupons for discounted pilot lessons. The success, however, has raised questions at City Hall about whether such promotions come at the detriment of airport neighbors.

In its first Groupon ad, Justice Aviation enticed novice pilots with this language: "man the controls and try steep turns while flying over the Santa Monica Pier, Malibu Hills, and scenic landmarks."

The attempt to grow the business nettled some residents who said Justice Aviation was putting their safety in the hands of adventure-seeking amateurs.

So the second ad in May was phrased more delicately. The ability to take steep turns would be "far away from civilization and guided by the instructor" and after the passenger had his thrill, the aircraft would "gently float back to Santa Monica Airport."

It was a deliberate "effort on our part to try to make our neighbors believe reality: that dangerous maneuvers are not being done over their homes," said owner Joe Justice.

At a future meeting, the Santa Monica Airport Commission will discuss whether such ads violate city policy or lease agreements. It will be the first in a series of discussions the commission, which serves as an advisory body to the Santa Monica City Council, intends to hold to examine actions of flight schools that may "increase noise, emissions, and crash risks for surrounding communities."

"To me it looks like a ride in an airplane, does he have the right to do that?" one commissioner questioned in March after Justice Aviation released its first Groupon.

"I do think it's fair to use this an example of activities of a flight school that may or may not be consistient with its [Commercial Operations Permit] and may or may not be consistent with city policy," said late commission chairman Richard Brown.

At the commission's March meeting, Deputy City Attorney Ivan Campbell said his hunch was that advertising for flight training services would fall within the perimeters of a COP.

"It’s far fetched for me to believe that people would think I would go into business to not be in business," Justice said. He he won't attend the hearing on his Groupon ad, likely to be held in June, because he believes the commission looks unfavorably at flight schools.

RELATED: PANEL DISPUTES CITY CHARGE OF ANTI-AIRPORT BIAS

"Until such time the Airport Commission returns to what it once was, a forum represented by both sides... I don’t really desire to partake in any of the meetings," Justice said.

But that's what Brown said he wanted to do. The late chairman said he hoped a hearing would give the flight school the opportunity "to come in and explain [its] action, which might put it an entirely different light than people think it is."

Original article, photo and comments:   http://venice.patch.com

Ultra-light plane crashes near Cecilton, Maryland; both occupants uninjured


Two men are safe after their ultra-light plane crashed south of Cecilton Monday night. 

 The crash occurred at around 7:01 p.m. at a private airstrip at the corner of Holly Drive and Knights Island Road, across from the entrance to Indian Acres.

According to authorities at the scene, the pilot was attempting to take off when a southerly wind pushed the plane into a row of trees at the end of the airstrip.

The pilot was able to climb down, but his passenger remained stuck in a tree before being rescued by emergency crews a short time later.

Both men declined medical treatment. Their names and ages have not yet been released.

Authorities say the plane, which resembles a go-cart with a parachute attached, came to rest in a tree approximately 15 feet off the ground.

Maryland State Police are on the scene investigating the crash.

Source:  http://www.cecildaily.com

Angel Flight volunteer flies patients to medical care

Every few months, Jason Tuggle takes a special trip in his blue and white Piper Cherokee Six.

The Leander businessman drives to the Georgetown Municipal Airport, loads a few people into his six-seater plane and flies them across the state for medical care. Sometimes they go to Houston, sometimes Brady or Lubbock. And he does it all for free.

"I get to fly have fun and give back to people who are in need of help," he said. "It's a perfect fit."

Tuggle, 32, is one of 1,100 pilots who volunteer with Angel Flight South Central, a nonprofit that provides free long-distance transportation to people who need medical care in other cities. In 2011, the nonprofit — founded in 1991 by a group of North Texas pilots — arranged more than 4,500 missions in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, said Tim Dammon, the group's president.

The pilots donate their plane, gas and time and ask for nothing in return, Dammon said. The nonprofit, which is a 501(c)(3), has five employees and an annual budget of $390,000 that comes from donations.

"This is totally at their own expense," he said. "No pilot with Angel Flight South Central is reimbursed a single penny for their flight expenses. This is truly grassroots philanthropy."

Tuggle, who runs his own printing company, had always wanted to learn how to fly. Five years ago, he started taking lessons. He was immediately hooked, often embarking on weekend trips with his wife, Morgan, and their dog, Runway.

But he also wanted to do some charity work, he said. Angel Flight mixed his hobby with helping others, and he has been volunteering for four years.

Tuggle's first mission was to take a man with prostate cancer and his wife to Houston for medical treatment. It was a quiet flight, Tuggle said. But the family was grateful for the help.

Now Tuggle goes on about six Angel Flight trips a year. He has heard stories since he first started volunteering and learns something from all of his passengers.

"It puts life in perspective," he said. "When you think you're having a bad day and you hear their stories, you know you're not having a bad day at all."

For more information on Angel Flight South Central, go to angelflightsc.org.


http://www.statesman.com

Pilatus PC-12: Wild Horses and Strange Primary Flight Display


 May 24, 2012 by buckmetta 

"How many horses you really use in your airplane? I like to use all horses (1.900) in take-off - about 1.000 at cruise - 250 in approach etc etc" 

 
May 22, 2012 by buckmetta 

 "Try to find sth very strange at PFD during final approach...I was there, well... see it for yourself."

Body Recovered: PHI Helicopter down near Grand Isle

New information on a PHI helicopter, that crashed late Sunday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico. Crews say the chopper with one person on board, went down about 35 miles Southwest of Grand Isle. There is no word yet on where the flight originated, but we do know that a good Samaritan dive team from the vessel Ocean Inspector located the pilot inside the aircraft's cockpit which was fully submerged. The pilot's identity has not yet been released and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Ontario, Canada: Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport future on shaky ground

Commercial airline service at Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport could be gone by 2017 unless more passengers start using it, warns airport manager Clare Webb.

“I’m not optimistic we’ll have airline service five years from now,” he told city council Monday.

Webb said the future of commercial service is “touchy.”

“We are extremely lucky to have scheduled flights from a carrier of the calibre of Air Canada,” he said. “But there will come a day when it’s not worthwhile unless there’s a turnaround in passenger (volume).”

In 1997, when the city assumed ownership from the federal government, the local airport provided nine daily flights and catered to 50,000 passengers annually.

Over the past 15 years, flights have been reduced to three or four a day and only 20,000 to 25,000 passengers arrive or depart every year.

Sarnia’s airport is still widely used by corporate jets and small, private aircraft, says a report prepared for council by Peter Hungerford, the city’s director of economic development and corporate planning.

Since 1997, management of Chris Hadfield Airport was contracted to a private company named Scottsdale and it has not cost Sarnia taxpayers a penny, the report says.

However, about 85% of airport revenue comes directly from Air Canada, which is the only commercial airline using it.

“I worry about losing that service, even for a short time, because getting it back would be very difficult,” Webb said.

In large part, Scottsdale depends on revenue generated from a $20 per person passenger facility fee.

Several councillors asked if there was more to be done to market the airport and attract more commercial users.

Too many people fly in and out of London Airport, noted Coun. Dave Boushy.

“Every time London improves their airport, that takes a huge chunk out of our market,” agreed Coun. Mike Kelch. “I know for Imperial Oil folks on their way to Calgary, chances are they take a drive to London and hop onto a flight.”

That’s because getting a flight from London can be cheaper, Webb said. And flying south from Detroit or Flint, Michigan is less expensive than flying out of Sarnia, he said.

“But I also want to make the point that if you’re travelling from Sarnia to Toronto to catch a connector flight, it’s not necessarily more expensive.”

Webb said he believes the 18-seater commercial flights out of Chris Hadfield Airport have fewer passenger because improved technology has made travelling to Toronto easier.

Kelch said he’s nervous about the airport’s future but doesn’t believe there’s a lot the city can do about it.

“I think it will always have a place for specialty flights, for helicopters and corporate jets ... that might be where its future lies,” Kelch said.

The impending loss of Canadian Coast Guard jobs in Sarnia also has Webb concerned.

“The Coast Guard is one of our better customers. We’ll feel that as well,” he said.

City council has requested another report from Hungerford by fall to compare operations at Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport with other Ontario airports.

Source:  http://www.theobserver.ca

New Jersey: Banner plane business takes off

It's a noise we are all familiar with, the clacking engine of the small planes that have been flying the coast of the jersey shore since the 1940's.

As millions of people flock to the shore every summer, business for aerial advertising takes off.

"Along the Jersey Shore on a weekend you can have up to a million people, when you cover Jersey to New York on a weekend, you can hit 3 million people," Dave Dempsey of High Exposure Aerial Advertising said.

Many wonder, how do you these banners get in the air? Does the plane drag them down the runway? Well we went and found out.

These little one seater planes nose dive down with a cable and hook, almost like a fishing line hanging from the back, and scoop the banners right off the ground and then stay in the air as long as seven hours.

"A pilot may take a banner from here at Woodbine, New Jersey, all the way up to New York, and down to Ocean City Maryland," Dempsey explained.

High Exposure Aerial Advertising has quite a few older planes, and today one of its 1956 one-seaters is headed up to Belmar, New Jersey, and then back to Cape May. On its journey it will see about a million and half eyeballs, costing the company about 1400 dollars.

"An average flight from Cape May to Atlantic City is gonna take about an hour and forty-five to 2 hours and probably going to cost you about 700 dollars," Dempsey said.

That's quite a bargain if you think about how many people will see it and how nobody can turn the channel or flip the page.
Each of the letters is about five feet for an average banner, but special banners may be as big as 50 X 80 ft.

"A lot of eyeballs will see that flight and they can't help looking up in the sky to see your banner flying by," Dempsey said.

The view from 1000 ft up is much different than from the beach, not a bad office window for the pilots, but one thing is for sure, all of them wear life vests.


Beechcraft V35B Bonanza, N6658R and Piper PA28, N23SC: Accident occurred May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, Virginia

http://registry.faa.gov/N6658R

http://registry.faa.gov/N23SC


NTSB Identification: ERA12RA367A 
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, VA
Aircraft: BEECH V35B, registration: N6658R
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.


NTSB Identification: ERA12RA367B
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Sumerduck, VA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N23SC
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On May 28, 2012, about 1604 eastern daylight time, a Beech V35B, N6658R, and a Piper PA-28-140, N23SC, collided in flight in the vicinity of Sumerduck, Virginia. The Beech was destroyed, and the pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured; the Piper was substantially damaged, and the pilot was seriously injured. Neither of the local flights was operating on a flight plan, and both were being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The Beech departed Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, Warrenton, Virginia, on a flight review for the private pilot, and the Piper departed Culpeper Regional Airport, Culpeper, Virginia, on a personal flight.

The pilot/owner of the Beech was an employee of the NTSB, and the pilot/owner of the Piper was an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Under the provisions of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and by mutual agreement, the United States delegated the accident investigation to the government of Canada. The NTSB designated an accredited representative to the investigation on behalf of the United States, and the FAA designated an advisor to the accredited representative.

The investigation is being conducted by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada under its statutes. Further information may be obtained from:

Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Place du Centre
200 Promenade du Portage, 4th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1K8

Tel: 1 (800) 387-3557
Fax: 1 (819) 997-2239
Email: airops@tsb.gc.ca
Web: http://www.tsb.gc.ca

Occurrence Number: A12H0001

This report is for informational purposes only, and only contains information released by or provided to the government of Canada.



 
Investigator Brad Vardy inspects the Piper PA-28 that collided with another plane Monday near Sumerduck.



 
The Piper owned by Broad Run resident Thomas R. Proven, who survived Monday's midair plane collision near Sumerduck. 




Authorities have identified the two men who were killed in a mid-air plane crash in Fauquier County over the Memorial Day weekend. 

 The victims are identified as Paul Gardella, Jr., 57, of Burke, Va. and James M. Duncan, 60, of Bethesda.

Duncan was the pilot of the plane. He works for National Transportation Safety Board.

The mid-air collision involved a Piper PA-28 and a Beech Bonanza near Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Virginia.

The pilot of the PA-28, 70-year-old Thomas R. Proven, of Broad Run, was transported to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, where he was still being treated on Tuesday afternoon.

Proven is an inspector with the FAA.

Canadian officials are taking over the investigation into a deadly Memorial Day mid-air collision because the planes involved were owned by federal aviation and transportation employees, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

 
Paul Gardella was killed in the plane crash.
 (Photo courtesy www.aviationadventures.com)











BEALETON, Va. -  Canadian officials are taking over the investigation into a deadly Memorial Day mid-air collision because the planes involved were owned by federal aviation and transportation officials.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that one of its employees owned the six-seat Beechcraft BE-25 in which two people were killed in the collision in Fauquier County. The medical examiner's office has yet to identify the two victims.

The pilot of the other plane -- a Piper PA-28 -- is an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration. Seventy-year-old Thomas Proven was listed in good condition at a local hospital Tuesday. He declined interview requests.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman and FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta requested that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada conduct this investigation.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says one of the planes caught fire after Monday's collision. The planes went down about a mile apart, and debris was scattered between the two crash sites.

Authorities say they recovered two bodies from a six-seat aircraft. The pilot of the second plane, 70-year-old Thomas R. Proven, of Broad Run, was transported to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg.

Mary Washington Healthcare spokeswoman Debbie McInnis said Proven was listed in good condition on Tuesday afternoon, but could not elaborate on the extent of his injuries. She said Proven has declined interview requests.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says a Piper PA-28 operated by the injured pilot appeared to be headed to the Warrenton-Fauquier airport. State police said the plane departed from Culpeper Regional Airport.

Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Fauquier resident Debbie Underwood told The Free Lance-Star that she and her daughter were enjoying Memorial Day with family when she saw the planes crash into each other.

"They looked like they were going to do an aerial," said Underwood, who frequently sees small planes from the nearby Flying Circus doing stunts.

Bill Iames was in his garage when he heard a bang and "looked out the window and saw smoke coming up" from a wooded area across the road. He and others ran to the crash scene but the plane was a crumpled mass of burning debris.

"You couldn't even tell it was a plane," Iames said.


One of the planes involved in a mid-air collision Monday afternoon in southern Fauquier County is owned by the Provens from Broad Run.


Survivor of midair plane crash identified


The Virginia State Police identified the survivor of Monday’s midair plane crash as 70-year-old Thomas R. Proven of Broad Run.

Proven was flying a 1965 Piper and crash-landed in a field near the spot where the other plane crashed in a ball of fire, killing both on board. Their bodies were taken to the medical examiner in Manassas. Their identities have not yet been confirmed, according to Corrine Geller with the state police. Proven was taken to Mary Washington Hospital.

The state police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash, which happened just after 4 p.m. on a clear day in southern Fauquier.

Fauquier resident Debbie Underwood and her daughter Tina Cleveland were enjoying Memorial Day with family when they saw the planes crash into each other.

“They looked like they were going to do an aerial,” said Underwood, who added that they frequently see small planes from the nearby Flying Circus doing stunts.

She and others watched as the planes collided and one went down in a ball of fire near Underwood’s home on Union Church Road. They heard two explosions after the midair crash.

A neighbor, Bill Iames, was in his garage when the crash happened. “I heard a bang, looked out the window and saw smoke coming up” from a wooded area across the road. He and others ran to the crash scene but the plane was a crumpled mass of burning debris. “You couldn’t even tell it was a plane.”

Police say the plane that crashed was destroyed by fire.

The crash happened at about 4 p.m. Monday in the area of Silver Hill Union Church roads. Police said the crash scene is secluded and difficult to access.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown told the Associated Press that both planes were small, private aircraft. She told the AP that the plane operated by the pilot who was injured appeared to be inbound for the Warrenton-Fauquier airport.

http://blogs.fredericksburg.com


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 6658R        Make/Model: BE35      Description: 35 Bonanza
  Date: 05/28/2012     Time: 1600

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: WARRENTON   State: VA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH ANOTHER AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT. WARRENTON, VA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   2
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   2     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: WASHINGTON IAD, DC  (EA27)            Entry date: 05/29/2012 



FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 23SC        Make/Model: PA28      Description: PA-28 CHEROKEE, ARROW, WARRIOR, ACHER, D
  Date: 05/28/2012     Time: 1600

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: Y    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: WARRENTON   State: VA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH ANOTHER AIRCRAFT WHILE IN FLIGHT. WARRENTON, VA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Approach      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: WASHINGTON IAD, DC  (EA27)            Entry date: 05/29/2012 

Cessna 172S, N953SP: Accident occurred May 26, 2012 in St. George, Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA230 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2012 in St. George, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N953SP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 May 26, 2012, about 0120 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N953SP, collided with terrain shortly after departing from St. George Municipal Airport, St. George, Utah. Diamond Flying LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and three passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing from St. George with a planned destination of Mesquite, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A review of the recorded security camera footage at the airport revealed that the airplane could be seen in the nighttime conditions by the blinking left-wing strobe light and the navigation light mounted on the tail. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 19 and maneuver at a low altitude for the length of the runway while increasing its airspeed. Near the end of the runway, the airplane began a rapid ascent and continued out of the view of the camera. After about 7 seconds, the airplane reappears further down the frame in a rapid descent.

The accident site was located in the hard dirt area (the southerly primary surface) adjacent to the departure end of runway 19. Situated on the level terrain, the airplane came to rest in an inverted attitude and was oriented on a 315-degree magnetic bearing. The main wreckage, which consisted of a majority of the airframe and engine, was located about 525 feet from the edge of the runway's center point.

The first identified point of impact was a ground scar impression about 40 feet from the main wreckage that dimensionally and geometrically resembled the wings with a crater-like impression in between. The span of the ground disturbance was about 36.5 feet, with red lens fragments located near the east side and green fragments on the westerly side; the airplane's wingspan was 36.1 feet. Imbedded in the center crater was a portion of a propeller blade and the nose wheel. In the debris field from the ground scar to the main wreckage was the oil sump, the propeller, and engine accessories.

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at the airport, indicated that about 5 minutes prior to the accident the conditions were as follows: wind was from 260 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.60 inHg.


ST. GEORGE – The Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the recent plane crash of May 26, 2012, at St. George Municipal Airport seeks public input.

FAA Inspector Lewis Olsen, out of Salt Lake City, is the investigator in charge of the FAA investigation. He said that he has confirmed that Tanner Holt flew the plane that was involved in the crash of May 26 to Phoenix, Ariz., and back to St. George the week before the crash, returning on May 20. He has not been able to identify the airport in Phoenix that Holt flew into and out of.

“I need to calculate the weight and balance,” said Olsen. In order to do so, he said he needs to determine “how much fuel could he possibly have on board.”

Olsen asked that anyone who knows the passengers that accompanied Holt to Phoenix, and those passengers themselves, contact him directly. He said the questions he will ask are: ”Who went to Phoenix? Where did you park? Did you see him get fuel? And, if so, how much?”

Olsen said that the bodies of the victims of the crash have been transported to the coroner in Salt Lake City.

“Amongst the four there is the smell of alcohol,” Olsen said. “We are doing toxicology.”

He said toxicology is being run on more than just one of them.

Anyone with any information to assist Olsen in his investigation is asked to contact him as follows:


Telephone: 801-257-5053

The FAA Investigation is a separate investigation from that being performed by the National Transportation Safety Board.



Written by Joyce Kuzmanic on May 28, 2012:

ST. GEORGE – When Justin Ross telephoned his friends, Tanner Holt, Jordan Chapman, Alex Metzger and Colby Hafen, at 1:10 a.m. on May 26 to tell them he had decided not to join up with them to go to Mesquite, he had no idea it would be the last time he ever spoke with them – or that his decision to not go may have saved his own life. “I was the last one to talk to them,” Ross said.

Ross had spent most of the evening on May 25, with Holt, Chapman, Metzger and Hafen.

“We were at a house just having some fun,” Ross said. “You know, everyone was just kind of hanging out, then one of my buddy’s was having a party at his house and we were on our way over there –and we ended up getting pulled over.”

A Washington City police officer had ran Chapman’s plates and pulled us over for lack of insurance. Ross said they were pulled over at the Hart’s gas station in Washington in the area of Albertson’s and Home Depot. Ross said that Chapman apologized to the officer for not having insurance, that he had just bought his car on Monday.

“And in the meantime, while the cop was running his license and everything, we came up with the idea, ‘guys, let’s just go to Mesquite and just skip out on going to that party,’ and so all of just agreed to go to Mesquite.”

While they were waiting for the officer to finish what he was doing, Ross decided not to go with the guys to Mesquite.

A friend of his, Allie Davis, who he had planned to get together with, happened to be on her way to Wal-mart at the time. So she came and picked up Ross, and the other four guys headed to Mesquite.

“So me and Allie were driving around,” Ross said, and “Tanner called and said ‘dude, don’t you want to go to Mesquite with us? You should come.’

“So I asked Allie – she agreed.

“So I was like, let me call you back I’ll let you know.

 “We were turning off bluff street onto the freeway,” Ross said. “Something ran through me that said ‘Justin, don’t go,’ and those guys were on the freeway, so I ended up calling those guys back and telling them we’re not going to go – and I think that’s why they ended up taking that plane, because there were just four of them – if I would’ve ended up going with them they probably would’ve ended up just driving there.”

 Ross said with certainty that he called the guys at 1:10 a.m. he repeated that it was 1:10 a.m. when he called them to tell them he was not going with them to Mesquite.


He said that was the last time he talked to them.

Ross has been a good friend with all four guys killed in the plane crash from one to two years each.

“We were really good volleyball friends, we’d go to the lake, lay out by the pool, we were just always doing something fun.”

He said they have partied together, but he does not remember any time that they were not responsible doing so.

Before the guys left the first party, which had 17-20 people including Ross and the four, Ross said that they were “pre-gaming” for the other party. “I know Tanner had a couple shots of alcohol. Jordan was the only one who was not drinking, because I actually offered him a thing of alcohol and he said ‘no, I’m driving, I’m designated driver (moving his hands in sign language to show the “driving” gesture Jordan had given him).” He said he knows Holt had two shots of something like Southern Comfort because they had them together, but could not say if Holt had any more than those. He said Metzger and Hafen were drinking also. He said there was no alcohol in the car with them when they left the party.

Ross said he has seen speculation that the four headed to a game in San Diego.
“I know they were not going to San Diego because we were all going to San Diego in the morning and we had rented a van. Alex had rented a van to go to San Diego on Saturday – we was going to leave right after my buddy Kazj Briggs got off work at 3 p.m. Kazj is one of our friends, we was actually at his house, that’s where we were at when we was drinking.”

Ross said he thinks that maybe they decided to fly to Mesquite because they had just been pulled over for no insurance, and they were partying and having a good time and decided, ‘let’s just fly there.’ He said that Tanner did fly that same plane out to Phoenix with a couple friends to visit him last weekend.

Ross said that he doesn’t know one person that doesn’t like these kids:
“They were all friends and they always put a smile on people’s faces, they always brightened up a room when they walk through the door. I am extremely sad for the loss of these four, and my prayers are going out to the families of each of them.

“These were the happiest kids alive, they were social, they knew everybody, they were just the happiest people alive.”

Read more and comments:  http://www.stgeorgeutah.com

Related stories:
Investigation into May 26 plane crash, public input requested
Names of plane crash victims released
Fatal plane crash discovered by airport security at dawn


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 953SP        Make/Model: C172      Description: Skyhawk
  Date: 05/26/2012     Time: 0800

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: SAINT GEORGE   State: UT   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED ON TAKEOFF UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. ST. GEORGE, UT

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   4
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   3     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Take-off      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: SALT LAKE CITY, UT  (NM07)            Entry date: 05/29/2012 

Nieces' Search for Their Uncle's WWII Wreckage Takes Them Around the World


View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

 Marcy Hannigan traveled to the jungles of Rabaul in New Guinea to find out what truly happened to her uncle, Lt. Mike Zanger. A pilot during WWII, he collided with another plane in mid-air and became a prisoner of war, dying at the hands of the Japanese military. The mystery of his fate brought together historian Henry Sakada and Zanger's family. Ana Garcia reports for the NCB4 News at 5 p.m. on May 25, 2012. 

 Marcy Hanigan delights in sharing pictures of her mother and uncle.

One rare and cherished photo appears to be from the late 1920s. It is a black and white image of a pretty, tall, leggy girl and a younger boy in high-waisted shorts and striped knee socks. Hanigan’s mother, Grace, drapes a protective arm over her younger brother Mike.

Hanigan said her mother rarely spoke about her little brother.

“Uncle Mike’s death really knocked the life out of her. She never got over it,” Hanigan said.
Lt. Mike Zanger was a Marine, a pilot in World War II who died as a prisoner of war under the Japanese.

Hanigan said his death left a hole in her mother’s heart, and in many ways a hole in her life.

“I wanted to know my uncle. I didn’t realize there was such a void,” she said.

It was a loss and a yearning she shared with her sisters, Andrea and Susan. Ultimately their aching curiosity led them to Henry Sakaida.

Sakaida, a forensic historian, had been studying Zanger since 1981.

For nearly thirty years he had undergone the patient task of requesting documents from the government and the military. He had poured over files and papers and interviewed Japanese pilots who had seen Zanger in captivity.

Sakaida knew details of Zanger final months: Zanger had crashed in Dec. 1944.

He had been a Corsair pilot, one the Japanese feared, Sakaida said.

“It was a heavy fighter plane. It was very powerful and heavily armed. It was just a formidable opponent,” Sakaida said.

Zanger was flying a mission over New Guinea when he collided with his wingman and sustained major damage to his plane. Zanger’s plane started to spin; he bailed out, parachuting into the jungles of Rabaul.

Sakaida said Zanger had a survival pack that included a one-man rubber dinghy. Sakaida believes he boarded the raft and set off in the bay to escape.

“He had had gone quite a distance but the little rubber dinghy is painted yellow – so it could be seen from the shore. It was easy to see him in the bay like that,” Sakaida said.

Zanger was captured by a Japanese navy patrol boat and “languished in captivity for six months,” Sakaida said.

Military reports noted that Zanger was shot trying to escape captivity. But Sakaida contends that could not be true because the Japanese were cruel to their prisoners, and Zanger would not have been physically capable to escape the guards and make a run for it.

Upon reading the Zanger’s autopsy report, Sakaida discovered that Zanger “had lots of fractures and broken bones but no gunshot wounds and that led me to believe that he was beaten to death and not shot.”

Twice, Sakaid, determined to share the truth with Zanger’s family, left notes where the pilot was buried.

Years later, Hanigan and her sisters found Sakaida. The persistent historian who had been so diligent said he was “flabbergasted.”

Sakaida suggested the group take a trip to the other side of the world. He suggested they travel to Rabaul, New Guinea, to search for the plane.

He laughs when he recalls the reaction of others:

“My friends would say, ‘What? You are taking three old ladies to Rabaul? To the jungles?’ I said, ‘Sure, why not?’”

Both Sakaida and Hanigan say the trip would have been impossible without the expertise of Justin Taylan. founder of Pacific Wrecks, a non-profit dedicated to finding and preserving fighter planes from World War II.

Hanigan said these two men gave her the “gift of a lifetime.”

Taylan had coordinates for where the plane went down, and where the wreckage should be, but when they got to the exact location, the plane was buried in years of mud, muck and mosquitos.

Taylan spoke the local dialect and shared Zanger’s and his nieces’ story with the villagers, who cleared the brush from the area, and bailed out the water so that what remained of the plane could be retrieved.

Hanigan described them as some of the kindest and most humane people she has ever met.

Now pieces of the wreckage were laid out before them. But was this Zanger’s plane?

In order to confirm, the group scoured each piece of the wreck in search of an identifying mark.

Most corsairs were built by Vought, but Lt. Mike Zanger flew a plane built by Goodyear.

They needed to find the Goodyear stamp. Hanigan said it was grueling and precise work.

“We were looking for a very small stamp that was smaller than a dime,” she said.

One of the local women came over and asked Hanigan’s sister to draw the logo – it was a capital “G” with a smaller capital “A” inside of it.

Hanigan said what happened next is a moment she will never forget: “The documents said our uncle’s plane had crashed at 2:30 in the afternoon and at 2:30 in the afternoon on the dot we found the identifying mark. It was really magical.”

Hanigan and her sisters wept at the sight of the logo. They were in the presence of their uncle’s plane; they were touching the pieces he touched.

“I don’t think I am the same person,” Hanigan said.

Despite having never met her Uncle Mike, she now feels a real connection with him, and standing there with her sisters over the wreckage was a way to honor him.

Hanigan said, in many ways, the journey was for their mother.

“I think she would have been moved to tears over this,” Hanigan said. “It would have meant so much to her. She would have been real proud of us. I know that. “

Source:   http://www.nbclosangeles.com

From Iniakuk Lake to Afghanistan


Rex Gray with his son Ben. They had just finished Ben's first solo flight in the little green airplane they call "The Champ." 
Photo courtesy of Rex Gray. 


 Alaska Air National Guard troops are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. Rex Gray is a parent of one of those citizen soldiers. His son Ben is heading off on his first deployment. In this commentary, Rex reflects on what the experience means to him.

He’s leaving for Afghanistan- heading to a Forward Operating Base. To fly a Pavehawk – A Blackhawk helicopter modified to rescue downed Airmen, Marines in tight spots, and who knows what else. He loves to fly.

His first airplane ride was in a Grumman Widgeon to Iniakuk Lake, in the Brooks Range. He was six months old. Sitting on his mother’s lap, he tried to wrap his little fingers around the control yoke. After landing he burped up his milk – but was still all smiles. That was 28 years ago.

He spent a lot his growing up time in little airplanes sitting beside me – old enough to hold the control wheel he would keep the wings level, or sometimes just look out the window. It was no surprise when he turned 15 he wanted to learn to fly.

Flying in Alaska is wonderful but risky. Some of my pilot friends have died here. If he was going to be a pilot I wanted to make sure he could recognize and deal with the risk. He is my son. I would be his flight instructor. I wanted make sure he knew everything he needed to know to give the him the best odds of surviving. We did spins, practiced landings in big crosswinds, flew in bad weather – intentionally. Sure we had the traditional father – teenage son conflicts but he learned, and before I knew it he was 17 and a private pilot.

“It’ll be fine,” he said. “I checked the weather.”

I watched him fly up the Mantanuska River Valley in that little green airplane we had spent so many hours in together. A towering thunderstorm over Sutton was trying to block the valley and his route.

“No worries, he’s been well trained,” I told myself.

Seems just like yesterday – a teenage pilot off to see another teenager living in the Wrangells. She is now his wife, and is also saying goodbye.

Almost 200 men and women are deploying. Most are citizen soldiers – or weekend warriors. They are helicopter pilots, C-130 pilots, PJs or para rescue-men, mechanics, crew chiefs, gunners, and support personnel. Their business is saving people. Last year 104 to be exact.

They’re our neighbors, co-workers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters – willing to do their duty half way around the world, in a hostile environment. They will be gone 120 days.

I taught him everything I knew about flying and risk management in that little green airplane, the Champ. I didn’t teach him how to avoid enemy fire in a low flying helicopter. He assured me the Air Force has.

In 120 days my son and all the others will return home safely. I’m looking forward to that day when we can go fly the little green airplane together again. I’m sure he’ll have lot to teach me.

Source:   http://www.alaskapublic.org

Royal Canadian Mounted Police say bullet hit Yellowknife float plane in mid-air: Plane was flying over Latham Island when pilot heard impact

A float plane sits at the Air Tindi base on Latham Island in Yellowknife. An aircraft was flying over the island Sunday when police say it was hit with a bullet. A float plane sits at the Air Tindi base on Latham Island in Yellowknife. An aircraft was flying over the island Sunday when police say it was hit with a bullet. 
   

Police are investigating after they say a float plane in Yellowknife was hit with a bullet in mid-air on Sunday afternoon.

The plane was damaged during a flight over the southeast side of Latham Island in the Old Town area sometime between 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. MT.

The RCMP said the pilot heard the impact during the flight, and inspected the plane after landing.

There was damage to one of the propellers and the engine bonnet. Police say the damage was minor, but could have been life-threatening.

The RCMP are investigating, and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Source:  http://www.cbc.ca/news

Parachute flyers

McPherson, Kan. —   The colors in the sky were a bit more vibrant as the sun set in McPherson Thursday evening.

Peppered in the air were a handful of powered parachutes, utilizing the calm evening to float above McPherson Airport in every color of the rainbow. It was the start of a weekend fly-in for local pilots, scheduled to run through May 28.

This is the first year for McPherson to host the unofficial event, which previously took place in Herington.

About two-dozen pilots from central Kansas and surrounding states were expected to park their mobile homes at the airport and fly throughout the weekend, but strong winds chased many away, with gusts climbing to 27 miles per hour on Wednesday. Thursday evening's gusts, however, were just under the 10-mile per hour safety limit, allowing the local few to join the birds in flight.

Eye for the sky

Steve Mann of McPherson, a pilot for about seven years, was one who brought his powered parachute. Flying his machine satisfies the thirst for adventure he’s had his entire life.

“I’ve wanted to fly since I was a little kid,” he said.

At first, he thought that investing in radio-controlled airplanes would do the trick, but his feet were still on the ground.

He then put 100,000 miles on two Harley motorcycles. But he soon grew tired of that past time and traded one for a powered parachute.

“I really didn’t want to go some place, that wasn’t my goal,” he said. “I just wanted something so I could go up in the air and have fun.”

Investing in the machine not only gave him the thrill he was looking for, but was a way he could explore the sky independently without having to buy an airplane and store it in a warehouse.

“This was the most economical way to satisfy that urge to fly,” he said.

His love for the hobby has grown ever since.

Flying family

He began attending fly-ins in various parts of the county and building friendships with the other pilots.

“A lot of it’s the camaraderie and the friendship, and flying is a bonus,” he said. “When we come together, the boundaries between business and social status really dissolve. We’re out there and we’re flying and we’re having fun. It’s just people helping out people.”

Machine

Mann began with a smaller powered parachute but has bought, sold and traded until he obtained his fifth machine. It has a 100 horse power engine, which, if bought new, would cost $35,000.

There are two types of powered parachutes, a special light sport aircraft and an experimental light sport aircraft. They typically fly at around 35 miles per hour, but Mann has gotten his up to 62 miles per hour with the wind.
“It’s a great way to fly,” he said.

His altitude is often between 500 and 1,000 feet, but they can legally fly up to 10,000 feet, Mann said.

One of his favorite ways to fly is low to the ground so he can see the wildlife on the prairie and farmers in their fields. Individuals will often stop on the road to watch him hover in a five- to 10-mile radius.

“They’re a great magnet for people,” he said.

Safety

But although they like to observe, many are hesitant to be pilots.

“I have people tell me I’m crazy,” he said, adding many of them are motorcycle riders. “It’s a lot safer than being up there than driving a motorcycle down the highway.”

The machine has a parachute to land in case the engine should malfunction, and pilots and passengers are strapped in with a four-point harness.

“Statistically they say its one of the safest ways to fly,” he said. “Safety’s always first and foremost on everybody’s mind.”