Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cessna 172, 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.

  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

  City: SAINT GEORGE   State: UT   Country: US


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:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Take-off      Operation: OTHER

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

Aircraft safety: Experts call for independent inquiry into Bhoja Air crash

“We took off at 4:49. Our seat number was 13 (A, B, C, D, E, F). The clouds below looked like fluffy cosy beds. I just felt like lying on them but I knew I couldn’t.” These are the words from the diary of Sara, the daughter of Adeel Chughtai, who along with her three sisters and parents died in the Bhoja Air crash. 

“Independent experts should be made part of the investigations,” SASI president said. 

KARACHI:The Society of Air Safety Investigators (SASI) Pakistan has expressed serious concern over the ongoing investigation into the Bhoja Air crash in which 127 people lost their lives.

The investigation being carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cannot be impartial as it is responsible for safety of aircraft using the country’s airspace, said Syed Naseem Ahmed, the president of SASI Pakistan on Tuesday.

“Independent experts should be made part of the investigations,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have to be from SASI Pakistan but qualified people with experience in dealing with aircraft crashes.”

SASI Pakistan has recently been established as an NGO to lobby for better safety of the aircraft flying in the country. It has five members who are affiliated with the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.

Ahmed said recent air crashes have worsened Pakistan’s air safety record. “We need to make sure that recommendations made by the investigators are implemented.”

Without naming anyone, he said that no one was qualified in the CAA team investigating the causes of Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737-200 crash.

Ahmed was flanked by about half a dozen families of the passengers who lost their lives.


Criminal charges against Arshad Jalil, the managing director of Bhoja Air, will further complicate matters for the families and won’t assist the investigation, Ahmed said.

Jalil, who also owns a majority stake in the airline, is refusing to come back to Pakistan, fearing arrest as a first information report (FIR) has been registered against him.


SASI Pakistan’s general secretary Air Commodore (retd) Rasheed Ahmed Bhatti said that Boeing officials should not be allowed to examine the evidence.

“Boeing will always try to keep its name away from the crash,” he said. “It is very easy to manipulate the evidence. They should not be made part of the investigation.”

Legal Adviser for SASI Pakistan Dr Abdul Razzaq said families were entitled to a minimum compensation of Rs5 million. “This amount is the no-fault liability, which an airline has to pay in any case,” he said, citing the Carriage by Air Act 2012. The compensation does not come with any strings attach, he said. “Bhoja Air cannot force any family to sign pledges that they won’t sue the airline, aircraft manufacturer or the suppliers for more compensation.”

Unfortunately, he said, Pakistan has yet to set a precedent where a court has awarded anyone compensation according to the worth of the individual as deemed fit by the family.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.


5th Anniversary of the Ocean City Air Show flies over the beach June 9 & 10

The 5th annual OC Air Show will light up the skies over Ocean City June 9th and 10th.  This year’s OC Air Show will be bigger and better than ever.  Added to the 5th anniversary show – the A-10 Thunderbolt – also known as the Warthog, the flying gun and the Tankbuster.  It was used during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The US Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the show – and another jet demonstration team the civilian Black Diamond Jet Team will also take to the skies along with vintage World War 2 planes, low altitude fly-overs, parachute jump teams, aerobatic pilots and more.  Viewing from the beach is free, but tickets to watch from the Show Center at 16th Street and the Boardwalk start at $22.  The OC Air Show is June 9th & 10th from noon to 4pm each day.
NEWS RELEASE:  5th Anniversary of OC Air Show Promises Two Days of Non-Stop Thrills

Ocean City, MD  – An incredible line-up of the nation’s top military and civilian acts is getting reading to hit the beach in Ocean City, Maryland June 9-10th for the 5th anniversary of the OC Air Show. Another impressive military aircraft – the A-10 Thunderbolt II (aka: Warthog) has just been added to the line up.

Known in the Air Force as the Warthog, the “flying gun” and the Tankbuster, the A-10 Thunderbolt has been used extensively in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Its range, versatility and strength has made it one of the most reliable and capable aircraft in the Air Force today. 

The Warthog rounds out an all-star, two-day line up, headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, which includes parachute jump teams, low altitude flyovers, and  the nation’s best civilian aerobatic performers including:

USAF Thunderbirds
Black Diamond Jet Team
USN F-18 Hornet demo
GEICO Skytypers
A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog)
2011 World Champion Rob Holland
USN Seals Leap Frogs
Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts
101st Airborne Screaming Eagles
Mike Goulian in the Goodyear Extra
USCG Search & Rescue demo
Sean Carroll in Yakovlev Yak-9
C-5M Super Galaxy

“We’ve assembled an incredible team of talent that is guaranteed to thrill our Ocean City audience,” said Bryan Lilley, President of the OC Air Show.  “For the first time ever we have two jet demonstration teams – the ever popular Thunderbirds and the civilian Black Diamond Jet Team. Then we add vintage World War II planes, amazing parachute jump teams, the best aerobatic pilots in the nation and the excitement will be non-stop all afternoon.”

The OC Air Show will take place on June 9-10  from Noon to 4 pm each day. General viewing from the beach is free.  Tickets for premium viewing at the Show Center located at 16th Street and the Boardwalk are available starting at $22.  VIP hospitality in the Clubhouse Chalet, and VIP Penthouse starts at $99 and includes parking and food and beverage.   For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.ocairshow.com or call 877-722-2927.

Conservation, flight to Kenya lecture topic

Michel Laplace-Toulouse and pilot Alexis Peltier of Kenya will give a talk Friday, June 8, on their plans to fly from Twin Oaks Airpark in Scholls to Kenya to bring attention to African wildlife and how it affects the local population. 

The pair will fly a restored 1957 Piper Super Cub. "The unprecedented flight will take Michel and his pilot Alexis Peltier across North America to Greenland and continental Europe before crossing the Mediterranean to Africa," Lee Thompson, owner of the South Store Cafe, wrote in an email. "This grand adventure is being undertaken to raise awareness for conservation in his adopted homeland of Kenya."

The lecture will focus on the 750 Maasai families who have joined together to create a 10,000-hectares wildlife conservation sanctuary on their combined land in southern Kenya near Lake Magadi and Lake Natron.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the South Store Café, 24485 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road. Admission is free, but donations to support the flight will be accepted. Seating is limited so reservations are requested.

Laser pointer aimed at planes headed for Lambert - St. Louis International Airport (with video)

St. Louis (KSDK) - The Joint Terrorism Task Force is searching for the people who pointed lasers at aircraft flying above St. Louis. Authorities say it happened at least three times over the Memorial Day weekend. 

 The lasers may be a small pinpoint of light when pointed on the ground, but once they hit the glass of a cockpit they can become an explosion of light and temporarily blind the pilot.

The FAA says the most recent incident was Monday and involved a Delta Airlines flight headed for Lambert. The plane was about 12 miles out and around 5,000 feet in the air when the cockpit was hit by green laser.

Another incident happened much closer to the airport on Sunday. St. Louis County police say it was within three miles of Lambert. And U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan says there was a third incident in St. Charles County. So far, nobody has been caught.

A St. Louis County Police helicopter pilot says just about everyone who flies gets hit with a laser pointer at some point. He says it causes instant night blindness and a pilot's first instinct is to turn the aircraft away. But that brings the serious risk of a crash.

It is illegal to point a laser at an aircraft and you could get up to five years in prison if you're caught. A local man was charged with the crime in February.

Watch Video:  http://www.ksdk.com

Gulfstream American Corp AA-5A, N26837: Accident occurred May 24, 2012 in Lakeview, Oregon

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA237  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 24, 2012 in Lakeview, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2013
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM AMERICAN CORP AA-5A, registration: N26837
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The pilot dropped off two passengers at an airport where overcast clouds and occasional snow showers were present and then departed for the return flight to the original departure airport. GPS data indicated that during the return flight the airplane crossed mountainous/hilly terrain. When the pilot reached the western edge of the last mountain ridge, he turned and flew in a northerly direction along its steep western slope. The pilot then performed a 180-degree turn, during which the airplane’s groundspeed increased significantly in a short period of time. Just after the pilot rolled out of the turn, the airplane’s groundspeed suddenly decreased below that required to maintain flight, and, almost immediately, the airplane descended into the terrain. A review of weather information indicated that the base of the overcast cloud layer was below the tops of some of the terrain in this area. Snow showers, strong wind, and patches of fog were present beneath the overcast. It is likely that the pilot flew into the adverse weather or was maneuvering around it when the loss of airplane control occurred. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s decision to take off in known adverse weather conditions and his subsequent failure to maintain sufficient airspeed while maneuvering in mountainous terrain and an area of low ceilings, snow, and fog, which resulted in a loss of airplane control. 


On May 24, 2012, about 1722 Pacific daylight time, a Gulfstream American AA-5A, N26837, impacted the terrain about 40 miles northeast of Lakeview, Oregon. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured, and the airplane, which was owned and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross country flight, which departed Lakeview County Airport, Lakeview, Oregon, about 27 minutes prior to the accident, was being operated in an area where instrument meteorological conditions were reported. The pilot's intended destination was a private airstrip near Hubler, Idaho, which would normally have been about a 2 hour flight. No flight plan had been filed. When the pilot did not arrive at his destination he was reported missing, and a search was initiated. On Wednesday, May 30, the airplane's wreckage was found near the 6,500 foot level of the steep western slope of Hart Mountain, in the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

According to search and rescue personnel, about 2 hours prior to the time he landed at Lakeview, the pilot departed the private airstrip near Hubler, with the intention of flying direct to Lakeview, dropping off two passengers, and then returning to Hubler. According to witnesses on the ground at Lakeview County Airport, the pilot landed there, deplaned two passengers, used the restroom, and then departed again. Recorded global positioning system (GPS) data shows that after his departure from Lakeview, he initially followed a ground track on nearly a direct line between Lakeview, Oregon, and Hubler, Idaho. Then, when he reached a point about 30 miles northeast of Lakeview Airport, near the east shoreline of Plush Lake, he made a 90 degree left turn, flew out toward the middle of the lake, and then turned about 75 degrees back to the right. From there he flew along the west side of the face of the steep mountain ridge that defines the west boundary of the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge. Then, about five minutes after he had passed over Plush Lake, the pilot initiated a turn to the left. At the time that he initiated the turn, he was flying at a groundspeed of about 95 knots. The GPS data shows that the turn continued for about 180 degrees, so that the plane was then heading almost directly back in the direction from which it had come. The data also showed that just after rolling out of the turn, the airplane’s groundspeed increased to about 158 knots, and then over a period of about 10 seconds, rapidly decreased to about 45 knots. Almost immediately thereafter, the airplane made a nearly 90 degree turn to the left, followed almost immediately by nearly a 90 degree turn back to the right. The last recorded GPS data point was recorded about 3 seconds after the last turn to the right, with the last groundspeed recorded being 21 knots.


The pilot was a 48 year-old male, who possessed an FAA private pilot certificate, with an airplane single engine land rating. He did not possess an instrument rating. His last FAA airman’s medical, a class 3 with no limitations or waivers, was signed off on March 7, 2012. His last annotated flight review was signed off in his pilot log on May 12, 2010, and although his last flight time total of 467 hours appears in his pilot log in 2010, he reported at the time of his last medical that his total flight time was 600 hours.


The airplane was a 1978 Gulfstream American AA-5A, serial number AA5A0755, with a Lycoming O-320E2G engine, and a model 1C172BTM-7359 fixed-pitch McCauley Propeller. Its last annual inspection was signed off on 10 July, 2011, at which time the airframe had accumulated 2,535.88 hours total time. As of February 15, 2011, the engine had accumulated 645.95 hours since a major overhaul. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated about 2,556 hours total time.


The May 24, 2012, 1715 recorded aviation weather surface observation (METAR) for Lakeview Airport indicated a wind of 250 degrees at 10 knots, a visibility of 10 miles, few clouds at 5,000 feet, broken clouds at 7,000 feet, overcast clouds at 8,500 feet, a temperature of 05 degrees C, a dew point of 02 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.72 inches of Mercury.

The METAR taken one hour later at the same location indicated a wind from 020 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 22 knots, a visibility of 10 miles, few clouds at 2,200 feet, broken clouds at 3,300 feet, overcast clouds at 5,000 feet, a temperature of 03 degrees C, a dew point of 01 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.71 inches of Mercury.

According to a NTSB Staff Meteorologist, there was an unofficial weather station located about 4 miles west of the accident site at an elevation of 5,650 feet. That station indicated that there had been a significant increase in relative humidity, from 61% to 98%, during the hour prior to the accident. This increase, according to the meteorologist, would suggest cloudy conditions in the general area of the accident site near the time of the accident. The site records also show that during the hour prior to the accident the temperature dropped below freezing, and that about two hours prior to the accident, there was a measured peak wind gust of 33 knots. There was also an AIRMET (Airmen’s Meteorological Information) in effect for the area around the accident site for moderate turbulence. In addition, there were several non-aviation National Weather Service products in effect for the area at the time of the accident, including a Winter Weather Advisory that advised winter conditions, to include snow, terrain obstruction, and gusty west winds up to 30 mile per hour.

According to a representative of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, there was a small group of people who were near the area of the accident site about the time that the airplane impacted the terrain. Although they did not see or hear the airplane, they were able to describe the general weather conditions around that time. According to those individuals, the wind was blowing at a speed estimated to be above 20 mph, with periods of stronger gusts up to about 30 mph. They also stated that the top of the mountain ridge was covered in solid clouds, that it was snowing around much of the area, and that there were some areas of light patchy fog below the clouds.

About the same time that the accident pilot was flying toward Lakeview from the north, another pilot, who was flying a Mooney 201 en route from Chandler, Arizona, to Hillsboro, Oregon, was approaching Lakeview from the south. As with the accident pilot, the Mooney pilot was flying by visual flight rules, and in his specific case, was basically trying to follow the Victor airways. When interviewed by the NTSB Investigator-In-charge (IIC), he stated that at first the weather had been mostly okay along his route, with only a few scattered rain showers. But as he reached a point about half way between Reno, Nevada, and Lakeview, in the area just northeast of Susanville, California, the ceilings started to lower, and the areas of precipitation increased. When he reached the Lakeview area, the weather became significantly worse. The ceilings near Lakeview Airport were about 6,500 mean sea level (msl), which was about 1,800 feet above ground level (agl), which ultimately was determined to be within 100 feet of the altitude of the accident site. He also reported that the ceilings were occasionally lower, and that about the same time, he also began encountering a mix of rain showers and snow showers. He reported that the snow was moderate at times, and that as he proceeded north of Lakeview, ice started to accumulate on the airplane’s wings. As he proceeded further north, he was in and out of snow and rain showers, which were interspersed with clear areas underneath the overcast ceilings where he could see up to 20 miles. But the further he proceeded to the north, the open areas occurred less and less, and when he was in the snow showers he could only see the ground directly below him, with no ability to see anything horizontally out in front of him. He reiterated that visibility in the snow showers was "very bad." As he flew up the west side of the valley north of Lakeview, he was under a 1,000 foot agl solid overcast ceiling, and he could see that the tops of the ridges on all sides were in the clouds. As he got about 30 miles north of Lakeview, near Paisley State Airport, he could see that the weather was closing in on him and getting worse in every direction. He therefore made the decision to turn back to Lakeview, with the hope of getting a rental car to finish his journey. After he landed at Lakeview he checked the weather to see if it was going to improve, which it was not, and then arranged for a rental car. As he was driving away from the airport, which was about an hour after he had landed, he saw the AA-5A enter the pattern for landing. At that time there were a number of localized snow showers in the area, and he said that his thought at that time was that he had been foolish to push it as far as he had, and that the pilot that was then entering the pattern in the AA-5A had to be even more foolish than he had been. Within a mile of leaving the airport to the west in the rental car, he entered another snow shower. He estimated that once he was within the snow shower, the visibility was less than one mile. He did not see the AA-5A actually land, as he was driving away from the airport at that time, and he therefore did not know if that airplane was also encountering any of the local snow showers during the landing sequence. He said that during the hour he had been on the ground at Lakeview the weather did not change significantly. It was not getting much worse, but it did not get any better. It just kind of stayed the same, with constant low ceilings and some occasional localized snow showers.

As part of the investigation the IIC asked Lockheed Martin Flight Services and both of the contracted Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) providers to review their records to see if the pilot had made use of any of their weather briefing services on either May 23 or May 24, 2012. All three entities replied that there had been no weather or flight planning services provided.


Although there were no communications between the pilot and any FAA facility, after he took off from Lakeview and began to work his way north after departure, there were a series of text messages sent between himself and his wife using Verizon wireless cell phones. The first text was sent by the pilot at 1658, about 3 minutes after he took off, and the last text was sent by the pilot about 1715, which was about 7 minutes prior to the impact. The sequence, timing, and content of those messages is as follows:

•1658:27 – Pilot to wife -- “Back in the air”

•1659:11 – Wife to pilot-- –“Good! Fly safe!!”

•1659:42 – Pilot to wife -- –“Just bet me out of lake view”

•1701:20 – Wife to pilot --–“Based on current weather or bad history?”

•1702:04 – Pilot to wife --–“Both, zero visibility over the mountains”

•1703:02 – Wife to pilot --–“Let me know when you have cleared the mountains theN.”

•1712:44 – Pilot to wife -- –“That was not good, batteries died in that mess, I am clear”

•1713:32 – Wife to pilot -- –“Oh babe, hurry home!!!”

•1715:34 – Pilot to wife --–“Have a nice tail wind, hopefully no more stupid stuff. I should have replaced that bat before I took off”

Of special interest to the investigation was the texts sent from the pilot at 1702:04, wherein he says there is zero visibility over the mountains, and the text he sent at 1712:44, wherein he indicates that he is clear of the mountains. A review of the global positioning system (GPS) data extracted from the Garmin GPSIII Pilot recovered from the airplane wreckage, showed that at the time he sent the text indicating he had cleared the mountains, that he had only cleared the mountains west of Crump Lake and Hart Lake, but he had not yet cleared the last mountain ridge to the east of Hart Lake, where the accident ultimately occurred.


The airplane impacted the terrain about ½ mile west, and about 800 feet below, the top of a north-south running mountain ridge on the west edge of the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The wreckage came to rest at 42 degrees, 31 minutes, 56 seconds north, 119 degrees, 44 minutes, 37 seconds west. The initial impact point was near the uphill edge of a small, relatively flat plateau on the otherwise steeply up-sloping rocky terrain. The entire propeller, which was still attached to the fractured crankshaft flange, was located at that location, along with numerous small pieces of Plexiglas from the windscreen. One of the blades was buried about 6 inches deep in the middle of a depression that measured about 3 feet by 4 feet. The other blade protruded from the ground. All of the remainder of the airplane’s primary structure came to rest in the upright position, about 20 feet to the east (090 degrees) of the initial impact. The entire cabin area, except for the floor, had been torn into numerous small pieces, but the engine, which had suffered significant impact damage, was still attached to the remains of the firewall. The fuselage aft of the cabin area had been severely torn, twisted and distorted. Both of the horizontal stabilizers were still attached to the aft end of the fuselage, and both elevators were still attached to their respective stabilizers. The vertical stabilizer had been torn from the fuselage, but the rudder was still attached to the fuselage pivot point at its base, and to the vertical stabilizer cap at its top. The entire wing was still attached to its tubular main spar, and the spar itself was still connected to its fuselage attach fittings. The entire leading edges of both wings were crushed almost directly aft along their entire span to almost the depth of the tubular spar. The left aileron and flap were still attached to the trailing edge of the wing, and the right flap was still attached to its wing at its inboard pivot point, but not at its outboard pivot. The right aileron was detached from the wing, but was lying on the ground directly below its associated position on the wing. Flight control continuity and function were able to be established from the point where the cables departed the cockpit area to the point where the flight controls themselves were actuated.

After the wreckage was recovered from the accident site it was taken to the facilities of Nu Venture Air Services in Dallas, Oregon, for further examination. There, after the dirt was cleaned from the propeller blades. The cambered face of one blade had chord-wise scarring lines running in an unbroken pattern from its leading edge to its trailing edge along the outboard ½ of its span. This same blade had numerous leading edge indentations and gouges along the inboard ½ of its span, with the most inboard one foot of the leading edge showing almost continuous gouges and aft crushing deformation to a depth of ½ inch. The flat face of the same blade displayed chord-wise scarring lines running at an outward 45 degree angle, continuously from the leading edge to the trailing edge, along the middle ½ of its span. The outboard ½ of the blade was bent aft about 20 degrees in a constant continuous arc. The second blade, which was bent sharply aft about 45 degrees at a point about 1 foot from its root, displayed chord-wise scarring of its cambered face from its root to within about 8 inches from its tip. This blade also displayed a series of small leading edge dents and indentations along a 1-foot section about half way along its span. The spinner, which had been crushed nearly straight aft into the propeller hub area, as well as it backing plate, both displayed numerous circumferential scars around their outer edges. The spinner itself had torn near the trailing edge of both blades, and was crushed into and formed around the leading edge of both blades in a direction opposite that of normal propeller rotation.

A further inspection of the engine did not reveal any signs of lack of lubrication, breeches of the crankcase, or any preimpact damage or anomalies associated with any of the engine accessories. Due to the scarring and impact signatures associated with the propeller blades and the spinner, an internal engine examine was not performed.


The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on the pilot, and the manner of death was determined to be accidental, with the cause of death being massive blunt trauma.

The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed a forensic toxicological examination on samples taken from the pilot, and the results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and screened prescription and non-prescription drugs.


Air and ground crews are again searching southeastern Oregon for a Meridian pilot who has been missing for more than four days. Searchers have received a half dozen tips so far, and they're hoping that one leads them to Tony Nicholls.

Nicholls, a 48-year-old Meridian man, flew to Lakeview, Ore., on Thursday afternoon to drop off his two step-sons. He left Caldwell around 4 p.m. Mountain Time and arrived in Lakeview just before 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said. He was last heard from on his return flight at 5:15 p.m. Pacific Time.

Searchers are looking for a white plane in a vast area that includes snowy mountain slopes.

His wife, Amy, said Tuesday that Tony was returning to Meridian the same day because his daughter was graduating from high school over the weekend. There were snow showers and gusty winds in the region at the time he departed, according to local officials.

"He had a house full of family for her graduation on Saturday," Amy Nicholls said. Tony has five children, including the two step-sons who he was dropping off in Lakeview.

Amy Nicholls said she had been in contact with Tony via text message during his flight. She said in the last message she got from him he said he had "cleared the mountains."

"I don't know what he cleared," she said, uncertain of where he was referring to. Evinger said searchers aren't assuming anything, but they do believe he cleared the Warner Mountains. He needed to clear the Steen Mountains to make it home.

Radar and cell phone records indicate the last known location for the four-seat 1978 Grumman "Cheetah" aircraft that Nicholls was piloting was near Hart Lake in the area of Plush, Ore. 

Evinger, an expert on missing air craft searches who is assisting the Lake County Sheriff's Office, said Nicholls did not file a flight plan, but he told his step-sons that he planned to return the same route they'd flown out. The boys said he indicated he had plenty of fuel for the return trip.

The plane's emergency transponder locator had been taken out, in preparation to be replaced, Evinger said.

Evinger said they are searching 360 degrees from Hart Lake, and an area totaling about 4,000 miles. He said they have received a half dozen tips and leads, including an ear witness report in Nevada.

"We're looking for ear witnesses and eyewitnesses," Evinger said. "We need to chase down every possible tip and lead."

Tony Nicholls owns and operates Zamco Technologies in Caldwell. His wife does the books for the business. The couple has been married a little more than two years. When they were dating, Amy lived in Burns, Ore., and Tony would fly over to see her a couple times a week.

Amy's father and sons are in southern Oregon to help out with the search and keep her posted on what's happening.

Over the weekend, weather conditions were poor for searching. More than 40 people participated in a ground search Monday. Five Civil Air Patrol planes and an Oregon Air National Guard helicopter searched from the air, Evinger said.

There are fewer people involved in the ground search today, but Lake County is part of a cooperative of eight counties that provide assistance in searches — and they've put out a call for more resources. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter out of Salem will join the effort today. Evinger said the helicopter can do high-altitude search and rescue, and the weather in the area is much better today.

Amy Nicholls isn't giving up hope.

"He's the toughest man I've ever met in my life," she said, noting he is a marathon runner with a high tolerance for pain.

Evinger remained optimistic too.

"There's a possibility that Tony had to put the plane down somewhere, and he's just in the middle of nowhere waiting for someone to pick him up," Evinger said.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/29/2134628/wife-of-missing-meridian-pilot.html#storylink=cpy

Read more:   http://www.idahostatesman.com

The family of a missing Idaho pilot is not giving up hope he'll be found as searchers fanned out Tuesday across 4,000 square miles of mountains, forest and high desert to find a plane they believe went down in Southern Oregon.

Tony Nicholls, 48, of Meridian, Idaho, dropped off his two stepsons in Lakeview on Thursday and was to return home that day because his daughter was graduating from high school over the weekend.

Amy Nicholls told the Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/KCKCRQ) Tuesday that her husband is a marathon runner with a high pain tolerance and called him "the toughest man I've ever met in my life."

She says she had exchanged text messages with him during his return flight and his last message said he had "cleared the mountains."

"I don't know what he cleared," she said.

Officials in Klamath County, Ore, have said radar and cellphone records indicate the last known location for the 1978 Grumman "Cheetah" aircraft was near Hart Lake in the area of Plush, Ore.

Authorities say the search area reaches into Nevada and California.

The size of the area is one problem, said Sheriff Tim Evinger of Klamath County, the search spokesman.

He said searchers had identified high-priority spots from cell phone and flight tracking data, but it's still a "needle in a haystack" search.

Besides rough terrain, there are stands of Ponderosa pine 100 feet tall that could conceal an aircraft on the ground.
"There's also been snowfall, and the plane is white," he said.

Aircraft at first were stymied by bad weather, but flights began Tuesday by aircraft sent by the Civil Air Patrol, the Oregon National Guard and the family.

Evinger said searchers had gotten reports of a plane that sounded as if its engine were having trouble, but also reports of a plane with a healthy engine.

Chiloquin, Oregon: A drone like this one . . .

A drone like this one flew over our house in Chiloquin, Oregon at about 250 feet on Sunday afternoon, May 27, 2012. 

 I’ll be talking about it on The Word From the Trenches on Tuesday’s live broadcast, 12:00 pm Pacific.

Read more and photo:   http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/drone-sighted-over-chiloquin-oregon/15561

Still Talking About It: Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, I-CAKE, TNT Brothers, Clinceni Airfield, Bucharest, Romania

  • Pilatus Porter 
  • PC-6 Turbo Turbo Prop 
  • 700 HP
  • I-Cake
  •  Clinceni Airfield - TNT Brothers

Tackabury Air-Cam, N788RJ: Accident occurred May 28, 2012 in Fort Morgan, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA320
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Fort Morgan, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: Tackabury Air-Cam, registration: N788RJ
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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

The commercial pilot was landing on a turf runway when a gust of wind rotated the airplane to the right; the pilot added power to perform a go-around. Multiple witnesses reported that the airplane pitched up to a relatively high angle of attack and then entered a steep right turn before it descended to the ground and cart-wheeled. No preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation. The description from the witnesses and the damage to the airplane is consistent with an aerodynamic stall. The pilot’s lack of experience in both multiengine airplanes and in the accident make and model airplane likely contributed to his loss of control during the go-around procedure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane while performing a go-around, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


On May 28, 2012, approximately 1215 mountain daylight time, a Tackabury Air-Cam experimental amateur-built airplane, N788RJ, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while landing at the Fort Morgan Municipal Airport (KFMM), Fort Morgan, Colorado. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained serious injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from KFMM approximately 1100. 

Family members reported that the pilot had completed two flights on the day of the accident, and the accident occurred during a third flight. During the first flight, the pilot performed four or five touch and go landings on runway 8/26. During the second flight, the pilot took his daughter, who was also the passenger during the accident flight, to observe their cattle from the air. The passenger stated that during the third flight, the accident flight, they flew over Empire Reservoir. The accident flight lasted about one hour. 

The passenger had flown with the pilot for years and stated that the approach to runway 17 was normal. She stated that just before the airplane touched down, a strong gust of wind turned the airplane sharply to the right about 90 degrees. The passenger stated that the pilot added power to go around. The airplane continued to the right for several seconds before impacting the ground.

Several witnesses located to the south and west of runway 17 observed the airplane approaching to land. One witness stated that the airplane disappeared from view, behind terrain, for a few moments and then reappeared. The airplane was in a steep climb and several witnesses described a steep bank to the right. The airplane climbed to 40 or 50 feet above the ground before it descended to the ground and cartwheeled.


The pilot, age 65, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multiengine land ratings issued on March 10, 2012. His certificate contained the limitation “Passenger carrying in airplanes for hire is prohibited at night and on cross country flights of more than 50 nautical miles.” He was issued a second class airman medical certificate on July 12, 2010. The certificate contained the limitation “Holder shall wear lenses correcting near and distant while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate.”

A review of the pilot’s flight logbook indicated that he had logged no less than 2,054.9 hours total flight time; 11.7 hours in multiengine airplanes and 10.7 hours in the make and model of the accident airplane. The pilot successfully completed the requirements of a flight review on March 9, 2012. 


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot manufactured the airplane, a Tackabury Air-Cam (serial number AC-164) in 2012. It was registered with the FAA on a special airworthiness certificate for experimental operations. Two Rotax 912 ULS engines, rated at 100 horsepower, powered the airplane. Each engine was equipped with a 3-blade, Warp Drive, ground-adjustable propeller.

The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot and was maintained under a condition inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an initial condition inspection had been completed on May 18, 2012, at an airframe total time of 0 hours. A Designated Airworthiness Representative completed an FAA airworthiness inspection for a special airworthiness certificate on May 18, 2012. The first test flight of the airplane was completed on May 23, 2012, and lasted 0.8 hours. The airplane had flown 4.4 hours between the last inspection and the accident, and had a total airframe time of 4.4 hours.

The Amateur Built Experimental Operating Limitations for the airplane were located in the back-seat pocket of the airplane. These limitations stated in part that the airplane “must be operated for at least 40 hours” during the phase I flight testing. “During the flight testing phase, no person may be carried in this aircraft during flight unless that person is essential to the purpose of the flight.” The operating limitations had been issued on May 18, 2012, by an FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative. 


The closest official weather observation station was Colorado Plains Regional Airport (KAKO), Akron, Colorado, located 28 nautical miles east of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 4,716 feet mean sea level. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KAKO, issued at 1153, reported, wind 190 degrees at 9 knots, gusting to 17 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition, clear, temperature 22 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature minus 6 degrees C, altimeter 29.87 inches.


Fort Morgan Municipal Airport (KFMM) is a public uncontrolled airport located 5 miles north of Fort Morgan, Colorado, at a surveyed elevation of 4,569 feet. The airport had three open runways; runway 14/32, 5,219 feet by 60 feet, concrete, runway 17/35, 3,800 feet by 30 feet, dirt/turf, and runway 8/26 2,467 feet by 100 feet, turf.


The accident site was located in level terrain vegetated with grass, to the west of runway 17/35. The accident site was at an elevation of 4,525 feet msl .The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the cabin, both wings, both engines, and the empennage. 

The first set of ground scars was located east of the wreckage on runway 17/35. The first in the series of ground scars initiated approximately 40 feet east of the west edge of the runway, consistent with the approximate location of the runway centerline. Approximately 75 feet from the start of the first ground scar, a second ground scar initiated and angled off of the west side of the runway. The second ground scar was approximately 45 feet long. A third ground scar initiated east of and in parallel with the second ground scar. This third ground scar transitioned into a periodic ground scar and continued to the west edge of the runway. 

The second set of ground scars initiated 50 feet to the west of the main wreckage and was narrow and periodic for 38 feet. A larger round portion of the ground scar contained broken fiberglass, radios, and personal effects. The right wing tip and navigation light were also located in this ground scar.

The fuselage consisted of the cabin, instrument panel, baggage compartment, and the main landing gear. The forward portion of the fuselage was crushed and broken. The floor of the cabin was crushed up and to the left, and grass and dirt were embedded in the forward portion of the fuselage. The windscreen separated and was fragmented. Both landing gear remained attached and included the tires, brakes, and struts. The landing gear was unremarkable. The instrument panel was partially separated from the airframe and fragmented. The following readings were obtained from the instrument panel: Hobbs 4.4, Kollsman window 29.99, airspeed zero, vertical speed indicator 50 foot climb, altimeter 6,500. All engine instruments read zero.

The right wing included the right aileron, right flap, right fuel tank, and right engine. Dirt was observed along the entire leading edge of the right wing. Dried grass was embedded in the inboard leading edge of the wing. The fuel tank was not compromised and contained an unknown amount of fuel. The engine remained attached to the wing and was unremarkable. The tube frame of the wing was bent and broken. The right aileron remained partially attached to the wing. The outboard 55 inches of the right flap separated from the airplane and was bent and fragmented. The inboard portion of the right flap remained partially attached to the airframe. Approximately 30 inches of the trailing edge tubing of the right flap was bent around the propeller flange. The aileron control tubing was broken in several locations consistent with impact damage. 

The fuselage between the wing and aft to the empennage was unremarkable. The fuselage was buckled and bent up at the empennage attach point. The empennage included the horizontal stabilizer, the vertical stabilizer, the elevator, and rudder. The vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevator were unremarkable. The rudder control cables were continuous from the cabin, aft to the rudder control. The right horizontal stabilizer was unremarkable. Grass and dirt were embedded between the elevator and horizontal stabilizer on the left side. The outboard tip of the left horizontal stabilizer was cracked. The left horizontal stabilizer was otherwise unremarkable.

The left wing included the left aileron, left flap, left fuel tank, and left engine. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed aft and bent down. Tubing within the wing was crushed and broken. Both the top and leading edge of the left wing were covered with dirt. The left aileron remained attached. Aileron control rods were continuous from the aileron inboard to the wing root. The cables were then continuous from the wing root, to the cabin. The engine remained attached to the wing and was unremarkable. The left flap separated partially from the wing and was bent up and buckled at mid span.


The autopsy was performed by a Forensic Pathology Consultant at McKee Medical Center, Loveland, Colorado, on May 29, 2012, as authorized by the Morgan County Coroner’s office. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was “multiple trauma” and the report listed the specific injuries. Results were negative for all toxicological tests conducted. Specimens were not sent to The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for testing.


The airplane was examined by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Lockwood Aircraft Corp., and Rotech Flight Safety Inc. Both the left and right engines were examined. No external anomalies or failures were noted that would have precluded either engine from producing power. Both engines started without hesitation and ran for several minutes without issues.

The flight control continuity for the right aileron was examined through the impact damage and found to be continuous. Flight control continuity for the left aileron was confirmed. Elevator continuity was confirmed from the cabin, aft to the elevator control.

 This plane crash at the Fort Morgan Municipal Airport on Memorial Day left the pilot dead and his daughter, the passenger, seriously injured. Pilot Richard Tackabury, 65, of Wiggins, was flying this Air Cam experimental kit plane he had recently built himself. 

A Memorial Day tragedy occurred in Morgan County on Monday as a Wiggins man was killed and his daughter seriously injured when a home-built airplane carrying the two crashed near Fort Morgan, killing the pilot and injuring his daughter.

Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone said the twin-engine Air-Cam crashed at the Fort Morgan Municipal Airport at 12:15 p.m. Monday. The pilot was confirmed by Crone to have been Richard M. “Rick” Tackabury, age 65, who was apparently killed instantly.

His daughter, Laura jean Tackabury, age 42, was seriously injured.  She was treated on the scene by Morgan County paramedics and the Fort Morgan Fire Department before being airlifted to North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley by NCMC Medevac with serious injuries.

Mr. Tackabury, who was an experienced pilot, was flying the Air Cam experimental kit plane he had recently built himself and this was apparently the third time he had flown the aircraft.  Witness saw the aircraft attempt a landing on the grass runway paralleling Hwy 52 and it appeared there was some loss of control.  The plane came back up into the air and crashed between this runway and the main, concrete runway.

Crone said Tackabury may have been trying to land the plane before climbing again and then crashing.

The cause of the crash was investigated by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and Morgan County Coroner's Office.  Investigators were on-scene for about 8 hours.  The crash  is currently still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Schleicher ASW-27, N127PC: Accident occurred May 29, 2012 in Ionia, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA330 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in Ionia, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASW-27, registration: N127PC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 glider initiated a turn about 200 feet above the ground near the airport. After initiating the turn, the left wing and nose of the glider dropped, and the glider descended and impacted into trees. Recorded wind conditions showed the presence of wind gusts that continued to increase after the accident. Postaccident examination of the glider revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Data from digital devices onboard the glider recorded a speed near the glider stall speed immediately before the accident. The glider’s flight path, as described by a witness and recorded by the glider’s onboard digital devices, was consistent with the glider being in a stalled condition before the descent into terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain a proper airspeed in gusting wind conditions, which resulted in an inadvertent stall while maneuvering at an altitude that did not provide a margin for recovery.

On May 29, 2012, about 1535 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-27, N127PC, collided with the ground while maneuvering near the final approach for runway 27 at Ionia County Airport (Y70), Ionia, Michigan. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The glider sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The glider was registered to Aerodonetics, Inc., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight during a Soaring Society of America (SSA) Region 6 North Super Regional glider competition. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight that originated from Y70 about 1413.

A witness stated that he saw the glider returning to Y70 from the east. The glider was traveling at a "very slow speed" and the winds were gusting to 28 knots. As the glider got closer to the airport, it appeared that it side stepped and lined up for a straight-in approach to runway 27 (4,298 by 75 feet, asphalt). The witness stated that about 200 feet [above ground level], instead of deploying spoilers to land, the glider entered into a 90 degree turn to the south as if to "work a thermal" over runway 18/36 (4,261 feet by 340 feet, turf). The wind was pushing the glider "hard." The glider entered a turn to the left as if to enter a left downwind. At this point, the glider's left wing dropped followed by its nose, almost straight down to a northerly heading, while at an altitude that was about three times the height of the nearby trees. The witness stated that it appeared as if the pilot tried to regain control of the glider as one of the wings stopped dropping and the nose began to rise "slightly." The glider entered trees at about a 60 degree angle.

The wreckage was examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The examination confirmed flight control continuity from the cockpit to the rudder and elevator. Both wings were separated from the fuselage. No anomalies that would have precluded normal operation were noted. Three electronic devices were removed from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorder Division for data recovery.

The Y70 automated weather observing system at Y70 recorded the following:

At 1513, wind - 270 degrees at 18 knots, gusting 24 knots
At 1533, wind - 290 degrees at 21 knots, gusting 26 knots
At 1553, wind - 260 degrees at 20 knots, gusting 27 knots

Subsequent Y70 observations recorded increasing gusts.

The Vehicle Recorder Division Electronic Devices Factual Report includes graphical overlays of the accident flight, altitude, true airspeed, and ground speed. During the last 6-1/2 minutes of the accident flight, there were periods, which the glider is circling, are characterized by highly variable ground speed data along with a relatively constant true airspeed of around 100 kilometers per hour. At 1535:06, the following approximate recorded values were: true airspeed - 96 km/hr; ground speed - 53 km/hr; track - 234 degrees. The record ended at 1535:14.

According to the ASW-27 Flight Manual, the airspeed indicator markings for the white and green arc are 92.5 km/hr and 100 km/hr, respectively.

A postmortem examination was conducted by the Ionia County Medical Examiner. The cause of death was reported as blunt force injuries.

The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The test results were negative for all substances tested.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA330 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in Ionia, MI
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-27, registration: N127PC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 29, 2012, about 1550 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-27, N127PC, collided with the ground while maneuvering near the final approach for runway 27 at Ionia County Airport (Y70), Ionia, Michigan. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The airplane was registered to Aerodonetics, Inc., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight that originated from Y70 about 1413.

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - A pilot is dead after crashing a glider into a group of trees near the Ionia County Airport.

It was just one of two crashes within minutes of each other on Tuesday afternoon.

The gliders were participating in the North Super Regional Soaring Competition.

The gliders, or sailplanes, are towed by a plane to a height of 2,000 feet and then released. They can ride the wind for hours, but eventually they must come down.

With no landing gear, grassy earth provides the runway. Participants said landing can be difficult.

Around 3:30 p.m., one glider fell short of its target, hitting an outcrop of trees on east side of the Ionia County Airport. The pilot -- the only person in the glider -- was killed.  

The National Weather Service said wind speeds reached 23 mph aloft at the time of the crash.

US National gliding team member Sean Franke said that those conditions were a little too windy.

"What that does is it breaks up the invisible rising warm air and makes it difficult to climb and also makes it difficult to go on course because you're constantly getting blown downwind," said Franke.

Several of the 40 competition participants were blown off course.

There was another confirmed crash near Jefferson Road near Sterner Veterinarian Services on the north side of town. That pilot was not hurt.

Others were forced to land in fields miles from the airport.

And these pilots are experienced -- each with a regular pilots license with glider category.

"It's just like a single-engine license. You need a private rating to fly in this contest," explained Franke.

Franke said it is what the pilots love to do. He said the thrill outweighs the inherant risks.

"I fly single-engine airplanes as well but it's nothing like this," said Franke. "You don't get the challenge. You don't get the feel for flying. It's really hard to describe unless you're up there and you experience it for yourself."

Franke holds the U.S. glider flight record: A seven-hour flight from southern California to Idaho.

The FAA is investigating the fatal crash.

Authorities have yet to release the name of the pilot.

IONIA, Mich. (WZZM) -- Sheriff's deputies are on the scene of a deadly glider crash at the Ionia County Airport.

A glider crashed into trees on the east side of the airport property around 3:35 p.m.  Investigators say the pilot was killed in the accident.

Another glider crashed into a field north of Jefferson Road on the north side of Ionia around 4 p.m.  No one was injured in that crash.

Ionia County Airport is hosting a regional glider contest this week.  Pilots tell WZZM 13 News that windy conditions were hampering their ability to fly in the area.

IONIA, Mich. —  The pilot of a glider that crashed at Ionia County Airport at 3:35 p.m. today is deceased, officials said.

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is not releasing the name of the pilot, per family notification being made. The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate this incident cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a separate incident, a glider was forced to land near Sterner Veterinary Clinic this afternoon.

No injuries are reported.

`Slip' spins drama in the skies

Phila Siu
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A "slip of the tongue" placed two passenger planes carrying about 600 people on a collision course in Hong Kong airspace two weeks ago, an investigation by The Standard reveals.

Instead of instructing an aircraft to descend to 36,000 feet, the controller ordered the pilot to drop to 26,000 feet, according to the Civil Aviation Department. But the error was rectified in time, just as the collision avoidance system of one of the planes was also activated.

A CAD spokeswoman said the May 14 incident involved a Hong Kong Airlines B737 bound for the SAR from Denpasar, Bali, and a Jeju Air B737 flying through Hong Kong to Bangkok from South Korea.

The controller, understood to be a non-local, intended to instruct the Hong Kong Airlines plane to drop to 36,000 feet but, due to a "slip of the tongue," said 26,000 feet. The Jeju Air plane was at 34,000 feet at that time.

After noticing the Hong Kong Airlines plane was passing through 36,000 feet on its descent, the controller immediately corrected the situation. The plane then ascended to the correct level.

During the process, the traffic collision avoidance system on the Jeju Air plane was activated, moving it to a lower level.

The distance between the two aircraft was 4.6 kilometers horizontally and 700 feet vertically - against the standard safe horizontal distance of 9.25km and a vertical distance of 1,000 feet.

But the CAD spokeswoman stressed there was "no risk of collision." She also ruled out fatigue as a reason for the incident.

"The controller had been off duty for 14 hours and had just commenced duty when the minor incident occurred," she said, adding the controller has been serving in the CAD for more than 13 years.

Former CAD chief Peter Lok Kung-nam said the two aircraft should have been within visual contact of each other.

"The danger was higher than usual but there wasn't any immediate risk of collision as they were not flying toward each other," Lok said.

This latest near-crash incident happened eight months after The Standard revealed that a Cathay Pacific plane and a Dragonair plane came within six seconds of a head-on collision, prompting the CAD to review its operation system.

A senior Dragonair pilot said yesterday the situation in the air traffic control tower "is only getting worse" since August, and that some of his fellow pilots are expecting an accident to happen soon.

The pilot said it is due to poor CAD management and the fact that many local controllers, instead of experienced foreign controllers, are hired.

However, Hong Kong Air Traffic Control Association chairman Ivan Chan Pui-kit said the situation has improved since August to what he calls a "satisfactory" level.

He also agreed the latest incident was merely a "slip of tongue."

Source:  http://www.thestandard.com.hk

A different way of looking at things -By Leila Navidi

Photo Courtesy: Leila Navidi

Boulder City Municipal Airport | May 18, 2012 

By Leila Navidi 

Press conference photos are the bane of the photojournalist’s existence. Usually it’s one person or several, standing and talking in front of many hands holding microphones, notebooks, video cameras and tape recorders. It’s hard to make a situation like that look dynamic or interesting. One of my mentors, who still works at the newspaper in Olympia, Washington, taught me that a creative photographer tries to make good-looking photos in any situation, no matter how boring and mundane. I’ve seen him crawl on the ground to make good press conference photos, and I’ve been taking his advice to heart ever since. Though I wasn’t crawling on the ground for this photo at last week’s plane crash press conference in Boulder City, I was pretty close.
  Regis#: 39WT        Make/Model: EXP       Description: AERO VODOCHODY L-39
  Date: 05/18/2012     Time: 1935

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

  City: BOULDER CITY   State: NV   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: LAS VEGAS, NV  (WP19)                 Entry date: 05/21/2012 

Cape May Airport, New Jersey: Free Lecture at Aviation Museum to Feature Dr. Mischlich

CAPE MAY AIRPORT – Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum will host its 2012 Free Historic Lecture Series every Tues. evening in June at 7 p.m. The featured speaker on Tues., June 12 will be Dr. Marston Mischlich, PhD.

Dr. Mischlich is a former member of the Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. He has earned a number of advanced degrees, including a Doctorate from Empressario University of Costa Rica. He currently holds a senior adjunct position at Atlantic Cape Community College and teaches US History I & II as well as History of South Jersey.

The lecture, Top Secret Bomb Manufacturing at Twin Lakes (Mays Landing, NJ), will take place in historic Hangar #1, followed by a short Question & Answer session. Light refreshments will be served.

NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum boasts over 26 aircraft displays as well as exhibits of military memorabilia, engines, photographs, interactive exhibits that allow visitors to discover the science of flight and more. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Don’t forget bring your camera!

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport, New Jersey. Cape May Airport was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 airmen who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945.

For more information, please call Bruce A. Fournier at (609) 886-8787 or email aviationmuseum@comcast.net or visit www.usnasw.org.

Dennis Hartley Loree: A dedicated farmer and enthusiastic pilot, he never hesitated to do a favor, or offer a flight to spare a neighbor a long drive

Dennis Hartley Loree was born in Nanton, Alta., on Feb. 9, 1953. “Denny,” as he was known, was the eldest child of Lloyd and Donna Loree, lifelong grain farmers and cattle ranchers. 

 From an early age Denny became a role model for his two brothers and two sisters. He was a hard worker, and a calm, responsible boy. The farm was his life. Riding the horses, seeding the ground, driving the trucks—he loved it all. By the time he was 11, he’d decided to buy his parents’ farm when they retired.

A tall and handsome teenager, Denny had a chiselled face and a fit, rope-thin body shaped by years of farm work and sports. He played lacrosse and rode bulls, though his rodeo career was short-lived: he couldn’t stand spurring the bulls, using his boots’ blunt, five-point steel spurs to help him hang on to the twisting, bucking animals. After high school, Denny got a diploma in agricultural production, bringing him one step closer to his dream of running the family farm.

One night, when he was 24, Denny put on a blue leisure suit and took a girl to a dance in Vulcan. But he spent the night talking to another girl, Joan Randle, from nearby Mossleigh. Joan couldn’t stand his suit, but was charmed by his intelligence and confidence. She fell in love immediately. Their first date was the Calgary Stampede. To make her happy, he took her on all the rides (later, he confessed they’d made him feel sick). Less than 12 months later, on July 22, 1978, they had a big church wedding in High River, in southwestern Alberta.

Together, he and Joan, who was also a farmer, bought Denny’s parents’ farm. The farmhouse was the only home he’d ever known. “We bought it,” says Joan, “then it didn’t rain for a decade.” It was a gruelling time for Prairie farmers; years of drought, crippling interest rates and competition from foreign markets drove many out of business. But Denny and Joan prevailed. “We always worked together, made all the farm’s decisions together,” she says. Denny, who’d taught Joan to drive all the equipment, worked from dawn to dusk, and never complained about the challenges they faced.

In 1983, Denny became a father, with the birth of Mackenzie, their perfect baby boy. He was their only child and became Denny’s little student, working the fields before he was 10. As a teenager, Mackenzie took up rodeoing. He was so good, Denny and Joan started taking weekends off—something they’d never done before—to drive Mackenzie to competitions. “We would get in the truck on Friday nights, crank up a Def Leppard tape, and go to the rodeo,” says Joan. “It was so much fun.”

Raised beneath the Prairies’ big skies, Denny had always been fascinated by flying. At 49, before he’d even earned his pilot’s license, he bought his first plane, a Cherokee 150. Soon, he was flying once or twice a day, mostly to commute to a second farm he and Joan had bought in Mossleigh, about 80 km. northeast of Nanton. Not all of the flying was for work, though. Denny and Joan would fly to Penticton for a concert or call friends in the Kootenays, and show up for dinner on short notice. They flew together everywhere, “blissfully,” says Joan.

Denny shared a hangar in High River with Wade Rozander, a childhood friend and flying buddy. On Tuesday nights, a group of pilots—the BTOs, or “Big Time Operators,” as they jokingly referred to themselves—would meet at the hangar to share flying stories over a beer. Wade says Denny was the best of neighbours, “always there to help,” and never hesitated to give someone a lift in his plane, even to another province. Once, Denny flew Wade to Silver Lake to fix his broken truck, just to spare him the long trip by road. These kindly gestures made Denny a well-loved member of the community.

Being a good neighbour is what Denny was doing the morning of May 12, when he offered fellow farmer Eric Donovan a ride from Mossleigh to St. Brieux, Sask., to buy a part for his seeder. Denny took Eric and his 11-year-old son Wade on a plane he’d bought last year, a Piper Arrow II. As they were preparing to land in Saskatchewan, known as “big sky country” for its endless horizons and wide open skies, Denny’s Piper crashed head-on with another plane. Everyone aboard, as well as both passengers of the other plane, were killed instantly.

Denny was 59.

Source:  http://www2.macleans.ca

Maine: Up in the air with former gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody

FLIGHT: Shawn Moody flies an experimental aircraft over Gorham on Friday. Moody and his friend John Pompeo have been flying the experimental aircraft for 20 years. Moody is looking to move the grass landing strip behind his Gorham home in order to create a longer runway 

SOMEWHERE ABOVE GORHAM -- Despite all the talking that Shawn Moody had to do while he ran for governor two years ago, he doesn't recall his penchant for flying ever coming up in conversation. 

"Nobody asked, and I didn't offer it," Moody said into a headset over the rumble of the two-seat Flightstar experimental aircraft he was piloting about 1,500 feet over his hometown.

It's no secret around Gorham that Moody, founder and president of Moody's Collision Centers, and a group of his buddies get up in the air whenever they can. Neighbors out on their lawns wave when they see the small planes passing, and some even keep landing strips on their property for the pilots to use.

"Landing and taking off is the most exciting part," said Moody, explaining why the pilots like having various runways where they can practice.

He has one on his property on Elkins Road, but after a look at it, he said, "you're going to question my intelligence."

The landing strip leads directly toward his house.

Moody recently got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration -- a process that took about a year -- to build a longer runway off to the side of the house. It will be one of about 150 private landing strips that criss-cross Maine, according to the FAA.

Like a couple of other local men, Moody, 52, and his friend John Pompeo, 43, got into the sport after seeing another friend's father, Steve Berry, flying ultralight aircraft around town.

"I was the instigator," said Berry, 68, who took up flying about 40 years ago after seeing a television program about a 70-year-old pilot.

Twenty-three years ago, Berry suffered serious injuries in a crash, and his nephew, who was with him, decided to give up flying.

Moody bought his ultralight.

Pieces of material cut from T-shirts bear Moody's and Pompeo's names and a date -- Aug. 27, 1989.

The material is from the shirts they wore that day, when each pilot made his first solo flight. The mementos hang, framed, in a hangar at Pompeo's house in Buxton, where they keep the two planes they share.

In addition to the Flightstar, they fly a two-seat SeaRey, known as an amphibious plane because it can land on water.

Experimental aircraft are a step up from ultralights, many of which don't require a license to fly. Moody and Pompeo got their pilots' licenses in the '90s after taking lessons at the airport in Biddeford. That was around the same time they got the two planes they fly now.

Both planes weigh about 450 pounds and have weight limits of about 900 pounds. They're about 20 feet long with 32-foot wingspans. Their engines, the 114-horsepower Rotax 914, can also by found in drones used by the military, Moody said.

Moody, who ran as an independent in Maine's 2010 gubernatorial race, said flying is a great sport for people who are self-employed, as he and Pompeo are. Pompeo owns Pompeo Sand and Gravel. Because they make their own hours, they can take advantage of good flying weather whenever it comes.

Plus, it's a good way for the businessmen to unwind.

"You're so focused on flying, you kind of forget about everything else," Moody said. "For me, it's relaxing."

It's also Moody's favorite way to see the state. Passing over Gorham on a sunny morning this month, he flew over his flagship body shop, with what looked like toy cars arranged in perfect lines.

He passed by his house, and his wife, Christina, waved from the yard.

Looking out across a sea of green trees toward the ocean, he pointed out National Semiconductor in South Portland and the smokestack of the Sappi paper mill in Westbrook.

"Isn't that something? This is southern Maine right here," he said.

What strikes Moody most about the view is how much of the area is still undeveloped - something one might not think, driving on its busy roads.

"Everything looks so different from the air. That's the biggest thing," Moody said. "You really see it for what it is."

Source:   http://www.onlinesentinel.com