Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cessna 172, N953SP: Fatal accident occurred May 26, 2012 at St. George Municipal Airport, 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 as follows:
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.




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.

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. 
PICTURE COURTESY: HASSAN HAMMAD

“Independent experts should be made part of the investigations,” SASI president said. 
PHOTO: EXPRESS/IRFAN ALI


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.

FIR

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.

Boeing

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.


http://tribune.com.pk

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. 


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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.

PESONNELL INFORMATION

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.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

COMMUNICATIONS

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.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

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. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

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.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

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.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

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.