Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Low Lake Dora water levels force Tavares to close seaplane ramp

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —   Low water levels on Lake Dora have forced the city of Tavares to close its new seaplane ramp.

The lake is down three feet since the seaplane base opened in 2010.

On Wednesday, workers installed a 7,000-pound steel plate to lengthen the ramp.

"The water levels are not high enough to float the planes, where their front wheels are hooking in the drop off and could cause extreme damage to the planes," said Bill Neron, city of Tavares.

The work is costing taxpayers $16,000, WFTV learned.

Parolee arrested for allegedly sneaking onto commuter flight at Lindbergh Field

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An investigation was under way Wednesday into how a parolee fresh out of jail managed to evade security at Lindbergh Field and get onto a Los Angeles-bound plane without a ticket, authorities reported.

Marc Rory Duncan, 38, allegedly walked through an emergency door at the airport's Commuter Terminal about 11 a.m. Tuesday, crossed the tarmac and boarded the propeller aircraft along with several dozen passengers, according to Marguerite Elicone, a spokeswoman for the Port of San Diego.

"The suspect was able to somehow blend in with them and get on the plane," she said.

An alarm notified security personnel about the breach, Elicone said. As officers were en route to the tarmac, airport personnel contacted the pilot of the commuter aircraft, who directed a flight attendant to conduct a passenger head count.

When contacted by the cabin-crew member, Duncan, who reportedly appeared disheveled, was cooperative and immediately debarked. Security personnel arrested him outside the plane without incident, Elicone said, adding that the suspect was in custody six minutes after the emergency alarm sounded.

The parolee told the officers he had sneaked onto the aircraft in an attempt to "get home," the spokeswoman said.

The 27 ticketed passengers on the flight were taken off the plane to allow for a security sweep before the flight was cleared to proceed.

Duncan, who had been released from jail the previous day following a stint for theft, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor counts of trespassing on airport property and evading aviation security, as well as parole violation, a felony. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday morning.

San Diego Harbor Police will work with airport officials and the federal Transportation Security Administration to determine how Duncan got past guards and screeners, to "to make sure this doesn't happen again," Elicone said.

Cargo Plane Clips Commuter Jet on Chicago Taxiway


(USA TODAY) - A Boeing 747 cargo plane clipped the tail of an American Eagle commuter jet on the taxiway at O'Hare International Airport Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reports, quoting fire officials. 

 Twenty-one passengers who were evacuated from the commuter plane and three crew members from the EVA Cargo Flight 441 were examined, but there were no reported injuries, the Chicago Fire Department spokesman says, according to the newspaper.

The plane, enroute to a gate, was clipped on a taxiway shortly after its arrival from Springfield, Mo., the Tribune reports, quoting an Aviation Department spokeswoman.

WLS quotes Fire Media Affairs as calling the collision "minor." The cargo plane was en route to Anchorage.

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.

Credit: Facebook 
 This photo comes from Tony Nicholls' Facebook page. 


 LAKEVIEW — Search efforts continued Monday for the pilot of a small private airplane that has been missing since Thursday. 

Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said air and ground crews stepped up search efforts in Southeastern Oregon and Northern Nevada Monday. Along with the addition of an Oregon National Guard helicopter, Wasco County in Nevada was providing five planes while search and rescue teams from Wasco, Lake and Klamath counties had more than 40 people conducting ground searches.

Return trip

The missing pilot was identified as Tony Nicholls, 48, of Meridian, Idaho. Evinger said Nicholls flew to Lakeview Thursday afternoon to drop off his two stepchildren, then departed Lakeview for his return flight to Idaho. He said the flight from Lakeview to Meridian normally takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Evinger said there were snow showers and gusty winds in the region at the time of departure with reports of zero visibility during heavier snow periods. He said radar and cellphone records indicate the last known location for Nicholls’ four-seat aircraft was around Hart Lake, near the northeastern Lake County community of Plush.

Evinger said he is assisting Lake County Sheriff Phil McDonald and developing possible scenarios. Theories being considered include whether Nicholls might have attempted to land his plane or whether he might have tried to return to the Lakeview airport, which has no control tower.

“There are many accounts of people being able to survive for weeks,” Evinger said. “It’s important to make sure we consider various scenarios and keep our search efforts focused.”

LAKEVIEW, Ore. -- Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger says search crews have located the wreckage of a small plane reported missing in southern Oregon last Thursday. The pilot died in the crash. 

 Just before 3 p.m. PT, the Oregon Civil Air Patrol spotted the wreckage on Hart Mountain, about 13 miles northeast of Plush, Ore.  It was reported to Lake County Incident Command and a Oregon National Guard HH-60 Blackhawk was dispatched to the scene.

A medic was lowered to the crash site and confirmed the pilot was dead and the tail number was from a plane that belonged to Tony Nicholls of Meridian, Idaho.  The 48-year-old pilot dropped off his two stepsons in Lakeview, Ore., on Thursday and was to return home that day because his daughter was graduating from Centennial High School over the weekend.

Evinger says authorities are waiting on forensics to confirm that Nicholls is the dead man in the plane.

The aircraft wreckage was located at 6,500 feet in elevation on the west face of Hart Mountain.  Evinger said cloudy conditions on the first two days of the search created limited visibility for the pilots and others looking the plane. There has also been snow in that area since last Thursday.  Evinger says it was a "catastrophic crash" and the pilot likely died on impact. An investigation is underway. The FAA and the NTSB are headed to the scene.

International experts to re-investigate Airblue plane crash, Peshawar High Court told

 PESHAWAR: Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi Wednesday informed the Peshawar High Court that the International Civil Aviation Organisation had nominated two-member team of experts to re-investigate the Airblue plane crash.

On January 19, a division bench headed by the PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan had rejected the flawed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigation about the crash and directed the federal government to constitute a new board of inquiry under domestic and international laws for revisiting the probe through international experts.

 The court was hearing the writ petition filed by former Member National Assembly, Marvi Memon and some victim families seeking an independent inquiry into the crash and compensation under the international laws.

 The Defence Secretary told a division bench comprising the chief justice and Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk that the federal government in line with the high court directives requested the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for sending its experts to reinvestigate the Airblue plane crash in Margalla Hills that left all 152 people on board dead on July 28, 2010.

 She said the experts would arrive on June 3 and complete investigations by June 10. She assured the court that the team would be free and the government would facilitate the experts to conduct the inquiry independently.

 The bench withdrew contempt of court notices issued to the Defence Secretary and DG CAA Nadeem Yousafzai after they tendered unconditional apology and assured the court that the verdict about the Airblue plane crash would be fully implemented.

 The bench had issued contempt notices to top officials for employing delaying tactics and deputing a low-ranking officer for communication with the ICAO for hiring its experts causing two months delay. The court had stated that the shocking crash of the Bhoja Air plane could have been averted had the federal government implemented the directives of the high court issued after the incident involving the Airblue aircraft.

 The chief justice asked the Defence Secretary to do something for the national airline, PIA. He asked Nargis Sethi to constitute a vigilance committee to check the affairs of CAA and PIA to improve their performance and save the PIA.

Scrap plane benefits emergency training: Aircraft used in firefighting rescue scenarios

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - A plane crash with passengers on board; the aircraft on fire.  It's a disaster that emergency crews must be prepared for.

This week, they simulated those scenarios to make sure they're ready.

Roswell firefighters responded to a DC-8 aircraft from the 1960s as if it were on fire. They used their striker truck, which holds 1,500 gallons of water and firefighting foam.

"We utilize our water resources, also utilize our tools and equipment to check and see what tools and equipment would be capable of doing the things that we need to do," said Lt. Terry Chaves, of the Roswell Fire Department.

The priority for Aircraft Rescue Firefighting crews, or ARF, is saving lives, and that's what they're training for.

Crews practiced cutting into the plane, simulating a rescue. In the event of a fire, they can cut through the door with a nozzle and shoot water on the escape path.

If it were a real aircraft fire, all of the heat would be more intense than a regular fire because of the fuels and the metals burning. For this reason, crew members wear proximity suits which reflect the heat.

Their gear weighs about 65 pounds.

Normally firefighters learn about this type of operation in a classroom, but Stewart Industries, which stores and scraps a lot of old planes in Roswell , provided the plane.

"When they're done with their training it's actually going to be brought over to the scrap pad and crunched up," explained Jeffrey Reese, chief inspector for Stewart Industries. "The metal will be recycled and put back into service, and maybe make more airplanes."

Reese said Stewart Industries was glad they could help the fire department and to find another use for the plane before it was scrapped.

"These guys put their lives on the line for everybody and it's really neat to actually see them in action," Reese said. "If anything happened out here it's a good feeling to know that these guys are more focused on their training."

Whether it's driving the striker, learning how to tackle a blaze, or rescue missions, firefighters said this training also gives them confidence.

"Knowing that we have that background behind us, knowing that we have the capabilities, knowing what capabilities we have," Chaves said, "It's a very good asset, not only for us but for the experience that we get."
And it's this experience they'll take with them in a real emergency.

Now that this hands-on training is available to them, Chaves said the fire department would like to do this several times a year.

 Scrap plane benefits emergency training:

Pilots eject from T-45C Goshawk trainer, conditions unknown - near Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas

Two U.S. Navy pilots ejected to safety following a military plane crash in a rural area just southwest of Kingsville.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials confirmed the crash took place in a rural area of Brooks County around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

U.S. Navy officials with the Naval Air Station in Kingsville told Action 4 News that the accident happened during a training accident aboard a T-45 C Goshawk.

The two-men crew left the air station but their plane went down about 42 miles southwest of Kingsville.

Both crew members were able to eject from the plane, were located by authorities and taken in for medical evaluation.

Lt. John Supple with the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi said military officials will retrieve the wreckage and conduct an internal investigation.

Outagamie County Regional Airport (KATW), Appleton, Wisconsin: Plane OK after landing gear fears

This plane landed safely at the Outagamie County Regional Airport May 30, 2012 after concerns about its landing gear.

GREENVILLE - After fears about its landing gear not working, an airplane landed safely at the Outagamie County Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon.

Airport officials said the plane landed just after 2 p.m. A warning light for landing gear malfunction came on in the twin-engine cargo plane. The two pilots, who were the only people aboard, flew past the control tower, which confirmed the landing gear was completely down.

No other airplane traffic was disrupted.

Beechcraft Bonanza F33A, C-GSCZ: Seneca College: Accident occurred on November 18, 2010 - Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport, Ontario

Seneca College, which trains pilots how to fly in Markham, has made several changes to its program in the wake of a fatal crash that killed three students.

The Beechcraft Bonanza F33A operated by the college was destroyed when it slammed into a plowed field about 16 km from Buttonville airport, Nov. 18, 2010.

In a report released March 16, the federal Transportation Safety Board identified adverse weather conditions, which resulted in the crew attempting a turn that stalled the plane, and the location of flight instruments, which made it difficult for the instructor to control the plane before it crashed, as contributing factors in the fatal collision.

Cynthia Hoi-Mei Tsang and Lloyd Myles Cripps, both 20 and commercially qualified students, were returning to Buttonville airport from a training flight with instructor Azizullah Yoosufani, 26, when Pearson International Airport notified Durham Regional Police they lost the plane on radar at about 7 p.m.

All three died in the crash.

Seneca immediately grounded its planes and brought in a third-party investigator to conduct a week-long internal investigation, Seneca school of aviation and flight technology chairperson Lynne McMullen said.

“Obviously a situation like that is shocking to the system,” she said. “Of course, it's going to make you stop and take a look.” Seneca monitors and upgrades its safety procedures on a regular basis and had done so before the 2010 crash, she stressed.

And while the changes Seneca has made are outlined in the board's crash report, Ms McMullen noted they took effect more than a year before that report was released.

The school teaches flying standards that greatly exceed the minimum requirements expected of pilots in Canada, she said.

Among the 15 changes and limits Seneca instituted, according to the board, were:

• Group weather briefings attended by all instructors and students who will be flying on that particular shift. This ensures everyone has looked at the weather prior to their flight. The only exception is if a student is going on a Transport Canada flight test during which he will be graded by an examiner for checking weather;

• All instructors are to go through upset training in Seneca College flight training devices to assist them in any given circumstances where they need to take control of an aircraft and recover from an unusual attitude. This training is done with certain flight instruments failed;

• All night flying in single-engine aircraft is to be conducted only when the crew can see where the plane is headed — known as visual flight rules or VFR; and

• No observers are permitted on board training flights at night (one student and one instructor only). Combined lessons during which more than one student participates are to be restricted to daytime flying.

Meanwhile, more information about the ill-fated flight is included in the board's report.

The purpose of the flight was to fly at night under visual flight rules to an airport in Kingston, where instrument flight rule approaches  — flying using the plane's instruments — would be practised. The plane was then to return to Buttonville.

One student would fly from the left seat to Kingston while the other was seated in the back.

The students would then switch in Kingston and the second student would fly simulated instrument approaches. The students would switch seats again for the flight back to Buttonville. Mr. Yoosufani, the instructor, was the pilot-in-command and in the right seat.

East of the Oshawa airport, the flight crew encountered deteriorating weather and decided to return to Buttonville.

Weather information from other aircraft and ground observations reveal the rain, snow and freezing rain the trio encountered was quite different than conditions at Buttonville and Oshawa airports.

Radar data and voice communications reveal the return flight was normal until the crew tried a climbing right turn. During the turn, the airspeed dropped, which indicates engine power was not increased to maintain a safe speed, the safety board report states.

The plane then rolled into a steep left turn and plummeted.

Radar and engineering estimates show a flight manoeuvre that suggests the plane's left wing stalled and then abruptly dropped.

Who was actually at the controls when the plane went down is “impossible to ascertain”, according to the report.

It is reasonable, however, to believe a student was at the controls while Mr. Yoosufani was requesting an approach clearance. When the plane stalled, Mr. Yoosufani would have been attempting to recover control, according to the report.

But how quickly the stall occurred, the airspeed during the descent and lack of available altitude prevented the plane from being righted before it hit the ground.

All of that would have been made worse by limited visibility due to weather and a lack of flight instruments on the right side of the plane, the safety board's report states

Records for the plane reveal it was certified, equipped and maintained in accordance with regulations and procedures. 

Media Advisory 

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada releases report into the November 2010 crash of a Beechcraft F33A near the Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport 

Gatineau, Quebec, 16 March 2012 - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A10O0240) into the 18 November 2010 loss of control and collision with terrain of a Beechcraft Bonanza F33A, operated by the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology near the Toronto/Buttonville municipal airport.

The aircraft departed the Buttonville airport on a night visual flight rules flight to Kingston airport (Ontario) with an instructor and two students on board. Weather en route began to deteriorate and the flight headed back to the point of departure. On radar, it was observed to be westbound in level flight before it turned north and began to climb. It then turned abruptly to the left and descended. The aircraft was subsequently located in a ploughed field approximately 10 miles east of the airport. It had been destroyed on impact. The three occupants did not survive.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

RFD welcomes Thunderbird #8 ahead of AirFest 2012

ROCKFORD (WREX) - People looking toward the skies Wednesday afternoon may have gotten a view of one of AirFest 2012's shining stars. 

Thunderbird #8 arrived at the Chicago Rockford International Airport around 2:00 p.m., and the airport is expecting many more planes over the next two days as it prepares for the year festival. Some expected arrivals include a C-40 Presidential Jet, a B-52 Stratofortress, an F-18 Super Hornet, and KC-135 Stratotanker.

AirFest 2012 begins Saturday, June 2, and ends Sunday, June 3. For more information on the festival, including a schedule of events, visit, and be sure to tune in Friday to see 13 WREX's own Rebecca Klopf fly with the Thunderbirds!

Cirrus SR20 GTS G3, I Fly Elite (Rgd. owner Hunt Aviation LLC), N187PG: Accident occurred May 29, 2012 in Duck Creek Village, Utah

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA235
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in Duck Creek Village, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR20, registration: N187PG
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.

The airplane collided with remote mountainous terrain in an inverted position during the second leg of a cross-country flight in day visual meteorological conditions. Recorded data recovered from the airplane revealed that about 40 minutes into the flight, the airplane reached its highest recorded altitude of 7,847 feet mean sea level (msl). At this time, the airplane was about 4 miles from a mountain ridge directly ahead, the lowest point of which was 8,470 feet msl, with terrain elevations of more than 9,000 feet msl on both sides. The airplane’s recovered electronic data revealed that the airplane’s stall warning system activated about 3 minutes before the accident and remained on for most of the remaining recorded data. The data indicated that the airplane rolled steeply to the left, briefly recovered and pitched up 10 to 15 degrees, and then rolled to the left in a nearly 67-degree inverted nose-down attitude before impacting terrain. Postaccident calculations indicated that at the time of the accident, the airplane was likely being flown close to the airplane’s stall speed.

The pilot, who had rented the airplane, had extensive rotorcraft/helicopter flight experience but had accumulated only about 160 hours total flight time in fixed wing airplanes, with about 17 hours in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot’s most recent flight in the make and model of the accident airplane took place about 18 months before the accident flight.

Postaccident interviews with personnel from the company that rented the airplane revealed that, on a previous occasion, the pilot had been observed overloading the airplane and was advised that he could not take that much baggage on the flight. The company personnel further stated that on the morning of the accident, after the company fueled the airplane for the pilot’s flight, the pilot taxied the airplane to another area on the airport where he loaded his passengers and baggage. This location was about 1/4 mile away and was not visible from the company’s facility. The calculated density altitude at the time of the accident was 9,287 feet, which would have been detrimental to the airplane’s climb performance, especially if the airplane was overloaded. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Based on the available information, it is likely that the pilot was unable to maintain sufficient airspeed to climb the airplane over the high terrain, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Further, it is likely that a combination of the pilot overloading the airplane before taking off and the high density altitude conditions would have resulted in the airplane’s reduced climb performance. Further, the pilot’s lack of total experience operating fixed wing airplanes in mountainous terrain likely negatively affected his decision to attempt to fly over the mountainous terrain with the given conditions and contributed to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed and airplane control while maneuvering a heavily loaded airplane over high mountainous terrain in a high density altitude environment. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of experience operating fixed wing airplanes in such an environment.


On May 29, 2012, about 1258 mountain daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N187PG, was substantially damaged following impact with remote mountainous terrain while maneuvering near Duck Creek Village, Utah. The rental airplane was operated by Elite Aviation of the North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada. The certified private pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed the Mesquite Airport (67L), about 1114 Pacific daylight time, with Bryce Canyon Airport (BCE), Bryce Canyon, Utah, as its reported destination.

The investigation revealed that the purpose of the flight was for the pilot and his three passengers to fly to Bryce Canyon for a fishing trip; fishing rods, tackle, and fishing licenses were located at the accident site. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot activated a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan in Las Vegas at 0954, and subsequently canceled it after flying clear of McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, Class Bravo (B) airspace about 1005. When the airplane departed VGT, it had 41 gallons of aviation fuel on board. At the time of departure from VGT, the airplane was estimated to be over its maximum gross takeoff weight limitation by 210 pounds.

After departing VGT, the pilot flew direct to the Mesquite Airport (67L), Mesquite, Nevada, where it landed about 1100. Recorded non-volatile memory data revealed that the airplane had consumed 7.6 gallons of fuel during the flight. Prior to departing 67L, the pilot added about 10 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The airplane subsequently departed 67L for BCE about 1214, a flight of approximately 105 nautical miles (nm). At the time of departure, the airplane was estimated to be in excess of its maximum takeoff weight by about 225 pounds.

According to radar data, about 1245, which was about 30 minutes after departure from 67L, the airplane was climbing through 6,600 feet mean sea level (msl) on a northeasterly heading. At 1250, it was ascending through 7,100 feet msl, and at 1254:28 the airplane reached its highest recorded altitude for the flight, which was 7,847 feet msl. At this time, and directly in front of the airplane about 4 miles distant, was rising terrain; the lowest ridge was 8,470 feet high, with terrain measuring more than 9,000 feet in elevation bordering the ridge on both sides.

Data recovered from the airplane’s Recoverable Data Module (RDM)revealed that about 3 minutes prior to the accident, at 1255:10, the stall warning activated for the majority of the remaining 188 seconds of recorded data. At 1257:57, the airplane began a roll excursion to the left and reached a 54-degree, left wing down attitude, before briefly recovering to 8 degrees left wing down. The airplane then rolled to the left in a nearly inverted attitude at the end of the data. The airplane was in a climb attitude of between 10 to 15 degrees of pitch until about 1258:11, when it pitched to a 67-degree nose down attitude at the end of the data, which was recorded at 1258:20.

Local law enforcement personnel located the wreckage about 1930 on May 30, 2012. The airplane came to rest inverted on the west face of a mountain ridge, and about 100 feet below the top of the crest. An onsite examination of the wreckage revealed that all components necessary for flight were accounted for. The wreckage was recovered to a secured storage facility for further examination.

In a statement provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the Mesquite Airport facility manager reported that on the day of the accident, while he was refueling another airplane at the fueling island, he instructed the accident airplane as it pulled up to the fuel pump. He said that one of the four men in the airplane mentioned to him that they were all helicopter pilots, and that another one who was doing the refueling said that the fuel in the right wing was above the tab, and that he added fuel to the left side to balance it out; 9.98 gallons of fuel was added to the left tank. The witness further stated that as the men were boarding the airplane, he heard one of them ask whose turn it was to take the front seat. He concluded by stating that after taking off he observed the airplane do one touch-and-go, and then heard someone say that it looked like [the airplane] took an unusually long time to [gain] altitude.

Elite Aviation rented the airplane to the pilot. A post-accident interview with their management personnel revealed that the pilot refueled the airplane at their facility. He then taxied the airplane to another area on the airport to load his passengers and baggage. This location was about 0.25 miles away from the Elite facility, and was not visible from their business. Elite personnel also reported that on a previous occasion, which occurred just after the accident pilot had been checked out in the airplane, he was observed loading the airplane for a flight. Elite management personnel noticed that the airplane would be overweight, at which time the pilot was informed that he could not take that much baggage on the flight. Also during the interview, Elite management personnel revealed that the accident pilot would always try to circumvent things with the female office receptionists, but not with any of the male office personnel. In one instance, it was described that the accident pilot mentioned to the wife of one of the company’s owners that he could fly the rental airplane without renter’s insurance; the company co-owner said that this was not true. Elite personnel also reported that there were a few times when the accident pilot attempted to bargain airplane rental fees.


Pilot number 1 (pilot-in-command who occupied the right front cockpit seat position)

The pilot, age 44, possessed an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and flight instructor certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter. He also held a private pilot certificate, issued on May 7, 2010, for airplane single-engine land, and also possessed an instrument airplane rating. The pilot received his most recent second-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate on December 1, 2011, with no limitations noted. At the time of the accident, the pilot was employed as a commercial helicopter pilot by a local sightseeing and tour company, which was based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A review of the pilot’s personal and company flight records revealed that he had accumulated a total time in all aircraft of 5,668 hours, of which 5,465 hours were in helicopters and 160 hours were in airplanes. Additionally, the pilot had logged 1,003 hours of flight instruction given in helicopters. It was also revealed that as of March 31, 2012, the pilot had a total time of 109.5 hours in all Cirrus aircraft, which included 43.1 hours in the accident make and model, the SR20, and 66.4 hours in the SR22. Records indicated that the pilot’s most recent flight in an SR20 airplane prior to the accident flight was conducted on September 15, 2010, at which time he had accumulated a total of 16.7 hours as pilot in command in make and model.

Pilot number 2 (left front cockpit seat position)

The pilot, age 31, possessed a commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter instrument helicopter ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter ratings. Additionally, the pilot held a mechanic’s certificate with an airframe rating. The pilot’s most recent second-class FAA medical certificate was dated July 6, 2011, with no limitations. He did not possess a pilot certificate for airplanes.


The accident airplane was a Cirrus Design model SR20, serial number 1892. It was a four-place, low wing, single-engine airplane, with a tricycle landing gear configuration. The airplane was issued an FAA normal category standard airworthiness certificate on January 14, 2008. It was equipped with Avidyne MFD & PFD, STEC 55X, dual Garmin GNS 430s, EMax, Stormscope, Skywatch, and an Xm weather/radio. The airplane was powered by a 210-horsepower Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI) IO-360-ES21 six-cylinder, reciprocating engine, serial number 360550. The engine was manufactured on December 2, 2007

A review of the operator’s maintenance records revealed that the airplane’s most recent annual inspection was performed on May 3, 2012, at an airplane total time of 1,739.6 hours. The most recent 100-hour inspection was performed on May 23, 2012, at an airplane total time of 1,839.6 hours. When examined at the post-accident layout examination, the HOBBS meter for the accident airplane indicated 2,068.4 hours. The FLIGHT Hobbs meter indicated 1,847.2 hours.


During the investigation, and with data recovered from the airplane’s Recoverable Data Module (RDM), weight and balance computations were calculated by Cirrus Aircraft and confirmed by the IIC for the takeoffs at both VGT and 67L, as well as for the estimated condition about the time of the accident.

With 41 gallons of fuel on board and considering the medical weights of the four occupants and weighed baggage, it was calculated that the airplane was 207 pounds over the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 3,050 pounds when it departed VGT. After the calculated fuel burn from VGT to 67L and refueling after landing, the airplane was estimated to be about 221 pounds over the MTOW when it departed 67L. It was further calculated that the airplane was 177 pounds in excess of its maximum gross weight near the time of the accident. (Refer to the weight and balance calculations located in the Cirrus Final Mishap Report for additional details.)


During the investigation, and at the request of the IIC, a Cirrus Aircraft Flight Test Engineer reviewed the non-volatile memory data to determine the climb performance of the accident airplane.

The engineer reported that just prior to the loss of control the pressure altitude was 7,250 feet msl, and the outside air temperature was 15.5 degrees Celsius (C). Based on Cirrus certification data for climb performance, the airplane loaded to 3,227 pounds should have been able to climb at +375 feet per minute, assuming that the engine was operating normally at the maximum available power of 2,700 revolutions per minute (rpm) and that the best rate of climb (Vy) of 93 knots indicated airspeed (IAS) was being flown by the pilot. The engineer also reported that based on the Cirrus engine power model and the recorded engine data, at 1856:20, the engine should have been producing 108 horsepower. Further, applying this reduced engine power to the Cirrus certification data, the climb performance would have been reduced to +22 feet per minute, again assuming that Vy was being flown by the pilot. The engineer added that the data appeared to indicate that the airplane was not being flown at Vy at this point in time, but in fact the airspeed was nearly at stall, which was 73 knots indicated airspeed (IAS). The engineer added that as the speed decreases towards a stall, the climb performance is reduced to zero. The 0% flap stall speed for the SR20 at 3,050 pounds is 69 knots IAS. Correcting for a weight of 3,227 pounds yields a stall speed of 71 knots IAS.


At 1258, the weather reporting facility located at Swains Creek, Utah, which was about 9 nautical miles east-northeast of the accident site, reported wind from the southwest at 6 miles per hour (mph), gust at 8 mph, temperature 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 23 degrees F, sky clear, and an altimeter setting of 30.21 inches of mercury.

At 1253, the recorded weather observation at the Cedar City Regional Airport (CDC), Cedar City, Utah, which is located about 26 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, reported wind variable at 4 knots gusting to 17 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 75 degree F, dew point 14 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of mercury.

A Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) for Bryce Canyon Airport (BCE), which was issued at 1143 on May 29, 2012, and was valid from 1200 May 29 to 1200 May 30, revealed wind 220 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts to 18 knots, sky clear, and visibility greater than 6 miles.

There were no AIRMETS or SIGMETS in effect in the vicinity and timeframe of the accident.


An on-site examination of the wreckage was conducted under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, who was accompanied by representatives from the FAA, Cirrus Aircraft Design, and CMI. A detailed survey of the wreckage revealed that all components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site.

The accident site was located in mountainous terrain about 7 nm southwest of Duck Creek Village, Utah, on the west face of a ridge about 100 feet below the top of the crest. A GPS reading taken at the site revealed that the main wreckage was located at 37 degrees 26.101 minutes north latitude and 112 degrees 45.899 west longitude, at an elevation of 7,172 feet msl.

The main wreckage came to rest inverted on a measured magnetic heading of about 180 degrees, and the energy path was oriented on a measured magnetic heading of 277 degrees. A tall pine tree between 20 to 25 feet tall was located uphill about 15 to 20 feet from the initial point of impact. There were no signatures observed to the tree consistent with impact by the airplane. The initial point of impact was evidenced by various shrubs and branches that had been cut off at a 15 to 20 degree angle to the ground. Immediately adjacent to the shrubs and down slope, a ground scar was observed in the dirt. The ground scar widened out downhill in line with the main wreckage, and contained multiple window fragments throughout the area. Facing downhill from the initial point of impact, another pine tree, about 8 inches in diameter and located on the right side of the debris field, was observed broken off about 1 foot above the ground. On the left side of the energy path, a third pine tree, about 1 foot in diameter, had stripped bark missing from its trunk, about 2 to 4 feet above the ground. The airplane’s propeller was observed separated from the engine, and laying on the ground partially hidden by shrubs. The two trees were estimated to be about 20 to 25 feet apart. The main wreckage came to rest 52 feet from the initial point of impact.

The forward fuselage was heavily damaged. The engine and engine compartment were found embedded in the ground, with fragments of the upper cowling and windscreen located uphill from the main wreckage. The forward cabin was observed crushed aft, with the instrument panel crushed and fragmented.

The right cabin door separated from the fuselage and was located near the initial point of impact. The left cabin door was fractured into two main pieces consisting of the top and bottom halves. The baggage compartment door separated from the airplane. All three doors exhibited impact damage.

The left wing was fractured and separated laterally at the inboard aileron attachment point. The wing was also fractured laterally about 2 feet further outboard. The inboard section of the wing contained 45-degree wrinkling starting forward inboard and then going aft outboard. The left flap was observed basically intact, however, it did contain some downward bending at the outboard most corner. The left aileron was also mostly intact, but was fractured and separated from all attach points. The aileron was observed bent and wrinkled. The left fuel cap was secured, and the fuel cap tab was extended. The fuel tank was breached. The left main landing gear sustained minimal damage. The forward most area of the wheel pant was cracked.

The right wing was observed fractured and separated at mid-span. Scratches along the longitudinal axis were also observed with organic debris adhering to the underside of the wing. The right flap was wrinkled throughout its span. The flap hinge was bent outboard and almost flush with the wing. The outboard 6 inches of the flap was bent upward. The right aileron was observed bent in two places, about one-third of the way inboard from the outboard extreme and also about mid-span. The aileron was also observed separated from the trailing edge of the wing at all attach points. The right fuel tank was breach; the fuel cap was observed secured. The right elevator was not damaged, with the exception to a crack along the forward and outboard section of the component. The right main landing gear remained attached and secured at all attach points. The only visible damage was a slight crack to its wheel pant.

Aileron control cable continuity from the left kickout pulley to the left aileron actuation pulley to the right aileron actuation pulley and back to the right kickout pulley was verified on site.

The flap actuator shaft separated from the flap motor. Approximately 3.5 inches of actuator was extended, which was consistent with a flaps UP position.

The entire empennage aft of the aft cabin bulkhead was intact. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator remained attached to the fuselage at all inboard attached points. Both sustained only minimal damage to their outboard leading edges. The left elevator and left horizontal stabilizer were not damaged. The rudder was intact and sustained only some minimal damage. Rudder control cable continuity from the FS306 bulkhead to the back seats was verified on site. Rudder control continuity from the backseats to the rudder pedal torque tubes was also confirmed. The rudder also exhibited powder residue from the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System rocket.

The nose landing gear was fractured and separated from the engine mount attachment point. The wheel remained secured to its attach point.

The engine was partially separated and came to rest upright at a heading of 130 degrees. There were no significant visual anomalies, or indications of catastrophic failure. The propeller governor control lever was found full in, and the propeller cable was separated. The throttle was at idle, and the mixture lever showed to be somewhere mid-travel.

The airplane was equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed propeller assembly. The propeller separated from the crankshaft just aft of the propeller flange. Spiral cracking and 45-degree shear lips were observed. The spinner was crushed aft and had fractured in multiple locations.

All three propeller blades were loose in the hub. Two blades exhibited polishing on the cambered side. One propeller blade was bent toward the cambered side. The second propeller blade was bent slightly toward the non-cambered side. The third propeller blade was slightly curled at the tip.

Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS)

The activation handle was in the handle holder. The safety pin was not observed. The rocket motor was located under the vertical stabilizer in the main wreckage. The pickup collar assembly was on the rocket. The lanyards were discolored brown consistent with rocket exhaust. The incremental bridle had not unzipped. The right side of the vertical stabilizer and rudder had brown discoloration consistent with rocket exhaust. The packed parachute assembly lay on the ground just forward of the vertical stabilizer. The rear harness remained snubbed, and the reefing line cutters had not been activated. The Sheriff noted that the first responders had cut the CAPS harnesses, and utilized them to extricate the decedents from the wreckage. The CAPS enclosure cover was located under the outboard portion of the right wing in the main wreckage.


Pilot #1 (right front cockpit seat position)

On May 31, 2012, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the facilities of the Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah. The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was determined to have been due to “blunt force injuries.” The report also indicated that toxicological testing results were negative for all substances in the screening profile.

Pilot #2 (left front cockpit seat position)

On May 31, 2012, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the facilities of the Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah. The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was determined to have been due to “blunt force injuries.”

The Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report for pilot number 2 was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeronautical Institute Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report indicated that specimens were unsuitable for analysis of carbon monoxide, and that no cyanide and no ethanol detected in Blood. The following value of Acetaminophen was noted in the report:

2.447 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Blood


The NTSB IIC secured the airplane’s primary flight display (PFD) and Recoverable Data Module (RDM), and forwarded them to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for evaluation. An NTSB Vehicle Recorder specialist reported the following:

Primary Flight Display (PFD)

The Avidyne Entegra PFD unit includes a solid state Air Data and Attitude Heading Reference System (ADAHRS), and displays aircraft parameter data including altitude, airspeed, attitude, vertical speed, and heading. The PFD unit has external pitot/static inputs for altitude, airspeed, and vertical speed information. The PFD contains two flash memory devices mounted on a riser card. The flash memory stores information the PFD unit uses to generate the various PFD displays. Additionally, the PFD has a data logging function, which is used by the manufacturer for maintenance and diagnostics. Maintenance and diagnostic information recording consists of system information, event data, and flight data.

An examination of the PFD revealed that while it had been damaged by impact forces, the specialist was successful in extracting the 2 Flash memory chips from the damaged housing and placed in a surrogate PFD unit for download. The download revealed that the PFD contained about 17 hours of flight data, including the accident flight.

Recoverable Data Module (RDM)

The Aerosance RDM is a crash hardened flight recording device installed in the tail of the airplane that records critical flight information at a 1 Hz recording rate. This RDM stored approximately 200 hours of flight data at a 1 Hz recording rate. An examination of the unit revealed that the RDM card was undamaged, and the data was recovered normally.

Flight and Engine Data

A review of the basic flight data and engine data from the accident flight revealed that the airplane departed Mesquite Airport approximately 1114 PDT, 1214 MDT, and flew in a northeasterly direction. Fifty percent flaps were used for departure and were retracted at 1214:37 MDT. They remained retracted for the rest of the flight. At 1216:30 MDT, the cylinder head temperature on the number five cylinder reached 453° F. According to the Cirrus SR20 Pilot Operating Handbook, for the CMI IO-360-ES engine installed on N187PG, cylinder head temperatures are limited to 460° F. At 1216:40 MDT, the engine rpm decreased from approximately 2450 rpm to 2300 rpm. The engine oil temperature was within 5° F of the 240° F limitation for much of the flight, exceeding it at 1258:14 MDT. The autopilot was briefly active from 1229:42 to 1229:45 MDT.

At 1255:10 MDT, the stall warning activated for the majority of the remaining 188 seconds of data. At 1257:57 MDT, the airplane began a roll excursion to the left, reaching 54° left wing down, briefly recovering to 8° left wing down before rolling to the left nearly inverted at the end of the data. The airplane was climbing between 10-15° of pitch [up] until approximately 1258:11 when it pitched down to 67° nose down at the end of the data. The final RDM data was recorded at 1258:18 MDT and the final PFD data was recorded at 1258:20 MDT. (Refer to the Vehicle Recorder Specialist’s Factual Report, which is appended to the docket.)

 NTSB Identification: WPR12FA235 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in Duck Creek Village, UT
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR20, registration: N187PG
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 29, 2012, about 1400 mountain daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N187PG, was substantially damaged following impact with remote mountainous terrain while maneuvering near Duck Creek Village, Utah. The certified private pilot and 3 passengers sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed the Mesquite Airport (67L), Mesquite, Nevada, about 1155 Pacific daylight time, with Bryce Canyon Airport (BCE) as its reported destination.

According to the airport manager at 67L, the airplane landed about 1130 Pacific daylight time, refueled, and departed about 1155. Neither the pilot nor any of the three passengers indicated where the airplane had arrived from or where it would be departing to. The airport manger reported that after refueling the airplane with about 10 gallons of aviation fuel, the flight departed to the northeast, but only after performing one touch-and-go landing.

The airplane was reported overdue and missing later that afternoon. About 1930 that evening, local law enforcement personnel reported that the airplane had been located in remote mountainous terrain on the west slope of a mountain ridge about 22 nautical miles southeast of Cedar City (CDC), Utah, and about 7 nm southwest of Duck Creek Village.

On May 31, two National Transportation Safety Board investigators, accompanied by representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, Cirrus Aircraft, and Continental Motors, Inc., traveled to the accident site. A survey of the wreckage revealed that it had come to rest inverted on a measured magnetic heading of 277 degrees, at coordinates 37 degrees 26.101 minutes north latitude and 112 degrees 45.899 minutes west longitude, and at an elevation of 7,172 feet mean sea level. There was no post crash fire. It was determined after examining the wreckage that all components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site.

At 1353, the weather reporting facility at CDC indicated wind variable at 4 knots with gusts to 18 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 26 degrees Celsius (C), dew point -9 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of mercury.

The airplane was recovered to a secured storage facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for further examination.

  Regis#: 187PG        Make/Model: SR20      Description: SR-20 CIRRUS
  Date: 05/30/2012     Time: 0230

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

  City: CEDAR CITY   State: UT   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   4
                 # Crew:   4     Fat:   4     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: SALT LAKE CITY, UT  (NM07)            Entry date: 05/31/2012 

Kane County Sheriff's Office
Kane County Sheriff's Office

Kane County Sheriff's Office 

Kane County Sheriff's Office

Kane County Sheriff's Office 

Kane County Sheriff's Office 

Kane County Sheriff's Office


(Springdale, UT) - A single-engine aircraft crashed in a remote area of Kane County Tuesday, killing all four people on board. 

The incident marks the second crash involving a single-engine plane and also resulted in the deaths of four people in southern Utah in less than a week.

The latest incident happened Tuesday about 3:00PM. A Cirrus SR20 took off from Las Vegas just before 11:00PM headed to Bryce Canyon, according to Allen Kenitzer, of the Federal Aviation Administration.

After the plane failed to arrive at its destination, the company that owns the aircraft reported it missing, Kenitzer said. The plane is registered to Hunt Aviation LLC out of Las Vegas, according to the FAA registry.

A signal from the plane's emergency transmitter beacon was received by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Rescue Center located in Florida, according to the Kane County Sheriff's Office. The Civil Air Patrol located in St. George was notified just before 6:00PM and a crew of three flew over the area and confirmed the location of the crash site by about 8:00PM and took pictures.

"The wreckage was scattered over quite a wide area. It looked like it impacted quite hard," said Lt. Col. Max Kieffer with Civil Air Patrol, who was the incident commander. "The crew could see no movement or any indication of survivors."

The wreckage was found in a rugged area on a ridge-top about 18 miles north of state Route 9 and East North Fork Road, northeast of Zion National Park. Kane County sheriff's officials went to the area, but waited until Wednesday to recover the bodies because of darkness and the terrain.

A possible cause for the crash was not immediately known. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will both investigate the incident.

Bryce Canyon Airport manager Greg Pollock said there had been several crash landings in the area over the past two weeks. On most of those days, he said, there were strong winds blowing.

While the vast majority of emergency landings result in no injuries, Pollock said it is still a tricky area for pilots.

"The big challenge is the terrain itself. If you are not close to a meadow or a dirt road or one of the highways, the terrain is so rugged that is really decreases your chance of survival if you have to make a forced landing," he said.


The Kane County Sheriff’s Office on Friday identified the four men killed when their single-engine aircraft crashed during a sightseeing flight near southwestern Utah’s Zion National Park earlier this week.

All four of the victims in the Tuesday afternoon crash were from Las Vegas, Nev. They included the pilot, Joshua Stubblefield, 31, and passengers Chris Spircu, 44, Paul Andrews, 32, and Todd Stuntzner, 45.

The men’s identities were released Friday morning after results of Thursday autopsies and forensics testing by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office were provided to the sheriff’s office. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the four were aboard a Cirrus SR20 registered to Hunt Aviation, of Las Vegas; the plane was being rented through I Fly Elite, also of Las Vegas. I Fly Elite characterized Stubblefield as a "very experienced" and the trip that day as "a non-training pleasure flight."

The aircraft had taken off from North Las Vegas Airport for Bryce Canyon shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday. The plane’s emergency transmitter beacon activated about 12:20 p.m., providing a location for an apparent crash. Kane County sheriff’s deputies, initially frustrated in attempts to locate the plane with a ground and air search, located the wreckage and victims’ remains Wednesday morning.

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- The Kane County Sheriff's Office today released pictures from the Utah plane crash that claimed four lives Tuesday. 

The pictures show the crash site of the Cirrus SR20. The single-engine plane left North Las Vegas for Bryce Canyon Tuesday morning. FAA officials say the plane crashed after a brief stop in Mesquite. The crash site was discovered on a ridge on the northeast boundary of Zion National Park. 

The plane, registered to Hunt Aviation, was operated by Elite Flight Training and Management Company. Officials with the company say the pilot was experienced and on a non-training pleasure flight. The names of the victims have not been released.