Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kenn Borek resumes flights to Grise Fiord in wake of fuel scare

Fuel available for sked flights, medevacs only: Nav Canada notice

A Kenn Borek Twin Otter is to fly into Grise Fiord June 7, quelling worries that the community has completely run out of jet A-1 fuel.

There is a shortage of jet A-1 fuel, used by Twin Otter aircraft, but the supply is enough for scheduled flights, a source who works in the community told Nunatsiaq News June 7.

“We sure were worried for a few hours though. They may still have a fuel shortage that they have to resolve but at least planes are flying again while they work on it,” the source said.

A NOTAM, or “Notice to Airmen,” posted on the website of Nav Canada on the afternoon of June 7, said jet A-1 fuel is available in Grise Fiord, but only for scheduled flights and medevacs.

Earlier that day, Kenn Borek suspended flights to Grise Fiord after seeing an earlier NOTAM that said no jet A-1 fuel was available at the community’s airport.

But Nav Canada posted another notice around 3:30 p.m. June 7, saying fuel is available for medevac and scheduled flights only.

Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut’s minister of Community and Government Services, confirmed in the legislative assembly June 7 that Grise Fiord suffers from a fuel supply problem, in response to a question from Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott.

Elliott said he received an email from the co-op store in Grise Fiord asking if they should be worried about getting fresh produce and milk into the community.

“The community was concerned not just with passengers going in and out of the community, but also with freight,” Elliott said.

Twin Otters are the only type of aircraft that can land at Grise Fiord’s small airstrip, he said.

Sanikiluaq and Repulse Bay have also experienced worrying fuel shortfalls as they await for new supplies to arrive by ship in the summer.

Until new tanks are constructed to increase storage capacity, communities will possibly run out of fuel, depending on usage, Elliott said, adding that the government’s biggest cost of the year is fuel.

“Usually they keep two years worth of fuel in the community,” he said.

There are also problems with water running beneath the runway in Grise Fiord and one of the capital carry-over projects was actually to resurface that runway, Elliott said.

Source:   http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca

Pratt & Whitney Named in Nigerian Crash Lawsuit: Husband of one of the victims blames companies who designed, manufactured plane – Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83, 5N-RAM, Flight 9J-992

A man whose wife died when a Nigerian commercial airliner crashed into a crowded neighborhood in that country's largest city filed a lawsuit in Chicago on Thursday that blames the accident, at least in part, on U.S. companies that designed, manufactured and sold the ill-fated plane. 

An American attorney filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of David Chukwunonso Allison, whose wife, Joy Chiedozie Allison, was on the Dana Air MD-83 that went down in the African nation Sunday afternoon. The crash killed 153 people who were on the plane and an undetermined number of people on the ground.

Among those named in the 56-page lawsuit are Chicago-based Boeing Co., which bought the McDonnell-Douglas manufacturer of the plane, and Connecticut-based engine-maker Pratt & Whitney.

Gary Robb, a Kansas City, Mo.-based aviation attorney who filed the lawsuit for David Allison, said reports of engine failure as the plane approached Lagosm point to the companies' culpability.

Nigeria's Aviation Minister Stella Oduah said Wednesday that the flight's captain radioed Lagos as the aircraft approached and declared an emergency, saying both of the MD-83's engines had failed. Minutes later, the plane crashed into several buildings.

"That is always incredibly significant information," Robb said. "Engines do not fail unless something goes dramatically wrong."

Without offering details, the suit claims the Pratt & Whitney "engines used a defective and unreasonably dangerous design."

A Thursday statement from Pratt & Whitney responding to the lawsuit didn't address any specific allegations but said "our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those involved in this incident."

"Pratt & Whitney is cooperating fully with investigating authorities and we are unable to offer any further comment as the investigation is ongoing," the statement said.

A spokesman for Boeing did not return several messages seeking comment Thursday.

Joy Allison, who lived in Lagos with her husband and 1-year-old daughter, worked for a Federal Express office in her home city, Robb said. The lawsuit seeks damage payments, though an amount will be determined later.

Robb conceded that pinpointing a precise cause of the alleged engine failure would take time. But he said filing the suit now would help ensure he and his own investigators had legal recourse to request the plane's flight voice and data recorders, and other evidence.

Francis Ogboro, an executive who oversees Dana Air, defended the airline Wednesday against growing public criticism, noting that its own chief engineer died on the doomed flight.

The MD-83 had undergone strenuous checks like the others the carrier owns and that he routinely flies, he told journalists.

The chief engineer "certainly would not have allowed that aircraft to take off" if there was a problem, Ogboro said. "No airline crew would go on a suicide mission."

Emergency officials on Wednesday stopped searching for those killed at the crash site in Iju-Ishaga, the Lagos neighborhood about five miles from Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

Officials still aren't sure how many people died, and a complete death toll could take weeks. The plane smashed into two apartment buildings, a printing business and a woodshop.

Authorities have collected the flight voice and data recorders from the plane and plan to send them to the U.S. for analysis. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also has sent an investigator to assist Nigeria's Accident Investigation Board.

The State Department says nine Americans were among those killed.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com

The husband of a Nigerian woman who died in the crash of a Nigerian airliner that killed 153 people has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. blaming those who designed and manufactured the plane for the accident, including Pratt & Whitney.

Attorney Gary Robb filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Chicago for David Chukwunonso Allison. The lawsuit says Allison’s wife, Joy Chiedozie Allison, was on the Dana Air MD-83 that crashed in Nigeria on Sunday.

The suit names Chicago-based Boeing Co., which bought the McDonnell-Douglas manufacturer of the plane. It also names Connecticut-based engine-maker Pratt & Whitney.

Robb says reports of engine failure point the finger of blame at the companies.

“We are deeply saddened by the lives lost in the recent Dana Airlines incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those involved in this incident,” said Bryan Kidder, spokesperson for Pratt & Whitney, in a statement. “Pratt & Whitney is cooperating fully with investigating authorities and we are unable to offer any further comment as the investigation is ongoing.”

Messages left for a Boeing spokesman weren’t immediately returned to the Associated Press.

A West Hartford woman and her four children also died in the crash. Maimuna Anyene, who was originally from Nigeria, and her kids, were on the way to Nigeria for her brother’s wedding.

Source: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com

Piper-Triton partnership keeps jobs in Vero Beach, Florida ✈ The two companies look to further expand working relationship

VERO BEACH — Piper's airplanes soar through the skies, while Triton's submarines explore the ocean's depths.

While the two Vero Beach-based manufacturing companies' products deal in opposite but equally challenging environments, through a recent business arrangement they have partnered their expertise — and kept jobs in Indian River County.

Triton Submarines LLC in March awarded Piper Aircraft Inc.'s newly created division, Piper Aircraft Services-Manufacturing, a $90,000 contract for manufacturing parts for its submarines.

Since then, Piper has been providing Triton with complex multi-axis machined parts destined for Triton's submersibles, as well as other services. Triton has also been taking advantage of Piper's 3-D printing capabilities to create intricate models of Triton's submersibles for display at trade shows, said Marc Deppe, Triton's vice president of sales and marketing.

Piper spokesperson Jackie Carlon said Piper Aircraft Services-Manufacturing was created after Piper shelved the Altaire single-engine jet program, as a means of retaining engineering jobs and talent. While the division has worked on other engineering support contracts since it was created, the Triton contract was its first major non-aviation-related project.

"This contract with Triton has helped us retain engineering talent and made the division more diverse," Carlon said. "We continue to recruit engineering talent and some people are surprised at how we support businesses outside of aviation."

Deppe said Piper has been making machined aluminum components for hatch mechanisms and the sub's battery pods. Triton is exploring other areas where Piper's expertise can be applied, including making the entire battery pod assemblies.

"It's been a fantastic arrangement and we're having a great time working with Piper," Deppe said. "They have proven themselves to be very capable."

Deppe said Piper's engineering staff communicates very well with its peers at Triton. Parts produced by Piper have been manufactured to extremely high tolerances, which is critical in the demanding conditions and high pressures where Triton's subs operate.

Mike Dow, manager of Piper Aircraft Services-Manufacturing said the benefits of working with a client so closely have been evident to both companies.

"It's been very beneficial in terms of knowing their expectations," Dow said, adding Piper has benefitted by augmenting its factory and engineering capacity through the Triton contract. "We're looking to develop a larger relationship with Triton. Both sides were interested in where this relationship could go in the long term."

Deppe confirmed exploring the possible partnership expansion to other areas of the company.

"It's wonderful to have a vendor that is so local. It's great to be able to drive across town and take a look at how a part is progressing." Deppe said, adding prior to contracting with Piper many of these parts would have been built overseas.

"Even though (the companies) are at opposite sides of the spectrum, there are a lot of similarities between their submarines and our aircraft," Dow said.

One difference, according to Dow, is in terms of weight. Aircraft parts have to be as light as possible to save fuel, but submarine parts are not weight sensitive.

ABOUT THE COMPANIES

Triton Submarines LLC of Vero Beach was established in 2007 to manufacture manned submersibles designed exclusively for yacht-based deployment. Triton is a subsidiary of US Submarines Inc., a company engaged in the design and manufacture of manned submersibles since 1993.

Piper Aircraft Inc. is headquartered in Vero Beach. Piper is an investment of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Brunei. The company offers a wide product range of single-engine and twin-engine aircraft, for personal or business applications.

Pilatus PC-12/47, Roadside Ventures LLC, N950KA: Fatal accident occurred June 07, 2012 in Lake Wales, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Docket And Docket Items:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board  - Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

A photo shows the Bramlage family of Junction City Kan. Parents Ronald and Rebecca Bramlage were killed in a plane crash in Polk County along with their children, Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.  




http://registry.faa.gov/N950KA 

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA385
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 07, 2012 in Lake Wales, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/24/2014
Aircraft: PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD PC-12/47, registration: N950KA
Injuries: 6 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 instrument-rated pilot activated the autopilot shortly after takeoff and proceeded in a west-northwesterly direction while climbing to the assigned altitude of flight level (FL) 260. Light-to-moderate icing conditions were forecast for the area; the forecast conditions were well within the airplane's capability, and the pilot of a nearby airplane reported only encountering light rime ice at the top of FL260. About 26 minutes 35 seconds after takeoff, the airplane's central advisory and warning system (CAWS) recorded activation of Pusher Ice Mode at FL247, consistent with pilot's activation of the propeller de-ice and inertial separator; the de-ice boots were not selected. Less than a minute after the activation of Pusher Ice Mode, an air traffic controller cleared the flight to deviate right of course due to adverse weather well ahead of the airplane. The airplane then turned right while on autopilot in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) at FL251; about 4 seconds into the turn, with the airplane indicating about 109 knots indicated airspeed and in a right bank of less than 25 degrees, the autopilot disconnected for undetermined reasons. The pilot allowed the bank angle to increase, and about 13 seconds after the autopilot disconnected, and with the airplane descending in a right bank of about 50 degrees, the pilot began a test of the autopilot system, which subsequently passed. Recovered data and subsequent analysis indicate that the pilot allowed the bank angle to increase to a minimum of 75 degrees while descending; the maximum airspeed reached 338 knots. During the right descending turn, while about 15,511 feet and 338 knots (about 175 knots above maximum operating maneuvering speed), the pilot likely applied either abrupt or full aft elevator control input, resulting in overstress fracture of both wings in a positive direction. The separated section of right wing impacted and breached the fuselage, causing one passenger to be ejected from the airplane. Following the in-flight break-up, the airplane descended uncontrolled into an open field.

Examination of the separated structural components revealed no evidence of pre-existing cracks on any of the fracture surfaces. Postaccident examination of the primary flight controls and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The flaps were found in the retracted position, and the landing gear was extended; it is likely that the pilot extended the landing gear during the descent. The horizontal stabilizer trim actuator was positioned in the green arc takeoff range, the impact-damaged aileron trim actuator was in the left-wing-nearly-full-down position, and the rudder trim actuator was full nose right. The as-found positions of the aileron, rudder trim, and landing gear were not the expected positions for cruise climb. Examination of the relays, trim switch, and rudder trim circuit revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction, and examination of the aileron trim relays and aileron trim circuit revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction; therefore, the reason for the as-found positions of the rudder and aileron trim could not be determined. Impact-related discrepancies with the autopilot flight computer precluded functional testing. The trim adapter passed all acceptance tests with the exception of the aural alert output, which would not have affected its proper operation. The CAWS log entries indicated no airframe or engine systems warnings or cautions before the airplane departed from controlled flight. A radar performance study indicated that the airplane did not enter an aerodynamic stall, and according to the CAWS log entries, there was no record that the stick pusher activated before the departure from controlled flight.

Before purchasing the airplane about 5 weeks earlier, the pilot had not logged any time as pilot-in-command in a turbopropeller-equipped airplane and had not logged any actual instrument flight time in the previous 7 years 4 months. Additionally, his last logged simulated instrument before he purchased the airplane occurred 4 years 7 months earlier. Subsequent to the airplane purchase, he attended ground and simulator-based training that included extra flight sessions in the accident airplane, likely due to his inexperience. The training culminated with the pilot receiving his instrument proficiency check, flight review, and high-altitude endorsements; after the training, he subsequently logged about 14 hours as pilot-in-command of the accident airplane. Although the pilot likely met the minimum qualification standards to act as pilot-in-command by federal aviation regulations, his lack of experience in the make and model airplane was evidenced by the fact that he did not maintain control of the airplane after the autopilot disengaged. The airplane was operating in instrument conditions, but there was only light rime ice reported and no convective activity nearby; the pilot should have been able to control the airplane after the autopilot disengaged in such conditions. Further, his lack of experience was evident in his test of the autopilot system immediately following the airplane's departure from controlled flight rather than rolling the airplane to a wings-level position, regaining altitude; only after establishing coordinated flight should he have attempted to test the autopilot system.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the pilot to maintain control of the airplane while climbing to cruise altitude in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) following disconnect of the autopilot. The reason for the autopilot disconnect could not be determined during postaccident testing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in high-performance, turbo-propeller airplanes and in IMC.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 7, 2012, about 1235 eastern daylight time, a Pilatus PC-12/47, N950KA, registered to and operated by Roadside Ventures, LLC, departed controlled flight followed by subsequent in-flight breakup near Lake Wales, Florida. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the altitude and location of the departure from controlled flight and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from St Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, to Freeman Field Airport (3JC), Junction City, Kansas. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private pilot and five passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from FPR about 1205.

After departure while proceeding in a west-northwesterly direction and climbing, air traffic control communications were transferred to Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (Miami ARTCC). The pilot remained in contact with various sectors of that facility from 1206:41, to the last communication at 1233:16.

About 6 minutes after takeoff the pilot was advised by the Miami ARTCC Stoop Sector radar controller of an area of moderate to heavy precipitation twelve to two o'clock 15 miles ahead of the airplane's position; the returns were reported to be 30 miles in diameter. The pilot asked the controller if he needed to circumnavigate the weather, to which the controller replied that deviations north of course were approved and when able to proceed direct LAL, which he acknowledged. A trainee controller and a controller providing oversight discussed off frequency that deviation to the south would be better. The controller then questioned the pilot about his route, to which he replied, and the controller then advised the pilot that deviations south of course were approved, which he acknowledged. The flight continued in generally a west-northwesterly direction, or about 290 degrees, and at 1230:11, while at flight level (FL) 235, the controller cleared the flight to FL260, which the pilot acknowledged. At 1232:26, the aircraft's central advisory and warning system (CAWS) recorded that the pusher system went into "ice mode" indicating the pilot had selected the propeller heat on and inertial separator open. At that time the aircraft's engine information system (EIS) recorded the airplane at 24,668 feet pressure altitude, 110 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), and an outside air temperature of minus 11 degrees Celsius.

At 1232:36, the Miami ARTCC Avon Sector radar controller advised the pilot of a large area of precipitation northwest of Lakeland, with moderate, heavy and extreme echoes in the northwest, and asked him to look at it and to advise what direction he needed to deviate, then suggested deviation right of course until north of the adverse weather. The pilot responded that he agreed, and the controller asked the pilot what heading from his position would keep the airplane clear, to which he responded at 1233:04 with, 320 degrees. At 1233:08, the Miami ARTCC Avon Sector radar controller cleared the pilot to fly heading 320 degrees or to deviate right of course when necessary, and when able proceed direct to Seminole, which he acknowledged at 1233:16. There was no further recorded communication from the pilot with the Miami ARTCC.

Radar data showed that between 1233:08, and 1233:26, the airplane flew on a heading of approximately 290 degrees, and climbed from FL250 to FL251, while the EIS recorded for the same time the airplane was at either 109 or 110 KIAS and the outside air temperature was minus 12 degrees Celsius. The radar data indicated that between 1233:26 and 1233:31, the airplane climbed to FL252 (highest recorded altitude from secondary radar returns). At 1233:30, while at slightly less than 25 degrees of right bank based on the NTSB Radar Performance Study based on the radar returns, 109 KIAS, 25,188 feet and total air temperature of minus 12 degrees Celsius based on the data downloaded from the CAWS, autopilot disengagement occurred. This was recorded on the CAWS 3 seconds later. The NTSB Performance Study also indicates that based on radar returns between 1233:30, and 1233:40, the bank angle increased from less than approximately 25 degrees to 50 degrees, while the radar data for the approximate same time period indicates the airplane descended to FL249.

The NTSB Performance Study indicates that based on radar returns between 1233:40 and 1234:00, the bank angle increased from 50 degrees to approximately 100 degrees, while the radar data indicates that for the approximate same time frames, the airplane descended from FL249 to FL226. The right descending turn continued and between 1233:59, and 1234:12, the airplane descended from 22,600 to 16,700, and a change to a southerly heading was noted. The NTSB Performance Study indicates that the maximum positive load factor of 4.6 occurred at 1234:08, while the NTSB Electronic Device Factual Report indicates that the maximum recorded airspeed value of 338 knots recorded by the EIS occurred at 1234:14. The next recoded airspeed value 1 second later was noted to be zero. Simultaneous to the zero airspeed a near level altitude of 15,292 feet was noted.

Between 1234:22, and 1234:40, the radar data indicated a change in direction to a northeast occurred and the airplane descended from 13,300 to 9,900 feet. The airplane continued generally in a northeasterly direction and between 1234:40 and 1235:40 (last secondary radar return), the airplane descended from 9,900 to 800 feet. The last secondary radar return was located at 27 degrees 49.35 minutes North latitude and 081 degrees 28.6332 minutes West longitude. Plots of the radar targets of the accident site including the final radar targets are depicted in the NTSB Radar Study which is contained in the NTSB public docket.

At 1235:27, the controller asked the pilot to report his altitude but there was no reply. The controller enlisted the aid of the flight crew of another airplane to attempt to establish contact with the pilot on the current frequency and also 121.5 MHz. The flight crew attempted on both frequencies but there was no reply.

At 1236:30, the pilot of a nearby airplane advised the controller that he was picking up an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal. The pilot of that airplane advised the controller at 1237:19, that, "right before we heard that ELT we heard a mayday mayday." The controller inquired whether the pilot had heard the mayday on the current frequency or 121.5MHz, to which he replied that he was not sure because he was monitoring both frequencies. The controller inquired with the flight crews of other airplanes if they heard the mayday call on the frequency and the response was negative, though they did report hearing the ELT on 121.5 MHz. The controller verified with the flight crew's that were monitoring 121.5 MHz whether they heard the mayday call on that frequency and they advised they did not.

A witness who was located about 1.5 nautical miles south-southwest from the crash site reported that on the date and time of the accident, he was inside his house and first heard a sound he attributed to a propeller feathering or later described as flutter of a flight control surface. The sound lasted 3 to 4 cycles of a whooshing high to low sound, followed by a sound he described as an energy release. He was clear the sound he heard was not an explosion, but more like mechanical fracture of parts. He ran outside, and first saw the airplane below the clouds (ceiling was estimated to be 10,000 feet). He noted by silhouette that parts of the airplane were missing, but he did not see any parts separate from the airplane during the time he saw it. At that time it was not raining at his location. He went inside his house, and got a digital camera, then ran back outside to his pool deck, and videotaped the descent. He reported the airplane was in a spin but could not recall the direction. The engine sound was consistent the whole time; there was no revving; he reported there was no forward movement. He called 911 and reported the accident.

Another witness who was located about .4 nautical mile east-southeast of from the crash site reported hearing a boom sound that he attributed to a lawn mower which he thought odd because it had just been raining, though it was not raining at the time of the accident. He saw black smoke trailing the airplane which was spinning in what he described as a clockwise direction and flat. He ran to the side of their house, and noted the airplane was still spinning; the smoke he observed continued until he lost sight. His brother came by their back door, heard a thud, and both ran direct to the location of where they thought the airplane had crashed. When they arrived at the wreckage, they saw fire in front of the airplane which one individual attempted to extinguish by throwing sand on it, but he was unable. The other individual reported the left forward door was hard to open, but he pushed it up and then was able to open it. Both attempted to render assistance, and one individual called 911 to report the accident. One individual then guided local first responders to the accident site.

The airplane crashed in an open field during daylight conditions. The location of the main wreckage was determined to be within approximately 100 feet from the last secondary radar return.

Law Enforcement personnel responded to the site and accounted for five occupants. A search for the sixth occupant was immediately initiated by numerous personnel from several state agencies; he was located the following day about 1420. During that search, parts from the airplane located away from the main wreckage were documented and secured in-situ.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. He held a third class medical certificate with no limitations issued April 6, 2012. On the application for his last medical certificate he listed 800 hours as his total flight time. There were no records of enforcement action or previous accidents or incidents in the FAA database. Further, the FAA records indicate he failed the cross country flight planning portion during his first private pilot checkride, though he subsequently passed. There was no other record of failure for any additional rating.

The pilot's first logged flight was February 3, 1994, and his last logged flight was May 29, 2012. Between these dates, he logged flights in aircraft consisting of Grumman AA1, Cessna 150, Cessna 182, Mooney M20J, Beech B36TC, Piper PA-46-500TP, and the accident airplane. His first logged flight in a turbine engine equipped airplane was dated "2009"; the entry indicates 7.5 hours were flown as dual received in a Piper PA-46-500TP, though there was no endorsement by certified flight instructor. There were no logged flights between this flight and his first flight in the accident airplane which occurred on May 6, 2012. The first flight duration in the accident airplane was recorded to be 4.1 hours, with 0.4 hours as actual instrument time, and was signed off as "dual received." A detailed review of his logbook between May 5, 2002, and the last entry revealed a record keeping error of approximately 30 hours overstatement of total time. Additionally, numerous lines did not depict whether the flight was as pilot-in-command (PIC) or as dual received or both; therefore, for the purpose of calculations, the times were calculated to be as PIC.

He obtained his instrument rating in November 1997; prior to which he logged 3 hours actual instrument flight time. Between obtaining his instrument rating and December 31, 2004, he logged approximately 28 hours actual instrument flight time. He did not log any actual instrument flight time between December 31, 2004 and May 6, 2012, though between these dates he did log ½ hour simulated instrument flight time which occurred on September 3, 2007. Between May 6, 2012, and the last entry dated May 29, 2012, he logged approximately 4 hours actual instrument flight, and 11 instrument approaches.

The pilot who provided dual flight instruction to the accident pilot for the May 6, 2012 flight from Junction City, Kansas, to Scottsdale, Arizona, reported that was the first and only flight with him. He also reported that the purpose of the flight was to fly the owner/accident pilot and his airplane to SIMCOM where the owner/accident pilot planned to attend ground and flight training for the Pilatus PC-12. The pilot reported that during the flight which lasted 4.1 hours, he explained the systems to the accident pilot, who also asked questions. There were no issues with any of the systems during the flight, and that all avionics were operating, including the autopilot which worked satisfactory. During the flight, the accident pilot told him about his experience flying a Beech Bonanza, which he sold 2 years earlier.

He attended SIMCOM for initial Pilatus PC-12 training from May 7 through May 16, 2012. While at SIMCOM he also received 4 extra flight lessons in the accident airplane, accruing a total of approximately 19 hours, of which a total of 3.2 hours were recorded to be in actual instrument conditions. The training sessions in the accident airplane were on 4 successive days beginning on May 13th. The procedures portion of the training was performed in a fixed training device (FTD), and also included flight time in the accident airplane with a SIMCOM flight instructor. He received a total of approximately 20 hours ground instruction covering the airplane and its systems, and also received 12 hours of instruction in the FTD as the pilot flying covering 6 lessons from May 7 through May 12, 2012. Although not recorded in the training records, he also sat in the right seat of the FTD and observed while his training partner was in the left seat. The pilot received his certificate for initial training in the Pilatus PC-12 on May 12, 2012.

The training records reflect that for all sessions in the FTD or accident airplane, he demonstrated satisfactory skill with no areas identified as unsatisfactory. Standard rate turns were performed in all lessons in the FTD or actual airplane, and unusual attitude recovery and unscheduled trim activation (stabilizer, aileron, and rudder) were satisfactory performed in the FTD on the 2nd day of training. Unusual attitude recovery in the instrument procedures section was also discussed/demonstrated on the 3rd extra lesson which was performed in the accident airplane. Auto-Pilot test was discussed/demonstrated during the first 2 days and then he demonstrated satisfactory skill during all of the remaining sections. He also demonstrated satisfactory skill with auto-pilot malfunction/failure during the training sessions on May 11th and 12th, and again during a flight in the accident airplane on May 16, 2012. On May 16, 2012, he was signed off for his instrument proficiency check in accordance with 14 CFR Part 61.57, his high altitude performance IAW 14 CFR Part 61.31 (2)g, and his flight review in accordance with 14 CFR Part 61.56(e). The SIMCOM training records are contained in the NTSB public docket.

Following the training, between May 17 and May 29, 2012, he logged a total of 8.5 hours in the accident airplane, of which .2 hour were recorded to be in actual instrument conditions. He also logged 5 instrument landing system approaches during that same period of time.

Although he did not log any flights after May 29, 2012, the CAWS recorded a flight on May 31, 2012, lasting approximately 5.0 hours. Additionally, the CAWS recorded an approximate 49 minute flight on the accident date. No determination was made as to the weather conditions for either of those flights.

Including the logged flights (corrected for the error) and recent unlogged flights in the accident airplane totaling approximately 6 hours, but excluding the accident flight, he accrued a total time of approximately 755 hours. Of the 755 hours, approximately 38 hours were in the accident airplane, of which approximately 14 hours were after the date he was signed off for his flight review (May 16, 2012). His total time as PIC was approximately 657 hours. Excerpts from his pilot logbook are contained in the NTSB public docket.

NTSB interview of a pilot who had attended training at SIMCOM between May 7, 2012, through May 12, 2012, and who was paired with the accident pilot was performed. The individual, a retired captain from a major U.S. airline, requested and was issued a subpoena for the interview. At various times during the interview in response to question(s), he stated that he did not think it was appropriate to give his opinion as to what he observed because he was there for training, although he did respond to the questions. He stated that during the training, the ground school was every day until 1200; he added that the instructor did an excellent job with the ground training. The afternoon was spent in the fixed training device (FTD) simulator; both seat stations were identical with respect to the instruments, displays, etc. During the simulator sessions each pilot would take a turn in the left seat for the session, followed by a break and then an exchange of seats. With respect to the training in the FTD, the individual reported that the accident pilot was able to grasp new concepts to him consisting of hot and hung starts, and seemed to know the systems. The individual also reported that he observed some improvement, but he also thought he needed additional training, which in fact he did get.

The individual who attended the training with the accident pilot was also asked to explain operational aspects about the accident pilot observed during the training and he recalled that during one takeoff, he failed to retract the landing gear, flew through the clearance of 1,500 feet, and noticed the airspeed bleed off or was decreasing. The individual also reported that with respect to approaches, he did not detect any improvement during the course of the training. He was also asked if he sensed any frustration of the accident pilot during the training in the FTD, and he reported he did feel there was some frustration, and when asked if he thought based on his experience that the accident pilot was behind the airplane, he said he would have to say yes. The individual also commented that if he were to return to SIMCOM for future training, he would request the same instructor as he felt he did a great job and he received very good training on this airplane. The individual also stated that the accident pilot told him about the upcoming trip to the Bahamas, and the individual told the accident pilot that although he had 21,000 flight hours, he planned to get more dual instruction before flying the airplane solo. He also suggested he get a pilot to fly with him to the Bahamas, and that he may want to get more comfortable in the airplane before making the trip.

Before departure the pilot spoke in person with an individual at the departure airport who flies a Pilatus PC-12/45, and informed him that that it takes him a long time for him to accomplish a task in the Pilatus because he does the checklist twice. The accident pilot relayed to him the individual that he had 35 hours in the airplane, and asked him about the inertial separator, to which he informed the accident pilot of his usage of it. He also relayed to the accident pilot that he had encountered moderate to severe icing while inbound to FPR; however, they did not discuss any other weather conditions associated with what would be the accident flight.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Pilatus PC-12/47, is a low-wing, T-tail, single-engine airplane designed to transport passengers, cargo, or both. The FAA approved the type design in December 2005; it was certificated in the normal category and the certification basis included the requirements of 14 CFR Part 23, "Airworthiness Standards: Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes." The airplane is certificated for flight into known icing conditions, and the flight load factor limits with flaps up are plus 3.3 to minus 1.32 g's. The maneuver limits incidental to normal flying include turns in which the bank angle does not exceed 60 degrees. The design maximum takeoff weight is 10,450 pounds; therefore, a type rating is not required. The maximum operating maneuvering speed is 163 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), maximum operating speed is 236 KIAS, or .48 Mach, and the airplane type certificate data sheet indicates the maximum diving speed (Vd) is 290 knots.

The accident airplane (serial number 730) was manufactured in 2006, powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67B turbine engine and equipped with a Hartzell four-bladed, constant-speed, feathering and reverse pitch propeller. It was also equipped with a Honeywell (formerly Bendix/King) KFC 325 digital automatic flight control system, which provides 3-axis control for roll, pitch, and yaw.

The autopilot system consists in part of an autopilot computer, a mode controller, an altitude preselector, a pitch trim adapter, pitch, roll, and yaw servo-actuators, a control wheel steering (CWS) switch, a go-around switch, and an autopilot disconnect switch. By design, a lockout device prevents autopilot engagement until the system has successfully passed preflight testing. Also by design, the autopilot computer continuously does a check for failure of the autopilot system, and if a failure occurs, the computer sends signals to the mode control panel, the CAWS for "A/P TRIM" warning, and to the audio integrating system providing an audible tone to the pilot. The autopilot computer will disengage the autopilot when the computer detects a failure.

The autopilot system incorporates an automatic electric pitch trim system which provides pitch autotrim during autopilot operation via the stabilizer pitch trim actuator, and automatic rudder trim relief function to provide directional trim during yaw damper and autopilot operation. No aileron autotrim function is available on the installed autopilot system. Annunciation of pitch and rudder autotrim occurs on the triple trim indicator by illumination of each respective pitch or rudder trim light, and annunciation to the CAWS to make the Autopilot Trim advisory caption illuminate.

The airplane's primary flight control system for pitch, roll, and yaw is controlled by push-pull rods and/or cables, while the secondary flight control system for roll and yaw consists of electrically actuated trim tabs installed on the primary flight control surfaces, while the horizontal stabilizer is also trimmed electrically. Trim position for roll, pitch, and yaw is visually depicted on a triple trim indicator on the center console. The rudder trim actuator is an electrically operated linear actuator which moves the rudder trim tab automatically by the autopilot yaw servo actuator, or when the rudder trim switch on the Power Control Lever is manually pressed. Activation of rudder trim by the switch on the Power Control Lever with the autopilot engaged does not disconnect the autopilot or yaw damper if engaged. The aileron trim actuator is also an electrically operated linear actuator which moves the aileron trim tab when a trigger-type switch and a 4-way trim switch (china hat) installed on either the pilot's or co-pilot's control wheel are manually manipulated. During manual trimming of the aileron, pressing the trim trigger switch disconnects the autopilot, irrespective of an actual pitch or roll trim action by the 4-way switch (china hat). The horizontal stabilizer, rudder, and aileron trim systems share a "Trim Interrupt Switch" which if pressed due to a trim runaway of any of the respective systems, disconnects power from the pitch trim adapter, and the aileron, rudder and horizontal stabilizer trim actuators. The switch is a rocker type installed on the center pedestal protected by a safety cover. The two-position switch has "INTR" for interrupt and "NORM" for normal positions.

According to personnel of the airplane manufacturer, certification reports provide rudder trim data up to 10,000 feet, and at that altitude, 110 KIAS, and maximum climb power (torque) of 36 psi, nearly full rudder trim is required.

The airplane was last inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on January 12, 2012. The airplane total time and the total cycles/landings at that time were recorded to be 1,227.1 and 832, respectively. Since the annual inspection was signed off as being completed on January 12, 2012, the only maintenance items documented in the airframe maintenance records include replacement of a hydraulic pump shaft o-ring, replacement of the EIS display, repair of a Garmin GNS430, and installation of new bulbs in the co-pilot map light and in the instrument panel annunciator.

The pilot purchased the airplane on April 30, 2012; the airplane total time at the time of the accident was 1,263.2 hours.

Review of the airframe maintenance records revealed no record that the autopilot flight computer was removed, replaced, or repaired. Excerpts of the maintenance records are contained in the NTSB public docket.

The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) Temperature Conversion Chart found in Section 5 of the Pilot's Operating Handbook and FOCA Approved Airplane Flight Manual indicates that the outside air temperature of minus 12 degrees Celsius recorded by the EIS at 25,000 feet pressure altitude corresponded to ISA plus 23 degrees. Correlation of the ISA plus 23 degrees with the Cruise Climb Airspeed Schedule also listed in Section 5 of the Pilot's Operating Handbook and FOCA Approved Airplane Flight Manual indicates that at ISA plus 20 and ISA plus 30 degrees at 25,000 feet, the climb airspeed is 110 KIAS.

Flight Manual Supplement No. 33, indicates that the recommended climb speed with the flaps retracted and pusher ice mode selected is 135 KIAS.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

There was no record of a preflight weather briefing with Lockheed Martin Flight Services, or with DTC or CSC direct user access terminal (DUAT) vendor; however, the pilot did file the instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan with CSC DUATS.

Earlier that day after landing at FPR following a flight from the Bahamas, the pilot informed the fueler about the need for a quick turnaround. The pilot and fueler also discussed the local weather conditions.

The fixed base operator (FBO) where the pilot had been seen before departure contains a computer with access to weather information products; however, the software provider indicated there was no record of the pilot utilizing their system. No determination could be made whether the pilot obtained weather information from the computer at the FBO before the flight departed.

The southeast section of the surface analysis chart issued at 1100 EDT, or approximately 1 hour 5 minutes before the flight departed indicates a stationary front extended across northern Florida. The area forecast encompassing the area of southern and central portions of Florida issued on the day of the accident at 0445 EDT, and valid through 1700 EDT, indicated scattered clouds at 2,000 feet, broken clouds between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, with layered tops to 25,000 feet. Widely scattered light rain showers and isolated thunderstorms with light rain were forecast, with cumulonimbus cloud tops to 40,000 feet. Between 1100 and 1400 EDT, the forecast was for clouds scattered at 2,500 feet, broken at 5,000 feet, and broken at 12,000 feet, with widely scattered light rain showers and thunderstorms with tops to 42,000 feet. Convective Sigmet 35E existed over the planned route of flight, but it did not extend over the accident site area. Further, there was no organized area of turbulence or icing identified outside of the convective activity area.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite No. 13 (GOES 13) infrared image at 1232, at 2X magnification indicates the accident site location was on the eastern side of an area of enhanced cloud cover associated with high cirrus clouds potentially from anvil from cumulonimbus clouds located to the west depicted by the enhanced areas in blue to yellow. Also depicted were multiple layers of clouds producing a broken to overcast layer of clouds over the accident site. No defined cumulonimbus clouds were observed within 20 miles of the accident site; however, cumulonimbus clouds were observed to the west through northwest between Plant City and Ocala, Florida.

The closest Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR-88D), was located about 48 miles east of the accident site. The 4.3 degree elevation scan, which encompassed altitudes between 21,080 and 25,920 feet, at 1233, depicted reflectivity of 0 to 15 dBZ, which equates to light intensity echoes. Additionally, the 4.3 degree elevation scan for 1233 with the flight path overlaid depicts clear areas east and southeast of the accident site area before the flight encountered the light intensity echo.

The current icing product (CIP) which provides a forecast of icing conditions indicates that for 25,000 feet at 1200 and 1300 EDT, the chance for light to moderate icing existed. The NTSB Weather Factual report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

The pilot of a Beechcraft Corporation 400A that was determined to be located about 13 nautical miles southeast of the accident airplane and at Flight Level (FL) 290 about the time the accident airplane began a right descending turn, reported his on-board weather radar was not depicting any returns. He also reported encountering light rime ice at the top of FL260 while in a cloud layer climbing to his assigned altitude; the airplane was clear of icing conditions within seconds. He further reported the temperature at FL 260 was ISA plus 10 to ISA plus 15.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The airplane was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder; however, it was equipped with an engine condition monitoring system (ECMS) that records and retains certain engine parameters to a SD card installed in the engine information system (EIS). The SD card from the EIS was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for readout.

It was also equipped with a CAWS system which consists of a Central Advisory Computer Unit (CACU), and a Central Advisory Display Unit (CADU), which is located on the bottom center instrument panel. The CAWS system is a microprocessor-based system that acquires information regarding the state of the aircraft systems while the airplane is in the air and logs all warnings, cautions, and advisory conditions. The CAWS provides visual and aural annunciation essential for safe operation, but warnings, cautions, and advisories that are active prior to the air/ground monitor switching to air are not recorded as activated. The CAWS log function has a resolution of 1 second, and an "Activated" log entry is created when all applicable delays for this caption have expired, while a "Cleared" log entry is created as soon as the condition is no longer met and may be present without a preceding "Activated" entry. The CAWS computer was removed and also sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for readout.

The data from the SD card installed in the EIS was downloaded which revealed in part that leading into the right descending turn, the recorded values for oil temperature, oil pressure, propeller rpm, engine rpm, and ITT were within normal limits, and continue in the normal limits range for a period of time into the right descending turn.

The flash memory devices labeled U4 and U5 from the CACU were removed by NTSB personnel and downloaded. With the assistance of the German BFU, the downloaded data was decoded.

According to the NTSB Electronic Devices Factual Report, correlation of the data downloaded from the CAWS, the data downloaded from the EIS, radar data, and the ATC transcription of communications was also performed in an attempt to determine a timeline sequence. Messages downloaded from the CAWS continue for about 28 minutes 42 seconds from the point of takeoff which is derived from the weight on wheels switches installed on both main landing gears. The autopilot trim which is a green visual indication only indicates when the autopilot trim is operating, was first noted about 40 seconds after takeoff. The autopilot trim is noted to cycle in either 1 or 2 second increments from that time until 27 minutes 42 seconds after takeoff, or at 1233:33, at which time the autopilot disengage amber visual annunciation occurred. This indicates that the autopilot pitch and aileron servos disengaged, and has an annunciation delay of about 3 seconds. The autopilot trim annunciation occurred about 13 seconds later, or at
1233:46, and 1 second later the autopilot trim fail occurred, which cleared 4 seconds later. Correlation of the timing of the autopilot trim annunciation at 1233:46, with the NTSB Radar Performance Study indicates about that time, the airplane was in a descent of about 6,200 feet per minute. The EIS recorded the maximum airspeed value of 338 knots, which occurred at 1234:14. The pusher ice mode activated twice; the first activation occurred about 17 minutes 53 seconds after takeoff and remained activated for 4 minutes 18 seconds, while the second activation occurred 26 minutes 35 seconds after takeoff and stayed on for the remainder of the recorded data.

Further review of the decoded data revealed there was no record indicating the de-icing boots were selected on. The "PASS DOOR" annunciation occurred at 1234:08. Further messages decoded from the CAWS are contained in the NTSB Electronic Devices Factual Report which is contained in the NTSB public docket.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site containing the main wreckage consisting of the fuselage with sections of both wings, vertical stabilizer with attached rudder and rudder trim tab, and engine with attached propeller assembly was located in an open field containing few trees in the Tiger Creek Preserve, Lake Wales, Florida. Separated structural components consisting of the right hand wing center section, right aileron, right aileron trim tab, left wingtip, right elevator balance weight, right wingtip, and horizontal stabilizer were scattered over an approximately 2 mile area along a northeasterly heading. The separated components were recovered and secured; the locations of the main wreckage and separated components are documented in Attachment 1 to the NTSB Structure Group Chairman Factual Report which is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Examination of the accident site revealed no evidence of ground scarring to indicate motion of the airplane relative to the ground prior to impact. Fire damage was isolated to the engine, engine accessories, firewall, and to some structure adjacent to the firewall; however, no soot was noted aft of the pilot's windscreen.

Inspection of the fuselage, remaining portions of both wings, and the separated structural components was performed by the NTSB Structures Group Chairman with assistance by representatives of the airframe manufacturer. The left wing consisted of 2 pieces; between wing rib (WR) 1 and WR 16 it remained attached, while the wing was fractured in an upward direction at WR 17, or about 6 feet from the wingtip. The right wing was fractured in 2 locations creating 3 sections of the wing; the separated sections measured approximately 14 feet. The wing between WR 1 and WR 10 remained attached with multiple tears in the skin panel noted. The second section of wing consisted of WR 10 to about WR 16 and 17, while the third section consisted from about WR 16 or 17 to WR 20. The fracture between WR 10 and 11 was in an upward direction, while the fracture exhibited a down direction at WR 16 that transitioned to an upward direction at WR 17. Further examination of the section of the right wing between WR 16 or 17 to WR 20 revealed the upper and lower wing skins beginning at about WR 17 were compressed together into the shape of the letter C. The upper wing surface formed the concave portion of the C while the lower surface maintained the convex portion of the C. In the area of the leading edge de-ice boots of the outboard wing section the upper and lower wing skins were compressed together and measured about 8 inches in width when measured from leading edge to trailing edge. Displacement of the vertical stabilizer was noted, and inspection of the completely separated horizontal stabilizer revealed that a portion of the leading edge of the right hand side was deformed up and aft. Examination of all fracture surfaces of the wings, and horizontal stabilizer were consistent with overstress failure; no evidence of pre-existing fatigue cracks were noted on any of the fracture surfaces.

Examination of the fuselage revealed the right hand side fuselage (RHS) above and below passenger windows 2 and 3 between frames 24 and 29 was torn open in an aft and downward direction along with the upper fuselage crown skin from the upper edge of the baggage door to the upper edge of the RHS passenger windows between frames 25 and 29. Black material transfer marks are present along the forward edge of passenger window 2 and continue up and aft diagonally in the direction of forward upper corner of the baggage door located on the LHS of the fuselage. The scuff marks continued across a tear in the fuselage skin and measured about 36 inches in length and 8 inches in width. For further information pertaining to the structures see the Structures Group Chairman Report and attachments contained in the NTSB public docket.

Examination of the cabin revealed that the R3 window was separated from its frame; the window was found in the cabin near the aft side of the aft cargo door. Inspection of the R3 window revealed black transfer on the exterior surface.

The inspection of the cockpit revealed the landing gear selector was in the down position, which agreed with the as-found positions of the nose and main landing gears. The center pedestal which contained the trim and flap trim interrupt switches was impact damaged and was displaced from its normal position. The guarded cover of the trim interrupt switch was not in place, and damage to the panel adjacent to the trim interrupt switch was noted. An impact mark on the left side of the trim interrupt switch was noted and was consistent with contact by adjacent structure. The orientation of the impact mark on the switch was consistent with it being in the trim interrupt position at impact, which was confirmed during postaccident testing. No discrepancies were noted of the trim interrupt circuit from the power side of the battery bus to the K003 relay, which was found in the normal/relaxed position. For safety concerns power could not be applied to the trim interrupt circuit; therefore, the K003 and K004 relays were removed for further testing. The rudder trim switch tested satisfactory mechanically with a positive return to the neutral position, and tested satisfactory during electrical continuity testing for the left and right positions to the K011 and K012 relays, which were found in the normal/relaxed positions. For safety concerns power could not be applied to the rudder trim circuit; therefore, the K011 and K012 relays were removed for further testing. Additionally, the rudder trim circuit tested satisfactory during electrical continuity testing from the cockpit to the J011 connection adjacent to the rudder trim actuator. Inspection of the aileron trim circuit revealed the K001 and K002 relays were in the normal/relaxed positions. For safety concerns power could not be applied to the aileron trim circuit; therefore, the K001 and K002 relays were removed for further testing. The aileron trim circuit tested satisfactory during electrical continuity testing from the K001 and K002 relays to where the wiring was broken in the wing as a result of the accident sequence. Excerpts of the on-scene field notes documenting the cockpit and cabin are contained in the NTSB public docket.

Examination of the flight controls for roll, pitch, and yaw revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction; all flap actuators were fully retracted. The aileron trim tab actuator installed on the left wing was examined and the housing remained attached to the aft spar while the jackscrew and actuator rod remained connected to the trim mechanism. Disassembly inspection of the aileron trim actuator revealed it was extended nearly full length; therefore, the aileron trim was full left wing down. The rudder trim tab actuator was inspected and found to be extended 1.125 inches which equates to full tab trailing edge tab left (tail left). The horizontal stabilizer pitch trim actuator was inspected and found to be extended 52 mm which equates to 1.8 degrees airplane nose up, which was within the green arc takeoff range.

Initial examination of the engine revealed it was upright and remained attached to the airframe by the engine mount; the engine exhibited impact deformation and some fire damage. Inspection of the reduction gearbox revealed the airframe beta feedback linkage and torque transmitter was intact. The propeller shaft was rotated by hand; slight resistance was noted and there was no continuity with the power turbine. No pockmarks or dimples were noted on the interior surface of the exhaust duct. Inspection of the fire damaged accessory gearbox revealed the condition lever was in the running position, and the airframe connection was intact. The fuel control input lever was in the maximum power position and was continuous with the controls cam box. The manual override input lever was near the stowed position, and its airframe linkage was impact fractured approximately 2 inches from the clevis fitting jam nut. Inspection of the power control and reversing linkage revealed it was continuous with impact deformation from the forward linkage to the controls cam box and fuel control unit input lever. The airframe input linkage was intact to the firewall connection. The cam box was locked in the maximum power position. The Teleflex cable rod end was disconnected at the beta lever and power turbine governor reset linkage to verify continuity; no movement or play was detected. Inspection of the compressor discharge air (P3) and power turbine control (Py) pneumatic lines revealed impact deformation and fire damage; however, all connections were intact. The engine with attached propeller was removed from the airframe, and the propeller was then removed from the engine, which was sent to the manufacturer's facility for further examination.

Inspection of the engine was performed at the manufacturer's facility with Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada oversight. Disassembly inspection of the engine revealed circumferential contact signatures of adjacent rotational and stationary components of the compressor and turbine components consistent with engine operation at impact. Functional testing of the propeller governor revealed the unit was above the calibration requirement at one of the test points; however, that was attributed to the desire to not perform a reset adjustment and/or permissible field adjustments and normal in-service deterioration. Functional testing of the torque limiter also revealed deviation from calibration limits; however, after 2 repeated tests with the same results, the field adjustable torque limit screw was turned which brought the unit in line with the test requirements. Heat damage precluded functional testing of the high pressure fuel pump, fuel control unit, compressor bleed valve, flow divider valve. These components were disassembled and no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction was noted. The overspeed governor was removed and sent to the manufactures facility for operational testing with NTSB oversight. A copy of the engine examination report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Inspection and operational testing of the overspeed governor at the manufacturer's facility revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The field notes documenting the inspection and bench testing are contained in the NTSB public docket.

Examination of the four bladed, single acting, hydraulically operated constant speed propeller with feathering and reverse pitch capability revealed all blades remained secured in the propeller hub and were at a high blade angle position; however, one propeller blade could be turned manually. The feather stop nut was located 13/32 inch from the feather stop, which equates to approximately 62 degrees propeller blade angle. Impact marks on the propeller blade preload plates between approximately 32 and 51.0 degrees were noted. Disassembly inspection of the propeller revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. A copy of the propeller examination report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

The pneumatic de-icer timer was inspected in-situ, and was noted to be electrically connected; no obvious bridging was noted to the pins. The component was removed from the airplane for inspection at the manufacturer's facility in an effort to determine the position and functionality of the timer. With FAA oversight, electrical continuity testing revealed that the unit was in the "Home/off" position, consistent with the system being off at the time of the accident. Functional testing was then performed; the unit was determined to function properly with no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. A copy of the de-icer timer report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Components consisting of both symbol generators, roll servo actuator and mount, pitch servo actuator and mount, yaw servo actuator and mount, mode controller, trim adapter, and autopilot flight computer were examined before removal. A copy of the NTSB Field Notes describing each component condition before removal is contained in the NTSB public docket. The components were sent to the FAA Kansas City, Missouri FAA Flight Standards District Office for examination at the manufacturer's facility with FAA oversight. Inspection of the symbol generators revealed both exhibited separated AIRINC 429 cards unseated from the input/output board; the separated cards were either reinstalled or exemplar cards were installed to replace impact damaged cards. Both units were powered electrically and both displayed discrepancies with the HSI and ADI displays. Further disassembly of both revealed impact damage to the either the HSI and/or ADI boards; no burn or heat signatures were noted on any of the boards. Acceptance testing of the roll servo actuator and roll servo mount revealed the roll servo passed all tests with the exception of one, while the roll servo mount passed all tests. Impact damage to the pitch servo actuator precluded performing an acceptance test; however, the clutch engagement and disengagement was satisfactory with the servo motor drives in both directions. The pitch servo mount and the yaw servo actuator passed the tests, while the yaw servo mount was slightly out of tolerance; the manufacturer representative reported the out of tolerance condition would not adversely affect the autopilot operation.

The mode controller exhibited impact damage which included bent and broken pins of the display board. The bent pins were straightened in an attempt to functionally test the unit. The unit was powered electrically and in part the heading, altitude, and test annunciators did not illuminate but all mode select buttons functioned satisfactory. The lack of lighting was attributed to be the result of impact damage to the display board. An exemplar face was installed and all mode and backlighting annunciators illuminated. The trim adapter was inspected internally in advance of functional testing and leads of several transistors were broken and a transorb was partially lifted off the board. The broken transistor wires were soldered together and the unit was subjected to functional testing with no defects noted. The trim adapter was then subjected to acceptance testing, and was found to pass all tests with the exception of the aural alert output test; the manufacturer representative reported the out of tolerance condition (7 volts measured versus a specified maximum limit of 6.5 volts) would have no affect on the proper operation of the trim adapter.

Finally, the KCP 220 autopilot flight computer was inspected and impact damage and separated components were noted. Specifically, one ribbon cable was not properly seated, one ribbon cable was separated, and the ribbon cable on the roll circuit board was off by one row of pins. Power was applied to the unit, but it did not power-up. This was attributed to impact damage to the unit on-board power supply. Testing of an exemplar KCP 220 was performed with the ribbon cable at the roll board installed as-found (off by one row of pins), and the exemplar unit would not enter or pass the preflight test; therefore, in that state autopilot engagement and use would not be possible. A copy of the Honeywell examination report with FAA concurring statement is contained in the NTSB public docket.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Postmortem examinations of the pilot and passengers were performed by the District 10 Medical Examiner's Office, located in Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death for all was listed as blunt force trauma.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot and right front seat passenger by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and also by Wuesthoff Reference Laboratory, Melbourne, Florida. The toxicology report by FAA for testing of pilot specimens stated the results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs of abuse. The toxicology report by Wuesthoff Reference Laboratory for testing of pilot specimens stated that the volatile panel was negative for ethanol, acetone, methanol, and isopropanol. The same report also indicated the blood drug screen was positive for caffeine and caffeine metabolite, but all tests of the blood immunoassay screen were negative.

The toxicology report by FAA for testing of specimens of the right front seat passenger stated the results were negative for carbon monoxide and cyanide. The same report indicated testing for volatiles and drugs of abuse was not performed. The Wuesthoff toxicology report indicated the results were negative for volatiles, and the blood immunoassay screen, while caffeine and caffeine metabolite were detected in the blood drug screen.

Toxicological testing of specimens of the remaining passengers was performed; the results are contained in the NTSB public docket.

TEST AND RESEARCH

A video capturing the airplane while descending below clouds was submitted to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for analysis which revealed the total recorded video time was 39 seconds. According to the factual report, while descending the airplane was in a relatively level pitch; however, at times during the descent the pitch attitude changed to a nose down attitude. No parts or debris were observed separating from the airplane during the recorded video, while the audio portion of the recording captured propeller noise. An acoustic analysis of the audio portion of the video recording was not performed. A copy of the report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Cellular phones and I-pads were removed from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for examination; however, no accident related data was recovered from any device. A copy of the report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

The airplane was fueled before departure with 242 gallons of Jet A with Prist. According to the individual who fueled the airplane, the fuel tanks were topped off. Records from the facility that fueled the airplane indicate they received a load of approximately 8,000 gallons of Jet Fuel (Domestic) on June 4, 2012. The load contained 10 gallons of fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) meeting military specification (MIL-DTL-85470), with the volume percent of FSII between 0.10 and 0.15. Also on the accident date, excluding the accident airplane, two other aircraft were fueled from the same truck; there were no reported problems related to the fuel quality or FSII additive.

Postaccident testing of samples of fuel drained from the airplane's fuel tanks and also fuel filter, and also a sample of fuel taken from the facility that fueled the airplane last was performed. Because of the small amount of fuel recovered from the airplane's fuel tanks and fuel filter, the samples were combined. The testing of the combined sample revealed the specimens met the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D1655 specification limits; however, the existent gum weight of 22 milligrams per 100 milliliters of fuel exceeded the ASTM limit of 7 milligrams per 100 milliliters of fuel. Additionally, the sample contained 0.10 volume percent FSII. The testing of the sample of fuel taken from the facility that fueled the airplane last revealed the specimen met the ASTM D1655 specification requirements; the sample contained 0.13 volume percent FSII. A copy of the test report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Both attitude heading reference units (AHRS) were sent to the manufacturer's (NG Litef) facility for inspection and operational testing with German Bundesstelle fur Flugunfalluntersuchung (BFU) oversight. Because both units exhibited impact damage, both were opened and both CPU boards were removed for inspection. Additionally, the internal components of both AHRS were inspected; no loose components were noted inside the housings and there was no noticeable damage to either CPU board. The units were reassembled, and supplied power. The BITE history of both units was downloaded successfully. Both units were put onto a rate table for an incoming inspection test (IIT), which is similar to the acceptance test procedure (ATP); however, no extensive performance tests are performed during the IIT. Both units failed the IIT due to sensor axis misalignment, existing BITE-history entries, and missing calibration data because no incoming inspection calibration was performed before the IIT. Both units passed all other tests; there was no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of either AHRS. A report of the AHRS examinations is contained in the NTSB public docket.

A NTSB Radar Performance Study was performed in an effort to determine airspeed, rate of climb, pitch, bank angle, heading, load factor, and body angle of attack (AOA) which is the angle between the (true airspeed) velocity vector and the body or fuselage reference plane (FRP). Pilatus Engineering defines the FRP, which typically/closely runs through the wing chord (or very close to it). The performance study was also performed in an effort to determine what approximate control input(s) would have been needed in order to correlate with the recorded radar data. The radar performance study indicates that flying the Pilatus PC-12 aerodynamic and flight control models through the ground track defined by the FAA radar data revealed the peak load factors obtained in the simulation were between plus 3.3 and plus 4.6g which occurred at 1233:55, and 1234:08, respectively. The simulation was stopped at 1234:08, when 4.6g were obtained, which when correlated with the NTSB Electronic Devices Factual Report, was the same time that the "PASS Door" annunciation occurred. The maximum airspeed calculated from the radar data was approximately 300 knots, and the maximum airspeed during the simulation was over 318 knots.

The NTSB Radar Performance Study further indicates that in order to approximately match the recorded radar targets by simulation, the bank angle was required to increase from standard rate at approximately 1233:25, to 50 degrees, and remained at that bank angle for less than 10 seconds before increasing to over 50 degrees at 1233:40. The simulation indicates that between 1233:40, and 1233:45, a roll to near wings level occurred, and between 1233:45 and 1233:50, an increase to about 75 degrees of right bank occurred. Between 1233:50 and 1234:00, the bank angle decreased slightly, then beginning at 1234:00 until 1234:08, the bank angle increased, and at 1234:08, the maximum load factor of 4.6g occurred during the simulation. The simulation did not consider the affect that the autopilot was engaged until 1233:30. The NTSB Radar Performance Study is contained in the NTSB public docket.

Testing of a PC-12/45, that contains the same Central Advisory and Warning System (CAWS) as the accident airplane was performed at the manufacturer's facility with oversight from the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB). The testing was performed in an effort to understand entries recorded by the CAWS during the accident flight. The testing did not take into account automatic disengagement of the autopilot due to exceedances of pitch rates in excess of 5 degrees per second and roll rates in excess of 10 degrees per second unless the control wheel steering (CWS) switch is depressed. The testing also did not take into account automatic disengagement of the autopilot due to accelerations outside of plus 1.6 g to plus 0.3 g envelope.

Testing of the yaw damper trim command and autopilot pitch trim command revealed "A/P Trim" activated and cleared entries consistent with those recorded during the accident flight between corrected times 1206:31 and 1230:46, which was the last "A/P Trim Cleared" entry. No determination could be made as to what trim function (yaw or pitch) caused the "A/P Trim" indication during the accident flight.

The testing revealed that based on the 5 entries between corrected times of 1233:33 and 1233:58, no determination could be made whether the autopilot disconnect that occurred at 1233:30 was because of a pilot action or autopilot command disconnect. Testing also revealed that activation of stickshaker disconnects the autopilot with the associated CAWS entry of "A/P DISENG." The pattern of 4 entries for sequence and corrected times of 1233:46 and 1233:58, were consistent with a test of the autopilot initiated by the pilot at 1233:46, which passed successfully at 1233:58. No determination could be made whether the autopilot or yaw damper were reengaged after the autopilot test. The testing also revealed that the pattern of entries recorded by CAWS of the accident airplane were not consistent with those in which the Trim Interrupt switch was placed to the "INTR" or interrupt position with the autopilot engaged. A copy of the report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

During certification flight testing of a PC-12 pertaining to trim runaway (specifically related to rudder and aileron trim), it was demonstrated that up to 10,000 feet, 4,500 kg (9,921 pounds), which equates to the maximum landing weight of the accident airplane, the yaw trim can runaway for greater than the time delay of 3 seconds for cruise and Vmo speed demonstrations prior to reaching the temporary control force limit of 14 CFR Part 23.143. With respect to aileron trim, aerodynamic improvements and maximum takeoff weight increase to 4,740 kg (10,450 pounds), which equates to the maximum takeoff weight of the accident airplane, required flight testing for lateral trim runaway. The testing was performed at 10,000 feet and Vmo speed which indicated that allowing for 6 second delay following the start of trim runaway (3 second recognition delay plus 3 second response), the resulting control forces and attitude excursion following an aileron trim runaway were lower than the requirements set forth in Advisory Circular (AC) 23-8B for 14 CFR Part 23.677(d).

While the CAWS did not record any system warnings or cautions before autopilot disconnect occurred during the accident flight, a review of the entire file downloaded from the CAWS was performed. The CAWS which recorded data associated with 344 "flights" from April 18, 2011, to the accident flight, was correlated with the results of postaccident ground based testing of an exemplar airplane. The CAWS data was also correlated with known maintenance actions, and only CAWS data associated with an actual flight were reviewed. For clarification, a takeoff event is logged by CAWS approximately 5 seconds after the conditions set for takeoff are met (engine running and weight off wheels), and events that become active or clear during this 5 seconds will be recorded under the previous flight number.

The results revealed that excluding the accident flight, there were only 2 flights in which an "A/P Trim Fail" entry was logged and was not attributed to normal system logic and/or testing of the autopilot only after takeoff. The first "flight" occurred on July 17, 2011; excerpts of entries recorded for this "flight" are listed below. Because of system logic, entries 66859 thru 66861 belong to flight 1018, and correlation of entry 66861 indicates the trim adapter in a failed status, although there was not a corresponding disengagement of the autopilot entry 3 seconds later. The entry cleared before time 0754:11. Entries 66867 thru 66871 are consistent with an autopilot test that passed successfully.

Ety: 66859 FlNo: 1017 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:01 WNo 52 : BAT Current/Vol :Cleared
Ety: 66860 FlNo: 1017 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:02 WNo 20 : BUS TIE :Activated
Ety: 66861 FlNo: 1017 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:02 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Activated
Ety: 66862 FlNo: 1017 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:02 WNo 52 : BAT Current/Vol :Cleared
Ety: 66863 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:04 WNo 47 : TAKE OFF :Activated
Ety: 66864 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:05 WNo 27 : N ESNTL BUS :Activated
Ety: 66865 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:07 WNo 20 : BUS TIE :Cleared
Ety: 66866 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:07 WNo 27 : N ESNTL BUS :Cleared
Ety: 66867 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:11 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Cleared
Ety: 66868 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:11 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Activated
Ety: 66869 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:12 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Activated
Ety: 66870 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:16 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Cleared
Ety: 66871 FlNo: 1018 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 07:54:16 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Cleared

The 2nd "flight" also occurred on July 17, 2011; excerpts of entries recorded for this "flight" are listed below. Correlation of entry 67225 is consistent with an autopilot trim command, which caused a momentary trim adapter issue that actually disengaged the autopilot, but was logged 3 seconds later at 67227. At the same time the failed state cleared when the condition was no longer met. Autopilot trim entries 67231 to 67272 (not listed) indicate normal autopilot operation. The entry 67273, indicates the autopilot disconnected, while entries 67274 and 67275 are consistent with yaw damper was still active, while entry 67276 is a normal entry 26 seconds after an autopilot disconnect entry occurs.

Ety: 67176 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 17:13:58 WNo 47 : TAKE OFF :Activated
Ety: 67225 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:01 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Activated
Ety: 67226 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:02 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Activated
Ety: 67227 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:05 WNo 17 : A/P DISENG :Activated
Ety: 67228 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:05 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Cleared
Ety: 67229 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:05 WNo 11 : AP TRIM FAIL :Cleared
Ety: 67230 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 18:09:30 WNo 17 : A/P DISENG :Cleared
Ety: 67273 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 19:44:10 WNo 17 : A/P DISENG :Activated
Ety: 67274 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 19:44:13 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Activated
Ety: 67275 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 19:44:15 WNo 43 : A/P TRIM :Cleared
Ety: 67276 FlNo: 1021 Date: 17.07 2011 Time: 19:44:36 WNo 17 : A/P DISENG :Cleared

Review of the maintenance records covering the period from June 14, 2011, to the last entry dated May 3, 2012, correlated to the CAWS entries time frame cited above revealed that on July 1, 2011, the pitch trim actuator was removed and replaced and a 5 year/2000 hour inspection of the flight control cables including the autopilot and stick pusher servo cables was performed. The entry indicates the autopilot was operationally tested. On January 12, 2012, a 1000 hour/1 year check of the servo mount clutches was performed and all were satisfactory. There were no other entries pertaining to autopilot system components.

Inspection of the K001, K002, K003, K004, K011, and K012 relays was performed at the NTSB Materials Laboratory located in Washington, DC. Radiographs were performed of all relays, and the K004 relay in an unpowered state was found to be in the same position as the unpowered position as the K003 relay, which was the normal/relaxed position. The radiographs showed no anomalies in any of the relays. In addition, the relays were tested to determine actuating time/voltage. The findings for that examination indicate that
the K001, K003, K011, and K012 relays required 12 volts application to initiate instantaneous actuation, while the K002 relay required 10 volts application to initiate instantaneous actuation. The K004 relay required 11 volts application to initiate instantaneous actuation. Upon removal of power, all relay contacts relaxed (returned to the appropriate unpowered position) with no apparent sticking of contacts.

According to Pilatus Report EAA-12-AER-076 titled, "Stick shaker, pusher and fast-slow pointer settings", dated January 5, 1996, with pusher ice mode selected (propeller de-icing system and the engine inlet inertial separator are selected to on and open, respectively), the wing vane angle of attack (AOA) is automatically reduced by eight degrees, or to 26 degrees for stick shaker. Correlation of the indicated airspeed at the point of departure from controlled flight recorded by the EIS (109 knots), with the flaps retracted position and a weight of 9,921 pounds (which was only 196 pounds and approximately 2 percent greater than the accident airplane weight of 9,725 pounds), indicates the average vane AOA would be approximately 25 degrees. While the actual vane AOA at the time of autopilot disconnect was not determined, Pilatus personnel indicated it would have been close to 25 degrees.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 61.31

On August 4, 1987, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amended 14 CFR Part 61.31, which prohibited a person from serving as pilot-in-command of a pressurized aircraft unless that person has received and logged ground training from an authorized instructor and obtained an endorsement in his/her pilot logbook or training record certifying that he/she has satisfactorily accomplished the ground training.

NTSB Database Of Accidents And Incidents Involving Turbo Propeller Operated Airplanes

A search of the NTSB database concerning accidents and incidents occurring in turbo-propeller airplanes involving pilots with 1,000 hours or less, and which occurred on or after August 4, 1987, was performed. That date was selected because it was the date that 14 CFR Part 61.31 changed requiring type specific training. The search excluded turbopropeller equipped airplanes operated in aerial application, and only included airplanes consistent with or similar to the accident airplane make and model. Of the 66 accidents and incidents, only 20 cases met the criteria. Review of the 20 accidents revealed only 4 stipulated that factor(s) in the accident was related to the pilot's experience in make and model or in instrument conditions. Closer review of the 4 cases revealed 2 specified that a factor was the pilot's lack of total experience in make and model, the third case specified that a factor was the left seat occupants limited total experience and experience in high performance aircraft types, while the 4th case specified that a factor was the pilot's lack of instrument experience.

FAA Service Difficulty Reports

A review of malfunction or defect reports submitted to FAA of the Pilatus PC12 series airplane was performed for the period of January 1, 2009, through April 30, 2014. The review yielded a total of 275 records, none of which were attributed to the accident airplane. Of the 275 records, only 2 discuss either the rudder trim or yaw damper. The first record that occurred in February 2010, was related to a Pilatus PC-12/47E and was not applicable, while the second record that occurred in April 2012, describes an event in which while on approach, the rudder trim went to full deflection; however, the entry does not indicate to what direction the rudder trim travelled to. The pilot declared an emergency and landed without incident. The malfunction or defect report attributed the issue to be associated with the rudder trim actuator; however, personnel from Pilatus indicate that the rudder trim actuator is passive; therefore, the rudder actuator being causal to the trim runaway is not a valid conclusion.

Weight And Balance

Postaccident weight and balance calculations were performed using the empty weight of the airplane (6542.30 pounds based on weighing July 29, 2011), the weights of the occupants provided by the medical examiner's office, the actual or estimated locations of the occupants and the luggage, the weight of the luggage, and full fuel load at departure. The calculations indicate that at takeoff, the weight and center of gravity (CG) were within limits. About the time of departure from controlled flight based on the estimated fuel burn, the weight and mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) were calculated to be 9,725 pounds and 31 percent MAC, which were also within limits.


NTSB Identification: ERA12FA385 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 07, 2012 in Lake Wales, FL
Aircraft: PILATUS AIRCRAFT LTD PC-12/47, registration: N950KA
Injuries: 6 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 June 7, 2012, about 1235 eastern daylight time, a Pilatus PC-12/47, N950KA,registered to and operated by Roadside Ventures, LLC, departed controlled flight followed by subsequent in-flight breakup near Lake Wales, Florida. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the altitude and location of the departure from controlled flight and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, to Freeman Field Airport (3JC), Junction City, Kansas. The airplane was substantially damaged and the certificated private pilot and five passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from FPR about 1205.

According to preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control information, after departure, air traffic control communications were transferred to Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (Miami Center). While in contact with that facility, about 1229, the flight was cleared to flight level (FL) 250. At about 1230, the controller cleared the flight to FL260, which the pilot acknowledged. At about 1232, the controller advised the pilot of a large area of precipitation northwest of Lakeland, with moderate, heavy and extreme echoes. The controller asked the pilot to look at it and to advise what direction he needed to deviate, then suggested deviation right of course until north of the adverse weather. The pilot responded that he agreed, and the controller asked the pilot what heading from his position would keep the airplane clear, and the pilot responded 320 degrees. The controller cleared the pilot to fly heading 320 degrees, and to deviate right of course when necessary, and when able proceed direct to Seminole, which he acknowledged. There was no further recorded communication from the pilot with the Miami Center.

According to preliminary radar data, between 1232:37, and 12:33:25, the airplane proceeded in a west-northwesterly direction, and climbed from 24,700 to 25,100 feet, then maintained that altitude for the next 12 seconds; however, a change in direction to the right was noted. Between 1233:37, and 1233:49, the airplane descended from 25,100 to 24,200 feet, and turned to the right, and between 1233:49, and 1234:01, the airplane descended from 24,200 to 22,500 feet, and continued the right turn. Between 1234:01 and 1234:37, the airplane descended from 22,500 to 10,700 feet, and turned to a southerly heading. Between 1234:37, and 1234:49, the airplane turned left and proceeded on a northeasterly heading. Between 1234:49, and 1235:37 (last secondary return at 1,300 feet), the airplane continued on a northeasterly heading.

The pilot of a nearby airplane reported to FAA air traffic control and NTSB hearing a Mayday call about 1 minute before hearing the sound of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal.

A witness who was located about 1.5 nautical miles and 193 degrees from the crash site reported that on the date and time of the accident, he was inside his house and first heard a sound he attributed to a propeller feathering or later described as flutter of a flight control surface. The sound lasted 3 to 4 cycles of a whooshing high to low sound, followed by a sound he described as an energy release. He was clear the sound he heard was not an explosion, but more like mechanical fracture of parts. He ran outside, and first saw the airplane below the clouds (ceiling was estimated to be 10,000 feet). He noted by silhouette that parts of the airplane were missing, but he did not see any parts separate from the airplane during the time he saw it. At that time it was not raining at his location. He went inside his house, and got a digital camera, then ran back outside to his pool deck, and videotaped the descent. He reported the airplane was in a spin but could not recall the direction. The engine sound was consistent the whole time; there was no revving; he reported there was no forward movement. He called 911 and reported the accident.

Another witness who was located about .4 nautical mile and 125 degrees from the crash site reported hearing a boom sound that he attributed to a lawn mower which he thought odd because it had just been raining. He saw black smoke trailing the airplane which was spinning. He ran to the side of their house, and noted the airplane was still spinning. His brother came by their back door, they heard a thud, and both ran direct to the location of where they thought the airplane had crashed. When they arrived at the wreckage, they saw fire in front of the airplane which one individual attempted to extinguish by throwing sand on it, but he was unable. The other individual reported the left forward door was hard to open, but he pushed it up and then was able to open it. Both attempted to render assistance; one individual called 911 to report the accident and then guided local first responders to the accident site.

Preliminary examination of the accident site revealed the wreckage consisting of the fuselage and sections of both wings came to rest upright in an open field. Sections of both wings, and also the horizontal stabilizer and elevator were separated. The separated components consisting of sections of both wings, the horizontal stabilizer, and elevator were located, tagged as to their location, and secured with the main wreckage.

The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings.


LAKE WALES | A plane carrying six family members plunged to the ground after parts of both wings and the horizontal stabilizer broke off in mid-air, according to a newly released accident report into the 2012 crash.

The crash killed a mother, father and four children, and a National Transportation Safety Board report released Monday details how the single-engine Pilatus PC12/47 broke apart and crashed in the Tiger Creek Preserve in a remote area of southeastern Polk County at 12:35 p.m. June 7, 2012.

The new report does not offer an explanation of why the crash happened; that will come in a probable cause report in six to eight weeks, said Eric Weiss, NTSB spokesman.

The crash was the worst in Polk's history, according to NTSB records, which date to 1962.

Pilot Ronald Bramlage was trying to avoid stormy weather before the plane rapidly lost altitude, dropping nearly 12,000 feet in about 36 seconds, the NTSB report said.

Bramlage, 45; his wife, Rebecca, 43; and their four children, Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8, all died in the crash, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Boston was thrown through a gaping hole next to his seat as the plane was falling, said PCSO at the time. The NTSB report confirmed that one passenger was ejected from the plane as it went down. Boston's body was found about 26 hours after the crash some distance from the fuselage.

The plane crashed near Kings Trail and Jewell Lane in a palmetto-covered clearing in the preserve southwest of Lake Walk-in-Water.

The plane had left Treasure Cay Airport in the Abaco Islands, Bahamas, that morning and landed at St. Lucie County International Airport in Fort Pierce to clear customs. It took off again at 12:05 p.m., and was headed for the Freeman Field Airport in Junction City, Kan., when it crashed, according to the NTSB.

A Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot found debris from the crash scattered over four miles.

"All of the examined fracture surfaces exhibited features consistent with overstress failures with no evidence of fatigue," the NTSB report said of the plane's wings and stabilizers.

The 12-seat turboprop was registered to the Ronald Bramlage's company, Roadside Ventures LLC.

Kansas news agencies at the time reported Ronald Bramlage was a philanthropist from a prominent family who supported Kansas State University. The university's basketball arena is named after Ronald Bramlage's grandfather, and Rebecca Bramlage was the president of the Junction City Board of Education.


Story, video, photos and comments:  http://www.newschief.com




IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 950KA        Make/Model: PC12      Description: PC-12, Eagle
  Date: 06/07/2012     Time: 1634

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

LOCATION
  City: LAKE WALES   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. LAKE WALES, FL

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   6
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   5     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Cruise      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: ORLANDO, FL  (SO15)                   Entry date: 06/08/2012 


LAKE WALES - Weather may have played a part in the plane crash east of Lake Wales earlier this month that killed a Kansas family of six, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

At one point, the plane's altitude dropped nearly 12,000 feet in less than a minute during the June 7 flight, reports said.

Part of the plane's final descent was caught on video, which was reviewed by investigators.

The crash, the worst in Polk County's history, killed pilot Ronald Bramlage, 45, his wife, Rebecca, 43, and their four children, Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.

The crash in East Polk County occurred about 12:30 p.m. near Kings Trail and Jewell Lane in a palmetto-covered clearing in the Tiger Creek Preserve on the southwest corner of Lake Walk-in-Water.

The plane, a 12-seat Pilatus PC-12/47 turbo prop, left the Abaco Islands, Bahamas, on Thursday morning. It stopped at the St. Lucie County International Airport in Fort Pierce to clear customs and took off again at 12:05 p.m., headed for Kansas.

Miami air traffic controllers told Ronald Bramlage of severe weather northwest of Lakeland. "The controller asked the pilot to look at it and to advise what direction he needed to deviate, then suggested deviation right of course until north of the adverse weather."

Bramlage agreed with the controller and flew in a northwesterly direction to try to take the plane around the storm.

 "There was no further recorded communication from the pilot with the Miami Center," reports said.

The reports show the plane made a significant descent, starting at about 25,000 feet about 12:33 p.m. In nearly 30 seconds, the plane's altitude dropped from 24,200 feet to 10,700 feet and took a southern heading.




And at the end of the report, it talks about two other witnesses who ran to the crash site, where they found the wreckage burning. 

The witnesses were able to open the plane door and try to help one of the Bramlage family members. The report didn't indicate which member, but we believe it may have been the father. They also called 911 and helped first responders get to the scene.

Thousands gather during emotional funeral for Bramlage family

JUNCTION CITY, KS (KCTV) -  A Kansas couple and their four children who died in a plane crash will be laid to rest Monday.  A plane crash in Florida killed six members of the Bramlage family as they were returning from a vacation in the Bahamas to their home in Junction City, KS.

More than 2,000 people from across the region filled the auditorium at Junction City Middle School during an emotional funeral Mass for Ron and Becky Bramlage of Junction City and their four children.  The family's death has many still shaking their heads in shock.

The family died when their plane crashed June 7 in Florida while they were on their way home from the Bahamas. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the crash.

Friends of the family, classmates of all four children, as well as people stretching from surrounding states gathered Monday to remember a family that has given so much to local industry and education.

Fred Marrill, of Kansas City, has done business with and knows Ron Bramlage and the family.  Marrill said nobody will completely fill the void this loss leaves.

"Ron was always, he was just such a great personality, always had a great kind word to say to all kinds of different people. He had a suite next to my parents' suite in the football stadium at K-State and he was always nice to my parents and anybody that was there so really just a good person," Merrill said.

Mourners Set to Say Goodbye to Bramlage Family 

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Friends and family are gathering on Monday to say goodbye to a prominent Kansas family killed in a central Florida plane crash.

Six members of the Bramlage family were killed on June 7 when their small aircraft broke-up not long after takeoff near the central Florida town of Lake Wales. The family was returning to Kansas from a family vacation to the Bahamas.

The memorial service for the Bramlages is set for 10:00 a.m. at the Junction City Middle School auditorium.

Ron and Becky Bramlage and their four children were killed in the crash. The family owned an investment company in Junction City, and Becky Bramlage was the president of the local school board.

The Bramlage family is known in Kansas known for giving scholarships and other large charitable donations, including funds for the Kansas State University basketball arena — Bramlage Coliseum.

According to investigators at the scene, the aircraft was at nearly 26,000 feet when it first began experiencing trouble, and it appears that the plane fell apart in the air. Pieces of the aircraft were found as far as two miles away from the crash site.

A final report on the crash isn’t expected for several more months.


JUNCTION CITY — Ron and Becky Bramlage, along with their four children, were killed in a plane crash on June 7, 2012, in Polk County, Fla., while returning home from a family vacation.

Each of them was very involved in Junction City, and they were avid Kansas State University supporters. They were faithful members of the St. Xavier Parish. Education was important to the family as evidenced by their many school activities, and the academic accomplishments of the children. They were individually, and corporately able to light up a room with their smiles. They radiated happiness and had busy, fulfilling lives. They were loving and generous. Although they had a public presence, they were private people. Family defined them.

The cremated remains will lie in repose after 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Xavier Catholic Church, 218 N. Washington St., followed by a public prayer vigil service at 7. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at Junction City Middle School, 700 Wildcat Lane. Both services will be conducted by the Rev. Al Brungart.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Xavier’s Catholic Church, Geary Community Schools Foundation and The Junction City Opera House Inc.

To leave a special online message for the family go to www.PenwellGabelJunctionCity.com

Ron Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, was born March 17, 1967, in Manhattan, to Bob and Patti (Waters) Bramlage. As a member of St. Xavier’s, Ron served on the parish council and as an usher. A graduate of Junction City High School and Kansas State University, he received a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

Ron married Becky Johnston on Sept. 19, 1992, in Kansas City, Mo. To this union were born four children, Brandon, Boston, Beau and Roxanne. Ron devoted much time to his family and his community as a volunteer coach for the Wrecking Crew, the kids’ wrestling program. He served as a mentor for the JCHS program and sponsored kids to camps, took them to tournaments and often had them over to the wrestling room at the Bramlage home. He provided them a well-equipped off-campus wrestling room above the Goodwill Building.

Professionally, Ron was a commercial real estate broker and developer and was the owner/operator of Roadside Ventures LLC, an outdoor advertising company.

From 2006 to 2010, he served on the Armed Forces Bank Board of Directors, Bank Audit Committee and the Bank Compliance Committee. From 1990 to 2006, Ron served on the Fort Riley National Bank Board, loan committee and was the bank CEO from 2004 to 2006. From 1999 to 2006, he was the owner/operator of Neoteric Ventures, a hotel development company.

His memberships included the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Old Trooper Regiment, Kansas State University Foundation Board of Directors and Kansas State University Mike Ahearn Scholarship Board of Directors.

The whole family liked to visit Grandmother Waters’ farm and to fish. Ron was a great friend, a good listener and a keen observer of people. He was joined in death with his wife and four children, and was preceded in death by his grandparents, Fred and Dorothy Bramlage, and his uncle, Paul Bramlage. Survivors include his father, Bob Bramlage; his mother, Patti Wertzberger, and his stepfather, Bud Wheeler; his brother, Damien Bramlage, and his children, Max and Ben; his maternal grandmother, Virginia Waters; his aunt, Dorothy Willcoxon, and her husband, Robert; his cousins, Chase and Drew Bramlage, Philip Willcoxon, and his wife, Leah, and their children, Lexi and Sam; Deborah Ricard, and her husband, Fernand, and their children Sophia, Gus and Andy; Mark Willcoxon; Sara Tate, and her husband, Jeff, and their children, Lauren, Carson and Alena; his stepbrother, Karl Wertzberger, and his wife, Jeni, and their children, Teggan and John; his stepsister, Kirsten Krug, and her husband, Robin, and their daughters, Ainsley and Payton.

Becky Bramlage, 43, of Junction City, was born Aug. 8, 1968, in Kansas City, Mo., to Gary and Helen (Gordon) Johnston.

A member of St. Xavier’s, she was on the Altar Society and was a CCD teacher. She was a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in 1986 and Kansas State University where she earned a bachelor of arts and master of arts (1992) in business. She was a member of Chi Omega. She married Ron Bramlage at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 19, 1992. She was an exemplary mother to Brandon, Boston, Beau and Roxanne. She helped Ron with his businesses and taught classes at the KSU school of business, but her top priorities were being a wife and mother.

She made countless contributions to the community. She was currently serving as president of the USD 475 Board of Education. Becky was a site council member at JCMS and JCHS and a Lincoln PTO member. She was a board member/secretary for the Geary Community Schools Foundation. She was a board member/secretary for the Lady Troopers Organization. She was a member and chaplain of Chapter AR of PEO. She was a great cook and baker and loved to share with friends and neighbors. Her volunteerism centered on her children and included kids wrestling, hosting end of the year parties for each of the kid’s classrooms at Lincoln, baking cookies for their sports teams and enjoying time with them walking, running, boating, tubing and skiing at the lake, taking bicycle rides, and snow skiing. She was patient, kind, and calm.

She was joined in death with her husband and four children and was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather, Bruce Johnston, and maternal grandfather, Merrill Kern Gordon of Winfield,

Survivors include her father and mother, Gary and Helen Johnston; her brother, Cory Lockwood Johnston, his wife, Veronica, and their daughters, Jordan, Sophia and Emory; maternal grandmother, Bette Gordon, and paternal grandmother, Wilma Johnston; her uncle and aunt, Merrill Gordon and wife, Tracey, of Winfield; aunt, Suzanne Lecht; aunt, Barbara Gordon and Sam King; aunt and uncle, Sandra and Jeff Ward; aunt and uncle, Nancy and Jack Zimmerman; cousins, Sherry Jurad, Todd Creel, Greg Zimmerman, Chris Zimmerman, Jeff Zimmerman, Casey Zimmerman, Amy Michael, Chad Gordon and Heather Gordon.

Brandon Bramlage, 15, of Junction City, was born Oct. 4, 1996, in Manhattan, to Ron and Becky (Johnston) Bramlage. As a member of St. Xavier’s he was an altar server. In elementary school, Brandon played Jr. Jays football and was a Lincoln Lion. He attended 4-H camp at Rock Springs. He was a member of the JCMS National Junior Honor Society, and was honored at “The Night of the Stars” his sixth, seventh and eighth grade years. He participated in seventh and eighth grade wrestling, played golf and was a trumpet player in the school band. He was a 10-year member of the Wrecking Crew kids wrestling club. Like all of his siblings, he loved riding the dirt bike trail behind his house, jumping on the trampoline in the front yard and participating in JC YMCA Youth Sports programs. As a freshman, Brandon was a member of the JCHS varsity wrestling team where he was honored as the most improved wrestler for the 2011-2012 season. He placed fifth at the 2012 Kansas State Wrestling Tournament, Class 6A, in the 106-pound weight division. He was on the JCHS cross country team. He served as a page in the last session of the state Legislature for Rep. Jim Fawcett. This summer he was working as a life guard at the Junction City swimming pool. Like his Dad, Brandon was a man of few words.

Boston Bramlage, 13, of Junction City, was born June 11, 1998 in Manhattan, to Ron and Becky (Johnston) Bramlage. He was an altar server at St. Xavier’s Catholic Church. He was a Lincoln Lion and participated for a number of years in kids wrestling and Tae-Kwan-Do. He attended 4-H camp at Rock Springs. Boston was a member of the National Honor Society at JCMS, received the ER Daily Math Award, and was an avid reader. He was honored his sixth, seventh and eighth grade years at “The Night of the Stars.” He was a member of the JCMS seventh and eighth grade tennis and cross country teams and played saxophone in the school band. He was a page for Rep. Jim Fawcett at the Kansas State Capitol during the last legislative session. He loved swimming at the Junction City swimming pool. He was a scholar with many friends.

Beau Bramlage, 11, of Junction City, was born Dec. 16, 2000, in Manhattan, to Ron and Becky (Johnston) Bramlage. As a member, he was involved in youth activities at St. Xavier’s Catholic Church and served as an altar boy. He was a Lincoln Lion, participated in youth wrestling,, and his Jr. Jays football team won the championship in 2011. He attended 4-H camp at Rock Springs. At JCMS, Beau was a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and was honored at “The Night of the Stars” his sixth grade year. Beau enjoyed swimming at the Junction City Pool. He was always known to wear silly socks with bright colors. He was very funny, and had a wonderful sense of humor.

Roxanne Bramlage, 8, of Junction City, was born Jan. 1, 2004, in Manhattan, to Ron and Becky (Johnston) Bramlage. As a member of St. Xavier’s Catholic Church, Roxanne had her First Communion in May. She was a Lincoln Lion and took dance lessons at Clarabel’s for four years and gymnastic lessons at Gymnastics Plus for two years. She attended J-Stepper dance clinics and JCHS cheer clinics. She was a Girl Scout. She participated in the Geary County Girls Softball League and was a tireless soccer player. She was looking forward to her first 4-H camp and more swimming at the pool. Roxanne was a fearless, friendly, talkative young lady.




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Funeral Services Set For Bramlage Family

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. -- Funeral services have been set for the Junction City family who perished in a plane crash on their way home from vacation last week. 

 A funeral service for the Bramlage family will be held Monday, June 18th at 10 AM at Junction City Middle School.

A vigil will be held the night before at 7 PM at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Junction City where the Bramlage family were parishioners.

Ron Bramlage, 45, Becky Bramlage, 43, and their children- 15-year-old Brandon, 13-year-old Boston ,11-year-old Beau and 8-year-old Roxanne, died when their private aircraft crashed in a remote area near Lake Wales, Florida Thursday, June 7, 2012.

They were traveling from the Bahamas back to their Junction City home when the single engine plane went down in a swampy area shortly after noon. Ron Bramlage was the pilot.

Pieces of the aircraft were scattered over a four-mile area in rough terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board has started its investigation into the crash.

Ron Bramlage was a prominent philanthropist and businessman in Junction City. Becky. Bramlage was the President of the Board of Education for Geary County USD 475.

The couple were graduates of Kansas State University, and members of the K-State Alumni Association, President's Club, Foundation Trustees and Ahearn Fund.

Ron was the grandson of the late Fred Bramlage, a 1935 graduate of K-State and Junction City businessman. Fred Bramlage was the lead contributor to the construction of Bramlage Coliseum, a multi-purpose arena that opened in 1988 and is home to the K-State men's and women's basketball teams.

Grief counseling is being offered by Geary County USD 475 to students, staff members and members of the community. Counselors will be available Tuesday, June 12th from 8:30-12:30 PM at Lincoln Elementary, the Freshman Success Academy and Junction City Middle School.

Father Al Brungardt, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Junction City, says family members wanted to have the funeral services in Junction City because Mr. and Mrs. Bramlage were devoted to the community and it is also where their children were raised and attended school. "This was home for them," he said.

Bramlages are missed at Sunday Mass 

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. - The Bramlage family spent their Sunday mornings attending service at St. Francis Xavier Church in Junction City, Kan.  This Sunday was the first day parishioners and friends came to grips with the reality that the family will never be coming back.

"They always sat two rows up to our left," said Rosemary Kane.

Kane attends the 9:30 a.m. Mass and she is use to seeing the Bramlage family. She says the entire congregation is coming to terms with Thursday's plane crash in Florida that killed the entire Bramlage family.

Father Al Brunghardt has led St. Xavier for 13 years and says the Bramlages were very active in the church. He's been fielding questions about the crash and the family since news of the accident broke.

"A lot of the concerns, what happened, all things I don't know," father Brunghardt said. "Especially right after it happened."



Officials investigating a plane crash that killed a Kansas family of six last week said a preliminary report on what happened is expected to be completed within a couple of weeks.

Nicholas Worrell, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Monday the preliminary report will have basic information about the crash that occurred in a rugged area east of Lake Wales. The full report outlining what caused the crash could take six months to a year to complete.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating.

Word on the official cause of deaths for the family members awaits the results of toxicology tests, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

A memorial service for Ronald and Rebecca Bramlage and their four children is planned for June 21 at the Junction Middle School in Junction City, Kansas.

The family was flying from the Bahamas to Kansas on a 2006 12-seat Pilatus PC-12/47 turboprop. The plane, piloted by Ronald Bramlage, 45, was owned by his company, Roadside Ventures of Junction City.

The NTSB said the plane was last reported at 25,100 feet. It had stopped at 12:05 p.m. Thursday at the St. Lucie County International Airport in Fort Pierce for customs. The plane crashed about 12:30 p.m.

Rebecca Bramlage, 43, and the couple's four children, Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8, also died in the crash.

The 13-year-old was found about four-tenths of a mile from the main crash scene Friday. Deputies said it appears he was thrown from the plane through a gaping hole next to his seat.

Steele's Family Funeral Service in Winter Haven is assisting with funeral services and transporting the family back to Kansas.

Relatives of the Bramlage family released a statement through the funeral home: "The Johnston and Bramlage families wish to thank all of the persons who were involved in the search and rescue of our beloved family. Special thanks to those that were diligent in the discovery of our missing child, Boston."



Aircraft Specification Sheet for Pilatus PC-12/47, SN 730, N950KA,  Click here
 


 A tragic plane crash in the swamps of Florida that claimed the lives of an entire family including four young children, sparked an outpouring of grief today from their Kansas hometown and the resurgence of fears about what happens when families fly together - especially in small planes.

Ron Bramlage, a businessman from Junction City, Kan., was piloting the single-engine plane as he and his family traveled home from a vacation in the Bahamas. It broke apart and crashed into the Tiger Creek Preserve around 12:30 p.m., killing Bramlage, 45, his wife, Rebecca, 43, and children Brandon, 15; Boston, 13; Beau, 11; and Roxanne, 8.

Junction City Mayor Pat Landes said the family was well-known in the community, supported many local projects and provided college scholarships to local families.

"It's just a horrific loss," Landes told the Associated Press.

The crash raises questions about whether parents and children should fly together to vacation spots, and whether families worry about safely traveling on small planes or even in cars on busy roads.

Alison Rhodes, a national child safety expert, told ABC News that parents should have a plan for what to do if one or both parents die in a crash. Rhodes said parents need to clearly communicate with relatives about "what needs to happen" if there is an emergency when one or both parents perish in a crash.

While the Bramlages and some families insist they want to fly together, other couples insist on flying separately so that one parent will likely survive to take care of the children.

In 2009, when an Air France flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and claimed the lives of a 34-year-old Swedish mother and her 5-year-old son, the woman's husband and daughter were famously found alive after they had taken a different flight for the family's vacation. The husband said after the crash that they always split up on flights in case of tragedy.

Similarly, Kate Winslet and her ex-husband, Sam Mendes, made headlines when they said in 2009 that they fly separately in case of a crash, so that one parent will survive to take care of the children.

"It's a very personal decision, and either side of this is certainly respectable," therapist Terry Real told ABC News. "I don't think people that decide to fly separately are nuts, I think they're responding to a real fear."

The cause of the crash of the 2006 Pilatus PC-12/47 in Florida is not yet known, but the Bramlages were traveling home in clear weather when the plane began to break apart. Parts of the plane were found 3.5 miles from where the plane went down.

Flying, even in a small plane, is still less dangerous than driving in a car, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration. In the past two years, there have been no fatal crashes of scheduled commercial jets--the type of flying most Americans do. By comparison, there were more than 10 million car accidents in the US in 2009, resulting in some 35,000 deaths, according to US census data.

While there were no fatal accidents on commercial jets recently, there were 267 fatal accidents among non-commercial planes. The majority of those accidents are caused by human error, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute.

"Airplane travel holds a lower risk of an accident than automobile travel," said Judith Myers-Walls, a child therapist and professor emerita at Purdue University. "So should families never all travel in the same car?"

"The goal could be to live with a reasonable balance between expecting mortality and immortality," Myers-Walls said. "Be prepared for sudden catastrophes by keeping affairs in order, having an updated will, and not neglecting important tasks or relationships. But also be prepared for the very long term."

Former Owner: Plane had an excellent history 

 Polk County, Florida - It may take investigators up to one year to figure out exactly what caused the Pilatus PC-12 to break apart and fall from the sky over Polk County.

NTSB investigators say the debris field is scattered around a four mile area.

While no one wants to speculate about what happened, the plane's former owner says it was trouble free when it was sold three months ago.

Ronald Bramlage's company purchased the aircraft, according to FAA records. He was piloting the plane at the time of the crash, returning from a trip to the Bahamas with his wife Rebecca, and four children Brandon, 15, Boston, 13, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.
All six were killed in the crash.

"It's a horrible tragedy. We are really, really upset by this and we hope that we can determine what the cause of the crash was," said Todd Macaluso, the plane's former owner.
Macaluso may be a familiar name. He was one of Casey Anthony's defense attorneys and says used the aircraft to fly Anthony out of Florida when she was released last year.
Macaluso says his company owned and operated the plane for two years.

"The plane did go through an annual inspection before it was sold to those buyers, so it should have had a clean bill of health," Macaluso told 10 News by phone from his home in San Diego, California.

In a strange twist, Macaluso also often represents families of aircraft crash victims.
The plane was often used to transport his law firm's team of investigators across the country.

He says he even used it to take his own family on vacation and on relief missions to Haiti after the earthquake.

"It's a wonderful plane, excellent flying quality," he said.

NTSB special investigator Tim Monville says they will be reviewing the pilot's records, along with maintenance, weather and training reports.

Monville says he's also been in touch with the aircraft's manufacturer and the manufacturers of the propeller and engine.

They are trying to find out what caused six feet of the right wing to break off along with parts of the left wing and the horizontal stabilizer.

It is also not known what caused a large "gaping hole" in the side of the fuselage where it's believed the 13-year-old fell out while the plane was in the air.

"They have never seen a structural separation and I want to be very careful to say, and this is the takeaway, we don't know if the structural event is a resultant of some other even that proceeded that," explained Monville.

He says investigators will examine each piece of the aircraft they recover and reconstruct the plane to determine what happened. The process could take 9-12 months.

When asked if the pilot could have controlled the plane after the structural separation, Monville said, "In terms of controllability of the aircraft, there's a question of whether it was even possible."


The sixth family member of a plane crash in Florida's Polk County has been found. The body of 13-year-old Boston Bramlage was found about a half mile away from the scene of the crash, where the rest of his family was discovered.

"Friday afternoon, at 2:20pm, we located the missing young man," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "He was not in the plane when the plane hit the ground, he was thrown from the aircraft while it was coming to the ground. We've had several different witnesses tell us it was flat and it was rotating."

Investigators say it appears the right wing of the plane somehow separated when the plane was at about 25,000 feet. The Sheriff said Boston Bramlage was catapulted from the plane before it disappeared from radar and crashed.

"The pilot of another aircraft heard the pilot of this aircraft announce a mayday, gave his call sign, but was not specific about the nature of the emergency," said Tim Monville, a Senior Air Safety Investigator with the NTSB.

The NTSB said about six feet of the right wing is still missing.

More than a hundred men and women searched as if it had been their own child, according to Judd. Florida Fish and Wildlife Deputies found the teen almost a mile away from the wreckage.

"It breaks out heart to see an event like this occur," said Judd. "It's just a tragic event, of monumental proportions, but we're pleased that we were at least reuniting them the entire family now."

The debris field spans four miles.

"It's pretty rough terrain, the only real way to access it is by swamp buggy, or ATV," said Joe Brooks, who is an investigator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Related stories:
Family of six killed in small plane crash

Photos: Deadly plane crash in Lake Wales
Candlelight vigil honors plane crash victims


 Photos: Deadly plane crash in Lake Wales




Now that all the bodies of the victims have been recovered, the focus turns to recovering all of the aircraft and determining why it went down. NTSB investigator Tim Monville knows the plane started to break apart in flight, but doesn't know why.

"We don't know if the structural separation is the resultant of some other event that preceded that, so all I'll tell you is factually we have parts structurally separated, I don't know what that means yet."

A massive hole was ripped into the side of the fuselage, possibly by lightning, or could it be something else? The plane flew through a section of restricted airspace, but Sheriff Grady Judd says any action as a result of crossing into that space is not being considered.

"From all the information that I've heard, that played no part in this at all."

Investigators know there was a mayday call, but the reason is unknown.

"The pilot of another aircraft heard the pilot of this aircraft announce a MayDay, he gave his call sign but he was not specific about the nature of the emergency."

Meanwhile, the loss is taking a toll on the people of Junction City, Kansas where the Bramlage's lived. Flowers and candles surround their home and several area schools where they donated money for education. Just a month ago, they celebrated with friends the purchase of their new plane, said family friend Gary Schoenrock.

TAMPA (FOX 13) -  The NTSB says the plane that crashed in Polk County Thursday killing a family of six was flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet. The pilot, Ron Bramlage, made a mayday call, and shortly after that, the plane crashed.

A nearby pilot says he overheard it, but that Bramlage never went into detail about what the emergency was.

Just a few minutes later, the plane crashed in an isolated area in Polk County.

Captain Carl Valeri is a commercial airline pilot. He says that mayday call means Ron Bramlage knew there was a problem.

But what was the problem?

"What was the mayday call, what was the distress call, was it a call that he lost his airspeed indicator, was it a distress call that he had a problem with icing, did he have a problem mid flight, controlling the airplane?

Capt. Valeri said the plane, a PC12, is a mid-size aircraft. He says it has a lot of technology on it, and anyone who flies it should get significant training, and be retrained often.

"If you don't' have a lot of experience, or you don't practice enough, unfortunately you might get overwhelmed. And if you get overwhelmed, it could have a bad result," Valeri said.

He believes the flight track shows Ron lost control of the aircraft and couldn't recover. The NTSB says the plane had structural separation on the right and left wings.

Capt. Valeri says that can happen if the plane is overstressed. He says it had to have been catastrophic for 13-year-old Boston to have been ejected from the plane.

"It must have been a very violent situation for all that to be happening, for someone to actually have left the aircraft," Valeri said.


JUNCTION CITY, KS (KCTV) -  Searchers in Florida have found the body of 13-year-old Boston Bramlage.

The announcement was made Friday afternoon. His body was found about half a mile from the crash site. Trees had kept him hidden from the view of searchers in the air.

The boy, his three siblings and parents died in a plane crash Thursday afternoon. The family was from Junction City, KS.

Investigators believe Boston was sucked out of the plane piloted by his father when the plane first experienced problems at 26,100 feet. Debris was strewn across several miles of a heavily wooded, rugged remote area.

The plane crashed about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. A witness described watching the plane spiral as it fell from the sky before landing with a boom.

Federal investigators said Ron Bramlage, 45, issued a Mayday call, but did not identify the problem. He also triggered a distress beacon that helped searchers locate the plane.

The family was en route to Kansas after a vacation in the Bahamas with family members who live in the island nation. They had stopped off at a St. Lucie County airport for customs purposes and had taken off about again about noon.

"We know the child is not in the aircraft. We know there is a gaping hole in the aircraft in the area of one of the seats," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters before the discovery was made. "We are looking for this child as if he were our child out here. We don't know where he is. But certainly we will continue to search until we find him."

Judd said the search included a nearby lake.

"We've got to find the child," the sheriff said.

And they finally did.

Once the plane crash site was reached, investigators found inside the plane the bodies of Ron Bramlage, Rebecca Bramlage, 43, and three of their children: Brandon, 15, Beau, 11, and Roxanne, 8.

Rebecca "Becky" Bramlage was president of the Geary County School Board. Counselors are meeting with the children's grieving classmates Friday.

One sobbing classmate said she couldn't believe the news. She said she felt like she had been punched in the stomach.

Ron Bramlage was a prominent businessman in Junction City. He owned Roadside Ventures LLC, a outdoor advertising company in Junction City.

Ron Bramlage was the grandson of the late Fred Bramlage, a 1935 graduate and a Junction City businessman. Fred Bramlage was the lead contributor to the construction of Bramlage Coliseum, a multipurpose arena that opened in 1988 and is the home to K-State's basketball teams.

Roadside Ventures bought the single-engine aircraft involved in the crash about three months ago. The company bought the plane from Todd Macoluso. The Florida attorney represented Casey Anthony, a Florida mother who was acquitted in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

The plane drew national attention when it was used to fly Anthony from Orlando after she finished serving her jail time for lying to investigators about the death of her daughter and writing hot checks.

The plane was also used for a relief mission in Haiti after that country's earthquake.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will spend months investigating the cause of the crash. Weather was stormy at the time of the crash. Federal investigators will also look at mechanical records.


LAKE WALES, Fla.- Investigators say it appears something catastrophic happened in the moments before a luxury single engine airplane went down over a remote area of Polk County Thursday.

On board was a well known Kansas businessman Ron Bramlage, his wife Rebecca, and their four children, Brandon, Boston, Beau, and Roxanne.

 "We don't know why the plane came apart in mid air, but it did," says Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.


911 calls reporting the downed aircraft came in shortly after 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Locals report stormy weather in the area just before the crash.
Emergency crews arrived to find 5 of the 6 family members dead inside the wreckage. After an extensive search of the crash site it was confirmed one of the children, believed to be 13 year old Boston was missing.

"We know the child is not in the aircraft. We know there is a gaping hole in the aircraft in the area of one of the seats," said Sheriff Judd.

That could mean the child was sucked from the plane which was flying at 26,000 feet when it first encountered problems. A 3 to 4 mile debris field stretches across a wooded area of Polk County.

At first light Friday crews will resume a massive effort to locate the missing child's remains and any additional parts of the aircraft.

"This is a corner of the county that is all woods, so we can literally search for days and days and days and if it becomes necessary that's what we'll do." Sheriff Judd says the operation will include air and marine units, deputies on the ground searching by ATV, horseback and even on foot.

"Ware looking for this child as if it were our child," says Judd. "We don't know where he is, but certainly we will continue to search until we find him."

The Bramlage family is well known in their hometown of Junction City. Kansas State basketball's "Bramlage Coliseum" is named for the family who provided a huge donation.

Stunned relatives back in Kansas are waiting for additional word on what happened as crews from the FAA and NTSB work to piece together what went so terribly wrong.


 Six members of the Bramlage family died in a plane crash in Florida Thursday.

Ron Bramlage, his wife, Becky, and their four children died in the crash. The plane was flying from the Bahamas to Junction City, KS, when it crashed in the Tiger Creek Swamp.

The couple both graduated from Kansas State University. Ron Bramlage was the grandson of the late Fred Bramlage, a 1935 graduate and a Junction City businessman. Fred Bramlage was the lead contributor to the construction of Bramlage Coliseum, a multi-purpose arena that opened in 1988 and is the home to K-State's basketball teams.

Ron Bramlage owns Roadside Ventures LLC, a outdoor advertising company in Junction City. Becky Bramlage was president of the Geary County Board of Education.

The family had been vacationing in the Bahamas and left Treasure Cay about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The plane stopped in St. Lucie County for immigration purposes and then took off again just after noon. 

The crash happened at 12:36 p.m.

Parts of the single-engine plane were found two miles from the crash site. Authorities said the plane appeared to break up while in air.

The plane went down in rugged swamp country. Would-be rescuers and investigators had to use all-terrain vehicles to get to the scene. 

The bodies of the couple and their children Brandon, Beau and Roxanne have been recovered. Investigators believe 13-year-old Boston was sucked out of the plane when a hole opened in the fuselage.

The search for his body has ended for the night. Searchers will resume Friday morning, but poor weather conditions are expected to hamper their efforts. Searchers will be combing hundreds of acres in thick steep forests.

Kenny Lannou, spokesman for K-State, said this was a tragic day and the university's thoughts and prayers are with Bramlage family during a difficult time. 

Both Ron and Becky Bramlage were active at various organizations at K-State including serving as foundation trustees and members of the President's Club. 

"We are shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the deaths of Ron and Becky Bramlage and their children today," according to a statement issued on behalf of University President Kirk Schulz and Athletic Director John Currie. "The Bramlage family holds a special place in the history of Kansas State University and K-State Athletics, and Ron and Becky have been loyal supporters and great fans of K-State. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bramlage family during this difficult time."

Geary County School District is making counselors available at the schools where the four children attended. The district issued a statement.

"Words cannot describe the pain we feel in this moment," the statement said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family for their loss, a loss that not only impacts us at  school district, but the entire county and state of Kansas as well." 

Becky Bramlage was remembered as an advocate and champion for public education.
"She was proud that her children attended USD 475 and wanted to ensure that this school district was a pioneer in the areas of technology and in academics," according to the statement. "Becky was also a proponent of training for all board members and wanted people to work collaboratively in order to set new trends and be problem solvers for education." 

The couple made "tremendous contributions" the district's foundation. The six "will be severely missed."



  The bodies of five family members from Kansas have been pulled from a plane crash in Lake Wales, but one child's body remains missing.

Sheriff Grady Judd confirmed the flight's manifest listed six passengers would be on board the plane. The flight's manifest showed two adults and four children were supposed to be on board the flight.

Investigators said pilot Ronald Bramlage, 45, his wife Rebecca Bramlage, 43, and their four children died when their Pilatus PC-12 crashed in the Tiger Creek Swamp area around 12:35 p.m. Thursday.

Judd said witnesses saw the plane dive to the ground at a 90-degree angle and a debris trail of two miles has been found. Witnesses told deputies they heard the plane sputtering, looked up and saw the plane flip and fly upside down.

Plane crashes in rural, swampy area of northeastern Polk County

The plane went down in an area that is not accessible by ground without specialty vehicles. Crews made their way to the area with four-wheelers. "It was immediately clear that there were no survivors of the crash," investigators said. "It is apparent that parts of the aircraft separated before the crash."

According to flight tracking website FlightAware, the plane took off from Treasure Cay Airport in the Bahamas at 9:25 a.m. and landed at St. Lucie County International Airport at 10:15 a.m.

The plane left the airport at 12:05 p.m. and the first report of a plane down came in at 12:36 p.m. The plane was due to arrive in Junction City, Kansas at 3:41 p.m.

The track of the flight flew northwest over Polk County, took a hard turn back to the southeast, turned sharp to the left, flew over more rural area and crashed near Lake Kissimmee. Officials said the aircraft was traveling at approximately 26,000 feet when it first began experiencing trouble. 

A woman identified as Barb said she saw the plane “twirling around” but she did not witness the plane crashing. "I didn’t know if the plane was doing acrobats,” she said, via phone. "It was awful.” There is an airport nearby. David Wine’s Airstrip Airport is located at 2605 Walk-in-Water Road in Lake Wales.

Emergency crews had to be lowered to the crash site by a sheriff's office helicopter. Officials said equipment became stuck trying to get back to the crash site in the rugged area the plane went down.

In calls we have obtained, a male caller relayed the crash scene to emergency dispatchers:

"He’s advising now black smoke and gas leaking, advised flames at the cockpit of the aircraft," the dispatcher said. Later, the grim reality of the crash set in. "There doesn’t appear to be any survivors," the dispatcher said. "They’re just working on putting out the fire now with the fire extinguisher.”

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the death investigation in this matter. The NTSB and FAA will be conducting investigations related the crash.

Additionally, the aircraft manufacturer and the engine manufacturer will be conducting investigations.

Investigators said the aircraft is owned by Roadside Ventures LLC of Junction City, Kansas. Bramlage, of Junction City, is the owner of Roadside Ventures LLC.

LAKE WALES –  Four people are confirmed dead in a small plane crash in Lake Wales, according to Polk County Fire Rescue officials.

Officials said four people were on board the Pilatus PC-12, which crashed in the Tiger Creek Swamp area shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday.

The plane went down in an area that is not accessible by ground without specialty vehicles. Crews are making their way to the area with four-wheelers.

According to flight tracking website FlightAware, the plane took off from Treasure Cay Airport in the Bahamas, landed at St. Lucie International Airport and took off for Junction City, Kansas.

The track of the flight flew northwest over Polk County, took a hard turn back toward the southeast, turn sharp to the left, flew over more rural area and crashed near Lake Kissimmee.

In calls obtained by Bay News 9, a male caller relayed the crash scene to emergency dispatchers:

“He’s advising now black smoke and gas leaking, advised flames at the cockpit of the aircraft,” the dispatcher said. Later, the grim reality of the crash set in. “There doesn’t appear to be any survivors,” the dispatcher said. “They’re just working on putting out the fire now with the fire extinguisher.”

Neighbor sees ‘plane was doing acrobats’

A woman identified as Barb said she saw the plane “twirling around” but she did not witness the plane crashing.

 “I didn’t know if the plane was doing acrobats,” she said, via phone. “It was awful.”

There is an airport nearby. David Wine’s Airstrip Airport is located at 2605 Walk-in-Water Road in Lake Wales.

N950KA back home at Palomar Airport - 70 hours 18,000 miles

Former aircraft owner Todd Macaluso of Casey Anthony fame


Ronald Bramlage was piloting a Pilatus PC-12/47 at the time of the crash on Thursday, June 7, 2012 returning from a trip to the Bahamas with his wife Rebecca, and four children Brandon, Boston, Beau, and Roxanne. All six were killed in the crash.















 Debris found near Nalcrest


 
On board was a well known Kansas businessman Ron Bramlage, his wife Rebecca, and their four children, Brandon, Boston, Beau, and Roxanne.
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Ron Bramlage, his wife, Becky, and their four children died in the crash


 Wrestling shoes and flowers hang from the fence of the home of Ron and Rebecca Bramlage and their four children, left by friends and neighbors, Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Junction City, Kan. The family died in a Florida plane crash, and three Bramlage boys were wrestlers. Photo: John Hanna / AP
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 Friends and neighbors of Ron and Rebecca Bramlage and their four children leave flowers and other items at the fence of their home to honor them after their deaths, Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Junction City, Kan. The family died in a Florida plane crash. Photo: John Hanna / AP
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An unidentified FAA Investigator, left, and Sheriff Grady Judd investigate the site where a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop passenger plane, crashed in southeast polk County near Lake Weohyakapka, aka Lake Walk In the Water, in southeast Polk County, Fla. on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Ronald Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, Kan., who was piloting the plane, his wife Rebecca and their four children were killed in the crash. 

This photo provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office shows the wreckage of a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop passenger plane that crashed near Lake Weohyakapka, aka Lake Walk In the Water, in southeast Polk County, Fla. on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Ronald Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, Kan., who was piloting the plane, his wife Rebecca and their four children were killed in the crash. 


 Emergency personnel investigate the site where a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop passenger plane, crashed in southeast polk County near Lake Weohyakapka, aka Lake Walk In the Water, in southeast Polk County, Fla. on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Ronald Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, Kan., who was piloting the plane, his wife Rebecca and their four children were killed in the crash. 


 In this photo provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, emergency personnel investigate the site where a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop passenger plane, crashed near Lake Weohyakapka, aka Lake Walk In the Water, in southeast Polk County, Fla. on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Ronald Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, Kan., who was piloting the plane, his wife Rebecca and their four children were killed in the crash. 


 Investigators work the site where a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop passenger plane, crashed in southeast polk County near Lake Weohyakapka, aka Lake Walk In the Water, in southeast Polk County, Fla. on Thursday, June 7, 2012. Ronald Bramlage, 45, of Junction City, Kan., who was piloting the plane, his wife Rebecca and their four children were killed in the crash.