Thursday, July 19, 2012

Airport construction manager goes to jail

Friday the 13th was especially unlucky for William Mazzella. 

The construction manager of two 2009 LaGuardia Airport projects was slapped with a four-month jail sentence on July 13 after pleading guilty to paying his workers less than half of the wages required by law.

Mazzella managed the public works projects at the airport for Decora Construction, LLC, a Mahopac masonry subcontractor, which submitted certified payroll reports to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stating that all workers were paid legally required prevailing wages of between $51.54 and $70.54 per hour. However, Mazzella actually paid the workers at rates of between $18 and $25 per hour.

Restitution totaling $800,000 will be made to the underpaid workers.

“Paying workers less than the law requires and then lying about it in official documents is not a mistake or a paperwork problem — it is criminal behavior,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who announced the sentencing. “When contractors bid on a public project involving taxpayer dollars, they have to play by the rules. These employers did not, and now they have felony criminal convictions.”

Mazzella was indicted March 28 on two counts of grand larceny in the second degree, one count of violation of labor law, one count of falsifying business records in the first degree and one count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

Mazzella has been involved in shady business tactics before. In addition to charges related to the LaGuardia Airport projects, the indictment charges that from on or about Aug. 2, 2008 to on or about May 6, 2010, Mazzella committed larceny by failing to pay the prevailing wages to workers on an Housing Preservation and Development project in the Bronx. On May 29, 2012, Mazzella pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny and a violation of labor law in that case.

In related charges, Francisco Tavares and his ex-wife, Aurora Perreira, also pleaded guilty to similar charges. Tavares was sentenced on July 11 and Perreira was sentenced earlier this year. Both defendants were sentenced to five years probation. As a condition of probation, they may not work on public construction projects in New York State for five years.

Gulliver’s Fly-In

 

Pilots gather at a fly-in for ultralight and sport planes at Gulliver’s Wilderness Airpark in Palermo. Pilots Steve Reyner of Hannibal and Dale Bort of Brewerton are featured in the video. Video by David Lassman

Alabama man arrested for shooting at restored Boeing Stearman

 
This is the  Boeing Stearman McCay is charged with shooting at. 

WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

HAYDEN, AL (WBRC) - 

A 36-year-old Hayden man let his temper get the best of him and now he is facing federal charges for shooting at an airplane.

Jason Allen McCay is accused of firing a gun at a historic biplane. That biplane was the subject of Fox6's Fred Hunter's Absolutely Alabama. On June 22 81-year-old Fred Campbell, along with a friend, took up the renovated Boeing Stearman Plane. Campbell has operated the Campbell Air Field since 1959. He purchased and flew the historic plane back from Guatamala. 

McCay had been involved in a feud with Campbell over planes flying over his house which is directly across the street from the private airport. Witnesses say they heard the shots the day,

"Very stupid. Idiotic. They flew it. The guy took three or four shots at them. I didn't see the man do it but I heard the shots," Carlton Sloan said. 

Thursday Morning members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with the Blount County Sheriff's Department, arrested McCay. McCay has been charged with  attempted destruction of an aircraft which is a felony. McCay will appear at a detention hearing Friday. 

Campbell and his family did not want to comment on the arrest but others are glad that McCay will not pose a threat to the area in the future.

"If you shoot it straight up it's likely to fall on somebody. If you shoot it horizontal you are liable to hit someone. There is no point shooting at anything you don't want to hit," Sloan said


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Hayden man has been arrested for shooting at a restored biplane flying over a private airfield beside the man's home. 

 Jason Allen McCay was arrested Thursday and charged with attempted destruction of an aircraft, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.

The federal law makes it a felony to willfully interfere with or disable, with reckless disregard for the safety of human life, the authorized operation of any aircraft in the United States.

McCay, 36, was seen shooting a long-gun at a 1943 Boeing Stearman Biplane that was landing on Campbell Field, a private grass airstrip in Hayden, Ala., on June 22, according to the criminal complaint and affidavit filed against McCay.

McCay also attempted to damage, destroy, disable and wreck the plane, according the complaint.

The aircraft was being flown on tested flights over Campbell Field, which was built in 1963 by Fred Campbell, who owns the plane.

On the same day of shooting, about 20 witnesses were present at the field in celebration of the plane being restored to flight standards, according to the affidavit. Witness heard several gunshots as the plane was coming in for the landing on the third test flight of the day.

"As the aircraft made a bank and leveled out over the home of Jason McCay, McCay fired upon the aircraft with a long-gun," the affidavit states.

One witness, who was standing about 60 yards from McCay's house, said he saw McCay standing at a fence beside the airstrip with a weapon that looked like a shotgun. The witness said he watched McCay aim at the aircraft in flight and fire repeatedly, according to the affidavit.

McCay is scheduled to appear in a detention hearing on Friday morning.

http://www.sfgate.com

Curious gopher lives under rocket launchpad

 

A friendly gopher has been found living metres from the launchpad at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome.

Help wanted: Alaska bush pilot ally with passion for floatplanes, FAA

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is recruiting for a Lake Hood manager, formally called an Airport Operations Specialist, according to a press release sent out on Tuesday.

What's the job entail?
  • You'll provide a variety of services "to ensure day-to-day airfield operations’ safety and compliance with statutes and federal regulations" at the world's most heavily populated seaplane home base. Over 1,000 aircraft use the facility, year-round. 
  • You will supervise staff and provide "managerial support."
  • You will be Lake Hood's go-between to the Federal Aviation Administration, and will meet with a variety of groups to resolve airport operation issues. (Interpretation: Think of yourself as a conduit for community concerns to Uncle Sam).
  • You will physically check the air strip and seaplane base. The buck stops with you on security and safety issues.
  • Not enough? You will also step in as senior representative for airport management when higher authorities are absent.
Minimum qualifications as listed on the job posting are: “Two years experience resolving aircraft operating area (AOA) issues and experience involving commercial or general aviation operations, terminal operations, landside operations, or overseeing snow removal and airport and runway safety operations, subject to FAA, state, or military rules and regulations.”

“This is a critical position at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport,” John Parrott, Airport Manager at Anchorage International Airport, said in the press release. “With 500 floatplane slips and 500 wheeled airplane tie downs, Lake Hood is a busy airport in its own right. This is an exciting job that interfaces with lots of avid aviators, oversees operations and conducts crucial safety and security elements in accordance with the FAA.”

The job is a full-time, year-round position with the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

People interested in the position can log onto Workplace Alaska to find more details and apply electronically.

 http://www.alaskadispatch.com

P-38 and P-40 formation flight

 

July 16, 2012 by POFmuseum  
The Planes of Fame P-38 Lightning takes to the sky for a solo flight around the area and a formation flight with our P-40 Warhawk on the return flight back to Chino.

Entebbe Airport for expansion

 

Contrary to what has been claimed in the past, Entebbe’s ground handling costs are the cheapest in the region according to the CAA. According to David Mpango the Deputy Managing Director of the Civil Aviation Authority, private sector complaints that costs at Entebbe were affecting bottom lines of businesses are not well founded following a study to that effect.

Your constitutional right to get naked in an airport! Judge: Man who stripped nude at airport not guilty - Portland International (KPDX), Oregon



PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man who stripped nude at Portland’s airport security to protest what he saw as invasive measures was found not guilty of indecent exposure.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge David Rees ruled Wednesday that John Brennan’s act was one of protest and therefore, protected speech.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Joel Petersen argued that Brennan’s strip-down was an act of indecent exposure.

‘‘I was aware of the irony of removing my clothes to protect my privacy,’’ Brennan said from the witness stand on Wednesday.

On April 17, Brennan arrived at the airport intending to take a business trip to San Jose, Calif. He works with groups in Silicon Valley and flies out of Portland International Airport about once a month.

When he reached the gate, he declined to go through the airport’s body scanners, instead choosing the alternative metal detector and body pat-down. After the pat-down, Transportation Security Administration officer Steven Van Gordon detected nitrates on the gloves he used to check Brennan.

‘‘For me, time slowed down,’’ Brennan said. ‘‘I thought about nitrates and I thought about the Oklahoma City bombing.’’

Brennan said before his trial that after months of angst every time he went through security, the nitrate detection was the final straw for him, a wordless accusation that he was a terrorist.

So he took off all his clothes.

A TSA agent stacked plastic crates high onto several carts and positioned them around Brennan. Port of Portland police arrested Brennan and took him to the Multnomah County Jail.

Brennan, 50, demanded a jury trial in early May, but was turned down.

Brennan insists he didn’t come to the airport intending to protest. He had called the Port of Portland — which operates the airport — a year earlier to ask whether Oregon’s rules involving nudity applied at the airport. Brennan said he was told that they did. Brennan said in court that he asked because he had considered nudity as an act of protest, but hadn’t found cause to strip down.

The law says that naked people are only breaking the law if they’re having sex in public or got undressed ‘‘with the intent of arousing the sexual desire’’ of another person.

But if Brennan truly was acting in protest, Petersen asked, then couldn’t anyone be arrested while naked make the same claim?

‘‘Any person naked for any purpose will be able to say it was protected speech,’’ Petersen said.

Portland would be an interesting test case for such a question. After all, this is the city with the World Naked Bike Ride, before which police simply send out a light admonition to ‘‘all riders at least wear a helmet and shoes.’’

As Brennan left the stand Wednesday, he said that his protest was also intended to give the TSA an idea of the effect its policies had on travelers, especially the body-scanners that produce images of passengers without clothes on.

‘‘I wanted to show them it’s a two-way street,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t like a naked picture of me being available.’’

Piper PA-28RT-201T, N2835N: Aircraft landed gear up - Orlando, Florida


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 2835N        Make/Model: PA28      Description: CHEROKEE, ARROW, WARRIOR, ACHER, D
  Date: 07/19/2012     Time: 1906

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

LOCATION
  City: ORLANDO   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP. ORLANDO, FL

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: ORLANDO, FL  (SO15)                   Entry date: 07/20/2012 

 http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=2835N



ORLANDO -- A small plane had to make an emergency landing Thursday, skidding on the runway at Orlando Executive Airport. 

 A spokesperson with the airport says the privately-owned, single-engine plane landed gear up around 4 p.m. at the airport, skidding on Runway 25.

There was no damage to the airport itself.

Two people were on the plane, but no one was hurt.

http://www.cfnews13.com

B737 Wing Tip Strike

Piper Seneca, N38832: Paola Pivi's Rotating Plane in Central Park

 

by Benjamin Sutton 
Artinfo
Published: July 19, 2012

NEW YORK — Yesterday, even before a large thunderstorm pelted New York City with rain and hail, an onsite Public Art Fund (PAF) staffer noticed that "How I Roll" — a spectacular installation by the Italy-born, Alaska-based artist Paola Pivi that consists of a rotating Piper Seneca suspended at its wingtips on two steel columns — wasn't rolling properly. The work, which has been turning heads at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue since it debuted on June 20, was shut down, and upon closer inspection was determined to need a major tune up. 

Excitement sky high for Princeton air show - Canada


Fire and ice will be key components in Saturday’s Princeton International Air Show in the skies over the Similkameen Valley.

From the cool nerves of the aerobatic pilots in gravity-defying, mid-sky manoeuvres to a pyrotechnic air-to-ground battle scene, the show has something for everyone.

“This is our biggest and best yet,” said co-organizer Patrick Robins. “I think what makes it so appealing is that we are grassroots and people get to talk to the pilots. Those guys live for telling their stories, especially to the kids, to share their life, enthusiasm and love of aviation.” 

Among them will be returning aerobatic specialist Ron Andrew of Blender Airshows.

At age 54, he is unique in that it was only a few years ago the Alberta resident began flying.

Despite his relative inexperience, the paces he puts his Pitts S2B biplane — affectionately known as Blender — through are breathtaking.

“I went to air shows when I was younger and just had an intense craving to do aerobatics. It was something I couldn’t understand but I had to fulfill,” he said. “It was a dream I’ve been chasing for years.

“It hasn’t been that long but it’s been the ride of a lifetime.”

Inspiring others to follow their dreams is also one of his big motivators.

While the potential for an accident is there, Andrew doesn’t dwell on that.

“Crashing is always a concern, but you have to do what you can to be safe,” he said. “If you worry about it, you probably wouldn’t do it.”

To prepare for a show, he spends time beforehand mentally focusing on the routine he is about to perform.

While Paul Dumoret of Osoyoos has a few more aerial hours under his belt, his passion for flight is just as strong.

“I just absolutely have fun, I love it,” said Dumoret, who will be at the controls of the green Nanchang military trainer. “This type of flying is very challenging and very disciplined because it’s you against the elements and even against yourself.”

He and licensed pyrotechnician Frank Zandvliet have put together a demonstration sure to be a highlight of this year’s event.

The routine creates the illusion of a warbird being hit and then attacking a ground-based enemy with gunfire and bombs.

He too loves the smaller venues like Princeton.

“There’s much more interaction, and when you see the enthusiasm of the people who put it on and the people who support it, that’s what’s incredible,” said Dumoret.

Other featured acts this year include aerobatic specialists Brandon Dreyer of Langley, Kent Pietsch of North Dakota and scheduled demonstrations by the Canadian Air Force and Mark Humbke and his gyrocopter.

Gates open at 9 a.m. followed by a chance to talk to pilots and view the aircraft. Opening ceremonies are at 10:40 a.m. and the aerial show begins at 11 a.m. Admission is $5.

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, Ocean Aerial Ads Inc., N4330Z: Accident occurred July 19, 2012 in Berlin, Maryland

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA465
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 19, 2012 in Berlin, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N4330Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The airplane was returning from a midmorning banner tow on a hot and humid day. The pilot made all of the standard radio calls and dropped the banner at the appropriate time. According to several witnesses, the drop was normal; however, instead of adding power and turning right after the drop per normal company procedures, the airplane continued straight ahead, and no power was added. About 1/2 mile beyond the drop area, the airplane stalled and entered a left spin, then hit a large oak tree, impacted the ground, and was subsequently consumed in a postcrash fire. The accident site was located on an abandoned golf course with multiple areas of open flat land both in its immediate vicinity and between the site and the banner drop area. No preexisting mechanical anomalies were noted with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation, and propeller damage indicated the presence of engine power at impact. Fellow pilots reported that the pilot was known for consistently flying correct patterns, was considered the most cautious in the group of banner pilots, and would radio anytime he thought something was abnormal, but he made no radio calls after the banner drop. The pilot had gone for a run earlier that morning. After the run, the pilot noted to another pilot how “heavy” the air felt and how he couldn’t “get a full breath.” He twice stated to another pilot that he had a headache. He called his wife during the flight, and she reported that the conversation was “normal” and that the pilot did not mention a headache. Autopsy results did not reveal evidence of pilot incapacitation; however, the heat from the postcrash fire affected the extent and fidelity of available medical evidence. However, other evidence, such as the pilot’s failure to turn the airplane and add power as he normally would; his failure to announce any difficulties as he typically did; his failure to use other available landing sites, if needed, and instead continue straight ahead for 1/2 mile; and his failure to maintain airspeed suggests that it is likely that he was unable to perform basic piloting functions due to incapacitation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

Pilot incapacitation of unknown origin, which resulted in the airplane’s loss of control and an inadvertent aerodynamic stall/spin. 


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 19, 2012, about 1050 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N4330Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted a tree and terrain following a tow banner drop in Berlin, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated at Bunting's Field (4MD1), Berlin, Maryland. The banner tow operation was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The private airfield included a single turf runway 18/36 that was 3,000 feet long and 50 feet wide. Adjacent to the runway, on its west side, was another turf strip, approximately 900 feet long and 100 feet wide, where banners were picked up and dropped.

According to the operator, on the day of the accident, and with winds generally out of the west, the two, 6-foot-high banner pick-up masts were positioned about 8 feet apart at the southern edge of the banner strip, while the banner drop area was north of the pick-up masts.

A diagram and a flight demonstration showed that pilots of returning banner flights would make three inbound radio calls, two of which were over highway landmarks. A third call would be made as each airplane proceeded southbound over transmission lines located about 800 feet north of the banner strip. Airplanes would then continue on the southerly heading while descending to about 250 feet above ground level, depending on banner size. Once over the banner strip, pilots would drop the banner, then add power, and climb the airplane while commencing a right turn. They would subsequently fly a teardrop course reversal until the airplane was headed northbound and lined up with the pick-up masts. As they were lining up, pilots would descend the airplane, then subsequently add power and snag a new banner from the pick-up masts while pitching upwards. They would continue to fly initially toward the north, before turning outbound toward their tow area assignments.

According to several witnesses, the accident pilot was inbound to drop his first banner of the day and he reported all three reporting points as he normally would. The drop was also normal; however, instead of adding power and commencing a right turn, ground personnel did not hear the addition of power, and the airplane continued straight ahead. It eventually climbed slightly, the left wing dropped, and the airplane entered a left spin. It subsequently descended into a tree, then impacted the ground and immediately caught fire.

Fellow pilots stated that the accident pilot consistently flew correct patterns, and if anything, would fly turns wider than other pilots. He was considered the most cautious of the group, and would radio anytime he felt something was abnormal; however, he did not make any radio calls when the airplane flew straight ahead rather than turn to the right.

Prior to the airplane's diversion from its normal pattern, other pilots heard the accident pilot make all of the standard radio calls.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 23, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane, single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. According to the pilot's logbook, prior to the accident flight, he had 208 hours of total flight time, with 164 hours in make and model, all within the previous 42 days.

The pilot's latest FAA first class medical certificate was issued on June 29, 2011.

According to other pilots, the accident pilot had one beer, some water and a piece of pizza on the evening before the accident. He was described as, "his normal self, happy, friendly and talkative."

The next morning, the accident pilot went for a run, and subsequently mentioned to another pilot, "how heavy the air was…it feels like I can't get a full breath." The other pilot also noted how humid and hot it was that morning.

After a safety briefing, the accident pilot and two other pilots went to a convenience store and a fast food store where the accident pilot bought a drink and a biscuit before driving back to work. The accident pilot twice mentioned to one of the other pilots that he had a headache, and blamed it on the previous evening's beer, as he normally drank very little.

According to the pilot's wife, he sent her a text message from the airplane at 1037. She also noted that he had called her from the airplane about a half hour earlier, as he normally would during flights, utilizing blue tooth and his head set. It was difficult to hear him due to background airplane noise, but the approximately 10-minute conversation was "normal," and the pilot did not note any problems or headache at that time.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather, recorded at Ocean City, Maryland, 6 nm to the southeast, at 1053, included clear skies, wind from 240 degrees true at 6 knots, temperature 32 degrees C (90 degrees F) and dew point 24 degrees C (75 degrees F).

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located next to a lake, at the base of an estimated 80-foot oak tree, in the vicinity of 38 degrees, 21.48 minutes north latitude, 075 degrees, 13.66 minutes west longitude. It came to rest about 185 degrees magnetic, about ½ nautical mile from the banner drop.

The site was located on an abandoned golf course, with multiple areas of open flat land both in its immediate vicinity, and between it and the banner drop area.

The airframe was mostly consumed by fire, with primarily structural tubing and control cables remaining. The airplane was inverted, with the front half sticking up from the ground at an angle of about 60 degrees. Just aft of the single pilot seat, the fuselage was folded over to where it was upside-down, and the compressed tail rested against the ground. Some of the tubing on the airplane's right side, in the area of the fold, was completely separated with jagged edges.

All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the control stick and the rudder pedals to their respective control surfaces, except that the right rudder cable was separated, and appeared to be cut in the vicinity of where the airframe tubing was separated with jagged edges.

The engine was fire-damaged, and its condition at the site precluded confirmation of crankshaft continuity. The metal propeller, which was recovered from the lake, exhibited torsional bending, with a 90-degree bend near one end, and multiple bends and chordwise scratching on the other end. Approximately 25 feet of main tree truck was separated from the top of the oak tree, with about 80 percent of the estimated 12-inch-diameter trunk having been cut at a 45-degree angle. Propeller blade torsional bending and 45-degree tree cuts were consistent with the presence of engine power at the time of impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the State of Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Annapolis, Maryland, with cause of death stated as, "thermal burns and blunt force trauma." The report also noted no soot in the airways.

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. No pre-existing anomalies were noted, and there was no evidence of carbon monoxide in the blood.

An NTSB Medical Officer's review of available information noted no evidence of medical hazards in the pilot's FAA medical information. It also noted no definitive evidence from the autopsy report that would have indicated pilot incapacitation, but that the high temperatures sustained during the postcrash fire had affected the extent and fidelity of the available evidence.

 http://registry.faa.gov/N4330Z

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA465 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 19, 2012 in Berlin, MD
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N4330Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 July 19, 2012, about 1050 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N4330Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted a tree and terrain following a tow banner drop in Berlin, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated at Bunting's Field (4MD1), Berlin, Maryland. The banner tow operation was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to several witnesses, the accident pilot was inbound to drop his first banner of the day and he radioed all three reporting points as he normally would. The southbound drop was also normal; however, instead of subsequently adding power and commencing a right turn per procedures, ground personnel did not hear the addition of power, and the airplane continued straight ahead. It eventually climbed slightly, the left wing dropped, and the airplane entered a left spin. It subsequently descended into a tree, then impacted the ground and immediately caught fire.

Fellow pilots stated that the accident pilot consistently flew correct patterns, that he was considered the most cautious of the group, and that he would radio anytime he felt something was abnormal. However, he did not make any radio calls when the airplane flew straight ahead rather than turn to the right.

The airplane was located next to a lake, at the base of an estimated 80-foot oak tree, in the vicinity of 38 degrees, 21.48 minutes north latitude, 075 degrees, 13.66 minutes west longitude. It came to rest about 185 degrees magnetic, ½ nautical mile from the banner drop.

The airframe was mostly consumed by fire, with primarily tubing and control cables remaining. The airplane was inverted, with the front half sticking up from the ground at an angle of about 60 degrees. Just aft of the single pilot seat, the fuselage was bent over to where it was upside-down, and the compressed tail rested against the ground. Some of the tubing on the airplane's right side, in the area of the bending, was completely separated with jagged edges.

All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the control stick and the rudder pedals to their respective control surfaces, except that the right rudder cable was separated, and appeared to be cut in the vicinity of where the airframe tubing was separated with jagged edges.

The engine was fire-damaged, and its condition at the site precluded confirmation of crankshaft continuity. The metal propeller, which was recovered from the lake, exhibited torsional bending, with 90-degree bending near one end, and multiple bends and chordwise scratching on the other end. Approximately 25 feet of main tree trunk was separated from the top of the oak tree, with about 80 percent of the estimated 12-inch-diameter trunk having been cut at a 45-degree angle. Propeller blade torsional bending and 45-degree tree cuts are consistent with the presence of engine power at the time of impact.



FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 4330Z        Make/Model: PA18      Description: PA-18 Super Cub 
  Date: 07/19/2012     Time: 1450

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

LOCATION
  City: BERLIN   State: MD   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED ON A GOLF COURSE WHILE ATTEMPTING TO LAND. BERLIN, MD

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Aerial Application      Phase: Approach      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: BALTIMORE, MD  (EA07)                 Entry date: 07/20/2012 



BERLIN -- A banner plane crashed early Thursday in Worcester County outside Berlin, killing the pilot. 

 Maryland State Police said 23-year-old Garett Colona of Rhodesdale was the pilot and only occupant.

The pilot was dropping off one banner to pick up another, police said. Witnesses reported the fixed-wing Piper Super Cub appeared to have engine trouble and clipped a large tree.

The single-engine plane went down on the grounds of the defunct Beach Club Golf Links off Deer Park Road outside Berlin, police said.

State troopers from the Berlin barrack responded to a 911 call at 10:52 a.m. Authorities arrived at the Bunting family airfield at Carey Road in the Berlin area, where the aircraft was based.

Police said they've notified the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, and that the investigation is ongoing.

The crash site was a far-flung spot about "in the middle" of the golf course, according to Lt. Mike McDermott of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office.

There were no golfers on the course at the time. Beach Club Golf Links closed in 2010, according to Kim Ruark with property owner Ruark Golf.

The closure is obvious to passers-by; waist-high grass obscured the unattended sign at the course entrance on Deer Park Road.

Nearby, state police and sheriff's patrol cars blocked Deer Park Road to oncoming traffic as investigators tended to the crash site.

The plane was in the service of Ocean Aerial Ads Inc., a banner plane operation based at the Bunting Hidden Acres property.

According to the Ocean Aerial website, the business is owned and operated by the Bunting family and has flown banners since 1982.

At the hangar midday Thursday, Ocean Aerial owner Robert Bunting told a reporter that the business had not had a banner plane fatality in 19 years. He said his thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.

Bunting himself has lost a family member in a banner tow accident.

In an interview last August with The Daily Times, Bunting said his brother died in a 1983 crash, after a banner became entangled around the landing gear of the plane.

"I don't like to talk about it much," Bunting said at the time. "Accidents happen. Just like cars. It's the bad part, just like with anything."

Over crowds, banner planes fly at about 40 mph, and about 60 mph while in transit between hangar and the beach, Bunting also said in that interview.

Since 1983, there have been nine reported banner plane crashes by aircraft owned and operated by Ocean Aerial Ads, according to the website AirCrashed.com, which makes public Federal Aviation Administration crash records and incident reports.

Of those, there were four reported fatalities.

The last reported Ocean Aerial banner plane incident was June 27, 2001. Upon landing, stiff crosswinds pushed the banner plane off the runway and into a mound of dirt, according to an FAA report.

The last reported death in an Ocean Aerial banner plane was June 29, 1991. The Piper J5 was on a banner towing flight when it crashed during a banner pickup attempt, according to the FAA report. An examination of the airplane did not show evidence of mechanical failure or banner entanglement, the report said.

A pilot and two passengers died Aug. 24, 1997, when their sight-seeing biplane crashed into the ocean after doing aerobatics. That aircraft was owned by Robert Bunting and operated by Ocean Aerial but was not a banner tow plane in this incident, according to the FAA crash report.


Owner of Ocean Aerial, which flies advertising banners over beaches, says pilot was 'super guy'

A pilot working for an Eastern Shore company that flies advertising banners over Ocean City beaches each summer was killed Thursday after his plane crashed on a golf course in Worcester County, according to Maryland State Police.

The pilot, identified by police as Garett Colona, 23, of the 5000 block of Sharptown Road in Rhodesdale, was a "super guy" beloved by all the company's other pilots, said Bob Bunting, owner of plane operator Ocean Aerial Ads Thursday afternoon.

"This was one of the nicest individuals I've ever known in my life," Bunting said. "We're in shock."

Police were first called to the small Bunting Airport in the 9700 block of Carey Road in Berlin about 10:50 a.m. for reports of a crash in the adjacent golf course, which was not identified, said Sgt. Marc Black, a police spokesman.

Witnesses at the scene told police the plane, a Piper Super Cub, appeared to have engine trouble after dropping an advertising banner, police said. Witnesses said the wing of the plane then appeared to strike a large tree before crashing, police said.

Colona was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured, Black said.

Bunting said the plane was making a turn, without a banner attached, when things went wrong. He said he couldn't speculate further, and that more information on the crash would have to come from the Federal Aviation Administration's investigation.

Black said the FAA is working in collaboration with the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the crash. Bunting said he would cooperate fully with investigators.

His company, which began almost 30 years ago and has its offices in Berlin near the airport, had not had a banner plane fatality since 1993, he said.

Bunting described Thursday's crash as a tragedy for an otherwise "fun business."

The company flies banners from Ocean City north to Lewes, Del., including over Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach.

Though it will be difficult, planes will continue to fly over the beach this summer, Bunting said.

"The business goes on," he said. "There're car crashes every day, there're airplane crashes. It's just a very unfortunate thing, but we don't stop driving cars and we don't stop flying airplanes."

http://www.baltimoresun.com

NEWS RELEASE: MARYLAND STATE POLICE ON SCENE OF A PLANE CRASH IN WORCESTER COUNTY 

 (Berlin, MD) – Maryland State Police are on the scene of a plane crash at Bunting Airport in Worcester County, which has claimed the life of one individual.

The victim is identified as the pilot and is believed to be the sole occupant of the plane at the time of the crash. The pilot’s identity will not be released pending notification of the next of kin. The plane is identified as a Piper Super Cub.

At approximately 10:50 a.m. today, troopers from the Berlin Barrack responded to Bunting Airport on Carey Road, in Berlin, Maryland, after receiving 9-1-1 calls reporting the crash. Witnesses reported the plane appeared to be having engine trouble after dropping an advertising banner. Witnesses also informed police that the aircraft’s wing appeared to have struck a large tree before crashing to the ground.

State Police have notified officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. The investigation continues…


 
WBOC Chopper 16 aerial photo of the plane crash scene. Not much was left of the aircraft after it struck a tree. 

Investigators survey the scene of this banner plane that crashed outside Berlin, Md., today. The pilot was killed in the crash. 
 ROB KORB/The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times


 
Smoke billows from the airplane crash as investigators survey the scene of this banner plane in Berlin on Thursday. The pilot was killed in the crash.
Rob Korb




BERLIN, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — For the second time this week a person has died in a small plane crash.

A plane crashed Thursday morning around 10:50 a.m. in Berlin, Md. Maryland State Police said the pilot is believed to be the only occupant of the Piper Super Cub plane.

Police say witnesses reported the plane appeared to be having engine trouble after dropping an advertising banner. Witnesses also told police that the aircraft’s wing appeared to have struck a large tree before crashing into the ground.

State police have notified officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, and the investigation is continuing.

On Monday, a single-engine plane crashed near Davis Airport in Gaithersburg, killing flight instructor Frank Schmidt. A passenger in that crash was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.



An airplane pulling an advertisement crashed July 20 at a Berlin, Md., airport after experiencing engine trouble, officials say.

Witnesses say the plane appeared to have engine trouble after dropping an advertising banner at 10:50 a.m. near Bunting Airport on Carey Road.
It appears the wing of the Piper Super Cub airplane hit a large tree before crashing to the crash, said Maryland State Police.

The pilot was killed, and is believed to be the sole occupant of the plane, police said. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. 


BERLIN, Md.- Authorities say the pilot of a banner plane died after the aircraft crashed into a tree north of Berlin late Thursday morning. 

The reports came in just before 11 a.m. of a plane crashing into a tree on an old golf course near Bunting's Field airport off of Carey Road. Initial reports were that it was a crop duster, but WBOC later found out it was a banner plane.

Maryland State Police confirmed that the pilot died in the crash, which left the plane in ruins.

The pilot's identity has not yet been released.

Where the plane went down is about 300 yards from a runway used by banner planes.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash.

BERLIN — A banner plane has crashed in Worcester County outside Berlin, killing the pilot, according to police.

The pilot of the single-engine, fixed wing aircraft died in the crash. The victim's name has not been released. It's unclear if the crash occurred at takeoff or landing. The pilot was the only passenger, according to Sgt. Van Muir of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office.

He said authorities were dispatched to the Beach Club Golf Links golf course at 10:57 a.m. to a report of a plane crash.

The crash investigation is being handled by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation and the Maryland State Police. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the incident, according to Lt. Mike McDermott of the Sheriff's Office.

McDermott also said the crash site was about "in the middle" of the golf course.
The course has clearly been closed for quite some time; waist-high grass covered the unattended sign at the course entrance on Deer Park Road.

The plane was working for Ocean Aerial Ads, Inc., a banner plane service based at the Bunting Hidden Acres farm on Carey Road in Berlin.

At the hangar at midday Thursday, a man with Ocean Aerial told a reporter at the hangar that the business had not had a banner plane fatality in 19 years. The man declined to give his name.

According to the Ocean Aerial website, the business is owned and operated by the Bunting family and has flying banners since 1982.

Ocean Aerial owner Robert Bunting in an August 2011 interview with The Daily Times about the business said his brother Ralph was killed in 1983 after a banner he picked up got caught around the landing gear of the plane, causing it to stall.

"I don't like to talk about it much," Bunting said, at the time. "Accidents happen. Just like cars. It's the bad part, just like with anything."

Over crowds, banner planes fly at about 40 mph, and about 60 mph while in transit between hangar and beach, according to that 2011 report.

Piper PA-28-236, N2889D: Plane Crash Cost IRS $38.6 Million - Accident occurred February 18, 2010 in Austin, Texas


AUSTIN -- A new federal audit showed the IRS spent nearly $40 million after the 2010 Echelon plane crash in Northwest Austin. 

The IRS said its immediate response after Joseph Stack flew his plane into that local office cost $6.4 million.

Evaluating and enhancing security at offices nationwide cost another $32.2 million. Most of that came from IRS user fees.



NTSB Identification: CEN10FA124 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 18, 2010 in Austin, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/12/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-236, registration: N2889D
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The airplane was destroyed after the pilot intentionally flew it into the side of an office building in Austin, Texas. The private pilot and an employee who worked in the building were killed. As this event was an intentional act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed jurisdiction and control of the investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s intentional flight into a building.

On February 18, 2010, approximately 0958 Central Standard Time, N2889D, a Piper PA-28-236 single-engine airplane, was destroyed after the pilot intentionally flew it into the side of an office building in Austin, Texas. The private pilot and an employee who worked in the building were killed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from the Georgetown Municipal Airport (GTU), Georgetown, Texas, at 0944.

Preliminary review of air traffic control communications and radar data revealed that after the pilot was cleared for take off from Georgetown Airport, he proceeded southbound and climbed to an altitude of 4,800 feet. During this time, a controller approved a radio frequency change and the pilot responded, "Eight niner delta thanks for your help have a great day." No further communications were made with the pilot. At 0954, the airplane was observed on radar descending out of 4,800 feet and making a turn toward the west. At 0957, the airplane was last observed on radar at an altitude of 1,000 feet on a southwesterly heading before the data ended.

The airplane collided with the office building between the first and second floors, and exploded on impact. The airplane's engine, two (of three) propeller blades, and the right wing came to rest outside of the building. The empennage came to rest on the ledge of the building and was partially hanging over the edge. The left wing, portions of the fuselage, and a propeller blade, were found inside the building on the second floor. The flaps were found in the fully retracted position. The airplane was destroyed by impact and the post-impact fire.

The weather at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Austin Texas, at 0953, was reported as calm wind, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 9 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and a barometric pressure setting of 30. 24.

As this event was an intentional act, the FBI has assumed jurisdiction and control of the investigation.

MH-53E Sea Dragon: United States helicopter crashes over Oman, status of crew unknown

(CNN) -- A U.S. military helicopter with five people aboard crashed Thursday in Oman, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the U.S. military said.

The status of the crew members was not immediately clear.

The MH-53E Sea Dragon crashed about 15 miles southwest of Muscat, Oman, a military statement said.

Investigators have ruled out hostile action but have not determined what caused the crash, it said.

http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/articles/2012/104.html

https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/225972766590001153

http://www.wpri.com/dpps/military/navy-chopper-crash-under-investigation_4243965

http://www.cnn.com

Diamond DA-42 Twinstar: Landing in Reno runway 16L

 

 July 17, 2012 by g5poirot647 

"Video starts with us about 8 miles SW of the Reno airport as we make our approach and land. The Twinstar uses 2, 170HP, Mercedes diesel engines as its powerplant."

Beech B36TC Bonanza, N6703K: Accident occurred Monday, July 16, 2012 in Nassau, Bahamas

NTSB Identification: ERA12WA457 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 16, 2012 in Nassau, Bahamas
Aircraft: BEECH B36TC, registration: N6703K
Injuries: 2 Fatal.


On July 16, 2012, about 0930 eastern daylight time, a Beech B36TC, N6703K, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 25 nautical miles north northwest of Nassau, Bahamas. The pilot and passenger are presumed to be fatally injured and the airplane is presumed to be destroyed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed Marsh Harbor Airport (MYAM), Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, about 0912, and was enroute to Daytona, Florida.

The flight was in contact with the FAA Miami Enroute Air Traffic Control Center. The pilot reported encountering severe turbulence and radar and radio contact was lost. Debris from the aircraft was located by the U.S. Coast in the ocean near the last radar .

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit Civil Aviation Department of Bahamas. Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accident Investigation & Prevention Unit
Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation
P.O. Box AP-59244 Nassau, Bahamas
1 (242) 376-3709
1 (242) 377-6060 FAX
Email: aaipu.cad.bahamas@gmail.com

This report is for informational purposes and contains only information obtained for or released by the Government of Bahamas.



It turns out that the Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association (BASRA) made a huge blunder Tuesday when it reported that search efforts for two possible survivors of a plane crash had been called off. 

On Wednesday, the US Coast Guard said contrary to information disseminated by BASRA Operations Manager Chris Lloyd, search teams continue to race against the clock to locate the pilot and passenger of a Beechcraft Bonanza BE36, which crashed in waters off the Berry Islands on Monday.

On Tuesday Mr. Lloyd told the Bahama Journal, “the crash was in the ocean, so I would say today it will be called off.”

Mr. Lloyd noted that search and rescue efforts quickly changed to search and recovery mode, therefore search teams would be searching for bodies as opposed to survivors.

“[There’s] no sign of survivors. You’re not looking for bodies really either because they would tend to sink and in the ocean the currents would tend to take them away and you have no idea where they will surface later,” Mr. Lloyd said.

US Coast Guard Petty Officer John-Paul Rios told the Bahama Journal Wednesday morning that Mr. Lloyd disseminated inaccurate information.

“As far as I know we have no time periods for our search efforts. It all depends on what we find at the scene and at this time we are still actively searching,” he said.

“We’ve been searching all through Tuesday night and we have been searching all [Wednesday] morning as well. We had our Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin on scene along with an M860 rescue helicopter which arrived at noon today [Wednesday]. We have also been told that Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) would be providing a surface asset as well,” Mr. Rios said.

Mr. Rios also shot down Mr. Lloyd’s statements that bad weather hampered initial search and rescue efforts.

“I was told that the weather conditions were actually pretty favorable at first. I am not sure if they got worse on Tuesday, but I know in the beginning of the search everything was okay,” he said.

At this point, the only things which have been recovered at the crash site have been debris and an empty inflated life raft.

“Right now all we have found is debris, so until we find something that we determine that there is no point in searching, we will continue to search,” Mr. Rios said.

The pilot and his passenger have been identified as Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen.

Both are licensed pilots who live at the Spruce Creek Fly-In community in Port Orange.

According to reports, the couple left Marsh Harbour, Abaco Monday morning en route for Daytona, Florida.

Source:   http://jonesbahamas.com/search-still-on-for-crash-survivors-coast-guard/

Evektor-Aerotechnik AS Sportstar, Fast Track Flight, N902LA: Accident occurred June 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana

 http://registry.faa.gov/N902LA

http://www.avclaims.com/N902LA.html

 NTSB Identification: CEN12CA356 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/2012
Aircraft: EVEKTOR-AEROTECHNIK AS SPORTSTAR, registration: N902LA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

 
The student pilot reported that the flight began as a dual instruction flight with his flight instructor. They performed 6 or 7 landings, which included simulated engine failures. The instructor then exited the airplane, and the student pilot performed two more takeoffs and landings to a full stop without incident. On the third solo takeoff, the left wing dipped and contacted the ground. The airplane then began to skid left, then off the runway to a stop. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall. The student pilot listed no mechanical failures or malfunctions of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: 


The student pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during takeoff.

The student pilot reported that the flight began as a dual instruction flight with his flight instructor. They performed 6 or 7 landings, which included simulated engine failures. The instructor then exited the airplane and the student pilot performed 2 more takeoffs and landings to a full stop without incident. On the third solo takeoff the left wing dipped and contacted the ground. The airplane then began to skid to the left, off the runway to a stop. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall. The student pilot listed no mechanical failure or malfunction of the airplane.



 NTSB Identification: CEN12CA356 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 11, 2012 in Indianapolis, IN
Aircraft: EVEKTOR-AEROTECHNIK AS SPORTSTAR, registration: N902LA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.


The student pilot reported that the flight began as a dual instruction flight with his flight instructor. They performed 6 or 7 landings, which included simulated engine failures. The instructor then exited the airplane and the student pilot performed 2 more takeoffs and landings to a full stop without incident. On the third solo takeoff the left wing dipped and contacted the ground. The airplane then began to skid to the left, off the runway to a stop. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall. The student pilot listed no mechanical failure or malfunction of the airplane.


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 902LA        Make/Model: LSA       Description:  EVEKTOR SPORTSTAR LIGHT SPORT
  Date: 06/11/2012     Time: 1330

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: GREENWOOD   State: IN   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT WENT OFF THE RUNWAY, GREENWOOD, IN

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: INDIANAPOLIS, IN  (GL11)              Entry date: 06/12/2012 








 

A student pilot crashed a single engine airplane during his first solo flight June 11, 2012 at the Greenwood Municipal Airport. No injuries were reported.


  A student pilot crashed a single engine airplane during his first solo flight June 11, 2012 at the Greenwood Municipal Airport. No injuries were reported.


 PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

  PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

  PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON




A federal investigation found that a student pilot was solely responsible for a crash at Green­wood Municipal Airport last month.

 Federal Aviation Administration investigators ruled that pilot error was the main factor when pilot R. Wade Kohlmano lost control of a single-engine plane that careened off the runway at the airport at Emerson Avenue and County Line Road. A report found the crash on June 11 was the result of mismanaged controls and loss of control.

The federal agency investigates all plane crashes, mainly to learn what went wrong so pilots can avoid making the same mistakes in the future, spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Federal investigators also look at whether any laws were broken or safety procedures weren’t followed and found no violations in this case.

They instead found that an inexperienced student pilot lost control while overcorrecting twice during a takeoff.

The 59-year-old Indianapolis resident was going on his first solo flight after flying a plane dozens of time with an instructor at his side. He was supposed to take off and land three times as part of the training required to get a pilot’s license.

He aced the first two takeoffs and landings while pilots at the airport cheered him on. But he botched the third attempt, the report found.

“On the third takeoff, he had overcorrected with the right rudder for the left-turning tendencies of the aircraft,” the report said. “He proceeded to overcorrect again with the left rudder in an attempt to straighten the aircraft. While doing this the left wingtip struck the runway and the aircraft departed the left side of runway, impacting the ground and causing substantial damage to the firewall and fuselage.”

The light sport airplane suffered substantial damage, but no one was injured in the crash.

Kohlmano has resumed his training as a student pilot.

The crash was the first at the airport since 2005, when a helicopter went down during an open house. The airport has since adopted new safety precautions that include stocking vehicles with emergency medical kits and marking buildings so firefighters can find them faster.

Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga II HP, Rgd. LNP Saratoga Inc., N432LT: Accident occurred July 18, 2012 in Fairbanks, Alaska

http://registry.faa.gov/N432LT 

NTSB Identification: ANC12FA066 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in Fairbanks, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-301, registration: N432LT
Injuries: 2 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 noninstrument-rated pilot and one passenger were flying as part of a group of three airplanes on a sightseeing tour. The accident airplane and one of the other airplanes in the group encountered deteriorating weather and made an unplanned stop at an airport along their route of flight. After receiving fuel and updated enroute weather, both pilots decided to depart for their original destination.

During the second attempt to fly to the destination airport, the two airplanes again encountered deteriorating weather conditions. The pilot of the accident airplane decided to maintain visual flight rules, and the pilot of the other airplane requested an instrument flight rules clearance to the destination airport. A short time later, the pilot of the accident airplane contacted air traffic control and stated that he was having difficulty maintaining visual conditions and subsequently requested an instrument clearance. The pilot reported climbing through 6,800 feet for 7,000 feet, then no further communications were received. The wreckage was located on a brush- and tundra-covered hillside; the left wing had separated from the airplane inflight, followed by the separation of other airplane components before impact.

Given the reported weather, the pilot's lack of an instrument rating, his request for an instrument clearance, the wreckage path, and the lack of any mechanical anomalies, it is likely that the pilot encountered instrument meteorological conditions and became spatially disoriented while attempting to climb to a higher altitude. It is also likely that the pilot then lost control of the airplane, and entered a steep spiraling dive from which he was unable to recover. During the dive, the aerodynamic forces increased to the point that the left wing separated from the airplane, which tightened the spiral, and led to the in-flight structural failure of other sections of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The noninstrument-rated pilot's decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions likely leading to spatial disorientation, which resulted in a loss of airplane control and in-flight structural failure.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 18, 2012, about 1646 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301 airplane, N432LT, was destroyed after an uncontrolled descent and collision with terrain about 43 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The non-instrument rated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to LNP Saratoga Inc., Palo Alto, California, and operated by West Valley Flying Club, Palo Alto. The airplane was being operated as a 14 CFR Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight when the accident occurred. At the time of the accident, instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the area of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure. The accident flight originated at the Fort Yukon Airport, Fort Yukon, Alaska, about 1600, en route to Fairbanks, the flight's final destination for the day.

According to the leader of the group the accident pilot was flying with, the accident airplane was the third of three airplanes that were touring northern Canada and Alaska. On the day of the accident, the group was scheduled to fly from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, to Fairbanks. The first airplane in the group flew to Fairbanks uneventfully. The other two airplanes encountered deteriorating weather conditions while en route to Fairbanks, which required an unscheduled stop in Fort Yukon to refuel. There are no longer fueling services at Fort Yukon; however, the group was able to obtain fuel from a local operator to continue the flight. After departing Fort Yukon, the two airplanes again encountered marginal weather conditions. The pilot of one of the two airplanes requested, and received an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to Fairbanks. The accident airplane continued VFR, and the accident pilot reported to the pilot of the other airplane that he had found "a good VFR track."

About 1641, the accident pilot contacted the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) specialist on duty, requesting an IFR clearance direct to Fairbanks. The approach controller instructed the pilot to climb to 7,000 feet, and issued a clearance direct to Fairbanks. About 1645, the ARTCC lost radio and radar contact with the accident airplane. No further communications were received from the accident airplane, and the airplane did not arrive at Fairbanks. It was officially reported overdue at 1719.

After being notified of an overdue airplane, search and rescue personnel from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) began a search for the missing airplane near its last known location, close to an area known as the White Mountains. About 1948, the crew of the CAP airplane located the airplane's wreckage in an area of mountainous, tundra-covered terrain. Rescue personnel aboard an Air National Guard HH-60G helicopter reached the site later that night. A Pararescue Jumper (PJ) was lowered to the accident site, and confirmed that the airplane's occupants were deceased.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 63, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on July 13, 2009. The pilot was an Australian national, and his private pilot certificate was valid only when accompanied by his Australian pilot license, which was valid for airplane single-engine, tail-wheel, manual propeller pitch control, and retractable undercarriage. He held a valid Australian Class 2 medical certificate, issued May 16, 2012, with a limitation that reading correction must be available while exercising the privileges of this license.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot, but on his rental agreement application to the West Valley Flying Club, dated March 12, 2012, he indicated a total flight time of 804 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The six-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number 3213099, was manufactured in 1995. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1G5 300-hp engine, and equipped with a Hartzell model HC-I3YR-1RF/F7663DR constant-speed propeller.

At the last 100-hour inspection, completed on June 26, 2012, the airplane had had total time in service of 3,243 hours. An engine overhaul was completed on February 19, 2004, at an airplane total time of 2,132.7 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) meteorologist did a comprehensive study of the weather conditions along the airplane's route of flight. The synoptic or large scale migratory weather systems influencing the area were documented using standard National Weather Service (NWS) charts issued by the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) located in Camp Springs, Maryland. These are the base products used in describing weather features and in the creation of forecasts and warnings. Reference to these charts can be found in the joint NWS and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular "Aviation Weather Services", AC 00-45.

The NWS Surface Analysis Chart for 1600 ADT July 18, 2012 (0000Z on July 19, 2012) depicted a low pressure system at 1007-hectopascals (hPa) over the Gulf of Alaska with an associated occluded frontal system and a secondary trough of low pressure extending into southern Alaska over the Kenai Peninsula to the south of the accident site. Over northwestern Alaska a stationary front was located over the Northern and Interior Seward Peninsula impacting the Nome area. A high pressure ridge extended over southwestern Alaska. A col or neutral point between the low and high pressure areas extended over the accident site. (A copy of the full Meteorology Report is included in the public docket for this accident.)

The station models for the Fairbanks area depicted calm wind, sky overcast, a temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit (F), a dew point temperature of 44 degrees F, sea level pressure of 1015.5-hPa, with a falling pressure tendency. The station model immediately northwest of Fairbanks indicated a south-southwest wind at approximately 5 knots, light continuous rain, overcast clouds, with a temperature of 50° F and dew point of 49° F.

Fairbanks International Airport (PAFA) was located approximately 43 miles south of the accident at an elevation of 439 feet. The airport had an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) and was augmented by a NWS certified observer. The airport lists a magnetic variation of 19° east, and reported the following conditions at the approximate time of the accident:

Fairbanks weather observation at 1653 ADT, wind from 190° at 3 knots, visibility unrestricted at 10 statute miles, a few clouds at 1,700 feet above ground level (agl), scattered clouds at 4,500 feet, and overcast at 7,000 feet, temperature 14° C, dew point 8° C, altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury. Remarks: automated observation system, sea level pressure 1014.6-hPa, temperature 13.9° C, dew point 7.8° C.

Rain was reported intermittently at Fairbanks between 1851 through 1142 on July 19, 2012 (0251Z-1942Z) with MVFR and IFR conditions during this period. (See meteorology report for the raw observations.)

COMMUNICATIONS

At 1408, the pilot contacted the Fairbanks Flight Service Station (FFS), and stated that he and one other pilot in his group were unable to make it to Fairbanks due to weather, and they were landing at the Fort Yukon Airport. The pilot received an updated weather briefing, and informed the FSS that they would file another flight plan if they were able to depart for Fairbanks.

Radio recordings from the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) revealed that at 15:58:03, the pilot contacted Anchorage ARTCC stating that he had just departed Ft. Yukon, direct to Fairbanks and was "squawking 1155." At 13:58:51, ARTCC radar identified the airplane 10 miles south of the Ft. Yukon VOR. The pilot requested 5,000 feet as a final altitude, and ARTCC instructed the pilot to maintain VFR, and expect advisories.

At 16:05:28, the ARTCC controller switches with another controller, and during the handoff he states that, "weather is IFR."

At 16:14:48, ARTCC advises the pilot that if voice is lost, change to frequency 120.9 in 10 minutes, and the pilot confirms.

At 16:25:45 ARTCC advised that radar contact was lost.

At 16:26:35 ARTCC advised the pilot that the Fairbanks altimeter setting was 29.96 inHg.

At 16:30:48, another aircraft relays to ARTCC that there are two aircraft trying to contact Fairbanks approach control. The relaying airplane says that one airplane is heading north. At 16:33:02 the accident airplane relays that he is "out in the open now, good VFR flying."

At 16:37:05, the pilot relayed through another aircraft that he was requesting an IFR clearance to Fairbanks, and that his altitude was 2,800 feet with "reasonable VFR," but at 16:37:50, when asked if he could maintain his own terrain and obstruction clearance to 8,000 feet, the pilot said he could not maintain VFR to 8,000 feet and that he had "good VFR coming up," so he declined the IFR clearance and said he would remain VFR.

At 16:38:04, the pilot of the other airplane in the group contacted ARTCC and requested an IFR clearance to Fairbanks. At 16:39:56, ATRCC asked the pilot if he was still in contact with N432LT, and the pilot responded that he was not in contact with him.

At 16:41:00, ARTCC regained radar and voice contact with the accident airplane, and the pilot stated that he was "through 4,300 [feet]." At 16:41:29 the pilot stated to the controller that he required "IFR assistance." At 16:41:45, the pilot was issued an IFR clearance and was instructed to climb to 7,000 feet. AT 16:43:18 ARTCC requested that the pilot report reaching 7,000 feet, and the pilot responded stating that he was climbing through 6,800 feet for 7,000 feet.

At 1643:28, ARTCC requested the airplane's equipment suffix, and the response of "Golf, Lima Tango" was given by the pilot of the accompanying airplane.

No further communications were received. Radar contact with the airplane was lost at 16:44:55.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Continuous poor weather conditions prevented the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with an additional NTSB air safety investigator, and a Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector from the Fairbanks Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) from reaching the site until July 20.

The aircraft impacted on a brush and tundra-covered hillside in the foothills of the White Mountains, at an elevation of approximately 1,600 feet mean sea level. Portions of the fragmented airplane wreckage were scattered along a debris path oriented along a magnetic heading of 330 degrees, and measured about one-quarter mile in length.

The left wing separated from the airplane, and was found mostly intact. The aileron had separated from the attach points, and was located later by recovery personnel. The fuel cap was missing from the left wing, and was later found in Fort Yukon. It was determined that the missing fuel cap was not a factor in the accident.

The vertical stabilizer was found with the rudder attached.

The left horizontal stabilator separated from the airplane, and was found relatively undamaged in the wreckage path.

The right horizontal stabilator was not located during the initial on scene investigation, but was later found by recovery personnel.

The fuselage, engine, and right wing were located at the main wreckage site. All were extensively damaged by a postcrash fire.

All indications showed that the wings and horizontal stabilator failed under positive loads.

The engine and propeller were partially buried and received extensive thermal damage. On scene examination showed that one blade of the propeller separated at the hub, and showed slight S-bending, tip gouging, and a small portion of the tip was broken off. The other two blades showed slight aft bending, and showed no signs of gouging or rotational scoring.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on July 20, 2012. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to blunt force and thermal injuries.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute performed toxicological examinations for the pilot on September 28, 2012, which was negative for alcohol and drugs. The toxicological examination revealed 10 mg/dl of Ethanol was detected in the muscle, which was attributed to sources other than ingestion.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was examined at the hangar of Alaska Claims Services, Wasilla, AK, on August 15, 2012. In attendance for the examination was the NTSB IIC, and investigators from Piper Aircraft Company.

Control Continuity

The rudder cables were attached at the rudder pedals, and at the control surface. The horizontal stabilator cables were attached at the cockpit and control surface. The aileron cables were attached at the cockpit controls and attached to the bell cranks in both wings.

Horizontal Stabilator

The left and right sections of the horizontal stabilator failed under positive loads. The signatures were consistent with the stabilator twisting as it separated from the empennage.

The trim jack screw showed 16 threads, which corresponds to full nose up trim.

The stop bolts appeared normal.

Vertical Stabilizer

The vertical stabilizer separated from the empennage at the rear attach bracket. The rudder remained attached at the top hinge. The rudder horn assembly remained attached, and both arms were bent. The stop bolts appeared normal.

Left Wing

The left wing separated from the airplane at the wing root under positive load. The left aileron separated during the accident sequence, although signatures on the control stops did not indicate a flutter event. The left aileron separated and tore at the outboard hinge point. The outboard 16 inches of aileron were not located. The aileron push rod fractured in overload.

There was wing buckling on the top and bottom of the wing, 5 feet inboard of the tip. The loads appeared positive on the stringers on the top of the wing, and negative on the stringers on the bottom of the wing.

Right Wing

The inboard section of the right wing was severely damaged from postcrash fire. The aileron was still attached. The right flap separated at impact. The spar had positive load signatures, and a slight "S" bend in the spar, consistent with the wing "unloading" after the separation of the left wing.

Engine/Fuel Selector

There was extensive thermal damage to the engine. The bottom of the engine case was melted. The engine crankshaft appeared intact.

The fuel selector valve was found, but thermal damage prevented the determination of its position at the time of the accident.

Fuselage

The fuselage had extensive thermal damage. No cockpit switch positions could be determined.

Propeller

The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade was fractured at the shank, just outboard of the hub. The tip was broken off. There was leading edge gouging, slight "S" bending, and chordwise scratches.

The other two blades remained in the hub, and both were bent slightly aft.

The spinner was crushed upward and aft from the hub of the fractured blade.

Fuel

The fuel system consists of two interconnected tanks in each wing, having a combined capacity of 53.5 U.S. gallons per wing, for a total capacity of 107 U.S. gallons, of which 102 gallons are useable. Fuel consumption calculations completed by the NTSB IIC showed that approximate total fuel burn for the flight from Inuvik to Fairbanks was estimated at 46 gallons. Given that the airplane was properly fueled in Inuvik, the airplane would have had sufficient fuel to accomplish the flight.

The left wing fuel tank cap was not located with the airplane wreckage, and was later found on the ramp at Fort Yukon. On-scene examination of the left wing revealed no evidence fuel siphoning, fuel staining, or leaking from the open left fuel tank filler port.



NTSB Identification: ANC12FA066 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in Fairbanks, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-301, registration: N432LT
Injuries: 2 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.

On July 18, 2012, about 1646 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301 airplane, N432LT, sustained substantial damage during an uncontrolled descent and a collision with terrain about 43 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The non-instrument rated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to LNP Saratoga Inc., Palo Alto, California, and operated by West Valley Flying Club, Palo Alto. The airplane was being operated as a 14 CFR Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight when the accident occurred. At the time of the accident, instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the area of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure. The accident flight originated at the Fort Yukon Airport, Fort Yukon, Alaska, about 1600, en route to Fairbanks, the flight's final destination for the day.

According to the leader of the group the accident pilot was flying with, the accident airplane was the third of three airplanes that were touring northern Canada and Alaska. On the day of the accident, the group was scheduled to fly from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, to Fairbanks. The first airplane in the group flew to Fairbanks uneventfully. The other two airplanes encountered deteriorating weather conditions while en route to Fairbanks, which required an unscheduled stop in Fort Yukon to refuel. After departing Fort Yukon, the two airplanes again encountered marginal weather conditions. The pilot of one of the two airplanes requested, and received an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to Fairbanks. The accident airplane continued VFR, and the accident pilot reported to the pilot of the other airplane that he had found “a good VFR track.”

About 1641, the pilot contacted the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) specialist on duty, requesting an IFR clearance direct to Fairbanks. The approach controller instructed the pilot to climb to 7,000 feet, and issued a clearance direct to Fairbanks. At 1646, the ARTCC lost radio and radar contact with the accident airplane. No further communications were received from the accident airplane, and the airplane did not arrive at Fairbanks. It was officially reported overdue at 1719.

After being notified of an overdue airplane, search and rescue personnel from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) began a search for the missing airplane near its last known location, close to an area known as the White Mountains. About 1948, the crew of the CAP airplane located the airplane's wreckage in an area of mountainous, tundra-covered terrain. Rescue personnel aboard an Air National Guard HH-60G helicopter reached the site later that night. A Pararescue Jumper (PJ) was lowered to the accident site, and confirmed that the airplane's occupants were deceased.

Continuous poor weather conditions prevented the NTSB IIC from reaching the site until July 20, along with an additional NTSB air safety investigator, and a Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector from the Fairbanks Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The wreckage was located on a brush and tundra-covered hillside. Portions of the fragmented airplane wreckage were scattered along a debris path oriented along a magnetic heading of 330 degrees, and measured about one-quarter mile in length.

A postaccident examination of the airplane is pending.


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 432LT        Make/Model: PA32      Description: Saratoga, Turbo
  Date: 07/19/2012     Time: 0046

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

LOCATION
  City: FAIRBANKS   State: AK   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 2 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE 
  FATALLY INJURED, SUBJECT OF AN ALERT NOTICE, WRECKAGE LOCATED 40 MILES FROM 
  FAIRBANKS, AK

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: FAIRBANKS, AK  (AL01)                 Entry date: 07/19/2012 



Steve and Gillian Knight. 
Source: The Courier-Mail

 Video Link: Australian News Report (RIP)

 A GOLD Coast couple who loved the thrill of flying have died in a plane crash in a remote and rugged corner of Alaska. 
 
Pilot Stephen Knight, 64, and his wife Gillian, 60, were killed when the Piper PA32 light aeroplane they were flying crashed about 60km north of Fairbanks early yesterday. They were the only people on board.

Experienced aviators who loved flying adventures, the Knights were also successful Gold Coast business owners, running the Choice Homes building company.

The couple's son Troy was yesterday too distraught to talk, but the family posted a statement on the Choice Homes website.

"We are shocked and deeply sadden (sic) with the untimely news of the loss of our founding mother and father, Gillian and Steve Knight," it said.

"The news of their tragic accident in Alaska is being taken very severely by all who were touched by this amazing and wonderful couple."

Alaskan aviation investigator Clint Johnson told the Alaska Dispatch the plane disappeared from radar travelling from the tiny outpost of Fort Yukon to Fairbanks, one of Alaska's major towns.

He described the terrain of the area where the plane went down as "mountainous, rolling hills".

It is believed the Knights contacted air traffic control just before the crash before communication lines went dead. The plane then dropped off the radar.
Neighbour Joan Austin fought back tears as she remembered her friends of more than 20 years.

"They were a lovely couple. This is just horrible news," she said.

She said they had been excited about their North American flying holiday.
"They were really looking forward to it," she said.

She said the Knights were experienced aviators.

"They owned a plane of their own here. They had flown it all over Australia on a few different trips."

The Piper PA32 they were flying in Alaska was similar to the plane owned by the Knights in Australia.



Choice Homes owners Steve and Gillian Knight have been identified as the victims of a plane crash near Fairbanks, Alaska. 

 The Gold Coast family of a couple who died in a plane crash in Alaska say they're shocked and saddened, and have asked for privacy.

Choice Homes owners Steve and Gillian Knight have been identified as the victims of the crash near Fairbanks.

Local authorities say Mr Knight, 64, was piloting a Piper Saratoga PA32R 301 with his 60-year-old wife on board.

They were en route from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks when the plane disappeared from radar.

The Knights were owners of Gold Coast-based Choice Homes, an investment builder employing about 65 staff.

The company derives its income from high volume, low margin construction in southeast Queensland's growth corridors, with customers including investors, owner-occupiers and international buyers.

The couple's son, Choice Homes CEO Troy Knight, issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying his family was shocked and deeply saddened by their deaths.

"The news of their tragic accident in Alaska is being taken very severely by all who were touched by this amazing and wonderful couple," the statement said.

"We will all be in shock for some time but our strength and love will continue to ensure their legacy, and Choice Homes' future only grows stronger with their memory."

The family asked for privacy as it grieves in the days ahead.

Alaska's National Transportation Safety Board has sent an investigator to the crash scene.

The National Guard has told reporters that troopers found the couple's bodies in the burning wreckage on Wednesday night (local time) but recovery efforts had to wait, due to bad weather and fading light.

Poor weather continues to hamper their efforts, Alaska's KTUU news reported.

The Alaska Dispatch newspaper reports the terrain where the plane went down is "mountainous, rolling hills".

"From what I understand, the plane had made contact with the (air traffic control), had asked a question, and when (the tower) answered, there was no response and they noticed it had dropped off the radar," trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Investigator Clint Johnson said the plane was in the process of filing what's known as a "pop-up" Instrument Flight Rules Plan.

That can mean the weather is worsening and a pilot is switching from visual to instrumental navigation.

The airplane was under lease to the California-based West Valley Flying Club, according to the company's owner, Lee Price.


Interior Alaska Piper plane crash kills 2 Australians 

 Two people are dead following a plane crash north of Fairbanks on Wednesday night, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The two were identified by Alaska State Troopers as 64-year-old pilot Stephen Knight and 60-year-old Gillian Knight of Queensland, Australia.

NTSB investigator Clint Johnson said that the plane, a Piper PA-32R-301, disappeared from radar just before 5 p.m. en route from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks.

The Civil Air Patrol was called in to search in the area where the plane disappeared. Wreckage was located about 40 miles north of Fairbanks, but a landing was impossible. Johnson described the terrain of the area where the plane went down as "mountainous, rolling hills."

The Air National Guard's 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were then deployed to the scene, and were able to confirm at least two bodies in the wreckage, but couldn't recover the victims due to the plane being on fire. Alaska State Troopers also confirmed the wreckage.

"From what I understand, the plane had made contact with the (air traffic control), had asked a question, and when (the tower) answered, there was no response and they noticed it had dropped off the radar," troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Johnson said the plane was in the process of filing what's known as a "pop-up" Instrument Flight Rules Plan. That can mean the weather is worsening over the course of a flight and a pilot is switching from visual to instrumental navigation.
The plane was registered to a company in Palo Alto, Calif., LNP Saratoga Inc., which in turn had been leasing the aircraft for more than a decade to West Valley Flying Club, according to the company's owner, Lee Price.

The club, also based in California, offers numerous aircraft for rent to qualified pilots, according to their website.

"The club has both an excellent safety record and a top-notch maintenance department.  This means that your airplane is well looked after, and not likely to be involved in an accident or incident," the club's website says.

Johnson said that the downed plane was traveling with at least one other aircraft, which the West Valley Flying Club confirmed. Chris Shaver, an NTSB investigator dispatched to the Interior city to visit the accident site, said two other planes were actually travelling with the crashed aircraft.

Investigators were unable to reach the crash site during the day Thursday, as thick fog and a low ceiling kept aircraft grounded. Shaver said that troopers may attempt a run to the site later Thursday.

Shaver had spoken with the occupants of the other two planes traveling with the Piper Saratoga. He said that the other pilots and passengers, also flying rented planes, made trips around North America together "every year or two" to do a flight, and had traveled from California to Alaska on this particular trip. He described all the pilots as "fairly experienced."

He said it wasn't clear yet if weather was a factor, since the other pilots weren't in communication with the Knights when their plane went down.

"There was a little bit of weather," Shaver said. "Some clouds, some light rain. They all took different routes, basically, so it’s a little tough to tell exactly what was going on in the area where the accident occurred."
 
http://www.alaskadispatch.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Alaska State Troopers have identified the victims of a fatal airplane crash as residents of Queensland, Australia. 

 Spokeswoman Megan Peters says the pilot, 64-year-old Stephen Knight, and 60-year-old passenger Gillian Knight died late Wednesday afternoon.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Clint Johnson says their rented Piper Saratoga was en route from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks shortly before 5 p.m. when it disappeared from radar.

The airplane, which burned after the crash, was registered to aircraft rental company LNP Saratoga Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., and leased to the West Valley Flying Club of Palo Alto.

The airplane was found 39 miles north of Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol spotted the wreckage Wednesday. Bad weather, including low clouds hampering helicopter flights, delaying the recovery operation.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska— 

 Two people were killed in a plane crash near Fairbanks Wednesday evening, according to Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB said a Piper Saratoga PA32R 301, was en route from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks shortly before 5 p.m. and disappeared from radar.

The six-seat, single engine plane was registered to LNP Saratoga Inc in Palo Alto, CA. The owner, Lee Price said the plane has been leased to the West Valley Flying Club, also out of Palo Alto, CA, for many years. Price says the flying club would rent the plane out to aviators to fly all over the country.

Price said he believes the plane was rented out at the time to an Australian couple. He says they had left Palo Alto more than a week ago to fly through Canada, Alaska and then back to the Lower 48.

Price says the flying club does regular, thorough checks on the plane.

NTSB said a crash investigator was sent to Fairbanks early Thursday morning.

The Alaska National Guard's rescue squadrons responded to the downed aircraft Wednesday evening.

Major Guy Hayes, director of public affairs for the Air National Guard, said Wednesday night there was a report of an overdue plane. He said Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol was tasked to search the area and found a downed aircraft 40 miles north of Fairbanks.

The CAP were not able to land due to weather conditions.

The Rescue Coordination Center sent the Air National Guard's 210th and 212th Rescue Squadron to respond to the scene.

The names of the victims have not been released, pending family notification.


FAIRBANKS, Alaska— The Alaska National Guard's rescue squadrons are responding to a downed aircraft near Fairbanks Wednesday evening. 

Major Guy Hayes, director of public affairs for the Air National Guard, said Wednesday night there was a report of an overdue plane. 

He said Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol was tasked to search the area and found a downed aircraft 40 miles north of Fairbanks. The Rescue Coordination Center sent the Air National Guard's 210th and 212th Rescue Squadron to respond to the scene.