Saturday, August 25, 2012

Federal government reads riot act to Pilots, Airline Operators on weather Compliance - Nigeria

The Federal Government yesterday read the riot act to pilots, reiterating they must obtain and confirm their destination weather reports from the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) before take-off and landing. 

The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah,   explained that the government was compelled to take the position, because it has been observed lately that only Flight Dispatchers go to the AIS to obtain Meteorological Folders without the pilots getting the briefings.

She said this accounts for why aircraft take off and get to their destinations but are unable to land.

Oduah said the recklessness on the part of airline operators and pilots will no longer be tolerated, vowing that infractions will be met with serious sanctions.

According to the Minister: " Henceforth, all Airline Operators and Pilots are required to obtain and confirm their destination weather reports from the AIS before start-up and take-off according to international standard and best practices in order to prevent incidents of avoidable air returns due to unfavorable weather condition.

"There is, therefore, absolutely no reason and justification for an aircraft to make an air return on the basis of poor weather condition since initial weather report from the AIS would have been adequate to indicate the futility of an initial take-off under such harsh weather conditions. "

She also denied government is contemplating selling off the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria.

Oduah, in a statement said:" Those circulating this malicious rumor have clearly ulterior motives that are not in tandem with the current administration's desire and determination to reposition the college as a premier aviation training institute on the African continent.

"The speculation is only intended to malign and distract the management of the college from its clear objective of repositioning the college as a veritable source of manpower development and recruitment for the aviation industry in Nigeria." 


http://www.thenationonlineng.net

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, Hayward Aviation, N7774P: Accident occurred August 25, 2012 in Milner, Colorado

http://registry.faa.gov/N7774P
 
NTSB Identification: CEN12FA571
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2012 in Milner, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/04/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N7774P
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 student pilot departed on a cross-country flight and was not in contact with air traffic controllers; no flight plan had been filed. Log data recovered from the handheld global positioning system (GPS) unit depicted a flight track consistent with the accident flight and logged a maximum speed of 135 knots and a maximum GPS altitude of 18,379 feet. The airplane’s wreckage was located in a remote valley the following afternoon. An examination of the engine and airframe revealed no anomalies. Damage to the airplane and ground scars were consistent with the airplane being in a stall and flat spin at the time of impact. During the examination of the wreckage, marijuana and an opened six-pack of beer were found; the beer bottles were located in the front of the airplane, within the pilot’s reach. Toxicological testing found both alcohol and marijuana in the pilot’s system. The amount of alcohol in the pilot’s system would have significantly impaired the pilot’s performance. In addition, the amount of marijuana and its metabolite found in the pilot’s system indicated he was actively smoking in the hour before the accident; this would also have significantly impaired his ability to control the airplane. Both of these intoxicants may have impaired his judgment and contributed to the pilot’s decision to fly above 18,000 feet in an aircraft not equipped with oxygen. The resulting hypoxia also impaired his ability to control the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot’s impairment from alcohol, marijuana, and hypoxia, which adversely affected his ability to maintain control of the airplane.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 24, 2012, about 1445, a Piper PA-24-250, N7774P, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain northwest of Milner, Colorado. The student pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport (KGWS), Glenwood Springs, Colorado at 1359.

According to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, a sheepherder found the wreckage around 1000 on August 25, 2012. The airplane was not in contact with air traffic control. According to a family member, the airplane departed Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and was en route to Minnesota. The airplane was not reported missing by friends or family, and an Alert Notification for a missing airplane had not been filed.

Radar data, provided by Denver Center in en route radar intelligence tool (ERIT) format, depicted a flight path consistent with that of the accident airplane. The transponder in the airplane was off so the radar data did not depict the altitude of the flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 36, held a student pilot certificate issued on March 21, 2011. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate without limitations on March 21, 2011. At the time of application, the pilot reported that he had logged zero hours of flight time.

A personal logbook reflecting the flight experience of the pilot or instructor endorsements was not located.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Piper PA-24-250 (serial number 24-2990), was manufactured in 1962. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. A Lycoming O-540-A1-D5 engine rated at 250 horsepower at 2,575 rpm powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a metal, 3-blade, McCauley propeller.

The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on March 1, 2012, at an airframe total time of 7,303 hours. The airplane had flown 67 hours between the last inspection and the accident, and had a total airframe time of 7,370 hours. The airplane was not equipped with a supplemental oxygen system or a portable bottle.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was Steamboat Springs Airport/Bob Adams Field (KSBS), Steamboat Springs, Colorado, located 8 nautical miles (nm) east of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 6,882 feet above mean seal level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KSBS, issued at 1453, reported, wind 040 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition, scattered clouds at 2,100 feet, broken clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature 18 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 4 degrees C, altimeter 30.08 inches.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

A Garmin GPSMAP 696 portable multi-function display and global positioning system receiver was found in the wreckage. The unit was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorders Lab in Washington, D.C., for data recovery. The unit was capable of recording flight track history when configured to do so. The unit was repaired and recorded waypoint, route, and tracklog data was successfully downloaded. The unit had been configured not to record tracklog data; however, flight history from May 24, 2012, through August 24, 2012, was recovered. The last flight log recovered was consistent with the accident flight and logged a maximum ground speed of 135 knots and a maximum GPS altitude of 18,379 feet, though the groundspeed and altitude values could not be validated.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage came to rest upright on a heading of 010 degrees in the bowl of a valley, surrounded by deciduous and coniferous trees and bushes, at a measured elevation of 7,070 feet msl. The main wreckage included the engine and propeller assembly, the fuselage, empennage, and the right and left wings. Paint chips, plexiglass, and small components surrounded the main wreckage. One ground scar, approximately 8 inches in depth, was located just forward of the engine. There were no other ground scars or points of impact noted.

The engine remained attached to the fuselage. The upper two engine mounts were bent, broken, and pushed aft, and the engine cowling was bent and crushed up and aft around the engine. The propeller remained attached to the engine at the propeller flange. The propeller blades were labeled “A”, “B”, and “C” for identification purposes in the report. Blade “A” was unremarkable. Blade “B” exhibited leading edge polishing, and was otherwise unremarkable. Blade “C” was bent aft 45 to 55 degrees under the engine. Blade “C” exhibited leading edge polishing but was otherwise unremarkable. The spinner on the engine was crushed aft.

The left wing included the left aileron and left flap and remained attached to the fuselage. The entire leading edge of the left wing was crushed up and aft in an accordion manner. Paint along the entire leading edge separated from the airplane. The main and auxiliary left wing fuel tanks were crushed down and the fuel bladders torn open. No fuel was present in either tank. The left aileron remained attached to the left wing and was impact damaged. Bending and wrinkling of the wreckage prevented full manipulation of the left aileron; however, both the primary and balance cables were continuous. The left flap remained attached, was impact damaged, and appeared to be extended several degrees.

The fuselage on the left side of the airplane, between the left wing and the empennage was buckled in several locations. The fuselage between the empennage and the right wing was unremarkable.

The empennage included the stabilator, rudder, and vertical stabilizer, and remained attached to the empennage. The left side of the stabilator was wrinkled along the entire control surface. The right side of the stabilator was wrinkled along the outboard trailing edge of the control surface. The vertical stabilizer was unremarkable. The upper portion of the rudder control was bent to the left. Bending and wrinkling of the wreckage prevented full manipulation of the rudder and stabilator; however, both the stabilator and rudder control cables were continuous.

The right wing included the right aileron and the right flap, and remained attached to the fuselage. The entire leading edge of the right wing was crushed up and aft in an accordion manner, with the extent of crushing decreasing in intensity toward the tip of the wing. Paint along the entire leading edge separated from the airplane. The main and auxiliary right wing fuel tanks were crushed down and the fuel bladders torn open. No fuel was present in either tank. The right aileron remained attached to the right wing and was impact damaged. Bending and wrinkling of the wreckage prevented full manipulation of the right aileron; however, both the primary and balance cables were continuous. The right flap remained attached, was impact damaged, and appeared to be extended by several degrees.

The fuselage included the forward and aft cabin, and the instrument panel. The front two seats remained in the seat track and were crushed down. The rear seat was crushed down and the floor of the airplane was crushed up. The forward portion of the fuselage, including the floor and the instrument panel was crushed up and aft. The upper portion of the fuselage was bent and wrinkled and the plexiglass windscreen separated and was fragmented. The roof of the cabin had been bent aft for the purpose of extracting the pilot. An auger, a chain saw, a backpack full of personal effects, a basket of clothing, food, six beer bottles, marijuana, and various other personal effects were located throughout the cabin. The beers bottles were in a cardboard container with a six pack configuration located in the front seat of the airplane and were broken.

The fuel selector valve was in the right auxiliary position.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by a Forensic Pathology Consultant as authorized by the Routte County Coroner’s office on August 27, 2012. A toxicology screen conducted by the Horizon Lab, LLC, detected amphetamine and cannabinoid in the blood, in addition to 0.110 g/dl of ethanol. The autopsy noted the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries and listed the specific injuries. It stated that “acute ethanol intoxication may have been a contributing factor in the events which lead up to the accident. Based on comparison of the ethanol levels in the blood with those in the vitreous fluid, it is likely that [the pilot] was consuming ethanol within 1 – 2 hours of the accident. Based on this behavior, suicide cannot be excluded as the manner of death.” The manner of death was listed as undetermined.

The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference Number 201200176001). A sample of peripheral blood detected 104 mg/dL of ethanol, 0.072 ug/ml Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana), and 0.0174 ug/ml Tetrahydrocannabinol Caroxylic Acid (Marihuana). Amphetamines were not detected in these samples.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was recovered and relocated to a hangar in Greeley, Colorado, for further examination.

There were no shoulder harnesses installed in the accident airplane. Neither of the forward lap belts were latched. The webbing of the buckle end of the left seatbelt was chaffed and the flat end webbing was unremarkable.

Approximately 5 ounces of fuel was recovered from the fuel bowl at the fuel selector valve. The fuel was clean, bright, and blue in color. Small particles were found in the fuel bowl and the fuel bowl screen was free of contamination. Approximately ¼ cup of fuel was recovered from one electric fuel boost pump and a trace amount of fuel was recovered from the other electric fuel boost pump. The filters were free of debris.

The position of the flap transmission assembly was consistent with retracted flaps. The jack screw exposed 8 threads which is also consistent with retracted flaps. Flight control continuity for the rudder and ailerons was confirmed from the center portion of the fuselage forward to the flight control yokes in the cabin.

The engine was removed from the airframe to aid in the examination. Both magnetos exhibited impact damaged and were removed for further examination. When actuated by hand, spark was observed at each lead. The vacuum pump was impact damaged and the shaft of the pump was intact and unremarkable. The engine driven fuel pump was dry and when actuated by hand, air movement/suction was produced.

The top bank of sparkplugs was removed and the leads on the sparkplugs were light in color consistent with a lean fuel mixture. The engine was rotated at the propeller flange. Air and valve movement was noted on all six cylinders. All six cylinders were examined with a boroscope and no anomalies were noted.

The oil pick-up screen, the propeller governor screen, and the carburetor fuel inlet screen were all clear of contaminations. No fuel was noted in the carburetor. The mounting flange was impact damaged and the carburetor was otherwise unremarkable. The throttle cable remained attached to the carburetor. The mixture cable separated from the mixture control arm, consistent with impact damage.


 NTSB Identification: CEN12FA571
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Milner, CO
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N7774P
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.

On August 24, 2012, at an unknown time, a Piper PA-24 -250, N7774P, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain under unknown circumstances near Milner, Colorado. The pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport (KGWS), Glenwood Springs, Colorado at an undetermined time.

According to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, a sheepherder found the wreckage around 1000 on August 25, 2012. The airplane was not in contact with air traffic control and no flight plan had been filed. According to a family member, the airplane departed Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and was en route to Minnesota. The airplane had not been reported missing by friends or family and an Alert Notification for a missing airplane had not been filed.

The wreckage came to rest upright on an heading of 010 degrees in the bowl of a valley, surrounded by trees and bushes. The main wreckage included the engine and propeller assembly, the fuselage, empennage, and the right and left wings. Paint chips, Plexiglas, and small components surrounded the main wreckage. One ground scar, approximately 8 inches in depth, was located just forward of the engine. There were no other ground scars or points of impacted noted.

The airplane was recovered and relocated to a hangar for further examination.



IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 7774P        Make/Model: PA24      Description: PA-24 Comanche
  Date: 08/25/2012     Time: 1900

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

LOCATION
  City: STEAMBOAT SPRINGS   State: CO   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS 
  FATALLY INJURED, NEAR STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     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: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: DENVER, CO  (NM03)                    Entry date: 08/27/2012




Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a plane crash Saturday and the death of the plane’s only occupant. 

 The crash was discovered at about noon by a sheep herder about three miles north of the Camilletti Ranch house, which is at the end of Routt County Road 48 near Milner.

Undersheriff Ray Birch wrote in an email that the crashed plane is a single engine Piper and that it was being flown by a male.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg wants to make sure all of the family members are notified before the man is identified. The man's name should be available Sunday morning.

Birch added that the man was not from the area.

Birch said it is not known when the plane crashed. He said that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and that NTSB investigators were expected to arrive at the crash Saturday evening.


 http://www.steamboattoday.com



 MILNER, Colo. (CBS4) – One person is dead after a plane crash in Routt County on Saturday.
The plane was discovered by a sheep herder at about noon north of Milner, which is about eight miles west of Steamboat Springs.

It’s not known when the crash occurred. Deputies arrived and confirmed a male solo occupant was deceased.

The aircraft is a single engine Piper. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have been notified.

http://www.steamboattoday.com

http://denver.cbslocal.com

Plane makes emergency landing after fuel problem – southeastern Wisconsin

MT. PLEASANT — After a plane released a group of skydivers it experienced a fuel issue and had to make an emergency landing.

At 9:34 a.m. officers from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department responded to a report of a plane landing upright in a bean field near I-94 and Louis Sorenson Rd in the Village of Mt. Pleasant.

The pilot of the twin engine plane, John Helmle, 41, was seen walking around the plane after the landing.

It appears that the pilot was forced to land due to a fuel issue. Either it ran out of fuel or there was a malfunction with the fuel system.

Prior to this emergency landing, Helmle had taken a group of skydivers into the air and released them. He then attempted to land on at the Sky Diving business near the West side of I-94 in Racine County.

Due to the engine failure Helmle was forced to land on the East side of I-94.

A witness observed the plane flying very low to the ground facing westbound before it landed safely.
The FAA was contacted and will investigate the incident further.

There was no damage to the plane and Helmle, the sold occupant of the aircraft, was not injured.

http://www.cbs58.com

Schleicher ASW 19B, World On A String Inc., N438AS: Fatal accident occurred August 25, 2012 in Dansville, New York

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA528
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Dansville, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2014
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASW-19, registration: N438AS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the evening before the accident, the glider was assembled, and the pilot flew it for about 30 minutes uneventfully. On the day of the accident, after flying locally for about 3 hours, the glider was about 1 mile from the departure airport when witnesses reported that the glider started rolling back and forth into 90-degree banks. After three or four rolls, the glider descended nose-down to the ground and impacted a field in a flat attitude. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. About 3 years before the accident, the pilot underwent a procedure to repair an aneurysm of the ascending aorta combined with placement of a single vessel coronary artery bypass graft. He subsequently received a medical certificate and reported the surgery and that he was taking metoprolol (a beta blocker used to treat hypertension and prevent heart attacks), simvastatin (a cholesterol lowering drug), and lisinopril (a blood pressure medicine). Although the pilot’s medical certificate had expired about 1 month before the accident, he was not required to possess a current medical certificate as a glider pilot. Before the accident flight, the pilot remarked to a friend that he was not feeling well. The friend added that the day was very hot and that the pilot did not drink water before the flight or bring any water with him. Autopsy results indicated that there was no evidence to suggest any direct effect of the pilot’s cardiovascular disease (heart attack) in his ability to control the glider. Toxicological testing revealed levels of diphenhydramine in the pilot’s blood that were well above therapeutic levels. Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid. It is probable that the cognitive and psychomotor impairment caused by diphenhydramine contributed to the pilot’s loss of control in this accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain glider control while maneuvering. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment due to an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 25, 2012, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-19 glider, N438AS, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain in Dansville, New York. The commercial pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from the Dansville Municipal Airport (DSV), Dansville, New York, about 1230.

The pilot owned the glider and based it at DSV. He was also a member of Finger Lakes Soaring (FLS), which was based at DSV. Two witnesses observed the accident. The first witness was working at a facility near the airport. He reported that he was watching the glider perform large circles. The glider then started rolling, "back and forth from one wing to another." After three or four rolls, the glider descended nose-down to the ground in a 90-degree bank attitude. The second witness was another member of FLS and was at the airport. He stated that he was standing near the front entrance of the clubhouse when he observed the glider about 1 mile north of the airport. The glider was in a 90-degree bank and flying west at a slow speed, about 30 knots. The glider then turned north and the bank seemed to decrease, but the glider descended into terrain.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 66, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and glider. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with a rating for glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on July 14, 2011. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,600 hours. The pilot's logbook was not recovered.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat, fiberglass and metal glider, serial number 19230, was manufactured in 1978. It's most recent annual inspection was completed on August 18, 2012. At that time, the glider had accumulated 1,159.2 total flight hours.

Another FLS member added that the glider had not flown for about 5 years prior to the accident. The pilot had the glider resurfaced and returned to service, which was completed about 5 days prior to the accident. The evening prior to the accident, the glider was assembled and flown by the pilot for about 30 minutes uneventfully.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at DSV, at 1554, was: wind from 210 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 31 degrees C; dew point 14 degrees C; altimeter 30.18 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The glider impacted a field about 1 mile northwest of DSV. Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that the landing gear was in the down and locked position. The right wing had separated from the spoiler box outward, and the left wing exhibited impact damage on its underside and at the wing tip. The forward section was compromised and crushed back into the cockpit area. The canopy assembly was opened, but remained attached to the fuselage with the Plexiglas broken and shattered throughout the debris field. The tailboom was partially separated and bent toward the right of the glider. Flight control continuity was established during the examination.

After the wreckage was recovered from the field, the static balance of the flight controls was tested at a repair facility. The testing revealed that the elevator (7.3 in./lbs. with an allowable range of 5.21 to 8.81 in./lbs.) and ailerons (8.8 in./lbs. with an allowable range of 7.59 to 9.33 in./lbs.) were within limits. The rudder (12.1 in.\lbs. with an allowable range of 7.81 to 10.41 in./lbs.) was out of balance; however, the preimpact weight and balance of the flight controls could not be determined and there was no evidence that the rudder imbalance resulted in a loss of roll control.

A ClearNav MN-1365 flight display was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Data were successfully downloaded from the unit, but the data were from three previous events. The first two events were recorded on June 19 and July 28, 2012. They were recorded on the ground and consistent with unit installation or maintenance and not a flight. The third event recorded was recorded on August 24, 2012, which was the uneventful flight that was completed during the evening prior to the accident. The accident flight was not recorded.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, Rochester, New York. Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Review of the toxicological report revealed:

"Diphenhydramine detected in Liver
0.488 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Metoprolol detected in Liver
Metoprolol detected in Blood (Cavity)"

Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid. It is available over the counter under the trade names Benadryl and Unisom. Compared to other antihistamines, diphenhydramine causes marked sedation; it is also classed as a depressant and this is the rationale for its use as a sleep aid. Altered mood and impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance may also be observed. In fact, in a driving simulator study, a single dose of diphenhydramine impaired driving ability more than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.100 percent.

Review of the pilot's FAA medical records revealed that in 2009, he underwent a procedure to repair an aneurysm of the ascending aorta combined with placement of a single vessel coronary artery bypass graft. In 2011 he applied for a medical certificate and reported the surgery and that he was taking metoprolol (a beta blocker used to treat hypertension and prevent heart attacks), simvastatin (a cholesterol lowering drug), and lisinopril (a blood pressure medicine). After providing additional information, he was awarded a third-class special issuance medical certificate "not valid for any class after 7/31/2012."

At the time of the accident, his medical was no longer valid, but he was flying a glider which only required him to "self-certify" his medical condition. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. Natural disease of the heart was also noted including atherosclerotic heart disease and hypertensive heart disease with dilation and enlargement of the heart. The previous coronary artery bypass graft and aortic repair were described by the pathologist.

The pilot's friend and fellow club member reported that the pilot stated he was not feeling well on the day of the accident. The friend added that the day was hot and although the pilot drank coffee prior to the flight, he did not drink water or bring any water with him on the flight.


http://registry.faa.gov/N438AS

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA528 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Dansville, NY
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASW-19, registration: N438AS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On August 25, 2012, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-19 glider, N438AS, sustained substantial damage when it collided with the ground in Danville, New York. The commercial pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, personal flight. The flight originated from the Danville Municipal Airport (DSV) Danville, New York, about 1230.

Witnesses at the departure airport observed the glider depart and it was seen again upon its return to the airport. It was observed about one mile from the approach end of runway 14 in a right 90-degree bank heading west just above the treetops. The glider leveled out on the approach end of the runway. Moments later, the glider rolled toward the north away from the airport as it was lost from sight behind trees. One witness observed the glider flying slow and its wings were “tipping back and forth” before it descended toward the ground, impacting nose first, followed by the right wing, and came to rest flat on its belly in the open field.

A wreckage examination by the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the landing gear was in the down and locked position, the right wing separated from the spoiler box outward, the left wing had impact damaged underneath and at the wing tip. The forward section was ripped open and crushed back into the cockpit area. The canopy assembly was opened but remained attached to the fuselage with the Plexiglas broken and shattered throughout the debris field. The tail boom was partially separated and bent toward the right of the glider. Flight controls continuity was established during the examination.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.





 
Dansville, N.Y. – A Rochester man was killed after his glider crashed in a field near the Dansville Airport Saturday afternoon. 

That man has been identified as 66-year-old James Rizzo, an active member of the Fingerlakes Soaring Club based out of the Dansville Airport.

Rizzo's glider plane went down around 3:30 Saturday afternoon in the area of Zerfass and Meter Roads.

The Fingerlakes Soaring Club was known to fly over this area often, it was a popular gliding area.

The soaring club was hosting a contest Saturday out of the airport but members from the club tells 13 wham that Rizzo was not a part of that competition.

Rizzo was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police are trying to figure out the cause of the crash.

"We're trying to determine that now, we'll work with the medical examiner to determine if there was a medical cause or in fact there was a flying issue," Livingston County UnderSheriff James Szczesniak said.

The glider Rizzo was flying is also called a sailplane.

They're usually engineless aircrafts that glide through the air.

In this setting, police say there are not radio communications back and forth from a tower.

Police say there are data systems that will be collected and examined by the F.A.A and NTSB, who are also joining the investigation.

 Livingston County deputies say that one man died after his glider crashed in a field near the Dansville Airport on Saturday afternoon.

 
First responders got to the scene at about 3:30 in the afternoon, to find the damaged glider and the pilot, 66 year old James Rizzo of Rochester, with serious injuries.

He later died at Noyes Hospital.

Rizzo is a member of the Fingerlakes Soaring Club. The club was hosting a flying event for the Soaring Society of America at the Dansville Airport, but it says Rizzo was on his own and was not part of those activities.

The sheriff’s department, along with the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the cause of the accident.

Dansville Fatal Glider Crash

One man is dead after the glider he was operating crashed in Dansville.

The Livingston County Sheriffs Office tells us the crash happened just outside the Dansville airport near Zerfass Road.

YNN was told that the glider aircraft was taken up by a powered aircraft and was supposed to fly back to the airport.

There is no information as to what caused the crash at this time.

The pilot was taken by ambulance to Noyes Memorial Hospital.

Police are not releasing the victim’s name at this time.

Ultralight pilot injured in crash near Vashon Municipal Airport (2S1), Washington

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. – A pilot was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after his ultralight plane crashed in a Vashon Island field Friday evening, officials said. 

The small gas-powered aircraft crashed at about 8 p.m. Friday in a horse pasture just south of Vashon Municipal Airport, said King County sheriff’s spokesperson Katie Larson.

When medics reached the scene, they found the pilot still conscious and breathing. He was airlifted to Harborview with non-life-threatening injuries.

The FAA has been notified and will investigate the crash, Larson said.

Destiny XLT powered-parachute, N1674A: Accident occurred August 24, 2012 in Hart, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA578
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2012 in Hart, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/2014
Aircraft: DESTINY XLT, registration: N1674A
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was flying his powered parachute on a local flight when he encountered a strong and gusty tailwind. A video showed that the powered parachute cart then rocked fore and aft, while the parachute canopy moved fore and aft above the cart until the left side of the parachute canopy deformed and collapsed. The powered parachute then entered a descending left spiral. During the descent the left side of the parachute reinflated, and the powered parachute impacted terrain nose down with a partially inflated canopy. A postaccident examination of the wreckage and the video of the accident revealed no evidence of preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The powered parachute ram-air canopy retains its airfoil shape because of the relative wind airflow entering its front openings. Examination of the accident powered parachute revealed that modifications to lower the canopy's angle of attack had been made, to allow for quicker rotation and additional forward speed. However, these modifications decreased the canopy's angle of attack such that it would partially collapse when wind gusts were encountered.

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

The partial deflation of the powered parachute canopy when the pilot flew the aircraft into an area with gusty wind conditions. Contributing to the accident were the modifications that changed the flying characteristics of the parachute.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 24, 2012, about 1800 eastern daylight time, an experimental Destiny XLT powered-parachute, N1674A, impacted terrain following a downwind turn at the Silver Lake State Park near Hart, Michigan. The airline transport pilot and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The powered-parachute's frame structure sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The flight's origination and destination are unknown.

Witnesses driving Jeeps on sand dunes located near the accident site recorded a personal amateur video of their Jeep activities while on the dunes. The video showed that the powered parachute was flying above the dunes area. The powered parachute turned and flew in an area where wind flags indicated a gusty downwind condition existed. The powered parachute cart was then observed to porpoise and rock fore and aft. Simultaneously, the parachute also flew fore and aft above the cart, until the left side of the parachute deformed and collapsed. The powered parachute then went into a descending left spiral. During the descent, the left side of the parachute reinflated. The powered parachute impacted terrain nose down with an inflated canopy.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 66-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airline Transport Pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine land rating. He also held commercial pilot privileges in gliders and single engine land and sea airplanes. He further held a flight instructor rating in gliders and in single and multi-engine airplanes. The pilot held a second-class medical certificate dated December 30, 2010. On the application for that medical certificate, he reported his flight experience included 24,500 hours of total flight time and 200 hours in the six months prior to the certificate exam.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

N1674A was a Destiny XLY powered parachute with serial number 4C0633. The aircraft was powered by a Rotax 582 DCDI engine, which drove a 64-inch, ground adjustable, IVO Prop propeller.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1754, the recorded weather at the Fremont Municipal Airport, near Fremont, Michigan, was: Wind 150 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 30 degrees C; dew point 13 degrees C; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage impacted Silver Lake State Park sand dunes near Hart, Michigan. A FAA inspector examined the wreckage on-scene after the accident. A review of the amateur video and the inspector's examination revealed no pre-impact anomalies.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 25, 2012, by Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The autopsy listed multiple blunt force injuries as the cause of death.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report was negative for the tests performed.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA Powered Parachute Flying Handbook, in part, stated:

The powered parachute ram-air wing retains its airfoil shape
due to the air pressurizing the inside cells via the relative
wind airflow being rammed into the front openings of the
canopy - thus the term "ram-air wing." The pressure inside the
wing is much higher than the outside top and bottom because
the dynamic pressure from the relative wind is converted to
static pressure to pressurize the wing. The greater the speed,
the greater the pressure inside the wing and the more rigid
the wing.

A powered parachute flight instructor obtained a copy of the accident video from a source outside the investigative parties. He reviewed the video and wrote the NTSB investigator in charge an e-mail in reference to the accident flight. His communication, in part, stated:

It is clear from the pictures that there were two additional
links (per side) added to the rear risers, this would raise the
rear of the chute by approximately 3 inches over its intended
connection point. In addition to the extra links the front lines
of the chute have apparently been knotted (perhaps in an
attempt to shorten them, as these lines tend to stretch faster
then the other lines, although I have never seen this done
before). As I mentioned before, this practice of adding links
became popular with some due to the stretching of the forward
lines and increased difficulty of inflating the chute (the chute
would not fully rotate for takeoff) it lowered the angle of
attack creating a quicker rotation and additional forward speed.
Watching the video of the accident seconds before the collapse
you can clearly see the chute heave backwards as the first gust
hits the chute, you can then see the chute lunge forward,
about that time, you can see the effects of a second gust hitting
the chute and pushes it back even further creating a pendulum
effect. When the chute tries to correct itself, it will overfly
the cart as it pendulums. It is my belief that due to the
additional links being added and lines being knotted that it
decreased the angle of attack to the point it collapsed when
confronted with the gusts and subsequent downward pitch of
the wing.

An Accredited Representative from the State Of Israel, Ministry Of Transport, Aviation Incidents & Accidents Investigation office reviewed the report and submitted comments. The comments stated that from review of the video, pictures, and reports, it was clear that a major modification was done to the length of the lines, decreasing the angle of attack of the wing. The knot on the front lines was performed on the line ends, where the line thickness is doubled. In this location, the knot shortens the line by 15 to 20 millimeter (mm) (A knot on a single line shortens the line by 10 mm). He also indicated that it is important to note that a knot reduces the strength of the line by up to 40 percent.

The two additional links on the back riser added approximately 130 mm to the length of the lines. He stated that this is a significant change from the original length of the line. Simple calculation shows that with the above changes to line length (150 mm total), the angle of attack is reduced by approximately 3 degrees in the center of the wing and 6.5 degrees towards the wing tip.

A normal angle of attack is around 16 to 17 degrees. With the line extension, the reduction in angle of attack is 30 to 40 percent and even higher towards the edges of the wings where sensitivity to down wind is high.

The wing modification reduced inflation difficulties of the wing and increased flight speed. With the reduction of the angle of attack, the speed of the wing increases by about 10 to 15 kilometers per hour (kph), allowing the pilot to fly in stronger winds, or to fly faster from point A to point B. This change is an increase of up to 20 percent of the original wing speed and performance.

In this type of soft wing, that uses Reflex Wing Technology, the angle of attack plays a major role in the stability of the wing and its ability to handle down winds. The modification hinders collapse resistance and pitch stability. The reduced angle of attack reduces the air intake capability of the wing. The air flows at a lower angle and faces smaller openings on the leading edge.

The representative stated that the observed behavior of the wing after the collapse was more violent than normal. A rotation is expected in such a collapse, but not as fast as seen here.

The reduction of the angle of attack, lower air intake and lower pressure on the under foil of the wing, all reduce the ability of the wing to recover itself from a collapse. The representative indicated that most soft wings are built in a way that even without pilot intervention the wing inflates itself back from a collapse and returns to normal flight.

The video of the accident showed that the pilot, immediately following the collapse, pushed both legs almost all the way forward. The representative stated that this is done for two reasons. The leg on the right is used to maintain a straight flight and to prevent a spiral dive. The leg on the left is used to assist in re-inflating the wing by building more internal pressure in the cells. In this case, the leg pressure in the early stages of the collapse did not allow the wing to maintain a straight flight, thus contributing to the rotation and spiral dive. The video also showed that both legs were pushed all the way to the front, from the beginning of the event until impact with the ground and that no 'pumping' movement is seen.


In such situations, instead of pushing both legs, only the right leg should be pushed and even deeper. After stopping or slowing the wing rotation, preventing it from spiraling, the left leg should be pumped deeply to assist in wing re-inflation. In most cases, by the time the direction of the wing is stabilized, the collapsed side inflates by itself without need for pilot intervention. The representative indicated that the continuous pressure by the left leg in this case, did not allow the application of right leg pressure to correct the wing rotation.

The representative indicated that in the video, flags were clearly visible and showed strong flapping that indicate 20 to 30 kph winds. Other evidence of the higher wind speed is the delta speed between the downwind flight, compared to the last section of the flight, which was with a headwind. Additionally, the location of the collapse is between two hills at the point of the collapse, the plane altitude is almost level with the hill top, putting it in an area prone to turbulence from wind coming over the hill and down into the valley behind it.

The Accredited Representative also listed the following recommendations:

In the event of a collapse, do not allow the wing to rotate and dive.
Keep the leg counter to the rotation direction as far as needed to stop
or slow the rotation. Only then, if still required perform deep pumps
with the leg on the collapsed wing side.

Warn the pilot community in regards to making modifications on stock
wings.

Do not add links to one riser.

Do not extend or shorten wing lines.

Do not make fixes without consulting an expert.

Specifically for Chiron wing owners, verify that the practice of adding
links to ease inflation and takeoff is not used. There are better means
of fixing this problematic situation by modifications of the wing
attachment to the plane's body.

Advise authorities to verify that the Chiron wings that are still flying
have a proper distributor that can perform the yearly inspection and
repairs.


http://registry.faa.gov/N1674A

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA578 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2012 in Hart, MI
Aircraft: DESTINY XLT, registration: N1674A
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 August 24, 2010, about 1800 eastern daylight time, an experimental Destiny XLT powered-parachute, N1674A, impacted terrain following a downwind turn at the Silver Lake State Park near Hart, Michigan. The airline transport pilot and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The powered-parachute’s frame structure sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The flight’s origination and destination are unknown.

At 1754, the recorded weather at the Fremont Municipal Airport, near Fremont, Michigan, was: Wind 150 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 30 degrees C; dew point 13 degrees C; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.


 Condolences to friends and family of the Austin’s.


GOLDEN TOWNSHIP, MI – A Shelby couple died when the powered parachute they were flying at Silver Lake State Park crashed on Friday evening.

The accident happened shortly after 6 p.m. in an area of the park known as “Test Hill” in Golden Township.

Henry H. Austin, 66, was flying the aircraft and his wife, Carol Austin, was riding in the passenger seat when it crashed into the dunes. Oceana County Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Mast said both of the victims were killed on impact.

Oceana County Sheriff Robert Farber said an investigation into what caused the crash is continuing. The Federal Aviation Administration was at the scene Friday evening and allowed the aircraft to be removed from the dune.

Farber said autopsies on both of the Austins will be performed in Grand Rapids on Saturday following FAA protocols.

Henry Austin was well-known around Muskegon for years with his hobby of flying powered parachutes. He trained dozens of people how to fly powered parachutes over the years through Shelby Paraflite School, the business he owned with his wife.

Farber said Henry Austin was a retired commercial pilot.

“He’s very experienced,” Farber said.

Henry Austin also volunteered as a reserve Oceana County sheriff deputy for many years, assisting with several searches for lost people and with other police functions. Farber described Henry Austin as a “wonderful person.”

“It tears me up,” Farber said. “Hank was such a busy guy but he always found time to help out.”
He said the Austins were nearly inseparable, especially in the air.

“His wife was always with him,” Farber said of Henry Austin. “Carole was always his second set of eyes riding in the back.”

Bell 407, K-VA-T & W-L Aviation LLC, N407N: Accident occurred August 24, 2012 in Abingdon, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA527
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2012 in Abingdon, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: BELL 407, registration: N407N
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The pilot was transporting passengers across a lake and home from a race track at night. A witness who was boating on the lake across from the helicopter landing area watched the helicopter approach and land. He stated that the landing light was on during the landing. He watched the passengers exit the helicopter and then the helicopter lift off and turn toward the lake, descend down an embankment, and turn over the lake. The witness stated that the landing light was not on during the departure. The helicopter traveled about 150 yards when the bottom skids began to make the water spray. The helicopter then nosed over and impacted the water. The witness then directed his boat toward the impact area where he found the tail boom separated from the fuselage and the cockpit area submerged.
Examination of the fuselage, including the top Plexiglas window and frame, revealed evidence of main rotor contact. The helicopter’s engine was torn from the fuselage and could not be located due to poor visibility in the water and its irregular bottom features. The engine control unit (ECU) was retrieved, and all of the data revealed that no engine operating exceedances occurred before impact, and no accumulated engine faults were recorded during the previous engine run. The ECU data and physical evidence are consistent with power being supplied to the main rotor at the moment of impact.
Security camera video footage revealed that the pilot had successfully conducted this low-level, rapid acceleration takeoff profile several times during the day when visual spatial references were plentiful. The available data and evidence, as well as the previous flights, are consistent with controlled flight into water while conducting a rapidly accelerating, low-altitude flight after takeoff over an unlit body of water in dark night conditions. The pilot’s decision to attempt a such a takeoff at night without the aid of ambient light or the use of helicopter lights denied him the visual spatial references needed to assure safe terrain and obstacle avoidance. Additionally, the conditions during the flight were conducive to a type of pilot spatial disorientation known as “somatogravic illusion,” in which aircraft acceleration may be misinterpreted by the pilot as an increasing nose-up pitch attitude and result in inappropriate nose-down control inputs.

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

The pilot’s improper decision to make a low-level departure over water in dark night conditions without lights, which resulted in controlled flight into the water. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s likely spatial disorientation due to a vestibular illusion caused by the rapid acceleration during takeoff.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 24, 2012, about 2230 eastern daylight time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N407N, collided into South Holston Lake during a night departure from a river bank in Abingdon, Virginia. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged when it impacted the water. The helicopter was registered to and operated by K-VA-T&W-L Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual night meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating from a private field at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, while boating on the lake across from the helicopter landing zone, he watched as the helicopter came in and landed. He recalled that the landing light was on, and he watched as the passengers exited the helicopter. The helicopter then lifted and turned toward the lake, descended down an embankment and made a turn over the lake. The witness said that he noticed that the landing light was not on during the departure flight. The helicopter traveled approximately 150 yards when the bottom skids began to make the water spray on the side of the helicopter. The helicopter then nosed over and made a loud splash. The witness waited for a short moment and then turned on his spot light and moved towards the position of the helicopter. As he moved towards the helicopter, his boat bumped into the tail boom, which was floating away from the fuselage. He continued towards the helicopter and came upon the helicopter floating upside down with the skids upright approximately 2 feet above the water. The witness shined his light throughout the cabin and cockpit but did not see anyone.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 64, held an airline transport pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and rotorcraft-helicopter issued May 27, 2008, and a second-class airman medical certificate issued February 17, 2012, with limitations for corrective lenses. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for review. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot reported 26,000 flight hours on his last medical.

A review of the pilot's flight schedule for that day revealed that the pilot started the passenger flights at 1500 on the day of the accident. A review of the flight schedule times revealed that 10 passenger flights between Bristol Speedway to a private residence near South Holston Lake were made in a period of 1 hour and 20 minutes. After the pilot returned, he was informed that the next flight would start at 2100. During the flights, the pilot hot fueled at the landing site adjacent to the residence where he dropped off and picked up passengers. There is no record of the amount of fuel taken onboard the helicopter during the day. According to the wife of the pilot, he was well rested the night before and there was nothing abnormal about the day. She went on to say that the pilot was in good health.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The seven-seat, skid equipped helicopter, serial number 53077, was manufactured in 1996. It was powered by a Rolls-Royce model 250-C47B turbo-shaft 650-hp engine.

Review of copies of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed March 20, 2012, at a recorded airframe total time of 2,339.1 hours, and an engine time of 2,091.0 hours. The Hobbs hour-meter showed 2,427.8 hours at the accident site. The engine control unit recorded an engine total time of 2,771.06.

Video footage from a security camera captured several daytime departures by the pilot earlier that day. In all the takeoffs, the helicopter was low enough to the surface of the lake to allow the main rotor to create a wake on the surface of the water. On the night of the accident, video footage showed the helicopter's anti-collision lights reflecting off of the lake's surface prior to the accident.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The intended landing site was in the backyard at the private residence of the owner of the helicopter, which is an area of turf grass. The landing site was elevated approximately 30 feet above the lake surface. The area is unlit and not a dedicated helipad and it was used frequently by the owner for helicopter operations.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A review of recorded data from the Virginia Highlands Airport, Abingdon, Virginia (VJI) automated weather observation station, elevation 2,087 feet, revealed that at 2235, conditions were wind 100 degrees at 4 knots, visibility of 10 miles, cloud conditions scattered at 11,000 feet above ground level (agl).

On the day of the accident, official sunset was at 2007, end of civil twilight was at 2033, moonset was at 1917 with an elevation more than 29 degrees below the horizon, and moonrise would be 1519 on August 25, 2012. Moon phase was a waxing crescent with 51% of visible disk illuminated. The evening trip took place under nighttime VFR conditions.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The fuselage of the helicopter was recovered on August 28, 2012, approximately 100 yards from the estimated location of the helicopter's original impact point on the water. The helicopter's engine was torn from the fuselage and could not be located due to poor visibility in the water and the irregular bottom features which rendered the search ineffective.

Examination of the cockpit area of the fuselage revealed that it had been breached during impact. The pilot and copilot's seat pans were broken away from their respective bases and deformed. The instrument panel was dislodged from its mount and held to the fuselage by wiring. A cursory examination of the instrument panel revealed that the landing light switch was found in the "both" position but the landing light circuit breaker was observed in the "out" position (turned off). Examination of the fuselage exhibited evidence of main rotor contact. The top Plexiglas window and frame exhibited evidence of main rotor contact.

Examination of the flight controls revealed that all controls from the collective and cyclic to the vertical control tubes to the hydraulic actuators to the swash plate were intact and no notable damage was observed. The forward vertical firewall exhibited rotational witness marks from the engine to transmission shaft. Rotational witness marks were also present on the transmission shaft. The forward end of the transmission shaft remained attached to the main transmission; the K-Flex coupling on the aft end of the transmission shaft had failed in overload and was splayed outward. The main rotor mast had fractured in overload at its base but had not separated. Examination of the main transmission chip detector upper and lower was found clean of debris. The hydraulic reservoir was found full of hydraulic fluid and clean of debris.

Examination of the main rotor blades revealed that all four rotor blades were fractured consistent with a sudden stoppage. The blue, red, and green pitch change links were bent; the orange pitch change link was fractured in overload. All pitch link hardware was present, and all cotter keys were installed.

The tail boom was fractured at the aft bulkhead and the fracture surfaces were consistent with a main rotor strike. Strike marks were present on both of the top of the vertical stabilizers above the tail boom and the bottom of the vertical stabilizers below the tail boom. The foreword-most 4 feet of the tail boom was not recovered. The vertical fin was not damaged, and the anti-collision light remained intact. The tail boom drive shaft was fractured at the number 3 coupling. Examination of the 90-degree gearbox revealed that the chip detector was found clean and free of debris. The 90-degree gearbox rotated with no binding or grinding. Control continuity was confirmed from the forward fracture to the tail rotor control lever upper end. The tail rotor control lever attachment point showed signs of impact damage and remnants of the arm bearing were located in the lower end of the tail cone. No anomalies were found with the tail rotor which would have prevented normal operation and control.

The engine bay showed evidence of contact by the main rotor. The mounts, engine controls, fuel, oil and electrical connections were all severed from the helicopter. The only engine components present were the Engine Control Unit (ECU), part of a throttle control arm, and a small fragment of the starter/generator mount. All engine mounts were fractured in overload and deformed. The engine oil reservoir, oil cooler, and fan were missing.

Due to extensive impact damage, control continuity could not be established from the cockpit to the engine bay. The collective was fractured at its base. The throttle twist grip was deformed and not movable by hand. The throttle was found in the full-open (fly) position. A piece of the throttle engine's throttle arm was present in the engine bay, still attached to a deformed section of throttle control linkage. The airframe-mounted fuel filter was present. The outlet fuel line to the engine had been severed, allowing water contamination of the filter bowl. The filter bowl was opened and examined. A small amount of silt was present, from the river bed but the filter was otherwise normal. The ECU baseplate was deformed due to impact damage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 28, 2012, by the Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Roanoke, Virginia, as authorized by the medical examiner for Washington County.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot with negative results for drugs and alcohol.

TEST AND RESEARCH

Examination of the recorded ECU data revealed that there were no engine operating exceedance prior to impact, and no accumulated engine faults were recorded during the previous engine run. No Incident recorder (IR) data had been written to file; however, a partial Snapshot trigger dataset had been recorded. The Snapshot trigger was caused by an Engine Torque Exceedance of 116%. Only seven sequential engine parameters were recorded in the Snapshot data. This is consistent with destruction of the helicopter occurring almost immediately after the initial over-torque event occurred. Electrical power was lost to the ECU before a full line of Snapshot data could be written or any IR data could be recorded.

Due to the limited amount of data recorded on the ECU, very little analysis of engine performance could be achieved. The disparity between main rotor rpm (Nr) and power turbine speed (Np) is attributable to the rapid deceleration of the main rotor as it impacted the water. There is a 24 millisecond cycle time for the data write; however, the Nr signal first passes through a digital converter before the Np signal. During a rapid deceleration of the main rotor, the recorded value for Np will be lower than that recorded for Nr. The recorded Nr data was sampled a few milliseconds before the recorded Np data. The Np data was recorded during or immediately following the main rotor strike of the water.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Spatial Disorientation

According to Spatial Disorientation in Aviation (F.H. Previc and W.R. Ercoline), the otoliths (tiny organs of the inner ear), sense the acceleration of gravity and the acceleration associated with translational motions. Because the otoliths cannot distinguish between these two types of acceleration, they can only sense a combination of these two forces, the gravitoinertial force (GIF) vector. During coordinated, unaccelerated flight, the GIF vector is directed straight down through the pilot's seat. When an aircraft accelerates rapidly, however, the GIF vector is displaced aft, causing a false sensation of pitching up. This misperception, known as the somatogravic illusion, is normally dispelled when the pilot views the external horizon and/or the flight instruments. If no external horizon is visible and the flight instruments are not continuously monitored or are not correctly interpreted, the somatogravic illusion can persist, leading to an inaccurate understanding of aircraft orientation and direction of motion known as spatial disorientation, a condition that can lead to inappropriate pilot control inputs.

Spatial disorientation illusions are described extensively in FAA pilot training literature. For example, the 2012 Aeronautical Information Manual states, "A rapid acceleration during takeoff can create the illusion of being in a nose up attitude." Similarly, the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook states, "A rapid acceleration, such as experienced during takeoff, stimulates the otolith organs in the same way as tilting the head backwards. This action creates the somatogravic illusion of being in a nose-up attitude, especially in situations without good visual references." The Manual and the Handbook warn that, "The disoriented pilot may push the aircraft into a nose-low or dive attitude." Identical information is included in the FAA's Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. This particular illusion is so well recognized that information about it is included in the FAA's private pilot, instrument rating, and airline transport pilot knowledge test guides and the FAA practical test standards for private pilots.
According to FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-4A, "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," tests conducted with qualified instrument pilots indicated that it can take as long as 35 seconds to establish full control by instruments after a loss of visual reference of the earth's surface. AC 60-4A further states that surface references and the natural horizon may become obscured even though visibility may be above VFR minimums, and that an inability to perceive the natural horizon or surface references is common during flights over water, at night, in sparsely populated areas, and in low-visibility conditions.


 NTSB Identification: ERA12FA527
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2012 in Abingdon, VA
Aircraft: BELL 407, registration: N407N
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.

On August 24, 2012, about 2230 eastern daylight time, a Bell 407, N407N, crashed into South Holston Lake during a night departure from a river bank in Abingdon, Virginia. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged when it impacted the water. The helicopter was registered to and operated by K-VA-T&W-L Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Visual night meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness in a boat, he watched the helicopter land with the landing light on and the passengers exit the helicopter. The helicopter then departed without the landing light on and turned toward the lake, descended down an embankment, and made a turn over the lake. The helicopter traveled approximately 150 yards when the bottom skids collided with the lake. The helicopter nosed over and made a loud splash. The witness waited for a short moment and then turned on his spot light and moved towards the position of the helicopter. As he moved forward, his boat collided with the tail boom which was floating away from the fuselage. He continued forward and the cabin area was floating upside down.

The helicopter was recovered from the lake and is pending further examination by the NTSB.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 407N        Make/Model: B407      Description: Bell 407
  Date: 08/25/2012     Time: 0220

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

LOCATION
  City: ABINGDON   State: VA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  N407N BELL 407 ROTORCRAFT CRASHED INTO A LAKE, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD IS 
  MISSING AND PRESUMED FATAL, NEAR ABINGDON, VA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   0
                 # 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: RICHMOND, VA  (EA21)                  Entry date: 08/27/2012 

 
Photo by Mike Still 
 Flags fly at half-mast at Virginia Highlands Airport in Abingdon, Virginia
~

By Mike Still - A barge pushes a recovery crane near the site of a helicopter crash on South Holston Lake Saturday evening. Crews are still searching the site of a Friday night helicopter crash believed to have involved Food City chief pilot Bill Starnes, but the crane was sent back to a nearby marina until Sunday.

By David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier
 A police boat keeps boaters away from the area of Friday nights corporate helicopter crash on South Holston Lake. The helicopter belonged to Food City and was leaving the home of CEO and President Steve Smith when it went into the lake.


Spectators gathered on the shoreline early this morning as rescue crews continued the search for a helicopter pilot who crashed into the lake late Friday.

Rescue crews assist divers in the search for a missing helicopter pilot this morning. The aircraft crashed into South Holston Lake late Friday.

Photo by AP Photo/Jason Smith, CIA Bristol Motor Speedway, Pool 
 A Food City corporate helicopter crashed into a South Holston Lake in upper East Tennessee after leaving Bristol Motor Speedway following the Nationalwide race late Friday, August 24, 2012. The race is sponsored by the grocery chain. The search continued early Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 for the pilot of the craft, who authorities believe was the lone occupant. 

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Emergency 911 calls on the downed helicopter
Calls on the helicopter traffic begin about a third of the way into the audio. Go to about 11 minutes in to catch the start. Live Scanner Audio Credit: http://Scannerfood.com and hosted by http://RadioReference.com 


UPDATE: 9 p.m. SATURDAY
Jerry Caldwell, general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway, made the following announcement over the Speedway public-address system regarding the accident prior to the start of the race: “As you may have heard, our partners at Food City need our prayers. They are like family to us. When they hurt, we hurt. So please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.”

UPDATE: 7 p.m. SATURDAY
The Sullivan County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office dive team joined the search Saturday for a missing corporate pilot whose helicopter crashed lated Friday in South Holston Lake.

Search crews who had spend the night searching the wreckage, spent much of Saturday using side-sonar in their efforts.

The divers will continue their work through the night Saturday as well, and until the pilot is found, Corinne N. Geller, a public relations officer with the Virginia State Police, said in a written news statement updating the search.

Geller confirmed Saturday that the helicopter did break apart upon impact with the water, with the bulk of the aircraft still submerged.

The depths of the water at the crash site ranges from about 25 to 40 feet.

UPDATE: 12:15 p.m. SATURDAY:
Dive crews are still searching the wreckage this afternoon for the pilot of the crashed helicopter, said Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Conroy.

The crews will "keep searching until they find" him, Conroy said. Police still haven't named the pilot missing from Friday night's wreck.
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UPDATE 11:32 A.M. SATURDAY:
Castlewood, Va., resident Larry Buchanan was sitting around a campfire with his friends and family late Friday, watching as helicopters flew in and over the area at Washington County Park on South Holston Lake.

They were watching the helicopter that crashed take off again after its second visited to the area, Buchanan said.

The helicopter had just taken off from the house when it crashed, he said.

“It smacked the water and sounded like a big wall falling and then there was silence," Buchanan said. "We came running down here, but there was nothing we could do from the shore.”

He said boats that were already out on the lake rushed over to the site.

The helicopter was flying low over the lake, he said, but that was normal from what they had seen; the aircraft would stay low until it cleared the trees, he said.

Police and rescue squads were on the scene pretty quick after the crash, he said.
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UPDATE 10:45 A.M. SATURDAY:
 Additional divers and sonar equipment arrived at South Holston Lake this morning to aid in the search for the pilot of a Food City helicopter that crashed into the water near Washington County Park late Friday.

The helicopter has been located, but rescue teams working through the night were still unable to find the pilot, who was the only person on board when the helicopter crashed, Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Conroy said. 

“Right now we’re searching around the crash scene,” Conroy said.

The crash occurred about 10:30 p.m., shortly after the end of the Food City 250 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The pilot is the only person believed to have been on board; authorities have declined at this point to release the pilot’s name.

“Last night when they first got on scene, it [the helicopter] was skids up,” Conroy said. “That may have changed with the current and everything. It did break up into pieces; we’re not sure how many pieces. It’s still submerged in probably 20 to 25 feet of water.”

The helicopter, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, was registered to K-VA-T and W-L Aviation LLC in Abingdon, Va. It was a Bell model 407, manufactured in 1996.

“Right now, we’re focusing on recovering the pilot,” Conroy said this morning. “After that we’ll move the helicopter for inspection. That’s down the road.”
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Virginia State Police divers and troopers continue this morning to for the pilot of a Food City helicopter that crashed into South Holston Lake late Friday.

Divers spent much of the night searching the wreckage for the pilot, said Corinne Geller, state police spokesperson, in a written statement sent out this morning.

The police search and recovery team will use side-scan sonar today to help look for the pilot. The helicopter remains in the water upside down, she said. Police will work to remove the wreckage today, she said.

The corperate Bell helicopter had been bringing passengers from Bristol Motor Speedway to a private residence along Lake Road, Geller said. One of the passengers had just been dropped off when the crash occurred, she said.

Keep checking back to Tricities.com for more information. On Twitter, follow @BHC_Allie and@tricities_com as reporter Allie Robinson posts updates throughout the day.
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3:03 a.m.:
Divers continued searching early this morning for the pilot of a helicopter that crashed into South Holston Lake late Friday.

The pilot was the only person on board the Bell helicopter, owned by K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company for the Food City grocery chain, Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Conroy said.

The helicopter crashed into the lake about 10:30 p.m. Friday, Conroy said, near Lake Road and County Park Road just north of the Tennessee border.

As of 2 a.m. the pilot still had not been found, and police and rescue crews plan to search until he is located, Conroy said.

“Right now the focus is on finding the pilot,” he said just before 2 a.m.

State police dive crews and a state police helicopter could be seen around the site of the crash early Saturday. The helicopter’s spotlight swept the lake as the dive teams methodically checked the area between Painters Creek Marina and Washington County Park. The water in some places near the crash site is at least 40 feet deep.

The helicopter was found, and is still in the lake, Conroy said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to be on the scene this morning and will investigate the cause of the crash, Conroy said.

Food City is the corporate sponsor of the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The crash occurred less than an hour after the race concluded Friday.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, conservation officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Green Springs Volunteer Fire Department responded to assist with the search, Conroy said.
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12:30 a.m.:
A Bell helicopter registered to Food City’s parent company and an Abingdon, Va., aviation company crashed late Friday into South Holston Lake, near the Washington County Park on County Park Road, which is just north of the state line.

Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman confirmed that the aircraft had gone down just before 11 p.m., landing in the water, and that search and rescue teams from his office and several other agencies were searching for survivors. The search was expected to last well into the morning.

Food City President and CEO Steven C. Smith was not on board when the helicopter went down, but the crash occurred not far from his home on South Holston Lake.

It is unclear at this time how many passengers were on board the helicopter at the time of the crash, which happened less than an hour after the end of the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Food City has sponsored that NASCAR Nationwide Series race for 20 years.

The emergency agencies assisting in the search late Friday include the Virginia State Police, the Washington County Lifesaving Crew and the Green Springs Volunteer Fire Department. The state police medical helicopter was providing support with spotlights on the water.

The helicopter, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, was registered to K-VA-T and W-L Aviation LLC in Abingdon, Va. It was a Bell model 407, manufactured in 1996.