Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sita Air Dornier Do-228, 9N-AHA, performing flight 601, Kathmandu, Nepal

'Panicking' pilot crashed Everest plane: officials 

AN error by a "panic-stricken" pilot likely caused the crash of a plane bound for Mount Everest that killed all 19 people on board, including British and Chinese trekkers.


The twin-propeller Sita Air plane had just taken off on Friday from Kathmandu and was headed to the town of Lukla, gateway to Mount Everest, when it plunged into the banks of a river near the city's airport around daybreak.

"The pilot's failure to maintain the required radius is a likely cause of the accident," said Nepalese government official Suresh Acharya, who revealed that the plane turned too sharply because it had not gained enough altitude.

The Dornier aircraft, which crashed minutes after take-off, was headed for Everest, the world's tallest mountain.

The plane's right engine burst into flames after being hit by a large bird, causing the aircraft to plummet into the river bank and explode into a huge fireball.

"The preliminary finding of the Civil Aviation Authority notices unusual manoeuvring during the take-off and the pilot communicated to air traffic control the aircraft was hit by a bird," Acharya said.

"But a plane crash does not occur simply just because its engine was hit by a bird."

Acharya noted incidents in which one engine of a twin-engine aircraft failed and the plane was still able to land safely.

"The pilot may have been panic-stricken and made a steep narrow turn instead of forming a wider radius required to bring the malfunctioning aircraft back to the runway," he said.

Acharya, a member of a government commission due to report on the cause of the crash within three months, said the pilot should have gained more altitude before trying to return to the airport.

The foreigners all arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and had been slated to begin trekking towards Everest Base Camp on Saturday accompanied by local guides on an expedition organised by English company Explore Worldwide.

Police said the victims were piled up at the cockpit end of the wreckage, the Kathmandu Post reported, indicating they had either failed to fasten their safety belts or took them off before hitting the ground.

The youngest British victim was Ben Ogden, a 27-year-old Oxford University graduate who had just qualified as a solicitor and was a rising star at a London law firm.

His father Andrew was quoted in Britain's Daily Telegraph as saying his son wanted the trip to be "his big adventure" before he "knuckled down to some serious work" and life with his girlfriend of eight years.

Another tourist who died in the crash had United States citizenship, the airline said on Saturday.

Student Wu Hui, 27, of California, was named among five Chinese dead in the crash, which also killed seven Britons, but Sita Air said his passport recovered at the crash site revealed he was an American of Chinese origin.

"One American citizen of Chinese origin was among the 12 foreigners who died in the Sita Air crash yesterday," Sita Air spokesman Deependra Shahi said.

"Seven Britons, four Chinese and seven Nepalis including three crews are the other deceased in the crash. The trekking agency is in touch with us and some relatives have arrived Kathmandu to collect the body of the deceased Britons.

"We are expecting to be in touch with (the) Chinese side too for the handover of the bodies."

It was the sixth fatal plane crash in Nepal in two years and has raised fresh questions about air safety in the impoverished Himalayan country, home to challenging weather, treacherous landing strips and lax safety standards.

The crashes have killed about 100 people, according to an AFP tally.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday called the crash "a horrific incident" and said "I feel for the families concerned".

Nepal has a poor road network, meaning many tourists, pilgrims and climbers rely on the country's 16 domestic airlines and 49 airports to reach remote areas.


 'Airhostess could have saved lives' 

Kathmandu: The black box of an ill-fated Nepalese plane that crashed killing all 19 people on board was recovered on Saturday and officials citing a bird hit and an error by a "panic-stricken" pilot as possible causes of the tragedy.

Police handed over the black box data recorder of the Dornier aircraft that crashed near the Kathmandu airport yesterday to the committee investigating the accident.

The Sita Airways' plane had just taken off from Kathmandu and was headed to Lukla, the gateway to the Mount Everest, when it crashed into the banks of Manahara river yesterday morning.

Among the dead were seven Britons, five Chinese and seven local passengers and crew. "We have taken out the data recorder and handed it over to the civil aviation authorities," Nepal police spokesman Binod Singh said.

All those killed were trekkers heading towards Khumbi area near the Mt Everest and their Nepalese trekking guides, who were killed in the plane crash.

Although the exact cause of the crash is still unknown, the manager of Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu has informed that the pilot had reported hitting a bird, minutes before the crash.

Although the official report on the crash is yet to come out, officials here also speculated that a human error might be one of the causes behind the crash.

An official at the Ministry of Tourism said that an error by a "panic-stricken" pilot likely caused the crash killing 16 passengers and three crew members on board.

"The pilot's failure to maintain the required radius might have caused the accident, as the plane turned too sharply without gaining adequate altitude," said a senior official at the ministry.

Eye witnesses described hearing the screams of passengers and seeing flames coming out from one of the plane's wings moments before it hit the ground.

Another airport staff said the life of the passengers could have been saved had the airhostess been well trained.

"As the plane caught fire only after hitting the ground, if the airhostess had guided the passengers towards the safe place and opened the door it might have saved many lives," said the official preferring anonymity.

The airhostess, who was one of the crew members who died in the crash, had joined the airlines just six month ago.


 
  Timothy Oakes, 57, was a keen mountaineer. 
Photo: Oakes family


 A Cheshire man killed in a Nepal plane crash was on the trip of a lifetime and died doing something he always wanted to do, his tearful wife has said.

The death of keen mountaineer Timothy Oakes, 57, in the disaster in Kathmandu should not deter other people from going on similar expeditions, Angie Gaunt said.

Mr Oakes died alongside fellow Britons Raymond Eagle, 58, who lived in Macclesfield, Cheshire and worked with disabled people, Christopher Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 50, Darren Kelly, 45, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27, an up-and-coming lawyer from London.

Speaking from their semi-detached family home in the Cheshire village of Winwick, near Warrington, Ms Gaunt said she and their daughter were mourning their loss.

"Tim was a mountaineer. He lived life to the full and died doing something he always wanted to do," she said.

"It should never deter people from living out their dreams.

"He was a mountaineer and he always wanted to go to Everest base camp, not climb it, to go to the base camp, and that's what he was doing.

"He was going because he always wanted to see Everest. It was the trip of a lifetime, he had always wanted to do it. If you love the mountains, it is the ultimate."

She added that Mr Oakes was with a very close friend from his schooldays on a trip run by a tour company he held in very high esteem.

"When you live, if you live your life to the full, you take risks," she said.


Seven Britons killed when a small plane crashed shortly taking off from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, have been identified by a local travel company.

Sherpa Adventures said Raymond Eagle, 58, Christopher Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 50, Darren Kelly, 45, Timothy Oakes, 57, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27, were among the 19 people killed.

Five Chinese and seven Nepalese also died when the twin-engine propeller-driven Dornier aircraft crashed.

The group had arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and were due to begin trekking in the northeastern Khumbu region, around Mount Everest.

The Foreign Office said the families of the victims had been informed.

Owned by private firm Sita Air, the plane had taken off for Lukla in the Everest region when it plunged into the banks of the Manohara River near Tribhuvan Airport.

Explore Worldwide said seven of the passengers on the plane had organised their trips through the Farnborough-based adventure travel company. Their Nepalese tour guide was also on the flight.

Ashley Toft, Explore's Managing Director, said: "We are devastated by this news. Our thoughts are very much with the families of those affected, both in the UK and in Nepal.

"The basic facts are that Sita Air operates scheduled flights and is approved by airline authorities. The weather was good. The plane was departing for Lukla and our passengers were heading for Everest Base Camp at the start of their trek."

The pilot reported trouble two minutes after take-off in clear weather and Kathmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman said the plane had hit a bird.

"Immediately after the take-off, the air traffic controllers noticed the aircraft making unusual manoeuvres," he said.

"When the controller asked the pilot about it, he said the plane had struck a bird."

Nepal Police spokesman Binod Singh said: "The pilots seem to have tried to land it safely on the banks of the river but unfortunately the plane caught fire."

Nepal police officer Rajan Adhikari said: "The plane was engulfed in flames when we arrived."

Local television channels showed dozens of soldiers and police officers picking through the smouldering wreckage of the aircraft with a large crowd of shocked bystanders watching.

A number of badly-burned bodies were laid in a line a few metres from the plane's shattered fuselage.

A witness told Kantipur Television: "I was just walking and saw a plane landing. It was on fire and I even heard people inside the plane screaming."

Harimaya Tamang, who lives near the crash site, said: "The plane hit the ground, bounced once but it did not break.

"The plane was already on fire, the local people rushed with buckets and tried to put out the flames but it was too hot and people could not get close enough."

It is the sixth fatal crash in Nepal in less than two years. Aircraft and pilots often have to contend with bad weather and difficult landing strips in the Himalayan nation.

Britain's Ambassador To Nepal John Tucknott visited the hospital where the bodies of the victims were taken.

He told Sky News: "Our thoughts at the moment are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives."

Asked about the cause of the crash, he said: "This is not the time to speculate, obviously there will be an air crash investigation and clearly we will have to wait to see what they find caused the air crash."

Thousands of Westerners head to the Himalayas every year to trek in the region around Mt Everest, the world's highest peak. Autumn is the peak climbing season in Nepal.

More than 377,000 tourists arrived in Kathmandu in the first eight months of this year, according to the tourism board.

The country has a poor road network and large numbers of tourists, pilgrims and climbers rely on Nepal's 16 domestic airlines and 49 airports to reach remote areas. 




Kathmandu: Kumar Magar, a passenger traveling without a ticket, was among the 19 people who were killed in an air crash Friday here, a media report said. 

 Magar, a Nepalese soldier, had boarded the plane without the ticket, News agency reported.

Nineteen passengers, including 12 foreigners, were killed when the Dornier Aircraft 9N-AHA of Sita Air crashed minutes after taking-off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport.


 

 NBC News wire reports — A plane carrying trekkers to the Everest region crashed and caught fire just after takeoff Friday in Nepal's capital, killing 19 people.

The victims included British, Chinese and Nepali passengers, authorities said.

The pilot of the domestic Sita Air flight reported trouble two minutes after takeoff, and Katmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman said the pilot appeared to have been trying to turn back.
Read the full story.

Pool System Plan Will Reduce Helicopter Noise During 405 Closure - San Diego


Responding to residents' complaints about excessive helicopter noise during last year's "Carmageddon" closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, local television news stations announced today they will take part in a pool system to reduce air traffic during this weekend's repeat of the closure.

Coordinated by the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California, the pool will limit air traffic to a single helicopter that will fly over the closure area before the top of the hours when major newscasts are scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and Monday morning.

A single helicopter will make a "status-report" flight over the closure area on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but no other flights will take place unless an emergency occurs, according to the RTNA.

Rick Terrell of the RTNA said "air pools" are generally difficult to arrange "due to technical challenges and the natural competitive urges of TV news departments."

"This time, however, local TV news directors have made an extraordinary commitment to cut down helicopter hovering and cooperate to get news pictures for their viewers," Terrell said.

The stations that have joined the pool arrangement are FOX11, ABC7, CBS2/KCAL9, KMEX, NBC4 and KTLA.

As part of the arrangement, airships from other stations will provide backup for the station providing the pool helicopter if breaking news occurs elsewhere in the city.

"We don't control all helicopter activities to be sure, but ever since the first Carmageddon, credentialed broadcast-media choppers have gone far and wide — literally — to avoid excessive hovering at low altitudes and alleviate disturbance on the ground," according to Jeff Baugh, a local helicopter reporter and head of RTNA's airborne operations committee. "We hope it makes a big difference for the affected communities along the 405."

Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com

Cirrus SR22 GTS X G3, N221DV: Accident occurred September 01, 2012 in Falmouth, Massachusetts

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA540
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 01, 2012 in Falmouth, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N221DV
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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

During the cross-country instructional flight in the side-stick airplane, with the student pilot on the controls in the left seat and the flight instructor in the right seat, the airplane entered the landing pattern. During the final approach, witnesses saw the airplane drifting to the left while descending at a relatively high sink rate. Witnesses heard the power being adjusted, and, close to the ground, the engine went to high power. The airplane’s nose rose, and the airplane veered to the left. The airplane touched down left wing down off the runway in grass, heading about 40 degrees left of the runway centerline. It then entered woods, where it hit numerous trees and came to rest upside down and on fire. The student pilot stated that he thought the instructor was on the flight controls with him as had happened during previous flights. He also recalled the instructor pointing to the airspeed indicator on final approach and took it to mean that the airplane was slow. Although the instructor had previously used positive passing of controls on other flights, neither the student pilot nor the passenger recalled hearing him say anything during the final approach. The student pilot indicated that at some point he was not sure who was flying, although, after the accident, witnesses heard him saying multiple times that he was sorry he “did that.” Examination of the wreckage revealed no preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Wind, as recorded at a nearby airport, was from slightly left of runway heading at 15 knots, gusting to 18 knots. Five of the instructor’s seven private pilot candidates failed their initial practical test, which went unnoticed by his flight school. However, none of the failures were due to poor landings, all the candidates passed on their second try, and all interviewed had positive words about the instructor. One of the instructor’s previous students indicated that he had ridden the controls with her as well. The instructor had been known to work extra hours, but there was no evidence that he was fatigued during the flight. The instructor likely also had a discussion with a principal of the flight school that resulted in him arriving late for the flight, but there was no indication that it distracted him during the approach. The instructor was responsible for the safety of the flight and, as such, should have effected positive remedial action before the student pilot was able to put the airplane in an unrecoverable position. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight instructor’s inadequate remedial action. Contributing to the accident was the student pilot’s poor control of the airplane during the approach. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 1, 2012, about 1105 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N221DV, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during a landing attempt at Falmouth Airpark (5B6), Falmouth, Massachusetts. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot and the passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight from Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Due to the extent and severity of his injuries, the student pilot first provided a statement through his attorney on March 31, 2013. At that time, he stated that on the day of the accident, "the flight was conducted in the same manner as previous occasions." The student pilot had earlier advised the flight school that he and his wife wanted to fly to 5B6 to spend Labor Day weekend. When they arrived at the flight school, they met the CFI, who did the flight planning while the student pilot performed the airplane preflight inspection. 

When the CFI was ready, they boarded the airplane with the student pilot in the left seat, the CFI in the right seat, and the student pilot's wife in one of the rear seats. The student pilot was manipulating the controls and performing radio communications at the direction of the CFI. 

The flight to 5B6 was uneventful. The student pilot remembers obtaining weather information approaching Falmouth from, he believes, Hyannis, south of Falmouth. The CFI directed that he enter the landing pattern at 5B6 by flying over the airport at 3,000 feet and then descending to enter the downwind for a right traffic pattern to runway 7. They conducted the landing checklist before turning onto the base leg. 

As in the past, the student pilot was flying the airplane with the CFI's hands and feet on the controls. The student pilot remembered making a right turn to enter the base leg of the approach and turning onto final. The airplane cleared the trees at the approach end of runway 7 when the CFI said that the airplane was "low and slow." The student pilot did not remember much thereafter other than then being "jounced around a bit" in the airplane. He did not remember "seeking" the runway or touching down on or near the runway. He did not know if the CFI took control of the airplane, or if he continued to fly it, nor did he recall the CFI saying anything else to him other than they were "low and slow." The next thing the student pilot remembered was the airplane hitting trees, breaking up and coming to rest. He did not realize that there was a fire until he saw the skin on his hands was coming off. He could not unfasten his seat belt but his wife had been able to do so and had left the airplane. He called for help and she returned and unbuckled him and pulled him from the burning wreckage.

In response to additional questions posed through his attorney, and after his release from the hospital, the student pilot recalled that the CFI had not said that they were low and slow. Instead, the CFI had pointed to the airspeed indicator, "to indicate a slower than desired landing approach speed. He did not verbalize any words; he just pointed at the electronic display which I understood to mean that he wanted me to note our speed which was 69 knots, a slightly low speed. I corrected that condition…I was still in the hospital and heavily medicated when I initially spoke to [my attorney], and do not recall our exact conversation." 

The student pilot further noted that his wife was also wearing headphones, and did not recall any conversation between himself and the CFI. 
According to the student pilot's wife, her first awareness of something unusual was the crash itself. She realized that she was standing in fire in the airplane on the ground. She recalled unbuckling her husband and pulling him out of the plane with her right hand. The fire was so intense that they had to exit the airplane, and she shouted that the CFI was still in the airplane to the people who began arriving at the site.

The wife also believed that her husband was flying the airplane, with the CFI providing instruction. She did not know if the CFI had his hands on any of the airplane's controls at any point that day, but in the past had seen him do so. 

According to several witnesses, the airplane completed a right downwind for runway 7. The final approach over trees was described as "unstable, with rocking wings," and one witness asked another if he thought the airplane was going to go around. 

Exact recollections differed, but in general, witnesses recalled that as the airplane neared the runway, the airplane's rate of descent increased, and there were some additions and reductions in power. The airplane started veering to the left, there was an addition of power, and the left wing almost hit the ground. The airplane then touched down in the grass to the left of the runway, went through the last section of a wooden fence, entered some woods and burst into flames. 

In an email, one witness stated, "Subject aircraft was on a short final when he came in over the trees…he was low and slow…he got in to a high sink rate and he went to full power and pulled the nose up abruptly about 30 to 40 degrees nose up and the plane veered to the left and went in to the trees and exploded on impact." 

In an interview, one witness stated that at the crash site, the student pilot repeatedly said that he was "sorry I did that." 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The CFI, age 24, held a commercial pilot certificate with single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument-airplane ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single engine land, multi-engine land and instrument-airplane ratings. The CFI's latest FAA first class medical certificate was dated May 1, 2012.

The CFI completed "Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot" training on September 29, 2011.

A copy of the CFI's logbook entries through August 13, 2012, listed 1,519 total flight hours, with 1,407 hours of single engine flight time, and 1,002 hours of instructor time. 

The CFI's fiancée, who had moved to the local area in preparation for their wedding, was asked about the CFI's recent history leading up to the accident. According to the fiancée, she worked as a nurse during the night shift, and because of their differing schedules, and not wanting to disturb each other's sleep, she was sleeping on the couch while he slept in the bedroom. She saw the CFI on the morning of the day before the accident, but because of their work schedules, she didn't see him that night. The day of the accident, he had left for work prior to her waking up.

CFI Employer

According to the employer's attorney, "Robinson Flight, LLC ('Robinson Flight'), and Robinson Aviation, Inc. ('Robinson Aviation'), are two separate and distinct entities with their own legal status. Robinson Flight is a subsidiary company of Robinson Aviation – it is a single-member limited liability company with its single member being Robinson Aviation [Flight?]. Robinson Aviation is a C-corporation with [one person] serving as the President and Treasurer. Those who actually manage Robinson Aviation are not necessarily the same as those who manage Robinson Flight. Robinson Flight maintains its own separate payroll, has its own checks, and pays rent to Robinson Aviation. [The CFI] was employed by and paid by Robinson Flight."

"All of the time that was billed for the [student pilot's] flights was for instructional purposes." In addition, "Robinson Aviation was unaware of the passenger onboard. Officers of Robinson Flight also were unaware that there was to be a passenger on board."

CFI Student Pass Rate

According to FAA records, seven of the CFI's student pilots attempted the private pilot practical (flight) test. Of the seven, five failed the test on their initial try, but all of those passed their test on their second try.

Four of the five former students who initially failed were able to be contacted. None of the four indicated any instructional lapses for their initial failures, and none of the failures involved landing pattern work or normal landings. Two of the pilots attributed their initial performance to nerves, one due to fatigue because a family member had returned home the night before, and one included weather as a factor and was off required altitude. Most involved navigation. The designated examiner for the fifth student pilot confirmed that his failure also did not involve landing pattern work or normal landings.

When asked about the CFI's low initial pass rate, or if any corrective actions were taken, the attorney for the flight school responded, "Robinson Flight disagrees with the above characterizations. Robinson Flight is interested in seeing the basis for these conclusions. Robinson Flight saw no reason to take corrective action." 

CFI – Students' Perceptions

From the four student pilots previously noted and one additional student who switched to another airplane make and model in the midst of training (she didn't continue with the CFI because he wasn't qualified in that airplane at the time):

"Very mellow and relaxed in the cockpit. He was a good pilot, a good instructor, good instincts, who always had a plan, while other instructors would just show up to fly. He always had something he wanted to accomplish during the flight." He was also always alert; and the student pilot felt safe with him.

"The best of all of them." He was the best rounded, patient, and made the student pilot feel comfortable; "very thorough and meticulous." 

Always professional in the airplane; "encouraging," and loved to fly; always at the airport.

A "very good instructor" who knew what he wanted to do, how to do it, and then did it. The student pilot enjoyed flying with him, felt no fear with him and was comfortable with him as an instructor. 

He was a "pretty good instructor," especially compared to another instructor, and he had a lot more confidence in the student pilot. She felt very comfortable with him; he explained everything very well. 

CFI and the Destination Airport

According to the attorney for the flight school, when asked if the CFI expressed any concerns about flying to 5B6, particularly in regards to the winds/crosswinds, the response was "Not to the knowledge of Robinson Flight."

The accident student pilot was asked the same thing through his attorney and responded, "He did not express any concerns whatsoever." 

CFI Workload

According to the attorney for the flight school, "[The CFI] did not have a set schedule or general hours for Robinson Flight; he was responsible for setting and managing his own schedule including flights, ground school, and office hours. [The CFI] very rarely worked more than 40 hours per week." 

When asked if there was a contract to confirm the working arrangement, the attorney replied, "There was no written contract or written instruction explicitly stating that [the CFI] was responsible for setting and managing his own schedule. That was the practice that was acceptable to both Robinson Flight and [the CFI]."

In addition, "[the CFI] was permitted to, and from time to time did, voluntarily stay in the office on his own accord to answer phones in an attempt to garner more business. Such voluntary office hours, however, were not reflected in [his] hours or pay." 

When asked about the CFI's work schedule, his fiancée stated that he worked as many hours as he could during the week to maximize his opportunities to fly. His normal work schedule was 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and sometimes he would fly and sometimes he would not. When asked if there were any fatigue issues, the fiancée stated that there were none that she knew of. She also stated that she would say to him that he was getting worked too hard, but he never complained. 

When asked if there were any other issues at work, the fiancée stated that there were no issues that she knew of.

CFI – Accident Student Pilot Relations 

According to the fiancée, the CFI had a good rapport with all his students. 

When asked about the relationship between the CFI and the student pilot/owner of the airplane, she stated that it was a very good one. She did not hear anything negative about student pilot and even if there was something, the CFI was professional in that he never said anything about any of his students. 

The fiancée also stated that the CFI had a "great" relationship with the student pilot. In fact, the student pilot let the CFI use his airplane when he wanted, as long as he put fuel in it. About 2 weeks prior to the accident, the CFI and fiancée flew together in the airplane to Ohio to get their wedding license. 

Accident Student Pilot

The student pilot, age 55, stated that he had 117 hours of flight time at the time of the accident, and that his logbook was destroyed in the postcrash fire. His FAA third class medical certificate was issued on February 7, 2012.

He also stated that he stated that he started taking flight training at "Robinson Aviation," and was introduced to a Cirrus SR20 as well as other types of airplanes. Since he was interested in buying an airplane, he researched what was available and decided on a Cirrus SR22 based on its performance, load carrying ability and utility. When he purchased the accident airplane, he had accumulated about 17 hours of dual instruction and continued to take flight instruction at Robinson, where he was assigned the accident CFI as his primary instructor.

The student pilot further noted that most of his flight instruction began with a ground briefing where the CFI would explain what they would be doing, including the maneuvers to be performed. The student pilot would perform the preflight inspection of the airplane. 

The student pilot would sit in the left seat, and the CFI in the right seat. Throughout each lesson, whether they were maneuvering or flying in the traffic pattern, the CFI would keep his hands on the controls while the student pilot flew the airplane, "meaning he would keep the right-hand side stick in his right hand, his feet on the rudder pedals and his left hand on the throttle below my hand." During the lessons there were many occasions where the CFI would take control of the airplane if he felt he should do so, then would typically explain the reason for doing so and, if appropriate, have the student pilot perform the maneuver again.

On occasion, the student pilot and his wife would want to go somewhere overnight or for a weekend, and the only way they could use the airplane was to hire "Robinson Aviation" to transport them. The accident CFI would fly those trips. They would meet at HVN at Robinson facilities where the CFI would take care of all flight planning duties, and the student pilot would typically perform the preflight inspection. During the flight, the student pilot would sit in the left seat with the CFI in the right seat and the student pilot's wife in one of the rear seats. Upon arrival at the destination airport, the student pilot would fly the traffic pattern and make the landing, again with the CFI providing direction and keeping his hands and feet on the controls.

After deplaning at the intermediate destination, the CFI would then fly the airplane back to HVN, and when the student pilot and his wife were ready to return home, the CFI would return to pick them up. The flight back would then be conducted in the same manner as the outbound flight. The student pilot paid Robinson for each of the flights.

The student pilot's wife confirmed that there had been a number of occasions where the CFI had flown with them to a destination, then fly the airplane back to HVN and return to pick them up again for the return trip home. It was her understanding that the CFI was providing instruction to her husband and that his credit card was billed by Robinson Aviation.

When asked why, with 117 hours of flight time, the student pilot had not taken his private pilot test yet, he replied through his attorney, "He was not in a rush to obtain his private pilot certificate and believed that the additional time and instruction would only make him a better, safer, pilot. He also advises that a substantial amount of his flight hours, perhaps 30 hours, were conducted in a manner similar to the day of the accident where he was being taken to a location by [the CFI] and was not devoted to instruction. He also advises that he had not completed several areas of required instruction that was needed before he could obtain his license, including night flying and cross country solo work."

When asked if there were any problem areas that the CFI suggested needed more work, the student pilot responded through his attorney, "[The CFI] suggested no areas to focus on during the flight that day." The student pilot also stated that the CFI had not advised him of any areas that needed special attention in the recent past leading up to the accident flight. Before an instructional flight, the CFI would usually tell the student pilot what area they would focus on that day, such as landings or stalls, "although on occasion, he would just suggest that they go out and fly, or something to that effect." 

CFI on the Controls

Because the student pilot indicated that the CFI would be on (ride) the controls with him at times, the question of riding the controls was asked of the other five student pilots who were interviewed. Three said he did not ride the controls, one said that he would be on the rudders and one, who was only with the CFI before her solo, said he did. All but one of the student pilots flew with the CFI in a conventional, yoke-configured airplane. The one who flew with him in a side-stick Cirrus was also one of the student pilots who said the CFI did not ride the controls, but further noted that he had about 60 hours' experience in a Cirrus while taking previous training in California. 

CFI Distractions

On the morning of the accident, another flight instructor spoke with the CFI as he was walking out to the accident airplane. The CFI seemed upset and for the first time ever, made disparaging remarks about the president of Robinson Aviation. The other CFI did not ask about what brought about the remarks. 

The student pilot also stated that they were delayed about an hour in waiting for the CFI, and that he appeared "normal but slightly distracted," but said something like, "ready to have some fun." During the flight, the CFI "seemed to be his normal self but somewhat casual." 

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane, which was manufactured in 2008, was purchased by the student pilot in 2012 from a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company. A pre-buy inspection was completed on March 28, 2012, at 768.2 flight hours, 842.0 Hobbs hours; an annual inspection was completed April 10, 2012, with the same number of flight hours noted; and the student pilot accepted the airplane on April 15, 2012.

Additional maintenance logged by Robinson Aviation included a change of the batteries on August 28, 2012, and an alternator change on August 31, 2012, at 875.9 flight hours, 965.3 Hobbs hours. 

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Falmouth Airpark had a single runway, 7/25, that was 2,298 feet long and 40 feet wide. Runway 7 elevation threshold was 38 feet. There was no control tower or recorded communications. 

METEROROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather, recorded at an air national guard base 4 miles to the north, at 1055, included a few clouds at 1,600 feet, visibility 10 statute miles, wind from 050 degrees true (066 degrees magnetic), at 15, gusting to 18 knots, temperature 24 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.02 inches Hg. 

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

An examination of the accident site revealed skid marks in the grass to the left of the runway, with the mark attributed to the position of the left main landing gear appearing first. The marks commenced about 80 feet left of the runway, 300 feet from the approach end, and headed about 030 degrees magnetic, toward the woods. The airplane's left wing was found separated from the rest of the airplane at the first large tree in the woods, and the airplane came to rest about 80 feet beyond that tree, upside down.

The airplane was mostly consumed by fire. Evidence of all flight control surfaces was found at the scene, and continuity was confirmed from the cockpit along the lengths of all flight control cables. The flap actuator indicated that the flaps were at 50 percent. 

The engine exhibited severe fire damage, and the crankshaft could not be rotated. Two of the three metal propeller blades exhibited torsional bending, and one blade could be rotated in the hub. The third propeller blade was straight, but had cut into the propeller spinner toward the direction of rotation. The spinner also had a large concave indentation in it, similar in shape to a tree trunk. 

Data chips were not recovered from the primary flight display and multifunction display, which were charred and jelled together. The tail-mounted remote data module was recovered and forwarded to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory; however, the unit was thermally damaged internally, and no data extraction was possible. 

MEDICAL AND TOXICOLOGICAL INFORMATION 

An autopsy was conducted on the CFI by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Boston, Massachusetts. Cause of death was listed as, "inhalation of heated gases and thermal injuries."

Toxicological testing, which was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, included 10 percent carbon monoxide saturation in heart blood, and no drugs detected. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAA Advisory Circular 61-115, "Positive Exchange of Flight Controls Program," states that, "Numerous accidents have occurred due to a lack of communication or misunderstanding as to who actually had control of the aircraft, particularly between students and flight instructors." In addition, "During flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between students and flight instructors of who has control of the aircraft."

FAA-H-8083-25, "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge," notes that, "To the pilot, 'torque' (the left turning tendency of the airplane) is made up of four elements:"

1. Torque reaction from the engine and propeller, which, for most U.S. engines that rotate the propeller clockwise as viewed from the pilot's seat, tend to make the airplane roll left.
2. Corkscrewing effect of the slipstream, which at high propeller speeds and low forward airplane speed, produces a compact spiraling rotation of the slipstream that exerts a strong sideward force on the airplane's left side of the vertical tail surface.
3. Gyroscopic action (precession) of the propeller, that produces yawing and pitching.
4. Asymmetric loading of the propeller (P Factor), that, during high angles of attack, results in the downward propeller blades moving faster than the upward blades, creating more lift from the downward blades which tends to pull (yaw) the airplane's nose to the left.

http://registry.faa.gov/N221DV

http://www.flickr.com/photo

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA540 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 01, 2012 in Falmouth, MA
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N221DV
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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. 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 September 1, 2012, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N221DV, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during a landing attempt at Falmouth Airpark (5B6), Falmouth, Massachusetts. The flight instructor was fatally injured, and the student pilot and passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight from Tweed-New Haven Airport (NVN), New Haven, Connecticut. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

While the student pilot and a passenger survived the accident, due to the extent of their injuries, they could not be interviewed. According to several witnesses, the airplane completed a right downwind for runway 7. The final approach over trees was described as "unstable, with rocking wings," and one witness asked another if he thought the airplane was going to go around.

Exact recollections differed, but in general, witnesses recalled that as the airplane neared the runway, there were some additions and reductions in power. The airplane started veering to the left, there was an addition of power, and the left wing almost hit the ground. The airplane then touched down in the grass to the left of the runway, went through the last section of a wooden fence, entered some woods and burst into flames.

An examination of the accident site revealed skid marks in the grass to the left of the runway, with the mark attributed to the position of the left main landing gear appearing first. The marks commenced about 80 feet left of the runway, 300 feet from the approach end, and headed about 030 degrees magnetic, toward the woods. The airplane's left wing was found separated from the rest of the airplane at the first large tree in the woods, and the airplane came to rest about 80 feet beyond that tree, upside down.

The airplane was mostly consumed by fire. Evidence of all flight control surfaces was found at the scene, and continuity was confirmed from the cockpit along the lengths of all flight control cables. The flap actuator indicated that the flaps were at 50 percent.

The engine exhibited severe fire damage, and the crankshaft could not be rotated. Two of the three metal propeller blades exhibited torsional bending, and one blade could be rotated in the hub. The third propeller blade was straight, but had cut into the propeller spinner toward the direction of rotation. The spinner also had a large concave indentation in it, similar in shape to a tree trunk.

Data chips were not recovered from the primary flight display and multifunction display, which were charred and jelled together. The tail-mounted remote data module was recovered and forwarded to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory; however, the unit was thermally damaged internally and no data extraction was possible. The unit's memory chip was then extracted and attempts to restore it are ongoing.


 



.  


 

Concord Regional Airport (KJQF), North Carolina: Construction forces plane wrong way, gets stuck in mud

Photo by Scott Speed (Twitter.com)

Operations at a local airport have been temporarily suspended after construction reportedly forced a plane to go the wrong way down a runway and it got stuck in the mud.

According to officials at the Concord Regional Airport, construction at the airport caused a pilot to go the wrong way down a runway while taxing on Thursday.

The plane ran off the runway and reportedly got stuck in a muddy field.

The incident has forced the airport to suspend operations while the plane is moved.

The plane was a chartered 737 operated by Miami Air, which is commonly used by race teams.

WBTV has learned that the plane was supposed to be taking NASCAR people to Dover, Delaware.

Photos posted on Twitter by driver Scott Speed show the left wheel stuck in the muddy grass.

The airport’s Twitter account says it is waiting for specialized equipment to come in to help get the plane unstuck.

http://www.wbtv.com

Well, this sucks. A charter flight carrying several NASCAR drivers – including Casey Mears, Scott Speed, Landon Cassill, Travis Kvapil, David Stremme and Paul Menard – got stuck in the mud at Concord (N.C.) Regional Airport on Thursday afternoon while taxiing to take off for Dover.

Some NASCAR teams use charter flights to ferry crew members back and forth from the track instead of using their own plane. That was the case for those who were stuck on Thursday.
As you can imagine, the passengers on the flight had plenty to say about their experience (and ongoing delay):

Read more here:  http://www.sbnation.com

Story and photo:  http://davidsonnews.net

Ryder Cup fans fill airspace over Dupage Airport (KDPA), Chicago/West Chicago, Illinois

The busiest day of an already hectic week at DuPage Airport came Thursday when a steady stream of private jets carrying Ryder Cup fans and corporate sponsors began landing at the West Chicago airport.

Airport officials said they expect to stay busy on Friday because of the number of arrivals related to the international golf competition at Medinah Country Club.
 

“We’re not seeing the end of this yet,” said David Bird, the executive director of the airport.

On a normal day, the airport sees a few dozen corporate flights. But because of its proximity to Medinah, the airport became a transportation hub when the country club hosted the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2006. During the tournament six years ago, many of the golfers passed through the airport.

Bird said he believes the airport is busier now than it was during the 2006 PGA Championship. However, officials won’t know until later exactly how many planes used the airport because of the Ryder Cup.

In the meantime, a preliminary review of private aviation traffic related to the Ryder Cup shows that a number of flights are coming to DuPage.

Bird said most of the planes are carrying corporate sponsors from throughout the country. He said there are even some flights originating from Canada and Europe.

“It’s very satisfying to see this level of traffic,” Bird said. “We are definitely realizing our expectations.”

The next flurry of activity will occur Sunday night after the tournament ends.


Story and photo:   http://www.dailyherald.com

Lake LA-4/200, BUCCANEER, N1127L: Accident occurred September 27, 2012 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

http://registry.faa.gov/1127L

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA661
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 27, 2012 in Kenosha, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: LAKE LA4, registration: N1127L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 accident flight was the airplane’s first flight after its annual maintenance inspection was completed. The pilot stated that the pretakeoff engine run-up was normal; however, during the takeoff, the engine started to "sputter”; the pilot continued the flight straight ahead, but the engine subsequently lost total power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a grassy area. Examination and test run of the engine did not reveal any abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because examination and test run of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


 On September 27, 2012, about 1430 central daylight time, a Lake LA-4 airplane, N1127L, conducted a forced landing shortly after departing from the Kenosha Regional Airport (ENW), Kenosha, Wisconsin. The commercial rated pilot, sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was originated from ENW, at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that the airplane had undergone an annual maintenance inspection and the accident flight was its first flight, since the work was performed. The pilot added that the run-up was normal. Part way down the runway, the engine started to "sputter"; he continued the flight straight ahead. The engine then lost power and he performed a forced landing to a grassy area.

The airplane was inspected on-site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The inspector reported that the airplane’s wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage, as well as damage to the landing gear. The inspector also noted that the airplane’s fuel selector was in the off position and electric fuel pump circuit breaker was pulled. The inspector reported that the pilot stated that he turned both off after the accident. The pilot added that he used a checklist before takeoff, he didn’t apply carburetor heat, and that the airplane was not known to have carburetor icing problems.

A review of the carburetor icing probability chart, located in the FAA's Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, dated June 30, 2009, and relevant meteorological data, revealed that the weather conditions for carburetor icing were favorable for serious icing at glide power.

On October 17, 2012 under the supervision of the FAA inspector, an engine examination and test run was conducted. The inspector stated no abnormalities with the engine were found and it performed flawlessly during the engine test run. During the examination, the airplane’s fuel selector was turned to the off position and the engine started. The engine was then run through a run-up sequence, then at low rpm for 20 seconds; the engine ran at full power for another 20 seconds before quitting. A second test was performed without conducting the run-up sequence; the engine then ran for 35 seconds at full power before quitting. The inspector also noted that the carburetor heat control was not operational. He was able to free the linkage by applying pressure at the carburetor’s end of the control. The control then was functional from the cockpit, and worked during the subsequent engine runs. The inspector added that the control did not appear to have sustained any damage during the accident.



 NTSB Identification: CEN12LA661 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 27, 2012 in Kenosha, WI
Aircraft: LAKE LA4, registration: N1127L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 September 27, 2012, about 1430 central standard time, a Lake LA-4 airplane, N1127L, experienced a loss of engine power while departing from the Kenosha Regional Airport (ENW), Kenosha, Wisconsin. The commercial rated pilot, sole occupant, was not injured during the forced landing and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan.

The pilot reported to the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, that the airplane recently undergone maintenance and the accident flight was its first flight, since the work was performed. The pilot added that the run-up was normal and he departed on runway 7 right. Part way down the runway, the engine started to “sputter”; the airplane became airborne and he continued the flight straight ahead. The engine then quit and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field; during the landing the airplane’s wing impacted a tree. The FAA inspector reported that the airplane’s wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 1127L        Make/Model: LA4       Description: LA-4/200, BUCCANEER
  Date: 09/27/2012     Time: 1920

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

LOCATION
  City: KENOSHA   State: WI   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AFTER TAKEOFF THE AIRCRAFT SUFFERED A ROUGH RUNNING AIRCRAFT CAUSING IT TO 
  LAND OFF AIRPORT. KENOSHA, WI

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: Take-off      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: MILWAUKEE, WI  (GL13)                 Entry date: 09/28/2012



Raw Video:  http://www.wisn.com  



A plane crashed into a field across from the Kenosha Airport and next to the Kenosha County Detention Center this afternoon. 

 No one was injured

From a Sheriff’s Department statement:
This afternoon at 1423 hours The Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and the Kenosha Fire Department responded to the scene of a single engine airplane crash at the Kenosha County Detention Center, 4777 88th Ave.

Initial reports are that the airplane was taking off from the Kenosha Municipal Airport, which is across 88th avenue from the detention center.  The airplane failed to gain altitude and crash landed in a grassy area north of the access road on the north side of the Detention Center.  The airplane was several hundred feet from the Detention Facility structure.  The integrity of the building and the security of the facility were never at risk of being compromised.  One of the wings of the plane hit a tree which caused the plane to spin around.  The pilot was the sole occupant of the airplane and was uninjured.  The FAA is being contacted.


http://www.kenowi.com

KENOSHA, Wis. —  Authorities in Kenosha responded to a call of a plane crash on Thursday afternoon.
 

St. Bill Beth of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department said initial reports suggest the single-engine plane was taking off from the Kenosha Municipal Airport and failed to gain altitude.

The plane landed in a grassy area north of the access road near the county detention facility.

Beth said one of the wings struck a tree, but that the security of the detention facility was not at risk.

Sheriff's officials said the pilot was not injured in the crash and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident.


Raw Video:  http://www.wisn.com
  

Cessna 182P Skylane, Prima Exports Inc., N640AM: Accident occurred July 20, 2012 in Corona, California

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA316 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2012 in Corona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N640AM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

At the end of a 3-hour-long traffic-watch flight, the pilot began to return to the departure airport. As the airplane transitioned the airspace of an adjacent airport, the engine speed dropped to idle and surged twice. The pilot performed a precautionary landing at the adjacent airport. After an uneventful landing, the pilot performed an engine run-up and more troubleshooting steps and was unable to replicate the engine problem. The pilot then decided to depart for the home airport; however, shortly after departure, the engine speed variations began again, eventually resulting in a total loss of engine power. The pilot performed a forced landing in a nearby field, where the majority of the airplane, including most of its fuel supply system, was consumed by postimpact fire. The engine sustained minimal damage, however, and postaccident examination revealed no evidence of preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

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

A loss of engine power shortly after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to take off with a known but unidentified airplane deficiency.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 20, 2012, about 1815 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182P, N640AM, collided with power lines during a forced landing near Corona, California. The certificated commercial pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an aerial observation flight. The pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was subsequently consumed by post impact fire. The local flight departed Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California, about 1800, with a planned destination of Corona Municipal Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot was a traffic reporter, and the flight was a traffic-watch mission for a local radio station. He stated that he had previously been a full time traffic reporter, utilizing the airplane on a regular basis for such missions until November 2007. After that time, he began reporting directly from his studio, but retained the airplane for breaking news. He continued to fly traffic-watch missions once a month in order to keep the airplane active. The accident flight was one such mission.

On the day of the accident, the pilot and passenger departed from Corona at 1450, and for the next 3 hours, the flight proceeded uneventfully. While returning to Corona, the engine speed dropped twice from 2,200 to approximately 1,000 rpm. The pilot performed troubleshooting steps, with no resolution, and as such, elected to land at Riverside as a precaution. After landing, he taxied to the departure end of the runway, and performed an engine run-up, which included cycling the propeller, and checking the carburetor heat and both magnetos. All checks were normal, and he was unable to replicate the problem. After discussing the anomaly with his passenger, he elected to proceed to Corona.

The departure and climbout were normal, and after about 5 minutes, the engine speed again began to oscillate, followed by a loss of power sufficient to prevent the airplane from maintaining altitude. The pilot began troubleshooting procedures, and having deduced that he would not be able to reach Corona Airport, prepared for a forced landing. As the descent progressed, and they passed over a housing development, the pilot realized he would not be able to reach his intended landing point. He subsequently turned the airplane towards a field adjacent to the houses. During the final approach, the airplane struck a set of power lines, and then collided with the ground.

The airplane came to rest on a heading of 280 degrees magnetic, at the end of a dirt field, about 6,500 feet east of the arrival end of runway 25 at Corona.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the 62-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, helicopter, and instrument airplane. He held an expired second-class FAA medical certificate issued in April 2, 2010, with the limitation that he possess corrective lenses that correct for near vision. The pilot reported 35,326 total hours of flight experience, 12,000 of which were in the accident airplane make and model. He stated that his last flight review was performed in the accident airplane, and took place on October 23, 2009.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The high-wing, single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1975, and was equipped with a Continental Motors O-470-R engine, serial number 133000-6R. Maintenance records indicated that the engine was overhauled, and installed in the airplane in August 2006. At the time of the most recent annual inspection, dated August 5, 2010, the engine had accrued a total flight time of 1,609 hours since overhaul. At that time, the airframe had accrued 15,253 total flight hours. Fire damage precluded an accurate determination of the total flight time prior to the accident, however, the pilot reported a total airframe time of 15,400 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

An automated surface weather observation at Corona was issued about 20 minutes prior to the accident. It indicated wind from 300 degrees at 13 knots; 10 miles visibility with clear skies; temperature at 32 degrees C; dew point 14 degrees C; and an altimeter setting at 29.88 inches of mercury.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The airplane was recovered from the accident site, and examined by the NTSB investigator, and representatives from the FAA, Cessna Aircraft, and Continental Motors, Inc.

Airframe

Fire consumed the entire cabin from the empennage, through to the firewall, along with the inboard wing sections. The empennage and the outboard section of the right wing sustained minimal damage; the left wing sustained leading edge crush damage midspan to the tip. The threaded portion of the flap actuator was not visible, which the Cessna representative stated was consistent with a fully retracted flap position.

With the exception of the fuel filler caps, which remained securely in place at their respective filler necks, the entire fuel supply and storage system from the bladder tanks, through to the gascolator inlet fitting, was completely consumed by fire. The gascolator sustained thermal damage and was disassembled; its screen was clear of obstruction.

Engine

The engine remained attached to its mounts, and sustained crush damage to the forward section of oil sump. The lower section of the number six cylinder head exhibited a similar damage, just below the rocker boss. The magnetos remained firmly attached to their mounting pads, and the spark plugs were secure at each position, with their respective leads attached. The throttle, propeller governor, mixture, and carburetor heat control cables were continuous from the cockpit controls through to their respective control arms.

The top spark plugs were removed and examined. Their electrodes remained mechanically undamaged, were coated in light gray deposits, and displayed “worn out–normal” wear signatures when compared with the Champion Spark Plugs AV-27 Check-A-Plug chart. The crankshaft turned freely when rotated by hand utilizing the propeller, and cylinder compression was observed throughout. Sparks were observed at the termination of each top spark plug lead, and both magneto impulse couplings audibly triggered simultaneously.

The carburetor sustained extensive thermal damage, with pink discoloration to its outer surface. Disassembly revealed that all gaskets and seals had become charred, fragmented, and thermally destroyed. The float was of the metallic type, and remained attached to the pivot arm.

The propeller and hub remained attached at the crankshaft flange; both blades sustained minimal damage, and displayed similar pitch angles at the hub.

A post impact examination did not reveal any anomalies with the remnants of the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. Refer to the engine and airframe report included in the public docket for further details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A fuel receipt provided by Corona Air Ventures revealed that the airplane was serviced with the addition of 36.70 gallons of aviation gasoline at 1020. The pilot reported that at that time, the airplane (which was equipped with two wing fuel tanks of 42 gallons capacity each) was serviced to capacity.



NTSB Identification: WPR12FA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2012 in Corona, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N640AM
Injuries: 2 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. 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 20, 2012, about 1815 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182P, N640AM, collided with power lines during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Corona, California. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an aerial observation flight. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was subsequently consumed by post impact fire. The local flight departed Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California, about 1800, with a planned destination of Corona Municipal Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he was a traffic reporter, and the flight was a traffic-watch mission for a local radio station. They initially departed from Corona at 1450, and for the next 3 hours, the flight proceeded uneventfully. While returning to Corona, the engine speed dropped twice from 2,200 to approximately 1,000 rpm, and as such, the pilot elected to land at Riverside as a precaution. After landing, he taxied to the departure end of the runway, and performed an engine run-up, which included cycling the propeller, checking the carburetor heat, and both magnetos. All checks were normal, and he was unable to replicate the problem. After discussing the anomaly with his passenger, he elected to proceed to Corona.

The departure and climbout were normal, and after about 5 minutes, the engine speed again began to oscillate, followed by a loss of power sufficient to prevent the airplane from maintaining altitude. The pilot began troubleshooting procedures, and having deduced that he would not be able to reach Corona Airport, prepared for a forced landing. As the descent progressed, and they passed over a housing development, he realized he would not be able to reach his intended landing point. He subsequently turned the airplane towards a field adjacent to the houses. During the final approach, the airplane struck a set of power lines, and collided with the ground.

The airplane came to rest on a heading of 280 degrees magnetic, at the end of a dirt field, about 6,500 feet east of the arrival end of runway 25. Fire consumed the entire cabin from the empennage, through to the firewall, along with the inboard wing sections. The engine sustained minimal damage, and was recovered with the airframe remnants for further examination.

 West Covina Police Officer Mike Weatherman has been honored by the Burn Institute for courage during the rescue of a pilot and passenger from a fiery airplane crash in Corona on July 20, 2012. (Courtesy of the West Covina Police Department)

WEST COVINA - A West Covina police officer received the Burn Institute's 2012 Inland Empire Spirit of Courage Award last weekend for pulling an injured pilot and passenger from the burning wreckage of an airplane crash in Corona.

Officer Mike Weathermon was given the honor at a September 21 ceremony in Riverside, officials said.

"I'm very proud of him," West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills said. "He brought a tremendous credit and distinction to the West Covina Police Department.

He was the observer in an El Monte police helicopter being piloted by Fontana police captain and El Monte reserve helicopter pilot Dave Faulkner on July 20, West Covina and El Monte police officials said at the time. The crew members heard a distress call reporting mechanical problems from an airplane piloted by KFI traffic reporter Mike Nolan, who also had a teenage passenger on board.

The officers saw the plane lose power, plummet from the sky and strike power lines before crashing about 6:30 p.m. in a field about a mile and a half east of the Corona Municipal Airport,according to Federal Aviation Administration officials. Faulkner set the helicopter down about 100 yards from the scene of the fiery crash.

"Officer Weathermon quickly responded to the burning wreckage and safely pulled the pilot and passenger from the plane and escorted them to safety," West Covina police said in a written statement.

Shortly after the officer pulled the pilot and passenger from the plane, it burst into flames, according to KFI.

The crash also touched off a brush fire, and Weathermon pulled the injured occupants of the airplane to safety, Wills said.

Both Nolan and his passenger suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.

The Spirit of Courage Award is presented annually to individuals who have risked their lives to save others from death or injury by fire.

Founded in 1972, the Burn Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing burn injuries and deaths in San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The FAA's final report on the July 20 airplane crash has not been completed. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation.



Piper Cherokee Six: Want to join the mile high club? New Michigan business offers chance to fulfill aerial fantasies

References of the “mile high club” usually involve commercial flights, the risk of getting caught, and cramped airline lavatories.

Traverse City pilot Scott Conaway offers a more intimate way to gain membership into the exclusive club.

“As a pilot, you always want to be able to join the mile high club, so I was trying to come up with a safe way to do it,” he said.

Conaway, 45, offers scenic air tours on his Piper Cherokee Six aircraft. The idea for special “mile high club” flights started off as a joke, but he did some research, saw that other businesses offer similar services throughout the country, and he decided to go for it.

He removed the rear seats of the plane and added a bed complete with red sheets. A privacy curtain separates the cockpit from the passenger area. He'll even make sure there are chocolates, flowers or other romantic treats available on board. He's still researching whether he can serve champagne.


“Once we are in the air and level above 5,280 feet, you can continue to enjoy the views or you will be free to move around the cabin as you please,” the website reads.  

One-hour flights start at $390 and include a certificate of membership to commemorate the event.

Discretion and safety are Conaway’s top priorities.

“I want to participate in it in no way, shape or form,” he added. “I’m there to fly an airplane, nothing else.”

Conaway said he was given an introductory flight lesson for a birthday present and hasn’t looked back. He’s been flying for more than seven years and has logged about 1,600 hours of flight time.

The Traverse City area and the shores of Lake Michigan provide a picturesque backdrop for scenic flights.

“Just flying up here I’m always in awe, I’m always stunned, so I thought it was the best place to do it,” he said.

When asked if he’s a card-carrying member, Conaway bashfully paused before answering in the affirmative.

“How could I not be?” he joked.

Story and comments:   http://www.mlive.com