Saturday, October 6, 2012

Seaplanes could help save lives if big quake hits Seattle area


by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News
 

The Kenmore Air dock at the north end of Lake Washington could go from airport to triage station.

In an emergency, pilots would fly injured patients from other places around Western Washington here so they could be transferred to larger aircraft and flown to hospitals east of the Cascades with room to take them.

On Saturday, seaplane pilots prepared for the big earthquake, which would knock out bridges, roads and even runways.

A seaplane could still get around where there's water. Many are also equipped to land on runways.

“I'm trying to see how much of a viable source this is and how we could utilize this in the event we have a disaster within the City of Seattle,” said Lt. Eric Grant, Seattle Fire Dept. Station 6

The Seattle Fire Department is just one agency that wants to find out more about what seaplanes can do.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Washington National Guard were there to help.

“We provide resources for local communities if they ever ran out, particularly communications assets,” said Monte Simpson, Radio Liaison, Washington State Guard.

Since the seaplane pilots held a large fly in at Lake Whatcom back in May, pilots in Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia are looking to join forces. Washington pilots are also in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Read more here:   http://www.king5.com

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, N32GP: Accident occurred October 06, 2012 in Mabank, Texas

http://registry.faa.gov/N32GP 

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA006
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Mabank, TX
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N32GP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 6, 2012, about 0945 central daylight time, a Beech A36 airplane, N32GP, impacted terrain during a descent near Mabank, Texas. The pilot, pilot rated passenger and two other passengers were fatally injured. The airplane's airframe and engine were destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Palm-L Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument flight rules conditions (IFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an activated IFR flight plan. The flight originated from the Northwest Regional Airport (52F), near Roanoke, Texas, about 0845, and was destined for the Athens Municipal Airport (F44), near Athens, Texas.

The pilot obtained a Direct User Access Terminal Service weather briefing at 1526 on the afternoon prior to the flight. There were no records of any updated briefings on the morning of the flight.

The airplane was based at 52F and witnesses saw the airplane depart from there between 0830 and 0900.

According to a copy of the pilot's flight plan, the listed route of flight was direct from 52F to F44 and no alternate airport was entered. The listed departure airport, 52F, did not have Jet-A fuel service. However, both F44 and the Terrell Municipal Airport (TRL), near Terrell, Texas, have services that dispense Jet-A fuel. An IFR flight plan from F44 to the Fletcher Field Airport, near Clarksdale, Mississippi, was also on file.

According to air traffic control (ATC) information received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight encountered low clouds at F44 and requested a clearance to TRL. The flight was provided the clearance to TRL and subsequently given a frequency change. The FAA’s last reported radar return from the airplane was at 0944:23 at a pressure altitude of 2,900 feet. No further radio transmissions were received.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with an airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on August 31, 2011. The medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses. At that time, he reported that he had accumulated 340 hours of total flight time and had accumulated no flight time during the six months prior to that application. The pilot recorded in his logbook that he had accumulated 568.5 hours of total flight time and had accumulated 219.5 hours in turbine-powered airplanes. An endorsement, dated May 18, 2012, indicated that the pilot had completed the training required for operating pressurized aircraft. Another endorsement, dated February 16, 2012, indicated that the pilot satisfactorily completed an instrument proficiency check. An endorsement for a current flight review was not located in the pilot’s logbook.

The pilot-rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 26, 2012. The medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses. At that time, he reported that he had accumulated 130 hours of total flight time and had accumulated no flight time during the six months prior to that application.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

N32GP, a 1985-model Beech A36, serial number E-2230, was a low wing, single-engine, six-place monoplane, which had retractable tricycle landing gear. According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was powered by a Rolls Royce 250-B17C turbine engine, which was installed in accordance with a Soloy Conversions, Ltd., supplemental type certificate SA3523NM. The installation was approved on a major repair and alteration form dated July 3, 1986. The engine drove a Hartzell, three-bladed, all-metal, constant-speed propeller. An airplane logbook endorsement indicated the airplane had its last annual inspection completed on December 13, 2011. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 2,451.8 hours of total time and the engine accumulated 854 hours of total time. That endorsement entry also indicated that the engine accumulated 205.6 hours since overhaul and 205 cycles since overhaul. A review of logbook entries and mechanic's statements did not reveal any unresolved maintenance or airworthiness issues.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The National Weather Service had issued an Airman’s Meteorological Information advisory that was current at the time period of the accident for IFR conditions in the area surrounding the flight.

At 0953, about 324 degrees and 17 miles from the accident site, the recorded weather at TRL was: wind 020 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; overcast clouds at 600 feet; temperature 12 degrees C; dew point 9 degrees C; altimeter 30.16 inches of mercury.

At 0935, about 149 degrees and 23 miles from the accident site, the recorded weather at F44 was: wind 020 at 7 knots; visibility 3 statute miles; present weather mist; sky condition overcast clouds at 500 feet; temperature 14 degrees C; dew point 13 degrees C; altimeter 30.12 inches of mercury.

A pilot who was flying in the area about 15 nautical miles northeast of the accident site took pictures of the flight conditions present about 0950. The images exhibited low overcast clouds above the airplane. The pilot’s images are attached to the docket material associated with this case.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a field about one-half nautical mile east of the intersection of Farm to Market Road 90 and Van Zandt County Road 2702. A debris path started at an egg-shaped impact depression that was about 12 feet long and about two feet deep. The wreckage path continued on an observed heading of about 300 degrees and extended about 200 feet. The airplane was fragmented along this path with a section of the fuselage coming to rest about 95 feet from the start of the depression and the engine coming to rest about 190 feet from the start of the depression. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

All flight control cables were traced. All observed control cable separations had a broom straw appearance consistent with overload. The left and right wing flap jackscrew actuator measurements corresponded to a zero degree flap setting. The aileron trim actuator measurement was consistent with a neutral setting. The landing gear linkage position was consistent with retracted landing gear. The engine separated from the airframe. Debris, consistent with ingested dirt, was found in the engine’s compressor section. Fuel was found in the fuel pump filter bowl. The fuel shutoff valve handle was separated from its valve housing and light could be seen through a valve housing end when a flashlight illuminated the other end. The propeller was separated from the engine. Two propeller blades remained attached to their hub and they exhibited chordwise abrasions. The separated blade exhibited S-shaped bending and chordwise abrasion. Both vacuum pumps were disassembled and their rotors exhibited impact damage. All vanes in both pumps were intact. The attitude indicator was disassembled and its gyro and cage exhibited rotational scoring. The emergency locator beacon was found within the wreckage debris and it was crushed. Due to impact damage, the total fuel on board the airplane at the time of the accident could not be confirmed.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas. The cause of death was listed as blunt force injuries.

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


TESTS AND RESEARCH

Annunciator Panels

Two annunciator panels were retained and subsequently examined by a Chemist in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory. The report showed that the filaments exhibited inconclusive findings. The report is appended to the docket material associated with this case.

Search and Rescue Actions

According to a NTSB National Resource Analyst, radio and radar contact with the aircraft was lost at 0944. The FAA issued an alert notice reporting loss of contact at 1022. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center opened a search mission and engaged a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) radar analyst at 1135. The CAP analyst reported an initial radar position at 1319, but the analyst did not have access to all of the FAA radar data. In particular, the analyst did not have access to information from the airport surveillance radar located at Sachse, Texas, the closest radar site to the aircraft. Consequently, the initial position provided to search teams was incorrect. At 1834, the CAP informed the rescue coordination center that, based on radar data, "...they have strong reason to believe that the aircraft is within the area of Terrell, Texas..." and that CAP aircraft and ground teams were headed to the Terrell area.

At about 1630, after being notified by the Investigator in Charge that the aircraft was still missing, an NTSB radar analyst joined a teleconference involving FAA personnel from Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center, Fort Worth Approach Control, the Central Service Area Quality Control Group, and headquarters staff from the FAA Compliance Services group, who provide search and rescue support assistance to local ATC facilities upon request. When it became apparent that neither the FAA or the CAP had been able to review the Sachse radar site's data, the NTSB analyst asked to obtain the file. The radar file was provided by Fort Worth approach control at 1942. The NTSB analyst reviewed the information and determined a last known position for the missing aircraft by 1956. The information was provided to Fort Worth Center at 2008 for relay to a sheriff's helicopter involved in the search, and the wreckage was located about 2025 within 0.2 nautical miles of the last known position provided by the NTSB, which was approximately 10 miles southeast of the area being searched by CAP based on their earlier radar assessment not using Sachse data.


 NTSB Identification: CEN13FA006 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Mabank, TX
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N32GP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 6, 2012, about 0945 central daylight time, a Beech A36 airplane, N32GP, impacted terrain during a descent near Mabank, Texas. The pilot, pilot rated passenger and two other passengers were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial airframe and engine damage. The airplane was registered to Palm-L Aviation LLC and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument flight rules conditions (IFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an activated IFR flight plan. The flight originated from the Northwest Regional Airport (52F), near Roanoke, Texas, about 0845, and was destined for the Athens Municipal Airport (F44), near Athens, Texas.

The airplane was based at 52F and witnesses saw the airplane depart from there between 0830 and 0900. The departure airport, 52F, did not dispense Jet-A fuel.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) information received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight encountered weather at F44 and requested a clearance to Terrell Municipal Airport (TRL), near Terrell, Texas. The flight was provided the clearance to TRL and subsequently given a frequency change. The FAA’s last reported radar return from the airplane was at 0944:23 at a pressure altitude of 2,900 feet. No further radio transmissions were received.

Both F44 and TRL have services that dispense Jet-A fuel. An IFR flight plan from F44 to the Fletcher Field Airport, near Clarksdale, Mississippi, was on file.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with an airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on August 31, 2011. The medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses. At that time, he reported that he had accumulated 340 hours of total flight time and had accumulated no flight time during the six months prior to that application.

The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 26, 2012. The medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses. At that time, he reported that he had accumulated 130 hours of total flight time and had accumulated no flight time during the six months prior to that application.

N32GP, a 1985-model Beech A36, serial number E-2230, was a low wing, single-engine, six-place monoplane, which had retractable tricycle landing gear. According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was powered by a Rolls Royce 250-B17C turbine engine, which was installed in accordance with a Soloy Conversions, Ltd., supplemental type certificate SA3523NM. The installation was approved on major repair and alteration form dated July 3, 1986. The engine drove a Hartzell, 3-bladed, all-metal, constant-speed propeller.

At 0953, the recorded weather at TRL was: wind 020 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; overcast clouds at 600 feet; temperature 12 degrees C; dew point 9 degrees C; altimeter 30.16 inches of mercury.

The airplane impacted a field about one-half nautical mile east of the intersection of Farm to Market Road 90 and Van Zandt County Road 2702. A debris path started at an egg-shaped impact depression that was about 12 feet long and about two feet deep. The path continued on an observed heading of about 300 degrees and extended about 200 feet. The airplane was fragmented along this path with a section of the fuselage coming to rest about 95 feet from the start of the depression and the engine coming to rest about 190 feet from the start of the depression. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

All flight control cables were traced. All observed control cable separations had a broom straw appearance consistent with overload. The left and right wing flap jackscrew actuator measurements corresponded to a zero degree flap setting. The aileron trim actuator measurement was consistent with a neutral setting. The landing gear linkage position was consistent with retracted landing gear. The engine separated from the airframe. Debris was found in the engine’s turbine section. Fuel was found in the fuel pump filter bowl. The fuel shutoff valve handle was separated from its valve housing and light could be seen through a valve housing end when a flashlight illuminated the other end. The propeller was separated from the engine. Two propeller blades remained attached to their hub and they exhibited chordwise abrasions. The separated blade exhibited S-shaped bending and chordwise abrasion. Both vacuum pumps were disassembled and their rotors exhibited impact damage. All vanes in both pumps were intact. The attitude indicator was disassembled and its gyro and cage exhibited rotational scoring. The emergency locator beacon was found within the wreckage debris and it was crushed. Due to impact damage, the total fuel on board the airplane at the time of the accident could not be confirmed.

Radar data and communication records have been requested from the FAA for a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ATC Factual Report. Two annunciator panels have been retained and will be examined at the NTSB Materials Laboratory.


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 32GP        Make/Model: BE36      Description: 36 Bonanza
  Date: 10/06/2012     Time: 1445

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

LOCATION
  City: TERRELL   State: TX   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. TERRELL, TX

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   4
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   3     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: DALLAS, TX  (SW05)                    Entry date: 10/09/2012 



 


Photo Courtesy of the Department of Public Safety 
Debris from the crash of a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza plane cover a wide field outside Mabank, where it went down just inside Van Zandt County on Saturday killing the pilot, co-pilot and two teenage passengers. First responders arrived at the crash site at 8:30 p.m. off VZCR 2702 and half mile from FM 90.


 
A Weslaco dentist, his brother and his two sons were killed in a plane crash on Saturday.



RAW VIDEO: Aerial view of Van Zandt County plane crash

 VAN ZANDT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Medical examiners have confirmed that two teenagers were among four people who died in a plane crash that happened Saturday. 

 The Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Court has identified the victims as 62-year-old Gregory Ledet, 60-year-old Donald Ledet and his two sons Paul and Mason.

17-year-old Paul and 13-year-old Mason were both students in the Carroll Independent School District.

Caroll ISD released the following statement on Sunday with the permission of the Ledet family: “The family thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers – particularly the prayers – during this difficult time. They ask that you please respect their privacy as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.



Source:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com

 

Bad weather may be factor in fatal plane crash 


SOUTHLAKE — Investigators are looking for the cause of Saturday's small plane crash in Van Zandt County that claimed the lives of all four on board.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza left Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke at 9:09 a.m. Saturday. It circled around near Terrell before disappearing from radar about 30 minutes later.

The wreckage wasn't located until late Saturday night in the middle of a pasture.

The manager of Northwest Regional Airport told News 8 he saw the plane's owner — Dr. Leonard Ledet — before taking off on Saturday. The plane is registered to the Southlake dentist and also to a company called Palm-L Aviation.

The airport manager said Ledet had been flying his Beechcraft Bonanza out of Northwest Regional for the past year, often traveling with his brother.

Saturday's flight plan included a stop in Athens, Texas, for fuel. But the plane diverted to Terrell, possibly due to poor weather conditions.

A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted the wreckage just before 9 p.m. Saturday, about 7 miles short of a runway.

Pilot Leonard Ledet and his son Paul have been confirmed as two of the victims. Investigators are withholding the names of the other two passengers.

Christopher Browning worked with Paul Ledet at Urban Air Trampoline Park in Southlake. He got a phone call at 2 a.m. Sunday alerting him to the tragic news.

"He just brought so much joy, and he was really, really good," Browning said. "He was one of those people we wanted interacting with the customers because he really brought to the facility just so much joy, and I just can't explain."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.

http://www.wfaa.com

 
Photo Credit: WFAA

  Investigators on Sunday examined wreckage of the Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft that crashed in a rural Van Zandt County pasture on Saturday.

 
Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

 Photo Credit: WFAA

 Photo Credit: WFAA

 Photo Credit: WFAA

 Photo Credit: WFAA

 Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA

  Photo Credit: WFAA













VAN ZANDT COUNTY — The wreckage of a small plane that disappeared from radar near Terrell on Saturday morning was found hours later in rural Van Zandt County. All four people on board were killed.

An all-day search by the Civil Air Patrol and law enforcement personnel started around 9:40 a.m., shortly after the Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke and the pilot lost communication with the control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the last reported position of the aircraft with tail number N32GP was about 25 miles southeast of Terrell.

The wreckage was discovered by a Department of Public Safety helicopter in a pasture near the intersection of FM 90 and County Road 2702 in Van Zandt County, about 25 miles southeast of Kaufman and 22 miles southwest of Canton.

Aerial views of the scene by daylight Sunday showed only small pieces of the aircraft remained, scattered over a wide area of the pasture.

The crash site was more than half a mile from the nearest road. Rescue personnel had to walk part of the way because of muddy terrain.

No additional information was available about the identity of the pilot or the passengers. An FAA spokesman said the plane was registered to an address in Southlake.

Federal records show that the plane that crashed had six seats and was built in 1985.

The Beechcraft Bonanza is a single-engine plane that has been in continuous production since 1947.

Saturday's tragedy is the second deadly crash in the past two weeks of a plane that took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke.

Last month, Charlie Yates and Chris Pratt died shortly after takeoff. Yates — a flight instructor — was helping Pratt "brush up" on his flying skills when the Piper Arrow lost altitude.

The NTSB is still investigating the cause of that crash.

 http://www.wfaa.com

The Texas Department of Safety confirmed one of its helicopters located a downed aircraft with four fatalities late Saturday night near Terrell.  The crash scene is near the State Highway 243 and Farm-To-Market Road 47.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft departed Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke around 9:40 a.m. Saturday.  It was bound for Mississippi.  Controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane 25 miles southeast of Terrell in Kaufman County. 

The tail number of plane belongs to a company based in Southlake.

NBC 5 went to the Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke on Saturday night but no one was available for comment.

This is the second fatal crash in two weeks involving a plane that departed the Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke. A pilot and flight instructor died September 23 shortly after takeoff. The cause of that crash is still under investigation.


VAN ZANDT COUNTY — The wreckage of a small plane that went missing near Terrell on Saturday morning was found hours later in rural Van Zandt County. All four people on board were killed.

An all-day search by the Civil Air Patrol and law enforcement personnel started around 9:40 a.m., shortly after the Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke and the pilot lost communication with the control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the last reported position of the aircraft with tail number N32GP was about 25 miles southeast of Terrell.

The wreckage was discovered near the intersection of FM 90 and County Road 2702 in Van Zandt County, about 25 miles southeast of Kaufman and 22 miles southwest of Canton.

No additional information was available about the identity of the pilot or the passengers. An FAA spokesman said the plane was registered to an address in Southlake.

Federal records show that the plane that crashed had six seats and was built in 1985.  The Beechcraft Bonanza is a single-engine plane that has been in continuous production since 1947.

http://www.kltv.com

http://www.dallasnews.com

 http://www.wfaa.com

http://www.star-telegram.com


VAN ZANDT COUNTY — The wreckage of a small plane that disappeared from radar near Terrell on Saturday morning was found hours later in rural Van Zandt County. All four people on board were killed.

An all-day search by the Civil Air Patrol and law enforcement personnel started around 9:40 a.m., shortly after the Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke and the pilot lost communication with the control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the last reported position of the aircraft with tail number N32GP was about 25 miles southeast of Terrell.

The wreckage was discovered by a Department of Public Safety helicopter in a pasture near the intersection of FM 90 and County Road 2702 in Van Zandt County, about 25 miles southeast of Kaufman and 22 miles southwest of Canton.

The crash site was more than half a mile from the nearest road. Rescue personnel had to walk part of the way because of muddy terrain.

No additional information was available about the identity of the pilot or the passengers. An FAA spokesman said the plane was registered to an address in Southlake.

Federal records show that the plane that crashed had six seats and was built in 1985.

The Beechcraft Bonanza is a single-engine plane that has been in continuous production since 1947.

Saturday's tragedy is the second deadly crash in the past two weeks of a plane that took off from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke.

Last month, Charlie Yates and Chris Pratt died shortly after takeoff. Yates — a flight instructor — was helping Pratt "brush up" on his flying skills when the Piper Arrow lost altitude.

The NTSB is still investigating the cause of that crash.

Stearman Fly-In rolls into Jennings, Louisiana

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana 


JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) -  Willard Duke was an integral part of starting the Stearman Fly-In more than two decades ago.

"We do it once a year.  We've been doing it 28 years here right at this place" said Duke.

Dozens of age-old Steersman flyers lined the runways of the airfield in Jennings for people like Mike Sager to see first hand how airmen in World War II were trained.

"The Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard all used this as their primary trainer" said Sager.  "So if you were flying in the war, chances are you started in one of these aircraft".

The fly-in is put on by the city of Jennings and project coordinator Michelle Hebert says getting all of the historic planes in the same place every year, helps teach younger generations the history of aviation.

"For example, we have a plane over here that's number 37... this one was actually used by the Tuskegee Airmen" Hebert explained.  "It's registered with the Smithsonian Institute and there's not many left out there and I think it's important for the kids to see what aviation used to be like compared to what it is today".

Lessons from the past to inspire new hobbies in the future.  The Stearman Fly-In proved to be fun for the whole family.

"I fly all the time because the airstrip is in my backyard and I live next to my grandparents that actually have the hangar with all three of our planes" said flyer Lyndsey Sager.

This year marked the 32 year for the fly-in event.

Story and video:   http://www.kplctv.com

Cirrus SR22 GTS, Two Flyers LLC, N80KW: Accident occurred October 06, 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama



http://registry.faa.gov/N80KW

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA012  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Birmingham, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N80KW
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 airplane was in instrument meteorological conditions, and the pilot intended to fly an instrument landing system approach. Review of non-volatile memory data revealed that the autopilot approach mode was armed as the airplane intercepted the localizer course and was descending toward 2,600 feet mean sea level (msl). At that time, the autopilot was selected to vertical speed (VS) mode with the altitude armed rather than selected to the altitude mode, which is one of the criteria for automatically arming the glideslope (GS) mode later in the approach. About 1 minute later, the autopilot automatically cancelled the VS mode and switched to altitude mode as the airplane reached 2,600 feet msl. However, at that time the airplane was above the glideslope by 53 percent needle deflection. The autopilot will not automatically arm the GS mode unless, in addition to the altitude mode being selected, the airplane is more than 10 percent needle deflection below the glideslope. As a result, the airplane remained above the glideslope until the autopilot was disconnected about 1 minute later. The pilot then attempted to hand-fly a missed approach; however, he was unable to maintain the heading or altitude assigned by air traffic control. He subsequently lost control of the airplane during a turn and elected to deploy the airplane's parachute system. The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during a missed approach in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's overreliance on the autopilot system and his inability to hand-fly the airplane once the autopilot was disconnected.

On October 6, 2012, at 1217 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N80KW, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain, after deployment of the Cirrus Airplane Parachute System (CAPS), following a loss of control during a missed approach at Birmingham International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The private pilot incurred minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, Missouri; destined for BHM.

The pilot stated that while on the instrument landing system approach to runway 6 at BHM, he reported missed approach at 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) to the BHM air traffic control tower. The tower controller instructed the pilot to fly the runway heading; however, the pilot reported to the controller that he was unable due to weather. The tower controller then instructed the pilot to fly a heading of 180 degrees and climb to 4,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged the instruction and during the turn, lost control of the airplane. He then observed the altimeter indicating a descent through 1,700 feet and elected to deploy the CAPS. The airplane subsequently descended via parachute and came to rest in a commercial parking lot, about 2 miles south of BHM.

Review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded radio communications between N80KW and BHM tower revealed that after the pilot declared a missed approach, the tower controller instructed the pilot to fly runway heading and climb to 4,000 feet. The pilot replied "Okay, I'm way off of runway heading…" and did not make any mention of not being able to turn due to weather. The controller then instructed the pilot twice to climb to 4,000 feet and make a left turn to 360 degrees as the airplane was approaching an antenna to the south. After a third query, the pilot replied that he was "going, trying to get around." About 20 seconds later, the pilot reported that he was "going down."

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and a puncture of the left wing near the left main landing gear.

The airplane was equipped with an Avidyne primary flight display (PFD), which was forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, DC. The unit contained non-volatile memory, which was successfully downloaded. Review of the data revealed that the autopilot was engaged shortly after takeoff and remained on until 1215. At 1213, the autopilot approach mode was armed as the airplane was descending to 2,600 feet msl and had intercepted the localizer course. The autopilot was selected to vertical speed (VS) mode with the altitude armed, rather than the altitude mode. At 1214, the VS mode was automatically cancelled (and the autopilot automatically switched to altitude mode) as the airplane reached 2,600 feet; however, at that time the airplane was above the glideslope (GS) by 53 percent needle deflection. The airplane remained above the GS until the autopilot was disconnected at 1215 and the CAPS was deployed about 1217. According a representative from the PFD manufacturer, the autopilot would automatically arm the GS mode, provided seven criteria were met. Two of the seven criteria were altitude mode engaged and airplane no more than 10 percent needle deflection below GS (airplane above GS).

Review of the data did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions with the airplane, nor did the pilot report any. The pilot reported a total flight experience of 1,944.7 hours; of which, 1,450 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. He reported 17 and 75 total hours of actual and simulated instrument experience, respectively.

The recorded weather at BHM, at 1153, included an overcast ceiling at 700 feet above ground level (1,350 msl).


 

 NTSB Identification: ERA13LA012 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Birmingham, AL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N80KW
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 October 6, 2012, about 1215 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N80KW, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during deployment of the Cirrus Airplane Parachute System (CAPS), following a loss of control during a missed approach at Birmingham International Airport (BHM), Birmingham, Alabama. The private pilot incurred minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, Missouri; destined for BHM.

The pilot stated that while on the instrument landing system approach to runway 6 at BHM, he reported missed approach at 2,000 feet to the BHM air traffic control tower. The tower controller instructed the pilot to fly the runway heading; however, the pilot reported to the controller that he was unable due to weather. The tower controller then instructed the pilot to fly a heading of 180 degrees and climb to 4,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged the instruction and during the turn, lost control of the airplane. He then observed the altimeter indicating a descent through 1,700 feet and elected to deploy the CAPS. The airplane subsequently descended and came to rest in a commercial parking lot, about 2 miles south of BHM.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed damage to the fuselage and a puncture of the left wing near the left main landing gear.

The airplane was equipped with a remote data module (RDM), intended to record flight and engine parameters. The inspector recovered the RDM from the airplane and forwarded it to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC, for data download.

The recorded weather at BHM, at 1153, included an overcast ceiling at 700 feet above ground level (1350 feet above mean sea level).


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 80KW        Make/Model: SR22      Description: SR-22
  Date: 10/06/2012     Time: 1717

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

LOCATION
  City: BIRMINGHAM   State: AL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. BIRMINGHAM, AL

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   1     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: BIRMINGHAM, AL  (SO09)                Entry date: 10/09/2012 

CBS42 speaks with Pilot Billy Sprague by phone. Sprague managed to crash land his single engine plane in the heart of Downtown Birmingham Alabama without hurting anyone. Sprague walked away without injury. His passenger suffered minor injuries. 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)-- The lot outside of The Furnace a Birmingham gentlemen’s club, isn't usually reserved for aircrafts. On Saturday October 6th the pilot of a Cirrus SR22 was forced to make an emergency landing outside of the business near downtown Birmingham.

"He was in the clouds at the time. He kind of lost his bearings. He was in touch with the tower and was forced to make this emergency landing due to visibility problems,” said Birmingham Fire Department Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis.

Mardis says the pilot and one passenger inside the small plane were headed to Tampa from Kansas City and were attempting to refuel in Birmingham.

The pilot's experience and quick thinking aren't the only things being credited for his successful emergency landing.

A parachute attached to the plane served as a lifesaver.

"When you have a plane that small the parachute is a very vital component for safety so he did the right thing and we're glad he did and we came away basically he, unscathed and his passenger with minor injuries,” said Mardis.

Public Information Officer, Sgt. Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department is grateful no one else was injured as a result of the crash.

“Maybe it was luck, maybe it was skill, maybe a little bit of both but we're happy that no one else was injured and no other property was damage."

The passenger was taken to UAB hospital with bumps and bruises, the pilot though visibly unharmed was also taken to the hospital to be checked out.

UPDATE: CBS 42 has confirmed that the pilot of this plane is Billy Wayne Sprague of Key West, Florida.








 A Cirrus SR22 aircraft crashed in an open field between 28th Street North and 2nd Avenue North, just east of downtown Birmingham. 

Police units responded to reports of a plane crash at 12:30 p.m., according to Johnny Williams, public information officer for Birmingham Police Department. 

"There were no injuries to anyone that was on the ground," Williams said. "We do have minor injuries to one female that was inside. The pilot walked away with no injuries." 

The female passenger was taken to UAB Hospital for treatment. 

The woman sustained body bruises and aches, according to C.W. Mardis, spokesman for the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Services. 

Mardis said the plane was scheduled to stop in Birmingham to refuel. He also reported 27 gallons of gasoline left on the plane, 10 of which were spilled in the crash. 

"We were able to put booms down and absorbent material to soak it all up," he said. "Right now we're waiting on NTSB to assess of the damage."

Williams said that the two were traveling from Kansas City, Missouri when the pilot radioed to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport citing problems. 

According to Mardis, the pilot was disoriented due to poor visibility. He then deployed a parachute attached to the plane.

"The parachute is part of the safety component," he said. 

According to the website Flightaware.com, the plane is registered to Two Flyers LLC in Key West, Florida. It left Kansas City at 9:18 a.m. central time and was scheduled to land in at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport at 12:12 p.m.

Story, photos, video and comments:  http://blog.al.com
  
Birmingham Police are working a single-engine plane crash at the intersection of 2nd Avenue North and 28th Street SW. 

 Sgt. Johnnie Williams confirmed to ABC 33/40 that a male pilot along with a female passenger made a crash landing in a field near the gentlemen's club The Furnace.  The couple was flying to Tampa, Fla. from Kansas City, Missouri and planned to land at Birmingham International Airport to refuel, but low clouds caused poor visibility, leading to the accident.

Witnesses reported seeing a parachute deployed.  The Cirrus SR22 plane they were flying was equipped with the Cirrus Aircraft Parachute System.  In the event of an emergency like the one today, the plane's parachute is deployed assisting in slowing the descent of the aircraft to the ground.

The pilot was not hurt, but the female was taken to UAB Hospital with minor injuries.

According to FlightAware, the plane took off from Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City at 9:18 a.m. and was schedule to land at BHM at 12:18 p.m., but instead landed in the field near The Furnace.  The plane had flown the same flight plan as the pilot's today, but with opposite destinations, just 10 days ago on September 27.  The plane made a stop in Birmingham that day in between flying from Peter O'Knight Airport in Tampa to Kansas City.


http://www.abc3340.com

 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)-- The pilot of a Cirrus SR22 was forced to make an emergency landing in downtown Birmingham Saturday afternoon.

According to Birmingham Fire Chief C.W. Mardis the pilot and one passenger were headed to Tampa, FL from Kansas City. They were making a stop at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to refuel when low visibility caused complications for the pilot.

Sgt. Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department says the pilot walked away uninjured but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The passenger suffered minor injuries and was transported to UAB Hospital.

Mardis credits the experience and quick thinking of the pilot for minimal their injuries and the safety of other who may have been in the area when the plane went down. A parachute attached to the plane helped with the landing.

UPDATE: CBS 42 has confirmed that the pilot of this plane is Billy Wayne Sprague of Key West, Florida.

Stay with us for the latest information.

  By Mark Almond

 Cirrus SR22, (N80KW) is shown after crash landing in a field near 28th Street and 2nd Ave. North about 12:12 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. The plane is equipped with a parachute recovery system. The pilot was uninjured and a passenger had minor injuries and was taken to UAB hospital. 
  
By Mark Almond


By Mark Almond



 The plane came to rest in an overgrown field near downtown.
 (Photo by Mark Almond) 

 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Birmingham police and fire departments are on the scene of a small plane crash just east of downtown, and one person has been taken to UAB Hospital with minor injuries. 


 The plane's pilot was uninjured, but his one passenger was taken to the hospital, according to police.

The plane, a Cirrus SR22, is in an overgrown grass field, just north of the intersection of Second Avenue and 28th Street North.


A parachute attached to the plane was deployed.


The plane landed slightly nose down, but there's no visible major damage.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. to report injury.


Story, photos and comments:   http://blog.al.com 

http://www.fotopedia.com

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)-- We have a crew on the scene of where a small plane went down in downtown Birmingham. Right now, officials are saying that it's a small, one engine plane with only two occupants. 

 The plane was coming from Kansas City, headed to the Birmingham airport. There was a parachute attached to the plane to assist in landing. The pilot walked away without injury but is being taken to hospital just as a precaution. The passenger suffered minor injuries.

Queensland man Greg Wilson auctioning homemade starship Reconnator 1 on eBay for $33,000

Greg Wilson with the trailer he has converted into a spaceship. 
Picture: Peter Wallis 
Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)


THE truth is out there - just outside Toowoomba, in fact.

Looking like it just blasted out of a Flash Gordon comic, the Reconnator 1 is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream of Southbrook man Greg Wilson, who is auctioning the homemade starship on eBay for a cool $33,000.

"I always wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, I always wanted to go to the moon," Mr Wilson said.

"It's probably a reflection of everything I wanted in a space ship as a kid."

Trailer manufacturer, light aircraft pilot and self-confessed "space freak", Mr Wilson, 47, said he was inspired to build the 1950s-style rocket ship after a childhood agreement that he and his friends would each have a spaceship before they turned 40. 


 It may need an earthly vehicle to pull it, but the Reconnator 1 is fitted with all the retro trappings including air-powered rocket turbines, start-up gyros, thruster controls, more switches and buzzers than you can poke a stick at and a logbook claiming it's been piloted by sci-fi luminaries such as Buck Rogers and Captain Kirk. 

 Despite its galactic pedigree, the Reconnator 1 is docked in Mr Wilson's shed and used mainly for children's birthday parties.

He hopes it will be purchased by a school, an entrepreneur or a space-loving organisation to help educate the next generation of space cadets.

While the Reconnator 1 is shackled to the ground by the harsh laws of gravity, Mr Wilson said his next project is set to take to the skies.


Read more here:   http://www.couriermail.com.au

Fly Guinness Class to Dublin - Guinness Ad

Guinness has unveiled plans craft its own jet service, naturally dubbed Guinness Class. The private planes will fly from the UK to Dublin every Friday and Saturday evening.

Moulton Howard Wells ULTRA-PUP BY PRECPTR, N3073X: Accident occurred October 06, 2012 in Lyman, Maine

NTSB Identification: ERA13CA010 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Lyman, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2013
Aircraft: MOULTON HOWARD WELLS ULTRA-PUP, registration: N3073X
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

About 20 minutes into the cross-country flight, the pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane detected a vibration of the airplane’s engine that “didn’t sound good,” and noticed a drop in the rpm of the automotive-conversion engine. He immediately applied carburetor heat, but the engine continued to lose power until the airplane could no longer maintain altitude and began to descend from its cruise altitude of 1,500 feet above ground level. The pilot performed a forced landing into the trees below, substantially damaging the airplane’s fuselage, wings, and empennage. Postaccident examination of the airplane, its engine, and its fuel system revealed no evidence of preimpact malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Although the fuel system was compromised by impact damage, the fuel that remained in the system was absent of contamination. According to a carburetor icing probability chart published by the Federal Aviation Administration, the temperature and dew point reported at an airport located about 6 nautical miles from the accident site were conducive to “serious icing at cruise power.”

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

The accumulation of ice in the automotive engine’s carburetor, which resulted in a loss of engine power.

About 20 minutes into the cross-country flight, the pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane detected a vibration of the airplane’s engine that “didn’t sound good,” and noticed a drop in the rpm of the automotive-conversion engine. He immediately applied carburetor heat, but the engine continued to lose power until the airplane could no longer maintain altitude and began to descend from its cruise altitude of 1,500 feet agl. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to the trees below, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane’s fuselage, wings, and empennage. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage at the accident scene, found no anomalies associated with the airplane’s fuel system, and noted that the fuel remaining was absent of any contamination. A subsequent examination of the engine was also unable to note any obvious mechanical deficiencies of the engine. The temperature and dew point reported at an airport located about 6 nautical miles from the accident site were conducive to “serious icing at cruise power,” according to a carburetor icing probability chart published by the FAA. Following the accident, the pilot stated he believed that the airplane’s custom carburetor heat system may not have possessed an adequate heating capacity to recover from an encounter with carburetor icing.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 3073X        Make/Model: EXP       Description: EXP- ULTRA PUP
  Date: 10/06/2012     Time: 1243

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

LOCATION
  City: LYMAN   State: ME   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT LOST POWER AND CRASHED INTO TREES.  LYMAN, ME

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

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: PORTLAND, ME  (EA65)                  Entry date: 10/09/2012
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N3073X




LYMAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Two people were injured when an ultralight plane crashed in the woods off of Beech Street in Lyman Saturday morning.

The Lyman Fire Department says two people were in the plane when it crashed just before 9 a.m. Saturday.  The pilot and passenger were taken to Southern Maine Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries.  Their identities have not been released.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson says the plane had taken off from Eliot and was headed to Wiscasset.  The plane developed an engine problem and the pilot attempted to divert it to Sanford.

The FAA is continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.  All nearby roads remain open to traffic as the investigation continues. 


http://www.wcsh6.com


LYMAN, Maine (AP) — Two people have suffered minor injuries in a small plane crash in Lyman, Maine. 

 The crash was reported at about 8:45 a.m. Saturday.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said the home-built plane had taken off from Eliot in the western part of the state and was headed to Wiscasset, northeast of Portland.

Peters said the plane developed an engine problem and the pilot tried to divert it to Sanford.

The two people on board were taken Southern Maine Medical Center.

http://www.boston.com

Fighter jets fly over as Navy destroyer is commissioned for fallen Navy SEAL

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Navy honored a fallen soldier this morning who gave his life for his country.

A commissioning ceremony was held today for the Navy's newest destroyer, named the U.S.S. Michael Murphy, at Pier 88 on Manhattan's West Side.

The event featured a cannon salute, a parachute jump over the Hudson River and a fighter jet flyover that could be seen and heard from Staten Island.
 

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, known to his friends and family as "Murph," was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL team in support of Operation Red Wing on June 28, 2005.
  
Three goat herders who spotted his team reportedly alerted their presence to Taliban fighters. During a fierce gun battle on the face of a steep mountain, Murphy ran into the open to transmit a call for help.

He managed to make the call and continued to fight. Murphy was killed during the two-hour gunfight. Only one of his men survived.

The 36-year-old Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.



http://www.silive.com

Unidentified drone shot down by Israeli air force

The Israeli air force shot down an unarmed and unidentified drone on Saturday after it entered the country’s airspace from the Mediterranean Sea, an army spokesman reported. 

 “An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was identified penetrating Israeli airspace this morning, and was intercepted by the IAF at approximately 10:00 am (0800 GMT),” a military spokesman said.

Soldiers are currently searching the area where the drone was downed, in open areas in the northern Negev, to locate and identify it, the spokesman added.

Army radio said that the aircraft was not carrying explosives.

It quoted a military spokesman as saying troops responsible for monitoring “acted as they should have done after spotting the drone following its intrusion into Israeli airspace.”

Military spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich later told reporters: “This drone was spotted over the Mediterranean in a sector near the Gaza Strip before entering Israeli airspace, where the air force followed it.”

“It was followed from the beginning until the time it was decided to intercept it and shoot it down for operational reasons over the Yatir Forest in the northern Negev, an uninhabited region.”

Leibovich called the operation a “success,” but she did not say how the drone was shot down.

“Israeli soldiers are at the scene and retrieving pieces of debris,” she added.

In July 2006, the Israeli military shot down an unarmed drone operated by Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement over the Jewish state’s territorial waters.

And on April 12, 2005, another pilotless Hezbollah aircraft succeeded in overflying part of northern Israel without being downed.

 http://english.alarabiya.net

 (Reuters) - The Israeli air force shot down a drone after it crossed into southern Israel on Saturday, the military said, but it remained unclear where the aircraft had come from.

The drone was first spotted above the Mediterranean Sea in the area of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to the west of Israel, said military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich.

It was kept under surveillance and followed by Israeli air force jets before it was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the occupied West Bank.

Leibovich said it was shot down at about 10 a.m. (0700 GMT), after it traveled east some 35 miles across Israel's southern Negev desert.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the interception as "sharp and effective".

"We view with great gravity the attempt to compromise Israeli air space and will consider our response in due course," Barak said in a statement.

Soldiers were searching the area for the remains of the drone, which security sources said most likely did not originate from the Gaza Strip. It was not immediately clear whether it was armed.

On at least one occasion, Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group in Lebanon, has launched a drone into Israel. And in 2010, an Israeli warplane shot down an apparently unmanned balloon in the Negev near the country's Dimona nuclear reactor.


http://www.reuters.com

(CNN) -- The Israeli air force shot down an unmanned drone Saturday over the northern Negev desert, the nation's military said.

The Israeli Defense Forces said the drone was spotted before entering Israeli airspace. Ground troops and fighter jets kept the drone under surveillance until shooting it down around 10 a.m. Saturday over the Yatir Forest, the IDF said.

Soldiers were searching the area for remnants of the drone, the IDF said.

It is not clear where the drone originated, but the aircraft entered Israeli airspace from the west, the IDF said.

The Negev is in southern Israel, with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.


http://www.cnn.com

Cessna 172H, N2876L and Eurocopter EC 135 P2, Petroleum Helicopters (PHI), N312PH: Accident occurred December 31, 2010 in Weyers Cave, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA101A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 31, 2010 in Weyers Cave, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 172H, registration: N2876L
Injuries: 2 Fatal,3 Uninjured.


 NTSB Identification: ERA11FA101B 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 31, 2010 in Weyers Cave, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC 135 P2, registration: N312PH
Injuries: 2 Fatal,3 Uninjured.

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 and both crewmembers of the helicopter recalled routine radio communication as the helicopter approached the destination airport. They established visual contact with two airplanes that had announced their positions in the traffic pattern; one on the downwind leg and one on short final. The airplanes were also identified by the traffic avoidance system onboard the helicopter. The pilot followed behind and north of the second airplane and continued to the west side of the airport to complete a landing at the helipad. During the descent, about 500 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot "saw about 2 feet of white wing right outside." He "pulled power" and then felt contact with an airplane. The airplane's right wing separated before it departed controlled flight and descended to the ground, fatally injuring both occupants. The helicopter subsequently landed with minor damage and no injuries to the 3 occupants.

Interpolation of radar data revealed that the accident airplane departed from the same airport about 21 minutes prior to the accident and completed a right downwind departure, contrary to the established left traffic pattern. The airplane’s transponder appeared to be off for about 3 minutes after takeoff before transmitting the visual flight rules transponder code (1200) for the remainder of the observed flight; the transponder appeared to be on and functioning at the time of the collision. The airplane proceeded north of the airport before reversing course and returning to approach the airport from the northeast. The last target was observed about 1.2 nautical miles north of the airport on a track leading toward the west side of the landing runway at an altitude of 500 feet agl. About 25 seconds later, the helicopter passed northeast of the airport on a modified left base, about 500 feet above traffic pattern altitude (1,500 feet agl), crossed the final approach course, and turned parallel to and on the west side of the runway. Although only the helicopter was observed by radar at the time of the collision, extrapolation of the accident airplane’s previously observed targets and flight path placed the airplane at the accident site about the same time the helicopter was observed there. An analysis of the relative positions of the airplane and helicopter based on radar data indicated that the airplane remained below the helicopter pilot's field of view as the helicopter overtook the airplane from behind and descended upon it from above. Although the data indicated that the airplane would likely have been visible to the pilot of the helicopter, it is important to note that the onboard traffic avoidance system (TAS) did not provide the pilot with any alert of its presence because the system operated on line-of-sight principles. If an intruder aircraft’s antenna was shielded from the TAS antenna, the ability of the TAS to track the target would be affected. If a TAS-equipped aircraft was located directly above an intruder, the airframe of one or both of the aircraft could cause the TAS’s interrogations to be shielded, depending on antenna location (either bottom or top-mounted).

All other airplanes in the traffic pattern were acquired visually by the pilot and crew as their positions were confirmed by the helicopter's onboard traffic avoidance system and the position reports provided by the pilots of each airplane. Because of the high-wing structure of the airplane, and its relative position and altitude, the helicopter's image was either blocked from the airplane pilot's view by the left wing, or was above and behind the airplane in the seconds before collision. Further, no radio position reports from the accident airplane were confirmed. The helicopter pilot’s unalerted detection of the airplane against a complex background of ground objects would have been difficult because of both the lack of apparent contrast between the airplane and the ground, its size in the windscreen, its relative lack of movement within the pilot’s field of view, and the position and angle of the sun. In addition, the helicopter pilot’s familiarity with the customary routes used by fixed-wing pilots to fly into and out of the airport also made detection of the airplane less likely, because the airplane was not in a location that normally contained conflicting traffic. Finally, before the helicopter turned and overtook the airplane, the helicopter pilot’s visual attention would have likely been directed toward the landing area, which would also have limited opportunities for detection of the airplane. The airplane's departure and arrival were contrary to published Federal Aviation Administration guidance, the airplane owner's guidance, and the airplane pilot's guidance to his own students with regard to pattern entry at the destination airport.

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

The inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid concept, which made it difficult for the helicopter pilot to see the airplane before the collision. Contributing to the accident was the airplane pilot’s non-standard entry to the airport traffic pattern, which, contrary to published Federal Aviation Administration guidance, was conducted 500 feet below the airport's published traffic pattern altitude and in a direction that conflicted with the established flow of traffic.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 31, 2010, about 1426 eastern standard time, a Eurocopter EC-135-P2 helicopter, N312PH, operated by PHI Inc., as AirCare 5, and a Cessna 172H, N2876L, collided in midair approximately 1/2 mile northwest of the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD), Weyers Cave, Virginia. The airplane departed controlled flight after the right wing separated, and was destroyed by impact forces at ground contact. The helicopter sustained minor damage and landed safely at SHD. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger on board the airplane were fatally injured. The certificated commercial pilot and two medical flight crewmembers on board the helicopter were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the airplane's local personal flight that originated from SHD, at 1402, and for the helicopter’s positioning flight that originated from the University of Virginia Medical Center (8VA5), Charlottesville, Virginia, about 1410. A company flight plan was filed for the helicopter positioning flight, and no flight plan was filed for the airplane flight. Both flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

All three crewmembers aboard the helicopter were interviewed at the scene, and their statements were consistent throughout. They described departing 8VA5 after completing a patient drop-off, crossing "the ridgeline" at 4,500 feet, and approaching SHD from the east. They each described monitoring the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), and how the announced traffic, two aircraft established in a left-hand traffic pattern for runway 23, were acquired both visually and on the helicopter's Skywatch traffic collision avoidance device (TCAD) system. The two crewmembers in the front seats correlated the landing-pattern traffic's announced positions both visually and on the TCAD. The third, aft-seated crewmember visually acquired the landing traffic based on their announced positions. The accident airplane was operating in the airport traffic area, but not in the established traffic pattern.

One flight nurse rode on the left side of the helicopter, behind the copilot's station, and faced aft. She stated that she was aware of two airplanes in the traffic pattern, one on "short final," the second airplane behind, and that the helicopter would be "the third aircraft to land." According to the flight nurse, "I was in the back under sterile cockpit procedures. Everyone was 'eyes-out' looking for traffic. I felt a bump and a shudder and the pilot said, 'What was that?'" She looked out and saw a white rectangle under the helicopter for "less than a millisecond."

A second flight nurse who rode in the copilot (left) seat gave a similar account, and stated that he had visual contact with the two airplanes that were also displayed on the helicopter's TCAD device. He added, "We were talking to all of them." The helicopter was in a gradual descent, and the nurse had visual contact with the airplanes on the base and final legs of the traffic pattern when he felt a bump. He reported that he never saw anything outside the helicopter at the time he felt the bump.

The pilot recalled routine radio communication as the helicopter approached SHD, as well as a radio call to request fuel upon landing. He described two airplanes in the traffic pattern: one on the downwind leg, and one on short final. The pilot followed behind and north of the second airplane and continued to the west side of the airport to complete a landing at the west side helipad. During the descent, about 500 feet above ground level, the pilot "saw about 2 feet of white wing right outside." He "pulled power" and then felt the contact.

All three crewmembers stated that the TCAD did not alert them to the accident airplane. They all described the crew coordination efforts to assess the damage to their aircraft, and the completion of a safe landing at the west-side helipad.

Witness interviews and written statements provided were largely consistent throughout. The witnesses were familiar with the airport, and with what they described as the usual traffic pattern of aircraft around the airport. Most of the witnesses described their vantage points as being 90 degrees from the direction of flight for both accident aircraft, and that the aircraft were traveling from roughly north to south. Most described the aircraft in level flight, with some differences as to whether the helicopter was on the airplane's left or right. Both aircraft were described as being "lower than usual," "awfully close," "almost even…next to each other." Consistently, witnesses described the helicopter as it overtook the airplane from behind, "barely touching" the airplane, and then watching as the right wing departed the airplane, and the remainder of the airplane "nose-dived" to ground contact.

In a written statement he provided along with photographs, one witness described the airplane as it approached the airport on the west side of the runway, and the helicopter's descent until the two aircraft collided. He added, "When I saw the airplane on the west side of the runway I found it kind of strange that it was there due to the fact that all the other airplanes were flying a left traffic pattern. I honestly had no idea why it was on this side of the runway. If it was trying to fly a right traffic pattern - it was going the wrong way."

In interviews with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, pilots operating in the traffic pattern at SHD around the time of the accident said they recalled hearing various radio calls with regards to departures to the northwest, "maneuvering 6 miles to the northwest," and hearing the accident helicopter announce its position as it approached SHD. One pilot said he recalled hearing an airplane announce entering "upwind for runway 23" at SHD. All of the pilots stated that the traffic pattern at SHD was "unusually busy" around the time of the accident.

A pilot operating in the local flying area at the time of the accident said he had 15 hours of flight instruction from the pilot of the accident airplane, and that he would likely have recognized the instructor's voice over the radio had he heard it. He added that he distinctly recalled 3 separate position reports from the helicopter as it approached SHD, and standard traffic calls from airplanes in left traffic at SHD. He did not recall hearing a radio call that announced a non-standard entry, but added that the frequency was crowded on the day of the accident.

Radar data identified the accident helicopter by its assigned transponder code. The helicopter's ground track and altitudes were consistent with crewmember descriptions. The other radar targets were all depicted with the visual flight rules (VFR) "1200" transponder code. The number of airplanes that these "VFR targets" represented could not be reconciled.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot in the airplane held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine, and instrument airplane. He held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued June 23, 2010, at which time he reported 2,300 total hours of flight experience.

The passenger on board the airplane held no FAA certificates. However, a pilot logbook bearing his name was recovered and reflected 7 total hours of flight experience logged.

The pilot of the helicopter held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for rotorcraft - helicopter and instrument helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued October 5, 2010. The pilot reported 6,803 total hours of flight experience, of which approximately 700 hours were in the same make and model as the accident helicopter.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1967 and registered to an individual in 2009. It was equipped with a Lycoming 145-horsepower, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder reciprocating engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed November 18, 2010, at which time it had accrued 7,366.3 total aircraft hours. According to the owner, the airplane was based at SHD.

According to FAA records, the helicopter was manufactured in 2005, and was registered to a corporation in December of 2005. It was equipped with two 431-horsepower, Pratt and Whitney Canada 206B2 turbo shaft engines. The most recent approved aircraft inspection program (AAIP) maintenance inspection was completed on December 31, 2010. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had accrued 2,209 total aircraft hours. According to the operator, the helicopter was based at SHD.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION


The 1420 weather observation at SHD included clear skies, winds from 220 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury.
According to the United States Naval Observatory, about the time of the accident the sun was at 211 degrees about 22 degrees above the horizon.
AERODROME INFORMATION

SHD was located about 10 miles southeast of Harrisonburg, Virginia at an elevation of 1,201 feet. The airport was not tower-controlled. Runway 5/23 was 6,002 feet long and 150 feet wide, and was located along the east side of the field. The published traffic pattern altitude for piston-powered airplanes was 2,001 feet mean sea level (msl). The traffic pattern was a standard left-hand pattern, as there was no published "RP" or right-pattern designation.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane was examined at the site on December 31, 2010 and January 1, 2011, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The right wing was separated from the airplane during the collision, and was located approximately 700 feet prior to the main wreckage along an approximate 230-degree path. The main wreckage came to rest inverted, immediately beyond the initial impact crater, and was severely deformed by impact forces.

One propeller blade was buried in the crater. The other propeller blade remained attached to the engine at its hub. The propeller hub was fractured in half, and each blade displayed span wise bending and light chord wise scratching. The engine was separated from the firewall and displayed significant impact damage, and the accessories and carburetor were separated and destroyed by impact.

The instrument panel, cockpit, and cabin areas displayed significant impact damage, and the empennage was crushed forward towards the cabin. The instrument panel, including the transponder and communication radios, revealed no useful information due to impact damage.

The wreckage was moved to an airport building for a detailed examination on January 2, 2011. The wreckage was disassembled and the components were placed on the ground in their approximate original positions. Once placed, several dents and transfer marks consistent with the dimensions and paint of the helicopter landing gear skids were identified. The marks were indicative of a left-rear-to-right-front movement across the top of the airplane's fuselage at an approximate 15-degree angle. Impact transfers at both the rear and forward carry-through spars about 12 inches inboard of the right wing attach bolts were identified. The cabin roof structure, from the aft carry-through spar to the windshield eyebrow, was separated by impact in flight and found near the right wing. The left side of the vertical stabilizer displayed a long, concave, linear scar consistent with the dimension and paint color of the helicopter skid tubes.

Examination of the right wing and the right wing strut revealed damage consistent with a downward separation. Blue paint transfer marks on the underside of the outboard right wing were consistent with the damage and transfer marks on the underside of the left horizontal stabilizer.

The helicopter was examined in the operator's hangar on January 2, 201l, and revealed only minor damage. The "elf shoe" on the forward left skid tube was bent outboard, but remained attached. Both skid tubes and cross tubes displayed significant scratching and paint transfers. The outboard portion of the right skid displayed paint transfers consistent with the left side of the airplane's vertical stabilizer.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION


The Office the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia in Roanoke, Virginia, performed autopsies on both pilots. The autopsy reports listed the cause of death as “blunt impact injuries.”

The FAA’s Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot and instructor. The testing was negative for the presence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Radar Study


A radar study completed by an NTSB air traffic control investigator revealed that, as the helicopter approached SHD from the southeast, there were at least three other radar targets besides the accident airplane operating under VFR in the vicinity of the airport. Two of the targets were located northwest of the helicopter in the left traffic pattern for runway 23, and one was approaching the airport from the southwest about 2,000 feet above pattern altitude.

Interpolation of available radar data revealed that the accident airplane departed from SHD shortly before 1405. The target completed a right downwind departure, contrary to the established left traffic pattern. The airplane’s transponder appeared to be off until about 1408, when the primary radar targets in the track became 1200 transponder code targets. The airplane displayed a 1200 transponder code for the remainder of the observed flight. The accident airplane proceeded north of the airport before reversing course and returning to approach the airport from the northeast. The last target was observed about 1.2 nm north of the airport on a track leading toward the west side of runway 23 at an altitude of 500 feet above ground level (agl). About 25 seconds later, the helicopter passed northeast of the airport on a modified left base, about 500 feet above traffic pattern altitude (1,500 feet agl), crossed the final approach course, and turned parallel to runway 23 on the west side of the runway.

Although only the helicopter was observed by radar at the time of the collision, extrapolation of the accident airplane’s previously observed targets and flight path placed the airplane at the accident site approximately the same time the helicopter was observed there. Therefore, the radar data obtained appeared to account for all the known traffic in the vicinity as well as the proximity of the two accident aircraft at the time of the collision.

Traffic Advisory System

The accident helicopter was fitted with an L-3 Avionics SKYWATCH Traffic Advisory System (TAS). As installed, the system included an L-3 Avionics SKY 497 transmitter/receiver unit and an L-3 Communications NY164 antenna located on the helicopter’s belly panel. The traffic information developed by the SKY 497 system was displayed in the cockpit on a Garmin 430 display.

According to the manufacturer, the SKYWATCH TAS monitored the airspace around the aircraft for other transponder-installed aircraft by querying Mode C or Mode S transponder information. This data was then displayed visually to the pilot in the cockpit. The system also provided aural announcements on the flight deck audio system. If an intruder aircraft’s transponder did not respond to interrogations, the TAS did not establish a track on that aircraft. The system was not equipped with recording capability.

The SKYWATCH system operated on line-of-sight principles. If an intruder aircraft’s antenna was shielded from the SKYWATCH system antenna, the ability of the SKY 497 to track the target would be affected. If a SKY 497-equipped aircraft was located directly above an intruder, the airframe of one or both of the aircraft could cause the SKY 497’s interrogations to be shielded, depending on antenna location (either bottom or top-mounted). The SKY 497 also had the capability to coast (predict) an intruder’s track to compensate for a momentary shielding.

The manufacturer was provided with the recorded radar data for the two accident aircraft and determined that the SKY 497 would not have generated a traffic alert based on the recorded radar data as the lack of a transponder signal to radar facilities would likewise not be available to the SKY 497. The lack of transponder information from the accident airplane between the second-to-last and last radar target would have made it impossible for the SKY 497 to calculate the path of the airplane and determine the risk of collision.

In addition, at the time of the second-to-last radar plot, when a transponder signal would have been available to the SKY 497, the accident airplane was not close enough to the helicopter to have generated a traffic alert from the SKYWATCH TAS.

Visibility Study

After reviewing radar track data for both aircraft, the NTSB calculated vertical angle and horizontal azimuth to determine the approximate size of the airplane's image in the helicopter windscreen as the two aircraft converged. The airplane was at a constant altitude of 500 feet agl, and the helicopter was descending at 800 fpm. When both airplanes were within 3 miles of the airport, they were separated laterally by about 4 miles.

As the helicopter approached the airport, the airport would have been located on the left of the helicopter, at an angle of about 30 degrees, increasing to 90 degrees. The airplane would have been straight ahead of the helicopter during this time, but 1000 feet to 1200 feet below, and closing to within one mile laterally. At a distance of four miles, the airplane's image would appear about 0.045 inches in size as viewed through the helicopter windscreen. As the aircraft converged, the airplane would have been more readily visible, but well below the helicopter. At a distance of one mile, the airplane would appear to be about 0.18 inches in size through the helicopter windscreen.
As the aircraft were converging from one mile lateral separation, the helicopter was generally following the airplane, with the vertical separation decreasing from 1000 feet; a position ahead of and approximately 15 degrees below the horizon relative to the helicopter.

Because of the high-wing structure of the airplane, and its relative position and altitude, the helicopter's image was either blocked from the airplane pilot's view by the left wing, or was above and behind the airplane in the seconds prior to collision.

Flight Simulation Video

Using ATC radar track data for the helicopter and the accident airplane, the helicopter manufacturer developed an animation of the accident flight. The animation was from the fixed point of view of a pilot in the right seat of the helicopter, and incorporated major structural elements that would restrict the visual field. When the animation began, the helicopter appeared on the base leg of the traffic pattern headed in a westerly direction, and showed that about this time the airplane's flight path was approximately perpendicular to and lower than the helicopter's flight path. As the helicopter completed its left turn towards the helipad, the airplane appeared stationary in the area above the pilot's Primary Flight Display (PFD). The airplane remained approximately in this lateral position but appeared to move below, and become masked by, the instrument panel as the helicopter paralleled the airplane's flight track and descended. The airplane remained blocked by cockpit structure in the field of view until its wing structure became visible in the left-hand portion shortly before the animation ended.
Traffic Pattern

According to FAR 91.126, when operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace, “(1) Each pilot of an airplane must make all turns of that airplane to the left unless the airport displays approved light signals or visual markings indicating that turns should be made to the right, in which case the pilot must make all turns to the right; and (2) Each pilot of a helicopter or a powered parachute must avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft.”

Traffic Pattern Entry

According to a legal opinion published by the FAA, “Section 91.126(b)(1) applies to pilots approaching to land at an airport without a control tower and is designed to promote predictable aircraft maneuvers, traffic flows and patterns in Class G uncontrolled airspace. The AIM (Aeronautical Information Manual), while not regulatory, consists of recommended procedures to assist pilots in executing their responsibilities as required by the regulations.”

The AIM recommended a midfield entry on the downwind leg at a 45-degree angle. In an FAA presentation entitled “Traffic Pattern Entries,” it was also recommended that upwind fly-bys of the runway (opposite the downwind leg side) be conducted “side-stepped” and at 500 feet above the traffic pattern altitude.

Upwind Entry at SHD

According to the owner of the accident airplane, he had specifically discussed how upwind entries were to be conducted in his airplane at SHD with the accident airplane pilot, and with the students that each of them taught. In an interview, he stated that in those discussions he directed that entries on the upwind (northwest) side for Runway 23 were to be conducted abeam the midpoint of the runway on a 45-degree angle.

When asked why he thought the pilot would enter the traffic pattern straight into the upwind leg, on the opposite side of the established traffic pattern, well below traffic pattern altitude, he said, “I don't know why they were there... [The pilot] would have entered the field at the mid left upwind leg of the traffic pattern. [He] would have been at a 45 for upwind midfield. We always teach that and drill that. Entering on the beginning of the upwind leg was not characteristic.”

The owner repeated that he had “no idea” why the pilot would position the airplane where it was, at low altitude, at the time of the collision. He said, “I wouldn't believe [the pilot] to be that low. It’s totally uncharacteristic of [him]. I've racked my brain trying to think why he was there."

A pilot who had received 15 hours of flight instruction from the accident airplane pilot said that during instruction, the 45-degree entry on the downwind for left traffic at SHD was stressed. The accident pilot demonstrated and discussed ways to accomplish the entry, depending on the direction from which the airplane approached SHD. In each case, the airplane entered left traffic for landing.



A flight instructor and his student were flying in the wrong traffic pattern before being hit by a medevac helicopter near Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released Wednesday.

 The December 31, 2010, crash killed flight instructor Jason A. Long, 32, of Edinburg, and 19-year-old Jacob H. Kiser of Grottoes.

The impact sheared off the right wing of a Cessna 172H, sending the plane plummeting 500 feet to the ground.

The helicopter pilot on the AirCare 5 and two crew members were uninjured. The helicopter, which had completed a patient drop-off, suffered minor damage and landed safely at SHD.

Aircare 5 is operated by Louisiana-based PHI Inc.

In newly released information, a witness told investigators that aircraft at the airport that day were in the usual left traffic pattern. As planes departed, they either went straight or veered left in an upwind departure at a 45-degree angle.

Said one witness: “When I saw the airplane on the west side of the runway I found it kind of strange that it was there due to the fact that all the other airplanes were flying a left traffic pattern. I honestly had no idea why it was on this side of the runway. If it was trying to fly a right traffic pattern — it was going the wrong way.”

In interviews with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, the NTSB said pilots operating in the traffic pattern at SHD around the time of the accident heard various radio calls with regards to departures to the northwest, and heard the accident helicopter announce its position as it approached SHD.

All of the pilots stated the traffic pattern at SHD that New’s Years Eve was “unusually busy” around the time of the accident, the NTSB reported.

The NTSB said a radar study showed the Cessna made a right downwind departure, contrary to the established left traffic pattern.

Crew members on the medevac said the helicopter’s Traffic Collision Avoidance Device (TCAD) did not sound before impact.

The helicopter was descending at a rate of 800 feet per minute.

In the report, a female flight nurse stated, “Everyone was ‘eyes-out’ looking for traffic. I felt a bump and a shudder and the pilot said, ‘What was that?’” The nurse looked out and saw a white rectangle under the helicopter for “less than a millisecond,” the NTSB reported.

According to the report, Long was piloting the plane.

A pilot flying in the area at the time of the crash, a pilot that knew Long’s voice because he had taken flight lessons from him, said he did not remember hearing a radio call announcing a nonstandard entry, according to the NTSB.

The families of the two victims have filed a $120 million lawsuit against PHI and the helicopter’s pilot, Paul Weve. A five-day jury trial is set to begin May 20, court records show.


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