traffic controller has been suspended over a mid-air incident in which
two planes carrying 270 passengers came within 200 metres of colliding
near Darwin International Airport.
The Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are investigating last Tuesday's incident.
ADF spokeswoman says it is believed an air traffic controller directed a
Qantas Boeing 717 flight from Alice Springs, that was on course to
land, and a Qantas Boeing 737, that had just taken off en route to
Melbourne, on to a path that would have taken them through the same
The ABC understands that a RAAF Hercules C-130 transport
plane also flying in the area at the time had been assigned the same air
traffic control system tag as one of the two passenger airliners.
This is believed to have caused confusion about the aircraft in the air traffic control tower.
traffic collision avoidance system aboard the Boeing 717, carrying 115
passengers, is believed to have indicated that the two aircraft were on
the same path and separated by about 200 metres in altitude.
There were 155 passengers on board the Boeing 737.
One plane is reported to have passed directly below the other.
of the Australian and International Pilots Association president Barry
Jackson says the pilots worked quickly to avoid a collision.
"Air traffic (controllers), as pilots, are under pressure and there are incidents like this that happen," he said.
"The investigation process is designed such that we find out if there are any failings."
The controller has been suspended temporarily while the investigation takes place.
appellate court in Brazil next week will review the conviction of two
Long Island pilots for their role in a 2006 midair collision that killed
154 people. The appellate court ruling will come 17 months after the
pilots of a Ronkonkoma-based ExcelAire business jet were convicted of
one count and exonerated on five other counts and sentenced to community
American pilots of a business jet will be retried for their role in a
2006 airline crash that killed 154 people on an airliner in Brazil, the
federal prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
Pilots Joseph Lepore of
Bay Shore, New York, and Jan Paladino of Westhampton Beach, New York,
will be retried in absentia Monday, a statement released by the
prosecutor's office said.
The two were allowed to leave Brazil
two months after the crash, but were convicted last year and sentenced
to 52 months in prison. The sentence was commuted to community service
in the United States.
The retrial was ordered after prosecutors
appealed the sentence and asked that it be increased to 69 months in
prison, without the possibility of it being replaced by community
sentence should be increased because despite being professionals the
defendants kept the aircraft's anti-collision system turned off for
almost one hour, thus causing the accident," the statement quotes
prosecutor Osnir Belice as saying.
The two pilots have insisted
anti-collision system and transponder on the business jet they were
flying were never turned off. They deny any wrongdoing.
Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet collided with a Boeing 737 operated by
Gol Lineas Aereas Intelligentes SA. The smaller plane, owned by
Ronkonkoma, New York-based ExcelAire Service Inc., landed safely while
the larger jet crashed into the jungle, killing all aboard.
was Brazil's worst air disaster until a jet ran off a runway less than a
year later in Sao Paulo and burst into flames, killing 199 people.
and Paladino faced charges in Brazil of negligence and endangering air
traffic safety for allegedly flying at the wrong altitude and failing to
turn on the aircraft's anti-collision system. The judge convicted them
of impeding the safe navigation of an airplane.
Theo Dias, a Brazilian lawyer for the American pilots, has appealed last year's sentence.
federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday on whether to extend a
temporary order prohibiting a suspended aircraft fueler and his
supporters from instigating a strike at Seattle-Tacoma International
Aircraft Service International Group, ASIG, obtained
a temporary restraining order late Friday forbidding Working
Washington, Teamsters Local 117 and fueler Alex Popescu from encouraging
a strike or other disruption of aircraft fueling.
Court Judge James Robart signed the order after ASIG claimed fuelers'
threat to strike was part of an attempt to unionize them and boost their
pay, in contrast to fuelers' stated goals of improved safety and
reinstatement of Popescu, who workers said was suspended for reporting
ASIG Senior Vice President Tim Ramsey said in a
statement the threat of a strike "was organized by outside labor
organizations with ulterior motives."
A strike over economic
issues by nonunion workers would violate the Railway Labor Act and
disrupt commercial-aircraft operations on a massive scale beyond Sea-Tac
Airport, the company said in its legal complaint.
ASIG fuels 75
percent of flights at Sea-Tac, including planes operated by Alaska,
United/Continental, Southwest and American airlines.
also suggested that Popescu was suspended last month for insolent
behavior, not for complaining about safety problems.
general manager for Sea-Tac, Jeffrey Stevenson, said in a declaration
that he suspended Popescu pending investigation of reports that he "was
out of control and had screamed obscenities at a supervisor" on two
occasions. Later, while being interviewed by a human-resources manager,
Popescu yelled obscenities and threw his chair across the room,
Popescu declined Monday to say whether those
claims were accurate. "That's still an ongoing investigation, and I'm
not willing to speak on that," he said.
Popescu and other fuelers
have complained of trucks with bad brakes and other mechanical
problems, unsafe fuel nozzles, broken ladders and the expectation they
will launder their fuel-soaked clothes at home.
Aviation Administration inspected ASIG fueling operations and equipment
Friday, and reported finding no safety problems.
Washington, the labor coalition which organized a demonstration in
support of fuelers last week, said the FAA inspectors failed to find
problems because they didn't ask fuelers which equipment was defective.
Rosenblum, campaign director for Working Washington, said the ASIG
lawsuit "shows how desperate the company is. ... Rather than respond to
the concerns that workers have complained about — safety on the job —
and rather than return a whistle-blower to his rightful place on the
schedule, the company is trying to hide behind a lawsuit."
said federal law gives workers the right, whether represented by a
union or not, to strike over health and safety issues and retaliation
against an employee. Working Washington is supported by Service
Employees International Union.
ASIG said Working Washington and
Teamsters employees were harassing fuelers in its parking lot last
month. Teamsters Local 117 organizing director Leonard Smith declined to
discuss the lawsuit other than to say his local is not organizing the
Crews were called off the search for the possible plane crash in Lebanon
County. It is believed that a bi-plane in the area was doing a smoke
show earlier in the day, which may have been what concerned a passerby
on I-78. ___________________________________________ Crews out of Lebanon County are searching for a small, two-seat plane that may have crashed. The incident occurred in Bethel Township, south of I-78 and was called in by a passerby. Numerous
fire crews are looking for the aircraft, but have not found it at this
time. A helicopter from Fort Indiantown Gap was called in to assist the
search. The crash is believed to be into a field in the area. CBS 21 is en route and will provide details as they become available. FREDERICKSBURG,
Pa. (WHTM) - State police in Lebanon County say they have called off a
search for a small plane that reportedly made an emergency landing near
Interstate 78. Police
said a two-seater plane was believed to have landed near mile marker 4
in Bethel Township, but troopers and other responders from Lebanon and
Berks counties were not able to find any aircraft in that area. A
trooper at the Jonestown barracks said the county's 911 center was
flooded with calls from people who claimed to have seen the emergency
landing. Callers flood 911 with reports of emergency landing near I-78
Members of the Durango Fire and Rescue Authority standby at the scene of a single engine plane crash northwest of Animas Air Park south of Durango. The pilot was the only person on board and was not injured.
A pilot escaped serious injury Tuesday after crashing a small plane near the Animas Air Park south of Durango. The
crash was reported about 11:20 a.m. by Gregg Flying Service, the
fixed-base operator at the airport, said Karola Hanks, fire marshal with
the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.
The pilot, whose name
was not immediately available, walked away without injury, Hanks said.
He declined to be taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center for
It appears the pilot was coming in for a landing, possibly from Tucson, Ariz., she said.
crash occurred about 300 yards northwest of the runway, Hanks said. The
plane came to rest in thick pinion and juniper. A helicopter from Mercy
helped rescue workers on the ground locate the wreckage.
Gov. Nikki Haley questioned Monday why the state of South Carolina should keep planes after she had to shell out $9,590 to reimburse the state for newly banned uses of state-owned aircraft. Haley’s opponent in the 2010 governor’s race agreed with the first-term Republican governor - sell the planes if it means ending the controversies about their use that have occurred in recent years. “We keep having these flares-ups,” said state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw. The state’s two planes could fetch up to $3.2 million if sold, based on prices on online sales sites for aircraft. Haley reimbursed the state after the Associated Press raised questions about her using the planes to tour the state for bill signings and news conferences on ethics and tax reforms – uses banned in a budget clause that Sheheen helped craft last year. The governor’s office said it was not aware of the clause before being alerted by a reporter. But Haley thinks the trips were part of her doing business as governor. “Now I am in decision mode of: Do we need a plane?” Haley said during a news conference Monday, after the latest plane dustup story broke. Haley did not offer details about what she would do with the state’s two planes – except that her opponents would not stop her efforts to promote reforms around the state. Sheheen said he wanted the new limits after Haley’s predecessor, two-term GOP Gov. Mark Sanford, agreed to pay the largest ethics fine in state history – $74,000 – for his personal use of state planes, among other things. “They (the planes) are not for helping win attention to personal political agendas and getting in front of cameras,” said Sheheen, widely expected to run again against Haley in 2014. “They are for truly administrative government functions,” such as meetings with economic-development clients. In recent months, the state’s planes have been used by lawmakers, Commerce Department officials, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson president James Barker, according to state flight records. It cost $258,000 to operate the state’s two twin-engines planes last year, counting the costs for pilots, maintenance, insurance and fuel, said Paul Werts, executive director of the S.C. Aeronautics Commission. The state planes are a 1990 nine-passenger King Air 350 and a 1983 six-passenger King Air C90. The planes cost $140 per seat to charter, Werts said, cheaper than charter options. (A six-passenger twin-engine Cessna Conquest I costs $250 a seat to charter from Eagle Aviation at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.) While private charters might cost more, Sheheen predicted use would drop if the state’s planes were sold, saving taxpayers money. The state Aeronautics Commission would have to approve any sale of the planes after a review by the Joint Bond Review Board, S.C. Budget and Control Board spokeswoman Lindsey Kremlick said Monday. House Ways and Means chairman Brian White, an Anderson Republican who is a pilot, said he does not see a need to sell the planes. “The state has become an advocate for the airline industry,” he said, referring to Boeing’s North Charleston plant that opened last year. “They’re tools that need to be used.” Read more here: http://www.thestate.com
The U.S. Forest Service has reopened bids on a contract to
operate the next generation of firefighting planes after two companies
protested the initial award.
That means Missoula-based Neptune
Aviation and three other air tanker operators must refile their
proposals for jet-powered aircraft to replace Korean War-era P2V
The bulk of the $261 million, five-year contract to
modernize the private fleet of air tankers that drop flame retardant
slurry on forest fires was originally awarded to Missoula-based Neptune
The Forest Service rejected bids from jumbo-jet companies and for water-scooper planes that don't use retardant.
Coulson Aviation and 10 Tanker of Victorville, Calif., challenged the
Forest Service's contracting process in August. The government had until
early October to respond.
Neptune president Dan Snyder said the
company received notice from the Forest Service contractor on Friday the
contract was being reposted.
"We haven't digested what they want
us to do different. There are 31 different points as amendments, but we
don't know what they want us to change," he said.
Forest Service officials did not immediately return a call Tuesday morning.
concerns reduced the available planes contracted by the Forest Service
from 44 in 2002 to 10 this year. Two of the older P2-Vs tankers crashed
in early June, one of the crashes killing two pilots. Neptune
wants to gradually replace the P2Vs with newer BAe-146 jets under the
new contract. The company has put two of the jets in service this year
on interim contracts.
The three other companies in the protested
contract include Nevada-based Minden Aviation, which won permission to
add two of the new jets in 2012 and 2013.
Aero Air LLC of
Hillsboro, Ore., was approved to add two McDonnell-Douglas MD-87s and
Aero-Flite Inc. of Kingman, Ariz., was to add an RJ85, which is a
slightly larger version of the BAe-146.
The Missoulian, citing Forest Service figures, reported ( http://bit.ly/Tolbuf)
that Neptune had the most expensive five-year bid. Snyder told the
newspaper Neptune's jets would be maintained at airliner standards, the
most expensive level.
The California company 10 Tanker has two
DC-10 jets converted to drop retardant, while Coulston Aviation flies
Canadian-built water-scooper planes and has proposed converting surplus
military C-130 transport planes into retardant bombers.
new guidelines, the Forest Service wanted planes that could deliver at
least 3,000 gallons of retardant. P2Vs can haul just 1,500 gallons,
while BAes carry 3,000.
The DC-10 can carry 11,600 gallons of retardant, but faced questions of affordability and maneuverability. ___ Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com
Australia has proved pushing tin is no easy profession, with its
intensive training and no-room-for-error recruitment process.
aviation company is currently searching for trainee air traffic
controllers in Queensland and have set the bar high in skills needed to
take off in the fast-paced industry.
Airservices Acting executive
general manager Greg Atkins said successful applicants will be
responsible for managing flights carrying over 80 million passengers
each year and need to have what it takes to apply.
need to have good spatial awareness, a strong multi-tasking ability,
quick, accurate mental arithmetic skills and confident clear and concise
English communication skills,” he said.
spokeswoman Amanda Palmer said the recruitment process involved several
stages, including online testing, a telephone interview and full day of
testing in an assessment center in Brisbane.
“The assessment is
looking at a range of activities to measure skills in areas such as
working with people, following and applying procedures, present and
communicating information, planning and organizing, adapting expertise and technology and adapting and responding to change,” she said.
Palmer said successful applicants will complete 12 months of intensive
training in Melbourne, before being posted for 6 months of additional
on-the-job training in one of the air traffic control facilities based
all over the country.
“The academy consists of both theoretical
classroom style training as well as stimulated based training, which
includes putting the skills that they learnt into practice,” she said.
“Positions available include tower controllers, terminal area controllers and en route controllers.”
world aviation industry will continue to grow in the coming decades,
creating business opportunities for the North Texas economy, speakers
said Monday at an industry conference in Fort Worth.
short term, weak economic conditions and looming budget cuts in
Washington pose problems for some parts of the industry. But the bigger
message at the Aviation and Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Summit was
that world economic growth will lead to growing sales of new airliners,
helicopters and business jets for years to come.
is being sponsored by Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and its
Center for Aviation and Aerospace Leadership, with the backing of
Hillwood and its AllianceTexas development.
presents potential sales for companies that manufacture components and
provide services to companies like Boeing and Airbus, as well as
operators of commercial helicopters and private jets.
abound. NetJets, the leading provider of fractional jet ownership
services, has announced plans to spend $17.5 billion over the next
decade to buy hundreds of new aircraft, said Michael Goode, senior vice
president of NetJets, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire
The continued consolidation of commercial airlines,
reduced service and declining quality will drive more business people to
use private aircraft, Goode said.
One beneficiary of NetJets
spending will be Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, which has operations
in Dallas-Fort Worth and is contracting with Triumph Aerostructures in
Dallas to build wings for its newest jets.
Eurocopter's chief executive, Mark Paganini, said helicopter sales in
the U.S. and worldwide should grow substantially over the next decade
due to new technology, economic growth and as Vietnam-era copters need
to be replaced.
"We are optimistic the business will continue to
grow. Our main challenge today is to ramp up our capacity to produce,"
said Paganini, who leads the Grand Prairie-based company. Finding new,
talented engineers, Paganini said, "is the most challenging job we
And despite the turmoil surrounding the airline industry,
Boeing predicts air travel will roughly double in the next 20 years --
as it has over the last 20, said Jim Bowden, Boeing's regional director
of market forecasting.
Boeing projects airlines will buy 34,000
airplanes worth $4.5 trillion over that time, straining the capacity of
manufacturers and their suppliers, a number of whom are based in
Ross Perot, chief executive of
Hillwood/Alliance, said there is ample reason to think the aviation and
aerospace industries will grow in North Texas.
"I think our best years are ahead of us at Alliance," Perot said of the massive development centered on Alliance Airport.
said the challenge facing the Texas aviation industry and state and
local governments is how to educate and train a high quality workforce
to augment and succeed those now in the field.
The one dark cloud
immediately facing defense companies like Lockheed Martin, Bell
Helicopter and others in the region is the threat of billions of dollars
in across-the-board defense spending cuts in Congress doesn't act by
the first of the year to stop budget sequestration and mandatory cuts.
Service Starts on East Coast Thanksgiving week; JetSuite Edition CJ3 will offer free WiFi, Longer Range Flights and 6 to 7 passenger capacity
IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- JetSuite, the nation's fastest-growing light jet operator, announces the expansion of its fleet with the JetSuite Edition CJ3. The new, larger, longer-range aircraft will be open for bookings* on October 9th with flights beginning November 19, in time for Thanksgiving travel. JetSuite's range and capacity expands with the JetSuite Edition CJ3, which has the ability to fly up to 2,000 miles and seat six passengers (plus a 7th, smaller sideways-facing seat) making JetSuite's acclaimed service available to more passengers and flying further than ever.
JetSuite SuiteKey Members will be able to fly between New York and popular Florida destinations including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Naples for under $11,000 each way – less than any other branded charter operator. During the first year of operations, JetSuite's CJ3 service will be available between any points east of the Mississippi and from the East to and from Aspen and Vail, and through Eastern Canada and the Caribbean*.
"Many of our customers have been asking us to provide the JetSuite experience in an aircraft with more seats and a longer range, and we've listened. Through months of hard work with our new partner Cessna, we have created the JetSuite Edition CJ3, which offers unbeatable value, range and free WiFi. JetSuite will also offer its signature instant, guaranteed online pricing for all CJ3 flights, furthering our mission to provide private jet travel to more people and distances than ever before," comments JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox.
With the JetSuite Edition CJ3, passengers can enjoy a variety of amenities including onboard WiFi and increased interior comfort with larger cabin space. The deep-cushioned executive recliner seats slide and track inboard toward the aisle to give passengers an extra helping of room, comfort and workspace. And the JetSuite Edition CJ3 has been equipped for overwater flights, opening up non-stop direct routes to Florida and the Caribbean from points in the Northeast. This means JetSuite clients will get there faster than those flying in land-locked jets. Moreover, JetSuite clients will get above the weather and airline traffic congestion even faster, since the powerful CJ3 can climb directly to 45,000 in just 27 minutes and cruises at up to 480MPH.
For more information about retail flights and private jet membership, visit www.jetsuite.com. *Caribbean service is subject to receipt of governmental operating authority. About JetSuite
Based in Southern California, JetSuite is redefining private aviation as the first and only private jet operator to offer a fleet of all-new Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft, the most fuel-efficient jet in its class. JetSuite provides service from areas throughout the Southwest, Texas and Northeast to and from airports in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. JetSuite also offers the JetSuite Edition CJ3, a larger aircraft that flies a 2,000 mile range, including New York to Florida, at faster speeds and more affordable rates. The company's vision is to enable private air travel to more people than ever before through affordable, no obligation programs. Under the leadership of CEO Alex Wilcox, a former JetBlue founding executive, JetSuite is rated Platinum by ARG/US, the highest possible safety rating in the private jet industry. JetSuite was founded in 2006 and first took flight in early 2009.
NTSB Identification: CEN11FA007 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation Accident occurred Wednesday, October 06, 2010 in Naperville, IL Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/2012 Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N3402Q 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.
During takeoff, the pilot rotated the airplane beyond the airplane's takeoff ground roll distance and at a speed near the airplane’s stall speed. A witness saw the airplane climb with a nose-up pitch of about 20 degrees. Although the airplane had experienced a partial loss of engine power, as reported by the pilot, it was still able to climb while in a high pitch attitude and corresponding high drag attitude, which is indicative that the airplane had excess horsepower to climb and sustain flight at higher airspeeds and lower angles of attack. However, the pilot continued to attempt to climb rather than to abort the takeoff, exceeded the necessary power requirements, and was unable to sustain the climb; the airplane impacted a building. Postaccident examination of the airplane’s engine revealed a detached fuel servo air inlet coupling that would have perturbed or restricted airflow to the fuel servo, which resulted in the reduced engine power. The examination also revealed a preexisting hole in an exhaust pipe near the fuel servo that would have allowed hot exhaust gases to flow into the fuel servo air inlet, which would also result in reduced engine power. The airplane had undergone an annual inspection performed by the airplane’s owner and two mechanics with inspection authorizations 3 flight hours before the accident flight; the inspection should have identified the detached coupling and the hole in the exhaust pipe.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to abort the takeoff when he realized the airplane was not attaining sufficient takeoff and climb performance. Contributing to the accident was the airplane’s partial loss of engine power due to an obstruction of the fuel servo air inlet by the intake duct coupling and ingestion of exhaust gases from a preexisting hole in the exhaust pipe. Also contributing to the accident was the improper annual inspection of the airplane by the owner and two mechanics. HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On October 6, 2010, about 1204 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N3402Q, impacted a building after takeoff from runway 36 at Naper Aero Club Airport (LL10), Naperville, Illinois. The certificated private pilot and a passenger received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was registered to Airplane Holding Company and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. An instrument rules flight plan was on file and the flight was destined to Allegheny County Airport, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
A witness, who was preflighting his airplane at LL10, stated that he saw the airplane during its run-up and thought it unusual that its engine did not sound very loud compared to other higher performance airplane engines. He said he saw the airplane taxi onto runway 36 and without stopping, power was applied for the takeoff. The witness watched the airplane during the takeoff and was surprised to see it use the entire runway and not lift off. He said that it was similar to an airplane that has landed and taxies to the runway end for a turnoff. The witness said he saw the airplane in a slow climb followed by an immediate and moderate bank to the left, which was corrected for to the right. He said that the climb performance was very weak.
Another witness, who was located at the southeast corner of the building that was struck by the airplane, stated that the airplane seemed to be very low. The airplane was in a twenty degree nose-high attitude with the wings level. The engine was running but seemed to be struggling.
On November 6, 2010, the pilot was interviewed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Dupage Flight Standards District Office, West Chicago, Illinois. During the interview, the pilot stated that the winds were from the west and there was a direct crosswind at the start of the accident takeoff roll. The pilot stated that he believed there was no tailwind for the takeoff roll. When asked if there were any ‘out of the ordinary observations’ prior to, during, and after the takeoff roll of power settings, airspeeds, manifold pressure, and engine speed settings, the pilot said that all appeared normal. The pilot stated that he has performed numerous weight and balance calculations and knew that the airplane’s load was lighter than normal and was in limits. The pilot stated that ‘everything was normal at the mid-point of the runway. I did not hear anything out of the ordinary. I rotated the aircraft at the end of the runway at the stall warning; the aircraft didn’t seem to want to climb. I tried to gain altitude so I could turn the airplane but I couldn’t.’ The pilot was then asked if he had completed a runway performance calculation prior to takeoff. The pilot then responded by saying that he would not answer anymore questions until he had an attorney.
According to the pilot’s written statement received on November 10, 2010, the pilot had performed a “normal” preflight and after liftoff, the engine was developing full power. The airplane then impacted a building while maneuvering for an emergency landing.
On November 18, 2010, two mechanics that performed the last 100-hour/annual inspection of the airplane were interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) with a court reporter.
On April 15, 2011, the pilot was interviewed by the IIC with a court reporter and his attorney present. During that interview, the pilot stated that for the takeoff, he used a short field technique with the flaps extended to the second setting (25 degrees). He set the manifold pressure to 25 inches of mercury (Hg) while the airplane was stopped, and during the takeoff roll he increased the manifold pressure to 29 inches of Hg. He first realized that there was a problem when the airplane lifted off and did not have any climb power. The liftoff occurred beyond the runway midpoint. He did not remember what the airspeed was at takeoff rotation. The stall warning horn sounded when the airplane was about 5 feet above the runway. He did not retract the flaps. The manifold pressure was about 29 inches of Hg, the mixture was full rich, and the propeller was set for full power.
The pilot, age 66, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate on August 26, 2010.
On August 30, 1986, the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate and on October 26, 1988, he was issued an instrument airplane rating at a total flight time of 1,179 hours.
The pilot had three logbook entries dated September 29, 2010, and in the accident airplane. The first entry was a flight from LL10 to MDW that was 0.5 hours in duration with no remarks. The second entry was from MDW to MDW that was 1.6 hours in duration of which 1.6 hours was dual flight instruction with a remark of an “IPC- endorsement….” The third entry was from MDW to LL10 that was 0.4 hours in duration with no remarks. The total time for the third entry, which was also the last of all the entries in the logbook was 1,141.1 hours.
The pilot had no previous FAA record of incidents, accidents, or enforcement actions.
The pilot stated that he had been a prior president of the Naper Aero Flying Club, which he said was a type of association that not all of the homeowners at LL10 belong to. He said that he first learned of mechanic A and mechanic B, when they were recommended to him by a previous airport manager for LL10. The pilot stated that the manager had experience with maintenance personnel and had owned a flight school in Schaumberg, Illinois, which was no longer in business. The pilot said that he did not remember the name of the flight school. The pilot said that he had used both mechanics for the past 10 years.
Mechanic A and Mechanic B had known each other since the 1990s while at a maintenance training facility at Chicago Midway International Airport, Chicago, Illinois. Mechanic B had been Mechanic A's supervisor while they were employed at an air carrier. Mechanic B stated that he had been employed by Northwest Aviation, Schaumberg, Illinois, which was no longer in business. At the time of their interviews, Mechanic A was employed as an aircraft mechanic at a maintenance facility and Mechanic B was not employed.
Mechanic B said that he may have first worked on the airplane since 2006 and it was the first time that he had seen the supplemental type certificate (STC) SE85WE turbocharger installation on this or any other airplane.
Both mechanics performed the last 100-hour/annual inspection, which was owner assisted. Mechanic B signed the airplane and engine logbooks annual inspection entries.
Mechanic B stated that he worked with Mechanic A on other aircraft including his (Mechanic B's) own. Both mechanics stated that they performed aircraft maintenance that included several private and flying club airplanes at LL10. Mechanic B said that they would get paid for their maintenance work but were not trying to make a profit. Mechanic B said that he has a standard base rate which was dependent upon the aircraft owner's [work] contribution.
Mechanic A’s last renewal for (IA) under Part 65.93 was February 23, 2009, the basis of which was 5 aircraft alterations, 2 repairs, and 12 annual inspections.
Mechanic B’s last renewal for (IA) under Part 65.93 was February 19, 2009, the basis of which was 13 annual inspections. Two of the annual inspections were on his (Mechanic B) own aircraft.
The airplane was a 1977 Piper PA-32R-300, serial number 32R-7780310, which was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1G5D, serial number L-14210-48A, and engine. The engine was modified by the installation of a Rajay turbonormalized (to maintain sea level pressure of 29.92 inches of Hg) turbocharger system under STC SE85WE.
On November 10, 2010, the aircraft logbooks were received from the pilot's attorney following two written requests to the pilot that was dated October 18, 2010, and November 4, 2010.
A January 24, 2008, engine logbook entry for the replacement of cylinder numbers 3 and 4 was made by mechanic A at a tachometer time of 3,306.38 hours. Mechanic A signed the next entry dated January 11, 2010, at a tachometer time of 3,333.7 hours for the reinstallation of an overhauled fuel injection flow divider and replacement of 4 valve springs for the number 1 cylinder. There was no separate signed list of airworthiness directives (ADs) that had been complied with for the last annual inspection. The airframe and engine logbook annual inspection entries had cited several ADs but none of those cited AD 2009-02-03. AD 2009-02-03, effective February 9, 2009, was to be performed before further flight, for the installation of a new servo plug gasket to prevent a lean running engine, which could result in a substantial loss of engine power.
The airframe and engine 100-hour/annual inspection logbook entries since 2006 were signed by the mechanic B who had also signed the last 100-hour/annual inspection dated September 22, 2010, at a total airframe time, total engine time, and tachometer time of 3,339.85 hours. The engine time since overhaul at this inspection was 1,240.01 hours. The last 100-hour/annual inspection was owner assisted.
Engine logbook records from the last annual inspection stated that the compression ratios were: cylinder 1 – 72/80, cylinder 2 – 68/80, cylinder 3 – 77/80, cylinder 4 – 76/80, cylinder 5 – 70/80, cylinder 6 - 76/80.
The Piper Cherokee Six Service Manual, part number 753 690, for PA-32-260 PA-32-300, PA-32R-300 airplanes was issued May 1, 1965, and has had 16 revisions with the last dated March 27, 2008. The pilot was asked to provide manuals used in the last annual inspection. The only manual provided was Piper Service Manual 753 690 with a revision date of November 4, 1983. The maintenance manual for the turbocharger system was not provided.
Rajay Industries, Inc. had published a maintenance manual for the Turbocharger System with Automatic Control. The manual states that the turbocharger installation should be inspected at the 25, 50, and 100 hour inspections. Areas of inspection include but not limited to:
1. All inlet and compressor discharge ducting for loose clamps or leaks 2. Inspect engine air inlet assemble for cracks, loose clamps, and screws
The inspection requirements for 1,000 hour or annual inspections state in part:
1. Remove all turbocharger kit components from the engine. Inspect and repair as necessary. 2. Check operation of the overboost valve. Disconnect actuator cables from wastegate and wire waste gate in full closed position. Operate engine from idle to maximum power. 3. Inspect security, leakage, loose fittings, and visible wear of overboost valve, actuator, controller, hoses, cables, etc.
There was no logbook record that the 1,000 hour or annual inspection of the turbocharger system was performed.
A Piper PA-32R-300 Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) along with an attached Rajay POH supplement, FAA Form 337 for the STC installation, and a “High-Flying Lance” article were recovered from the accident airplane. The POH also contained weight and balance forms with the latest dated February 1, 1993. The empty weight was 2,280.80 lbs and the moment are was 83.85 inches. The maximum gross weight of the airplane was 3,600 lbs.
The pilot and passenger weights were about 200 lbs and 160 lbs, respectively. The baggage aboard the airplane consisted of about 45 lbs located between the forward and aft facing passenger seats and about 79.5 lbs of other items located through the cabin that were not part of the airplane weight and balance. The pilot reported that about 90 gallons of 100 low lead (100LL) fuel was aboard at takeoff.
According to the POH, the 25 Degree Flaps Takeoff Performance, Takeoff Distance Over 50 feet Barrier was about 1,650 feet.
The Lewis University Airport (LOT) automated weather observing system located about 8 nautical miles southeast of LL10 at an elevation of about 708 feet mean sea level, recorded at:
1205: wind – 270 degrees at 8 knots; visibility – 10 statute miles; sky condition – clear; temperature - 21 degrees Celsius (C), dew point – 5 degree C
The pilot stated that at the beginning of the takeoff roll, there was a direct crosswind from the west.
Naper Aero Club Airport (LL10) was a nontowered airport that had an elevation of 702 feet mean sea level (MSL). The airport had two runways: runway 18/36 (2,575 feet by 30 feet, asphalt and runway 9/27 (1,750 feet by 70 feet, turf).
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted a building located about 2,000 feet north of the departure end or runway 36 at an estimated height of 40-50 feet. The airplane was in an upright position on the roof of the building. The engine which was attached the firewall along with the forward baggage compartment was separated from the fuselage and was resting inverted. The landing gear was retracted.
Examination of the cockpit revealed that the master switch and the fuel pump switch were in the on position. The magneto switch was in the both position. The altimeter setting was about 30.06 inches of Hg and indicated about 810 feet MSL. The directional gyro indicated about 323 degrees. The tachometer indicated 3,342.86 hours. The instrument panel sustained impact damage and the wiring for the pilot intercom system that was exposed was consistent with speaker wire.
The parking brake handle was not in the engaged position.
The throttle quadrant sustained damage. The cockpit throttle control was full forward, the cockpit propeller control was about 1/4 inch from full forward, and the cockpit mixture control was near the forward position. Throttle quadrant control continuity to the engine was confirmed.
Examination of the flight controls confirmed flight control continuity from the control surfaces to the cockpit flight controls. The flaps and cockpit flap control handle were both at the flaps 25 degree positions. The pitch trim was in the neutral position.
The airplane fuel tank quantities were approximately full. The fuel selector was on the right tank position and was able to be moved by hand. The movement also confirmed that detents were present. The fuel sump filter contained a liquid consistent with 100LL. The fuel filters in the fuel system were free of blockage. A liquid consistent with 100LL was also present in flow divider, injector nozzles, engine driven fuel pump inlet and within the engine driven fuel pump. The fuel hoses were connected and no leaks were noted.
The engine air intake ducts were unobstructed.
The fuel servo, a Bendix RSA 10ED1, part number 2524273-11, serial number 58323, examination revealed that the inlet air duct coupling was separated from the servo air inlet. A clamp was present and over the inlet air duct. The clamp was secured onto itself. The duct coupling that attaches to the fuel servo inlet was not attached to the fuel servo or any portion of the clamp. There was no damage to the coupling consistent with it breaking away from the fuel servo and/or clamp during impact. The coupling displayed wear features consistent with preimpact separation. The opposite end of the coupling was attached to the inlet air duct and secured under its clamp.
The engine was attached to all of its engine mounts, and the engine frame was attached to the firewall. There was deformation of the right side of the engine frame as viewed from tail to nose of the airplane. The exterior and its accessories were covered with a residue consistent with oil/dirt in an amount indicative of a lack of a recent engine wash. A wire that was wrapped around an upper right side engine oil sump stud and was connected to the cylinder number 1 baffling in place of the engine manufacturer’s approved part. The approved part is a tie rod to restrain that baffling.
The engine was rotated by hand. Valve train and engine accessory section continuity was confirmed. Internal components of the engine did not display any gouging, failure, or discoloration consistent with oil starvation. All of the piston connecting rods had areas of brown discoloration consistent with rust. The internal components were covered with a liquid consistent with engine oil. The oil suction screen contained contaminates consistent with carbon and did not contain metallic debris. The oil filter had a date of September 16, 2010, and a tachometer time of 3,339 hours written on it. The oil filter element did not contain metallic debris. All oil hoses were connected and there was no evidence of oil leaks. Approximately 7 quarts of a liquid consistent with engine oil was drained from the engine.
The intake and exhaust inner springs (part number LW-11797) and outer spring (part number LW-11796) were compression tested using an uncalibrated spring compression tool by Poplar Airmotive, Poplar Grove, Illinois. According to Lycoming Service Instruction 1240C, dated October 3, 1991, Valve Spring Replacement, with a time of compliance during engine overhaul or earlier at owner’s discretion, lists the compression load range for the inner valve springs as 75-83 lbs, compressed to 1.33 inches, and for the outer valves springs as 116-124 lbs, compressed to 1.33 inches. The intake and exhaust spring compression values for the following cylinders were:
A differential compression test of all cylinders, at an ambient temperature of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, indicated compression ratios of: cylinder 1 – 72/80, cylinder 2 – 0/80, cylinder 3 – 77/80, cylinder 4 – 65/80, cylinder 5 – 38/80, cylinder 6 - 62/80. The compression test was repeated twice on cylinders 2 and 5 and yielded the same compression ratios. Debris consistent in color with material from the building was around of the number 2 cylinder assembly intake valve.
Each cylinder assembly was removed and pressure tested using a 100 psi source of air pressure. No leaks were noted during testing.
Engine timing was verified at 20 degrees before top dead center using a magneto synchronizer. The magnetos were tested on a magneto test bench through a speed range of 100 rpm to 3,000 rpm and a spark gap above 7 mm. Spark was present at 100 rpm and above. Electrical continuity of the ignition wire harness was confirmed.
The engine starter was not engaged into the engine drive.
Examination of the exhaust system did not reveal any obstruction within the muffler or exhaust pipes. The exhaust pipe to the left turbocharger contained cracks/holes that was in an area of brown discoloration consistent with rust. The discoloration was present on the hole edges and was consistent with a preexisting condition. A hole in the exhaust pipe was near the fuel servo air inlet and soot consistent with exhaust product was present on the engine firewall.
The left turbocharger was annotated “Rajay," the data plate was missing, and the turbocharger did not have any identifying part number and/or serial number. The right turbocharger was annotated “Rajay,” with a “Reman KelPak Industries, Inc.” “REMANUFACTURED,” and had an attached data plate with part number RJ0080-102, serial number 71R6395." The engine oil supply hose to the left turbocharger had an approximate bend of 180 degrees followed by an approximate 90 degree bend. The bends were below the minimum bend radius for the hose. The vanes of both turbochargers were intact with no evidence of turbine wheel vane tip to housing rubbing. Both turbines wheels were rotated by hand and no binding was present. The inlet turbine wheel vanes had a residue consistent in color with the rust on the turbocharger inlet engine exhaust tubes.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Examination of the fuel servo revealed that the fuel screen did not contain contaminant. The servo plug was consistent with part number 365533, which according to AD 2009-02-03 required inspection at every oil change or within every 50 hours of engine run time. The fuel servo was flow tested and the results of which were within test specifications.
Testing of the propeller governor was within test specifications.
Testing of the turbocharger overboost valve was within test specifications.
Previous Occurrence of Partial Loss of Engine Power
Mechanic A stated that the pilot complained about a loss of engine power which they could not duplicate. The mechanic stated that during a go-around, the number 1 cylinder would go “cold,” the exhaust gas temperature would drop “way off” with a corresponding power loss. They cleaned and serviced the spark plugs, swapped the spark plugs, and checked ignition leads but everything was normal. They thought the power loss was attributed to the ignition system, so they removed the magneto and the pilot took it to Aircraft System, Rockford, Illinois, for service, but found no defects. The magneto was reinstalled and they could not reproduce a power loss during a ground run but could while in-flight. They then cleaned the fuel injectors and checked the injector lines. They had the flow divider overhauled and replaced the ignition leads and replaced all the spark plugs.
Mechanic A stated that they contacted Lycoming Technical Support regarding the partial loss of engine power via telephone and email. Lycoming reportedly asked how many hours were on the engine since overhaul and if the valve springs were replaced at the overhaul. (According to Lycoming, there was no record of any such correspondence.) Mechanic A stated they looked at the logbook and could not determine if the valve springs were replaced. They then installed four new valve springs on the number 1 cylinder. The pilot then flew the airplane 3-4 times and everything was normal and the number 1 cylinder EGT would not drop off. The pilot told him that he had flown the airplane about 30 times and there were no problems with the airplane.
The pilot stated that following maintenance work to address the partial loss of engine power, there were no more occurrences over the next 11 flights that he had flown in the accident airplane.
According the flight instructor that provided the pilot's last flight review, there were no problems associated with the airplane during the pilot's flight review.
Last Annual Inspection
Mechanic A said they would normally start at 0900 and did not think they worked past 1700 while performing the annual inspection. Mechanic A and B were present during the entire annual inspection. Mechanic A stated that he did not remember when they began the annual inspection nor when it ended and the he did not know how many days the inspection took. The pilot stated that he did not remember when the inspection was begun or how long it took to complete. Mechanic B stated that the annual inspection was begun on from 0830 – 0930 and was completed on in the afternoon on the same day it was begun.
Mechanic A stated that during the last airplane annual inspection, he was assisting Mechanic B in such things as the landing gear drop check. Both mechanics placed the airplane on jacks and the pilot actuated the cockpit controls for landing gear. Mechanic A said that he would normally inspect the exhaust system, inspect the muffler, and look over the engine. Mechanic B said that Mechanic A would also check the exhaust system. Mechanic A stated that the muffler was visually checked and a pressurization check was not performed. Mechanic A said they would normally perform a differential pressure check together and also work together.
Mechanic B stated that Mechanic A had found loose ducting from the turbocharger to the fuel servo and that Mechanic A had fixed it. Mechanic B said that he thought that Mechanic A had shown the loose ducting to the pilot. Neither mechanic A nor the pilot indicated during their interviews that the ducting was found to be loose.
The pilot stated during his interview with the IIC that he reinstalled all of the airplane inspection covers and performed the engine run-up without the presence of either Mechanic A or Mechanic B.
Mechanic's Inspection Authorization Renewal
Both mechanics stated that the FAA reviews their maintenance activities on a biennial basis for the IA renewal by having mechanics submit a Mechanic's Application for Inspection Authorization, FAA Form 8610-1. Mechanic B stated that when this form is submitted to the local FAA FSDO office, it is the first time that the FAA has knowledge of which aircraft a mechanic has performed inspections on, where they were performed, and the time in service of the aircraft. Prior to the FAA's current system of IA renewal, the FAA required mechanics performing aircraft annual inspections to complete an Application for Airworthiness Certificate and/or Annual Inspection of an Aircraft, Form ACA-305, which was to be submitted to the FAA upon completion of each aircraft annual inspection, became a part of the FAA airworthiness records for the airplane. Form ACA-305, contained entries for aircraft total hours, engine serial number and total hours, and the date of last inspection and who the inspection was conducted by.
Piper PA-32R-300, N3402Q: Accident occurred October 06, 2010 in Naperville, Illinois
Piper PA-32R-300 (N3402Q) waits to be towed outside the XSport Fitness center in Naperville, Illinois
A representative from the Federal Aviation Administration crouches beside a crumpled aircraft as it sits on a tow truck bed outside the XSport Fitness off 75th Street.
Naperville, Illinois - A local pilot’s failure to abort his takeoff has been cited by the National Transportation Safety Board as the probable cause of a crash two years ago in which a single-engine airplane smashed into a health and fitness club in far west-central Naperville.
Improper annual inspection of the aircraft and a hole in the plane’s exhaust pipe were contributing factors in the Oct. 6, 2010 crash of the 33-year-old, Piper PA-32R-300 into the XSport Fitness center near 75th Street and Route 59, NTSB investigators said.
NTSB officials published their conclusions Thursday in a “probable cause” report on the crash that seriously injured pilot Lloyd McKee, 66, and his wife, Maureen McKee. They live in the unincorporated Aero Estates subdivision, which lies east of Route 59 between 79th and 83rd streets and about 100 yards due south of XSport Fitness. The McKees were flying to Pittsburgh at the time of the crash.
Neither the probable cause report nor a 12-page, NTSB “factual report” published in July identified Lloyd McKee by name. The factual report indicated McKee was interviewed in November 2010 by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors.
McKee told inspectors winds were from the west on the day of the flight, and that there was a direct crosswind as he began to taxi down the runway. He said he did not believe there was a tailwind.
“When asked if there were any ‘out of the ordinary observations’” of his power settings, airspeeds, manifold pressure and engine speed settings, McKee replied “all appeared normal,” according to the report. He said he knew “the airplane’s load was lighter than normal and was in limits,” and that all appeared to be well as he reached the runway’s midpoint.
“I did not hear anything out of the ordinary,” the report quoted McKee as saying. “I rotated the aircraft at the end of the runway at the stall warning, (and) the aircraft didn’t seem to want to climb. I tried to gain altitude so I could turn the airplane, but I couldn’t.”
McKee “was then asked if he had completed a runway performance calculation prior to takeoff,” the report stated. McKee at that point “responded by saying that he would not answer any more questions until he had an attorney.”
According to the probable cause report, an examination of the engine after the crash showed a detached fuel servo air inlet coupling that would have perturbed or restricted airflow to the fuel servo, which resulted in the reduced engine power.
Officials also found a preexisting hole in an exhaust pipe near the fuel servo that would have allowed hot exhaust gases to flow into the fuel servo air inlet, resulting in reduced engine power, that report indicated.
The aircraft underwent an annual inspection “performed by the airplane’s owner and two mechanics, with inspection authorizations three flight hours before the accident flight,” the report stated. The inspection “should have identified the detached coupling and the hole in the exhaust pipe.”
NTSB investigators concluded the probable cause of the crash to be McKee’s “failure to abort the takeoff when he realized the airplane was not attaining sufficient takeoff and climb performance.”
“Contributing to the accident was the airplane’s partial loss of engine power due to an obstruction of the fuel servo air inlet by the intake duct coupling and ingestion of exhaust gases from a preexisting hole in the exhaust pipe. Also contributing to the accident was the improper annual inspection of the airplane by the owner and two mechanics.”
The crash did no severe structural damage to XSport Fitness, and the patrons and employees who were inside the club at the time escaped injury.
Aero Estates was developed in 1955. No aviation-related fatalities have ever occurred there.