Friday, November 16, 2012

SeaRey, VH-RRZ: Accident occurred November 15, 2012 in Cotterell River, in western Cape York - Australia

  Prof Ross Vining, director of Forensic Science SA, had died in a plane crash in Queensland. 



A SOUTH Australian pilot killed in a plane crash was a respected seaplane pilot and director of Forensic Science SA, Professor Ross Vining.

Professor Vining, 62, was in far north Queensland to view last week's solar eclipse when he was killed.

Prof Vining was the sole occupant of a seaplane flying from Bamaga Airport at the tip of far north Queensland to the town of Weipa on Thursday.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found yesterday morning after the search began late on Thursday when he failed to arrive.

Attorney General John Rau expressed his condolences this afternoon after hearing of Mr Vining's passing.

"Prof Vining was very highly regarded by staff at Forensic Science SA where, I am sure, he will be greatly missed,'' he said.

"At this time, my thoughts are with Ross' family members, friends and colleagues.''

Attorney General's Department Chief Executive Rick Persse also expressed his sadness at  Prof Vining's death.

"On behalf of the Department I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Ross's wife Linda and son Ben,'' he said.

"Ross was internationally recognised in his field and driven by his personal philosophy of `Science safeguarding society'.

"He was an exceptional leader of forensics and respected and admired by everyone who worked with him.''

The wreckage of Mr Vining's aircraft was found yesterday morning after a search began late on Thursday when he failed to arrive in Weipa.

Queensland Police said he died at the scene. Forensic crash investigators are preparing a report for the Coroner.

Source:  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au

Federal Aviation Administration pulls pilot's license after crash: Aero Vodochody L-39, N39WT, 2 Fatalities, Accident occurred May 18, 2012 in Boulder City, Nevada

  

Friday, November 16, 2012

By MICHELLE RINDELS
Associated Press

 

BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the license of a pilot whose business partner died in a crash in Boulder City, saying he was reckless in offering tourists paid flights in an experimental aircraft less than two weeks after promising a federal inspector he wouldn't.

The FAA on Tuesday ordered David Glen Riggs to surrender his commercial pilot license, following an investigation into the May 18 crash that killed pilot Douglas Gilliss and passenger Richard Winslow. Gilliss and Riggs were flying two aircraft in a formation.

In the order, FAA attorney Naomi Tsuda told Riggs his conduct "demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety and property of others" and that he lacked "the degree of care, judgment, and responsibility required of the holder of any FAA issued pilot certificate."


Efforts to reach Riggs on Friday weren't immediately successful.

Investigators said a group of eight people had purchased a package that included 45-minute rides on Aero Vodochody L-39 jets and a film of the flight. Riggs had just taken off, and the aircraft piloted by Gilliss, of Solano Beach, Calif., was following when Gilliss' jet crashed in the desert not far from the Boulder City Airport.

Gilliss and his passenger, Winslow, were killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary study, but had not reported an exact cause of the crash.

In their revocation order, FAA officials said Riggs carried passengers on three flights the day of the crash, even though the jet was only licensed for air racing and exhibition.

They said Riggs had met with inspectors about two weeks earlier in Van Nuys, Calif., and assured them he wouldn't fly for hire.

Riggs had a prior run-in with the FAA. His private pilot certificate was revoked in 2009 for a year, after officials said he flew a jet within feet of California's busy Santa Monica Pier.

"You have a history of committing other violations that indicate you put your own economic gain over aviation safety," Tsuda wrote. "You were willing to sacrifice the safety of others for your own personal financial gain by charging for flights in (the jet)."

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


NTSB Identification: WPR12FA216
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2012 in Boulder City, NV
Aircraft: AERO VODOCHODY L-39, registration: N39WT
Injuries: 2 Fatal.


NTSB Preliminary Information:    http://www.ntsb.gov

http://www.aspenavionics.com/N39WT

 http://www.machoneaviation.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N39WT

 

 An Aero Vodochody L39 jet taxis for takeoff at the Boulder City Airport just before crashing into the desert about a half mile west of the airstrip. 



 





 

Stolp SA-300 Starduster Too, N45JV: Incident occurred November 15, 2012 at Palm Springs International Airport (KPSP), Palm Springs, California

http://registry.faa.gov/N45JV


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 45JV        Make/Model: EXP       Description:  SA-300
  Date: 11/15/2012     Time: 2223

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

LOCATION
  City: PALM SPRINGS   State: CA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT ON TAKEOFF, WENT OFF THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY, PALM SPRINGS, CA

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Take-off      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: RIVERSIDE, CA  (WP21)                 Entry date: 11/16/2012 
 
 
 
A Stolp SA-300 Starduster Too plane with a collapsed landing gear is examined by firefighters and Palm Springs International Airport officials Thursday. No one was injured during landing, officials said. 



PALM SPRINGS — A disabled airplane made an emergency landing Thursday at Palm Springs International Airport, forcing the closure of one of the airport’s runways and delaying some travelers. 

 Tom Nolan, executive director of the airport, said, “We had a small experimental aircraft land on our main runway encounter a landing gear issue.”

Two people were involved in the incident and there were no injuries reported, according to Nolan.

Nolan also said the main runway where the damaged aircraft sat was closed. As a result, incoming airplanes had to land on an alternate runway while crews worked to remove the damaged aircraft.

It took 50 minutes for the aircraft to be removed from the runway and for the airport to return to normal. The runway was soon reopened.

One eye witness, Brian Marantz of Seattle, was at the airport when the incident happened. He said when he “got to the gate, there was an airplane with no landing gear.”

He said he later saw three to four “big, huge, monstrous yellow trucks,” tending to the disabled plane.

==========

The two occupants of an experimental aircraft escaped injury when it ran off the main runway while landing at Palm Springs Airport, an official said. 

 The mishap was reported at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, and it took around 45 minutes to clear the runway, said Palm Springs Airport Executive Director Thomas Nolan.

Powerplant System/Component Malfunction/Failure: Cirrus SR22 G2, N800RW; accident occurred November 16, 2012 in Show Low, Arizona

CAPS Parachute After Touchdown

Left Side of Airplane
 (Note oil distribution)

Front Left Quarter

Front Left View

Right Main Landing Gear and Right Wingtip

Right Side View

CAPS Parachute Reinflated

Inflated CAPS Parachute in Distance
 (Pilot walked away from airplane for assistance)

Inverted Airplane 
(Note propeller ground scars from being dragged)

Inverted Airplane 
(Note oil staining)

Underside of Airplane Showing Damage

Engine Decowled by FAA

Supercharger Oil Line

Supercharger Oil Line and Fitting


Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
BRS Aerospace; St. Paul, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N800RW

Location: Show Low, AZ
Accident Number: WPR13LA043
Date & Time: 11/16/2012, 0726 MST
Registration: N800RW
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

While the airplane was in a cruise climb from 12,000 to 14,000 ft mean sea level, the pilot/owner of the airplane heard a loud “pop,” and, about 4 minutes later, he observed an oil pressure annunciation on the primary flight display. Within 1 minute, the pilot saw that the engine had completely lost oil pressure, so he shut down the engine and advised an air traffic controller of the situation. He then asked for and received vectors to the nearest airport, but, during the descent, he recognized that the airplane would be unable to reach the airport. Shortly thereafter, he advised the controller that he would deploy the airplane’s ballistic parachute when the airplane was over suitable terrain. After the pilot deployed the parachute, the airplane impacted a field and came to rest upright.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that a nipple in the flexible oil line used to provide engine oil to an aftermarket engine supercharger had failed due to fatigue, which resulted in a complete loss of engine oil. The fatigue crack had multiple initiation sites that were not the result of any manufacturing or material defects. Evidence indicates that a washer was present on the nipple threads between the nipple and the oil nozzle at one time. The washer initially prevented proper thread engagement and sealing of the joint between the nipple and the nozzle. To seal the joint, the nipple was then overtorqued, which resulted in the fatigue crack initiation. Engine vibration caused the flexible oil line to impose cyclic loads on the nipple, which, over time, failed due to fatigue.

Although the supercharger installation was approved under a Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certificate (STC), the installation was not in accordance with the STC installation and maintenance instructions or standard maintenance practices. Although review of the supercharger STC installation and maintenance instructions revealed that they did not contain detailed information for installing the oil nozzle or nipple, the lack of this information did not appear to directly contribute to the improper installation of the supercharger on the accident airplane. It could not be determined when or by whom the improper installation was accomplished.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The fatigue failure of an improperly installed nipple in the oil system of a supplemental type certificate-installed supercharger, which resulted in a complete loss of engine oil during cruise climb.

Findings

Aircraft
Recip eng supercharger - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)
Maintenance/inspections - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)
Hoses and tubes - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)
Recip eng oil sys - Failure (Factor)
Aircraft handling/service - Related maintenance info
Oil - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action selection - Maintenance personnel (Cause)

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On November 16, 2012, about 0726 mountain standard time, a Cirrus Aircraft SR22, N800RW, was substantially damaged when the airplane descended to the ground under parachute near Show Low, Arizona, after the engine experienced a complete loss of oil pressure during cruise flight. The pilot/owner received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the flight was operating on a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. 

According to the pilot, he departed Animas Airpark (00C), Durango, Colorado, about 0600, with an intended destination of Nogales International Airport (OLS), Nogales, Arizona. About 2 hours after takeoff, while in cruise flight at 12,000 feet above mean sea level, air traffic control (ATC) cleared the flight to 14,000 feet for terrain clearance purposes. Just before the airplane reached the new assigned altitude, the pilot heard a loud "pop." About 4 minutes later, he received an oil pressure annunciation on the primary flight display. At that time, the indicated oil pressure was about 47 pounds per square inch (psi), which was at the bottom of the normal range. Within 1 minute the pilot saw the oil pressure had decreased to 0 psi, so he shut down the engine, and advised ATC. He asked for vectors to the nearest airport, was advised that Show Low Regional Airport (SOW), Show Low, was the closest, and then turned towards SOW. During the descent, about the same time that ATC advised him that radar contact had been lost, the pilot recognized that he would be unable to reach SOW. He then advised ATC that he would deploy the ballistic parachute when he was over terrain that appeared suitable for a parachute landing. The pilot estimated that he deployed the parachute between 1,000 and 2,000 feet above ground level. The airplane impacted in a field while it was swinging towards the left under the parachute, bounced at least one time, and came to rest upright. The pilot shut down the airplane and exited. He contacted assistance via his satellite telephone. The pilot and airplane were located about 2 hours after the landing, aided by his re-inflation of the parachute and use of his personal mobile (not satellite) telephone. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine, and instrument airplane ratings. He had approximately 1,661 total hours of flight experience, including approximately 1,140 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in December 2011, and his most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in January 2011. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


FAA records indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 2005, and was purchased new by the pilot. The airplane was equipped with the standard Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) and a Continental Motors IO-550 series engine. In February 2009 a Forced Aeromotive Technologies (FAT) supercharger was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate (STC) SA10925SC. 

The most recent annual inspection was completed in July 2012, and the airplane had accumulated about 60 hours in service since that inspection. At the time of the accident, the airplane and engine each had a total time (TT) in service of about 1,150 hours. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 


The 0735 automated weather observation at SOW, located about 8 miles north of the landing site, included calm winds, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 1 degree C, dew point -5 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION 


The landing site was in remote territory. According to the pilot, after he exited the airplane, he photo-documented the scene. The right main landing gear was fracture-separated from the airplane, and the nose and left main landing gear remained attached but were displaced up and right. Propeller damage was minor, consistent with it not rotating during the impact sequence. The airplane was otherwise intact, except for the normal disruptions caused by the parachute deployment. Shortly after the pilot documented the scene, the wind inflated the parachute, and dragged the airplane about 100 feet across the terrain. The pilot left the scene to obtain assistance, and on his return with first responders, discovered that the airplane had then been dragged further by the parachute, and had been inverted, before the parachute deflated and ceased dragging the airplane. The responding law enforcement agency personnel cut the parachute bridle straps to prevent further movement of the airplane. FAA personnel responded to the scene, but NTSB personnel did not. 

The responding FAA inspectors reported that the exterior surfaces of the left side and aft lower fuselage exhibited significant oil streaking. While the airplane was still inverted, the inspectors decowled the engine, and observed a significant amount of engine oil had been deposited inside the cowling and engine compartment. They observed that the oil line that supplied engine oil to the supercharger bearing for lubrication had fracture-separated from the supercharger at the nipple fitting. FAA personnel removed several avionics units for possible data download by the NTSB recorders laboratory. The airplane was recovered and transported to a secure location for detailed examination. The downloaded data corroborated the information provided by the pilot.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Supercharger Design and Installation Information


The supercharger was mounted to the aft section of the engine, and was driven via a belt by a pulley mounted to an engine accessory drive. The supercharger bearings were lubricated by pressurized engine oil, which was sprayed into the supercharger via a nozzle. The nozzle connected to the engine oil system via a series of fittings and a flexible hose. The nozzle was provided as part of the STC, and threaded directly into the supercharger body. A standard AN816-6-2D aluminum nipple fitting installed into the nozzle, and an MS27226 fitting with a B-nut was used to attach the flexible oil line to the nipple.

According to the STC holder, in order to attain a leak-proof joint from the oil line to the supercharger without damaging the supercharger, nozzle, or AN816 nipple, two wrenches had to be used concurrently to properly attach and secure the oil line to the supercharger. This requirement was explicitly specified in the supercharger installation instructions. However, those instructions did not specify the installation torque values for any of those components.

The STC instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) required that the oil nozzle be removed and cleaned in conjunction with every annual inspection. However, the ICA did not contain any information regarding the need to use two wrenches, and did not specify the installation torque values for the nozzle, AN816 nipple, or oil line B-nut fitting. 

Review of the STC installation and ICA documentation that was current at the time of the accident revealed that neither document set contained any guidance regarding the use of sealant for the nozzle, nipple, or oil line B-nut. 

Supercharger Maintenance Information


The supercharger was installed when the airplane had a TT of 674 hours. According to the maintenance records, a new supercharger "drive seal" was installed, and the oil nozzle was "cleaned, resealed, and torqued" by Arapahoe Aero on 7/11/12. That activity was accomplished in conjunction with the airplane's most recent annual inspection. At that time, the airplane had a TT of about 1,090 hours.

The most recent recorded maintenance regarding or affecting the supercharger was conducted by an aircraft mechanic on 10/03/2012. That mechanic was not associated with Arapahoe Aero. The maintenance records entry cited the removal and reinstallation of the "Forced Airmotive compressor after factory repair." At that time, the airplane had a TT of about 1,125 hours, which was about 451 hours since the initial installation of the supercharger. 

According to the mechanic who conducted that activity, he had removed and reinstalled FAT superchargers four or five times previously. He had worked with FAT maintenance personnel several times on the accident airplane, and had received guidance from FAT for performing supercharger removal & installation. The mechanic was aware of the need to use two wrenches while tightening the oil line (a flexible hose) fitting to the nozzle. 

The mechanic also stated that he had not been involved in annual inspections of the accident airplane subsequent to the supercharger installation, and had not ever performed the repetitive nozzle cleaning required during an annual inspection. Regarding his actions to remove the supercharger, the mechanic stated that he removed the oil line B-nut from the AN816 nipple that was installed in the oil nozzle. He reported that the nipple fitting and oil nozzle stayed in the compressor when it was sent to FAT for repair, and that the repaired supercharger was provided to him with the oil nozzle already installed in the supercharger. He stated that when he reinstalled the oil line B-nut onto the nipple, he used a wrench to hold the oil nozzle in place, and another to secure and torque the joint. The mechanic also stated that he did not apply any sealant or RTV(room temperature vulcanization) silicone to the oil nozzle or the nipple. 

The AN816-6-2D nipple that connected the flexible oil line to the supercharger nozzle was aluminum, and consisted of two male ends with different, incompatible thread types. The end that threaded into the oil nozzle was a tapered pipe thread, while the end that threaded into the oil line was non-tapered. Examination revealed that the nipple had fractured on the section that threaded into the nozzle, and that a fractured section of the nipple remained threaded into the nozzle. 

The NTSB Materials Laboratory determined the fracture to be fatigue "that developed at multiple initiation sites at a thread root valley. No material or mechanical defects were identified at the crack initiation sites that may have led to premature failure. The fatigue crack progressed through approximately 95% of the fitting cross section before the remaining material separated by ductile overstress. The large area of the fracture surface exhibiting fine fatigue striations suggests low applied stress on the fitting during crack propagation." 

Computer tomography (CT) X-ray scans of the oil nozzle with the fracture-separated end of the AN816 nipple still installed were conducted in order to determine the nipple thread engagement quality and depth, as well as detect any possible material or installation anomalies. The CT scans revealed that the nipple end was variously engaged between 3 and 4 threads into the oil nozzle fitting, that the fracture initiation points were generally in the nipple thread valleys (as also observed by the NTSB Materials laboratory examination), and that the nipple fracture face varied between 0.3mm (0.012 inches) 'above' to about 0.6 mm (0.024 inches) 'below' the manufactured face of the oil nozzle. No anomalies were observed with the thread engagement of the nipple into the nozzle, and no material anomalies were observed. 

Remnants of thread sealant or thread-locking material were observed at the interface of the fractured AN816 nipple segment that remained in the oil nozzle, and the oil nozzle. The material was hard, brittle, light yellow in color, and its exposed surface was very rough. When queried about the material, the FAT representative stated that the material was "probably Loctite 567 which we use for thread sealant. When assembled a nice uniform bead is left between the male and female fitting. That bead hardens over time and if disturbed would not have a smooth appearance like the RTV on the other side. Something appears to have destroyed that bead."

Substantial remnants of red RTV silicone material were observed on the nozzle side of the segment of the fractured AN816 nipple that remained attached to the oil line. The material was distributed on the threads towards the nipple 'body' (wrench flat area), and terminated on its other end in a pattern that was consistent with it being mated up with, or applied to, a very flat and smooth surface, such as a washer. The absence of any RTV on the threaded portion beyond the 'flat/smooth' RTV terminus was also consistent with the presence of a washer on the AN816 threads at the time the RTV was applied. The distance from the AN816 fracture face to the flat portion of the RTV was greater than the distance from the fracture face of the nipple that remained in the nozzle to the nozzle face, which again was consistent with the presence of a washer at the time the RTV was applied. The flat/smooth RTV face was inconsistent with the very rough texture of the yellow sealant noted in the previous section, which again was consistent with the presence of an undetermined component (such as a washer) between the two.

As an additional avenue of investigation, three washers of the sequential manufactured internal diameters (ID) were attempted to be fitted onto the tapered threaded section of an exemplar AN816 nipple. The ID of an AN960-516 washer was too small to allow the washer to pass over the nipple threads. An AN960-616 washer was able to be positioned about 4 nipple threads 'up' (beyond the nipple end) with very light finger pressure. An AN960-617 washer was able to be positioned completely 'up' the threads, with significant freeplay remaining between the nipple threads and the washer ID.

No such washer was located in the wreckage, but its presence was not deduced, and no attempts to locate it were made, until after the wreckage had been examined at the recovery facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Between the loss of oil pressure in flight and the deduction of the presence of the washer, the airplane had flown several miles, descended under parachute, was dragged and inverted by the parachute after ground impact, was de-cowled in the field, was righted, partly disassembled, loaded onto and transported to Phoenix by truck, offloaded at the recovery facility, and then re-positioned for examination. Each of those events provided an opportunity for an undetected loss of the washer or any other very small unsecured items. 

Neither the STC installation instructions nor the ICA called for any washer or other hardware to be installed over the AN816 threads. Neither the STC installation instructions, nor the ICA, specified the application of RTV or other sealant external to the joint subsequent to assembly, and no FAA or any other guidance recommends such a practice.

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA043 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 16, 2012 in Show Low, AZ
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22, registration: N800RW
Injuries: 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 November 16, 2012, about 0726 mountain standard time, a Cirrus design SR22, N800RW, was substantially damaged when the airplane descended to the ground under parachute near Show Low, Arizona, after the engine experienced a complete loss of oil pressure during cruise flight. The pilot/owner received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the flight was operating on an FAA instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan.

According to the pilot, he departed Animas Airpark (00C), Durango Colorado, about 0600, with an intended destination of Nogales International Airport (OLS), Nogales, Arizona. About 2 hours into the flight, while in cruise flight at 12,000 feet above mean sea level, air traffic control (ATC) cleared him to 14,000 feet for terrain clearance purposes. Just before the airplane reached the new assigned altitude, the pilot heard a loud "pop." About 4 minutes later, the pilot received an oil pressure annunciation on his primary flight display. At that time the indicated oil pressure was about 47 pounds per square inch (psi), which was at the bottom of the normal range. Within 1 minute the pilot saw the oil pressure had decreased to 0 psi, so he shut down the engine and advised ATC. He asked for vectors to the nearest airport, was advised that Show Low Regional Airport (SOW), Show Low, was the closest, and then turned towards SOW. During the descent, about the same time that ATC advised him that radar contact had been lost, the pilot recognized that he would be unable to reach SOW, and advised ATC that he would deploy the ballistic parachute when he was over terrain that appeared suitable for a parachute landing. The pilot estimated that he deployed the parachute between 1,000 and 2,000 feet above ground level. The airplane impacted in a field while it was swinging towards the left under the parachute, bounced at least one time, and came to rest upright. The pilot shut down the airplane and exited. He contacted assistance via his satellite telephone. The pilot and airplane were located about 2 hours after the landing, aided by his reinflation of the parachute and use of his personal mobile telephone (not satellite phone).

On-scene examination by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that engine oil was deposited along the bottom and left side of the airplane. FAA records indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 2005, and was purchased new by the pilot. In February 2009, a Forced Aeromotive Technologies supercharges was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate SA10925SC. The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine and instrument airplane ratings.

The 0735 automated weather observation at SOW, located about 8 miles north of the landing site, included calm winds; clear skies; temperature 1 degree C; dew point -5 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


HOLBROOK, Arizona -- Navajo County authorities said a pilot survived a plane crash northeast of Pinetop Friday morning.  Robert A. Wolff, 61, of Durango, Colo., was traveling to Mexico when his plane suffered a catastrophic oil failure about 8:30 a.m., according to the Navajo County Sheriff's Office.
 

 The 2005 Cirrus SR22 fixed-wing single-engine plane went down in a wooded area off of Forest Service Road 45 (Porter Mountain Road) in the Sitgreaves National Forest.   After the crash, Wolff used his cellphone to call the Federal Aviation Administration to report the crash. Sheriff's deputies and detectives responded to the area and located the pilot and plane.  Wolff was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation.
 

 Aerial video shows the upside-down plane with a deployed parachute attached.
The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System is standard equipment on every Cirrus aircraft, according to the company's website.  The plane is registered to Durango Development Inc. in Durango Colorado. The FAA will investigate the crash.

Holbrook, Arizona - A pilot walked away after his fixed wing, single engine, plane crashed in the Sitgreaves National Forest, northeast of Pinetop, about 8:30 am, Friday morning. 

 The pilot, Robert A. Wolff, 61, of Durango CO., was traveling from Durango to Mexico when his plane suffered a catastrophic oil failure. The 2005 Cirrus SR22, fixed wing plane, is registered to Durango Development Inc., in Durango Colorado. It went down in a wooded area off of Forest Service Road 45 (Porter Mountain Road), at mile post 9, northeast of Pinetop.

After the crash, Mr. Wolff used his cell phone to call the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to report the crash. The FAA, in turn, reported the crash to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies and detectives responded to the area and located the pilot and plane. Mr. Wolff was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation. The crash scene and airplane will be turned over the FAA for further investigation.

Hawker Beechcraft seeks to renege on warranties


ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press | November 16, 2012

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Hawker Beechcraft has asked a bankruptcy court to allow it to renege on warranties and other support obligations for its discontinued Hawker 4000 and Premier I and IA business jets, saying that support for those aircraft could cost it tens of millions of dollars.

The Wichita-based plane maker said in a court filing Thursday evening that the request was the result of the company's "sound business judgment" and is a critical step toward it emerging from bankruptcy protection.

The company contended that the warranty and maintenance support obligations, including engineering support, for the jets would be substantial over the next five years. If the court approves the request, it would cease honoring those obligations on Nov. 15.

In its motion, Hawker Beechcraft said it has always taken its commitments to its aircraft customers "with the utmost seriousness." It said it filed the request to back out of the warranties only after "extensive analysis" by company management and advisers in consultation with key Hawker Beechcraft creditors.

Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection in May and talks to sell its operations to China's Superior Aviation Beijing Co collapsed last month. It has said it now plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection as a slimmed down company in the first quarter of 2013.

The Thursday filing only affects the Hawker 4000 and Premier I and IA aircraft. But Hawker Beechcraft noted in it that it intends to also modify the existing support programs for the Hawker 900, 800, 850, 750 and 400 aircraft lines.

The decision on the support programs was first announced Oct. 29 at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, and the company has been communicating with customers about it for several weeks, Hawker Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said Friday.

Letters sent to customers noted Hawker Beechcraft was evaluating strategic alternatives for those aircraft. Hawker Beechcraft told customers that could result in the sale of some of those product lines or the closure of its entire jet business if no satisfactory bids were received.

The attorney representing the committee of some affected aircraft owners in the bankruptcy proceedings did not immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment.

Hawker Beechcraft told the court that warranties covering engines and avionics on Hawker 4000 and Premier I and IA jets are provided directly by the manufacturers of those components. The company said it expects those warranties would be unaffected and would remain the responsibility of the respective suppliers.

Hawker Beechcraft said it is in discussions with several other companies to ensure service and maintenance for the Hawker 4000 and Premier lines.

A hearing was set for Nov. 29, with objections on the matter due Nov. 26.


Source:   http://www.chron.com

Delta Flies New Route to Profits: Older Jets



By SUSAN CAREY

The Wall Street Journal

 ATLANTA—A jetliner parked in a cavernous hangar here boasts a gleaming paint job, 160 pristine blue leather seats and a new-airplane smell. But this latest addition to the Delta Air Lines Inc. fleet isn't new.
 

Not by a long shot. The twin-engine MD-90, acquired from China Southern Airlines Co. is more than 13 years old. It is one of 49 used McDonnell Douglas MD-90s Delta is rehabbing after scooping them up from global airlines that were thrilled to get rid of a plane that no longer is built by a manufacturer that long ago was taken over by Boeing Co.

Most large carriers prefer fuel-sipping new planes with the latest high-tech gadgetry. But Delta, which has one of the oldest fleets in the U.S., is making a habit of succeeding by zigging when its rivals zag.

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The nation's second biggest carrier stunned the industry by becoming the first airline to buy an oil refinery, in a bid to trim its highest and most volatile operating cost, aviation fuel. It runs a huge maintenance subsidiary that tends to its own planes and does third-party work, while other airlines have scaled down or bailed out of that business. And the Atlanta company has retained its status as the only major U.S. airline that is mostly nonunionized, giving it more flexibility than its rivals even as it pays most workers more.

Today, Delta is in the catbird seat as the U.S. industry undergoes a much-needed transformation to become more like other businesses that produce steady profits and returns to shareholders. After decades of boom-to-bust overexpansion, profligate spending and chasing market share instead of profitability, the new flight plan calls for pricing tickets to cover costs, pulling back in markets that don't make money and—above all—controlling spending with an iron hand.

Oddly enough, that cost-cutting effort has focused on an asset most airlines avoid: older planes. Though some safety experts once fretted about them, most now say that, with careful maintenance, older jets can fly safely. According to data compiled by Boeing, only 12 of 36 commercial jetliner accidents in 2011 that destroyed planes or caused substantial damage involved aircraft 20 years or older.

Besides the MD-90s, Delta is picking up the leases on 88 Boeing 717s with an average age of 11 years from Southwest Airlines Co. LUV +0.40% The discount king was so eager to shed the leases it inherited in its purchase of AirTran Airways that it took a $137 million charge to retrofit them for Delta. Yet even with the planes' higher fuel and maintenance costs, Delta figures it is saving at least $1 billion on the MD-90 purchases, compared with buying new planes, making them roughly 10% cheaper to operate per seat than new 737s. It won't say how much the 717s are saving, but its fleet strategy executive said he is "thrilled about the deal we got."

These bets could go south if fuel prices take off, the planes require more maintenance than expected or run into safety problems. But so far, Delta is thriving in its penny-pinching, and using the money it is saving to pay down debt, upgrade aircraft interiors, invest in new terminals and add passenger perks such as Wi-Fi in its cabins.

The company is in its third consecutive year of profitability and is on track to cut its net debt—liabilities minus cash—to $10 billion in 2013 from $17 billion in 2009. Fitch Ratings in June raised Delta's debt rating by two notches to B-plus due to "a quick turnaround in their credit profile and operations," said Sara Rouf, the Fitch analyst. While B-plus isn't investment grade, she said she considers Delta "to be currently the strongest player in the much improved airline industry in the U.S., as it continues to march ahead of its peers on many fronts."

For its customers, meanwhile, "older" hasn't meant "later" in terms of flight performance: the carrier ran 86.3% of its domestic flights on time through the first three quarters of this year, fourth among the top 15 U.S. airlines, and the largest to be so punctual, according to the most recent government figures.

When the company entered bankruptcy-court protection in 2005, Delta shared the problems the rest of the industry faced. The U.S. had too many carriers and too many planes. The largest airlines were staggering under towering costs and low productivity while nimbler low-cost carriers were growing quickly and siphoning off domestic passengers. Fuel cost was on the rise.

To be sure, the measures under court protection that followed were painful to many of its employees, such as the airline's decision to terminate its underfunded pilot pension plan, leaving the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to pay retirees at often-smaller amounts. But the carrier used its time in court protection to excise $2 billion in annual expenses and launch a big international route expansion. It also fought off a hostile takeover bid from US Airways Group Inc. LCC -2.61% The year after it emerged from Chapter 11 in 2007, it acquired Northwest Airlines Corp., which had stepped out of court protection around the same time, cleansed of costs and debt.

The combination is headed by Richard Anderson, a 57-year-old lawyer who worked at Northwest for 14 years, including the final three as CEO, before leaving the airline industry to become a senior executive at UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH +0.98%

Mr. Anderson said he learned a lot from the health-benefits company's CEO, Stephen Hemsley. "He had a razor focus on how you use cash and invest cash and return cash to shareholders," said Mr. Anderson, who still speaks with a bit of twang from his native Galveston, Texas.

Mr. Anderson returned to Delta in 2007, first as an outside director and then as CEO. His first order of business was negotiating the 2008 acquisition of Northwest, and help Delta successfully work through a multiyear integration process, giving it a head start on rivals still embroiled in that exercise. It remade smaller Northwest almost entirely in its mold, taking special care to bolster Delta's collaborative culture and stamp out Northwest's legacy of testy labor relations. But Mr. Anderson did bring a few Northwest concepts to Atlanta.

One is that some older planes are worth hanging onto. "You don't see hotel companies invest in hotels and then tear them down after 10 years," he said. Another idea is that it is preferable to own planes rather than lease them "so when you hit softness or an economic downturn, you don't (have to) fly empty planes with high monthly payments," he said. Delta owns 75% of its fleet.

Mr. Anderson learned this from experience. In the mid-1990s, cash-strapped Northwest decided—with input from McDonnell Douglas and aging-aircraft experts at the Federal Aviation Administration—to keep 183 DC-9s, then 25-years-old on average—flying until they turned 40. The company even went out and bought 40 more from other airlines. Around that time, Mr. Anderson was the head of technical and flight operations at Northwest.

There is no consensus about how old is too old when it comes to a plane. The FAA and industry safety experts generally believe planes can fly for 30 or more years, as long as they are well-maintained and the carriers follow all the manufacturer and regulatory directives that require more frequent inspections and fixes as the planes get older. "Age really doesn't play much of a factor if the airplane has been maintained," said Kevin Hiatt, chief operating officer of the Flight Safety Foundation, adding that planes are generally retired for economic, not safety, reasons.

Today, Delta's fleet is both old and complex. It has 10 different models in its 725-aircraft mainline fleet, and the fleet's average age was 16.6 years at the end of September. The last of its 19 DC-9s, which came from Northwest, clock in at more than 34 years old, and are expected to be put out to pasture in the next year or two.

This compares with an average fleet age of about 12 years for United Continental and US Airways. Southwest's fleet is 11-years-old on average while JetBlue Airways Corp.'s planes are six years old. American Airlines has a 15-year-old fleet, but the company recently ordered 460 new aircraft.

Some analysts do see problems, of course, with the old-jet approach. Most of Delta's rivals already have fewer aircraft types or aim to simplify their fleets further because that reduces the cost of training, maintenance and spare parts. They also are chasing every incremental reduction in fuel costs that new aircraft promise to deliver.

John Enders, an aeronautical engineer and aviation safety consultant, allowed that airplanes "have no practical end date." But older planes require an "extremely careful inspection and maintenance system," he said, and older fleet types might require a carrier to keep more "spares" in its inventory, meaning planes that would be at the ready if ones that were slated to fly had problems and had to be taken out of service for repairs.

The used-plane strategy even helped Delta win over its 12,000 pilots, its only major unionized group, to a new labor agreement reached over the summer. The 110-seat ex-Southwest 717s will be flown by Delta pilots, not aviators at regional carriers that fly on Delta's behalf, meaning more jobs and upward mobility for the Delta cockpit crews. This will clear the way for Delta to save money by culling the number of money-losing 50-seat regional jets that its commuter partners now fly and letting the 717s fill much of that need. "Both sides saw the advantage of not doing things the old way," said Buzz Hazzard, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association.

At the heart of Delta's older fleet strategy is its 2.7 million-square-foot complex of maintenance hangars and shops at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, part of a unit that employs 10,000 people across the country. Delta TechOps, as the unit is called, can repair engines, paint aircraft, modify airplanes and overhaul landing gear. Last year, the profitable unit racked up $650 million in revenue, up from $25 million in 1995. Clients include the U.S. military, aircraft leasing companies and domestic and overseas carriers.

With its mechanics having 19 years of experience on average, Delta believes it has the built-in expertise to cosset its older birds. Doug Worley, a 23-year Delta mechanic in Atlanta, works on all variety of the carrier's domestic aircraft. The McDonnell Douglas planes like the DC-9s and MD-90s are "workhorses," he says. "They're pretty reliable."

New or old, planes use a lot of fuel. Even with hedging and fuel conservation programs, Delta last year spent nearly $12 billion gassing up the fleet, its single largest expense. At the prodding of the airline's board, executives more than a year ago began studying the component parts of its fuel costs: crude, refining costs, refining margin, taxes and transportation.

They discovered a disconnect between refiners saying they couldn't make any money and the soaring refining margins Delta was paying on its jet fuel purchases. When the company learned that an idled Conoco refinery in Trainer, Pa., was for sale for $150 million, it took the plunge. It hired refinery professionals and signed contracts with two big oil companies to supply the crude and sell the gasoline and diesel output from the plant in return for supplying Delta's jets with aviation fuel at airports around the country.

Delta figures it can save at least $300 million a year, supply 80% of its domestic fleet's fuel needs and avoid the punishing refining margins it is paying today.

The facility restarted in September after being upgraded to produce a larger proportion of jet fuel. Delta is even exploring purchasing crude from the Bakken formation in the Dakotas and sending it by rail to Trainer, if that would be a better deal than taking crude shipped in tankers from Europe and the Middle East.

"I don't like to hear anyone at Delta say fuel is out of our control," said Mr. Anderson. "You might as well send up a white flag."

Delta isn't blind to the attractions of new aircraft, of course. Last year, it ordered 100 new Boeing 737-900s to replace older planes that will be retired. But it didn't take the newest version, which Boeing expects to roll out in 2017 with more efficient engines.

Instead, Delta bought from the end of the current production cycle, getting a better price. "It's just math," said Nat Pieper, Delta's vice president of fleet strategy and a veteran of Northwest. "Our fleet strategy is one of opportunism."


 Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Phoenix Sky Harbor International (KPHX), Arizona: Woman rams security gate at airport and drives onto active runway with child in car

 


PHOENIX –  A woman driving with a small child in her car rammed through a gate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and drove onto an active runway Thursday night, authorities said.

Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department said the woman made it onto the runway around 10 p.m. and was stopped within a couple of minutes by police officers.

The driver, who may have been impaired, was subsequently detained, Crump said in a news release. The woman and the child were not injured.

Airport operations were disrupted for about 15 minutes, but no inbound or outbound flights were put in danger as a result of the incident, according to Crump.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.


http://www.foxnews.com

Investigation reveals Georgia State Patrol pilot engaged in sexual acts in helicopter while on duty


File Attachments
THOMSON, Ga. -- A former pilot with the Georgia State Patrol has admitted to engaging in sexual acts while on taxpayer time.

The investigation into pilot Herb Craven has been underway since this past summer. The GSP released the outcome of the investigation on Thursday.

Back in August, News 12's Liz Owens received a packet from an anonymous source. It contained a letter and a DVD with pictures alleging Craven had sex with a woman other than his wife in a state-owned helicopter while on duty in a position paid by taxpayers. You can read that letter here.  

The whistleblower wrote to News 12: "I'm sure taxpayers would like to know that their $600,000 tax dollars are being used for inappropriate behavior and misuse of government property (knowing some pictures are inside of a helicopter)."

Along with the letter, the anonymous source sent News 12 a DVD with pictures. One of the pictures shows Craven inside a chopper identified as property issued to the GSP.

Investigators say they recognized the interior after looking at these pictures.

Investigators confirm Craven did engage in sexual acts with a woman other than his wife while on duty inside the helicopter and in a bedroom located at the hangar.

Craven was a 20-year veteran of GSP.

Investigators say the sex acts happened in April of this year.

During this investigation, the state put Craven on administrative leave and continued to pay him. Craven then retired.

The person who sent the packet also sent the same information to Craven's superiors. They used News 12 as the return address.

So far, investigators have not identified who sent the packet, but they believe it was someone he may have worked with.

Craven now works in a position -- again -- paid by taxpayers in property acquisition in Columbia County.

According to a GSP spokesman, they can't discipline Craven because he is a retiree. They would not discuss whether or not he is receiving a pension.

Due to the sensitive information involved in this case, News 12 has made the editorial decision not to publish the full case summary in order to minimize harm to innocent bystanders.

Source:  http://www.wrdw.com


 
FILE/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE 
Former Georgia State Patrol helicopter pilot Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Craven, who was stationed at Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport, was placed on administrative leave August 14 and retired September 1, according to a report.

File Attachments
Story and reaction/comments:  http://chronicle.augusta.com

A former Georgia State Patrol helicopter pilot has admitted he used state property to engage in an affair with a woman other than his wife and document it with sexually explicit photos.

 Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Craven, a pilot based in Thomson, was placed on administrative leave Aug. 14 after copies of the photos were sent to his superiors, according to an investigative summary released Thursday by the state patrol.

The photos depicted sexually explicit images of Craven and a Guyton, Ga., woman inside the state patrol hangar in Thomson, which is being moved to Augusta Regional Airport, and inside Craven’s Bell Jet Ranger II helicopter, the report said.

Anonymous packages containing similar materials were also received by Craven’s wife at her workplace and by WRDW-TV in North Augusta, according the report.

Investigators verified the information with the woman, who said she had sent a package that included the photos on a DVD to Craven at the hangar address. Craven said he never received the package and suspected that someone else had intercepted it.

Investigators could not determine the origin of the anonymous packages and have asked a U.S. postal inspector to look into the matter, the report said.

Craven retired from the state patrol on Sept. 1, the report stated. State patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said in an email response that no further action will be taken against Craven because he is retired.

Story and reaction/comments:  http://chronicle.augusta.com