Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III, Sdsef Leasing LLC, N297DB: Accident occurred December 08, 2012 in Lake Worth, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA082
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 08, 2012 in Lake Worth, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N297DB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The twin-engine airplane was released to the pilot (who was also the airplane owner) after an annual inspection and repainting of the airplane had been completed. Before the accident flight, which was the second flight after maintenance, the pilot performed an engine run-up for several minutes before taxiing to the end of the departure runway for takeoff. According to witnesses, the airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and initially climbed at a normal rate. Several witnesses then observed the airplane suddenly yaw to the left for 1 or 2 seconds, and the airplane's nose continued to pitch up before the airplane rolled left and descended vertically, nose-down, until it disappeared from view. One witness, a flight instructor, said, "The airplane just kept pitching up, and then it looked like a VMC [the airplane’s minimum controllable airspeed with only one engine operating] roll."

Examination of the left engine revealed signatures consistent with contact between the piston domes and the valves. The crankcase halves were separated and the No. 1 cylinder main bearing was rotated, and damaged and distorted severely, with bearing fragments located in the oil sump. Bearing material was also extruded from its steel backing. The No. 3 cylinder main bearing showed accelerated wear and wiping of the bearing material. Damage and signatures consistent with excessive heat due to oil starvation were observed on the No. 1 and No. 3 cylinder main bearing journals as well as the No. 1 and No. 2 cylinder connecting rod journals. The camshaft gear was also damaged, with five gear teeth sheared from the gear. A review of engine maintenance records revealed that no maintenance had been performed on the engine that would have required breaking of crankcase thru-bolt torques (such as cylinder removal) since its most recent overhaul, which was completed more than 3 years and 314 flight hours before the accident flight. The reason for the engine failure could not be determined because of the impact and postaccident fire damage.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the landing gear was in the down and locked position, the left engine propeller blades were in the feathered position, and the left fuel selector valve was in the off position. Examination of the manufacturer's Pilot Operating Handbook revealed that if properly configured, with the landing gear retracted, the airplane would have been capable of a 500 foot-per-minute rate of climb with only one operating engine on the day of the accident. As found, the airplane was not configured in accordance with the after-takeoff checklist or the engine failure after takeoff checklist.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to follow established engine-out procedures and to maintain a proper airspeed after the total loss of engine power on one of the airplane’s two engines during the initial climb. Contributing to the accident was the total loss of engine power due to a loss of torque on the crankcase bolts for reasons that could not be determined because of impact- and fire-related damage to the engine.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 8, 2012, at 1334 eastern standard time, a Cessna 421C, N297DB, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain following a loss of control after takeoff from North Palm Beach County Airpark (LNA), Lantana, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot took delivery of the airplane from a maintenance facility that had just completed an annual inspection and repainting of the airplane. According to the owner of the facility, who was a certificated pilot and an airframe and powerplant mechanic, the pilot completed the preflight inspection and the airplane was towed outside. The pilot started the airplane, but then shutdown to resolve an alternator charging light. Afterwards, the pilot stated that he planned to fly to Okeechobee, Florida, complete a few landings, and then continue to Miami.

According to the mechanic, the pilot performed a ground run of the airplane for several minutes before taxiing to the approach end of Runway 3 for takeoff. The airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and climbed at a "normal" rate. The mechanic then observed the airplane suddenly yaw to the left "for a second or two" and the airplane's nose continued to pitch up before rolling left and descending vertically, nose-down, until it disappeared from view.

Several witnesses provided similar accounts to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and the local sheriff's department. One witness, a certificated flight instructor said, "The airplane just kept pitching up, and then it looked like a VMC roll."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sea, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 27, 2008. An examination of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had logged 1,217 total hours of flight experience, of which 175 hours were in multiengine airplanes.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. Its most recent annual inspection was completed December 3, 2012, at 7,039.9 aircraft hours. The airplane had accrued 2.2 hours of flight time after the inspection.The No 2 (right) engine was overhauled at RAM Aircraft, Waco, Texas, on September 13, 2006. At the time of its most recent annual inspection, the engine had accrued 966.3 hours since major overhaul (SMOH).The No. 1 (left) engine was overhauled at RAM Aircraft, Waco, Texas, on October 16, 2009. At the time of its most recent annual inspection, the engine had accrued 312.6 hours SMOH.Oil samples were taken from each engine at the most recent annual inspection, and sample testing was completed at Aviation Oil Analysis, Phoenix, Arizona, on October 29, 2012. According to the report, for metals and contaminants content, "All values appear normal." The owner of the maintenance facility where the annual inspection was completed held FAA commercial pilot, flight instructor, and airframe and powerplant certificates. In an interview, he said he performed a test flight with the accident pilot at the completion of the annual inspection. Prior to takeoff on the test flight, the propeller rpm was matched on both engines on the ground, but after takeoff the left engine showed 100 rpm above maximum when the right engine was at maximum.

Once the rpm was matched manually by the pilot, the fuel flow on the left engine was about 1.5 to 2.0 gallons per hour below that of the right engine. The fuel flow rate on the left engine was also below that prescribed in the engine maintenance guidance. (SID 97-3).

The airplane was flown for 1.2 hours, and during the flight cabin pressurization, prop synchronization, flight controls, and the autopilot were tested. About mid-flight, the left alternator segment light illuminated, and the ampmeter/voltmeter showed a drop in voltage. About 5 minutes later, the light extinguished, and the ampmeter/voltmeter showed normal voltage for the remainder of the flight.

After landing, the airplane was shut down, and the accident pilot was told that the propeller rpm and the fuel flow needed adjustment on the left engine only. There were also some cosmetic corrections that needed to be made.

After the corrections were made and prior to delivery of the airplane to the pilot, a complete run-up was performed, and the maintenance records were reviewed to confirm all the work that was done during the annual inspection.

The airplane was equipped with two hydraulic pumps, and therefore the hydraulic system would remain pressurized with only one engine operating.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1332, the weather reported at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), 5 miles north of LNA included a scattered cloud layer at 2,600 feet and a broken ceiling at 3,500 feet. The wind was from 110 degrees at 11 knots. The temperature was 27 degrees C, the dew point was 20 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.97 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on December 9, 2012, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane was consumed by postimpact fire back to the aft pressure bulkhead. The wing spars were intact, and control cable continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. Examination of the main landing gear actuators revealed positions consistent with a down-and-locked configuration.

Both engines were significantly damaged by postcrash fire. All three propeller blades of the left engine were attached at the hub, and in the "feathered" position. The right engine's propeller blades were destroyed by impact and fire. One blade was separated and not recovered. The remaining blades showed positions consistent with low pitch.Examination of the right fuel selector valve revealed that it was in the "main" position. Examination of the left fuel selector valve revealed that it was in the "off" position.

Preliminary external and borescope examinations of both engines revealed continuity throughout and no mechanical anomalies. The engines were retained for detailed examination at a later date.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the District Medical Examiner, West Palm Beach, Florida, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy revealed the pilot died from blunt force and thermal injuries. The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Thirty percent (30%) carbon monoxide, and 3.86 (ug/ml) cyanide were detected in the specimens tested. These levels are consistent with exposure to products of combustion.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engines were examined in Mobile, Alabama from February 19 to 22, 2013 under the supervision of an FAA inspector. Each was a 520 cubic-inch, six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled, fuel-injected, turbo-charged, geared engine that produced 375 horsepower at 3,350 rpm.Examination of the No. 2 (right) engine revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies.Examination of the No. 1 (left) engine revealed signatures consistent with contact made between the piston domes and the valves. The crankcase halves were separated and the No. 1 cylinder main bearing was "rotated," and "damaged and distorted severely," with bearing fragments located in the oil sump. Bearing material was extruded from its steel backing. The No. 3 main bearing displayed signatures consistent with accelerated wear and "wiping" of the Babbitt material.Damage and signatures consistent with excessive heat due to oil starvation were displayed on the No. 1 and No. 3 main bearing journals, as well as the No. 1 and No. 2 connecting rod journals. The camshaft gear was damaged, with five gear teeth found sheared from the gear.Examination of maintenance records revealed that the manufacturer's main bearings and rod bearings were installed in the engine during overhaul. Further examination of the records revealed that no maintenance was performed on the engine that would have required breaking of crankcase thru-bolt torques (such as cylinder removal) since overhaulThe item 98 write-up on the most recent annual inspection invoice stated, "Investigate no oil pressure on left engine; reprime left oil pump, filter, standpipe."When interviewed, the proprietors at the maintenance facility said that the airplane's engines sat idle for an extended period (weeks) due to the annual inspection and the painting of the airplane. Because engine oil has a tendency to "settle" in the sump, and cause the oil pump to lose its prime, the engines were motored. When motored, the left engine showed no oil pressure. The oil system was then primed, and oil pressure was restored prior to engine start.

Examination of maintenance records revealed that as of the most recent inspection, all Airworthiness Directives were complied with and up to date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The manufacturer's normal procedure for "TAKEOFF:1. Power – SET FOR TAKEOFF2. Mixtures – CHECK fuel flows in the white arc3. Engine Instruments – CHECK4. Air Minimum Control Speed – 80 KIAS5. Takeoff and climb to 50 feet – 100 KIAS at 7450 pounds"The manufacturer's normal procedure for "AFTER TAKEOFF:1. Landing Gear – RETRACT2. Best Angle-of-Climb Speed – 86 KIAS at sea level to 92 KIAS at 20,000 feet with obstacle3. Best Rate-of-Climb Speed With Wing Flaps Up – 111 KIAS at sea level and 7450 pounds"The manufacturer's emergency procedure for "ENGINE FAILURE DURING TAKEOFF (Speed below 100 KIAS or Gear Down):1. Throttles – CLOSE IMMEDIATELY2. Brake or Land and Brake – AS REQUIRED"The manufacturer's emergency procedure for "ENGINE FAILURE AFTER TAKEOFF (Speed above 100 KIAS with Gear Up or In Transit):1. Mixtures – FULL RICH2. Propellers – FULL FORWARD3. Throttles – FULL FORWARD4. Landing Gear – CHECK UP5. Inoperative Engine:a. Throttle – CLOSEb. Mixture – IDLE CUT-OFFc. Propeller – Feather6. Establish Bank – 5 [degrees] toward operative engine7. Climb to Clear 50-Foot Obstacle – 100 KIAS8. Climb at One Engine Inoperative Best Rate-of-Climb Speed – 111 KIAS9. Trim Tabs – ADJUST 5 [degrees] toward operative engine…10. Inoperative Engine – SECURE as follows:a. Fuel Selector – OFF (Feel for Detent)"A WARNING at the end of the procedure stated: "The propeller on the inoperative engine must be feathered, landing gear retracted and wing flaps up or continued flight may be impossible."Using weather conditions that were current at the time of the accident, interpolation of the airplane manufacturer's "RATE-OF-CLIMB – ONE ENGINE INOPERATIVE" chart revealed that with the landing gear retracted, and the propeller on the inoperative engine feathered, the airplane was capable of an approximate climb rate of 400 feet per minute. With the landing gear down and locked, as found, the airplane was capable of an approximate climb rate of 50 feet per minute.The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook defined VMC as: "Minimum control speed. The minimum flight speed at which the airplane is controllable with a bank of not more than 5 [degrees] into the operating engine when one engine suddenly becomes inoperative and the remaining engine is operating at takeoff power… At low airspeed and high-power conditions, the downward moving propeller blade of each engine develops more thrust than the upward moving blade…When the right engine is operative and the left engine is inoperative, the turning force is greater… In other words, directional control is more difficult when the left engine (the critical engine) is suddenly made inoperative."


 NTSB Identification: ERA13FA082
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 08, 2012 in Lake Worth, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N297DB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On December 8, 2012, at 1334 eastern standard time, a Cessna 421C, N297DB, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain following a loss of control after takeoff from North Palm Beach County Airpark (LNA), Lantana, Florida. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot took delivery of the airplane from a maintenance facility that had just completed an annual inspection and repainting of the airplane. According to the owner of the facility, a certificated pilot and an airframe and powerplant mechanic, the pilot completed the preflight inspection and the airplane was towed outside. The pilot started the airplane, but then shutdown to resolve an alternator charging light. Afterwards, the pilot stated that he planned to fly to Okeechobee, Florida, complete a few landings, and then continue to Miami.

According to the mechanic, the pilot performed a ground run of the airplane for several minutes before taxiing to the approach end of Runway 3 for takeoff. The airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and climbed at a “normal” rate. The mechanic then observed the airplane suddenly yaw to the left “for a second or two” and the airplane’s nose continued to pitch up before rolling left and descending vertically, nose-down, until it disappeared from view.

Several witnesses provided similar accounts to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the local sheriff’s department. One witness, a certificated flight instructor said, “The airplane just kept pitching up, and then it looked like a VMC roll.”

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and sea, multiengine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 27, 2008. An examination of the pilot’s logbook revealed that he had logged 1,217 total hours of flight experience, of which 175 hours were in multiengine airplanes.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. Its most recent annual inspection was completed December 3, 2012, at 7,039.9 aircraft hours. The airplane had accrued 2.2 hours of flight time after the inspection.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on December 9, 2012, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane was consumed by post-impact fire back to the aft pressure bulkhead. The wing spars were intact, and control cable continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. Examination of the main landing gear actuators revealed positions consistent with a down-and-locked configuration.

Both engines were significantly damaged by post-crash fire. All three propeller blades of the left engine were attached at the hub, and in the “feathered” position. The right engine’s propeller blades were destroyed by impact and fire. One blade was separated and not recovered. The remaining blade hubs showed positions consistent with low pitch.

Preliminary external and borescope examinations of both engines revealed continuity throughout and no mechanical anomalies. The engines were retained for detailed examination at a later date.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 297DB        Make/Model: C421      Description: 421, Golden Eagle, Executive Commuter
  Date: 12/08/2012     Time: 1840

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

LOCATION
  City: WEST PALM BEACH   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED SHORTLY AFTER DEPARTURE, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY 
  INJURED, 1 MILE FROM WEST PALM BEACH, FL

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


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


  FAA FSDO: SOUTH FLORIDA, FL  (SO19)             Entry date: 12/10/2012 
 
 


 LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Pilots N Paws, a volunteer organization where general aviation pilots help animal rescue volunteers to transport animals in need to safe havens mourns the loss of one of its pilots.

On Monday, Palm Beach County authorities identified the pilot killed in a small plane crash in Lake Worth over the weekend.

A sheriff's office statement said 33-year-old Timothy Johnson, Jr. of Miami was pronounced dead at the scene.

 The plane crashed Saturday afternoon inside John Prince Park. Authorities say Johnson took off from Lantana Airport to fly to Tamiami Airport in Miami. The plane was seen at an awkward angle after takeoff, banked, then nosedived into a stand of palm trees and burst into flames.

"It is with a great sense of loss that we share the tragic news of a plane crash that took the life of longtime Pilots N Paws Pilot Timothy E. Johnson of Florida," read a message on Pilots N Paws' Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon. "Tim had been flying Pilots N Paws rescue missions since June, 2009. He was not on a rescue mission at the time of this flight. The world has lost someone very special. We are fortunate to have had such a compassionate young man fly for our organization.

Tim will long be remembered by the Pilots N Paws community for his selfless volunteerism."

For information on memorial and funeral services, click here.
  
Watch Video:   http://www.local10.com

Auman JL T-51, N512JA: Accident occurred December 11, 2012 in Dekalb, Illinois

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 11, 2012 in Dekalb, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2014
Aircraft: AUMAN JL T-51, registration: N512JA
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The experimental amateur-built airplane experienced a total loss of engine power during a phase one test flight. The pilot performed a forced landing on a field where airplane nosed-over due to the rough condition of the field that precluded a normal landing rollout. 

Before the phase 1 test flight, the pilot had returned the engine to the kit manufacturer for repair due to leaking engine coolant. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed catastrophic damage; the engine head bolt had been tighten above the engine manufacturer’s torque values, which indicated that the kit manufacturer used excessive torque on the head bolts in an attempt to repair coolant leakage through the engine head. 

The postaccident examination showed that the engine was assembled with cast and not forged pistons, which should be used in high performance applications. The bending and thread damage on the intact connecting rod bolt for the forward right cylinder and the mating thread damage in the connecting rod were consistent with the bolt backing out until it sheared the remaining threads. Another bolt that backed out of position was also present on the connecting rod in the middle right position. Measurements of cylinder wall carbon lines showed a variance in size, which may have been due to hydraulic lock related bending of the connecting rods.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The improper engine overhaul by the airplane kit manufacturer, which resulted in a catastrophic engine failure.

On December 11, 2012, about 1545 central standard time, an Auman JL T-51, N512JA, experimental amateur-built airplane experienced a total loss of engine power after takeoff from De Kalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DKB), De Kalb, Illinois. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field. The airplane nosed over and impacted terrain during the landing. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and vertical stabilizer. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot, who was also the aircraft builder, stated that he installed the engine onto the airframe and noticed that it was leaking engine coolant before it had been initially run. About three weeks later, the pilot removed the engine and shipped it to Titan. The pilot stated that Titan had told him that the engine head bolts were improperly torqued. The engine was returned and was reinstalled onto the airframe. 

During the phase one test flight, the engine, which had accumulated about 25 hours since overhaul, began to "studder" during a departure climb from DKB. The engine oil pressure was 60-65 psi and the engine operating temperatures were in the "normal" range. The pilot performed a landing on a plowed agricultural field where the airplane nosed over after rolling about 30 feet. 

Post-accident examination of the engine (Honda J35 A6, serial number 1430792A3L329203Z LL53240) showed that the engine sustained catastrophic damage. There was no evidence of detonation. During the removal of the head bolts with a torque wrench, the head bolt torques values were in the range of 120-130 ft-lbs. The specified torque value for the cylinder head bolts for the engine was 72.3 ft-lbs. The examination also revealed that all of the connecting rods were bent. Black colored lines consistent with carbon lines were present around the top circumference of all the cylinder walls. The depths of these lines were as follows: right front cylinder – 2 mm, right middle – 5 mm, right rear – 5 mm, left front – 2 mm, left middle – 5 mm, left rear – 2mm.

Material laboratory examination of piston pieces from the forward left and middle right cylinders revealed that all fracture features were consistent with overstress fracture. A piece of the piston from the forward left position has a microstructure consistent with a cast aluminum alloy. 

The examination also revealed the connecting rod from the forward right position was fractured in the "I" section. The cap was also fractured, and approximately 2/3 of the cap was missing. Fracture features and deformation in the "I" section of the connecting rod showed features consistent with overstress fracture under bending loads. The fracture features of the cap were substantially damaged by post-fracture impacts, but remaining areas of the fracture showed relatively rough features consistent with overstress fracture.

One of the connecting rod bolts was fractured at a slant angle consistent with overstress fracture. The mating side of the bolt remained within the connecting rod strap. The longer connecting rod bolt appeared to be intact, but was bent. The shank was uniformly bent along most of its length, but a sharper bend occurred approximately ½ inch from the end in the threaded end of the bolt. The threads in the bolt appeared largely flattened, and impact damage was observed all around the head and shank.

Thread damage was observed in the connecting rod hole corresponding to the position of the intact connecting rod bolt. The threads in the end of the hole closest to the split line had damaged thread peaks. The thread damage was observed along approximately ½ the length of the hole, and the remaining threads furthest from the split line appeared intact.

Images from the engine teardown were also reviewed during the Materials Laboratory examination. A view of the connecting rod from the middle right position showed a portion of the connecting rod bolt shank is visible in the image.

According to the president of Titan Aircraft, the engine on the accident airplane was a 2003 or 2006 Honda J35-A6 engine. There is "very little" that is modified on the engine. The modifications include the cooling system and governor. All of the engine parts are Honda parts. The engines are bought used and anything that exceeds new engine specifications is replaced. The engine parts that are replaced include: pistons, piston rings, valves, and bearings. Following an engine rebuilt, engine runs are "normally" not performed after an engine is built, but Titan Aircraft "occasionally" will perform an engine run of an engine that is built.

The National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) invited Titan Aircraft to attend the engine examination. Titan Aircraft stated that they would not attend but would be available to answer questions. The IIC invited Titan Aircraft to be a party to the investigation, but Titan Aircraft did not accept the invitation. The IIC did not receive requested build records for the engine, which Titan Aircraft said were available and agreed to provide those records.

 http://registry.faa.gov/N512JA

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA103 
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 11, 2012 in Dekalb, IL
Aircraft: Auman JL T-51, registration: N512JA
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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 December 11, 2012, about 1545 central standard time, an Auman JL T-51, N512JA, experimental amateur-built airplane experienced a total loss of engine power after takeoff from De Kalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DKB), De Kalb, Illinois. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field. The airplane nosed over and impacted terrain during the landing. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and vertical stabilizer. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed for the flight that was originating at the time of the accident.



 
Jim Auman (Photo courtesy EAA Chapter 153)
 


DEKALB COUNTY (CBS) – A replica of a World War II fighter plane crashed in DeKalb County Tuesday afternoon. Police said the pilot was alert and talking to emergency workers after the crash. 

 DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said plane went down in a cornfield south of the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a T-51 Mustang, a 3/4 replica of a P-51 Mustang from WWII.

“We have a report from a citizen that the single engine aircraft went down in a field in the area of Webster Road and Route 38, which is near Peace Road and Route 38,” Scott said. “The information is that the pilot was communicating and talking with the officers.”

CBS 2′s Mike Parker reports witnesses said the plane appeared to be coming in for a landing when, suddenly, there was trouble.

“They saw puffs of … black smoke coming from the aircraft as it went over Route 38, and it looked like it was losing altitude, and it ended up crashing into the field here,” DeKalb County Sheriff Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said. “It kind of looked like he was trying to land the plane on its belly, and then subsequently it flipped over once it hit the field.”

The pilot has been identified as 62-year-old James Auman, of Sycamore. He apparently built the replica Mustang himself, and is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s chapter at Schaumburg Municipal Airport.

He survived the crash, but was trapped inside, as fuel was leaking from the plane. Emergency workers cut a hole in the side of the plane to get the pilot out.

Auman was airlifted to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford for treatment. He was in stable condition Tuesday night.

http://chicago.cbslocal.com



A pilot forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday afternoon appears to have survived the crash. It happened in a field just south of DeKalb Airport and Route 38 around 3:45 p.m. 

 Witnesses say the homemade P51 Mustang appeared to be in trouble shortly after takeoff from the airport, losing altitude and emitting small puffs of smoke as it crossed Route 38 and crashed in a cornfield.

The plane landed on its belly but flipped onto its back. The pilot, identified as 62-year-old James Allman, was trapped inside the plane following the crash.

He was extricated and transported to a local hospital via helicopter. Police say Allman didn't appear to be in critical condition and was conscious and alert.

FAA officials were expected to survey the scene on Wednesday to try to determine what caused the crash.

The crash location is a mile east of Northern Illinois University.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com


 UPDATE -- A Sycamore man is recovering after crashing his plane into a cornfield. It happened shortly after he took off from the DeKalb airport this afternoon. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office says James Auman, 62, was the only person on board the plane when it went down just before 4 o'clock. First responders had to cut Auman out of the aircraft, which had flipped over onto its roof. Paramedics say Auman was still talking when he was airlifted to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center. The plane is being described as an experimental aircraft that hadn't logged many flight miles.

Diamond DA-40 Diamond Star, Trinity Equipment LLC, N840DS: Accident occurred December 10, 2012 in Lake Park, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA083
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 10, 2012 in Lake Park, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/12/2015
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA 40, registration: N840DS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

Before departing at night for his destination airport, the noninstrument-rated pilot received a weather briefing, which advised of marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions. The briefing also included an airmen’s meteorological information advisory for developing instrument flight rules conditions due to low ceilings and mist. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot contacted a radar approach controller for visual flight rules flight-following services, and he was advised to squawk a beacon code, but, before the approach controller was able to identify the airplane on the radar, the pilot radioed, “I’m in trouble.” Shortly after, both radar and radio contact were lost. Review of radar data indicated that the airplane’s climb rate was steady until the airplane reached an altitude of about 2,100 ft msl. The airplane then began descending rapidly while turning right until it impacted terrain. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of preimpact failures or malfunctions of the engine or primary flight controls. However, examination of the elevator trim system revealed that the elevator trim cable was disconnected from the trim control wheel in the cockpit and that it had pulled out of a swaged rod end (bolt), which displayed a longitudinal crack on the outer surface of the swage. Examination of the fracture surface revealed that the fracture occurred due to overstress. The examinations were not able to determine if the cable pulled out of the fitting during the accident sequence or if it was a pre-existing condition. Regardless, review of the elevator pitch control system revealed that, even if the elevator trim cable had disconnected in flight, it should not have led to an uncontrollable situation due to its redundant design. At the time of the accident, both the sun and the moon were more than 15 degrees below the horizon. Further, warm, moist southerly wind ahead of an approaching cold front was producing variable clouds, and a band of low stratiform clouds with their tops near 4,000 ft existed over the area. Operating in MVFR conditions increases a pilot’s workload and stress level because navigation becomes more difficult and reduces the margin of safety. As a result of the increased workload and stress level and the pilot’s minimal simulated instrument time (about 7 hours); his minimal night experience (about 3 hours); the dark, night MVFR conditions; restricted visibility, including a lack of ambient light; and the sustained right turn and descent, it is likely the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and subsequently lost control of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noninstrument-rated pilot’s improper decision to depart in dark, night marginal visual flight rules conditions, which resulted in his spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of airplane control. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 10, 2012, at approximately 1950 eastern standard time, a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA 40; N840DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control during climb, after departure from Valdosta Regional Airport (VLD), Valdosta, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight, destined for Jesup-Wayne County Airport (JES), Jesup, Georgia. 

According to the VLD Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) supervisor, at approximately 1935, the pilot radioed VLD ATCT and advised that he was ready to taxi for departure. The pilot was then issued current weather and taxi instructions to the active runway. The pilot then advised the controller that he would be departing to the east to JES.

At 1939, the pilot advised ATCT that he was ready for departure and was issued current wind information and was cleared for takeoff.

At 1942, the pilot was advised to squawk a beacon code of "1200" and that he could receive visual flight rules (VFR) advisory service with Moody Air Force Base Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) on frequency 126.6. The pilot then advised that he was changing to frequency 126.6 for advisory services.

According to the RAPCON supervisor, after the pilot contacted the RAPCON for VFR flight following the pilot was advised to squawk a beacon code of "5576" but, at 1950, before the airplane was radar identified by the RAPCON, the pilot radioed "I'm in trouble." Moments later, both radar and radio contact was lost. 

At 1953, downed airplane procedures were initiated and a search for the airplane by federal, state, and local authorities was initiated.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. 

His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on October 15, 2012. He had accrued approximately 208 total hours of flight experience, 123 hours of which was in the DA 40.

Further review of the pilot's flight records revealed that of his 208 total hours of flight experience he had accrued approximately 3 hours of night time and approximately 7 hours of simulated instrument time. 

He did not possess an instrument rating and no record of any actual instrument time being logged was discovered. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a low wing, T-tailed, single engine monoplane, manufactured primarily of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP). The ailerons, elevator and wing flaps were operated through control rods, while the rudder was controlled by cable. The wing flaps were electrically operated. Elevator forces could be balanced by a trim tab on the elevator, which was operated by a Bowden cable. 

It was powered by a 180 horsepower, air-cooled, four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, fuel injected, direct-drive engine, driving a 3-bladed constant speed propeller.

It was capable of flying in instrument meteorological conditions and was equipped with an electronic flight information system (EFIS) that integrated flight, engine, communication, navigation, and surveillance instrumentation systems to allow a pilot to operate the airplane without visual reference. The system consisted of a Primary Flight Display (PFD), Multi-Function Display (MFD), audio panel, Air Data Computer, Attitude and Heading Reference System, engine sensors, a processing unit, and integrated avionics containing Very High Frequency (VHF) communications, VHF navigation, and GPS (Global Positioning System).

The primary function of the PFD was to provide attitude, heading, air data, navigation, and alerting information to the pilot. The PFD could also be used for flight planning. The primary function of the MFD was to provide engine information, mapping, terrain information, and flight planning. The audio panel was used for selection of radios for transmitting and listening, intercom functions, and marker beacon functions.

In the event of a malfunction of the EFIS system's PFD or MFD, mounted directly above them were a set of standby analog instruments which consisted of an attitude indicator, airspeed indicator, altimeter, and magnetic compass.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2007. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on April 27, 2012. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 203.1 total hours of operation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Meteorological information for this investigation was derived from numerous sources.

Surface Analysis Chart

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1900 depicted a deep low pressure system at 995-hectopascals and associated occluded front impacting the northeastern United States with a cold front extending southward across northwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama into the Florida Panhandle, and then into the Gulf of Mexico. The station models ahead of the front over Florida and southern Georgia indicated warm-moist light southerly winds ahead of the front with broken to overcast clouds and scattered rain showers.

Soundings

The NWS Tallahassee 1900 sounding indicated a moist low level environment with the lifted condensation level (LCL) at 967 feet above ground level (agl), with the sounding relative humidity greater than 80 percent from the surface to 5,000 feet, with the sounding being conditionally unstable with a Lifted Index of 0.2 even with a low level temperature inversion. The freezing level was identified at 14,240 feet. The sounding wind profile indicated a surface winds from the south at 5 knots which veered to the west above the surface and increased in speed. The mean 0 to 6 kilometer (18,000 feet) wind was from 240° at 41 knots. The wind at 2,000 feet was from 220° at 14 knots.

Radar Imagery

The NWS regional radar mosaic for 1945 depicted several scattered areas of rain showers over Georgia and northern Florida to the southwest and east of the accident site.

The Moody Air Force Base WSR-88D radar composite reflectivity image for 1947 depicted very light intensity echoes associated with biological targets and ground clutter associated with a developing nocturnal inversion over the area and no meteorological echoes. No significant weather echoes were identified within 50 miles of the accident site.

Satellite Imagery

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-13) infrared image at 1945 depicted a layer of low stratus clouds over Valdosta area with a radiative cloud top temperature of 289° Kelvin or 15.84° C, which corresponded to cloud tops near 4,000 feet. A large area of enhanced clouds was identified to the south extending from the Gulf of Mexico across northern and central Florida associated with cumulonimbus clouds or thunderstorms. No cumulonimbus clouds were identified in the vicinity of the accident site.

Recorded Weather

The recorded weather at VLD, at 1953, approximately 3 minutes after the accident included: wind variable at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 1,400 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.84 inches of mercury.

Weather Depiction Chart

The NWS Weather Depiction Chart for 2000 depicted an extensive area of Marginal Visual Flight Rules (MVFR) conditions along the front across Alabama and western and northern Georgia, as well as a small portion of southern Georgia and northern Florida. MVFR conditions were depicted over the Valdosta area.

Destination Weather

Conditions at the planned destination of JES located approximately 85 miles east-northeast of Valdosta indicated light southerly wind, with visibility unrestricted, and high scattered clouds, with lightning detected in the distant south at the time of the accident. Other airports in the immediate vicinity of the destination were reporting scattered to broken clouds at 400 feet agl. during the period.

Airman's Meteorological Information Advisory

The NWS had issued an Airman's Meteorological Information Advisory (AIRMET) update at 1545. AIRMET Sierra update 3 issued at 1545 EST warned of ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibilities less than 3 miles in mist and fog developing after 1900 through 2100, and continuing through 0400 on December 11, 2012 across northern and southern Georgia. This advisory extended over the departure, the destination, and the accident site.

Astronomical Conditions 

United States Naval Observatory data indicated that sunset occurred at Valdosta at 1732, with the end of civil twilight at 1759. At the time of the accident, both the Sun and the Moon were more than 15 degrees below the horizon. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the Accident Site

On December 11, 2012, at 1115, the wreckage of the airplane was discovered by the crew of Georgia State Patrol helicopter in a heavily wooded area, approximately 7 miles from VLD. 

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially made contact with an approximately 56 foot high pine tree before striking two smaller trees and then the ground about 50 feet further on, from the initial impact point with the tree. The impact angle was measured at an approximate 45-degree nose down angle. The airplane came to rest on a 107 degree magnetic heading in a depression on the forest floor, at an approximate elevation of 200 feet above mean sea level (msl).

Examination of the Wreckage

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane was heavily fragmented. Further examination revealed however, that all major components of the airplane were present and control continuity was able to be established for all of the primary flight controls, and for the wing flaps.

Continuity for the elevator trim system could not however be confirmed, as it was discovered that the Bowden cable was disconnected from the trim control wheel in the cockpit. Examination of the Bowden cable revealed that it had pulled out of a swaged rod end which displayed a crack on the outer surface of the swage which ran along its longitudinal axis. Further examination of the crack revealed, that the exposed fractured surfaces were not the same color as the rest of swaged rod end but instead, displayed a brown discoloration on the fracture surfaces. Further examination of the cable end revealed that it also displayed evidence of a powdery looking brown discoloration. 

Examination of the Propeller and Engine

Examination of the propeller and engine did not reveal any evidence of any preimpact failures or malfunctions. 

The engine was separated from the airframe and found lying inverted about 10 feet forward of the main wreckage. The oil sump and both crankcase halves were impact fractured. The propeller and crankshaft flange were separated from the remainder of the crankshaft just aft of the crankcase nose. Cylinders No.1, No. 2, and No. 4, were impact damaged, and wood fibers were observed to be embedded in the cooling fins of cylinder No. 2.

The propeller was discovered separated from the engine near the main wreckage. The spinner was fragmented. The propeller had remained attached the crankshaft flange but, the flange had separated from the engine and was found near the remains of the airplane's fuselage. One of its composite blades was broken off flush with the propeller blade cuff ,with the other two propeller blades broken off and splintered, about 7 inches outboard of their cuffs.

The crankshaft exhibited a radial fracture with a 45-degree shear lip just aft of where the propeller flange had separated which was indicative of crankshaft rotation during impact. Drive train continuity was established from the back of the engine forward to the fracture just aft of the crankcase nose, and from the fracture to the propeller hub. 

The fuel injector servo was impact separated from the engine. The mixture and throttle controls were separated at the servo control arms. Wood fibers consistent with those of the trees impacted by the aircraft were embedded in the servo air inlet opening. The fuel inlet hose was separated from the servo. The fuel inlet screen was absent of debris. The servo regulator section was disassembled and no damage to the internal parts was noted. Liquid with an odor consistent with aviation gasoline was noted in the fuel injector servo and in the fuel flow divider. The engine driven fuel pump was impact separated from the engine and fragmented. The fuel flow divider was partially separated from the engine. The flow divider was disassembled and no internal damage noted. The No. 2 and No. 4 fuel injector nozzles were fractured. No obstruction was noted in any of the nozzles.

The oil sump was fractured. Oil however, was observed in the engine. The oil filter was crushed. No debris was noted in the oil suction screen or the propeller governor screen. The oil cooler and oil cooler hoses were impact damaged.

The magnetos were impact separated from the engine. The spark plugs were medium gray in color. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An Autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.

Toxicological testing of the pilot was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

The pilot's specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs, with the exception of ethanol which was detected in Muscle, and was from a source other than ingestion, and Atorvastatin, which is a member of the drug class known as statins, and is used for lowering blood cholesterol.

The pilot had previously reported his use of Atorvastatin to his FAA airman medical examiner.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Weather Briefing

Review of the outlook weather briefing requested by the pilot from the Princeton Contracted Flight Service Station (FCFSS) revealed that prior to departure; he had been advised of AIRMET Sierra. Additionally, he had also been advised of the weather conditions that had been reported in the Valdosta area which included scattered clouds at 1,600 feet, broken clouds at 2,200 feet, and broken clouds at 4,300 feet. Furthermore, He was also given the temperature and dew point which at the time were within 4 degrees of each other, and was advised that it was marginal VFR, which is defined by the NWS as a ceiling between 1,000 and 3,000 feet or visibility in the three- to five-mile range.

Radar Data

Review of correlated radar data indicated that at 19:46:13.11, the airplane's climb rate was steady until reaching an altitude of approximately 2,100 feet msl. Approximately 7 seconds later the airplane's altitude dropped to 1,900 feet msl, and the airplane had begun to turn right.

At 19:46:22.927, the airplane was still turning to the right and had descending through 1,700 feet msl. Approximately 5 seconds later, it was still continuing to turn right, and was at 1,400 feet msl. 

Further examination of the radar data, indicated that the last radar contact occurred at 19:46:32.507, when the airplane was still at 1,400 feet msl. The average rate of descent up to that point was approximately 3,420 feet per minute. 

Comparison of the last radar contact to the location of the accident site, indicated that the last radar contact had occurred when the airplane was approximately 359 yards from its initial impact point with the trees. 

Elevator Trim System

The DA 40 elevator trim system included a mechanically operated trim tab. This allowed the pilot to trim the airplane for different speeds and center-of-gravity positions.

The elevator trim system had three main parts: 

- The handwheel assembly with trim indicator.
- The Bowden Cable (Elevator Trim Cable) which connected the handwheel to the trim tab. 
- The trim tab actuator assembly.

The handwheel assembly on the center console controlled the elevator trim system. The assembly had a metal mounting frame. The frame attached to the rear of the engine control assembly and the top of the control bulkhead. A long bolt through the mounting frame carried the handwheel. The bolt also held friction disks, plain washers, and spring washers, which were mounted against the handwheel. Two jam-nuts could be used by the pilot to adjust the friction by applying compression to the friction disks and washers. 

A small gear wheel attached to the handwheel. The small gear wheel engaged with a large gear segment with internal teeth. The gear segment had a pivot bolt at the bottom of the mounting frame. A ball-stud attached the eye-end of the Bowden cable to the gear segment. An extension to the mounting frame to the rear made the anchor point for the outer sheath of the cable.

The gear segment was also the trim indicator. The top face of the segment had a white line across it midway between the front, and back. The top face could be seen through a slot in the cover plate. The sides of the cover plate had markings to show the trim position.

The Bowden cable connected the trim handwheel assembly to the trim tab. The cable went through holes in the front and rear main bulkheads, the baggage frame and each of the ring frames. It then went up the front face of the front web of the vertical stabilizer and through a slot near the top, and then through a large hole at the top of the rear web of the vertical stabilizer to the trim tab actuator assembly. The cable had an inner core with threaded end fittings. Spherical end fittings at each end connected to the gear segment and trim tab actuator assembly. Clamp blocks held the outer core to the mounting frame at the front and a bracket from the horizontal stabilizer at the back.

The trim tab was a one-piece FRP molding. The tab had two integral levers. Two cranked actuating levers were attached to the integral levers. The left cranked actuating lever connected to the Bowden cable, and the right actuating lever connected to a friction damper. The friction damper had a clamp-block with a hole for a rod. The rod connected to the right actuating lever on the trim tab. The friction on the rod in the clamp block was adjustable.

When the top of the trim handwheel moved forward: 

- The small gear wheel moved the top of the gear segment forward.
- The gear segment pulled the inner core of the flexible cable forward.
- The inner core of the flexible cable pulled the left cranked actuating lever forward.
- The left cranked actuating lever pulled the trim tab lever forward to move the tab up.
- The up movement of the trim tab would push the elevator down in flight giving nose-down trim.

When the top of the handwheel was moved aft, the gear segment moved aft, the cable moved aft and the trim tab would move down. This would push the elevator up and give nose-up trim.

In each case, the pilot could see the trim position from the white mark on the gear segment.

Laboratory Examination of the Elevator Trim Cable and Swaged Rod End 

Examination of the elevator trim cable (Bowden cable) and swaged rod end from the accident airplane by the NTSB Materials Laboratory revealed that the core cable consisted of the cable strand with a plastic coating that was removed in the area where the bolt was swaged onto it. 

Examination of the cable strand revealed twelve outer wires that exhibited bands of deformed material along their outermost surfaces. The strand contained nineteen wires in the configuration of 7 inner wires and 12 outer wires (e.g. 7 x 12, 19-wire strand). The average strand outside diameter was about 0.142 inch (3.6 mm). Measured by digital microscopy, the average wire diameter was about 0.027 inch (0.7 mm). The outer wires were wound in a right lay. Manufacturer's drawings indicated that the strand had a diameter of 3.5 mm (0.138 inch) and consisted of nineteen zinc-coated wires, each with a diameter of 0.7 mm (0.027 inch). The drawings however illustrated and specified a left lay. 

The ball end and the nut were removed from the bolt and measurements revealed that the bolt satisfied the dimensional requirements in the manufacturer's drawings. The drawings specified the bolt material as DIN 1.4305 which is compositionally equivalent to UNS S30300, and specified the bolt material as stainless steel.

Examination revealed that the swaging tool during manufacture had pressed five flat regions equally spaced around the circumference of the swage. Ribs of extruded material were formed between the flat swaging jaws. Further examination revealed that the fracture had occurred along one of the ribs of material that was extruded between the swaging jaws during manufacture. Brown-colored deposits were present in the fracture. 

Examination of the inner surface of the bolt swage area adjacent to the fracture revealed circumferential lines consistent with a drilling operation and helical impression marks consistent with contact with the cable wires. 

The deposits in the crack were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and standardless semi-quantitative energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The EDS spectra, revealed the presence of carbon, oxygen, iron, zinc, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorous, sulfur, chlorine, potassium, calcium, chromium, manganese, and nickel. 

The fracture surface of the swage area was also examined by SEM and a typical scanning electron fractograph which revealed that the fracture micro-mode was microvoid coalescence (MVC) due to overstress. The longitudinal orientation of stringers within the fracture surface, were consistent with a resulfurized steel such as UNS S30300.

The inside surfaces of the bolt swage area exhibited helical impression marks (e.g. grooves) consistent with permanent deformation from contact with the cable wires In some of the helical impression grooves, flakes of zinc electroplating from the cable strands were present. EDS analysis revealed that the flakes were zinc, and in many regions of the inside surfaces of the swage, white-colored salts were present in the helical impression grooves. EDS analysis indicated that the white salts were composed largely of zinc and oxygen, consistent with zinc corrosion product.

Exemplar Swage Joint Tensile Tests

At the request of the NTSB, the trim cable manufacturer performed five tensile tests on cable and bolt samples that had been assembled in accordance with the production specification. According to the manufacturer, the cable assembly (including the swaged area) was rated for 2000 N (about 450 lbf.) In each instance, the swaged region of the bolt developed a longitudinal crack. In all instances the cracks developed along the extruded rib between the flat regions of the swage. Similar to the inner surface of the accident swage, the inner surface of the tensile test swages exhibited helical impression marks consistent with contact with the cable wires. SEM Analysis of each fracture revealed that the crack occurred in overstress with a microvoid coalescence fracture mechanism. 

Criticality of Elevator Trim Tab Failure

According to the manufacturer, review of the elevator trim system of the DA 40 by the manufacturer and certification authority revealed that it was designed for low criticality of each single component. No failure of a single component would lead to an uncontrollable situation for the pilot and several failure modes had been looked at during the design and certification of the elevator trim system. 

The elevator trim tab attachment to the elevator, and the trim tab drive was redundant, to prevent flutter (within design speeds) in case of disconnect of the Bowden cable or a component failure. 

The most critical failure in the system would be disconnect of the Bowden cable at the actuating lever. The friction damper and friction clamp block were installed to prevent flutter for that failure case. 

In case of disconnect of the Bowden cable at the throttle quadrant, the mass and the friction of the cable would be sufficient to prevent flutter, and the friction damper would act as an additional damper. 

As a certification and flight test requirement, it was also demonstrated that an average pilot could handle a trim run-away or fully mis-trimmed condition. 

A disconnect would lead initially to a floating of the trim tab with the elevator, leading to reduced elevator control forces, as the trim system was designed as an anti-servo. As such, a reduction of longitudinal stability would occur. In case the trim tab floated towards an extreme position, stops would limit that movement. The stop towards "Nose Up" was designed to lock the tab in that position. This was considered by the manufacturer to be the most convenient and safest position. The manufacturer also considered that the low speed characteristics for the DA 40 were gentle and that there were additional warnings for the pilot before approaching a limit (stall warning, and /or buffeting). 

Additionally, a Bowden cable disconnect at the throttle quadrant or a failure of the forward swaging followed by the cable moving of the sleeve would have resulted in an additional length of the actuating mechanism driving the trim tab towards "Nose Up", which would result in the above described condition. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Spatial Disorientation

According to Advisory Circular (AC) 60-4A titled, "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," surface references and the natural horizon may become obscured even though visibility may be above VFR minimums and that an inability to perceive the natural horizon or surface references is common during flights overwater, at night, in sparsely populated areas, and in low-visibility conditions.

According to the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3), "Night flying is very different from day flying and demands more attention of the pilot. The most noticeable difference is the limited availability of outside visual references. Therefore, flight instruments should be used to a greater degree.… Generally, at night it is difficult to see clouds and restrictions to visibility, particularly on dark nights or under overcast. The pilot flying under VFR must exercise caution to avoid flying into clouds or a layer of fog." The handbook described some hazards associated with flying in airplanes under VFR when visual references, such as the ground or horizon, are obscured. "The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) in particular tends to confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in the attitude of the airplane, nor can they accurately sense attitude changes that occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated; leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation." 

The FAA publication Medical Facts for Pilots (AM-400-03/1), described several vestibular illusions associated with the operation of aircraft in low visibility conditions. Somatogyral illusions, those involving the semicircular canals of the vestibular system, were generally placed into one of four categories, one of which was the "graveyard spiral." According to the text, the graveyard spiral, "…is associated with a return to level flight following an intentional or unintentional prolonged bank turn. For example, a pilot who enters a banking turn to the left will initially have a sensation of a turn in the same direction. If the left turn continues (~20 seconds or more), the pilot will experience the sensation that the airplane is no longer turning to the left. At this point, if the pilot attempts to level the wings this action will produce a sensation that the airplane is turning and banking in the opposite direction (to the right). If the pilot believes the illusion of a right turn (which can be very compelling), he/she will reenter the original left turn in an attempt to counteract the sensation of a right turn. Unfortunately, while this is happening, the airplane is still turning to the left and losing latitude.

Pulling the control yoke/stick and applying power while turning would not be a good idea–because it would only make the left turn tighter. If the pilot fails to recognize the illusion and does not level the wings, the airplane will continue turning left and losing altitude until it impacts the ground."


http://registry.faa.gov/N840DS

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA083 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 10, 2012 in Lake Park, GA
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA 40, registration: N840DS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On December 10, 2012, at approximately 1950 eastern standard time, a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA 40; N840DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control during climb, near Lake Park, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight, which departed Valdosta Regional Airport (VLD), Valdosta, Georgia, and was destined for Jesup-Wayne County Airport (JES), Jesup, Georgia.

According to the VLD Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) supervisor, at approximately 1935, the pilot radioed VLD ATCT and advised that he was ready to taxi for departure. The pilot was then issued current weather and taxi instructions to the active runway. The pilot then advised the controller that he would be departing to the east to JES.

At 1939, the pilot advised ATCT that he was ready for departure and was issued current wind information and was cleared for takeoff.

At 1942, the pilot was advised to squawk a beacon code of "1200" and that he could receive visual flight rules (VFR) advisory service with Moody Air Force Base Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) on frequency 126.6. The pilot then advised that he was changing to frequency 126.6 for advisory services.

According to the RAPCON supervisor, after the pilot contacted the RAPCON for VFR flight following the pilot was advised to squawk a beacon code of "5576" but, at 1950, before the airplane was radar identified by the RAPCON, the pilot radioed "I'm in trouble". Moments later, both radar and radio contact was lost.

At 1953, downed airplane procedures were initiated and a search for the airplane by federal, state, and local authorities was initiated.

On December 11, 2012, at 1115, the wreckage of the airplane was discovered by the crew of a Georgia State Patrol helicopter in a heavily wooded area, approximately 7 miles from VLD.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially made contact with an approximately 56 foot high pine tree before striking two smaller trees and then the ground about 50 feet further on, from the initial impact point with the tree. The impact angle was measured at an approximate 45 degree nose down angle, and the airplane came to rest on a 107 degree magnetic heading in a depression on the forest floor.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane was heavily fragmented. Further examination revealed however, that all major components of the airplane were present and control continuity was established for all of the primary flight controls, and for the wing flaps.

The recorded weather at VLD, at 1953, approximately 3 minutes after the accident included: wind variable at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 1,400 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.84 inches of mercury.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on October 15, 2012. On that date, he reported that he had accrued 208 total hours of flight experience.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2007. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on April 27, 2012. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 203.1 total hours of operation.

Portions of the elevator pitch trim system were retained by the NTSB for further examination.



  
Rick Poppell 
(Source: Family)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - An NTSB preliminary report could be completed by the end of next week on a plane crash that killed Jesup businessman Rick Poppell. 

 They're still not sure why his plane went down shortly after takeoff from Valdosta. An autopsy report determined that Poppell died from multiple blunt force injuries. His death is being ruled accidental.

His visitation is 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jesup Church of God. The funeral is Sunday at 2 p.m. also at the Jesup Church of God.




LAKE PARK, GA (WALB) -  Tonight, aviation investigators and clean-up crews remain on the scene of that deadly plane crash in Lowndes County.

They're still not sure why the plane went down Monday night shortly after takeoff from Valdosta.

Jesup businessman and pilot Rick Poppell was in Valdosta to check on his Christmas tree lots. And we do know crews found a considerable amount of money at the crash site.

Mike and Cindy Hovanec say they were the last people to see 52-year-old Rick Poppell alive. Poppell flew into Valdosta Monday and stopped at the two Christmas tree lots he owned in Valdosta. The Hovanec's worked for Poppell for more than a decade and say his visit was unexpected.

"I turn around and there he was. And he goes, his favorite words were, 'what's goin' on?' and I'm going 'uh what's going on, what are you doing here?,'" said Mike Hovanec.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine says, Poppell was in town to collect the profits from his Valdosta businesses. Prine says they recovered a considerable amount of money in envelopes from the crash site.

"I thank God for this man, I thank God for him trusting us, you know there's a lot of money that goes through that cash register and this man trusted us over these years," said Hovanec.

As FAA and NTSB officials continued their investigation today, clean-up crews arrived to start removing the wreckage.

Investigators have allowed us to come a little bit closer to the scene of the crash. But we're told even if you're standing right next to the yellow tape, you can't even see the wreckage. He crashed into thick woods.

An autopsy report came back this morning and Poppell died from multiple blunt force injuries. He death was ruled accidental.

"Here's a man that was prosperous, here's a man that had everything, here's a man that was in good health and had a great wife and all of a sudden he's here today and bam, he's gone. It's like your life is a vapor," said Hovanec.

The Hovanec's say they couldn't have been luckier to have such a great boss.

"We loved him, we loved him, he was a great man, he will be greatly missed," said the Hovanec's.

NTSB officials say a preliminary report could be completed by the end of next week.

According to the FAA's pilot registration website, Poppell earned his pilot's license a little more than a year ago.

His body was taken to his hometown of Jesup this afternoon. 


Story and photos:   http://www.walb.com











IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 840DS        Make/Model: DA40      Description: DA-40 Katana
  Date: 12/11/2012     Time: 0054

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

LOCATION
  City: JASPER   State: GA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS 
  FATALLY INJURED, NEAR JASPER, GA

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: COLLEGE PARK, GA  (SO11)              Entry date: 12/12/2012 




JESUP, GA (WTOC)- Friends and loved ones of businessman Rick Poppell said his death in a plane crash leaves a void in their community.

"He was a leader in his church, a leader in business, a leader in this community," said Gary Browning, a close friend of Poppell and Wayne County's magistrate judge.

Poppell, of Poppell's Produce, had flown his plane to Valdosta to check on some of his family's Christmas tree sale lots Monday.

"He'd called them and said he was finished and on the way home and would be home in a couple of hours," Browning added. "Well, he's home. He's just not here."

Wayne County Sheriff John Carter said he was notified shortly after Poppell's single engine plane disappeared from radar south of Valdosta. Moments earlier, he had radioed in to advise of mechanical trouble.

"My deputies went out to the airport here to see if he'd made it home somehow," Carter explained. "That's when FAA told us they were treating this as a downed aircraft."

Carter knew Poppell as one of the supporters who helped sponsor a regional law enforcement appreciation dinner. He also knew him as the cousin of one of his deputies.

Poppell's Produce ships food all over the state of Georgia. This year, their Christmas trees adorn the Governor's mansion.

"Sandra and I had the great pleasure this holiday season of meeting Rick and his family when they donated the Christmas trees for the Governor's mansion. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy. We will think of him fondly every time we return home and see the beautiful trees that he so generously gave to the people of Georgia. We send our deepest condolences to the Poppell family, and we mourn this loss," Governor Nathan Deal expressed to WTOC.

Browning attended church with Poppell and said he had just recently founded a new Sunday School class for young adults. It was, Browning said, another example of his response to issues.

"Many people can spot a need. He had the ability, the uncanny ability, to see needs and jump in and work on them himself."

The crash is under federal investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board. His body will undergo autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday.

Source:  http://appling-wayne.wtoc.com
 
Governor Nathan Deal released this statement: 

"Sandra and I had the great pleasure this holiday season of meeting Rick and his family when they donated the Christmas trees for the Governor's Mansion. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy. We will think of him fondly every time we return home and see the beautiful trees that he so generously gave to the people of Georgia. We send our deepest condolences to the Poppell family, and we mourn this loss."

LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Federal Aviation Administration investigators are working to find out why a plane crashed into a swamp in Lowndes County Monday night. The Jesup pilot was killed when his Diamond DA-40 went down in Lake Park minutes after taking off from the Valdosta Airport.  

The search for the plane wreckage started around 8:00 Monday night and continued today.  More than 50 first responders tracked through the wooded terrain in Lake Park looking for any sign of Jesup native Rick Poppell and his single engine airplane.

"It's real thick back here, just dirt roads and thick, thick woods, I think if a plane crashed it'd be pretty hard to find back here," said Brian Findley, who lives nearby.

Just before noon Tuesday, a GSP helicopter crew spotted the plane off Old Lake Park Road. The Lowndes County Coroner was called to the scene shortly after. Poppell did not survive the crash.

"It's just a crash scene and nobody could have survived that," said Coroner Bill Watson.

Now investigators have not allowed us to go back there but what we do know is that the plane and his body were found about a half a mile down this driveway. His body was found next to a cow pen.

Poppell left the Valdosta Airport around 7:40 Monday night. He told air traffic control he was having problems shortly after takeoff but they lost contact with him around 8:00.

"We've worked several aircraft crashes and this is pretty devastating," said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.

Prine says the foggy weather last night made for dangerous flying conditions. It even halted their helicopter search efforts until this morning. Until FAA officials complete their investigation, we will not know the cause of the crash.

FAA and NTSB officials from Virginia arrived on scene late today and have started their investigation.  Poppell's body will be transported to the GBI crime lab in Macon Wednesday for an autopsy.


http://www.walb.com


Prominent Wayne County businessman Rick Poppell, 52, died Monday night in a plane crash in Lowndes County. Poppell’s Diamond DA40 crashed shortly after takeoff from Valdosta Regional Airport. He was the sole occupant of the four-seater aircraft. Searchers looked for Poppell throughout the night and into Tuesday morning before sighting the wreckage. The FAA reported Monday night that Poppell had telephoned to report trouble just after 8:30 p.m., when he left the airport. Shortly after that call, the airplane disappeared from radar and a search was initiated. 

 As many as 50 rescue personnel were involved in the search Tuesday morning, including Reggie Beasley and Mitch Sutton from Wayne County. The downed single-engine aircraft was spotted from the air at around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to an FAA spokesman. Authorities were able to use data from Poppell’s cell phone to assist in locating the wreckage. 

The plane was in what search crews described as “rugged terrain” off of Georgia Highway 41 between Dasher and Lake Park in Lowndes County, some 20 miles south of Valdosta. Rescue crews had difficulty reaching the crash site, where Poppell’s body was recovered. He was confirmed dead by Lowndes County coroner Bill Watson. 

Poppell and his wife, Cathy, had four children, Jonathan, Jacob, Katlyn and Ben.

Poppell was the owner and operator of Poppell’s Produce, which he opened in 1991 as a wholesale company dealing in fruits and vegetables. Last month The Press-Sentinel featured Poppell in an article that recounted how Poppell’s company had provided trees to decorate the Georgia Governor’s Mansion for Christmas this year. He and his Cathy were shown in front of the mansion along with Gov. and Mrs. Nathan Deal. 

Poppell had been active in the Republican Party for the past several years and had been instrumental in the elections of former Gov. Sonny Perdue and Deal, as well as other state and local elected officials. Longtime friend Mark Williams, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said that he and the community “will greatly miss a leader and a great person.” Poppell was also known as an active member of the Jesup Church of God, where he had been serving on the Church and Pastor’s Council for several years. He was also a young adult Sunday school class teacher.

Information as of press time Tuesday remained sketchy. Funeral arrangements had not been determined, but further details will be presented in a follow-up article in The Press-Sentinel.  The DA40 has accumulated a very low accident record, particularly with regard to stall and spin accidents. Its overall and fatal accident rates are one-eighth those of the general aviation fleet and include no stall-related accidents.   In a 2011 analysis by Aviation Consumer magazine, the DA40 was shown to have a fatal accident rate of 0.35/100,000 hours, the lowest in US general aviation.

Article:   http://www.thepress-sentinel.com  

A search is under way near Lake Park at a plane that disappeared off radar Monday night after the pilot, Rick Poppell of Jesup, reported trouble, officials said.   WALB TV is reporting that Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson confirmed that a body has been recovered at the plane crash scene in Lowndes County.

Lowndes County Sheriff Rick Prine said about 50 people were searching for the plane Tuesday morning and that a Georgia State Patrol helicopter is coming to the area to assist, WALB TV reportedWayne County Sheriff John Carter said he was advised that Poppell’s plane was missing Monday night.

“The FAA from Jacksonville asked us to check the airport here,’’ Carter said. “I’m assuming he was heading this way.FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the agency issued an alert for a missing aircraft in the vicinity Monday night. The plane was a single engine Diamond Aircraft DA 40, she said.  Bergen said she had no information on the number of people aboard.

Echols County Sheriff Randy Courson said a search began Monday night but called off because of dense fog.  Poppell owns Poppell’s Produce, which sells produce around the country and is well known locally for its pumpkin patch on the family farm north of Jesup that is visited by school groups before Halloween.

Poppell’s Produce also sets up Christmas tree lots in Southeast Georgia, and Carter said he was told Poppell had flown to Valdosta to check on sales there. 


Article:    http://savannahnow.com 

LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) -  Lowndes Co. Coroner Bill Watson confirms that a body has been recovered at the plane crash scene in Lowndes County. State troopers had been searching the wooded area for pilot Rick Poppell, who reported trouble with his Diamond Aircraft DA40 last night after takeoff. Authorities say terrain in the area is rugged, and crews were attempting to reach the site from the ground late Tuesday morning. 

Around 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, the Georgia Highway Patrol told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it found the wreckage of the plane, a Diamond Aircraft DA40, in Lake Park, Ga., just 20 miles south of Valdosta. A helicopter search squad arrived about 11:00AM, to help search the area. Lowndes Co. Sheriff Chris Prine says that a plane crashed last night in the Lake Park area. The pilot, Rick Poppell of Jesup Ga. left the Valdosta Airport at 8:30AM and told FAA he was having problems. Crews have been searching since Monday night. 

VALDOSTA, Ga. — The wreckage of a small plane that crashed in south Georgia with one person on board has been spotted from the air, and crews were trying to reach the crash scene, authorities said. The plane crashed Monday night in the Lake Park area, Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine told WALB-TV. he pilot left the Valdosta Regional Airport at 8:30 p.m. Monday and told authorities by radio he was having some type of problem, authorities said. 

The Federal Aviation Administration had issued an alert for a missing single-engine Diamond Aircraft DA40 in the Valdosta-Lake Park area, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Associated Press.

 One person was on board, Bergen said.Georgia Highway Patrol officials told the FAA that the wreckage was spotted around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, after a search of the area, Bergen said. The terrain in the area is rugged, and crews on the ground were attempting to reach the site around mid-day Tuesday, authorities said. Lake Park is about 13 miles southeast of Valdosta and just north of the Georgia-Florida line. 

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) - Authorities say the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in south Georgia has been located. One person on board, according the FAA. The FAA will release the aircraft registry when local authorities release ID and condition of the pilot. Authorities say the pilot left the Valdosta Regional Airport at 8:30 p.m. Monday and told authorities by radio he was having some type of problem.

WTOC-TV reports that the wreckage was spotted from the air after a search Tuesday morning. Authorities say the terrain is rugged, and crews were attempting to reach the site.  About 50 people were searching in the Twin Lakes area on Tuesday, and a Georgia State Patrol helicopter was called to assist them in those efforts. Lake Park is about 13 miles southeast of Valdosta and just north of the Georgia-Florida line.