Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Messerschmitt Bolkow-Blohm model BK 117-A3, N911BK: Accident occurred December 10, 2012 in Compton, Illinois

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA096  
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, December 10, 2012 in Compton, IL
Aircraft: MBB BK 117 A-3, registration: N911BK
Injuries: 3 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, about 2016 central standard time, a Messerschmitt Bolkow-Blohm model BK 117-A3 helicopter, N911BK, impacted the ground near Compton, Illinois. The pilot, flight nurse, and flight paramedic were fatally injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The emergency medical services (EMS) equipped helicopter was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital, and operated by Air Methods Corporation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Rockford Memorial Hospital Heliport (LL83), Rockford, Illinois, about 1958 and was en route to the Mendota Community Hospital Heliport (14IL), Mendota, Illinois, where it was to pick up a patient for transport back to the Rockford Memorial Hospital.

The purpose of the accident leg of the flight was to position the helicopter for a subsequent air medical inter-facility patient transport flight from the Mendota Community Hospital to the Rockford Memorial Hospital. The request was received by the Rockford Memorial Hospital Dispatch Center and the pilot was notified at 1927. At 1959, the pilot reported to the dispatch center that he was departing from the helicopter’s base at the hospital. He reported that he lifted off with one hour forty-five minutes of fuel and three persons on board and was en route to Mendota, Illinois. At 2010, the pilot radioed that he was 12 minutes from Mendota. at 2016, the pilot contacted the dispatch center notifying that he was aborting the flight due to the weather conditions encountered. No further communications were received from the helicopter.

At 2015, the surface weather observation at the Rochelle Municipal Airport-Koritz Field (KRPJ), Rochelle, Illinois, located about 10 miles north of the accident site, was: wind 290 degrees at 8 knots, 7 miles visibility, light snow, overcast ceiling at 3,300 feet above ground level, temperature -1 degree Celsius, dew point -2 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.94 inches of Mercury.

ROCKFORD - There are about 400-thousand patients transported each year by the staff that operates emergency medical helicopters, an expanding service that is regarded by many as one of the most high-risk jobs on the planet.

Local helicopter pilot Bob Hess has been flying helicopters since 1970.  He started flying in the military and now flies for Air One, a volunteer group that assists police agencies throughout the Stateline.

He's even flown REACT helicopter that crashed late Monday night, a 25-year old aircraft.

"It's built like a tank," said Hess.  "It's a very sound and reliable aircraft."

Since air ambulances respond to emergencies, there's no way to know what conditions will be like until pilots survey the sky.

"[We fly] at night and sometimes in poor weather, although we have limitations as to what we can go out in," said Hess.  Sometimes encountering freezing conditions, like what was possible for the REACT crew.

"I had that happen to me once in a hover, and I could barely hold onto the controls," said Hess.

Luckily for Hess he was only a few feet off the ground and was able to land.  But if ice does build up on the aircraft while it's up in the air, it can throw off the airfoil needed to fly causing the helicopter to quickly loose altitude.

"The air is coming down through the rotor system, top to bottom, that's what gives you lift and thrust," said Hess.

Most helicopters have limited de-icing equipment.  On one of helicopters used by Air One, just like on REACT, there are two components that have de-icing equipment.  One of the instruments is in front of the engine to ensure that air continues to flow over and into the engine; the second is up in front of the aircraft on the air intake instrument that allows the helicopter to monitor its airspeed.

"Very few and only very expensive aircraft, helicopters, have de-icing  on the rotor blades and fuselage," said Hess.

Hess says that's because most of the helicopters being used are old and upgrades aren't cost effective.  But they're used because they've become a lifeline and don't need those parts to fly.

"Would you rather have one that doesn't have the latest of everything on it, as oppose to nothing at all," said Hess.

Regardless of equipment or the type of helicopter REACT was, Hess thinks there's nothing that could have been done to save the aircraft once it had a catastrophic failure.

"I don't think the situation would have been any different, if I or anybody else was flying that aircraft," said Hess.  "Whatever happened was fate, it just happened."

Air ambulances are mostly flown by one pilot and it's important to point out that they do not come equipped with black boxes, or flight data recorders that log the cock-pit chatter and instrument readings.

That means NTSB investigators will only be able to gather contributing factors to the crash largely from evidence recovered from the scene.

Watch Video:

  Regis#: 911BK        Make/Model: BK11      Description: MBB BK117
  Date: 12/11/2012     Time: 0320

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

  City: ROCHELLE   State: IL   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: WEST CHICAGO, IL  (GL03)              Entry date: 12/11/2012 

1:10 a.m. this morning: Plane from Mexico airdrops Marijuana into U.S. near Calexico, California

Calexico, Calif. (KSWT News 13) - U.S. Border Patrol witnessed an ultra-light aircraft from Mexico dropping a package near Calexico before flying back across the border.

El Centro Sector agents first saw the aircraft as it flew across the border near the Calexico Downtown Port of Entry at around 1:10 a.m. this morning.

It dropped a package near Meadows and Spud Moreno Roads in Calexico. The ultra-light aircraft then turned around and flew back to Mexico.

Agents searched the area and found 300 lbs. of marijuana in bundles near a Jeep Cherokee that was still running. The Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of the seized marijuana. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $240,000.

In regards to this incident, Acting Chief Patrol Agent Roy D. Villareal stated, "The use of ultra-light aircraft in smuggling operations is an ongoing focus of Customs and Border Protection.  The El Centro Sector is utilizing all available resources to detect, interdict and apprehend trans-national air incursions.  The collaboration and partnerships with other local and federal law enforcement agencies in our area has been vital in our approach to addressing these occurrences."


Civil Aviation rules will ground trial glider flights

The thrill of soaring on the thermals in the safe hands of the Tauranga Gliding Club will end for most people on April 30 next year because of new Civil Aviation rules.

Club spokesman Mark Arundel said it was the end of an era spanning 55 years in which the club has provided "trial flights" for thousands of people aged from five to 95.

The new rule will restrict the club to providing trail flights to people who had a genuine interest in gliding as a recreational pursuit. "The acid test is whether the person had a bona fide interest."

Rule 115 to improve safety was being progressively phased in across New Zealand's adventure aviation operators, ending with gliding joy rides on May 1. It would require the club to be certificated in much the same way as helicopter and small aeroplane operators.

Mr Arundel said becoming certified was just too onerous for a club with 80 members, costing tens of thousands of dollars just for the paperwork.

"The high costs and burden of responsibility were more than what we were willing to bear."

The club had been caught by the blanket provisions of the rule to improve safety, even though there had never been any fatalities or injuries in its 55 years of offering trial flights. "In our sport the risk usually happens in competitive or cross-country flying but when we take people for flights we are extremely safe."

Mr Arundel said it was a shame that gliding had been dragged in with the rest of adventure aviation, although he understood the intention.

It meant the club could not take someone who wanted to fulfil a dream or tick off a wish from their bucket list, such as when Tauranga's Les Munro, the world's last surviving pilot of the 1943 Dambusters raid, tasted gliding for the first time at the age of 87.

"We have taken lots of older people for flights and they have really enjoyed it."

The new rules will impact on club finances, with income from the trial flights helping to offset costs.

He was also concerned that it would slowly but surely diminish the amount of club gliding activity, which would in turn diminish safety because people like the tow plane pilot and chief flying officer would be less active.

The club was currently looking at how it will structure the new trial flight regime and at this stage it was likely that prospective club members would be asked to sign up for a three months so they could fly at club rates.

The current set up is that people only needed to be honorary members of the club for one day. 


Air Force plane tagger avoids jail

A professional who drew a swastika and a penis on a visiting Australian military aircraft was identified through the DNA found in the spit he left on it. 

Charles Wilson Bullen, 35, was sentenced to community work and supervision when he appeared in Waitakere District Court today.

Judge Claire Ryan also ordered him to pay $4000 reparation.

She told Bullen that he had issues with alcohol and needed to get some help.

He was caught for the aircraft graffiti after a droplet of his spit found at the scene matched his DNA.

The court heard how the Royal Australian Air Force C17 Globemaster was plastered with tags while parked overnight at Whenuapai Air Base in September 2008.

Photos of the graffiti, which were placed before the court, showed swastika and a crude drawing of a penis.

The multimillion-dollar aircraft had to be removed from service while it was repaired.

The Royal New Zealand Airforce also apologised to their Australian counterparts.

Bullen was also sentenced for breaking pot plants and destroying an outdoor area at an Indian Restaurant in Hobsonville.

Judge Ryan ordered him to undergo alcohol counselling, complete 87 hours of community work and pay the Air Force and the Indian restaurant $2000 in reparations.

More Radar, Less Radio For Safer Takeoffs And Landings

December 12, 2012

The Wall Street Journal

 US Airways  Flight 27 was roaring down Runway 15R at Boston's Logan Airport when a pickup truck suddenly pulled into its path. The Phoenix-bound jet with 89 people on board lifted off just two seconds before possible collision, according to a Federal Aviation Administration investigation.

Look out the window of your next flight and you will likely see a lot more than big jets. Vehicles operate all around runways, from mowers to wildlife patrols, maintenance workers, runway inspectors and construction crews. During a snowstorm at a big airport, 40 vehicles may be out in the runway area. And any one of them could end up driving into the path of a jet.

A new ground-traffic program, developed partly in response to the 2009 Flight 27 close call, equips ground vehicles at Logan with identifying transmitters so they are easily seen and labeled on radar in the control tower.

These transmitters, a small part of the massive conversion of air-traffic control to digital technology, eventually will be rolled out at airports across the U.S. to cut the risk of collisions and improve efficiency for air-traffic controllers, acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta said.

"An airport is a complicated environment with a lot of players," Mr. Huerta said. "If you know what everything is, you can make a decision better."

"Runway incursions"—when a plane or vehicle mistakenly ends up in the path of an aircraft—have been a major safety focus at the FAA and pilot organizations for several years. The most serious—those requiring "extreme action" or having "significant potential" for collision—have fallen considerably, from 67 in 2000 to fewer than 10 a year lately, thanks to better signs and warning lights at runway entrances, new taxiways and other improvements. Yet the total number of incursions actually increased 21% in the past year. The number of vehicle-related incursions was up 9% last year to 199 from 183, according to FAA statistics.

Flight 27 startled airport managers at Logan who already had been working to reduce incursions. The Airbus A320 was on a normal takeoff roll at 6:36 a.m. on June 18, 2009, when the driver of a construction vehicle, mistakenly thinking that Runway 15R was closed, pulled out onto the surface. The jet pulled up normally, never seeing the truck. The FAA incident report said the closest proximity was 500 feet on the ground—a distance the jet would cover in about two seconds at takeoff speed of about 170 to 180 miles per hour.

"That was an eye-opener," said Vincent Cardillo, deputy director of airport operations for the Massachusetts Port Authority, known as Massport, which operates the airport.

After the Boston near-disaster, Massport overhauled procedures for ground vehicles mixing with planes in runway areas. The airport began studying ways for vehicles to be seen better in the control tower—a pressing issue at small, congested airports like Logan, where vehicles and planes operate in close proximity.

By placing "transponders"—6-inch-wide boxes mounted under dashboards that respond to radar with identifying information—in vehicles that drive across and around runways, the latest generation of ground radar can pick up trucks just like planes. In low visibility, the ground-radar display may be the only picture controllers have in the tower, 250 feet up. In any conditions, computers alert them to potential traffic conflicts and mistakes. Before controllers can reopen a runway or clear a plane to take off or land, they must ensure no mowers, plows or other vehicles are in the way.

"This takes you to the next level of safety," said Flavio Leo, Massport's deputy director of aviation planning and strategy.

To make the system work, the airport spent $600,000 and a lot of staff time on developing a new transponder that would work reliably in airport vehicles. As part of its joint effort with Massport, the FAA says it spent about $650,000, upgraded its ground radar at Logan, and tested transponders and systems at its Atlantic City, N.J., lab, among other services. ITT Exelis Inc. XLS +0.17% made applications and software for airport vehicles.

The system is part of the FAA's "NextGen" modernization, a multidecade, multibillion-dollar digital conversion designed to cut delays and improve safety.

An FAA spokeswoman said San Francisco, Denver and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport have expressed interest in the ground-traffic program, but there is no timeline for rolling out the system.

Eventually, pilots could have the same picture of ground vehicles on their screens and a system to warn them when a vehicle is on a runway they are using. Another idea in the works: have the radar turn on warning lights on runways to automatically alert pilots when vehicles encroach seconds before landing.

For now, the radar alone is a big improvement. In the Logan control tower, the ground-radar display showing aircraft in light green or yellow now tracks and labels pickups, snowplows and other vehicles in darker green. The pickup driven by the shift manager for airport operations is automatically tagged as BOSP25, for example, with a radio call sign of "Port 25."

Before the transponders, vehicles had to radio controllers to identify themselves. Controllers had to find the right blip on the ground-radar display and type in an identifying tag that sometimes dropped off the vehicle as it moved around. If the driver didn't call in, the controller might end up broadcasting requests for mystery vehicles to identify themselves. Now, the system is automatic and constant, and cuts down on both typing and radio transmissions so controllers can focus on planes.

"The objective is for these guys to be heads up and looking out the window," said Andy Hale, the FAA's tower manager in Boston, as he watched controllers direct takeoffs and landings on a recent day. "Anything that enhances our situational awareness is a bonus, and this definitely does that."

The system also could reduce delays, officials say, since controllers are able to reopen runways earlier when they know exactly where vehicles are.

Drivers get a copy of the radar display on iPads mounted in their vehicles, so they can see exactly where they are on the complex layout of taxiways and runways.

Massport has been testing the new system on nine vehicles for more than a year. About 70 vehicles will have it installed by the end of this month, including several snow plows. Each vehicle transponder costs about $6,000.

Logan has also undertaken a comprehensive program to cut down on runway incursions of all kinds.

The airport built a new taxiway between two heavily used runways so planes can pull off more easily after landing and avoid running into the parallel runway. Logan rebuilt some intersections where planes had a difficult time maneuvering and pilots occasionally got confused. The airport limited the number of people who could drive on the airport, forcing more to go with trained escorts. And it put extra checkpoints on the perimeter road around runways to remind drivers where they are by forcing them to stop and swipe their ID cards.

How planes crash: Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N9853Q - Accident occurred December 02, 2012 in Rochester, Minnesota

Posted at 3:21 PM on December 12, 2012 by Bob Collins 

It's not often we hear firsthand the stories of how plane crashes occur, especially the one in Rochester last week in which four people on their way home from the Packers-Vikings game in Green Bay, ended up upside down in a crashed plane.

The cemeteries are full of pilots and passengers who tried to land an airplane in bad weather.

But pilot Scott Lebovitz, 23, of Owatonna, and three passengers Daniel Cronk, 36; Alan De Keyrel, 38; and a 9-year-old boy, all from Byron -- suffered only bumps and bruises.

Mr. De Keyrel has written a compelling account of the incident (and provided very interesting pictures) on his company's website...

Read more here:

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA088 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 02, 2012 in Rochester, MN
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9853Q
Injuries: 4 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 December 2, 2012, about 1833 central standard time, a Cessna model 172M airplane, N9853Q, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during an instrument approach into Rochester International Airport (KRST), Rochester, Minnesota. The commercial pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Southeastern Minnesota Flying Club, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight plan. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed from Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB), Green Bay, Wisconsin, at 1603.

According to preliminary air traffic control data, the accident flight had been cleared for the instrument landing system (ILS) runway 13 approach into KRST. The accident flight was subsequently cleared to land on runway 13 after crossing-over the outer marker while on the inbound course.

After the accident, the pilot was interviewed by local law enforcement about the events leading up to the accident. The pilot reportedly said that he was flying the instrument approach into the airport and as he approached the decision altitude, 200 feet above the runway touchdown zone elevation, he was unable see the runway environment due the weather conditions. He reportedly increased engine power for a missed-approach, but the airplane subsequently impacted terrain and nosed-over.

At 1754, about 39 minutes before the accident, the airport’s automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 140 degrees true at 12 knots, visibility 1/4 mile with fog, runway 31 visual range (RVR) variable 1,000 feet to 1,200 feet, vertical visibility 100 feet, temperature 03 degrees Celsius, dew point 02 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 29.94 inches of mercury. The weather report indicated that the control tower visibility was 1/4 mile.

At 1854, about 21 minutes after the accident, the airport’s automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 140 degrees true at 11 knots, visibility 1/4 mile with fog, runway 31 visual range (RVR) 1,200 feet, vertical visibility 100 feet, temperature 04 degrees Celsius, dew point 02 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 29.93 inches of mercury. The weather report indicated that the control tower visibility was 1/4 mile.

Cessna 310F, N6725X: Accident occurred January 01, 2011 in Orange, Massachusetts
NTSB Identification: ERA11FA102
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 01, 2011 in Orange, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/23/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 310F, registration: N6725X
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot and passenger were on a pleasure flight in the multi-engine airplane and at the last moment the pilot decided to conduct a touch-and-go landing and takeoff at a nearby airport. During a short final leg of the landing approach, the pilot recalled seeing white and red lights on the left side of the runway and believed these were visual approach slope indicator lights. He was uncertain of what light color arrangement indicated a proper glide path to the runway. As the airplane approached the runway, the lights started to flicker, at which time the pilot applied full engine power, but the airplane immediately collided with trees and came to rest inverted. The pilot stated that there was less ambient light than he had anticipated and that there was haze in the air. He was not aware of the trees at the approach end of the runway. The airport was not tower controlled and none of the 4 runways were equipped with visual approach slope indicator lights. The intended landing runway has a published displaced threshold that is 850 feet from the runway’s original threshold. Published information cautions about trees at the approach end of that runway. The pilot did not review any publication for the intended airport before the flight. Additionally, the pilot did not hold a multi-engine rating or a multi-engine solo endorsement. The last entry in his flight logbooks for night flight was in 2000. The pilot reported no mechanical issues with the airplane before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot did not maintain separation from trees during landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight planning and lack of recent night flight experience.


On January 1, 2011, about 1757 eastern standard time, a Cessna 310F, N6725X, registered to and operated by an individual, crashed in a wooded area adjacent to the Orange Municipal Airport (ORE), Orange, Massachusetts, during a visual approach to runway 19. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. The personal flight was conducted under Title 14 of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane incurred substantial damage. The pilot received minor injuries and the passenger was killed. The flight departed from Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN), Keene, New Hampshire, earlier that day, about 1630,

A Massachusetts State Police representative (MSPR) stated that there were no eye witnesses to the accident. Residents near the airport, along the approach path to runway 19, reported hearing the airplane and noted from its sound that it was flying low compared to what they were accustomed to. Moments later they heard the crash. One witness ran toward the area where a person (the pilot) was yelling the passenger’s name, the pilot instructed the witness to call 911.

The pilot stated to the MSPR that he became a pilot in 1989 and has about five hundred hours of flight experience. For a period of 6 to 7 years he stopped flying and resumed about a year ago with an instructor. He purchased the accident airplane around May or June of 2010. About 1630 he and the passenger departed from EEN and flew over Franklin County where the pilot is originally from. He had decided to practice a “touch and go” landing at ORE before returning to EEN; the pilot mentioned he had flown to ORE previously. When the pilot approached the airport there was less ambient light than he’d anticipated and there was a “haze” in the air; he also found the airplane to lose altitude faster than his previous airplane. He recalled seeing white and red lights off to the left near the runway, believing there were a visual slope indicator. He was uncertain of what arrangements indicate a proper glide path onto the runway. As the airplane approached the runway, the lights started to flicker, at which time he applied full engine power. He was unaware of the tree until after the crash and he was on the ground. He reported no mechanical issues with the airplane prior to the accident.


The pilot, who was seated in the left seat, held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single engine land. He did not hold a multiengine rating. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate on September 10, 2010, with limitations that he must wear correcting lenses for distant and possess glasses for near vision. He had documented 500 total hours at that time. A review of the pilot’s flight logbook by FAA showed the pilot had about 50 hours of multi-engine instructional time. There was no multi-engine solo endorsement. The last entry for night time flight was in 2000.

The passenger, seated in the right seat, held no FAA certificates.


The Cessna 310F, a 4 place all metal, low wing, multi-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear, serial number 310-0025, was manufactured in 1960, and issued a standard airworthiness certificate, in the normal category. The airplane was powered by 2 each Continental IO-470-D, 260-horsepower engine and equipped with Hartzell two bladed, variable-pitch, propellers.

The airplane’s last annual inspection was February 1, 2010 and had a total of 5,416, hours at that time. The airplane’s engines were last inspected on February 1, 2010. The airplane last had maintenance on September 4, 2010; addressing a FAA Condition Notice. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 5,471 hours.


The ORE 1752 METAR, was winds from 310 degrees at 3 knots; visibility, 9 statute miles; clear sky; temperature 02 degrees Celsius (C); dew point minus 1 degrees C; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury.

The United States Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department recorded the phase of the Moon, on 1 January, 2010 for Orange, Massachusetts, as waning crescent with 8 percent of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated. The Moon’s position was recorded just above the horizon during the time of the accident. The sunset was at 1648 and the end civil twilight was 1658.


Runway 19 at ORE is an asphalt, 5000 foot long by 75 foot wide, with a 850 feet displaced threshold, at an elevation of 533 feet mean sea level (msl). The airport does not have a control tower and none of the 4 runways are equipped with a visual slope indicator. Information cautioning trees at the approach end of runway 19 are published. The runway lighting system is controlled by the airport’s common traffic frequency.


The main wreckage came to rest at latitude 42 degrees, 34.604 minutes north and longitude 072 degrees, 17.407 minutes west, at an elevation of 536 feet msl; the nose of the airplane was on a heading of 080 degrees. The airplane’s energy path was on a 200 degrees heading. The airplane initial contact was with a 70 foot tall tree, about 202 feet north from the main wreckage. The second contact was with a tree at a height about 55 feet above ground level (agl). The right aileron was located 125 feet north from the main wreckage. The third contact was with a thick tree at a height of 45 feet agl. Near that location a section of the right outboard wing was located on the ground. The fourth contact was with a thick tree at a height of 40 feet agl. The mid section of the right wing along with the right main landing gear, in the extended position, was located at the base of that tree.

Several trees were impacted thereafter along the energy path until the airplane’s left forward inboard wing to fuselage area struck a large diameter tree about a height of 25 feet agl. The airplane lodge itself at that location. The tree broke over near the base, which resulted in the airplane impacting the ground, in a fresh water creek, inverted. The left out board wing section with the tip fuel tank was located 20 feet southeast of the main wreckage. The nose gear assembly was located the furthest from the initial tree contact, about 45 feet east of the main wreckage. The left engine came to rest about 5 feet from the main wreckage, left wing area. The right engine came to rest about 30 feet east of the main wreckage. The engines and the left outboard wing section came to rest across the creek on public property. The distant from the initial tree contact to the beginning of the displaced threshold was about 640 feet and 1,490 feet to the touch down zone of runway 19.

An on-scene wreckage examination showed all of the flight control surfaces and control cable continuity were accounted for. The right wing was the first to contact the trees separating, the tip tank, the wing section between the engine nacelle and tip tank and then separating the wing from outboard of the engine to the fuselage. The right aileron was observed separated from the wing and early in the wreckage path. The right fuel tip tank was observed stuck in the tree approximately 60 feet agl. The left wing was observed separated just outboard of the engine. There was an impact with a tree approximately, 12 inches in diameter, just outboard of the left side of the fuselage which severed the main spar.

Both horizontal stabilizer were observed to have impact damage from the trees approximately 6 inches inboard of the tip. Both control yokes were observed in the respective locations in the instrument panel and moved together. The rudder pedals moved when the rudder was moved by hand. The elevator cables in the tailcone were observed connected; impact damage to the forward fuselage prevented the control yokes from moving when the elevator was moved by hand.

The aileron cables were continuous from the cockpit to the left wing aileron bellcrank. The aileron cables for the right wing were not observed, due location of the wreckage and damage to the right wing. All four of the flap panels were observed extended. The flap actuator was not observed due to the position of the wreckage. The empennage flight control surfaces were observed attached to their respective aerodynamic surfaces. All three trim tabs were observed attached to their respective control surfaces. The trim tab actuator measurement for the rudder was observed beyond the limits displacing the rudder tab to the right. The right aileron was observed separated from the wing. The left aileron was observed attached to the left wing.

Both front seats were observed separated from the seat pedestals and found outside the aircraft. The seat pedestal for the left front seat was observed distorted. The seat pedestal for the right front seat was observed with minor damage. The top forward section of the cabin area was crushed inward. The left side of the cabin area absorbed most of the impact. Both forward center attachment tabs for the front, left and right, lap seat belt systems were observed with their respective bolts ripped through the metal tab. The forward windshield was broken; remnants remained. Both of the rear seats remained attached to the fuselage. The left engine magneto switch was observed in the “Both” position. The right engine magneto switch was observed in the “Left” position. The left fuel selector was observed in the “Left Main” position. The right fuel selector was observed in between “Right Main” and “Right Aux” position. Engine control levers (throttles, propellers, and fuel mixtures) were observed in the full forward position. The altimeter setting was observed at 29.95 inches of mercury.

The left engine’s number 2 cylinder’s valve cover was observed with impact damage. Tree debris was observed in the area in between the engine cowling and top cylinders. Engine continuity was established by rotating the propeller and observing the alternator belt rotate. The fuel control assembly was intact. The fuel divider was observed with clean screen and fuel was present when opened. All top cylinder spark plugs were removed and observed with indication of the engine running rich. The left engine’s propeller was attached at the engine crankshaft flange. The propeller hub was compromised by impact damage. Both blades were bent aft at mid span. One blade was observed in the low pitch and the other in the high pitch angle. No cord scoring was observed on the blades.

The right engine’s number 1 cylinder valve cover was observed with impact damage. The oil sump pan was crushed. The fuel control assembly separated and was observed with impact damage. Engine continuity was established by rotating the propeller and observing the alternator belt rotate. The fuel engine driven fuel pump drive shaft was intact. The fuel divider’s top screws were not properly safety wired. The fuel divider was observed with clean screen and fuel was present when opened. The top cylinder spark plugs were removed; unremarkable. The right engine’s propeller was attached at the engine crankshaft flange. The propeller hub was unremarkable. One of the blades was observed with cord “S” twisting and bent aft, the other blade was bent aft at mid span. Erosion on the leading edge of the blades was observed. One blade was in the low pitch and the other in the high pitch angle.


The airport’s runway and taxiway lighting system was inspected and discovered one red lens cover separated from a light assembly for the left side threshold displacement lighting system for runway 19. There were no other discrepancies noted.


The Medical Examiner’s Office in Holyoke, Massachusetts, conducted a postmortem examination of the passenger. The cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Steven T. Fay of Hillsborough, N.H., 57, leaves the courtroom in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield, Mass. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 after he was was arraigned on a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the death of his daughter in a plane he was piloting on Jan. 1, 2011. Fay was not certified to pilot the twin-engine Cessna he crashed on approach to Orange Municipal Airport in western Massachusetts. 

 An FAA investigator looks up at the trees hit by Cessna 310F (N6725X) as it crashed near the Orange Municipal Airport Jan. 1, 2011.

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A New Hampshire man who piloted a plane that crashed in Orange, killing his daughter, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for her death.

Fifty-eight year-old Steven T. Fay of Hillsborough, N.H. entered the plea in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield on Tuesday, according to Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

Fay’s daughter, 35 year-old Jessica Malin, was killed when the Cessna twin-engine plane crashed short of the runway at Orange Municipal Airport. The plane’s wings had clipped some trees on the approach to the airport, causing the crash.

Carey says that Fay had a pilot’s license, but he was not qualified to be flying that type of plane without an instructor on-board. She says he also was advised by his instructor not to fly at night, or with passengers on board.

Prosecutors and Fay’s attorney are recommending probation until the end of next year. Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne says that they never intended to put Fay in jail.

“While we believed it was important to hold Mr. Fay legally responsible for the crash that claimed Ms. Malin’s life, we also recognize that he will live with this tragedy for the rest of his life, regardless of what happened in court,” Gagne said.

The FAA revoked Fay’s pilot’s license following the crash, and prosecutors are asking that he never again be allowed to have his license re-instated.

Logan County Commissioners get clarification on bills for fire fighting support: Questions answered about use of Fort Morgan aviation company to fight Merino fire

STERLING -- The Logan County Commissioners agreed to pay two bills for firefighting support on Tuesday after denying them last week because they wanted more information.

The bills from Matt's Hoe Service and Scott Aviation were related to services provided during a fire that occurred on Oct. 3 between Atwood and Merino, east of Highway 6.

Merino Fire Chief Dan Wiebers, Sterling Fire Chief Kurt Vogel and Logan County Sheriff Brett Powell met with the commissioners during a work session to discuss what happened and why the county was getting billed.

Wiebers explained the fire was located in the Merino response area. A train going through the area set five individual fires between Atwood and Merino, one of them  involving a structure, Wisdom Manufacturing. So, they called for mutual aid from Sterling.

"It was actually overlapping area, so we automatically responded to the fires closer to the county," Vogel said.

Sterling immediately called for mutual aid from all the other fire districts -- Peetz, Crook, Fleming and Hillrose.

"We needed a water drop," Vogel said.

So, he called for Darrel Mertens, Aero Applicators, to put out spotter planes, but Mertens didn't have a pilot. At that time, Vogel was unaware that Scott Aviation, in Fort Morgan, was available as an option.

Merlin Gertson, Hillrose Volunteer Fire Department Chief, heard the call and called Scott to see if he was available, and he was. They ended up using the plane for four hours.

"If we didn't have an airplane it could have got really bad," Powell said.

He also pointed out that Scott's bill was fairly cheap considering he flew from about 1 or 1:30 to 5 p.m. and made 13 to 15 drops.

Firefighters spent 30 hours straight fighting the fire. Donaldson thanked them for their service.

A bulldozer was requested from Matt's Hoe Service to get into places they couldn't with just a truck.

Commissioner Dave Donaldson said the sheriff needs to sign off on any invoices submitted to the county.

Commissioner Debbie Zwirn asked when the last time was that they used money out of a fund established for emergency firefighting. Powell said they used them five times this summer.

"I guess, maybe, it was the size of this bill that really caught my attention," Zwirn said. "Then, I started questioning, well if it's in a fire protection district, where people are paying taxes to belong to that district, then why are we paying?"

"That's what this fund is set up for," Powell said.

The fund, which was originally in the sheriff's budget and is now in the commissioners' budget, was started after a fire south of Sterling Correctional Facility, not in a fire protection district, resulted in a $6,800 bill.

Powell came to the commissioners then to set up a fund and they started putting $10,000 in it.

"What my information was is we have a fund that builds every year," Powell said.

Money may or may not be spent during the year, depending on whether it's needed.

Powell said that the bill was cheap compared to what the state of Colorado would charge, which would be about $2,800 to $3,200 per drop.

Donaldson pulled the minutes from 2007 concerning how to pay for airdrops and it doesn't seem like there is any better policy today than what they had then.

According to Colorado Statute, if a fire is out of the fire department's or fire district's control, they can request resources through the sheriff and the sheriff will assume the financial responsibility on behalf of the county.

Powell said he's given authority to Vogel and Sterling Rural Fire District to allow the deputy fire marshal to direct a fire in his absence.

"Because in these kinds of situations, we can't make a whole lot of phone calls," he explained.

"You have to trust what I do, because that's why I was elected," Powell went on to say.

Donaldson asked, "if it's within a fire protection district, which those landowners are paying a mill levy for service, should it be county monies that pay for it?"

"We've got 40 to 45 sections on the western side of the county that aren't in any fire protection district, that it would be my assumption that's why those funds were set aside."

In sections where there is no fire protection district, fire departments will bill whoever is liable for starting the fire.

"I want to ensure that the sheriff gets read into this before it gets delegated down to an assistant fire coordinator," Donaldson said, noting he wants to make sure the sheriff is requesting services and not someone from a fire department in another county.

"I want to make sure that it's coming from the sheriff, who has the statutory responsibility."

Weibers said he could see Donaldson's point. But, he pointed out, "whether I called for it, Kurt (Vogel) called for it or Chief Merlin (Gertson)called for it, the resource was used within Logan County."

"I didn't know that at the time," Donaldson replied. "I didn't know that it had drifted down to Hillrose, along the tracks, and they provided services up into Logan County. We didn't have any information."

Powell noted they're lucky in that Mertens will provide services as long as the fuel is paid for. He said he isn't sure what Scott will do, but now he knows that's another option in cases where a plane is needed.

There was discussion about putting guidelines in place for use of the fund.

Donaldson asked for an incident report for situations like this in the future, so they know what happened, who made the call requesting additional services and the sheriff's role. 


Socata TBM 700, N194CS: Aircraft landed gear up at McGhee Tyson Airport (KTYS), Alcoa, Tennessee

  Regis#: 194CS        Make/Model: TBM7      Description: TBM-700
  Date: 12/12/2012     Time: 1422

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

  City: ALCOA   State: TN   Country: US


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

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: NASHVILLE, TN  (CE19)                 Entry date: 12/13/2012

Socata TBM 700 (N194CS) with nose gear problems had to make an emergency landing Wednesday morning at McGhee Tyson Airport. The  aircraft is owned by Csoki Aviation Inc., of Knoxville.

Airport officials were informed at 9:24 a.m. by air traffic controllers about the emergency situation involving a small plane with nose gear issues, said airport spokeswoman Becky Huckaby.

The plane landed safely at the airport with the pilot and a passenger. Huckaby said the airport’s emergency vehicles responded to the plane after its landing in case assistance was needed. 

No one was injured and no other planes or buildings at the airport were in danger during the ordeal.  The plane landed at a parallel runway, so regular air traffic operations were not affected, Huckaby said.

“Both of our runways are used for commercial and general aviation traffic,” Huckaby said. “Because it happened on (just) one runway, it doesn’t impede traffic.”The Federal Aviation Administration responded and had the plane moved by noon, Huckaby said.

Csoki Aviation Inc., of Knoxville, owns the aircraft.   According to online flight tracking website Flight Aware, the plane left Hanover County Municipal Airport in Ashland, Va., at 7:28 a.m. and arrived at its destination, McGhee Tyson Airport, at 9:15 a.m.

News Article:
ALCOA (WATE) - A small plane made a rough landing Wednesday morning at McGhee Tyson Airport. The twin-engine, TBM propeller plane had nose gear issues, according to airport spokeswoman Becky Huckabee, and made a rough landing around 9:30 a.m. on one of the airport's secondary runways. Two people were on board the plane, but no injuries were reported. No commercial traffic was affected by the landing.

Story and reaction/comments:

KNOXVILLE — No one was hurt today when a privately owned plane made an emergency landing at McGhee Tyson Airport, authorities said.  The TBM twin-engine propeller plane landed just before 9:25 a.m. after the pilot had trouble with its landing gear, airport spokeswoman Becky Huckaby said. Two people were believed to be aboard, and neither reported any injuries.

Story and reaction/comments:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating an emergency landing that happened at McGhee Tyson Airport Wednesday morning.

According to Becky Huckaby, an airport spokesperson, the pilot contacted the McGhee Tyson Airport's tower around 9:25 a.m. concerning a nose gear issue. 

Airport officials were prepared for the single-engine plane to land hot.

"Our people are well trained to respond to this type of emergency. 

We were on standby capacity," Huckaby said. 

The rough landing caused significant damage to the plane but the two people on board, including the pilot, did not sustain injuries. 

Since it was a private plane, it did not land on the primary runway.

 "It did not impact operations here at our facility today because it did land on the secondary runway on our two parallel runway systems.

The primary runway, which is used for commercial operations, was not involved," Huckaby said. 

It took approximately two hours for FAA and airport officials to remove the plane from the runway.

Gone Fishin' at Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey

Published on December 10, 2012

John Scholtens flying his Cessna 150H at age 87

Published on December 6, 2012 

Doing what John so enjoys - flying his Cessna 150H (N50049).