Thursday, March 21, 2013

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne, Miami Aviation Specialist Inc, N63CA: Accident occurred March 15, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA168
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 15, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31T, registration: N63CA
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 March 15, 2013, about 1620 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31T (Cheyenne), N63CA, owned by M.A.S. Inc., was destroyed after it impacted the ground shortly after takeoff from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local maintenance test flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to initial information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was purchased by its current owner during November 2012, and was being prepared for export to a customer in Columbia. The pilot planned to conduct a local test flight after avionics upgrades had been performed.

The owner stated that the airplane had undergone engine ground checks during the 4 days prior to the accident. He was not aware of any maintenance issues with the airframe or engines, which underwent detailed inspections at the time of the purchase.

The airplane departed from runway 8, a 6,002-foot-long, asphalt runway, and was expected to turn to the left for a northwest departure. Shortly after takeoff, witnesses observed the airplane make a steep right turn back toward the airport. The pilot transmitted that he was experiencing an "emergency;" however, he did not state the nature of the emergency prior to the accident. One witness, who was a pilot on an airplane that was parked in the mid-field run-up area at FXE, stated that the accident airplane had difficulty climbing and barely cleared the obstacles located off the departure end of the runway. The airplane turned to the right, and "began to shake as if it was near stall speed". The airplane then appeared to stall, roll to the right about 90 degrees, and descend straight down toward the ground.

The airplane impacted into about seven parked vehicles, and came to rest inverted about .6 miles from the departure end of the runway. A postcrash fire consumed the airframe, with the exception of the right wingtip fuel tank, which was located about 20 feet south of the main wreckage. The right landing gear was found retracted in its respective gear well, while the structure around the nose and left main landing gears was compromised. The left and right flap actuator jackscrews indicated the flaps were in the retracted position. The airplane's stability augmentation system control arm was observed in the up (airplane stalled) position. It was noted that internal damage to both engines was consistent with rotation somewhere between the low to mid-range power setting, with more pronounced damage observed to the left engine. The three-bladed right propeller assembly did not display any significant evidence of twisting or rotational damage, while the left propeller assembly displayed evidence of twisting and rotational damage.

Initial review of the airplane's maintenance logbooks revealed that it had been operated for about 135 hours during the previous 5 years, and 20 hours since its most recent documented phase inspections, which were performed on January 31, 2012.

Steven Waller

A pilot from the district was killed when his plane crashed in flames in Florida.

Steven Waller, 65, from Keighley, died – along with a friend and his friend’s son.

The plane’s impact in a car park at Fort Lauderdale set about a dozen vehicles ablaze.

Mr Waller – born at Keighley’s former St John’s Hospital – was a professional pilot and flew light aircraft for private companies.

Last Friday he was at the controls of a twin-engine propeller plane when it developed engine trouble.

He tried to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The cause of the crash, which killed Mr Waller, along with Wally Watson and his son, Kevin Watson, is under investigation.

Mr Waller’s aunt, Elizabeth Vasey, 70, who lives at Laithe Close, Silsden, said Steven’s family was devastated by the tragedy.

She said it could be months before the investigation’s findings were revealed.

She added: “Steven was great – very tall, good looking and charismatic.

“He left Keighley when he was young but he used to come back every summer and called this place home. It didn’t matter where he went, he was always a Yorkshireman.”

His widow, Kim Waller, told an American news network she was in shock over the death of her husband of 16 years.

She said: “He meant everything to me. He was an excellent pilot. He would do anything for anyone.

“He was just helping a friend, doing a favour. I know Steven would never have taken that plane up if he had had any doubts whatsoever with it. But then he wouldn’t have known the mechanics, because he didn’t own that aircraft.

“He never took chances. He double and triple-checked everything he did.”

Mr Waller, an only child, was born in 1947 to parents Hazel and Roy. He was the grandson of footballer Clarkson Baldwin, who captained the Silsden team in the year they won the Keighley Charity Cup 100 years ago.

Mr Waller was educated in Liverpool then joined the army as a teenager, serving in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for ten years. He was stationed in Germany and Hong Kong and qualified as a diver and underwater welder.

After he left the forces he was a metallurgist in Germany, where he met his first wife, Helga. The couple had one daughter, Indra, but later divorced.

Mrs Vasey said her nephew moved to America about 20 years ago, which is where he gained his pilot’s license.

He leaves behind his second wife, Kim, as well as his daughter in Germany. His mother, Hazel, lives in Liverpool, his father in Australia.

Mrs Vasey said Steven had flown clients across the Atlantic, as well as to destinations like Bermuda and Brazil. 

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