Sunday, February 03, 2013

Dearth of pilots raising worries

 
MATTHEW PUTNEY
 Tim Newton, left, manager with Livingston Aviation goes over instruction with flight student Rob Kietzman, right, at the Waterloo Municipal Airport Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Waterloo, Iowa. Kietzman from Ainsworth, Nebraska is working on his commercial pilots license.
 (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)



WATERLOO, Iowa --- Airlines anticipate a pilot shortage in coming years that could cut into service of small-market airports like Waterloo. 

 But it could boost business at flight schools, according to at least one aviation expert.

Pilots in general aren't young workers, according to Denny Kelly, a former pilot and now an aviation consultant with Kelly-James and Associates in Dallas. He says the average age of a commercial airline pilot is about 48.

"You've got to remember 5 to 10 percent of these pilots will retire every year," he said.

He pointed out American Airlines, whose regional carrier, American Eagle, serves Waterloo with two flights per day in and out of Waterloo Regional Airport, has been in bankruptcy reorganization and has lost pilots in recent years. If trends continue, he could envision American cutting back service to Waterloo if it needs to shift regional pilots to longer routes.

"If Eagle or American starts having a pilot shortage they're going to have to cancel flights, and the first ones they're going to cancel are markets like Waterloo," Kelly said. "If there's only two flights, that's a pretty small market, and that would be a place they'd look to cut. It's going to affect a lot of people a lot of ways."

But Brad Hagen, director of Waterloo Regional Airport, said there are a couple of reasons to doubt Kelly's dire outlook.

"First, we haven't heard anything from American regarding pilot shortages and any possible impact in the future," Hagen said.

Secondly, Hagen said, Waterloo is now part of the federal Essential Air Service program, which likely would insulate it from cutbacks.

"Since we're an EAS market, I don't think there's going to be any impact on Waterloo any time in the future," Hagen said. "If that comes about, small markets might be affected but not EAS markets."

Hagen said American Airlines likely would have informed him of any possible local impact.

"Through the years, there's been ebbs and flows of pilot shortages. How serious this is, I don't know, but we haven't been told by American there's going to be an impact, and I don't see that in the near and mid-term," he said.

A shortage of pilots could hit Waterloo, said Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airlines Association, based in Washington, D.C.

"I absolutely think that communities, even much larger than Waterloo, will be in jeopardy of losing their services, and that is not only by nature of the airline business but by the potential of pilot shortage that could hit almost at any time," Cohen said. "The concern is well-founded."

Residents who want to protect commercial air service should contact their lawmakers in Washington, Cohen said.

Rules that require an 1,500 hours of flight time for new pilots need to be reviewed, Cohen said.

"That ... is the single biggest barrier to getting new pilots into the pipeline," he said.

Flight schools like Livingston Aviation in Waterloo and Walter Aviation Inc. in Independence fill a vital role in addressing the problem --- as far as they can.

But that takes time.

People pursuing aviation careers may come out of training with 300 to 500 hours flight time. That leaves them 1,000 hours short of qualifying to be an airline pilot.

"Young pilots who would consider pursuing these careers aren't even getting interviewed," Cohen said.

Boost possible

 
On the other hand, Kelly said, the potential shortage could be a boon to flight schools.

Experts say some airlines could be strapped for pilots by the end of the year as current pilots reach mandatory retirement age of 65 and rules from the Federal Aviation Administration requiring extra training take hold.

Kelly cited Boeing Aircraft Co. estimates that the world's airlines will have to hire 460,000 pilots in the next 20 years. Flight schools are not turning out enough candidates, and the people they do turn out don't have enough experience.

The best way to build that experience is by becoming a flight instructor, Kelly said.

"They go out and get 1,000 hours instructing," he said. "But they instruct in a two seat single-engine plane that goes 90 mph."

Livingston Aviation, located next to Waterloo Regional Airport, has seen a slight increase in inquiries from prospective students for its flight training program in the last year, said Tim Newton, general manager.

"There certainly is talk of a shortage and a lot of older pilots retiring, and that's something we hope to tap into at some point," Newton said.

Livingston's flight school has an enrollment of about eight students, Newton estimated. Some learn to fly helicopters, some private planes, some commercial. Livingston does "a fair amount" of flight instructor training, Newton said.

"We have an accelerated program," he said. "I've noticed our flight instructor one is quite popular. Perhaps there's more people getting into the professional pilot field than in the past."

Walter Aviation, which operates at Independence Airport, has about a dozen students, said owner Jonathan Walter.

"We'll over double that in the summer," he said.

It generally takes three to six months to get a pilot's license and at least two years to become a flight instructor, Walter said.

Commercial airlines aren't the only sector short of pilots, but there's some hope of a reversal.

"Just in the last year we've had a tremendous increase in people under 30 enrolling in our flight school," he said. "Over half of our students now are under 26."

Before, nine of every 10 enrollees were over 30 years old, Walter said.

The obstacles to becoming a commercial pilot are numerous.

"The feedback I'm getting is that a few want to go airline. The rest want to make a career out of aviation, but in medical flights, corporate, charter or crop dusting, you name it," Walter said.

Money shortage

 
Flight schools could take on a more important role, Kelly said. He thinks the airlines should join with flight schools to train aspiring pilots in bigger airplanes. But the major airlines are chronically strapped for cash.

The airlines once got a lot of pilots from the military, but those numbers have dwindled as airlines have disappeared and rules have changed. The military used to require a five-year obligation, Kelly said. Today, military pilots sign on for 11 years.

"You got out and were 25-28 years old, and the airlines gobbled you up," he said. "That isn't the case now. Plus, there's not that many guys, and once these guys get 11 years in, why not go up nine more and get a retirement?"

Commercial captains can make $200,000 a year, and co-pilots make good money, too, Kelly said. But there are yearly physicals, regular flight checks in a simulator and routes often are awarded according to seniority, Kelly said.

"If you're furloughed and come back, you have to start at the bottom," he said.

American Airlines has about 8,000 pilots --- down from a peak of 11,000. The airline says it will need 800 more to accommodate new FAA rules that mandate longer rest periods --- from eight to 10 hours --- if the new FAA regulation takes effect, Kelly said.

Whether it does up in the air now. The rules currently don't apply to cargo pilots, and they are threatening to sue, saying they should, Kelly said.

The biggest problem, though, is the wave of retirements.

American's bankruptcy also could play a role in the airline's ability to keep pilots, Kelly said.

Foreign carriers are offering jobs to experienced pilots that pay 20 to 30 percent more than some American jobs, Kelly said.

"If I'm 40 and flying for American airlines and flying co-pilot on a 737-800, and Qatar Airways will pay twice what you're making to be a captain, what are you going to do?" he asked.

Livingston's Newton said there is another, perhaps bigger, potential shortage in the aviation field --- mechanics.

"It's hard to get the training," Newton said. "Numerous community colleges have closed their programs in the last five to 10 years, including three or four in Iowa. We've actually had a couple of apprentices through our shop."

Story and Photos:   http://wcfcourier.com

Missing ultralight plane found north of Brisbane

 
Searcher have found the body of a female pilot who went missing in an ultralight plane 70km north of Brisbane. 

Police have confirmed the Skyfox Gazelle has been found in bushland at Glass House Mountains.

The body of the missing female pilot has been found in the wreckage.  

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman said the officer who discovered the scene reported the pilot to be deceased.

"The search has now ended and the Queensland Police take over the investigation," the spokesman said.

The missing Skyfox gazelle was located just north of Beerburrum on Woodford Road at Glasshouse Mountains.

Vegetation in the area was extremely dense, and explains why the aircraft was not found sooner, Caboolture Aero Club president John Dawson said.

He said the thoughts of the Caboolture Aero Club members were with the pilot and her family.  

"Didn't know the lady, I know she was a part owner in aircraft which was a Skyfox Gazelle built in Caloundra," he said.

"I spoke to people yesterday who said she was most competent at flying; the lady was in a syndicate ownership and the plane was operated by the flying school."

Mr Dawson said he spoke to a number of people yesterday who knew the pilot but he was not aware of her flying history.

He said concerns were raised about by mid afternoon Sunday.

"When she didn't return by time fuel would run out the alarm was set off", he said.

The aircraft's signal dropped off the radar over the Glass House Mountains about 9.30am Sunday.  

Ground and aerial search crews, involving six helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft, swept the area yesterday but found no sign of the pilot or the green-coloured aircraft.

One of the search aircraft was AMSA's high-tech Dornier, a type used in the search for the deHavilland Dragon which crashed near Kandanga last year.

Earlier, Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman Mal Larsen said a team was dispatched at first light.

“After attempts failed last night the search resumed this morning, 12 helicopters, one fix-winged aircraft and police on foot have begun the search,” he said.

“Because of the thick bushland helicopters are the more effective search vehicle."

Four police trail bikes and three police 4WDs are assisting in the land search.

He said the search area for the day had been mapped out in the hopes of finding the accredited pilot and her green ultra-light aircraft.

“It is narrowed to 108 square nautical miles, which is roughly 220 km, in the area north-west of Caboolture,” he said.

“The search area has been narrowed to the likely area according the last known radar sighting."
 
Careflight Rescue Helicopter crewman Ryan Purchase told the ABC the search area covers some very difficult terrain.

"The radar can pinpoint where she lost contact," he said.

"The terrain we were flying over was dense bushland, pine plantations around the western side of the Sunshine Coast."

A police media spokeswoman said the woman was believed to only be carrying enough fuel for 150 minutes of flying.

No distress signal had been activated yesterday.

Police are investigating a report from a woman in the nearby town of Neurum who said she saw a plane flying low over the ground.

Residents in neighbouring areas offered information to Queensland Police via their Facebook page.   

“My daughter was watching a green and white plane flying really low this morning about 10am at Neurum,” Teresa Stanton wrote.

Another user said: “I heard a small plane coughing and spluttering this morning. We are in Woodford and I mentioned it to my daughter as it didn't sound good at all!”

Princess Danni wrote: “I saw a plane this morning at about 9 at the glasshouse mts (sic) I was unsure if it was landing.”

Krystal Drew said she saw a dark blue plane flying low over the rural township of D'Aguilar.
 
“I watched it for a bit and it seemed to be circling,” she wrote.

“I had polarized sunglasses on so may have been mistaken for blue instead of green but was definately (sic) a skyfox gazelle it nearly ran into the tops of trees on the next property at about 12:30 pm today.”

Caboolture resident Kerry Willson said she heard a light plane over her house “spluttering and misfiring badly” about 9.15am.

“This plane was quite low over our house and continually spluttering and cutting out and could possibly have come down unseen from the highway or from the airport,” she wrote.

 - reporting by Jacinda Tutty, Kris Crane, Kristin Shorten and AAP

Federal Aviation Administration Mandates Inspections of Older Piper Aircraft

Updated February 3, 2013, 7:46 p.m. ET

By ANDY PASZTOR
The Wall Street Journal


Regulators on Monday will mandate enhanced inspections and repairs where necessary to cables that control tail surfaces on about 30,000 Piper aircraft, some of the most popular general-aviation planes sold in the U.S.

Prompted by at least one accident and a serious incident stemming from such malfunctioning flight-control systems in recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration wants planes that are 15 years or older to be checked for damaged or corroded cables during their next annual inspection. Younger planes are supposed to undergo the same inspection once they reach 15 years.

The FAA's safety directive, slated to become final when it is published in Monday's Federal Register, also mandates repetitive follow-up inspections. The move is unusual because it follows a pair of nonbinding recommendations by the agency on the topic going back 10 years, as well as more-recent safety letters and bulletins issues by the manufacturer.

The FAA said the move was prompted by "reports of control cable assembly failures that may lead to failure" to control movable tail surfaces that are essential to direct the noses of the planes up or down.

The mandate covers more than 34,000 propeller-driven Piper Cherokee, Saratoga, Lance and Seminole models, and industry officials said most of them are older than 15 years.

In comments submitted to the FAA, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said previously nonbinding government safety bulletins calling for inspections of all cable fittings for corrosion or cracking weren't adequate

Closely held Piper Aircraft Inc., based in Vero Beach, Fla., on Sunday issued a statement noting it "has cooperated fully with the FAA in developing" the safety directive and considers the move "helpful to increase overall flight safety."

In the statement, Jackie Carlson, Piper's director of communications, also said the company in 2010 and 2012 told owners and operators of the affected planes to inspect the control cables and associated hardware. In all three hazardous events cited by the safety board, according to Piper's statement, "evidence of approaching failure" of the cable or control systems "should have been clearly observable" during recurrent inspections.

Considering the large number of Piper aircraft that have been "in operation in the past 50 years, the historical data demonstrate that trained mechanics can identify these conditions before failure occurs," according to the company.

An FAA spokeswoman declined to comment. The agency initially proposed the safety directive last August but then invited comments.

In the final version of the directive, scheduled to become effective in early March, the FAA said safety data show "that certain Piper models have multiple reports" of cracked, corroded or frayed cables.


Source:   http://online.wsj.com

India: Flying club’s clipped wings leave students high and dry: Students unable to complete required flying hours due to club’s lack of chief flight instructor

Young flying aspirants have been left in the lurch, unable to complete their stipulated period of flying training to obtain a commercial pilot’s license.

The situation has arisen as the Madras Flying Club has not had a flight instructor for the past year. Airport sources said Captain N.K. Singh was the club’s last chief flight instructor. In January 2012, he turned 65 and as per civil aviation requirements, could not continue as instructor. Since then the club has not filled his post, and its students have been unable to complete the stipulated 200 hours of flying.

Another hiccup is the expiry of the club’s flying training approval. As per the guidelines of the directorate general of civil Aviation (DGCA), the validity of flying training approval of the club expired in March 2012, and was not renewed due to the non-appointment of a qualified instructor.

Another source said that ground classes had also been suspended for nearly six months after the chief ground instructor went on leave. They said he returned only a few weeks ago

The club however, continued to enroll a fresh batch of students. A senior official from the airport said nearly 30 students have been enrolled by the club in the last year. Each student has paid nearly Rs. 2 lakh for the training, which includes flying training, the official said.

The club has two Cessna 152 aircraft and a Cessna 172 aircraft, allotted to it by the Aero Club of India. All the aircraft are air-worthy, but they have not been operated for more than a year and are standing idle at the club’s hangar in the old airport in Meenambakkam.

Sources said that students have to spend nearly Rs. 20 lakh to undergo training in the Cessna 172 aircraft and Rs. 15 lakh for the Cessna 152.

Another problem with the club is that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has not renewed the club’s agreement. An AAI officer said they refused to renew the agreement issued to the club as they found it was using the facility to repair private aircraft. The officer said this was a gross violation by the club. The AAI had allocated a space to the club only on the condition that they would not undertake any commercial activity.

The AAI has already issued a notice to the club to vacate its premises at the old airport, where it has its administrative office and hangar.

When contacted, K. Sebastian Joseph, honorary secretary of the Club said they had already identified a suitable person to impart flying training. However, he could not begin classes as the DGCA had not given its clearance for the appointment of a new chief flight instructor.

“We have sent the proposal for the appointment of the new flying instructor to the DGCA for its approval. We expect to get its clearance in a few days,” he said.

On the plight of the 50 students who have completed the course but not the stipulated flying hours, he said that they would complete them shortly.


Source:   http://www.thehindu.com

Rhode Island Air National Guard Recruiting Pilots

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. --    For Rhode Island Air National Guard pilot Captain Mike Collins, it's the best of both worlds.

"I wanted to serve my country but also be there for my family, the Guard allows me to do both," said Collins.

Now, the 143rd Airlift Wing is looking for more people like Captain Collins.

The Rhode Island Air National Guard is holding an open house March 3rd, at Quonset Point where they fly the C130 J aircraft.

According to Major Mike McCarron, "going from civilian flying to Air Force flying is like night and day; the amount of precision required to be an Air Force pilot is second to none."

The process is competitive; the training takes about two years start to finish.The missions can be either near or far, responding to an emergency or natural disaster.

"There's a lot of logistics work, bringing in support personnel, first responders that need to be brought to the area, our aircraft are uniquely capable here in Rhode Island to do that," said Captain Ryan Nugent.

The pilot positions with the Air National Guard are part time. They're looking for people up to 28 years old, who have, or are working toward, a 4 year degree. No military experience is necessary.

Anyone interested in the March 3rd Open House can email 143pilots@gmail.com or follow the Guard on twitter at @143pilots.


Source:   http://www2.turnto10.com

Court dismisses airline ticket fraud case

DUBAI: A court has dismissed an airline ticket fraud case against a Palestinian driver and an Emirati broadcaster because the plaintiff was the airline company’s security officer and not the officials directly concerned with the case.

“The case was filed by someone who has no direct concern,” Judge Mohamed Jamaal Kamaal explained to a Dubai Criminal Court hearing on Sunday.

The driver, MR, 22 was being accused of committing electronic forgery on 20 tickets belonging to a national airlines company besides presenting them to the company’s employee.

He also faced charges of snatching credit card information of several people through fraudulent online means. He reportedly used the stolen data to purchase 6 more tickets worth Dhs77,100 after logging onto the airline company’s website.

His accomplice, the broadcaster MA, 25, faced criminal complicity in the above counts.

According to court proceedings, both defendants have been defending themselves against the accusations since the previous year.

The plaintiff, a 43-year-old Indian security officer HK had testified that while on duty at the airline company, he received a letter from a Dubai-based Australian bank notifying him that payments for several tickets had been cancelled.

The bank had reportedly discovered the theft of credit card data belonging to its customers. HK added that upon discerning the bookings at the company, it was discovered that six tickets were booked using data from the credit cards. He added that data from stolen cards was used in America to purchase tickets under different names.

They all turned out to be names of MA’s relatives.

On HK’s testimony prosecutors added that upon arrest, MR admitted he committed the tickets fraud with the help of a male accomplice residing in Egypt.

MR had earned some Dhs10,500 from customers and MA received Dhs300 from each ticket that he booked. They also told the court that MA had acknowledged criminal complicity. 


http://gulftoday.ae

Accident occurred near Camarillo Airport (KCMA), California

Ventura County firefighters responded to reports of a non-injury aircraft crash near the Camarillo Airport Saturday afternoon, fire officials said.

The small aircraft was reported down about 2:16 p.m. in the 700 block of Aviation Drive, officials said.

There were two occupants in the plane but they were not injured, a fire dispatcher said.

A small fuel leak appeared to be the cause of the crash, officials said.

Bell 47G-2, N3755Z: Accident occurred January 11, 2019 in Belen, New Mexico and Fatal accident occurred December 01, 2012 in Walkerville, Oceana County, Michigan

Main Wreckage Overview.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

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


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

https://registry.faa.gov/N3755Z 

Location: Belen, NM
Accident Number: CEN19LA067 
Date & Time: 01/11/2019, 1440 MST
Registration: N3755Z
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


Aft Tail Boom.


On January 11, 2019, about 1440 mountain standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Belen, New Mexico. The pilot and passenger were not injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned by the pilot and operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed Belen Regional Airport (BRG), near Belen, New Mexico, about 1400.

The pilot stated that shortly before the accident he had maneuvered the helicopter into an out-of-ground effect hover about 50 ft above the ground. The pilot reported that the carburetor heat was not engaged while he flew the helicopter in the hover. The pilot stated that he "got complacent about maintaining main rotor speed" and subsequently observed an unsafe main rotor speed. The pilot lowered the collective control for an immediate landing and engaged the carburetor heat. He attempted to reduce the helicopter's descent rate before impact by increasing the collective control, but the helicopter landed hard in the soft terrain. The main rotor blades subsequently impacted the tail boom and tail rotor. The pilot reported that after impact the engine continued to run at about 1,500 rpm, and that he secured the engine by turning the fuel valve to OFF. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical anomalies with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot postulated that an insufficient main rotor speed had precluded him from making a normal flare and landing. The pilot stated that the engine might have encountered carburetor icing as he maneuvered the helicopter into the out-of-ground effect hover at a decreased engine power setting, which, in turn, might have contributed to his failure to maintain adequate main rotor speed while hovering.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Belen Regional Airport (BRG), about 3 miles north of the accident site. At 1435, about 5 minutes before the accident, the BRG automated surface observing system reported: wind 310° at 8 knots, 10 miles surface visibility, clear sky, temperature 8°C, dew point 1°C, and an altimeter setting 29.96 inches of mercury.

According to a carburetor icing probability chart contained in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, entitled "Carburetor Icing Prevention", the recorded temperature and dew point were in the range of susceptibility for the formation of carburetor icing at all engine power settings.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s):Helicopter 
Restraint Used:Lap Only 
Instrument Rating(s):None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/29/2007
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 9000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N3755Z
Model/Series: 47G 2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1698
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/20/1980, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7163.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: VO-435-A1F
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 260 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BRG, 5200 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1435 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Belen, NM (BRG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Belen, NM (BRG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None

Latitude, Longitude: 34.618889, -106.832778

Location: Belen, NM
Accident Number: CEN19LA067
Date & Time: 01/11/2019, 1440 MST
Registration: N3755Z
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On January 11, 2019, about 1440 mountain standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Belen, New Mexico. The pilot and passenger were not injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned by the pilot and operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed Belen Regional Airport (BRG), near Belen, New Mexico, about 1400.

The pilot stated that shortly before the accident he had maneuvered the helicopter into a low-altitude hover about 50 ft above the ground. The pilot reported that the carburetor heat was not engaged while he flew the helicopter in the out-of-ground effect hover. The pilot stated that he "got complacent about maintaining main rotor speed" and subsequently observed an unsafe main rotor speed. The pilot lowered the collective control for an immediate landing and engaged the carburetor heat. He attempted to reduce the helicopter's descent rate before impact by increasing the collective control, but the helicopter landed hard in the soft terrain. The main rotor blades subsequently impacted the tail boom and tail rotor. The pilot reported that after impact the engine continued to run at about 1,500 rpm, and that he secured the engine by turning the fuel valve to OFF. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical anomalies with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot postulated that an insufficient main rotor speed had precluded him from making a normal flare and landing. The pilot stated that the engine might have encountered carburetor icing as he maneuvered the helicopter into the low-altitude hover at a decreased engine power setting, which, in turn, might have contributed to his failure to maintain adequate main rotor speed while hovering.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Belen Regional Airport (BRG), about 3 miles north of the accident site. At 1435, about 5 minutes before the accident, the BRG automated surface observing system reported: wind 310° at 8 knots, 10 miles surface visibility, clear sky, temperature 8°C, dew point 1°C, and an altimeter setting 29.96 inches of mercury.

According to a carburetor icing probability chart contained in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, entitled "Carburetor Icing Prevention", the recorded temperature and dew point were in the range of susceptibility for the formation of carburetor icing at all engine power settings. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N3755Z
Model/Series: 47G 2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BRG, 5200 ft msl
Observation Time: 1435 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Belen, NM (BRG)
Destination: Belen, NM (BRG)  Wreckage and Impact Information
Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.618889, -106.832778

 Bell 4752, N3755Z crashed in a Oceana County wetlands in December 1st, 2012 was retrieved on January 6th, 2013.
 


NTSB Identification: CEN13LA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2012 in Walkerville, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/2014
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2, registration: N3755Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Uninjured.

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 passenger reported that the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter over an area of tree-covered marsh at a low altitude when the helicopter entered a descent, collided with trees, and impacted the ground on its left side. An examination of the wreckage found damage consistent with the main rotor blades being driven by the engine when they contacted the trees. Although the passenger reported hearing a loud sound before the helicopter started descending, postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot failing to maintain altitude while maneuvering at low airspeed and low altitude, which resulted in the helicopter descending into trees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain altitude while maneuvering, which resulted in a collision with trees. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to fly at a low altitude, which did not provide enough margin to recover from the descent.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On December 1, 2012, about 1420 central standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with trees and impacted terrain near Walkerville, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from private property at an undetermined time.

According to information provided by local law enforcement and the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the helicopter travelled at a low altitude when a loud noise was heard by the passenger. The helicopter descended and impacted trees and a marsh.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 49, held a commercial helicopter pilot certificate. On May 2, 2000, the pilot was issued an unrestricted second class medical certificate. On the medical application, the pilot reported having accumulated 4,000 hours of total time. The pilot's logbook was not available for review during the investigation. It is unknown when the pilot accomplished his most recent flight review.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


The single engine, low skid, full bubble canopy, three-seat helicopter, serial number 1698, was manufactured in 1957. It was powered by a 200-horsepower Lycoming VO-435-A1 engine. The log books were not available for review and the helicopter's last annual inspection is unknown.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

At 1414, an automated weather reporting facility at Fremont Municipal Airport, located 17 nautical miles to the south-southeast of the accident location, reported wind from 110 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 4 miles, haze, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet, broken at 1,600 feet, temperature 43 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.03 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION 


The wreckage was located in a wooded marsh in the Manistee National Forest, also known as Tanner's Swamp. Only the trees within about a rotor disk circumference of the helicopter exhibited blade strikes. The helicopter came to rest on its left side. All parts of the helicopter were accounted for at the accident site and the helicopter was recovered and transported to a hanger for an examination. 

Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration and representatives from Scott's Bell 47 attended the examination. The main rotors were fractured a few feet from the rotor mast with corresponding impact damage to the leading edge of the blades. The flight controls were fractured in several locations, but exhibited no preimpact malfunctions. Several of the engine cooling fan blades had leading edge damage with signatures consistent with the fan being driven at the time of impact. Engine control continuity was established from the controls to the carburetor throttle shaft. The main fuel strainer and carburetor fuel inlet finger screen contained an unmeasured amount of fuel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION 

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The cause of death was blunt force injuries of the chest and abdomen. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The specimens tested negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Bell 47 Flight Characteristics

Scott's Bell 47 representatives reported the following concerning turns in a Bell 47:



A characteristic of the Bell 47 is a best power to airspeed combination encountered in level flight at 45 miles per hour (MPH), indicated airspeed (IAS.) This characteristic is often demonstrated in flight training and may be validated when in level flight at 45 MPH IAS increasing or decreasing airspeed by cyclic input alone results in loss of altitude. For this reason pilots must always be mindful of airspeed and power when maneuvering at low level and reduced airspeed. As 45 MPH is the best power / airspeed combination and also the target airspeed for best autorotational descent, this is also the best and safest airspeed selected for low level observation and reconnaissance flight. When turning downwind from stabilized flight into wind at 45 MPH IAS, if no control input is made, the turn into downwind will result in reduced airspeed and the aircraft will tend to settle. The settling tendency is avoided by a coordinated management of increased power and airspeed control to maintain the desired altitude.

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2012 in Walkerville, MI
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2, registration: N3755Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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 1, 2012, about 1420 central standard time, a Bell 47G-2, N3755Z, impacted terrain near Walkerville, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Helicopter visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from private property at an undetermined time.

According to preliminary information provided by local law enforcement and the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the helicopter was traveling at a low altitude when a loud noise was heard by the passenger. The helicopter descended in to trees and impacted a swamp.

At 1414, an automated weather reporting facility at Fremont Municipal Airport, located 17 nautical miles to the south-southeast of the accident location, reported wind from 110 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 4 miles, haze, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet, broken at 1,600 feet, temperature 43 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.03 inches of mercury. The National Transportation Safety Board not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

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


https://registry.faa.gov/N3755Z 

Location: Belen, NM
Accident Number: CEN19LA067
Date & Time: 01/11/2019, 1440 MST
Registration: N3755Z
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On January 11, 2019, about 1440 mountain standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Belen, New Mexico. The pilot and passenger were not injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned by the pilot and operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed Belen Regional Airport (BRG), near Belen, New Mexico, about 1400.

The pilot stated that shortly before the accident he had maneuvered the helicopter into a low-altitude hover about 50 ft above the ground. The pilot reported that the carburetor heat was not engaged while he flew the helicopter in the out-of-ground effect hover. The pilot stated that he "got complacent about maintaining main rotor speed" and subsequently observed an unsafe main rotor speed. The pilot lowered the collective control for an immediate landing and engaged the carburetor heat. He attempted to reduce the helicopter's descent rate before impact by increasing the collective control, but the helicopter landed hard in the soft terrain. The main rotor blades subsequently impacted the tail boom and tail rotor. The pilot reported that after impact the engine continued to run at about 1,500 rpm, and that he secured the engine by turning the fuel valve to OFF. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical anomalies with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot postulated that an insufficient main rotor speed had precluded him from making a normal flare and landing. The pilot stated that the engine might have encountered carburetor icing as he maneuvered the helicopter into the low-altitude hover at a decreased engine power setting, which, in turn, might have contributed to his failure to maintain adequate main rotor speed while hovering.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Belen Regional Airport (BRG), about 3 miles north of the accident site. At 1435, about 5 minutes before the accident, the BRG automated surface observing system reported: wind 310° at 8 knots, 10 miles surface visibility, clear sky, temperature 8°C, dew point 1°C, and an altimeter setting 29.96 inches of mercury.

According to a carburetor icing probability chart contained in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, entitled "Carburetor Icing Prevention", the recorded temperature and dew point were in the range of susceptibility for the formation of carburetor icing at all engine power settings. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N3755Z
Model/Series: 47G 2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BRG, 5200 ft msl
Observation Time: 1435 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Belen, NM (BRG)
Destination: Belen, NM (BRG)  Wreckage and Impact Information
Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.618889, -106.832778

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2012 in Walkerville, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/2014
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2, registration: N3755Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Uninjured.

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 passenger reported that the pilot was maneuvering the helicopter over an area of tree-covered marsh at a low altitude when the helicopter entered a descent, collided with trees, and impacted the ground on its left side. An examination of the wreckage found damage consistent with the main rotor blades being driven by the engine when they contacted the trees. Although the passenger reported hearing a loud sound before the helicopter started descending, postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot failing to maintain altitude while maneuvering at low airspeed and low altitude, which resulted in the helicopter descending into trees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain altitude while maneuvering, which resulted in a collision with trees. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to fly at a low altitude, which did not provide enough margin to recover from the descent.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On December 1, 2012, about 1420 central standard time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N3755Z, collided with trees and impacted terrain near Walkerville, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from private property at an undetermined time.

According to information provided by local law enforcement and the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the helicopter travelled at a low altitude when a loud noise was heard by the passenger. The helicopter descended and impacted trees and a marsh.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 49, held a commercial helicopter pilot certificate. On May 2, 2000, the pilot was issued an unrestricted second class medical certificate. On the medical application, the pilot reported having accumulated 4,000 hours of total time. The pilot's logbook was not available for review during the investigation. It is unknown when the pilot accomplished his most recent flight review.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


The single engine, low skid, full bubble canopy, three-seat helicopter, serial number 1698, was manufactured in 1957. It was powered by a 200-horsepower Lycoming VO-435-A1 engine. The log books were not available for review and the helicopter's last annual inspection is unknown.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

At 1414, an automated weather reporting facility at Fremont Municipal Airport, located 17 nautical miles to the south-southeast of the accident location, reported wind from 110 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 4 miles, haze, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet, broken at 1,600 feet, temperature 43 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.03 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION 


The wreckage was located in a wooded marsh in the Manistee National Forest, also known as Tanner's Swamp. Only the trees within about a rotor disk circumference of the helicopter exhibited blade strikes. The helicopter came to rest on its left side. All parts of the helicopter were accounted for at the accident site and the helicopter was recovered and transported to a hanger for an examination. 

Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration and representatives from Scott's Bell 47 attended the examination. The main rotors were fractured a few feet from the rotor mast with corresponding impact damage to the leading edge of the blades. The flight controls were fractured in several locations, but exhibited no preimpact malfunctions. Several of the engine cooling fan blades had leading edge damage with signatures consistent with the fan being driven at the time of impact. Engine control continuity was established from the controls to the carburetor throttle shaft. The main fuel strainer and carburetor fuel inlet finger screen contained an unmeasured amount of fuel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION 

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The cause of death was blunt force injuries of the chest and abdomen. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The specimens tested negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Bell 47 Flight Characteristics

Scott's Bell 47 representatives reported the following concerning turns in a Bell 47:


A characteristic of the Bell 47 is a best power to airspeed combination encountered in level flight at 45 miles per hour (MPH), indicated airspeed (IAS.) This characteristic is often demonstrated in flight training and may be validated when in level flight at 45 MPH IAS increasing or decreasing airspeed by cyclic input alone results in loss of altitude. For this reason pilots must always be mindful of airspeed and power when maneuvering at low level and reduced airspeed. As 45 MPH is the best power / airspeed combination and also the target airspeed for best autorotational descent, this is also the best and safest airspeed selected for low level observation and reconnaissance flight. When turning downwind from stabilized flight into wind at 45 MPH IAS, if no control input is made, the turn into downwind will result in reduced airspeed and the aircraft will tend to settle. The settling tendency is avoided by a coordinated management of increased power and airspeed control to maintain the desired altitude.

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2012 in Walkerville, MI
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2, registration: N3755Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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 1, 2012, about 1420 central standard time, a Bell 47G-2, N3755Z, impacted terrain near Walkerville, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Helicopter visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated from private property at an undetermined time.

According to preliminary information provided by local law enforcement and the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the helicopter was traveling at a low altitude when a loud noise was heard by the passenger. The helicopter descended in to trees and impacted a swamp.

At 1414, an automated weather reporting facility at Fremont Municipal Airport, located 17 nautical miles to the south-southeast of the accident location, reported wind from 110 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 4 miles, haze, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet, broken at 1,600 feet, temperature 43 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.03 inches of mercury.


 
Tom Slocum, seen in an undated photo, died in a helicopter crash in December 2012. He was 49. 


 A helicopter that crashed in an Oceana County wetlands in December 2012 was retrieved on January 6, 2013 
(Photo: Oceana County Sheriff Department)



 A helicopter that crashed in an Oceana County wetlands in December 2012 was retrieved on January 6, 2013
 (Photo: Oceana County Sheriff Department)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Caffeine was the only substance found in the body of a helicopter pilot who died in a crash in a remote area of Oceana County in December, authorities confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.
 
Thomas Slocum was 49. His passenger, 28-year-old Matt Williams, was seriously injured but is recovering.
 

Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff's Department confirmed the autopsy on Slocum showed he died from the injuries sustained in the crash on December 1, 2012.
 

The helicopter went down in a swamp in a remote area. Williams was able to get enough of a cell phone signal to call for help, and authorities used its GPS to pinpoint the crash. It's still unclear exactly what caused the crash, though Williams told investigators he heard a loud noise right before the crash.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (KGRR), Grand Rapids, Michigan: "Major announcement" planned


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Managers of Gerald R. Ford International Airport will make what they call a "major announcement" Monday about air service. However, they're not saying what that announcement will be. 

 Representatives from the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan will join airport officials for the Monday morning news conference. The alliance previously helped bring Frontier and AirTran Airlines to West Michigan.

There is speculation that Southwest Airlines, which bought AirTran last year, will begin service to West Michigan.

Seven airlines currently serve Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

WZZM 13 will have a live report at Noon on Monday and post all the information on online, as it comes in.

Story and Reaction/Comments:  http://www.wzzm13.com