Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cessna 182T Skylane, Spinks Flight Center, N6197H: Accident occurred May 09, 2013 in Fredericksburg, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA269
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 09, 2013 in Fredericksburg, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/23/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 182T, registration: N6197H
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The private pilot obtained an abbreviated weather briefing and departed on a cross-country flight. While en route, an air traffic controller queried the pilot if he had the current weather information for his destination airport. The pilot acknowledged that he did. The pilot then requested vectors for a VOR DME-A instrument approach, but the controller was unable to give vectors and cleared the pilot direct to the initial approach fix (the VOR). The controller then informed the pilot that he was “constantly” 300-400 feet below his assigned altitude and reissued the local altimeter setting before clearing him for the approach. About a minute later, the pilot canceled his instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan when he was about 3-4 miles north of the VOR. The controller acknowledged the cancellation and approved a frequency change. There were no further communications or transmissions between the pilot and air traffic control. 

A review of radar data revealed that the airplane traveled on a southerly heading toward the VOR. An airport employee heard the pilot announce over the UNICOM frequency that he was crossing over the VOR and transitioning from IFR to visual flight rules flight; however, the weather at the airport was reported to be 1.5 miles visibility. A witness saw the airplane flying very slowly toward the airport about 200 feet above the ground when the engine suddenly stopped. The witness lost sight of the airplane but did see a plume of black smoke a few moments later. The airplane impacted terrain about 1 mile east-southeast of the airport in a nose-low attitude, consistent with a stall/spin. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine found no preaccident mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Although a witness reported that the engine stopped, there was no evidence during postaccident examinations corroborating this. It is likely that the pilot, during his transition from instrument to visual flight while still in instrument conditions, did not ensure that the airplane maintained adequate airspeed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed while transitioning from instrument to visual flight while still in instrument conditions, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 9, 2013, approximately 1315 central daylight time, N6197H, a Cessna 182T, was destroyed when it collided with terrain while on approach into Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated by Spinks Flight Center in Fort Worth, Texas. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS), Fort Worth, Texas, about 1104, and was destined for T82. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot and his wife were traveling to Fredericksburg, Texas, to celebrate their wedding anniversary. According to an employee at Spinks Flight Center, the couple was scheduled to depart at 0800, but did not arrive at the airport until 0940. After they arrived and loaded their luggage in the airplane, the wife stepped outside and talked on the phone for about 20-30 minutes. As the pilot waited, he talked to one of the employees about the weather en route to Fredericksburg and their weekend plans.

According to a representative of Lockheed Martin, the pilot had contacted the Lockheed Martin Flight Service Station in Fort Worth, Texas, at 0845 and obtained an abbreviated weather briefing. He also filed an IFR flight plan. 

A review of air traffic control communications revealed the pilot departed FWS about 1104. As he approached the Fredericksburg area, he was communicating with the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). At 1255, a controller asked the pilot if he had the current weather information for T82, and the pilot acknowledged that he did. The pilot then requested vectors for the VOR DME-A instrument approach into the airport. The controller was unable to give vectors and cleared the pilot direct to the Stonewall VOR, which was the initial approach fix for the approach. The controller then informed the pilot that he was "constantly" 300-400 feet below his assigned altitude of 5,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and reissued the local altimeter setting. At 1310, the controller advised the pilot to descend and maintain 4,100 feet msl until he was established on the approach and then he was cleared for the approach. At 1311, the pilot canceled his IFR flight plan when he was approximately 3-4 miles north of the Stonewall VOR (about 11 miles from the airport). The controller acknowledged the cancellation and approved a frequency change. There was no further communications or transmissions between the pilot and air traffic control. A review of radar data revealed the airplane proceeded on a southerly heading to the Stonewall VOR before the data ended at 1313:50. At that time the airplane was about 1 mile north of the VOR at an altitude of 3,700 feet msl.

An employee at Fredericksburg Airport monitored the pilot's flight via an online flight tracking program. She said she was surprised the pilot had even departed due to the weather. Though the employee never talked to the pilot directly, she did hear him make a radio call as he approached the Fredericksburg airport over the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The pilot announced that he was over the Stonewall VOR and transitioning from IFR to visual flight rules (VFR). The employee said the weather at the time was 800 feet overcast and the visibility was 7 to 10 miles. It was not windy, storming, or raining at the time.

A witness, who lived approximately ¼-mile east of the crash site and had once worked as an aircraft mechanic, said he was walking up his driveway to the mailbox, when he first saw the airplane. He said it was initially traveling to the south and then it turned and headed west toward the airport. The witness said the airplane was approximately 200 feet above the ground; in level flight, and "moving very slowly." He was unable to estimate the airplane's speed, but said it was much slower than what he'd expect a Cessna on approach to be. The witness said that the airplane's engine was operating normally until it flew over his street and suddenly "stopped." The witness did not see the airplane impact terrain but later saw a large plume of black smoke and saw rescue personnel responding to the scene.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class medical was issued on February 14, 2012. At that time he reported a total of 162 hours. The pilot's logbook was found in the wreckage but sustained extensive fire and water damage. Based on what information was readable, the pilot had a total of 175.7 total hours. However, his overall instrument flight experience could not be determined. A review of dispatch records provided by Spinks Flight Center revealed the pilot completed a biennial flight review (BFR) on October 25, 2012. After the BFR, he flew a total of 8.2 hours prior to the accident. The records also indicated the pilot had a total of 18.1 hours in the accident airplane prior to the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather at Gillespie County Airport at 1315 was reported as visibility 1.5 miles, calm wind, heavy drizzle, clouds broken 800 feet, overcast 1,300 feet, temperature 69 degrees, dewpoint 68 degrees, and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Gillespie County Airport is a single-runway, uncontrolled airport. The elevation is 1,695 feet msl.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

A postaccident on-scene examination of the airplane was conducted on May 10-11, 2013, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC). The airplane came to rest upright in a pasture on a magnetic heading of 300 degrees about 1 mile east-southeast of the Fredericksburg airport. The main wreckage, which consisted of the cockpit, fuselage, empennage, tail section, engine, left wing, and right main landing gear, came to rest at the base of small mesquite trees. A post impact fire consumed portions of the cockpit, fuselage and aft cargo area of the main wreckage. The right wing, nose gear, left landing gear, and the three-bladed propeller assembly separated from the airframe. The right wing came to rest about 30-feet to the right of the main wreckage and the propeller assembly came to rest just forward of where the main wreckage came to rest. The nose wheel came to rest approximately 100-feet behind the main wreckage and the left main gear was found about 60-feet to the right of the main wreckage. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site.

A 20-foot-long ground scar was found several feet to the left of the main wreckage and had a small impact crater at the far end of the scar and another closer to the main wreckage. Fragmented pieces of the left wing tip and strobe light were found embedded in the impact crater furthest from the wreckage and a propeller blade was found in the impact crater closest to the main wreckage. 

The left wing (including the fuel tank, aileron and flap) was consumed by fire. The tip of the wing was curled aft. The fuel tank's finger screen came loose from its mounting and was absent of debris. The left header tank was also fire damaged. 

The right wing was not burned and came to rest upright with the wing strut still attached. The flap was still attached to it's tracks and the aileron sustained impact damage and remained partially attached to the wing. The fuel tank cap was secure and approximately 15-20 gallons of fuel remained in the tank. 

Flight control continuity was established for the elevator, elevator trim and rudder from the flight control surface to the cockpit. Due to impact damage a reliable trim tab setting could not be established.

The carry-thru cable for the ailerons was separated in the fuselage and the cable ends were frayed, consistent with overload separation. The left aileron cable was continuous from the cockpit control to the aileron quadrant in the left wing. The left aileron carry-thru cable was still attached to the quadrant in the left wing. The right aileron cable was attached to the cockpit control and was overload separated in numerous locations. However, the outboard end of the cable remained attached to the aileron quadrant in the right wing. The right end of the aileron carry-thru cable was not identified to due to impact damage.

A measurement of the flap actuator indicated the flaps were extended approximately 25 degrees.

The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were all found in the full forward position. The fuel selector handle and valve were in the "both" position. The firewall mounted gascolator was thermally damaged and the filter was unobstructed.

Due to extensive fire and impact damage, most of the avionics and instruments were unidentifiable. The Garmin G1000 multi-function and primary flight displays sustained impact and thermal damage; however, a portion of one of the display's faceplate was found outside the main wreckage. The slot holders for both of the G1000's secure digital (SD) cards were found in the wreckage, but the SD cards were not located. 

The propeller assembly separated from the engine at the crankshaft. Examination of the fracture surfaces on the crankshaft revealed 45- degree shearing consistent with overload. Two of the blades remained attached to the hub and one blade separated. The blade that separated was found in the engine impact crater and was bent aft. The second blade was loose in the hub and exhibited bending and was twisted. The third blade was tight in the hub and was straight. The only damage noted on the blade was a deep gouge on the trailing edge of the blade about 9 inches from the hub.

Examination of the engine was conducted on June 4, 2013, by the IIC and representatives of Cessna Aircraft Company and Lycoming Engines. The engine sustained fire and impact damage. Both magnetos remained attached the engine and could not be tested due to fire damage. The vacuum pump also remained attached to the engine, but would not turn freely due to fire damage. The pump was removed from the engine and disassembled. Each of the six vanes was undamaged and no anomalies were noted.

The engine was seized due to heat exposure and could not be rotated. The accessory case was removed from the engine along with the oil pump. When the oil pump was disassembled, the gears were found undamaged and no scoring on the interior walls was noted. The spark plugs and fuel nozzles were also removed. No anomalies were noted.

Each cylinder was examined using a lighted borescope. Rust and some lead deposits were noted in the cylinder. Three holes were then drilled on the top of the case and the borescope was used to examine the case interior. No mechanical deficiencies were identified that would have precluded normal operation of the engine at the time of the accident.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by Central Texas Autopsy, PLLC, on May 10, 2013. The cause of death was determined to be "multiple traumatic injuries."

Toxicological testing was conducted by the FAA Toxicological Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for all items tested.

http://registry.faa.gov/N6197H 

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA269
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 09, 2013 in Fredericksburg, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 182T, registration: N6197H
Injuries: 2 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 May 9, 2013, approximately 1315 central daylight time, N6197H, a Cessna 182T, was destroyed when it collided with terrain while executing the VOR DME-A instrument approach into Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated by Spinks Flight Center in Fort Worth, Texas. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS), Fort Worth, Texas, about 1104, and was destined for T82. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot and the passenger were traveling to Fredericksburg, Texas, to celebrate their wedding anniversary. According to two employees at Spinks Flight Center, the couple (he was the pilot and she was the passenger) were scheduled to depart at 0800, but they did not arrive at the airport until 0915. After they arrived, the passenger stayed in the car and talked on the phone for approximately 30-40 minutes. As the pilot waited for his wife to finish her call, he made a comment to one of the employees that he was concerned about "beating the weather."

According to a representative of Lockheed Martin, the pilot contacted the Lockheed Martin Flight Service station in Fort Worth, Texas, at 0845 on the morning of the accident and obtained an abbreviated weather briefing. He also filed an IFR flight plan.

A witness said he saw the couple board the airplane between 1030 and 1100. The pilot opened the right door for the passenger, and then undid the tie-down on the right wing. He then went around to the left side, undid the tiedown on the left wing, then got in the airplane. The witness said the pilot started the engine and taxied to the runway. He did not see the airplane depart.

A preliminary review of air traffic control communications revealed the pilot departed FWS approximately 1104. As he approached the Fredericksburg area, he was communicating with the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). At 1252, a controller issued the pilot hazardous weather information for the area along his route of flight. The controller asked the pilot if he had the current weather information and notices to airmen (NOTAMS) for T82, and the pilot acknowledged that he did. The pilot then requested the VOR DME-A instrument approach into the airport. The controller then informed the pilot twice that he was 300 feet below his assigned altitude and reissued the local altimeter setting. The pilot corrected his altitude. The controller then cleared the pilot for the approach and to maintain an altitude of 4,100 feet mean sea level (msl) until established on the approach. At 1311, the pilot canceled his IFR flight plan when he was approximately 3-4 miles from the Stonewall VOR (approximately 14 miles from the airport). The controller acknowledge the cancellation and approved a frequency change. There was no further communications or transmissions between the pilot and the ARTCC.

A postaccident on-scene examination of the airplane was conducted on May 10-11, 2013, by the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC). The airplane came to rest upright in a pasture on a magnetic heading of approximately 300 degrees approximately 1 miles east-southeast of the Fredericksburg airport. The main wreckage, which consisted of the cockpit, fuselage, empennage, tail section, engine, left wing, and right main landing gear, came to rest at the base of small mesquite trees. A post impact fire consumed the cockpit, fuselage and aft cargo area of the main wreckage. The right wing, nose gear, left landing gear, and the three-bladed propeller assembly separated from the airframe. The right wing came to rest approximately 30-feet to the right of the main wreckage and the propeller assembly came to rest just forward of where the main wreckage came to rest. The nose wheel came to rest approximately 100-feet behind the main wreckage and the left main gear was found approximately 60-feet to the right of the main wreckage. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site.

An approximately 20-foot-long ground scar was found several feet to the left of the main wreckage and had a small impact crater at the far end of the scar and another closer to the main wreckage. Fragmented pieces of the left wing tip and strobe light were found embedded in the impact crater furthest from the wreckage and a propeller blade was found in the impact crater closest to the main wreckage.

Examination of the airplane revealed the left wing (including the fuel tank, aileron and flap) was consumed by fire. The tip of the wing was curled aft. The fuel tank's finger screen came loose from its mounting and was absent of debris. The left header tank was also fire damaged.

The right wing was not burned and came to rest upright with the wing strut still attached. The flap was still attached to it's tracks and the aileron sustained impact damage and remained partially attached to the wing. The fuel tank cap was secure and approximately 15-20 gallons of fuel remained in the tank.

Flight control continuity was established for the elevator, elevator trim and rudder from the flight control surface to the cockpit. Due to impact damage a reliable trim tab setting could not be established.

The carry-thru cable for the ailerons was separated in the fuselage and the cable ends were frayed, consistent with overload separation. The left aileron actuation cable was continuous from the cockpit control to the aileron quadrant in the left wing. The left aileron carry-thru cable was still attached to the quadrant in the left wing. The right aileron actuation cable was attached to the cockpit control and was overload separated in numerous locations. But the outboard end of the cable remained attached to the aileron quadrant in the right wing. The right end of the aileron carry-thru cable was not identified to due to impact damage.

A measurement of the flap actuator indicated the flaps were extended approximately 25 degrees.

The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were found in the full forward position. The fuel selector handle and valve were in the “both” position. The firewall mounted fuel-separator was thermally damaged and the filter was unobstructed.

Due to extensive fire and impact damage, most of the avionics and instruments were unidentifiable. The Garmin G1000 multi-function and primary flight displays sustained impact and thermal damage; however, a portion of one of the display's faceplate was found outside the main wreckage. The slot holders for both of the G1000's secure digital (SD) cards were found in the wreckage, but the SD cards were never located.

The propeller assembly separated from the engine at the crankshaft. Examination of the fracture surfaces on the crankshaft revealed 45- degree shearing consistent with overload. Two of the blades remained attached to the hub and one blade separated. The blade that separated was found in the engine impact crater and was bent aft. The second blade was loose in the hub and exhibited bending and was twisted. The third blade was tight in the hub and was straight. The only damage noted on the blade was a deep gouge on the trailing edge of the blade approximately 9 inches from the hub.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class medical was issued on February 14, 2012. At that time he reported a total of 162 hours.

Weather at Gillespie County Airport at 1315 was reported as visibility 1.5 miles, calm wind, heavy drizzle, clouds broken 800 feet, overcast 1300 feet, temperature 69 degrees, dewpoint 68 degrees, and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.

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Photo Courtesy: David Wisniewski/Associate Emergency Management 
Two people were killed when a Cessna 182T Skylane crashed just northeast of the Gillespie County Airport around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. 


Photo Courtesy: David Wisniewski/Associate Emergency Management


MANSFIELD -- A popular couple from Mansfield died when their plane crashed outside of Fredericksburg early Thursday afternoon. 

Don and Jeanne Frosch of Mansfield were both killed in the accident, according to family members.

The plane was coming from Fort Worth Spinks Airport.

The Gillespie County Airport manager told KVUE News a Cessna 182 plane crashed at the airport Thursday around 1:25 p.m. about two miles from the airport at Hollmig Lane.

Frosch, 44, had rented the plane from Spinks Flight Center, a flight school based out of the Fort Worth-area airport.

A woman manager from the school would only tells a News 8 crew that the flight, "wasn't a training flight" before locking the doors.

The airport manager said flights of that nature aren't required to file flight plans.

Jeanne's mother told News 8 the couple would occasionally go on weekend getaways.

She said they leave behind an eight-year-old daughter.

Friends said Don was an experienced pilot that would even fly around the state to bring back groups of friends for their softball league in Mansfield.

"He was great. Everyone in our church loved him," said David St. Pierre, a longtime friend.

The plane reportedly clipped a tree before crashing. No other structures were impacted.

 FORT WORTH, Texas - A Mansfield couple's getaway trip to the Texas Hill Country for Mother's Day takes a tragic turn. Donald and Jeanne Frosch's Cessna 182T Skylane took off from Spinks Airport in Fort Worth and crashed in Fredericksburg. Investigators with the FAA and the NTSB are inspecting the crash site.

The Cessna 182T Skylane crashed less than a mile short of the Gillespie County Airport in a pasture.

According to a relative, Donald Frosch and his wife Jeanne were killed in the crash. They leave behind an 8-year-old daughter.

It was scheduled to leave Spinks Airport at 9:30 a.m. Instead it left about an hour and a half later, at around 11:00 a.m.

Department of Public Safety officials said the crash happened just before 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Investigators will look to see if weather was a factor in the cause of the crash.

The mother of Jeanne Frosch was not ready to talk on camera. However, she told FOX4 the couple was going down to Fredericksburg to shop and play golf on their yearly trip.

The mother of Jeanne Frosch told FOX4's Brandon Todd the family just asks for prayers right now, especially for their 8-year-old daughter.

http://www.myfoxdfw.com

Mysterious low-flying aircraft causing concern in Quincy, Massachusetts

A small, low-flying aircraft has been causing a fuss in Quincy this week, with many unanswered questions about what the aircraft is doing and who is operating it.

“It is a sanctioned flight by the Federal Aviation Administration,” said Quincy Police Captain John Dougan, but that’s all the information he could give.

Dougan said the Police Department had received about half a dozen phone calls in the past week about the aircraft, which was humming loudly over residents’ heads at odd hours.

Despite the resident concerns, information has been limited.

Jim Peters, a public affairs spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration, confirmed they knew about the aircraft but also declined to comment on what it was. “We’re not releasing anything beyond that,” he said.

When asked if people should be concerned about the aircraft, Peters said no.

“We know who they are,” he said.

If the FAA does know the agency behind the aircraft, they are remaining tight-lipped about it. Even representatives from the Quincy Mayor’s office didn’t know much about the flights.

“We’ve gotten calls from different parts of the city,” said Christopher Walker, spokesperson for Mayor Thomas Koch.

Walker said the city was only made aware that the flights were FAA-sanctioned.

For most residents, those answers aren’t good enough.

West Quincy City Councilor Brian Palmucci said a number of residents have called him about it, saying that the low-flying aircraft have been a constant presence for the last week to two weeks

“[It is a] low humming, low flying plane that the FAA says isn’t a drone; however, I would love to get some answers,” said Palmucci. “If it’s not a drone, how is it staying in the air nearly 24 hours a day? It’s my understanding that the FAA mandates that flights last no more than eight hours.”

Palmucci said even basic questions about the flights have gone unanswered, such as whether a law enforcement agency is behind them.

“Given the events of the past month, people are on edge, and the main concern that folks have is, is there something going on that they should be concerned about?” Palmucci said. “[Is there an] event, activity, individual that they should be vigilant about? And no one is providing any answers.”

Not only is the sight of the flying object disconcerting to residents, but the noise has been bothersome.

Greg Zacchine, a Quincy resident, also complained about the noise from the plane, which he said he had seen circling overhead both day and night.

“This plane makes a low pitch humming sound that's some what of a distraction while outdoors. I would like to know its purpose and who is its owner if possible,” Zacchine said in an email to Palmucci.

Quincy resident Paul O'Malley also said the sound of the plane had kept him awake at night.

"At night, on a clear night, you can look up and think it's a single engine passenger plane," O'Malley said. "It sounds like one, has the running lights like one, and it passes my house in Wollaston, circles over Milton, Blue Hills, over Randolph, Holbrook and comes back to the same spot every eight minutes. The other night it started at 7 p.m. and was woken up all night to it till about 4 a.m."

O'Malley said his wife thinks she has heard the plane for the last several weeks.

"It's kind of weird if it’s a person flying it; that’s a long time," O'Malley said. "My guess would be its an unmanned reconnaissance. My issue with it is just the noise factor. It's low enough where a lot of people have taken notice of it."

Palmucci said people might be more understanding if they knew why the planes were there, but so far, the only thing people know is there is something going on.

“If you said it’s law enforcement…people are willing to give up some peace and quiet to know law enforcement is doing work to protect them, but we don’t know that,” Palmucci said.

Source:  http://www.boston.com

Mysterious aircraft puzzles Quincy residents:  http://www.patriotledger.com

Santiago Rosell: Skydiver killed in DeLand identified as Altamonte Springs man

They told him he was too old to start skydiving but that didn't stop Santiago Rosell from finding a way.

 The 62-year-old wanted one more thrill to add to what had been an exhilarating life on the high skies as a former fighter jet pilot, aviator for the Boston Red Sox, world traveler, husband and father.

In two days, Rosell earned his skydiving certificate and recorded his adventures on a blog and Youtube until late Wednesday, when he was killed after his equipment failed during a jump with friends, police said.

"I must admit that skydiving is an unusual sport that demands both physical fitness and mental awareness," Rosell wrote on June 30, 2011. "This definitely is a sport for action junkies who are able to throw caution into the wind."

The Altamonte Springs man, known as "Sandy," was with friends Earle Spence, 58, and Richard Ford, 56, for a three-way jump at Skydive DeLand — a internationally known skydiving facility that has attracted thousands of thrill seekers in its 30 years of operation.  

As they prepared to land, Spence and Ford deployed their parachutes at 4,000 feet above ground. But Rosell had trouble, according to a DeLand police report.

His primary chute cut away from him and landed in the wooded area adjacent to the runway. Rosell's backup parachute appeared to have opened successfully, Ford told police.

Neither friend actually saw the landing.

When Spence reached the ground, he found Rosell blush and not breathing. He started to apply compressions but his friend was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The preliminary indications are that the skydiver experienced an equipment failure," DeLand police said in a statement. "The exact cause is under investigation and the FAA has been notified."

Rosell was a retired naval pilot but still flew airplanes and helicopters commercially, according to Federal Aviation Administration records and his blog.

He started the online diary in 2008 to document his flying and skydiving adventures as the "chief pilot for John W. Henry & Company and the Boston Red Sox baseball team."

According to his biography, Rosell received a master's degree from the University of Central Florida, started his own corporate aviation business and flew around the globe.

Rosell picked up skydiving as a sport two years ago after a father-son outing.

His son, also named Santiago, accompanied his father on many jumps. FAA records show he is also a certified pilot.

"My son and I have shared many adventures," he wrote in July 2011. "Words alone cannot express my pride and exhilaration of being able to share so much with him. He has a great future as a pilot and I can only hope that this is just one of many more adventures."

Federal officials are investigating the incident.

http://santiagorosell.blogspot.com

Story, video and photo:  http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Air show ready for take-off at Shafter-Minter Field Airport (KMIT) -- Shafter, California

One community's loss can be another's gain. And that is what's happening in Shafter, where the roster of entertainers for this weekend's air show at Minter Field has expanded as air shows in other communities have been canceled.

Airport Manager Sandy Worley reports that aerial acts have clamored to be included in the Madness over Minter two-day show Saturday and Sunday as federal budget cuts prompted by the sequestration showdown in Washington have canceled military air shows and grounded military performers such as the Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbird squadrons, and the Army's Golden Knights parachute team.

But this weekend's Minter Field air show promises to be action packed with private aircraft, said Worley, noting the program will include "spectacular performances by Kirby Chambliss, one of the top 15 aerobatic pilots in the nation, Melissa Pemberton in her Edge 540, Skip Stewart with his 'muscle bi-plane' named Prometheus, just to name a few."

Also listed in the lineup is Bakersfield air race champion Bill Destefani's Strega, a modified P-51 Mustang, based at the Shafter Airport. Strega has been the winner of many Reno Air Races.

And since Minter Field Airport was originally used as an Army air base, where World War II pilots were trained, performances by an assortment of Warbirds will be the highlight of the show, Worley said.

Possibly one of the most unusual performers scheduled to appear this weekend is Dan Buchanan, a former New England home builder and flat-track motorcycle racer, who also enjoyed flying off mountaintops strapped to a hang glider. In 1981, he landed hard during stormy weather, paralyzing his legs.

But that didn't stop him. Buchanan returned to college, earned a degree in mechanical engineering and returned to flying both hang gliders and sailplanes. He also joined the air show circuit, developing a precision hang glider act. He quips, "I have to fly. I can't walk!"

Among the other daredevils scheduled to fill the skies over Minter Field this weekend are Eddie Andreini, one of the most acclaimed pilots on the air show circuit, and Melissa Pemberton, 28, who comes from a family of pilots. The full-time performer and her husband, Rex, have concocted a stunt in which Rex will don a wingsuit, leap from a plane and race toward the earth trailing orange smoke from canisters strapped to his ankles, while Melissa, a champion aerobatic pilot, paints a white corkscrew around her husband.

The Minter Field Air Museum, located at the airport, also will be open free of charge during the air show both days.

For years, the annual "Warbirds in Action" show was staged at the airport in Shafter by the Minter Field Air Museum.

Museum spokesman Dean Craun explained the show became too expensive and financially risky for the nonprofit museum organization, which replaced it in 2009 with a lower-cost annual "fly-in event" that featured Warbirds and other aircraft.

But Worley said the Minter Field Airport District decided to resurrect and revamp the former air show, which was recognized as "one of the premier air shows on the West Coast in the 1990s."

The two-day event, staffed by volunteers, will be used as a fundraiser for three local charities: the Kern County Fire Fighters Burn Survivor Trust, the Wounded Heroes Fund and the Honor Flight Network.

John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, estimates more than 200 of the approximately 300 air shows held in the United States each year will be affected by the cuts. About 60 shows have already been canceled and Cudahy expects more will be canceled as the season progresses.

Worley said organizers of this weekend's Shafter air show have "received tons of calls" from performers looking for shows in which to fly.

General admission visitors are encouraged to bring folding chairs and blankets. All should bring hats and sun screen. Beverages and food will be available for purchase at the event.


Madness over Minter Air Show 

 When: Gates open at 9 a.m. and show begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Shafter Airport (Minter Field), north of Lerdo Highway in Shafter.

Information: minterairshow.com or 393-0402

Admission: One-day general admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the gate; $11 in advance and $15 at the gate for children 6 to 12; free for children under 6; higher-end packages are available as well.



Source:   http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com

Federal Aviation Administration doesn't have the personnel to evaluate the California Pacific Airlines' application, according to a report

Read the full story here.

By Jonathan HornU-T San Diego

California Pacific Airlines' bid to fly commercially out of Carlsbad's McLellan-Palomar airport is once again delayed.

But this time, blame across-the-board federal budget cuts called sequestration, and not turbulence directly with the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The new hold-up comes less than a month after the proposed airline and the FAA worked out what the federal agency had called major issues with its initial application to operate. In April, the application advanced out of the FAA's preliminary phase. 

But last week, the FAA sent owner Ted Vallas a letter saying it didn't have the personnel to continue evaluating the application.

"At this time we regret to inform you that we are temporarily suspending the certification of California Pacific Airlines," said the May 2 letter, written by Keith Ballenger, an assistant manager for the flight standards division. "While the furlough of Federal Aviation Administration employees has been suspended the FAA is still under sequestration. This has directly impacted our ability to build our certification team."

It has now been more than three years since Vallas, 92, filed his initial statement of interest with the FAA. He envisions a commercial airline based in North County, serving San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and eventually Cabo San Lucas. 

Last year, California Pacific's initial application to fly was returned by the FAA, which cited concerns over maintenance, safety, flight crew training and personnel. Those alleged shortcomings were ultimately settled after the airline hired a new CEO and resubmitted materials. 

The letter said the FAA would re-evaluate whether it has the resources to work on the application every 45 days. 

John Selvaggio, hired in March as the airline's CEO, said Tuesday that he hadn't yet received the letter but knew of the issue. He said the airline management is meeting with FAA officials later this week to see if the process can be sped up, despite the budget cuts. He stood by his previously stated expectation that California Pacific would still fly by the end of the year.

"When I said the end of the year I had anticipated there would be some kind of snag here or there," he said. "It's quite frustrating but it was somewhat anticipated once we heard about sequestration, we knew it was an across the board hit."

In March, the federal government initiated $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts to take place over the next 10 years because Congress and President Obama couldn't reach a deal to avoid them. The cuts hit many federal agencies, including the FAA.

The airline's only plane - a 72-seat Embraer regional jet - landed at Palomar to fanfare last July but for months sat idle on the tarmac as the application dispute went on. Vallas is paying $200,000 per month to rent the plane. Today, it's in Phoenix, leased to Honeywell, which is covering the costs for the airline, Selvaggio said. He said California Pacific has still raised about $11 million from investors. 

Vallas, a Rancho Santa Fe resident who started Air Resort Airline in the 1980s, said he was especially frustrated that the airline wouldn’t try to raise more funds until the FAA lifted the sequestration hold. But he still believes California Pacific will be in service by the end of 2013.

“I’ve been working so hard at it for three years,” he said. “We feel very confident that by the end of the year we will be ready to fly.”

Story, Poll, Reaction/Comments:   http://www.utsandiego.com