Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remos Aircraft GMBH, Remos G-3/600, N268RA: Fatal accident occurred August 28, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: 
http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Docket And Docket Items: http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N268RA

NTSB Identification: WPR10FA435
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 28, 2010 in Tucson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/2013
Aircraft: REMOS AIRCRAFT GMBH REMOS G-3/600, registration: N268RA
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

Witnesses observed the airplane taxi to the runway, and the student reported that the pilot spent about 2 minutes performing a preflight check of the engine. Seconds after liftoff, the pilot made a right turn before the intersection of the crossing active runway, about 200 feet above ground level. Witnesses observed the airplane remain at this altitude while flying a close-in downwind leg over airport buildings. The airplane continued a right turning descent onto the base and final approach legs. The airplane overshot the runway, and the bank angle increased to about 45 degrees. The airplane continued to descend, right wing low, and subsequently impacted the ground adjacent to the runway. It is unknown why the pilot flew this type of maneuver over the airport or if he intended to land on the runway. This was the student's first ride in a light airplane, and she recalled that the pilot banked the airplane steeply right, the wing was nearly perpendicular to the ground, and it "did not look right.” A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control while maneuvering at a low altitude.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 28, 2010, about 0822 mountain standard time, a Remos Aircraft GMBH, Remos G-3/600, N268RA, crashed while maneuvering shortly after takeoff at the Marana Regional Airport, Tucson, Arizona. The airplane was owned and operated by Tucson Aeroservice Center, Inc., and was substantially damaged during the impact sequence. The commercial pilot held a certified flight instructor (CFI) certificate, and was fatally injured. The student pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from runway 03, about 0817.

The operator reported that the purpose of the flight was to provide a prospective student with an introduction to aviation.

The 16-year-old student reported that the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and provided an explanation of the flight control system and instruments. Thereafter, the CFI started the engine and taxied for takeoff. This was the student's first ride in a light airplane.

The student recalled that the CFI spent between 1 and 2 minutes near the edge of the runway performing a pretakeoff check of the engine. Thereafter, the CFI increased engine power and the airplane took off. The student stated to the Safety Board investigator that she anticipated the flight would last about 1/2 hour. The student further indicated that seconds after liftoff the pilot made a right turn.

The student's mother, who was filming the flight, reported that the airplane flew over her location at low altitude. She was standing on the tarmac near the operator's hangar.

A pilot-witness who was inbound for runway 12 heard the accident pilot transmit that he was taking off on runway 03, but would not interfere with traffic on the crossing runway 12.

According to another pilot-witness who was departing from runway 12, which was predominantly the active runway, the local traffic pattern was fairly busy at the uncontrolled airport. This pilot-witness estimated that the accident airplane turned onto the crosswind leg before the intersection of runway 12, about 200 feet above ground level, then remained at altitude while on the downwind leg over the airport. The accident airplane turned to the right and subsequently crashed; coming to rest adjacent to runway 03.

A helicopter pilot-witness on the ground thought that the accident airplane might be performing stunts for the benefit of the people filming the flight and estimated that the airplane was about 50 to 75 feet agl when it banked steeply to the right and began to lose altitude. She reported that its wings were nearly perpendicular to the ground, and that the right wing impacted the ground first.

Another witness, who was a commercial pilot observing the accident airplane from the ramp near building 101, first saw the airplane on what appeared to be a "short approach" to runway 3. To this witness it appeared that the airplane's turn exceeded 45 degrees of bank and that the airplane was going to overshoot the runway. The airplane pitched up and then descended to the ground still in the 45-degree bank attitude.

Another witness on this road observed the accident airplane to be very low over the airport buildings, which he described as "very unusual." It turned right and proceeded west, but did not appear to climb. It made another right turn near the approach area, then made a steep right-hand bank, descended sharply, and disappeared from sight. This witness reported he saw no smoke or other indications of fire.

Several additional witnesses similarly reported observing the airplane following liftoff. The airplane commenced a right turn and entered the downwind leg while still over the airport. After flying a close-in downwind leg, the airplane made a circling descent onto the base and final approach legs while continuing in a right wing low attitude until impact.

The student stated to the Safety Board investigator that she recalled the pilot banked the airplane steeply right, the wing was nearly perpendicular to the ground, and it "did not look right."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 45, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane ratings for single engine land, multi-engine land, and instruments. His certificate was endorsed for type ratings in DHC-8 and CA-212 airplanes, limited to second-in-command privileges. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single and multi-engine airplanes and instrument privileges. The certificate was issued January 26, 2009. The pilot held a first-class airman medical certificate issued October 12, 2009, without limitations.

No flight records were located for the pilot. On his most recent airman medical certificate application completed on October 11, 2009, the pilot reported a total time of 2,645 hours, with 340 accrued in the past 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane, a Remos Aircraft GMBH G3/600, serial number 231, is a light sport aircraft manufactured in 2007. The operator’s records showed that the last condition/annual inspection was endorsed on August 19, 2009, at a recording tachometer reading of 785 hours, which is also the total time on the airframe and engine. The engine is a Rotax 912UL-S, serial number 5.649.795, and its condition/annual inspection corresponded to the airframe date.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Marana Regional Airport elevation is 2,031 feet msl, and has two asphalt-covered hard-surfaced runways that intersect at a 90-degree angle. Runway 12/30 is 6,901 feet long by 100 feet wide. Runway 03/21 (used by the aircraft on departure) is 3,893 feet long by 75 feet wide. The distance from the end of runway 03 to the point it intersects and crosses runway 12/30 is about 2,800 feet.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Marana airport is equipped with an Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS). At 0825, the station recorded the weather as clear skies; visibility 10 miles; temperature 25 degrees Celsius; dewpoint 18 degrees Celsius; and wind from 011 degrees at 11 knots. None of the witnesses observed any unusual weather phenomena in the vicinity.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

A Garmin 496 global positioning satellite receiver was installed in the airplane's instrument panel. The receiver was not damaged in the accident. The receiver had the capability of recording the airplane's flight track. The data and the plotted flight path were consistent with the witness observations.

In addition, the airplane was equipped with a Rotax FLTdat data recorder that records engine performance parameters. Review of the data showed that it was corrupt and not usable.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in an upright attitude about 70 feet south-southwest of the airport's windsock for runway 03. This location was about 70 feet west of the runway's left side, in a level dirt field, and nearly abeam runway 03's threshold. There was no fire.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector responded to the accident site and documented the wreckage prior to its removal to a secure location. The FAA inspector reported no evidence of a preimpact flight control anomaly and fuel was noted in the fuel tanks.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot was transported to a hospital; however, later died secondary to injuries received in the accident. An autopsy was performed by the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office. The autopsy did not disclose any evidence of physical incapacitation or impairment that would have adversely affected the pilot's ability to operate the aircraft. The cause of death was attributed to blunt force injuries.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot with negative results for alcohol. Ephedrine was detected in urine and muscle tissue samples. Phenylpropanolamine and Pseudoephedrine were detected in urine.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The fuel supply system was examined, starting with the engine compartment moving aft to the fuel cell. Inspection of the right side carburetor found residual fuel remaining in the bowl. The left side carburetor bowl had separated in the accident sequence. Fuel was also found in the mechanical fuel pump and the fuel filter. No debris was present in the internal screen. Air was blown through the filter and no blockage was present. The electric fuel pump operated normally when energized. The fuel supply line screen filter (finger screen) was found to be free flowing and clear of debris. The fuel cell was inspected and no contamination or debris was noted. Throttle and choke control cables were intact and no anomalies were found with the cables or sheathing. The ACS ignition switch was tested and no discrepancies were found.

The flap control motor extension arm was found in the up position. Electric power was supplied to the flap control motor and the control arm moved full in and out with no discrepancies. The flap drive shaft extension measured at 4 9/16 from center of the bell crank bolt to the end of the actuator housing, which corresponds to 0 degrees of flap extension. The engagement drive pin slots on the flap torque tube was found at 12 and 6 o’clock positions, also corresponding to 0 degrees flap extension, and consistent with flap on wing being in the up position.

The right aileron outboard attach point was found intact and in place. Both wing root pins were installed and safety retention pins were installed. Elevator and rudder control systems were verified from the surfaces to the brake in the tail boom. The left wing aileron and flap control continuity was verified from the surfaces to the wing root. The elevator push-pull tube jam nut at the aft connection rod end was found loose. When turned clockwise, 4 flats were tight.

The left-side seat was in the full forward position. Damage to the right seat mounts was consistent with the seat in the middle position. The right seat separated from the pan and both inboard attach pins.

Left-to-right movement of the control stick in the cockpit moved the push-pull rods at the wing roots. Aileron actuation mechanism inside the cabin compartment appeared completely intact and damage free. All attaching hardware within the cabin area was intact and no damage noted.

The right wing was physically removed from the airframe. The aileron was broken approximately mid-span, with the outboard hinge still attached to the wing structure. The aileron torque tube was found to be sheared within the interior of the wing structure. Partial compression of tubing was noted and a sheared section appeared to be freshly exposed with no perceptible indication of corrosion or prior failure. Attachment of the torque tube to aileron bell crank was complete with all hardware securely fastened. No structure damage to the bell crank mounting gussets, bell crank proper or surrounding surfaces were noted.

Aileron control continuity was established except where damage/destruction was noted above, and freedom of movement appeared to be unimpeded.

The right-side flap was attached at all intact hinge locations. The flap actuating torque tube was intact with the structure and could be manipulated by hand. Engagement mechanism for the right wing flap torque tube studs was intact at the inboard-most position and no damage was noted.

The right wing strut was intact, with the wing internal bracing components undisturbed. All surrounding structure, gussets, and adhesion components were intact and unremarkable with no evidence of loss of structural integrity.

The right-hand strut intermediate vertical support tube (airfoil shaped) was found to be attached to the strut without any damage at the attach point. However, the point of attachment of this strut to the lower surface of the wing appeared to have been fractured and broken.

The under-wing attach socket (recessed) appeared intact and free of obvious damage. Inspection of the interior of the wing construction for this socket showed no signs of degradation of integrity and was sound and intact.

The root area of the right wing where it attached to the wing proper was completely ripped free of the wing itself. This section comprised the full span of the wing and was of various dimensions, being less (span-wise) at the leading edge as compared to the trailing edge area. It should be noted that upon initial examination on the day of the accident and at the crash site, the wing attach rod/pin was found to be completely installed and the safety pin intact.

The left wing aileron torque tube was found intact with no defects noted internally or externally. All hardware was intact with no evidence of binding or rubbing. The attachment mechanism were found intact and damage free along the entire length.

The empennage surfaces were intact and secured to the fuselage boom but the fuselage boom was found fractured and sheared approximately mid-length as observed from the general aft section of the cockpit “pod” to the leading edge of the vertical fin.

Initial examination showed nothing remarkable damage-wise to the vertical fin, horizontal stabilizer, elevator assembly, or rudder. Removal of the tail cone found the quick disconnect for the elevator tube intact and properly installed; however, the jam nut for the torque tube was found unsecured and unscrewed approximately four (4) nut “flats.” All electrical attachment items, i.e., strobe and trim motor, were found to be secured in their respective sockets and undamaged.

The rudder cables were found to be properly installed and secured with continuity verified.

The fuselage tail boom was found to have both the upper and lower seam halves to be split apart for some distance forward and aft of the sheared area. Interior inspection of both halves showed no indication that the structure failed prior to impact. All localized damage appeared to be fresh based on visual observations with strong light and mirror as required.

Bulkhead supports for the elevator push-pull torque tube are intact with no evidence of damage, displacement, or displacement based on visual inspection of the structure exposed except for one free-standing support approximately centered within the length of the tail boom. This support was in close proximity to the boom fracture and found broken free. Close examination indicated this support was broken free upon impact.
The ignition system components were taken to Rotech, a Rotax factory facility for examination and testing under the supervision of a Safety Board investigator.

Rotech technicians measured the electrical resistance of the stator elements (Generator coil, charging coil, and trigger coils). All tested within specification. The ignition coils produced spark on all terminals. Both ignition control modules (07-6227, 07-6209) regulated the start-up timing with in specification in both channels (2 channels per module-top & bottom). Initial spark being produced about 250 rpm (6° lead), and shifted to operating timing (26° lead) between 975-1050 rpm.

No anomalies were identified with the ignition system that would have precluded normal operation.




Remos Aircraft GMBH, Remos G-3/600, N268RA
Photo courtesy of Northwest Fire



TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The National Transportation Safety Board has released dramatic video showing a 2010 fatal plane crash in Marana.

The video was released in advance of an expected report on the cause of the crash at the Marana Regional Airport in August of 2010.

In the video, a single-engine plane flies low over the photographer moments after take off, then banks sharply before crashing.

45-year-old flight instructor Robert Cloutier died in the crash.

A 16-year-old student passenger was seriously injured.

The NTSB factual report finds no mechanical problems or weather issues.

A report on the probable cause of the crash is scheduled to be released next month.


Source:   http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com

Officials mulling thousands of Truckee-Tahoe Airport (KTRK) comments

Margaret Moran, SierraSun  

May 28, 2013


TRUCKEE, Calif. — The public has resoundingly answered Truckee Tahoe Airport District’s call to help pilot the airport’s future.

In an effort to update its 1998 master plan, the airport district solicited community input by holding eight public workshops in April that 190 people attended and offering an online survey that 311 people took, generating 3,200 comments.

“There’s nothing in here that I think is terribly surprising,” said Seana Doherty, owner of Freshtracks Communications, referring to the themes identified in the community outreach summary report compiled by the firm.

Some favored ideas include accommodating natural growth consistent with aviation and community demand; keeping undeveloped portions of airport property as open space; expanding the hours of the airport restaurant, Red Truckee; and having a flying club to promote the next generation of pilots, Doherty explained to the airport board of directors last Thursday.

The top two concerns voiced by community members were noise and growth — not wanting the airport to grow dramatically. To mitigate noise annoyance, options favored by the community are to discourage night operations, lengthen one of the runways and create a mandatory night curfew.

As far as having flight paths concentrated or dispersed, feedback is split, Doherty said.

Another concern — though not as high as noise and growth — is anti-pilot sentiment, specifically regarding district spending and decision making, she said.

“(The) first priority should be making this the best baby airport ever for aviation,” commented a workshop attendee, according to the report. “It’s fine to acknowledge neighbors’ concerns about noise, but that is way secondary to focusing on airport needs.”

Ideas favored by pilots include developing multi-use hangars, developing box/executive hangars and enhancing facilities, such as de-icing capabilities and the wash rack, among others. Not supported by the pilot community was an air traffic control tower.

“The next challenge is for the board to look at this and say, ‘OK, specifically, what does this mean as far as facilities and aviation,’” Doherty said.

On June 5, the airport board will have a special workshop to review the findings, along with results from a follow-up pilot survey, before its June 27 regular board meeting, where it will provide direction for airport master plan consultant Mead & Hunt to create alternatives for future airport needs.

“It’s not a foundational document for the master plan,” emphasized board member Lisa Wallace, referring to the community outreach summary report. “It’s an important document; it’s a very important tool, but there are other tools that we’re going to need.”

Some of those include Federal Aviation Administration requirements and results from a more scientific public polling process, she said.

A final airport master plan is expected to be adopted in 2014.


On the web 
 
To learn more about the airport master plan update or to review the community outreach summary report in its entirety, visit www.ttadmasterplan.org.

Source:  http://www.tahoedailytribune.com

Learn to fly at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH), Houston, Texas

By Lindsay Peyton | May 28, 2013

American Flyers Flight School is welcoming anyone with an interest in aviation to stop by the airport - and consider learning to fly a plane.

The school, located at the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport at 20803 Stuebner Airline Road in Spring, hosts a monthly open house, free and open to the public.

Visitors are invited to a barbecue lunch starting promptly at noon, then to a tour of the facility and a presentation by a certified flight instructor.

The next open house will be Saturday, June 1. There is no need to make reservations and guests are encouraged to bring friends and family.

The event is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about flight school, check out the training aircraft and even try a "flight" in one of the school's state-of-the-art flight simulators, Brian Williams, director of operations for the Spring location, said.

"This is just to welcome people out," Williams said. "The airport is not off limits."

Every guest who attends will receive a certificate for two free hours of instruction in one of the flight simulators.

Williams said pilots are also invited to the event and to stay for a free FAA Wings seminar on Technologically Advanced Aircraft, presented by an American Flyers senior instructor.

"This is a chance for people who haven't ever flown before to learn about the school," Williams said. "And for people who haven't flown in a while, it's a chance to rekindle that fire."

Williams joined the staff at American Flyers in 1996 as an intern. He attended the flight school while working for the company.

"It's something I always wanted to do," he said.

The program includes group classes at the ground schools where students learn the basics.

The rest of the training is one-on-one and is designed to accommodate students' schedules, Williams said.

"We offer 24/7 flexibility," he said. "We're here for them."

Being available for training is important, Williams added. He recommends that people train two or three times a week until they finish.

"Consistency equals proficiency," he said.

The course work is patterned after military training, Williams explained.

It starts with brief lessons in classroom, then lessons in the flight simulators. When a student is proficient enough in virtual flight, it is time to take to the sky.

After flights, students have a chance to discuss their performance with instructors and study how they can improve.

The course also involves homework.

"It's a tough course, very laborious," Williams said. "We teach; we don't just go fly. You can better apply what you learn, and that's a critical difference between us and other schools."

The school has students of all ages - starting with the Young Eagle Program with 10 year olds and continuing to students in their late 70s.

"It's not nearly as difficult to get started as people think," Williams said. "It just takes a time commitment."

The school offers both the introductory flight course as well as a training program for commercial pilots.

"We serve people who want to be airline pilots and people who just want to fly for fun," Williams said.

American Flyers has been training pilots since 1939, and operates seven accredited schools in six states plus one in Mexico City. A new location is also opening in Amsterdam this year.

"We're one of the oldest flight schools on earth," Williams said. "For 70 years, we've been learning the right ways to do things. Our curriculum is seven decades in development."

Tim Genc, director of the American Flyer's headquarters in Chicago and the national school's online programs, said the first location of the school was in Dallas. At the time, it was an airline and a flight school.

"There's actually a famous picture of the Beatles in front of a plane with 'American' on the side," Genc said. "That's one of our planes."

Over time, the airline shut down and the focus switched to instruction, Genc said.

"We've continued to teach people to fly as our primary mission," he said.

He said the school has taught generations of pilots in the same families.

"We focus 100 percent on instruction," he said. "That's what we do. It's what we're good at."

Genc said that focus and specialization in training makes the program top-notch.

He also said the individual attention offered by the school sets it apart.

"We design a program specifically for you," he said. "The majority of our programs are for a person who needs to schedule around a normal life."

Williams said the quality of instructors at American Flyers is unique.

"We spend a lot of time training our instructors," he said.

Ultimately, Williams said flight school allows people to pursue a passion.

"It's just doing what you love," he said. "It's something that just grabs you. It's very rare that you can become disinterested in flight."

Genc said that there is currently a shortage of pilots. "That is something we are hoping to address," he said. "This is a good time to get into aviation. The need for pilots is enormous."

He said the school's students are equally split - with half seeking a career in an airline and the rest just pursuing a new hobby.

"If you're looking for your next adventure, we can help," he said.

Want to go?
 
What: American Flyers open house and barbecue.

When: Noon, Saturday, June 1.

Where: American Flyers is located on the northeast side of the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, 20803 Stuebner Airline Road in Hangar 32

Details: 281-655-4500 or visit www.americanflyers.net/about/aviation_seminars.asp


Story and Photo:  http://www.chron.com

No injuries reported after explosion, small fire at Aspen Avionics

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Employees at Aspen Avionics were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after an explosion inside the building.  

A fire commander said the explosion at 5001 Indian School Rd. in Albuquerque involved a 500-gallon tank of nitrogen.

There was a small fire that employees put out before fire crews arrived.

Employees were allowed back in the building about an hour later.

There were no reports of injuries.

Source:  http://www.koat.com


By Patrick Lohmann / Albuquerque Journal  on Tue, May 28, 2013 

POSTED: 3:38 pm
LAST UPDATED: 5:02 pm

4:28 p.m.


No one was injured and a small fire was extinguished after a nitrogen explosion at Aspen Avionics around 3 p.m.

A pressure build-up in the 500-gallon tank, described as an “environmental chamber used for heating and cooling”, caused a nitrogen explosion. The amount of damage was not known immediately Tuesday afternoon, but employees were allowed back into the building.

A Fire Department commander said the building seems to be up-to-code, but an inspector will double-check in the coming days.


===============

No injuries have yet been reported after a tank exploded at Aspen Avionics on the 5000 block of Indian School NE.

The hazardous material team is responding to the explosion.


http://www.abqjournal.com


Posted at: 05/28/2013 3:24 PM | Updated at: 05/28/2013 4:08 PM

By: Steve Mieczkowski, KOB.com


A 500 gallon tank of nitrogen exploded at Aspen Avionics at Indian School Rd NE near San Mateo.

Fire department officials say the explosion was caused by excessive pressure in the tank. Fire crews rushed to the scene as a precaution.

No injuries were reported. Authorities have no reason to suspect foul play in the incident, and there's no damage estimate as of yet.


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

Elko, Nevada: Private plane landing in Kittridge Canyon scares residents

By CALEY COOK — Elko Daily

ELKO — A small plane that landed on a private runway in Kittridge Canyon on Monday afternoon prompted worried calls to law enforcement, but despite coming in low in high winds, the pilot and plane were perfectly fine, said Elko County Undersheriff Clair Morris.

Dispatch received calls from weather service employees — who were working in a tower above Kittridge Canyon — saying that the plane looked like it had crashed, Morris said.

Deputies ran to the scene and found the pilot was fine despite a bumpy landing.

"He comes in and out of there all the time," Morris said. "All was well."


Source:  http://elkodaily.com

Historically Low Attendance for 2013 Jones Beach Air Show

Poor weather that resulted in Saturday cancellation leads to a low turnout for annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach.

Spectators during Friday's practice run for the 2013 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. 
Photo Credit: Andrew Coen


Posted by Andrew Coen, May 28, 2013 at 01:46 pm


A cancelled day of performances Saturday due to heavy rain and wind combined with cool temperatures Sunday resulted in record- low attendance numbers for the 10th annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach Memorial Day weekend.

New York State Parks Deputy Regional Director George Gorman said attendance for Sunday’s air show numbered around 81,000. The 2012 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach attracted nearly 400,000 spectators.

“We had hoped to get a maximum of 200,000 people Sunday but realized Saturday with the forecast that it was going to be under 100,000,” Gorman said. “The conditions were not beach conditions.”

In addition to challenges with the weather, air show organizers also suffered a blow in early April when the U.S. Air Force announced that its Thunderbirds precision flying team was was cancelling all 2013 performances including Jones Beach due to 85 billion in federal budget cuts forced by a congressional sequestration deal struck in March. The 2013 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach featured civilian performers and a second-time appearance by the Royal Canadian Air Force Supersonic F18 Demo Team.

Gorman said Jones Beach attendance remained low on Memorial Day due to continued cooler temperatures with attendance estimated at around 20,000 on the holiday. Despite the the disappointing weekend, Gorman said he expects once the weather heats up for many people to hit Jones Beach in 2013, especially in the aftermath of the Long Island landmark rebounding fromdevastation caused last fall by Hurricane Sandy.

“People are going to want to come out and support the park after Sandy,”Gorman said. “Hopefully we’ll have a sunshine summer and have attendance through the roof.” 


Story and Photo:  http://bellmore.patch.com

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, N999PK: Accident occurred May 28, 2013 in Mountainaire, Arizona

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA244
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Mountainaire, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/05/2015
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY A36, registration: N999PK
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 pilot had purchased the Beechcraft airplane about 18 months before the accident and based it at his home airport, which was located at an elevation of about 80 ft mean sea level (msl). The pilot flew the Beechcraft to an airport that was at an elevation of about 7,100 ft msl. A few days after his arrival, he returned to the airport for his planned departure and spent about 15 minutes asking the fixed base operator owner, who was also a pilot, multiple questions about the route to his next planned destination. According to the owner, he was surprised by the nature of the pilot’s questions, his lack of basic aeronautical information knowledge for area restrictions, and his lack of formal planning for his flight. 

No witnesses reported anything unusual about the engine start or taxi. At the time the pilot was cleared by the air traffic control tower controller for takeoff, the airport density altitude was about 9,000 ft. No ground witnesses reported observing anything unusual with the takeoff, but a Cessna 172 pilot who was behind the Beechcraft reported that the Beechcraft’s climbout was slow. Shortly after his own takeoff, about 75 seconds after the Beechcraft, the Cessna pilot asked the tower controller about the Beechcraft’s situation and intentions because the Cessna was already well above the Beechcraft. This prompted the controller to ask the Beechcraft pilot if he needed assistance, and the pilot responded that he was climbing “very slowly” and would remain near the airport. Shortly after that, the Cessna pilot saw the Beechcraft impact trees. The accident site was about 3 miles southeast of the airport at an elevation about 300 ft below that of the departure airport. A postimpact fire obscured or destroyed a significant amount of evidence.

Review of the Beechcraft’s published performance data revealed that, for the given conditions, the airplane should have been able to successfully depart the airport and climb at a rate of about 500 feet per minute. 

Most of the engine components and all of the propeller components that survived the accident, displayed no evidence of preimpact mechanical deficiencies. The engine cylinder conditions were indicative of a history of generally lean operation. In addition, the No. 5 cylinder exhaust valve’s appearance was consistent with excessively lean operation for an undetermined period of time, and the fuel injector nozzle for that cylinder was found to be partially occluded. Excessively lean operation will reduce engine power output, and will manifest itself as abnormally high exhaust and cylinder head temperatures and possible engine roughness. Further, if the No. 5 cylinder’s injector was occluded for the flight, it would have resulted in overly lean operation of and reduced power output from that cylinder, yielded higher exhaust and cylinder head temperatures, and likely manifested itself as engine roughness. (Some witnesses close to the impact site reported that the engine was making “popping” noises.) Although the airplane was equipped to monitor, display, and record temperatures for each cylinder, it could not be determined whether the pilot monitored that display, and fire damage prevented the recovery of that data from the engine monitor. Further, there was insufficient evidence to determine the source of the injector’s occlusion, quantify its effects on engine power output, determine its relation to the condition of the exhaust valve, or determine if it was present for the takeoff or an artifact of the postimpact fire. 

Although the engine was developing power at impact, there was insufficient evidence to quantify the actual power output for the climb or at the time of impact. There was also insufficient evidence to determine whether the pilot ensured that the throttle and propeller controls were set to and remained in their appropriate positions for the departure or whether the pilot adjusted the mixture properly (not overly lean). 

It is likely that the pilot lifted off prematurely at a speed lower than the prescribed value and was unable to accelerate or climb the airplane once it exited the ground effect regime. Because the surrounding terrain and the impact point were lower than the elevation of the airport, the pilot was able to continue to fly the airplane before crashing. This scenario is at least partially corroborated by the pilot’s reported lack of preparation for the flight, which could have included a lack of performance planning. This scenario is also partially corroborated by the observed repetitive minor banking of the airplane, which often occurs when an airplane is flying very slowly.

A premature liftoff or a climb attempt at a speed significantly below the prescribed value would place the airplane in a situation where the power required for level flight was very near to or exceeded the available power. A recovery would require the pilot to lower the nose in order to accelerate the airplane to obtain a positive rate of climb. Such an action is counterintuitive when low to the ground and requires accurate problem recognition, knowledge of the correct solution, and sufficient terrain clearance to accomplish. 

During the departure, the pilot reduced his options by deciding to turn to the east instead of continuing straight ahead to the south. Review of topographic data revealed that a four-lane highway was located just beyond the south end of the runway, and was situated in a north-south valley that descended to the south. However, instead of tracking over that highway, which could have been used as an off-airport emergency landing site, and its descending valley, which provided increasing terrain clearance, the pilot opted to turn east, toward higher, wooded terrain. Although that turn was consistent with both a left traffic pattern (in order to remain close to the airport as the pilot reported to the air traffic controller), and toward the pilot’s on-course heading, by making that turn, the pilot reduced the likelihood of a partially or fully successful outcome to the flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inability to maintain a climb after departure in high-density altitude conditions, which resulted in a collision with trees and terrain. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's decision not to track the four-lane highway just beyond the departure runway, which he could have used as an alternate landing site; his premature rotation of the airplane; and degraded engine performance that affected the airplane's climb ability.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 28, 2013, about 1143 mountain standard time, a Beechcraft A36, N999PK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain in the Coconino National Forest adjacent to Mountainaire, Arizona, shortly after takeoff from Flagstaff Pulliam airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona. A large post-impact fire ensued immediately. The owner/private pilot and the one passenger received fatal injuries. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to relatives of the pilot, he based the airplane at McClellan Airfield (MCC) Sacramento, California. The pilot and his wife (the passenger) departed MCC on the morning of May 25, 2013, and arrived at FLG that same day. According to personnel and documentation from a fixed base operator (FBO) at FLG, the couple rented a car the day they arrived, and returned the car to the FBO about 1100 on the day of the accident. On their return, the pilot requested that 20 gallons of fuel be loaded into each of the main tanks, and then queried the FBO owner for about 15 minutes about route and other considerations for a flight to Bryce Canyon Airport (BCE), Bryce Canyon, Utah. The airplane was refueled, and the pilot and his wife loaded their belongings into the airplane.

According to the communications recordings from the FLG air traffic control tower (ATCT), after startup and taxi out, the pilot requested and was granted a turnout to the northeast. The airplane took off from runway 21, and was observed to be climbing very slowly by a pilot in a Cessna 172, which departed shortly after the Beechcraft.

According to the Cessna pilot, once it was beyond the end of the runway, the Beechcraft followed a slightly meandering course initially to the south, and then turned further left towards the south-southeast. The Cessna pilot then witnessed the Beechcraft impact trees adjacent to a semi-rural neighborhood about 3 miles from FLG. The Cessna pilot reported the accident to the ATCT controller. The terrain between the airport and the accident site was forested, gently undulating, and generally lower than the airport.

Several residents of the accident neighborhood were outside, and witnessed the final portion of the flight. Most reported that the engine was making "popping" noises, and was not trailing any dark smoke. Some of those eyewitnesses were the first responders to the accident. They immediately began fire suppression efforts using portable fire extinguishers, shovels of dirt, and household/garden hoses. All those individuals reported that the fire was large and intense, but that their efforts were partially successful in suppressing or containing the fire.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the 59-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. That certificate was issued in May 2010. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in September 2012. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot indicated that he had a total flight experience of 540 hours.

FAA records indicated that the pilot purchased a turbo-charged Cessna 182 in December 2008; he retained that airplane, and purchased the non-turbocharged accident airplane (Beechcraft) in November 2011.

The pilot's fire-damaged flight logbook was recovered from the wreckage. Review of the logbook indicated that the pilot began flight training in 2008, and that at the time of the accident, had accumulated about 611 total hours of flight experience. The logbook indicated that the pilot completed a flight review in the Cessna in February 2013. Damage to the logbook precluded a determination of the pilot's total flight experience in each airplane.

The pilot's nephew stated that the Cessna was "not flown much" subsequent to the purchase of the Beechcraft. The nephew also reported that the pilot was familiar with high elevation airports, and noted that the pilot flew into Truckee California "regularly." Truckee-Tahoe airport (TRK) has an elevation of 5,901 feet above mean sea level (msl).

The pilot had flown the Beechcraft with at least two different certified flight instructors (CFI). The first CFI flew a total of about 33 hours in the airplane with the pilot; their first flight together was to transport the airplane from Colorado to California following the pilot's purchase of the airplane. Subsequent flights were conducted initially to satisfy insurance requirements, and then to increase the pilot's proficiency with the airplane. The second CFI began flying with the pilot in May 2012, when the pilot began training for an instrument rating. That CFI flew a total of about 3 hours with the pilot in the accident airplane.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Coconino County (Arizona) Office of the Medical Examiner autopsy report indicated that the cause of death was "thermal injuries." The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute conducted forensic toxicology examinations on specimens from the pilot, and reported that no cyanide or ethanol was detected. The reported blood carbon monoxide level was 15 percent. Alpha-hydroxyalprazolam, a metabolite of alprazolam (trade name Xanax), was detected at a level of 0.009 micro-grams per milliliter in the urine, but was not detected in the blood. No other screened drugs were detected.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 2001 as Beechcraft serial number E-3380, and was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-550 series engine. The airplane was purchased by, and first registered to, the pilot in late 2011.

The airplane was equipped with multiple factory- and post-delivery options. These included factory-installed cabin air conditioning, J.L. Osborne-brand wing tip tanks (20 gallons/side), Precise Flight-brand electric speedbrake system, a JPI-brand EDM-700 engine data monitor, AMSAFE- brand inflatable pilot and copilot dual shoulder harness restraint system, Garmin 430 and 530 nav-com units, and an Aerospace Systems & Technology-brand TKS de-icing system.

All those modifications had been accomplished prior to the pilot's purchase of the airplane. According to those records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 1, 2012, when the airplane had a total time (TT) in service of about 893 hours. The records indicated that a "top overhaul" of the engine was completed in April 2004, when the engine had a TT of about 243 hours.

In an interview with the NTSB, one of the pilot's CFIs indicated that the airplane was well-maintained, and that the CFI did not notice any problems or shortcomings with its climb capability, which he pays attention to when flying a new (to him) airplane. NTSB interviews with FLG ground personnel indicated that the airplane was not heavily loaded, and NTSB review of the specific information indicated that for the accident departure, the airplane was likely within its weight and balance envelope.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

On May 25, the day that the airplane arrived at FLG, the daily maximum recorded temperature of 22 degrees C was reached about noon, and lasted until about 1500 local time.

On May 28, the day of the accident, 1157 FLG automated weather observation included wind from 210 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 26 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 18 degrees C, dew point minus 4 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury.


COMMUNICATIONS

Partial transcripts of the FLG ATCT ground and local communications surrounding the flight and accident were developed and provided by Serco, the company contracted by the FAA to staff and operate the ATCT.

At 1125:45, the pilot first radioed the ground controller, and advised that he was "ready to taxi," but did not specify any additional intentions. The controller cleared the airplane to runway 21 via the alpha and alpha one taxiways, which the pilot acknowledged. About 5 minutes later the pilot advised the ground controller that he did not realize that there was no run-up area near the runway 21 threshold, and asked for instructions to prevent a conflict with a twin-Cessna behind him. The controller and other pilot rectified the situation by routing the twin-Cessna via another taxiway. At 1136:21, the pilot of the Cessna 172 N3923Q who later witnessed the accident, contacted the controller for taxi clearance to runway 21.

At 1137:20, the Beechcraft pilot first radioed the local controller, and advised that he was "ready for takeoff headed to Tuba City." A few seconds later, the controller cleared the airplane for takeoff, to which the pilot responded "ready for takeoff taking runway two one can you tell me which way for a uh uh downwind departure?" The controller instructed the pilot to make a left downwind, and the pilot acknowledged that communication.

At 1139:24, Cessna 172 N3923Q radioed the local controller that he was ready for takeoff from runway 21, requested a left turnout, and was cleared for same a few seconds later. At 1141:44, the Cessna pilot stated that he was making his left turn, and asked the controller whether the Beechcraft was "okay, he is awful low." At 1141:51, the controller asked if the Beechcraft pilot needed any assistance, and the pilot responded "yah...I'm climbing very slowly and uh I'm climbing very slowly and staying close to the airport." At 1142:15, the Cessna pilot radioed that he did not "understand why he didn't stay over the interstate." At 1142:47, the Cessna pilot radioed that the Beechcraft had crashed and was on fire; the pilot circled the impact location for several minutes in an attempt to guide first responders to the site.

After the accident, the ground controller and the local controller each provided a written statement regarding the flight and accident. Neither statement explicitly cited whether its author actually witnessed the takeoff or climbout. The local controller's statement reported that he was advised of the Beechcraft climb problem by the subsequently-departing Cessna.


AIRPORT INFORMATION

FAA information indicated that the pilot's home airport, MCC, was situated at an elevation of 77 feet above mean sea level.

FAA information indicated that FLG runway 3/21 measured 8,800 by 150 feet, and the airport elevation was listed as 7,140 feet above mean sea level. The runway was served by a single parallel taxiway ("alpha") with 9 access taxiways between the two. There was no dedicated runup area at either runway threshold. A dedicated runup area was situated on taxiway alpha about midway between the ramp and the runway 21 threshold, and the end of the taxiway could also be utilized for that purpose.

The airport was situated in a 2- to 3-mile wide valley that was oriented approximately north-south, with a gentle continuous descent to the south.

Calculations using the meteorological conditions at the time of the accident resulted in an airport pressure altitude of 6,983 feet, and a density altitude of 8,983 feet for FLG.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in the semi-rural neighborhood of Mountainaire, on moderate- to heavily-forested Coconino National Forest (CNF) property. The impact location was about 2.9 nautical miles (nm) from the departure end of FLG runway 21, on a true bearing of 170 degrees (158 magnetic) from that runway location. Impact site elevation was 6,815 feet. Review of topographic data revealed that virtually all of the terrain between the departure end of FLG runway 21 and the impact location was lower than the airport.

The impact site was situated about 1 nm to the east of the southern end of a straight section of a four-lane north-south highway that measured 1.15 nm in length, began about 1.17 nm from the threshold of runway 3, and was at an elevation of about 6,700 feet.

The airplane struck several tall pine trees before it struck the ground. The first tree impact was situated about 40 feet above ground level. The depression angle of the flight path through the trees was about 14 degrees. The distance from the first tree strike to the main wreckage, which primarily consisted of the fuselage from tail to propeller, was 135 feet, on a true heading of 180 degrees.

All major components were accounted for on scene. No evidence consistent with in-flight fire or in-flight structural failure was observed. Propeller and tree damage was consistent with the engine developing power at the time of impact.

The fuselage came to rest upright, on an approximate true heading of 322 degrees. Tree impacts had separated the right wing and the outboard section of the left wing from the airplane. The engine was separated from all four engine mounts, but remained adjacent to the firewall. The propeller remained attached to the engine. The fire consumed or severely damaged a significant portion of the fuselage, including the cockpit instruments and controls, and the cabin and its contents. Due to the fire damage, no useful information was able to be obtained from any cockpit instruments, switches, circuit breakers, or engine controls.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Airframe Examination Details

About 8 feet of the left wing, and the entire right wing, were fracture-separated from the airplane. The left tip tank did not contain any fuel, and did not display any signatures of hydraulic deformation. The right tip tank was breached, did not contain any fuel, and did not reveal any hydraulic deformation. Significant portions of each wing, including both fuel tank bladders were significantly or completely consumed by fire.

Both ailerons remained attached to their respective wings at all mounting hinges, and sustained thermal damage. Aileron cable continuity was established from the right and left control column sprockets to the right and left aileron bellcranks. The aileron trim actuator remained intact and attached to the left wing. The aileron trim actuator extension equated to 2 degrees left tab trailing edge up.

The flaps and flap actuators were all found to be in the flaps-retracted position. Although significantly fire-damaged, the speedbrakes appeared to be in the retracted position at impact.

The horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the aft fuselage and displayed post-impact fire exposure. The left and right elevators, including their balance weights, remained attached to the horizontal stabilizers at the hinges. Elevator control cable continuity was established from the control column to the elevator bellcrank.

The left and right elevator trim surfaces remained attached to their respective elevators at their hinges. The elevator trim actuator extensions equated to approximately 6 degrees tab trailing edge down. Elevator trim cable continuity was confirmed from its cockpit control wheel to the actuators in the empennage.

The vertical stabilizer was fracture-separated from the aft fuselage at its spar roots. A portion of the rudder torque tube, the rudder bellcrank, and fragments of the rudder remained attached to the aft fuselage. The remainder of the fracture-separated rudder, including the rudder balance weight, was found near the aft fuselage. Continuity determination of the rudder control system was limited due to fire damage.

No pre-impact anomalies such as corrosion, wear, or misrouting, were observed on the primary or secondary flight control cables, but thermal and impact damage precluded a complete determination of the cables' pre-accident condition. All cable damage was attributed to impact overload and/or thermal exposure.

Both main landing gear assemblies were found in their retracted positions. The nose landing gear appeared to be in a near-retracted position.


Engine and Fuel System Examination Details

The engine came to rest upright, leaning towards its left side. The throttle, propeller, and mixture control cables remained attached to the throttle quadrant and their respective engine components.

The two magnetos were found properly secured to their mounting pads on the engine. Magneto-to-engine timing testing determined that both magnetos were timed to within 1 degree of the manufacturer's setting, and within 1 degree of each other. Due to the thermal damage the magnetos were shipped to Continental Motors. Examination of the magnetos did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. After the thermally-damaged capacitor in each magneto was replaced, the right magneto functioned normally, but the left magneto only operated intermittently. That failure was attributed to additional internal thermal damage to the magneto.

The ignition leads remained attached to the magnetos and spark plugs, but sustained significant thermal damage. All spark plugs were removed, and displayed a "normal worn" condition. However, the top and bottom spark plugs from the number 5 cylinder bore very light soot, and the number 5 top plug also held a globule of solidified lead down in its barrel, at the base of the insulator. There was no evidence of lead fouling on any of the other spark plugs. Oil on the number 2 bottom, number 4 bottom, and number 6 top and bottom spark plug electrodes was attributed to the engine orientation after it came to rest. With the exception of the top spark plug from the number 6 cylinder, which had a cracked insulator, all spark plugs produced sparks during bench testing.

Once the spark plugs were removed, the crankshaft was rotated manually. Thumb compressions were obtained on all six cylinders, which confirmed crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rod, and rocker arm continuity. With the exception of cylinder number 5, examination did not note any anomalies with the cylinder barrels, pistons, valves, or valve seats. The cylinder number 5 exhaust valve bore signatures characteristic of excessively lean operation and a possible exhaust gas leak.

No anomalies with the engine lubrication system were noted.

The electric boost pump motor was recovered and was observed to be significantly fire damaged. The pump was not recovered, and presumed to have been consumed by fire.

The engine driven fuel pump (EDP) remained securely attached to the engine, with all fuel lines and fittings in place. The EDP drive coupling was intact. Manual rotation of the drive coupling while installed in the EDP drive shaft resulted in rotation of the shaft; however, there was some binding noted, likely due to internal coking from post accident thermal exposure. Disconnection of the flexible fuel lines resulted in charred material exiting from some of those lines. Removal of the fuel line fittings from the EDP revealed a significant amount of accumulated material in the vapor return outlet port and fitting; no other ports contained similar material. Some material was removed and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for examination. Spectral analysis yielded a strong match for polyester, which is often used as a braided interlayer in flexible fuel lines.

Additional unidentified accreted deposits were found in the EDP swirl chamber. The NTSB Materials Laboratory reported that there was not enough material from the swirl chamber of the EDP to analyze. No non-thermal anomalies were noted with the EDP.

The throttle body was consumed by fire. The throttle plate remained attached to the throttle shaft and lever. The throttle and mixture control levers remained securely attached to their respective control shafts. The mixture control shaft could not be rotated in the fuel metering unit via manual manipulation of the mixture control lever. Examination of the mixture control shaft revealed charred debris adhering to the shaft and walls of the metering unit. The fuel inlet and return fittings remained attached to the fuel metering unit. The fuel inlet screen was found to be unobstructed.

The fuel manifold valve and the injector lines remained intact and securely attached. The manifold valve diaphragm was observed to be stuck to the cap and the housing of the manifold valve, and tore when the cap was removed. The diaphragm was brittle; this was attributed to its post impact fire exposure. The plunger was secured to the diaphragm and the screen was clear. No obstructions or other anomalies were noted.

The fuel nozzles were removed from their respective cylinders. The nozzle from the number 5 cylinder displayed some debris within its discharge orifice, partially obstructing the nozzle. None of the other nozzles displayed any orifice obstructions.

The fuel selector valve was found set to the left main tank. The port from the left main fuel tank was open to the port leading to the engine, and the passageway was confirmed to be unobstructed.

The engine monitor was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for possible data download. Thermal damage precluded the recovery of any data from the device.


Propeller Examination

The three-bladed Hartzell propeller remained attached to the crankshaft propeller flange. All three propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub, but two of the blades were separated from their pitch change links. The tips of both of those blades had been fracture-separated from the blades, but both tips were recovered on site. One of those blades had deep leading edge gouges, and the other one had moderate leading edge gouges. The third blade was bent aft about 30 degrees at its mid-span point. Its tip was curled aft more than 180 degrees, and the blade displayed heavy leading edge gouging, primarily on the outboard span section. All damage was consistent with the propeller being driven under power at impact.

Detailed examination at the Hartzell facility confirmed that the propeller model was appropriate for the airplane, and did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies.


Cabin Air Conditioning System

The compressor of the refrigerative-type cabin air conditioning system was powered by a pulley-drive system on the engine accessory face. The system was operable on ground and in flight. The system was manually turned on or off by a dedicated toggle switch on an instrument panel subpanel, and delivered cooled air via the cabin ventilation "eyeball outlets."

An automatically-positioned three position air intake door was located on the fuselage belly. The door was closed when the system was off. When the system was operating, the door opened to an intermediate position in flight, and to its maximum limit when the airplane was on the ground. When the door was extended to its maximum position, an "AC DOOR EXTEND" annunciation light on the instrument panel would be illuminated.

The system was prohibited from use during takeoff, but could be turned on during climb by the pilot once obstacle clearance was assured. In the event of a go-around while the system was operating during a landing approach with the landing gear extended, when full throttle was applied, a throttle control limit switch would deactivate the compressor to terminate power extraction from the engine, and retract the intake door to reduce drag. Once the landing gear was retracted or the throttle was retarded, following a 20-second delay, the system would resume operation; the intake door would re-open, and the compressor would re-engage.

The only performance-related information in the Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) was that cruise speed and range values were to be decremented by 5 percent with the air conditioning operating. The POH did not provide any information regarding the horsepower usage by the system, or system usage on climb performance.


FBO Fuel

As noted previously, the airplane was fueled with 40 gallons from the FBO on the morning of the accident. Several other airplanes were refueled from the same source prior to the accident airplane, and at least two (including the FBO owner's twin-engine airplane) were refueled after the accident airplane; all those airplanes were operated successfully and uneventfully after their respective refuelings. A fuel sample was obtained and tested in accordance with the fuel vendor's procedures; the FBO owner reported that no anomalies or problems with the fuel were detected.


Witness Information Regarding the Pilot

The CFI who helped the pilot fly the accident airplane to California after its purchase, and who conducted the pilot's February 2013 flight review in that airplane, stated that the pilot met the minimum standards for the flight review, and that there was nothing remarkable about the review. The CFI who was working with the pilot on his instrument rating stated that the pilot was "pretty cautious," and that his "basic stick and rudder skills" were "solid;" the CFI had "no doubt" about the pilot's flying abilities.

On the morning of the accident, the lodging proprietor asked the pilot if he was used to flying at high elevation airports; the pilot responded that he was "not familiar" or "used to" such operations. The pilot then stated that he was planning to fly to Bryce and Zion National Parks, in Utah, north-northwest of FLG. He also stated that FLG was 300 feet lower than that next destination, but that he was not particularly concerned about that trip segment.

According to the owner of the FBO, the pilot asked about a recommended route of flight to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The FBO owner provided that guidance, and showed the pilot the routing on a chart. The pilot was unfamiliar with the fact that the Grand Canyon, which was situated between FLG and the pilot's destination, had designated airspace constraints, and that there was a dedicated VFR chart for that airspace. The pilot was also unfamiliar with the procedures and constraints of Military Operations Areas. Because of the pilot's age, and the sophistication and complexity of the airplane that he was flying, the FBO owner was surprised by, and not favorably impressed with, the pilot's lack of knowledge and preparation.

Airplane loading and other pre-flight preparations appeared to be relatively normal, but the FBO owner noted that the pilot made several inexplicable trips between the airplane and the FBO, possibly as a result of "absentmindedness."


Cessna Pilot Witness Information

The pilot of the Cessna 172 that departed about 75 seconds behind the Beechcraft observed a portion of its flight and the accident. He did not observe the Beechcraft take off. The Cessna pilot observed the Beechcraft climbing "very slowly" on the runway heading. He reported that the Beechcraft maintained the runway heading until it was beyond the end of the runway, and then it turned slightly left, towards the south, and initially appeared to be following the nearby four-lane highway (Interstate 17). By the time the Cessna reached the end of the runway, it was higher than the altitude of the Beechcraft ahead. The Cessna pilot initially thought that perhaps the Beechcraft pilot was sightseeing. However, because the Beechcraft continued to remain extremely low, and appeared to be descending, the Cessna pilot queried the controller about the Beechcraft's situation. The Cessna pilot observed the Beechcraft making repeated small banks to the left and right, and watched the Beechcraft ground track become south-southeasterly, divergent from the interstate highway. The Cessna pilot then observed the Beechcraft continue to make repeated small banks as it descended, and then impact the trees and burst into flames. During his conversation with investigators, the Cessna pilot stated that he observed the Beechcraft turn towards rising terrain, and could not understand why its pilot did not either turn towards lower terrain (the descending valley to the south), or remain over the nearby four-lane interstate highway.


Air Traffic Control Radar Information

FAA air traffic control ground tracking radar data was examined to ascertain whether the accident flight was tracked by the radar system, and to derive a flight path if possible. The geographic locale is primarily served by two FAA radar antennae. One was situated about 73 miles west-northwest, and the other was situated about 80 miles south of FLG. Antenna site distances from the accident site, combined with mountainous topography, yielded a radar coverage floor estimated to be about 8,500 feet msl. The radar systems did not detect the airplane on its accident flight. The radar systems did intermittently detect the eyewitness Cessna 172; the minimum altitude detected was 8,700 feet msl.


Estimated Airplane Performance Capability

The investigation was unable to obtain any current or previous airplane empty weight or center of gravity (CG) information. Interviews with relatives and witnesses at FLG indicated that the pilot and passenger did not have a significant amount of luggage, and that the fuel tanks were not filled. FAA records did not indicate that the airplane maximum takeoff weight of 3,650 lbs had been increased via any supplemental type certificates (STCs).

Although the evidence suggested that the airplane was significantly below its maximum allowable takeoff weight, for conservatism, the investigation assumed that the airplane was at a weight of 3,600 lbs for the departure, and also assumed zero-wind conditions. Best angle of climb speed was 84 knots, and best rate of climb speed was 100 knots.

The POH provided performance data for takeoff using both zero flaps and "approach flaps" (12 degrees); the actual takeoff flap setting was not able to be determined. For zero flaps, the prescribed rotation speed was 72 knots, and the speed at 50 feet was 83 knots. For approach flaps, those speeds were 67 and 77 knots, respectively.

According to the manufacturer's performance data, for zero flaps, the takeoff ground roll would have been about 2,875 feet, and the total distance to 50 feet above ground level (agl) would have been about 5,270 feet. For a takeoff with approach flaps, the ground roll would have been about 2,336 feet, with a total distance to 50 feet agl of about 4,552 feet. The initial climb rate after flap retraction would have been about 512 feet per minute (fpm).


Factors Affecting Climb Performance

An airplane's climb capability is a function of its "excess power," which is defined as the difference between the power required to fly level at a given speed, and the power available at that same speed. When the power available exceeds the power required, the airplane will have a positive climb capability. Several factors can adversely affect airplane takeoff performance and climb capability, by either affecting the power required or the power available.

Power required is due to aerodynamic drag. Increased drag can be due to exit from ground effect, airplane condition or configuration (e.g. flap setting, or landing gear or air conditioning door extended), speedbrake deployment, incorrect climb speed, or increased weight.

Power available is a combination of engine power output, and the ability of the propeller to convert that power to thrust. In non-turbocharged piston engines, power output decreases with altitude. Propeller thrust typically decreases with speed; therefore, overall power available typically decreases directly as speed and altitude increase. Other factors that can decrease the power available include improper throttle or mixture setting, throttle or mixture malfunction; improper propeller blade pitch due to improper setting or malfunction; or air conditioning compressor operation.

The power output of a normally aspirated engine decreases with the decrease in air density that is due to increased altitude or increased density altitude. Turbocharging reduces or eliminates power losses due to increases in altitude or density altitude. On a comparative basis, at the high elevation, high density altitude departure airport, the takeoff and climb performance of the pilot's turbocharged Cessna would likely not have been adversely affected, whereas the takeoff and climb performance of his non-turbocharged Beechcraft was significantly reduced from its sea-level capability.


Ground Effect

The following paragraphs are synopsized from the Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH, FAA-8083-3).

Ground effect is a condition of improved performance encountered when the airplane is operating very close to the ground. The performance improvement is a result of a reduction in induced aerodynamic drag. Ground effect is most significant during takeoff when the airplane lifts off and accelerates to climb speed, and during the landing flare before touchdown.

The takeoff roll, lift-off, and beginning of the initial climb take place in the ground effect regime. As the airplane lifts off and climbs out of ground effect, the airplane will experience an increase in induced drag, and therefore thrust required, to maintain that speed or accelerate. The airplane will experience a pitch-up tendency, and will require less elevator deflection, due to the increase in downwash at the horizontal tail.

Due to the reduced drag in ground effect, the airplane may appear to be able to take off below the prescribed airspeed. However, as the airplane rises out of ground effect with an insufficient airspeed, initial climb performance may prove to be marginal, because of the increased drag. Under conditions of high-density altitude and/or maximum gross weight, the airplane may be able to become airborne at an insufficient airspeed, but unable to climb out of ground effect. Consequently, the airplane may not be able to clear obstructions.

Additional power is required to compensate for the increased drag that occurs as the airplane leaves ground effect. However, during an initial climb, because the engine controls have already been set to develop maximum (takeoff) power, the only alternative is to lower pitch attitude to gain airspeed, which will result in an altitude loss. Therefore, for takeoffs under marginal conditions, it is imperative that the airplane be operated at the prescribed airspeeds, in order to provide adequate initial climb performance.


Aerodynamic Drag Factors

The as-found condition of the airplane indicated that the landing gear, flaps, and speedbrakes were retracted, which was the proper minimum drag climb configuration. The investigation was unable to determine when the landing gear was retracted, or whether the speedbrakes had been extended for the takeoff and climb attempt. Post-accident position of the cabin air conditioning system intake door was not determined, but operational procedures and system design precluded a takeoff and initial climb with the intake door open, a configuration that would have increased drag. No preimpact anomalies that would have increased the basic aerodynamic drag of the airplane were observed.


Climb Speed

The power required versus speed curve is roughly "U" shaped, with the bottom of the "U" denoting the minimum drag speed. Normal operating climb speeds are typically set near the minimum drag speed of the airplane, with some additives for factors such as stall margin and engine cooling. Because there was no ground tracking radar or applicable onboard data available, the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot adhered to the manufacturer-specified climb speed schedule. Deviations from the specified speed could reduce the airplane climb capability, and a speed much below the best angle of climb speed of 84 knots could significantly affect climb capability.

The power-off clean stall speed was about 69 knots; the manufacturer did not publish power-on stall speeds for the airplane. Power-on stall speeds are typically several knots lower than power-off stall speeds. The repetitive, small, left and right bank angles observed by the Cessna pilot were consistent with the behavior of an airplane approaching a stall, but those motions could have been caused by other factors, including pilot input and turbulence. There was no evidence to indicate that the airplane fully stalled during any portion of the flight.


Airplane Weight and Balance

As noted previously, all evidence was consistent with the airplane being within its certificated weight and balance envelope.


Engine Power

Engine power was directly affected by throttle and mixture settings. The POH specified that full throttle was to be used for takeoff and climb. There was insufficient evidence to enable a determination of whether the pilot set and maintained full throttle for the takeoff and climb attempt.

According to the POH, the takeoff mixture was to be set "as required by field elevation," by adjusting the full throttle fuel flow as a function of engine rpm, in accordance with a schedule in the POH. According to that schedule, based on the pressure altitude of 7,000 feet, the full-throttle fuel flow values should have been 23.2 gallons per hour (gph) at 2,700 rpm, or 21.2 gph at 2,500 rpm. The airplane was equipped with a fuel flow transducer and cockpit display to enable compliance with the schedule, and thus proper mixture setting. The investigation was unable to determine the pilot's familiarity with this procedure, or what mixture-setting procedures, if any, he conducted prior to the accident takeoff, or during the climb attempt.


Off-Schedule Fuel Mixture Effects

The pre-takeoff leaning schedule of the fuel mixture for high-elevation airport operations is designed to enable the engine to produce best power in the decreased-air-density environment. In contrast, engine leaning during cruise is accomplished to both adjust the mixture for the air density, as well as adjust the engine power for values below full power, and thereby, modulate the fuel economy.

In general, engines operated at off-schedule fuel mixtures will exhibit certain characteristic signatures which indicate whether the mixture was overly rich or overly lean. Engines that are operated on an overly rich fuel mixture will accrete unburned fuel in the form of dark carbon deposits in the cylinders and exhaust system, and can emit exhaust visible as dark smoke. In contrast, engines that are operated on an overly lean fuel mixture will be characterized by cylinders and exhaust systems with either a "clean" appearance, or fine whitish, tan, or light gray deposits. The investigation was unable to locate any detailed or substantiated data regarding the development or disappearance of these signatures as a function of time that an engine is operated at a particular off-schedule mixture.

As part of the engine certification process, CMI conducted engine power tests that measured power output as a function of fuel flow (and thus, mixture) for two different baseline, but less than full, power settings. Review of the test data indicated that power increased as a function of fuel flow (in pounds per hour, pph) to a certain point, then peaked or flattened out, and then decreased. Using either that peak, or the peak brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC, pounds of fuel per HP per hour) as the dividing line, the rate of power change per pph of fuel flow was greater on the lean sides of those lines than it was on the rich sides of the lines. Furthermore, when the peak BSFC line was used as the dividing point, the rate of power change per pph was significantly greater on the lean side than it was on the rich side.

The investigation did not obtain any similar mixture variation data for full power settings, and therefore was unable to determine the effects of off-schedule fuel mixtures on engine power for takeoff and initial climb.


Partially Obstructed Fuel Nozzle

A 1997 article in "Aviation Maintenance Technology" magazine stated that the most common form of fuel nozzle contamination happens as fuel evaporates in the nozzles after hot engine shut-downs. This evaporative process leaves deposits of varnish residue which buildup over time, and inhibits the free flow of metered fuel to the cylinders. If left unattended, nozzles begin to become blocked, but the contamination is not typically limited to a single nozzle.

The airplane was equipped with a turbine/rotary fuel flow transducer, as opposed to the pressure-type flow transducer. Because the rotary-type transducers measure the flow directly, they are not subject to the erroneous fuel flow indications of the pressure-type transducers when one or more fuel nozzles become partially or fully blocked.

The number 5 cylinder fuel injector nozzle was found to be partially blocked, which could result in lean operation and reduced power output of that cylinder, possibly accompanied by engine roughness and altered CHT and EGT values; the effect on each parameter would be proportional to the degree of blockage. The exhaust valve for that cylinder bore signatures characteristic of excessively lean operation. There was insufficient evidence to enable the investigation to determine the source of the blockage, quantify its effects, or its relation to the condition of the exhaust valve. There was also insufficient evidence to determine when the blockage occurred, including whether it was an artifact of the post-impact fire.


Engine-Driven Fuel Pump Debris

The investigation was unable to determine when the deposits were formed in the vapor return outlet or the swirl chamber of the engine-driven fuel pump, but their appearances were consistent with the results of a post impact fire. Partial or complete blockage of the vapor return line would result in an enrichment of the mixture, because that line is the primary flow path for the return of excess fuel from the pump output, which is utilized in a venturi setup to aid in vapor extraction. There was insufficient information to determine the engine power effects, if any, of that mixture change if the vent line was partially or completely blocked during the accident flight. The swirl chamber deposits did not occlude any orifices, or appreciably reduce the volume of the swirl chamber.


Backfiring and Detonation

Some of the signatures of backfiring and detonation were consistent with the available physical or witness report evidence.

According to the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook, Powerplant (FAA-8083-32), "an extremely lean mixture either does not burn at all or burns so slowly that combustion is not complete at the end of the exhaust stroke. The flame lingers in the cylinder and then ignites the contents in the intake manifold or the induction system when the intake valve opens. This causes an explosion known as backfiring." The Handbook stated "A point worth stressing is that backfiring rarely involves the whole engine... In practically all cases, backfiring is limited to one or two cylinders. Usually, it is the result of ... defective fuel injector nozzles, or other conditions that cause these cylinders to operate leaner than the engine as a whole." Backfiring will result in a loss of power and characteristic "popping" sounds from the engine, which is congruent with the available evidence.

According to the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK, FAA-8083 25), detonation "is an uncontrolled, explosive ignition of the fuel/air mixture within the cylinder's combustion chamber" that can result in engine overheating, roughness, or loss of power. The PHAK cited one common cause of detonation as "operation of the engine at high power settings with an excessively lean mixture," and cited one preventative measure that pilots should "develop the habit of monitoring the engine instruments to verify proper operation according to procedures established by the manufacturer."

The FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook, Powerplant (FAA-8083-32) stated that "Unless detonation is heavy, there is no flight deck evidence of its presence," and the "effects of detonation are often not discovered until after teardown of the engine."

Although the No. 5 cylinder condition was consistent with excessively lean operation, none of the cylinder assemblies, including No. 5, displayed any evidence of detonation.


Propeller Blade Pitch Setting

The blade pitch angles for the installed model propeller were measured at the 30-inch blade station, with a certificated travel range of 13 to 36 degrees. Takeoff procedures specified that the propeller pitch cockpit control be set to full forward. According to information provided by Beechcraft, at takeoff power, at a speed of 90 knots for the given ambient conditions, the estimated propeller blade angle would have been 17.7 degrees. Impact witness marks indicated that the blade pitch setting was about 25 degrees. Evidence found at the accident site indicated that the propeller sliced through a number of trees and tree branches before contacting the rocky ground. Therefore, the investigation was unable to determine when the witness marks were made, and could not discount alteration of the blade pitch angles, without producing any witness marks, as the airplane descended through the relatively soft pine trees. Therefore the investigation was unable to determine whether the propeller blade pitch was set correctly for the takeoff and climb attempt.


Cabin Air Conditioning Operational Status

The recorded air temperature at FLG about the time of the accident was 18 degrees C (64 degrees F), which was not consistent with the use of cabin air conditioning. Even if the ambient temperature was conducive to the use of air conditioning, operational procedures and system design safeguards prevented the cabin air conditioning system compressor from extracting power from the engine during a takeoff and initial climb. The investigation was unable to determine the operational status of the air conditioning compressor during the takeoff and climb attempt.


http://registry.faa.gov/N999PK 

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA244 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Mountainaire, AZ
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY A36, registration: N999PK
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 28, 2013, about 1143 mountain standard time, a Beechcraft A36, N999PK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain in the Coconino National Forest adjacent to Mountainaire, Arizona, shortly after takeoff from Flagstaff Pulliam airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona. A large post-impact fire ensued immediately. The owner/private pilot and the one passenger received fatal injuries. No persons on the ground were injured or killed. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to relatives of the pilot, he based the airplane at McClellan Airfield (MCC) Sacramento, California. The pilot and passenger departed MCC on the morning of May 25, 2013, and arrived at FLG that same day. According to personnel and information from Wiseman Aviation, a fixed base operator (FBO) at FLG, the couple rented a car that day, and returned the car to the FBO about 1100 on May 28. The pilot requested that 20 gallons of fuel be loaded into each of the main tanks, and then queried the FBO owner for about 15 minutes about flight route and other considerations for a flight to Bryce Canyon Airport (BCE). The airplane was refueled, and the pilot and his wife loaded the airplane.

According to information provided by representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after startup and taxi out, the pilot requested, and was granted, a turnout to the northeast by the FLG air traffic control tower (ATCT) controller. The airplane took off from runway 21, and was observed to be climbing very slowly by a pilot in a Cessna 172, which departed just after the Beechcraft. The Cessna pilot eventually queried the ATCT controller about the Beechcraft's intentions, and the Beechcraft pilot then radioed that he was climbing very slowly. The Cessna pilot watched the Beechcraft maneuver slightly. He subsequently watched the Beechcraft strike trees, and then explode; he reported this to the ATCT, and then orbited the accident site until ground help arrived.

FAA information indicated that FLG runway 21 measured 8,800 by 150 feet, and the airport elevation was listed as 7,140 feet above mean sea level. The 1157 FLG automated weather observation included wind from 210 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 26 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear skies; temperature 18 degrees C; dew point minus 4 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury.




 
Dr. Matthew Mezger and his wife Mary Patricia Hughes. 
(Courtesy)


Funeral services have been scheduled for well-known Woodland-area physician Dr. Matthew Mezger and his wife Mary Patricia Hughes who died in a private airplane crash on Tuesday in Mountainaire, Ariz., while celebrating their 30th anniversary.

A memorial mass is scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, in the Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, 3235 Arden Way, Sacramento. Interment for Dr. Mezger will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, at Mary's Chapel Cemetery, 12020 County Road 98, Woodland. Hughes ashes will be returned to her hometown of Duluth, Minn.

The couple were killed last Tuesday morning during their take-off from an airport near Mountainaire in a Beechcraft 336 single-engine plane. They were the only people on board the small aircraft. Dr. Mezger was 59 years old. Hughes was 54 years old.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said earlier that preliminary information indicates the plane left Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and had trouble gaining altitude before crashing about three miles southeast of the airport in Mountainaire.

Coconino County sheriff's officials reported the plane was headed to Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Dr. Mezger is a well-known Woodland physician. He was a 1980 UC Davis graduate, a longtime physician for Woodland Memorial Hospital as well as Sutter Health and other local medical facilities. Since 1987, he was in private practice at the Capital Nephrology Medical Group in Sacramento.

Mountainaire is located in Coconino County, and is south of Flagstaff.



Dr. Matthew Mezger
 MOUNTAINAIRE, Ariz. -- Authorities say a Sacramento couple with family and professional ties to Woodland has been identified as having died in a small plane crash south of Flagstaff.

Coconino County Sheriff's officials announced Wednesday that 59-year-old Dr. Matthew Sullivan Mezger and his 54-year-old wife Mary Patricia Hughes were the only people aboard the plane that crashed just before noon Tuesday.

They say the couple was from Sacramento and Mezger was the owner and pilot of the Beechcraft 336 single-engine plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says preliminary information indicates the plane left Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and had trouble gaining altitude before crashing about three miles southeast of the airport in Mountainaire.

Sheriff's officials say the plane was headed to Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Dr. Mezger is a well-known Woodland physician. He is a 1980 UC Davis graduate, was a longtime physician for Woodland Memorial Hospital as well as Sutter Health and other local medical facilities. Since 1987, he was in private practice at the Capital Nephrology Medical Group in Sacramento.

Mountainaire is located in Coconino County, and is south of Flagstaff.




 


A Sacramento physician and his wife have been identified as the couple who died Tuesday in the crash of single-engine aircraft in Arizona.

Matthew S. Mezger, 59, and his wife, Mary Patricia Hughes, 54, were the only occupants of the Beechcraft Bonanza that crashed and burned about three miles southeast of Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff about 11:45 a.m., according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Department news release.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane, which was headed to Tuba City, Ariz., had trouble gaining altitude after departing the airport.

The Sheriff's Department reported receiving a call regarding an airplane crash near the community of Mountainaire from a resident of the area who witnessed the crash and fire. Before emergency personnel arrived, several citizens attempted to extinguish the flames and attend to the occupants, according to the news release.

The couple were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the FAA, Matthew Mezger was the registered owner of the airplane.

Mezger is listed as a physician with the Capital Nephrology Medical Group in Sacramento. According to his resume on the medical group's website, he earned his medical degree from UC Davis and has been a staff physician at hospitals throughout the Sacramento area.

The Sheriff's Department reported that the couple left Sacramento on Saturday and spent the weekend in Flagstaff. Their intended destination after leaving Flagstaff was Bryce Canyon, Utah.

The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.



 


 


 




 



 



 




 
Arizona airplane that crashed was registered to Woodland, California, physician 

An airplane which crashed in Mountainaire, Arizona, on Tuesday was registered to Dr. Matthew Mezger of Sacramento, a well-known Woodland physician.

However, whether Mezger was flying the airplane could not be determined, although the two occupants of the craft were both killed.

Dr. Mezger, a UC Davis graduate in 1980, was a longtime physician for Woodland Memorial Hospital as well as other local medical facilities. Since 1987, he also was in private practice at the Capital Nephrology Medical Group in Sacramento.

The plane itself was a fixed wing single-engine type manufacturer by Raytheon, built in 2001.

According to reporter Cyndy Cole of the Arizona Daily Sun, residents of the area heard the heard a small plane flying frighteningly close over their homes around noon Tuesday before it clipped several trees, striking the ground in a resident's back yard and exploding into flames.

"It was so low. It was so loud. And then: boom!" Siera Smyth, who immediately ran out to try to help the victims, told Cole. Both occupants of a small plane, which was registered out of Sacramento, died in the crash. Arizona law enforcement officers were working to find and notify family members.

Cole reported the pilot of the Beechcraft Bonanza bound for Tuba City, Arizonia, reported trouble gaining altitude, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"I heard it fly over the house really low," said resident Justin Adams. "... it didn't sound right. The motor was sputtering out."

The plane clipped and knocked down trees on what appeared to be a disc golf course, striking the ground about 50 feet from a home on Iroquois Drive, and landed facing back toward the airport.

Its engine and propeller were separated from the rest of the plane, and all were thoroughly charred.

Smyth and another person in her home, which is about two blocks away from the crash site, responded immediately.

"We both went running with shovels. All the neighborhood went running with shovels," to contain the fire, she said, which reached within a few yards of the nearest home.

Others tried to approach the plane, with two treated for smoke inhalation and released at the scene.

"Some guys ran over there with a fire extinguisher," Adams said.

Firefighters attempted to douse the fire from a distance, but they couldn't get very close to the plane right after the crash because it was engulfed in flames.

The magnesium components of the plane burned intensely, and firefighters later put a containment line around the wildfire it sparked, estimated at one-quarter acre, said Brian Katrales, spokesman for Highlands Fire District.

Katrales credited neighbors with acting quickly and calling for help immediately.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA will investigate, according to the FAA.  

http://www.dailydemocrat.com

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - A single-engine plane crashed Tuesday morning near Flagstaff, killing two people on board.

Ian Gregor with the Federal Aviation Administration said a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza had trouble gaining altitude after departing from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

The plane crashed about two to three miles southeast of the airport around 11:45 a.m.

"All I saw was a plane that came too low over our house and not even a minute later I heard this big boom and saw smoke just billowing," said Pat Policastro who witnessed the crash.  "The flame, I mean the flame only God knows how high it was, it was like watching TV."

Gregor said the plane was registered out of California and had been en route to Tuba City on the Navajo Nation.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the crash happened within a hundred feet of residential buildings in the Mountainaire community.

"It was banking left as planes typically do when they head towards Sedona and the wing was pointed towards the ground and it went down," said Policastro.  "It was like a bomb going off, I mean the whole earth shook."

CCSO said several witnesses tried to extinguish the flames and help the occupants.

A fire was ignited by the crash which was eventually contained at about 1/4 acre. No structures were damaged.

"I never want to hear it again or see it again and the smell, I know what plane fuel smells like and that's what it was, it was burning fuel," said Policastro.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating this crash.

Source:  http://www.abc15.com


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Two people died in a plane crash south of Flagstaff on Tuesday. 

 Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gerry Blair said the small plane struck the top of a couple of trees and crashed around noon. The plane exploded on impact and burned, starting a small forest fire.

Units from the Highland Volunteer Fire District responded and quickly contained the fire to a quarter of an acre.

The crash site is near the community of Mountainaire, 15 miles south of Flagstaff.

The single-engine privately owned aircraft is registered out of California. At this time, it is not clear where the plane was heading or who was on board.

The cause of the crash is not known at this time. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Story and Photo:  http://www.azfamily.com 

Two people are dead after a plane crashed into the back yard of a home in Mountainaire south of Flagstaff a little before 11:43 a.m. today.

The pilot of the Beechcraft Bonanza reported trouble gaining altitude after leaving the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport shortly before noon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane crashed in a forested area about 50 feet from the nearest home and was engulfed in flames.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Neighbors near the crash site on Iroquois Drive said the plane clipped several trees before crashing behind a house and touching off a small forest fire.

“I heard it fly over the house really low,” said resident Justin Adams. “… it didn’t sound right. The engine was sputtering out.”

Neighbors attempted to come to the aid of the occupants but were rebuffed by flames.

Two were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Responding to the scene were Guardian Medical, Highlands Fire District, the Bear Jaw firefighting crew, and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

Firefighters credited residents with responding quickly and calling for help.

Eric True of the Highlands Fire District says crews have suppressed a quarter-acre fire resulting from the crash.