Saturday, December 7, 2013

Air Force Thunderbirds to return to Atlantic City Airshow in 2014, Blue Angels in 2015

Military jet teams will headline the Atlantic City Airshow for the next two years, bringing certainty to the city’s signature event that draws hundreds of thousands to the resort.

Following this year’s more low-key event devoid of a major crowd-attracting performance, organizers have landed the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds for a show Aug. 13, 2014, temporarily moving the event back to late summer.

The following year will feature the return of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, who have not been a part of the Atlantic City show since 2006. The 2015 airshow will be held May 27, the earliest date in its modern run.

“Atlantic City has traditionally been a Thunderbirds show. They consider Atlantic City their East Coast home,” said airshow boss David Schultz, whose company organizes the show each year. “The Blue Angels really badly wanted to come back to Atlantic City. … We’re trying to keep things fresh with bringing the blues back.”

Federal budget cuts grounded the teams this year, though scheduling conflicts had already left Atlantic City without a 2013 headlining jet team when the cutbacks were announced. Organizers filled the gap with civilian performances, but crowds were nowhere near as strong as in years past.

Atlantic City emergency management officials estimated 400,000 people watched the 2013 show from Atlantic City’s beaches and Boardwalk, compared with an estimated 908,000 in 2012. Unlike many shows, Atlantic City’s event — one of the largest in North America — is free and unticketed, leaving sometimes disputed police estimates as the only overall gauge of attendance.

The show, which kicked off its modern run in 2003, moved to a June date in 2013 in an effort to draw crowds back to the shore early in the summer following Hurricane Sandy. That move, however, was met with mixed results from business owners who preferred the late summer date.

Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber, which sponsors the show, said he just recently received word that the Thunderbirds would be returning to Atlantic City. The jet teams’ schedules are traditionally announced during the International Council of Air Shows conference, which recently concluded in Las Vegas. The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team has also been confirmed for 2014, he said, adding that most Atlantic City stakeholders hadn’t yet been contacted about the bookings.

“We’re thrilled to have a headliner back. We’re going to see more of a traditional show,” Kelly said. “After doing something in the marketplace for more than 10 years, consistency is important.”

Schultz said much discussion went into the decision to book the Blue Angels for an early 2015 show — including the fact that the team will already be in the area in May for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation flyover.

“We wired the schedule directly with the Blue Angels. The Thunderbirds were in the room, too, so they’re aware of it as well,” Schultz said. “That was the best Wednesday (the Blue Angels) could do, and it will kick off the summer season. Atlantic City is going to be a very busy place at the end of May 2015.”

The last time the Blue Angels came to Atlantic City was in 2006, when the city booked both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds in a single year. Schultz said he had doubted a double-headliner in Atlantic City was possible but alluded to the potential for future announcements.

“The way the military structure is right now, you won’t see both teams,” Schultz said. “That doesn’t mean I don’t have my hands up my sleeve trying to pull out something else at either show. We’ll see what happens.”

Yet to be decided is the remainder of the lineup for the 2014 show. In years past, the lineups have included a number of military flybys, but federal budget cutbacks may still leave some military aircraft out of the mix. Those gaps can be filled with civilian performers, but that increases the cost of the show, as civilian teams are traditionally more expensive to book than military acts.

The Navy has said it will not have single-aircraft demonstrations in 2014, and some U.S. Marine Corps demonstrations will be limited, Schultz said.

“There’s some sequestration play in the mix there. We’re still working with the Pentagon on that,” Schultz said.

In recent years, tourism officials have made an effort to schedule other events around the show, giving visitors more options for activities in the hopes that people stay for multiple days. Those events haven’t been set, but Kelly said he expects to work with the Atlantic City Alliance on a schedule.

A study by Atlantic Cape Community College’s Center for Regional and Business Research estimated the economic impact of the 2012 event at $42.5 million.

Source:   http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

Air Guard denied request to fly over Pearl Harbor

UNDATED: This photo courtesy of the Collings Foundation, shows a Buffalo, N.Y.-built American fighter that’s one of the few remaining still-airworthy planes to survive the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (AP)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The missing man flyover at Pearl Harbor is a tradition USS Arizona and National Park Service historian Daniel Martinez has witnessed every December 7 since 1985.

"When you see that aircraft apart in that missing man formation, every one of us individualize what that means," he said.

But that emotion won't be there this year. The F-22 Raptors piloted by the Hawaii Air National Guard are under orders not to perform.

"There have been restrictions on all kinds of flyovers across the country. We were not able to get an exception of policy to do this one," Hawaii National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony said.

Pearl Harbor survivors are understandably upset.

"I'm totally disgusted. The one day of the year when we're honoring our military from World War II," said retired U.S. Army Sgt. Allen Bodenlos.

"Every year I watch for the flight. I have those flights on the camera. To not see a flyover, I can't imagine," said Delton Walling, who was aboard the USS Pennsylvania when Japan attacked in 1941.

Anthony had hoped the Secretary of the Air Force would let the Guard do the flyover since the F-22's will already be in the air flying a $70,000 training exercise. Adding the flyover would have added some cost.

"There's so much money being spent for other things. I think this is very important. I don't see the reason why we can't spend the money for it," Ohio resident Nancy Wolverton said.

In place of the fighter jets, two vintage training aircraft from World War II will soar above Pearl Harbor in a fly by. Veterans agree at least it's something.

"They're honoring the vets and that'll be great," Walling said.

"That I'll enjoy," said Bodenlos.

"We recognize that at this point it doesn't look like this is going to change anytime soon, and these vets deserve better than what we're giving them right now. So we're going to do a better job, hopefully for you next year," vintage aircraft pilot Harry Greene said.

The Air Guard hopes it will have the honor back next December 7.  Right now it doesn't look good.

"My understanding is that the Air Force has not approved any exceptions to policy since sequestration kicked in," Anthony said.

Until Washington gives the thumbs up, missing man flyovers over Hawaii skies will be a thing of the past.

Story, Video, Photo Gallery and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com





Friday, December 6, 2013

Pilots seek answers, say officials of McMinnville-based Evergreen International Airlines unavailable

Published on December 06, 2013 at 6:30 PM, updated December 06, 2013 at 7:47 PM

 Officers of Evergreen International Airlines Inc.'s pilots union say they’re in the dark concerning the fate of the McMinnville-based company, which apparently flew its last flight Monday. 

Capt. James Touchette, chairman of Air Line Pilots Association International Local 118, issued a statement Friday in the form of a news release that was more like a plea, fishing for reliable information on the troubled airline. The release said Evergreen’s management team had planned to meet Tuesday with lienholders to determine the company’s future, but a decision on the airline’s fate remains unknown.

“As far as the union knows, all of the planes have been parked and the lights are out at headquarters in McMinnville,” said Touchette, a former Evergreen cargo-jet pilot who is chairman of Local 118’s master executive council.

Managers of the privately held airline have been out of the public eye since Monday, when Mike Hines, chairman of parent company Evergreen International Aviation Inc., last returned a call from a reporter for The Oregonian. Hines said then that the company was still operating and managers hoped to save it.

Delford Smith, the parent company’s chief executive officer, has not returned repeated phone calls. An assistant said this week that Smith hadn’t been at work, adding that the 83-year-old founder of several Evergreen companies hadn’t been to the office the week before, either.

Touchette's news release said paychecks received by crew members Thursday lacked vacation payouts that had been promised by management. The union has filed a grievance on the missing payouts, he said.

“We are doing our best under these circumstances that we possibly can to get the crew members all of the money owed to them by the last payroll,” Touchette said in the release. It's what loyal union members deserve, he said.

Evergreen’s last flight apparently occurred early Monday. A Boeing 747-400 cargo jet made a short hop from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to Victorville, Calif., according to former employees and reports by workers who said they crewed the 46-minute flight. The 747-400 – the same one that flew Evergreen’s last military flight, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, to Travis -- had arrived at Travis after midnight Thursday from Yokota.

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

Supreme Court to hear Wisconsin airline case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a case involving a Wisconsin air carrier that could determine whether airlines should be protected from lawsuits, as the Transportation Security Administration is, after mistakenly reporting a security threat.

The case involves Appleton-based Air Wisconsin Airlines, which reported concerns about pilot William Hoeper’s mental state before he boarded a plane as a passenger at Dulles Airport in December 2004.

Hoeper knew he would be terminated after failing a series of flight tests on a simulator near Dulles, and Air Wisconsin officials worried that he might be a security threat, according to the airline’s written legal argument.

Hours before the flight, Hoeper “blew up” at instructors after failing his fourth test, yelling and cursing at them, according to the airline. In addition, Hoeper was trained to carry a firearm in the cockpit, although Air Wisconsin officials didn't know if he had a gun with him for the test.

The Colorado Supreme Court denied Air Wisconsin immunity from a defamation lawsuit in the case by finding the airline “overstated” its concerns. Hoeper, who lived in Denver, won $1.4 million in a jury trial.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the law that created TSA and gave it immunity from such lawsuits also granted airlines the same protection.

The immunity granted to TSA was similar to libel protections for newspapers, saying the agency should be protected unless statements are made “with actual knowledge that the disclosure was false, inaccurate or misleading” or “with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of that disclosure.”

The federal government filed a brief in the case arguing that reporters of potential security threats should be immune because they are critical to maintaining air safety.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a former head of the transportation committee, argued in another brief that over-reporting of security threats is better than under-reporting.

If Air Wisconsin isn’t granted immunity, the case “would have a chilling effect on the airplane industry’s willingness and timeliness in reporting suspicious activities,” Mica said in a written argument to the court.

A trade group, the International Air Transport Association, with 240 member airlines, also asked the Supreme Court to hear the case by saying the Colorado court was wrong, that it second-guessed Air Wisconsin and conducted a “hair-splitting” analysis of the case.

The purpose of the reporting law, according to the group, is “when in doubt, report.”

But Hoeper responded in a court filing that Air Wisconsin escalated a personal dispute between him and some of the airline’s workers into “a national security emergency.” He complained that the simulator test was conducted unfairly, and then airline officials reported him as mentally unstable and possibly armed.

Hoeper’s flight to Denver as a passenger was surrounded on the ground by emergency vehicles and a snow plow before he was removed by law-enforcement officials and arrested.

But Hoeper, a 20-year commercial pilot, was released after investigators sorted out what happened and he caught another flight later that day, according to his written argument in the case.

Air Wisconsin “had no reason to think that Hoeper was actually armed and lacked any basis for implying to the TSA that Hoeper posed any real threat,” according to his argument.

A decision in the case is expected by June.


Source:  http://www.sheboyganpress.com

Secretary looted historic aircraft firm to hide debts from husband

An office manager plundered the accounts of a family run aviation business because she could not bear to tell her husband she had run up thousands of pounds of debts.

Amanda Hallett stole so much that her thefts helped drive the historic aircraft firm into liquidation with the loss of jobs at its Exeter Airport base.

She felt she was underpaid after not receiving a rise when she was promoted to company secretary and fiddled the books to take what she thought she was worth.

Hallett worked for Hunter Flying, which helped enthusiasts preserve historic warplanes including Hawker Hunters. It had a workforce of 11 until it moved to Wales.

The company was run by John and Nadine Sparks who were friends of Hallett and her husband, who worked on the aircraft which they maintained, Exeter Crown Court was told.

She betrayed their trust by stealing around £10,000 which she used to hide debts and mortgage arrears from her husband.

Hallett escaped jail after a judge heard how her marriage has broken up and she is now the sole carer for the couple’s eight-year-old daughter.

Hallett, aged 41, of Crownhill Park, Torquay, admitted three counts of fraud and was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work.

Judge Wassall told her:”The prosecution say the effect on the company was that it went out of business. You dispute that and say it was not purely your fraud that did that, but you accept it must have played a part.

“I accept that a company would be unlikely to have gone into administration over the loss of £10,000 and there were other issues and the move to Wales.

“Mr and Mrs Sparks not only trusted you but you accepted their friendship and that makes matters a good deal worse.

“You were managing your family’s finances and struggling to pay your mortgage and your husband was not party to this. I accept it put a great deal of pressure on you to ensure he did not find out about the mounting debts.

“You began to make these fraudulent transactions. I don’t know if it was because you thought you were doing two jobs and in your mind the amount you were taking was a second wage.”

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said Hallett worked for Hunter Flying from 2008 to 2012 and left because they relocated to St Athan in Wales.

The family which ran the firm were alerted to deficiencies by their accountants and it was found she had been channeling money to herself through checks, debit card transactions and cashpoint withdrawals.

The firm estimated its losses at £13,454.87 but she put the amount she stole at £10,000. For much of the time she was company secretary, with a legal duty to safeguard its interests.

She used company money to pay council tax and mortgage arrears and fend off debt management companies and also used it to buy a Nintendo games console.

Miss Cassel said:”The Sparks family have been devastated and struggling financially. Their livelihood has been lost. When interviewed Hallett expressed remorse and said she was trying to keep a roof over her family’s head.”

Miss Kelly Scrivener, defending, said her client felt so guilty about what she was doing that she had not paid herself her £1,000 salary for two months to make up for the money she had taken.

She said at the time she had serious financial problems which she was hiding from her husband and that the marriage has now broken up.

She said:”She was not motivated by revenge of greed. She was driven by the particular financial circumstances in which she found herself.”

Hunter Flying was based at Exeter Airport before moving to St Athan at Barry, South Wales. It has since changed its name to Horizon Aircraft Services.

It specialises in restoring and historic warplanes, including Hawker Hunter jets but also provides maintenance services from hangars at the Ministry of Defence run base at St Athan.

It has operated since 1999 and supports enthusiasts who own restored aircraft including Jet Provosts, Strikemasters and Russian-built Yaks.

Its website also offers flight training for pilots who need to qualify to fly historic aircraft, which requires specialist training.

Source: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk

Bitter Cold: Workers at the Saskatoon airport making sure planes run, no matter the weather

 


Kelvin Sproule is bundled up as he works in the bitter cold at West Wind Aviation at the Saskatoon airport.

"They're getting ready to tow that 1900 Beechcraft into the hangar so hopefully it doesn't freeze," he said, pointing to other members of the ground crew working on a nearby plane.

As a member of the ground crew, he's making sure planes are fueled, their power charged and the ramp is clear of snow.

"In a 12 hour shift, you're probably out there maybe six hours at a time," he said.

Sproule explained the cold does make the job more difficult as it's hard on both the people and the planes.

"We prefer rain and everything else to go with it other than snow and cold," he said.

He said a big challenge right now is keeping the planes' engines warm.

"There's been delays because of the cold because if (a plane) has been sitting out there on the ramp there for 20 minutes or a half hour prior to take off, engines freeze up," he said.

What Sproule then has to do is use a big construction heater with hoses to blow warm air on the engines.

He said the key to working outside when the temperature drops is dressing for the cold.

"I have a Saskatchewan Roughrider toque and a balaclava," he said.

"Actually, it's not too bad right now."

He said the worst weather he's had to work in was the huge blizzard of 2007 in Saskatoon when West Wind and WestJet were the only two airlines running.


Source:   http://cjme.com

Wetland threat to airport still unresolved: Napa County (KAPC), California

Napa County and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife remain at loggerheads over whether a wetlands area has been filled in sufficiently to reduce the threat that birds present to planes taking off and landing at the Napa County Airport.

Given the disagreement over facts, the issue may ultimately end up in court if it can’t be resolved through negotiations. This leaves an uncertain future for a leg of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which is planned to connect Napa to American Canyon.

The dispute stems from restoration work Fish and Wildlife performed at an old Cargill salt pond adjacent a Napa County Airport runway, returning the area to wetland habitat. The state bought the land from Cargill as part of a large restoration project spanning thousands of acres of former salt ponds.

That restoration work triggered public safety fears from pilots who fly in and out of the airport. They were concerned that having wetlands so close to a runway would increase the chances that birds could strike their aircraft.

A less bird-friendly safety area — a 7-acre, filled-in upland area near Green Island Road — was proposed.

Napa County Public Works Director Steve Lederer wrote a letter to Fish and Wildlife in October asserting that Fish and Wildlife hadn’t finished the job. The area remained wetlands, the county asserted.

Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham wrote back last week, stating that the department finished that work in the summer of 2008. While the runway safety area isn’t up to Federal Aviation Administration standards, Fish and Wildlife’s letter said the county needed to get easements from the FAA for the reduced standard.

The letter cites a 2010 county email sent to Airport Manager Martin Pehl and the Napa County Park and Open Space District, which said that the runway safety area’s upland elevation would decrease and become wetland over time. The email also said it would be up to the county to do any additional work on the safety area, according to Bonham’s letter.

As such, Fish and Wildlife hasn’t violated its obligations under the an environmental impact report for the restoration project, Bonham wrote. Still, the letter concluded that the department was willing to work on the issue with the county.

Lederer’s letter disputed that Fish and Wildlife had met its requirements.

“We wish to formally request that the Department of Fish and Wildlife do whatever it takes to add sufficient fill to raise the runway safety area to an upland condition,” Lederer wrote. “The new wetland created by your department represents a serious public safety threat to the future operation of the airport that cannot remain unabated.”

Lederer also wrote that the runway safety area is needed to complete the leg of the Bay Trail.


Source:    http://napavalleyregister.com

Daytona mother suspected in 40 burglaries, including Spruce Creek Fly-In

Lyudmila Prilutskaya
DAYTONA BEACH — A mother often drove her teenage son and some of his friends through high-end neighborhoods and the Daytona Flea and Farmer’s Market so that the youths could steal from cars and merchants’ booths, according to sheriff’s officials. 

The woman’s son, 15-year-old Georgiy Andriyenko, told investigators that he and his mother, Lyudmila Prilutskaya, 52, targeted the Spruce Creek Fly-In for example, because it’s “an upscale neighborhood with more valuable stuff to steal.”

Mother and son and their associates are suspected in up to 40 burglaries in Daytona Beach, Port Orange and Ormond Beach over the last month, said Gary Davidson, Volusia County sheriff’s spokesman. The crew stole cash, electronics, wallets, smoking devices and anything else they deemed valuable, Davidson said.

Witnesses have told investigators that Prilutskaya approved or disapproved of the items that were stolen, deciding which ones would be kept based on the property’s value, Davidson said.

But a broken down getaway car did them in.

On Nov. 9, they went to the flea market on Tomoka Farms Road and stole 14 bongs valued at $3,000 from a business called Island Mystique, Davidson said. A security guard caught one of the youngsters from the group and recovered four bongs, Davidson said. The guard let the boy go and when he and the others tried to bolt from the flea market, the car Prilutskaya was driving them in would not start, Davidson said.

Prilutskaya then called someone who agreed to pick up the group. The tag on the abandoned vehicle was traced to Prilutskaya’s residence on St. Augustine Road in Daytona Beach and investigators spoke to both suspects, Davidson said.

Then on Nov. 30, again at the Fly-In, two cars were broken into in a garage and a camera and two iPads were taken, Davidson said. Port Orange arrested Andriyenko the following day and recovered stolen property at his home, Davidson said.

On Thursday, sheriff’s investigators, as well as detectives with the other three agencies obtained search warrants for the house shared by mother and son, Davidson said. The investigators uncovered more stolen goods and the pair were arrested.

Prilutskaya is charged with three counts of burglary, grand theft, child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Her son is charged with three counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft and one count of dealing in stolen property.

Sheriff’s officials say there have been several other burglaries at the flea market not connected to the mother and son.

Arnold Zazulia, owner of Atlantic Tools & More, was surprised to learn something was taken from his shop in the early morning hours Thursday.

It turned out the group of crooks took a hammer from his shop and used it to burglarize the other businesses, Zazulia said.

Dan Hamblen, who manages E-Cigs Best Smokers, said the burglaries have affected business.

“I had people asking for stuff that I didn’t have because it was taken,” Hamblen said Friday. “I have to take home all my stuff in a duffle bag now. I shouldn’t have to do that.”

Flea market management did not return a call Friday for comment.

Steven Savoca, owner of Stronghold Military Exchange, said most businesses are vulnerable as they only cover their booths with a tarp when they leave.

He and other business owners said they worry about the lack of security at the flea market.

“I’m not impressed,” Savoca said. “If I come in one day and all my stuff’s gone, then I’ll shut down.”


Source:  http://www.news-journalonline.com

Police seek help finding suspect in helicopter scam - Delaware

Police are searching for a Delmar man they say stole money through an investment scheme.

In February Rodney Bounds, 48, approached a 76-year-old Delmar man and asked him to invest in a helicopter business, Cpl. John Day said.

The victim gave Bounds $5,000. Bounds contacted him several months later and received more money, police said.

For the past several months, the victim has been unsuccessfully attempting to contact Bounds. Bounds cannot be located and police have been unable to find any sign that the helicopter company was a legitimate business, Day said.

Anyone with information about Bounds’ location is asked to contact Troop 4 at (302) 856-5850 ext. 257, or by using the State Police Mobile Crime Tip App available at: http://www.delaware.gov/apps/. 

Information also may be given to Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."

Article and Photo:  http://www.delawareonline.com

Rodney Bounds / Delaware State Police

Buffalo Airways plane catches fire at the Yellowknife Airport in Northwest Territories, Canada

Mikey McBryan, of N.W.T.'s Buffalo Airways, says another Buffalo plane was delayed from landing at the Yellowknife airport due to the fire in the C-46 on the runway. (CBC)


This Buffalo Airways C-46 airplane caught fire after it blew an engine while taxiing down the runway at the Yellowknife airport around 8 a.m. Friday. (CBC) 

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a Buffalo Airways C-46 airplane caught fire after it blew an engine while taxiing down the runway at the Yellowknife airport around 8 a.m. 

 The plane was bound to pick up freight in Hay River when its right engine caught fire.

Buffalo Airways says the airport fire crew was quick to respond and none of the airplane's three crew members were hurt.

The plane was briefly blocking both runways, until it was given the all-clear to move from the Transportation Safety Board.
 

Mikey McBryan with Buffalo Airways said the fire did cause disruptions.

"It happened right at the intersection of the airport and my father was in a DC-3 coming in with a plane of passengers and he actually had to circle the airport waiting for us to clear the airplane so he could land, so it essentially shut the airport for 20 minutes."

A number of flights were delayed following the incident.

TSB officials will now have a look at the C-46 to find out exactly what went wrong.

Story, photos and comments/reaction:  http://www.cbc.ca





Yellowknife, NWT - No injuries have been reported after a plane engine fire this morning at the Yellowknife Airport.

GNWT Department of Transportation Communications Manager Earl Blacklock explains what happened.

"A Buffalo C-46 aircraft, which was down the runway at the Yellowknife Airport, caught fire in one of its engines earlier this morning. The fire was put out, the crew was safe and the aircraft has now been removed from the runway. Yellowknife Airport operations have resumed to normal. There were no injuries and no significant damage to the aircraft."

Blacklock says there were three crew members on board.

It's not clear whether that included a camera operator.

Buffalo Airways is of course, the airline that is featured in the TV show Ice Pilots NWT. 


Story and Photo:  http://hqyellowknife.com

Man dies in freak accident at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata

Kolkata, Dec 6 (IBNS): Minutes before the arrival of President Pranab Mukherjee at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, a man was killed in a freak accident while he was cutting grass beside the runway here.

The man, identified as Bapi Oraon, fell down from a dumper and was smashed under its wheels when the vehicle started moving suddenly, reports said.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead.

However, there was no hindrance in the landing of the President's aircraft at about 12.25 pm.

Madera County looking for Search and Rescue applicants

By Madera County Sheriff's Office

December 5, 2013

Madera County’s nationally recognized Search & Rescue Team is now accepting applications.

Applications can be picked up at either the Sheriff’s main office at 14143 Road 28 in Madera or the Sheriff’s substation in Oakhurst, 48267 Liberty Drive.

Interested candidates are asked to submit their applications no later than December 31st, 2013.

You must be 18 or older to apply. The Madera County Sheriff’s Department provides training. Novice newcomers are more than welcome. Applicants accepted into the program will undergo a 100 hour class and field training course that covers the following: · Incident Command System · SAR Crime Scene Awareness · Land Navigation · Basic Rope Rescue · Helicopter Safety · Radio Communications · Search Technique

Madera County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team is trained and certified to carry out the following missions in regards to both rescue and recovery operations:

· 4X4 Team · Dive/Swiftwater Team · Technical Rescue Team · Snowmobile Team · Communication Team · Medical Team · Incident Management Team · OHV Team

Again, if you are interested in becoming a SAR volunteer you are urged to fill out an application and submit it no later than December 31, 2013

Applications can be dropped off at the Sheriff’s main Office, the Department’s Substation in Oakhurst, to the attention of Sgt. Jim Bernardi.

Pilot dies in crash - South Africa

Well-known local resident and pilot, Keith Irwin (61), died on Friday afternoon when his light aircraft crashed during take-off at The Coves estate where he lived.

Keith, a long-time resident of Hartbeespoort and owner of the Top Flight Academy flight school at the Brits Airfield, took off from The Coves in his two-seater aircraft shortly after 13:30 to fly to Mahikeng. According to eyewitnesses, the plane made strange noises when it took off and then crashed just over the estate’s fence onto a neighboring farm.

Keith had more than 25 years’ flight experience.

According to Loanne Louw from the Hartbeespoort Emergency Services, Keith was already dead with the paramedics’ arrival on the scene.

Brits Airfield chairman, Roel Jansen, said Keith was an accomplished pilot and the airfield wants to express its deep-felt sympathy to his daughter and other family members.

“At this stage it seems as if the aircraft stalled shortly after take-off, according to what eyewitnesses saw. The civil aviation authorities are investigating the cause,” he said.

“Keith was in the process of establishing a pilot training school for disadvantaged communities in Pilanesberg, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, at the time of his death,” Roel said.

Taxpayers should have questions about Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Filed Under 
Letters To The Editor  


I must be a misinformed taxpayer of Winnebago County. I attended the 2014 county budget meeting and asked these three questions concerning tax dollars. No one chose to answer.

1) How does Wittman Regional Airport expect more income next year from the storage of Oshkosh trucks when income from this storage has declined already this year? A shortage of about a half-million dollars of income based on the current situation of Oshkosh not securing new Defense Department contracts seems to be a cautious estimate.

2) Why do we keep spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the airport fire equipment? Based on Wittman’s status, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t require our airport to provide fire service.

3) Since 2011, we have spent nearly $200,000 on promotions at the airport. How do we measure success? About $75,000 was spent to list Wittman as the “official airport” of a cable TV show produced in Canada. More than $14,000 was spent on blogs written by a firm in Chicago. More than $6,000 was spent on some sort of writing contest for Oshkosh school students. The answers must be so obvious that almost no one on the Winnebago County Board or our executive raised an eyebrow. What I did learn is that Wittman is off-limits when questioning spending.

Buckle up, fellow taxpayers. In the near future, the airport advisory board wants to build a new terminal building. Yes, a new terminal/bus station.

Dumb questions? Maybe; maybe not. It seems everyone at the meeting must have known the answers but me, the taxpayer.

Larry Last,

Oshkosh


Source:    http://www.postcrescent.com

Russian Investigators Search Flight Watchdog Over Kazan Crash

MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators announced a search at the offices of the country’s civil aviation watchdog Friday in connection with last month’s Tatarstan Airlines crash in Kazan that killed 50 people.

“The plane’s captain, Rustem Salikhov, was a qualified flight navigator, and then he supposedly obtained certification as a commercial pilot from one of the aviation training centers licensed by [the watchdog] Rosaviatsia,” said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee.

“Investigators have raised doubts over the legality of the activities of these centers, which have since closed down,” he said.

Markin said investigators would search Rosaviatsia departments to confiscate paperwork related to the training centers, and would also question the department heads.

Tatarstan Airways previously said Salikhov was an experienced pilot with around 2,500 hours flight time, while his co-pilot had around 1,900 hours.

No traces of alcohol or drugs were found in the blood of the pilots flying the doomed aircraft, Markin said Friday.

The Boeing 737-500 operated by Tatarstan Airlines, flying from Moscow to the central Russian city of Kazan, crashed on November 17 while attempting to land at Kazan Airport. All those on board – six crewmembers and 44 passengers – were killed after the pilots apparently lost control of the aircraft after overshooting during a missed approach.

On Wednesday, the airline’s general director was sacked, and the next day, Rosaviatsia recommended the airline's license be revoked over violations of the regulations, following an inspection of the company in the wake of the fatal crash.

Russia's airlines are increasingly suffering from a shortage of qualified aircrew. On Thursday, the government approved a bill that would allow foreign pilots to work as crew members on Russian civilian aircraft, which they had not previously been allowed to do.


Source:   http://en.ria.ru

Reconstructing the Kazan Plane Crash:  http://en.ria.ru/infographics

Kestrel Aircraft remains behind on Brunswick Landing rent

The Forecaster Staff
Dylan Martin
Friday, December 6, 2013



BRUNSWICK — Kestrel Aircraft Co., a major tenant of the former naval air station, remains several months behind in lease payments to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

The aviation startup has been waiting for financing to continue toward its goal of manufacturing a new turboprop single-engine plane.

Steve Levesque, MRRA's executive director, confirmed on Tuesday that Kestrel hasn't paid rent for "several months," but could not provide more specifics, citing a need to protect the company's financial information.

He said there is a month-to-month arrangement in place to defer Kestrel's payments.

"We have agreed to defer their rent, but it involves discussion and constant evaluation," he said. "... We're confident that they will be able to secure the funding to pay off the rent and grow the company. If I didn't have that confidence we would have said, 'no, you ought to give up your lease.'"

John Peters, chairman of the MRRA board of trustees, echoed Levesque's remarks.

"Like any business, we're trying to work with this tenant and be patient, let them get new capital in place, hope for the best," Peters said, adding that his board is aware of the situation. "... They're a big tenant for us, so we're hoping soon they'll get their capital in place and get current."

Kestrel's rent is about $13,000 a month for nearly 84,000 square feet of administrative and workshop space at Brunswick Landing's Hangar 6.

The aviation company's 20-year lease from MRRA, the quasi-municipal organization charged with redeveloping the base, began in April 2011.

Kestrel's financial woes were first reported by the Bangor Daily News in September, when Chief Executive Officer Alan Klapmeier confirmed the company was having "cash flow issues."

At the time, Klapmeier said although Kestrel was current with payroll, some employees had been furloughed or place on reduced work or pay. He also said that completion of a prototype plane was a year behind schedule.

In addition, Klapmeier said he was expecting  a significant source of funding to come through to finance "essentially the majority of the project."

On Wednesday, Kestrel spokeswomen Kate Dougherty confirmed that the company has arranged with MRRA to defer rent payments, but declined to comment on other financial details.

She said she also couldn't comment on the progress for financing.

"Alan Klapmeier is relentless in his capital investment campaign," Dougherty said. "He absolutely continues to pursue capital financing."

Alluding to how some successful companies once struggled as startups, Dougherty said, "we're Apple in the garage and not (General Electric.)" She also said "tremendous work" is already being done, including the beginning of the company's Federal Aviation Administration certification process.

Kestrel, which employs about 40 people at Brunswick Landing, originally set its sights on the former naval air station for its headquarters, with an announcement in July 2010. At the time, Klapmeier said he hoped to create 300 jobs.

But more than a year later, after the company was courted by Maine and two other states, Kestrel's CEO announced the company would move its manufacturing operations to Superior, Wis., where the company received a better financial package. A smaller workforce remained in Brunswick to create composite components of the plane, while a majority of workers – about 60 – are in Superior.

Levesque said it's not unusual for a developer like MRRA to give a business experiencing financial difficulty some time to sort things out, especially if they're willing to keep communications open.

"We'd hate to have all these people laid off just so (Kestrel) could pay their rent," he said, noting that such a scenario would be regretted if the company ended up with financing only weeks later.

He said two other tenants at Brunswick Landing have had similar difficulties, but he would not disclose which ones.

But Levesque did identify two businesses whose leases were canceled because of funding problems.

"Integrated Marine Systems and Resilient Communications aren't here anymore because they couldn't afford it," he said, adding that decisions to end their leases were mutual. "The key is to maintain constant communication with our tenants."


Source:   http://www.theforecaster.net

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N6595P: Accident occurred December 05, 2013 in Fair Oaks, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA061
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 05, 2013 in Fair Oaks, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA 24-250, registration: N6595P
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, after departure on a personal cross-country flight that he had made numerous times, he climbed the airplane to 6,500 feet mean sea level (msl) and then requested flight following services. As he neared the destination airport, he requested and received a descent to 3,500 feet msl from air traffic control (ATC). Upon reaching 3,500 feet msl, he pushed the carburetor heat off, and the engine quit. He reapplied the carburetor heat, but the engine did not restart. He advised ATC of the situation, and the controller gave him a heading to the closest airport. The pilot’s continued attempts to restart the engine failed, and, when he realized the airplane was not going to be able to reach the airport, he executed a forced landing to a soccer field, and the airplane collided with a car, trees, and terrain. Examinations of the airplane and engine did not reveal evidence of any preexisting mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Fuel was found on board the airplane. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the atmospheric conditions were not conducive to the accumulation of carburetor ice at the time of the accident. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power during cruise flight for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examinations of the airplane and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

On December 5, 2013, about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24 airplane, N6595P, sustained substantial damage during an off-airport forced landing within the city limits of Fair Oaks, California. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal cross-country flight, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The solo pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the pilot was participating in air traffic control (ATC) flight following. The airplane departed the Salinas Airport (KSNS), Salinas, California, about 1400, and was bound for the Auburn Municipal Airport (KAUN), Auburn, California.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on December 9, the pilot stated that he departed Salinas for his home airport in Auburn. He said that he has made the flight on numerous occasions. Typically he departs Salinas Airport, climbs to 6,500 feet above sea level (msl), and requests flight following services. When he gets close enough to see his destination, he requests a descent to 3,500 feet msl, and continues to the destination airport.

The pilot said the flight proceeded normally until he requested the descent to 3,500 feet msl. After being granted the descent, he throttled the engine back to 2,100 rpm, and applied full carburetor heat, and enriched the mixture. Upon reaching 3,500 feet, he pushed the carburetor heat off, and the engine quit. He said he reapplied the carburetor heat, but the engine did not restart. He advised ATC of the situation, and received a heading to Sacramento Mather Airport (KMHR), the closest airport to his position. He said he made the nearly 180 degree turn toward the airport, and continued attempts to restart the engine.

Unable to restart the engine, and apparent that he was not going to reach the airport, the pilot attempted to land in soccer fields at Phoenix Park, Fair Oaks. He did not extend the retracted landing gear. During the landing, the airplane collided with a car, trees and terrain.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot said he had not experienced any mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident.

On December 6, the airplane was examined at the accident site by an FAA air safety inspector, and no mechanical anomalies were found.

An examination of the airplane's maintenance logbooks did not reveal any anomalies or unresolved discrepancies.

An examination of the recovered wreckage was conducted March 28, 2014 by an NTSB air safety investigator. The examination of the engine did not reveal any evidence of any preexisting mechanical malfunction that would have precluded normal operation. A copy of the examination report is contained in the public docket for this accident.

Given the weather conditions at the time of the event, and consulting a Carburetor Icing Chart, it is unlikely carburetor ice was responsible for the engine's loss of power.


http://registry.faa.gov/N6595P  

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA061 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 05, 2013 in Fair Oaks, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 24-250, registration: N6595P
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 5, 2013, about 1440 Pacific Standard Time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N6595P, sustained substantial damage during an off-airport forced landing within the city limits of Fair Oaks, California. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR), personal cross-country flight, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The solo pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the pilot was participating in active air traffic control (ATC) flight following. The airplane departed the Salinas Airport (KSNS), Salinas, California, about 1400, and was bound for the Auburn Municipal Airport (KAUN), Auburn, California.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on December 9, the pilot stated that he departed Salinas for his home airport in Auburn. He said that he has made the flight on numerous occasions. Typically he departs Salinas Airport, climbs to 6,500 feet above sea level (msl), and requests flight following services. When he gets close enough to see his destination, he requests a descent to 3,500 feet msl, and continues to the destination airport.

On the day of the accident he said the flight proceeded normally until he requested the descent to 3,500 feet msl. After being granted the descent, he throttled the engine back to 2,100 rpm, and applied full carburetor heat. Upon reaching 3,500 feet, he pushed the carburetor heat off, and the engine quit. He said he reapplied the carburetor heat, but the engine did not restart. He explained the situation to ATC, and received a heading to Sacramento Mather Airport, the closest airport to his position. He said he made the nearly 180 degree turn toward the airport, and continued attempts to restart the engine.

Unable to restart the engine, and apparent to him, he was not going to reach the airport, he attempted to land in soccer fields at Phoenix Park, Fair Oaks. He did not attempt to extend the retracted landing gear. During the landing, the airplane collided with one car in a parking lot, and trees and terrain.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot said he had not had any mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident.





FAIR OAKS (CBS13) – A plane was forced to land in Phoenix Park after experiencing engine trouble, according to Sacramento Metro Fire.  

 Around 2:40 p.m. Thursday, the single-engine plane was forced to land in a soccer field, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The pilot was flying from Salinas to Auburn. He attempted to divert to Sacramento Mather Airport before landing at the park.

The pilot was the sole passenger and was able to walk away from his landing.

Story, Photos and Video

 http://sacramento.cbslocal.com


SACRAMENTO - Authorities confirm a small aircraft made an emergency landing at a Fair Oaks park about 2:40 Thursday afternoon. 

The small plane landed at 9030 Phoenix Park at 9030 Sunset Boulevard, according to Sacramento Metro Fire District spokesperson Michelle Eidam.

She said one person, later confirmed to be the pilot and only person onboard, walked away.

The plane is a Piper single-engine PA24.

FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said the pilot was enroute from Salinas to Auburn when he radioed he was experiencing engine trouble. He tried to divert to Mather Field but landed in the park.

Jim Ashen wrote News10: I heard the motor [clearly] right at the moment the engine "let go". It revved a bit then I heard metal crunching. Horrible sound!

Just before the emergency landing, In Flight Emergency reported a plane incoming to Mather Field lost an engine.


Story   Photo Galley and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.news10.net
 


Investigative hearing on San Francisco International Airport airline crash will not include pilots

Survivors of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport last summer, killing three teenage girls and injuring dozens of passengers, will not hear from the pilots who were at the controls of the Boeing 777 when the National Transportation Safety Board convenes an investigative hearing next week. 

The four pilots on board -- including a veteran making his first landing at SFO in a Boeing 777 and his supervisor on his inaugural training flight -- spoke privately to NTSB investigators in the days following the crash but have not publicly addressed why the "Triple 7" slammed into the sea wall that abuts Runway 28 Left on July 6 while trying to land after a nearly 11-hour flight from Seoul.

"Everybody is still scratching their heads wondering why a 'Triple 7' with clear weather and no cross winds just missed the airport," said Walnut Creek attorney Michael Verna, who filed the first lawsuit stemming from the crash and represents three injured passengers. "The ultimate question that everybody has is, 'What were the pilots thinking?"

The only two Asiana pilots who are scheduled to speak at the two-day hearing in Washington, D.C. will be the airline's chief pilot and training manager who will appear on the first day, Tuesday, during a discussion of Asiana pilot training in the Boeing 777 and automated systems and visual approach procedures.

Asked about the absence of the pilots flying the plane, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, "The NTSB investigative team formed the witness list. That's who the investigative team decided they wanted to speak at the hearing."

Asiana spokesman Ki Won Suh said in an email to this newspaper that, "We hope that the upcoming investigative hearing will assist in determining the cause of this accident and lead to a productive discussion on actions the entire industry can take to improve the safety of air passengers." 


Source:   http://www.mercurynews.com

The full agenda, including a list of witnesses is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2013/asiana214_hearing/agenda.html

Investigative exhibits for the hearing will be placed in the electronic docket at the start of the hearing and will be available at http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2013/asiana214_hearing/index.html

  

NTSB Identification: DCA13MA120
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 129: Foreign operation of Asiana Airlines
Accident occurred Saturday, July 06, 2013 in San Francisco, CA
Aircraft: BOEING 777-200ER, registration: HL7742
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 6, 2013, about 1128 pacific daylight time, Asiana Airlines flight 214, a Boeing 777-200ER, registration HL7742, impacted the sea wall and subsequently the runway during landing on runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California. Of the 4 flight crewmembers, 12 flight attendants, and 291 passengers, about 182 were transported to the hospital with injuries and 3 passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The regularly scheduled passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 129 between Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea, and SFO. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Plane lands in field near Spruce Creek Fly-In, Florida

Officials say a small plane landed in a field Thursday afternoon, not far from the Spruce Creek Fly-In.

Volusia County dispatchers received the call just after 1:10 p.m. about a little Cessna landing in a field near County Road 415 and Pioneer Trail.

Dispatchers said the pilot didn’t suffer any injuries, but Volusia County deputies and firefighters responded to the scene.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the pilot had to land in a field.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Swearingen SA227-AC Metro II, IBC Airways, N831BC: Fatal accident occurred December 02, 2013 in La Alianza, Puerto Rico

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

NTSB Identification: ERA14MA060
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, December 02, 2013 in La Alianza, PR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: FAIRCHILD SA227-AC, registration: N831BC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The captain and first officer were conducting an international cargo flight in the twin-engine turboprop airplane. After about 40 minutes of flight during night visual meteorological conditions, an air traffic controller cleared the airplane for a descent to 7,000 ft and then another controller further cleared the airplane for a descent to 3,000 ft and told the flight crew to expect an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. During the descent, about 7,300 ft and about 290 kts, the airplane entered a shallow left turn, followed by a 45-degree right turn and a rapid, uncontrolled descent, during which the airplane broke up about 1,500 ft over uneven terrain.

The moderately loaded cargo airplane was not equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder (CVR) (although it previously had a CVR in its passenger configuration) nor was it required by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. There were also no avionics on board with downloadable or nonvolatile memory. As a result, there was limited information available to determine what led to the uncontrolled descent or what occurred as the flight crew attempted to regain control of the airplane. Also, although the first officer was identified in FAA-recorded radio transmissions several minutes before the loss of control and it was company policy that the pilot not flying make those transmissions, it could not be determined who was at the controls when either the loss of control occurred or when the airplane broke up.

There was no evidence of any in-flight mechanical failures that would have resulted in the loss of control, and the airplane was loaded within limits. Evidence of all flight control surfaces was confirmed, and, to the extent possible, flight control continuity was also confirmed. Evidence also indicated that both engines were operating at the time of the accident, and, although one of the four propeller blades from the right propeller was not located after separating from the fractured hub, there was no evidence of any preexisting propeller anomalies. The electrically controlled pitch trim actuator did not exhibit any evidence of runaway pitch, and measurements of the actuator rods indicated that the airplane was trimmed slightly nose low, consistent for the phase of flight. Due to the separation of the wings and tail, the in-flight positions of the manually operated aileron and rudder trim wheels could not be determined.

Other similarly documented accidents and incidents generally involved unequal fuel burns, which resulted in wing drops or airplane rolls. In one case, the flight crew intentionally induced an excessive slide slip to balance fuel between the wings, which resulted in an uncontrolled roll. However, in the current investigation, the fuel cross feed valve was found in the closed position, indicating that a fuel imbalance was likely not a concern of the flight crew.

In at least two other events, unequal fuel loads also involved autopilots that reached their maximum hold limits, snapped off, and rolled the airplane. Although the airplane in this accident did not have an autopilot, historical examples indicate that a sudden yawing or rolling motion, regardless of the source, could result in a roll, nose tuck, and loss of control. The roll may have been recoverable, and in one documented case, a pilot was able to recover the airplane, but after it lost almost 11,000 ft of altitude.

During this accident flight, it was likely that, during the descent, the flight crew did regain control of the airplane to the extent that the flight control surfaces were effective. With darkness and the rapid descent at a relatively low altitude, one or both crewmembers likely pulled hard on the yoke to arrest the downward trajectory, and, in doing so, placed the wings broadside against the force of the relative wind, which resulted in both wings failing upward. As the wings failed, the propellers simultaneously chopped through the fuselage behind the cockpit. At the same time, the horizontal stabilizers were also positioned broadside against the relative wind, and they also failed upward. Evidence also revealed that, at some point, the flight crew lowered the landing gear. Although it could not be determined when they lowered the gear, it could have been in an attempt to slow or regain control of the airplane during the descent.

Although reasons for the loss of control could not be definitively determined, the lack of any preexisting mechanical anomalies indicates a likelihood of flight crew involvement. Then, during the recovery attempt, the flight crew's actions, while operating under the difficult circumstances of darkness and rapidly decreasing altitude, resulted in the overstress of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight crew's excessive elevator input during a rapid descent under night lighting conditions, which resulted in the overstress and breakup of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was an initial loss of airplane control for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 2, 2013, at 2010 Atlantic standard time, a Fairchild SA227-AC, N831BC, operating as IBC Airways flight 405 ("Chasqui 405"), was destroyed during a rapid descent and subsequent inflight breakup near La Alianza, Puerto Rico. The captain and the first officer were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The international cargo flight was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan between Las Americas International Airport (MDSD), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and San Juan International Airport (TJSJ), San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to operator records, the accident flight occurred during the return leg of a round trip between TJSJ and MDSD. Prior to the outbound flight, "normal dispatch requirements were met," and the airplane took on fuel at TJSJ for both legs. The airplane departed MDSD on the accident flight at 1936.

A review of radio transmission transcripts indicated that the crew first contacted the San Juan Combined En route Approach Control (CERAP) facility at 1948, 13 nautical miles west of "MELLA" intersection at 11,000 feet. At 2001, the crew was told to descend to 7,000 feet at "pilot's discretion," and at 2007, the crew was advised to change frequency to the next CERAP sector controller. The crew subsequently contacted the next controller, "leaving one one thousand, descending to seven thousand." The controller then advised the crew to maintain 3,000 feet, expect the ILS (instrument landing system) approach, proceed direct to the "TNNER" fix, and that information "Tango" was in effect. After a crewmember read back the information at 2007:46, there were no further transmissions from the airplane. At 2011:52, the controller advised that radar contact was lost.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector interview (the inspector conducted the interview in Spanish and translated it into English), a witness stated that he heard some engine noise, and when he looked outside, he saw the airplane with the right wing down, "turning in a spiral form." He also noticed a red light "spinning." After that, he heard an "impact noise" and 5 seconds later, "another solid impact noise."

Radar data revealed that after crossing MELLA, the airplane proceeded toward TJSJ along a heading of about 085 degrees true, crossing the west coast of Puerto Rico just south of the town of Stella. The airplane maintained 11,000 feet until 2007, and had descended to 8,300 feet by 2010:08. The radar track then indicated a 20-degree turn to the left, and a descent to 7,300 feet by 2010:13. The radar track subsequently indicated about a 45-degree turn to the right, and a descent to 5,500 feet by 2010:18. There were no additional verifiable altitude positions.

Descent calculations between 2010:08 and 2010:13 indicated a rate of descent of about 12,000 feet per minute (fpm), and between 2010:13 and 2010:18, over 21,000 fpm. Groundspeed calculations indicated a fairly constant average of about 260 knots (provided in 10-knot increments) until the airplane initiated a descent. The last two calculations, 1 minute apart and just prior to the rapid descent, were 280 and 290 knots.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

Description

Airframe

An Airworthiness Group Chairman's Factual Report is located in the public docket for this accident, including airplane structural diagrams in Attachment 1. From the report, the following airframe description is provided:

The airplane was an all metal, twin engine, propeller driven, low wing, pressurized airplane originally equipped to carry 19 passengers. It had a cruciform tail and retractable tricycle landing gear. The airplane was powered by two turboprop engines and was configured to only carry cargo at the time of the accident.

The fuselage was a semi-monocoque structure composed primarily of aluminum alloy frames, skins, stringers, and bulkheads. The fuselage had three major sections that joined together at production splices. The forebody structure included the cockpit, the mid-section structure included the entry door, emergency exits, passenger windows, cargo door and wing attach points. The aftbody structure included the attach points for the vertical stabilizer. The fuselage could be pressurized between the forward pressure bulkhead and the aft pressure bulkhead.

The wing was attached to the lower portion of the fuselage at four points, two on the main spar and two on the rear spar. The wing was a one-piece design with continuous main and rear spars, integral fuel tanks and removable flaps and ailerons. The spars were built-up I-beam structures constructed of aluminum alloy with titanium alloy and steel alloy reinforcements on the upper and lower spar caps. The height of both the main and rear spars decreased where they passed under the fuselage. The main spar transitioned from about 13 inches tall to about 9 inches tall and the rear spar transitioned from about 10 inches tall to about 9 inches tall. Five-foot wing extensions were attached to the outboard end of each wing to increase the span to 57 feet.

The airplane also included conventional horizontal and vertical stabilizers composed primarily of aluminum alloy components. The vertical stabilizer was a cantilever design with two spars attached to bulkheads in the aft fuselage. A cable-driven rudder and trim tab were attached to the aft spar of the vertical stabilizer. The horizontal stabilizers were of cantilever design fastened together at the fuselage centerline and attached to the vertical stabilizer with a trunnion bolt. The stabilizer could pivot around the trunnion bolt, changing the angle of incidence of the stabilizer and providing pitch trim for the airplane.

All-aluminum cable-driven elevators were attached to the horizontal stabilizers and fastened together at the center splice plate hinge point. The pitch trim was controlled electrically by switches on the control yokes that actuated two motor-operated jackscrews mounted to the top of the fuselage.

The ailerons, elevators, and rudder were manually controlled from either the pilot or copilot station in the cockpit by a conventional yoke and rudder pedals. Aileron control cables, 1/8 inch in diameter, interconnected the yokes and ran through several pulleys aft under the floor to an aileron drum in the center wing area. The aileron drum was connected to a series of push-pull tubes that ran along the aft side of the rear spar on each wing to bellcranks mounted near the aileron inboard hinges. Push-pull tubes connected the ailerons to the bellcranks for aileron control.

Elevator control cables, 1/8 inch in diameter, ran from the elevator walking beam immediately aft of the columns through several pulleys aft under the floor to the elevator quadrant in the vertical stabilizer. Push-pull tubes connected the elevators to the quadrant for elevator control. Rudder cables, 1/8 inch in diameter, ran through several pulleys aft under the floor to the rudder bellcrank in the aft fuselage. A rudder bellcrank drove the rudder torque tube for rudder control. Aileron and rudder trim were manually set via control wheels on the center pedestal in the cockpit. The aileron and rudder trim cables, 1/16 inch in diameter, ran through several pulleys to their respective tabs. The flaps were electrically controlled and hydraulically actuated.

Fuel System

According to the SA227 Maintenance Manuel, the fuel system had a usable capacity of 648 U.S. gallons. Fuel was contained in integral left and right wing fuel tanks.

Each engine was supplied fuel by an independent system that included the tanks, boost pumps and check valves. An interconnecting cross flow line was installed for balancing the fuel quantity between the left and right wing tanks, and for supplying either engine with all available fuel. A 2-inch cross flow line was located in the center wing section, aft of the main spar. Fuel cross flow was via gravity, controlled by a shut off valve in the 2-inch cross flow line. When the valve was opened, a center light on the fluid annunciator panel should have illuminated.

According to the manufacturer's pilot checklist, the cross flow valve should have been closed on engine start, taxi, and descent.

A representative of the manufacturer indicated that upon removal of electrical power, the cross flow valve would be in the last position selected.

Fuel cross flow procedures included:

In flight, "Check aircraft is in coordinated flight. Open the cross flow valve and observe proper annunciation. In level, unaccelerated flight, fuel will flow in the desired direction (heavy to light) due to gravity.

To expedite process, use aileron control and place the wing with less fuel to a lower position (no more than 5 degrees is needed) than the wing with more fuel. Use rudder to maintain assigned heading. Maintain a safe margin of airspeed during this 'slip' condition.

When fuel balance approaches desired indications, close the cross flow valve, check for proper annunciation, and return aircraft to trimmed condition."

According to the flight manual, maximum allowable fuel imbalance was 500 pounds.

The IBC Airways weight and balance sheet found at the accident site stated, from "SDQ" to "SJU," that there were 1,800 pounds of fuel onboard.

Engines

The airplane was powered by two Honeywell (Garrett) TPE331-11U single shaft engines, each producing 1,100 horsepower and driving a four-bladed metal McCauley propeller.

The engines did not have a full auto-feathering capability. Instead, each had a negative torque sensing (NTS) system which, if a negative torque was sensed (such as during an engine failure) it would automatically drive the propeller to a coarser pitch. Full feathering would then be accomplished via manual activation.

Loading

The airplane was loaded mostly with letters and small boxes. Weight and Balance calculations indicated that the airplane was about 2,800 pounds under maximum gross takeoff weight, and would have been about 3,100 pounds under maximum landing weight.

Additional Equipment

The airplane was not equipped with an autopilot or yaw damper.

There were no cockpit or flight data recorders onboard the airplane, nor were any required by the FAA with the airplane in a cargo configuration. The airplane had been equipped with a cockpit voice recorder previously, when it was in a passenger configuration.

There was no non-volatile memory available for download.

Maintenance Records

According to the Maintenance Records Review located in the public docket for this accident, the airplane was originally manufactured in 1985. IBC Airways, Inc. acquired the airplane on March 29, 1999.

The airplane had 33,883.4 total hours with 35,698 total cycles as of November 29, 2013.

The airplane was maintained per a Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP). All the required regulatory requirements and recurring inspections were incorporated into the CAMP.

The CAMP utilized a phased inspection interval by zones as well as an 85-hour repetitive service check. The phased inspection check intervals were every 150 hours and numbered one through six. In addition to the phased inspections, there were supplemental inspections that were tracked individually.

As part of the maintenance records review, attention was focused on the airplane's pitch control. The CAMP included a light inspection of the tail (zone 8) at the phase two interval and a heavy inspection at phase 5.

A review of all daily flight logs from January 2012 through November 29, 2013, was completed. Particular attention was also given to flight controls, engines, and flight instruments, unusual flight characteristics such as airframe vibration, pitch, roll, and yaw attitude. Additional areas of review included the environmental control system and any systemic issues. No significant or unusual findings were noted with the flight logs.

All major alterations and repairs were reviewed. There were 14 major alterations and 21 major repairs on the airplane. Of note, one of the major repairs was accomplished in June 2008 due to right wing damage. Repairs were made to the wing skins, ribs and main spar. In addition, 18 of the 21 major repairs were accomplished on the wings, elevators, fuselage and doors in June of 1991.

The maintenance records also included an item for the pitch trim warning box being overhauled on September 4, 2008, and subsequently installed on the airplane on December 22, 2009. There was also an item for the left elevator outboard attach hinge being replaced due to corrosion on October 18, 2011.

More detailed information can be found in the Maintenance Records Review contained in the public docket for this investigation.

Previous Flights

According to the captain who had flown the airplane with the accident first officer on December 1, 2013, the day before the accident flight, they flew four legs, "with no indications of any mechanical irregularities. The aircraft performed well and showed no problems."

Another captain, who had flown the airplane on November 25, 26, and 28, 2013, the last two flights being with the accident first officer, stated, "there were no discrepancies noted during the [time the] aircraft was assigned to me."

PILOT INFORMATION

The captain, age 35, held a commercial certificate with airplane single-engine land and sea, multiengine land and sea, and instrument-airplane ratings. He also held an airplane single engine flight instructor certificate. His latest FAA first class medical certificate was dated April 16, 2013. According to company records, the captain was assigned a captain's position on June 5, 2013, after completing his FAA proficiency checkride on June 3, 2013, and his line checkride on June 5, 2013.

Company records also indicated that as of November 30, 2013, the captain had 1,740 total flight hours, 686 hours in type, 239 hours as pilot-in-command, and 121 hours in the previous 90 days. Night flight hours could not be ascertained.

The first officer, age 28, held a commercial pilot certificate, with airplane single- engine land, multiengine land, and instrument-airplane ratings. His latest FAA first class medical certificate was dated September 9, 2013. At the time, he indicated 1,850 hours of flight time. The first officer was a relatively recent hire; according to company records, he was assigned a first officer position on October 3, 2013 after completing his FAA proficiency checkride on October 2, 2013.

Company records also indicated that as of November 30, 2013, the first officer had 1,954 total flight hours, 92 hours in type, and 92 hours in the previous 90 days. Night flight hours could not be ascertained.

According the company Director of Operations (DO), after arrival in Santo Domingo, the crew would typically have been transported to a local hotel where they would have spent the next 10 hours at rest, typically arriving at the hotel at 0800 and then being picked up at 1800 for transport back to the airport for the flight back to San Juan. "The day was typically spent, resting, eating, lounging by the pool and/or taking a nap; each pilot had their own agenda."

The DO also noted that the company's standard operating procedure was for the non-flying pilot to be responsible for all radio communications. However, it would not necessarily always be the case.

The DO, who had flown with both pilots previously, listened to the radio transmissions recorded by the FAA and recognized the first officer's voice.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather, recorded at TJSJ, 33 nm to the east, at 1956, included wind from 170 degrees true at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, a few clouds at 7,000 feet, and scattered clouds at 10,000 feet. A review of weather radar images at the time of the accident revealed no precipitation in the area.

U.S. Naval Observatory data indicated that sunset occurred at 1749 and that the end of civil twilight occurred at 1813.

The accident occurred near the Arecibo Radio Telescope. According to a staff astronomer, a passive project (receive data and observations) was ongoing at the time with no radars transmitting.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On Scene

Wreckage was scattered over a large area that included a pasture and the hillsides that partially surrounded it. General dimensions of the wreckage field were about 1,900 feet in length and 600 feet in width at its widest point, oriented toward 178 degrees true.

The wreckage field commenced in the vicinity of 18 degrees, 23.07 minutes north latitude, 066 degrees, 35.30 minutes west longitude, with lighter materials, including the airplane's radome. The field narrowed toward its end, with the heavier materials such as the airplane's two engines located close to each other in the vicinity of 18 degrees, 22.77 minutes north latitude, 066 degrees, 35.29 minutes west longitude. Terrain elevation varied throughout the wreckage field, with the beginning about 625 feet above sea level the middle, in a valley about 575 feet, and the end, where the engines were found, about 675 feet.

There was no impact crater; only airplane remnants scattered throughout the wreckage field. Significant remnants included, from north to south: the upper right cockpit area, and to the left and further south of that, the outboard portion of the left wing. Farther south was the left side of the cockpit, and near that, toward the center of the wreckage field, was the empennage. To the right of the empennage was the right wing, and farther to the south, on the left side of the wreckage field, was the remainder of the left wing. Beyond that, but before the engines, was the airplane's nose section, which included many of the cockpit controls.

There was no evidence of an inflight fire or explosion.

All three landing gear remained with their respective housings. The right wing was found upside down, with the landing gear extended and the drag brace assemblies locked over center. The right flap was flush with the wing. The main part of the left wing was also found upside down, but with the landing gear retracted and loose in the wheel well. Extending the landing gear by hand revealed housing deformations and tire marks consistent with the gear having been extended in flight. The nose landing gear was found partially extended in the airplane's nose section, which came to rest on its side. When the nose section was rolled upside down, the landing gear fell back into the wheel well. However, when the landing gear was extended by hand, housing deformation and tire marks found were consistent with the landing gear having been extended in flight. The cockpit landing gear handle, which could only be pulled upward, but not moved forward or aft, was found in the "gear down" position.

There was residual fuel in both wings, but quantity at the time of the accident could not be determined.

As found, the pilot's electric altimeter indicated 2,080 feet, with an altimeter setting just under 29.84 inches. The copilot's altimeter indicated 2,040 feet, with an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches.

With the breakup of the airplane, the inflight positions of the center-pedestal, manually-operated aileron and rudder trim wheels could not be determined. In addition, the position of the electro-mechanical pitch trim could not be determined at the accident site.

A cell phone found at the accident site was later determined to contain no information pertaining to the accident.

Although extensive on-site photographs were taken, the size of the wreckage field, as well as the muddy terrain and wet weather precluded complete documentation of the wreckage at the accident site. The wreckage was recovered and containerized by a contractor for the insurance company, and shipped to a storage facility in Houston, Texas.

Follow-Up Examinations

The wreckage was further examined at a Port of Houston warehouse February 4-6, 2014. More specific airframe information, including photographs and diagrams can be found in the Airworthiness Group Chairman's Factual Report located in the public docket. From the report:

For reference purposes, wing and fuselage positions may be referred to as distances from datum. Fuselage distances would be inches aft of datum line (FS0-693) while wing distances would be inches from airplane centerline outboard from datum (WS0-266).

Fuselage

The forebody section of the fuselage, including the cockpit, was mostly complete from the forward bulkhead at fuselage station (FS) 0 aft to FS 126 but sustained heavy crushing damage. It contained the cockpit floor, center pedestal, control columns, rudder pedals, both forward baggage door cutouts, and the nose landing gear.

The center portion of the fuselage was subsequently laid out at the storage facility. Most of the upper fuselage structure was identified from the forward end of the pilot compartment windows at FS 69 to the aft cargo door at FS 438. There was an area of structure from the right side of the fuselage where the "IBC" logo was painted that was not recovered between about FS 160 and FS 250. There was a distinct cut through the fuselage near FS 165 (about 5 inches aft of the main entry door) that ran from the lower edge of the entry door on the left side to the top of the stripe on the right side. The edges of the cut exhibited mechanical damage, paint and metal smearing, and multi-directional curling and folding of the structure that was markedly different from the tearing of the skin and structure evident elsewhere.

The aft fuselage was mostly complete from the forward edge of the cargo door at FS 438 to the end of the tail cone but sustained some crushing damage laterally.

Empennage

The vertical stabilizer, rudder and right horizontal stabilizer that were attached to the aft fuselage at the wreckage site had been cut from the fuselage for transport. There was a distinct impact impression with paint and metal smearing on the right side of the fuselage from FS 438 to FS 474 that was about 4 feet high.

The vertical stabilizer, rudder and right horizontal stabilizer, which had been cut from the fuselage during recovery, were mostly complete.

The right horizontal stabilizer was folded up against the vertical stabilizer. There was dark blue paint transfer on the upper surface of the right horizontal stabilizer. The right elevator was separated from the stabilizer and recovered mostly complete. The tip and counterweight were separated and not recovered.

The left horizontal stabilizer was recovered separated at the impact site near the aft fuselage. The inboard 21 inches of left horizontal stabilizer forward spar and 18 inches of aft spar remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Both spars exhibited upward deformation at the outboard ends where they were fractured. The left horizontal stabilizer had dark blue paint transfer on the upper surface.

Two pieces of the left elevator were recovered. The inboard piece spanned from the control horn at the inboard end out about 42 inches. The outboard piece was about 22 inches long and contained the elevator counterweight. The center portion of the left elevator was not recovered.

The electrically-actuated pitch trim actuator remained installed at the base of the vertical stabilizer but sustained several areas of damage from the cutting of the structure during recovery. The two actuator rods were cut from the actuator during recovery but remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer fittings at the upper end. The two fittings were fractured from the horizontal stabilizer.

The aft ends of the elevator cables remained attached to the quadrant in the vertical stabilizer. The rudder counterweight was missing.

Wings

The left wing was mostly complete from the inboard edge to the outboard end of the flap, with significantly more damage than the right wing. The spar fractures at the inboard end matched the fractures on the right wing. The upper cap members on both the main and rear spars exhibited upward deformation and curling at the fracture locations. The lower cap members on both the forward and aft spars did not have any noticeable deformation.

Both spars and the structure between them were deformed forward between the fracture locations and about wing station (WS) 27. Dirt and rocks were embedded in the structure at the fracture location.

A large section of the outboard left wing from about WS 174 to WS 337 was recovered separately. The fiberglass wing tip was not attached to this section. Additionally, two smaller pieces of wing skin structure from the area of the break were recovered separately. There was significant impact damage, scratching, and scoring on the lower wing surface at the location of the break.

The outboard 18 inches of the left aileron with the balance weight attached was recovered separately from the wing with mechanical damage at the outboard hinge location. The remainder of the left aileron was not recovered. The outboard aileron hinge was intact on the left wing and included the hinge clevis from the left aileron. The hinge clevis was pulled from the left aileron and the attachment bolts were not present. The fracture features on the outboard left aileron at the outboard hinge location were consistent with overstress separation.

The left flap remained attached to the wing but could not be moved due to the damage. There was some light blue paint transfer on the upper surface of the flap from about WS 50 to WS 68.

The right wing was mostly complete. The main spar and rear spar upper cap members were fractured near the centerline. The upper cap members on both the main and rear spars exhibited upward deformation and curling at the fracture locations. The lower cap members on both the main and rear spars did not have any noticeable deformation.

There was light blue paint transfer on the upper surface of the right wing between about WS 32 and WS 81.

The right flap remained attached to the wing and was free to move. The inboard half of the right aileron remained attached to the wing between the inboard edge and the center hinge point. The outboard half was not recovered. The outboard aileron hinge was intact on the right wing and included the hinge clevis from the right aileron. The hinge clevis was pulled from the right aileron with the attachment bolts intact. There was a small piece of torn aileron structure remaining at the lower attach bolt with fracture features consistent with overstress separation.

Control Continuity

The control yokes were disassembled to assess the condition of the aileron sprockets and chains at the upper end of the yokes. The sprockets and chains were intact with no evidence of binding. The flap handle was lodged in place between 0 and ¼, with deformation of the control stand.

Control continuity was established from the control columns and rudder pedals through the floor to the aft end of the section.

Left wing control continuity was established from the wing break at WS 174 to the rear spar fracture location. The left aileron trim tab actuator appeared to be in the fully extended position.

There was a small section of aileron trim cable lodged in a pulley at the wing root. The aileron trim cable was missing from the trim actuator to the wing root and not recovered. The guides, pulleys, and fair leads for the left aileron trim cable appeared undamaged.

Right wing control continuity was established for the push-pull tubes from the aileron to the rear spar fracture location. The right aileron trim tab remained attached to the right aileron and control continuity was established from the tab to the wing fracture location at the rear spar. The right aileron trim tab actuator was dislodged from its mount and appeared to be fully retracted. The chain was not installed on the sprocket of the actuator but was found adjacent to the actuator.

Several flight control cables extended from the forward end of the aft fuselage. All of the cable lengths were measured from the forward edge of the cargo door forward. The rudder control cables were identified and continuity was established to the rudder control horn at the base of the vertical stabilizer. All of the forward fractured ends of the cables exhibited a splayed appearance consistent with tension overstress separation.

Landing Gear

The nose landing gear was fully extended. The drag brace trunnions had been pulled out and both the up and down locks were intact with no obvious damage. There was a distinct tire impression on the forward exterior surface of the right nose landing gear door. A portion of the outer bead area on the right nose wheel was fractured and separated.

The left main landing gear remained attached to the wing, which was upside down, in the retracted position. The inboard side of the wheel well was deformed such that the inboard drag brace trunnion was not fully engaged. The landing gear could be extended by hand but would not engage the down locks due to the deformation at the drag brace trunnion. The up and down locks were intact with no abnormal damage.

The right main landing gear was in the extended position. The down locks were intact and engaged. The up lock was intact with no abnormal damage. The drag brace was fractured between the trunnions.

Propellers

All four blades of the left propeller were recovered, but were found completely separated from the hub. Leading and trailing edge damage was noted on all of the blades, and all four were missing significant amounts of material from their outboard ends.

The propeller hub was fractured and separated. Only the mounting portion of the propeller hub remained attached to the engine propeller shaft. The propeller piston and dome assembly were not recovered.

Only two of the four propeller blades remained attached to the right propeller hub. A third blade was recovered completely separated from the fractured hub, and the fourth blade was not recovered, but also was completely missing from the fractured hub. Leading and trailing edge damage was noted on all three blades, and all three were missing significant amounts of material from their outboard ends.

The spinner was impact-damaged and crushed on one side.

Engines

The left engine, which was impact-damaged, remained within the truss and airplane mounting structure. The engine cowling was not attached to the engine. White paint transfer was noted on the upper aft and slightly inboard area of the upper engine cowling

The reduction gearbox was fractured into approximately four pieces. The air inlet portion of the gear case was fractured and crushed. The propeller governor was fractured at the mounting flange. The fuel control unit (FCU) was fragmented, but most of the components were present. The fuel pump mount inserts were pulled out and remained attached to the fuel pump mount flange. The fuel pump drive shaft was fractured. The fuel pump side was not located.

No metallic debris was noted on the chip detector, and the oil filter bypass indicator was in the retracted (no bypass) position.

The engine power section was fractured and would not rotate.

Metal spray was noted on the suction side of the third stage turbine stator vanes.

The right engine was generally intact, but impact-damaged. The cowling, truss and airplane mounting structure remained attached to the engine. Blue paint transfer was noted on the inboard side of the engine nacelle.

The engine power section was not free to rotate.

No metallic debris was noted on the chip detector, and the oil filter bypass indicator was in the retracted (no bypass) position.

Metal spray was noted on the suction side of the third stage turbine stator vanes.

The right engine FCU was forwarded to the manufacturer where it was examined under FAA oversight. The unit was impact-damaged and several parts had to be replaced. As-received testing also found out-of- tolerance conditions that were attributed to impact damage.

Annunciator Panel

Filament examinations did not result in any additional information pertinent to the loss of control.

Additional Wreckage Examination

Portions of the wreckage were again examined on March 22, 2016, with an FAA inspector providing government oversight. At that time, the fuel cross flow valve was observed to be in the closed position. The fuel cross flow valve switch and the fuel gauges were not found. Additional items were documented in context to a possible inflight engine shut down in progress by the crew, but the observations were noted as incomplete and deemed unreliable because items could have moved during airplane breakup and ground impact. Discussions at that time also noted that the easiest way to shut down an engine, if needed, was to pull the engine stop and feather knob, which was not pulled.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Pitch Trim Actuator

The linear electro-mechanical actuator was taken to the manufacturer for further examination under NTSB oversight. Examination revealed no evidence of preexisting mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Pitch Trim Setting

The pitch trim actuator rods had been cut during the wreckage recovery process. Remnants of the actuating rods and the saw cuts were subsequently measured, and together indicated a pitch trim actuator extension of 19.25 inches. Interpolated results yielded a stabilizer incidence of 0.62º-1.02º leading edge up, or airplane slightly nose down trim, consistent with the phase of flight.

Aileron Controls

In September 2014, M7 Aerospace, the type certificate holder of the airplane, issued two service bulletins instructing operators to inspect the aileron bellcranks, link rods, hinge brackets, and rod end bearings for damage and tightness. On September 19, 2014, M7 Aerospace issued a revised service bulletin instructing operators to inspect the outboard aileron hinge attachments for cracking.

The left and right aileron bellcranks and attached link rods were retrieved from the wreckage for examination.

The left aileron bellcrank was recovered separated from the left wing but with the aileron link rod and a control tube attached. The bellcrank pivot bolt and both rod end bolts were found installed with the cotter pins intact. There was some wood debris embedded in the head of the cotter pin on the control tube attachment bolt. There was also some mechanical damage on the upper and lower surfaces of the bellcrank adjacent to the pivot bolt. The control tube was removed to facilitate shipping of the bellcrank. The control tube rod end bearing moved freely. The threaded portion of the male rod end on the aileron link rod was deformed and the banjo body on the female rod end (normally attached to the aileron) was fractured and deformed. The spherical bearing from the female rod end was not recovered. The fracture faces on the banjo body were examined under a microscope and had features consistent with overstress separation. The bolt attaching the aileron link rod male rod end was disassembled. The male rod end was examined under a microscope and no evidence of cracking was observed in the banjo body. The spherical bearing on the male rod end was clean and free to rotate with no binding evident.

The right aileron bellcrank remained attached to the right wing at its mounting location. The control tube and aileron link rod were attached and the aileron link rod was attached to the right aileron portion that remained. The bellcrank pivot bolt and both rod end bolts were installed with the cotter pins intact. The control tube bolt, pivot bolt, and aileron attach bolt were disassembled in order to remove the bell crank and aileron link rod. The control tube rod end bearing moved freely.

The threaded portion of the male rod end on the aileron link rod was deformed. The bolt attaching the aileron link rod male rod end was disassembled. The male and female rod ends were examined under a microscope and no evidence of cracking was observed in the banjo bodies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on both pilots at the Instituto de Ciencias Forenses de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the cause of death for both pilots was determined to be (translated) "severe body trauma."

Toxicological testing was performed at the Instituto de Ciencias Forenses, with further testing performed at the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Due to the severity of the captain's injuries, no blood, urine, or vitreous was available for testing. Toxicological testing performed on a specimen of the pilot's liver by the Instituto de Ciencias Forenses was unsuitable for the identification of volatiles and negative for evidence of cocaine or opiates.

Toxicological testing performed at CAMI's Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory revealed ethanol in muscle (0.036 gm/dl), kidney (0.019 gm/dl), and heart (0.013 gm/dl) tissues, but did not detect any ethanol in his liver specimen. No other tested-for substance was found in the captain's specimens.

Toxicological testing performed by the Instituto De Ciencias Forenses De Puerto Rico, Division de Laboratorio de Criminalistica on the first officer identified ethanol in vitreous (0.07 mg/dl) and brain tissue (0.17 mg/dl).

Testing performed the FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory at CAMI identified ethanol in first officer's muscle (0.150 mg/dl), brain (0.133 mg/dl), heart (0.095 mg/dl), and liver (0.082 mg/dl). No other specimens were available and no other tested-for substance was identified in the first officer's specimens.

According to the NTSB Medical Factual Report for this accident, ethanol is an intoxicant commonly found in beer, wine, and liquor. "After absorption, ethanol is quickly distributed throughout the body's tissues and fluids fairly uniformly. Ethanol may also be produced in the body after death by microbial activity and when this is the cause of identified ethanol, the measured levels may vary widely."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to DOT/FAA/AR-00/18, "Development of Supplemental Inspection Report for the Fairchild Metro SA226 and SA227 Airplane," 1.2 Aircraft Description, "Structurally there is little difference between the SA226 and SA227. The primary difference is that the SA227 wing is longer by 10 ft to support higher takeoff weights."

Prior SA226/SA227 Accidents/Incidents

A search of prior SA226/SA226 accidents and incidents involving an inflight loss of control, included:

On August 30, 2004, near Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia: an SA226 with one pilot with seven passengers onboard. With a balanced fuel load noted before takeoff, the airplane was manually climbed in instrument meteorological conditions, leveling off at 16,000 feet, when the pilot noticed that the right wing was "slightly low." The pilot applied left rudder trim and engaged the autopilot; about 2 ½ minutes later the autopilot suddenly disengaged, and the airplane rolled right and entered a steep spiral descent. The pilot was able to recover the airplane at 5,200 feet, and when he did, he noticed that the airplane was "very heavy on the right side," and the right fuel tank was reading 350 kg greater than the left. The investigative report noted that that the outcome suggested that the fuel flow cross flow valve had been open during the flight. When the autopilot could no longer trim against increasing fuel load in the right wing, it disengaged without warning. The airplane was not equipped with a CVR or FDR. (Australia Safety Transport Bureau (ASTB) report 200403209)

On May 23, 2005, near Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand: an SA227 with two pilots onboard during a night cargo flight. The airplane was en route at 22,000 feet, and "the night was dark, with no moon, and the aircraft was probably flying above cloud which would have obscured any ground lights." The crew was balancing fuel between tanks, with the rudder input trimmed to an excessive sideslip, and with the autopilot engaged. Data indicated that autopilot capability was exceeded; it then disengaged, precipitating an upset. During descent, the airplane was overstressed and came apart in flight. The airplane had an operating CVR and FDR onboard. (New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report 05-0006),

On February 8, 2007, over Paris, Tennessee: an SA226, with a single pilot was on a night cargo flight. The airplane was en route at 16,000 feet in visual meteorological conditions. The pilot requested from air traffic control (ATC), a 360-degeee turn to the left, and shortly thereafter, requested a 360-degree turn to the right. He then requested vectors to the closest airport, and advised ATC that he had an asymmetric fuel condition. About a minute later, the pilot transmitted six Maydays, and witnesses saw the airplane descend into the ground in a vertical attitude. The impact crater was about 25 feet deep, the airplane was severely fragmented, and the fuel crossflow valve could not be located. The presence/non-presence of a CVR, FDR or autopilot were not noted in the report. (NTSB Report ATL06FA045)

On August 28, 2013, Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia, an SA227, with a single pilot on a night cargo flight. During the initial climb from the departure airport, the pilot reported that the right wing dropped "markedly." The pilot raised the wing and opened the fuel cross flow valve to rebalance the airplane. After the airplane was in trim, he closed the cross flow valve. In cruise, the airplane appeared to be in trim and the pilot engaged the autopilot. About 1 hour later, the pilot disengaged the autopilot and ensured the airplane was still in trim. During the approach, the airplane handled "normally" until about 400 feet above ground level, when the right wing dropped again when the final stage of flap was selected. The pilot raised the right wing and landed without further incident. Subsequent ground checks determined that there was a fuel tank imbalance of about 210 liters (about 55 gallons). (Australian Transport Safety Bureau report AO-2013-196)

On April 13, 2015, near North Vancouver, British Columbia, an SA226, with two pilots onboard during day cargo flight. The airplane was about 15 nm north of the departure airport, above a cloud layer, over mountainous terrain, about 2,400 meters (about 8,000 feet) above sea level, when it lost altitude rapidly and experienced an inflight breakup. As the State of Design and Manufacture, the U.S. sent a team to assist in the examination the wreckage; however, the investigation is under the jurisdiction of the government of Canada and is ongoing at the time of publication of this report. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation A15P0081)

http://registry.faa.gov/N831BC

NTSB Identification: ERA14MA060 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, December 02, 2013 in La Alianza, PR
Aircraft: FAIRCHILD SA227AC, registration: N831BC
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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 2, 2013, at 2010 Atlantic standard time, a Fairchild SA227AC, N831BC, operating as IBC Airways flight 405 ("Chasqui 405"), was destroyed during a rapid descent to terrain near La Alianza, Puerto Rico. The captain and the first officer were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The international cargo flight was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan between Las Americas International Airport (MDSD), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and San Juan International Airport (TJSJ), San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the operator, the accident flight occurred during the return leg of a round trip between TJSJ and MDSD. Prior to the outbound flight, "normal dispatch requirements were met," and the airplane took on fuel at TJSJ for both legs. The airplane departed MDSD on the accident flight at 1936.

A review of radio transmission tapes indicated that the crew first contacted the FAA San Juan Combined En route Approach Control (CERAP) facility at 1949, 13 nautical miles west of MELLA intersection at 11,000 feet. At 2002, the crew was told to descend to 7,000 feet at "pilot's discretion," and at 2008, the crew was advised to change frequency to the next CERAP sector controller. The crew subsequently contacted the next controller, "leaving one one thousand, descending to seven thousand." The controller then advised the crew to maintain 3,000 feet, expect the ILS (instrument landing system) approach, proceed direct to the "TNNER" fix, and that information "Tango" was in effect. After a crewmember read back the information, there were no further transmissions from the airplane.

Preliminary radar data revealed that after MELLA, the airplane proceeded toward TJSJ along a heading of about 085 degrees true, crossing the west coast of Puerto Rico just south of the town of Stella. The airplane maintained 11,000 feet until 2007, and had descended to 8,300 feet by 2010:08. It then made a 20-degree turn to the left, and by 2010:13, had descended to 7,300 feet. It subsequently made a 45-degree turn to the right, and had descended to 5,500 feet by 2010:18. There were no additional verifiable altitude positions.

Descent calculations between 2010:08 and 2010:13 indicated a rate of descent of about 12,000 feet per minute (fpm), and between 2010:13 and 2010:18, over 21,000 fpm. Preliminary groundspeed calculations indicated about 290 knots.

There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder onboard the airplane.

Weather, recorded at TJSJ, 33 nm to the east, at 1956, included wind from 170 degrees true at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, a few clouds at 7,000 feet, and scattered clouds at 10,000 feet. An NTSB review of radar images at the time of the accident revealed no precipitation in the area. U.S. Naval Observatory data indicated that sunset occurred at 1749 and that the end of civil twilight occurred at 1813.

Wreckage was scattered over a large area that included a pasture and the hillsides that partially surrounded it. General dimensions of the wreckage field were about 1,900 feet in length and 600 feet in width at its widest point, oriented toward 178 degrees true.

The wreckage field commenced in the vicinity of 18 degrees, 23.07 minutes north latitude, 066 degrees, 35.30 minutes west longitude, with lighter materials, including the airplane's radome. The field narrowed toward its end, with the heavier materials such as the airplane's two engines located close to each other in the vicinity of 18 degrees, 22.77 minutes north latitude, 066 degrees, 35.29 minutes west longitude.

There was no impact crater; only airplane remnants scattered throughout the wreckage field. Significant remnants included, from north to south: the upper right cockpit area, and to the left and further south of that, the outboard portion of the left wing. Farther south was the left side of the cockpit, and near that, toward the center of the wreckage field, was the empennage. To the right of the empennage was the right wing, and farther to the south, on the left side of the wreckage field, was the remainder of the left wing. Beyond that, but before the engines, was the airplane's nose section, which included many of the cockpit controls.

There was no evidence of an inflight fire or explosion.

All three landing gear remained with their respective housings. The right wing was found upside down, with the landing gear extended and the drag brace assemblies locked over center. The main part of the left wing was also found upside down, but with the landing gear retracted and loose in the wheel well. Extending the landing gear by hand revealed housing deformations and tire marks consistent with the gear having been extended in flight. The nose landing gear was found partially extended in the airplane's nose section, which came to rest on its side. When the nose section was rolled upside down, the landing gear fell back into the wheel well. However, when the landing gear was extended by hand, housing deformation and tire marks found were consistent with the landing gear having been extended in flight. The cockpit landing gear handle, which could only be pulled upward, but not moved forward or aft, was found in the "gear down" position.

There was evidence of fuel in both wings.

Although extensive on-site photographs were taken, the size of the wreckage field as well as the muddy terrain and wet weather precluded complete documentation of flight control continuity. The wreckage was recovered and containerized, and is expected to arrive at a storage facility in Houston, Texas, by late January 2014. After its arrival, the investigative team will reconvene to complete the documentation.





Steve Gullberg, 28, was killed in a plane crash in Puerto Rico on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.




Steve Gullberg


  Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances, the unknown person(s) on board was fatally injured, subject of an alert notice, wreckage located 10 miles from Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  Update 12/03/13 2 persons on board were fatally injured.  




On the Monday night before Thanksgiving, a Metroliner III cargo jet shuttling between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico bellied into a mountainside about 25 miles from its destination. The two pilots at the controls both died in the crash. 

Now, the family of co-pilot Steve Gullberg are charging that the Fort Lauderdale-based airline that employed the 28-year-old didn't keep up its maintenance standards, and that the results may have been deadly.

Originally from the suburbs of St. Louis, Gullberg had only worked for Fort Lauderdale-based IBC Air for three months. But according to his family, he was already worried. "He was expressing concerns with my dad about maintenance issues," Steve's brother Greg tells New Times. "When they would mention these maintenance issues to management, they were just shrugged off."

Greg continues: "This was an accident waiting to happen, and it was going to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately, it happened sooner, sooner than we would have hoped."

The Gullberg brothers have been around aviation all their lives, Greg says. Their father, Steve Sr., is a retired American Airlines pilot and licensed instructor. "My brother and I both have been flying since we were teenagers," he says. "My brother just followed in my father's footsteps."

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Steve Gullberg worked for a number of smaller airlines before taking a job with IBC. He had been living out in San Juan at the time of the crash. He saw the position as the opportunity to jump to larger carriers.

But the pilot had misgivings about the conditions at the company, his brother says. Gullberg wasn't alone.

"The planes are very old, and some of the upkeep of the air planes was a concern to me," one former IBC Air employee tells New Times, requesting anonymity. Although the company was involved in no other crashes, the pilot says the issues were well known among the company's flight crews.

A call to IBC Air was not returned. But the company told St. Louis' KSDK that there is "no reason to assume mechanical error caused the crash and the company is awaiting the results" of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the crash.

The family is also eagerly awaiting the expert's final word on what caused the crash. 



Source:    http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com



Obituary:    http://www.stygar.com

In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests contributions to cover expenses on:  http://www.gofundme.com/5olexc

Life Legacy 

 Gullberg II, Steven R. Suddenly on Monday, December 2, 2013

Beloved son of Steven & Jessica Gullberg. Dearest brother of Greg Gullberg. Dear nephew of David Gullberg. Grandson of Roland & the late Shirley Gullberg & Richard & the late Dolores Alcorn. Nephew of Daniel (Kay) Gullberg; Jody (John) Maring; Kathleen (Johnny) Choat & Raymond (Marianne) Alcorn. Our dear cousin & friend to many.

Steven earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.

While in college he started two very successful internet businesses marketing electronics, one of which he maintained until deciding to re-enter flight training to do what he loved the most - fly.

Steve had been exposed to airplanes and flying since before he was born, flying with us while I taught Jessica to fly while she was pregnant with him. After his birth we continued flying with him in a car seat behind us in the airplane. By the time he could talk he said that when he grew up he wanted to fly. I took him flying from time to time and took him on the airline trips I was flying as well. One time we headed on a trip to Sweden for the weekend on a day's notice. TWA had me teaching pilots to fly our airplanes in simulators and I would take him there and let him fly too. I also picked up a new MD-80 from the factory in Long Beach, CA - Steve came along and flew back to Kansas City with me riding in the cockpit. Steve soloed a glider when he was 14 and I, as his instructor, soloed him in a Cessna 172 on his 16th birthday.

He joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet as he entered the sixth grade. Steve loved the airplanes and all of the other aspects of the program. It was with CAP that he flew gliders and received orienatation flights on military aircraft as well. He rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming the cadet commander of his squadron. He attended CAP's Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course at Kirtland AFB, NM and went on the International Air Cadet Exchange to Australia. Ultimately Steve earned Civil Air Patrol's highest cadet honor - the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. He was the 1465th cadet to do so in the long history of the achievement and this promoted him to the rank of Cadet Colonel. His father earned the 439th Spaatz Award when he was a cadet and Steven became CAP's first second-generation Spaatz Award recipient.

Steven played football all four years that he attended Hazelwood Central High School. He also was honored as a division winner at the Greater St Louis Science Fair at Queeny Park for a project he that did showing the boundary layer separation of the airflow over the upper surface of a wing in accordance with changes in the wing's angle of attack.

Steve was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and played football for Hazelwood Central High School. He was a Cadet Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and a member of St. Peters United Church of Church.

Friends are invited to join Steven’s family for a Memorial Gathering at the STYGAR FLORISSANT CHAPEL & CREMATION CENTER, 13980 New Halls Ferry Rd. on Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 pm and Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm concluding with a Memorial Service at 12:00 PM. In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests contributions to cover expenses on www.gofundme.com


Obituary:    http://www.stygar.com


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A U.S. co-pilot who died this week in a small plane crash near Puerto Rico's north coast had previously expressed concerns about maintenance and other safety issues, his brother said Thursday.

Steve Gullberg, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri, became worried about the safety of planes that IBC Airways was using shortly after he joined the company some three months ago, his brother Greg Gullberg said in a telephone interview.

"He had expressed concerns about how he doesn't know if these planes are safe to fly," Greg Gullberg said, adding that his brother had not shared those concerns with company officials. "This was supposed to be his first big flying job. He didn't want to take it to management and rock the boat."

Representatives with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida company said the human resources director was handling media requests but that she was not available for comment. In addition to providing cargo services, IBC Airways also has an exclusive contract to provide civilian air service to and from the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The pilot of the plane also died following the Puerto Rico crash. Family members identified him as 35-year-old Jason McLaughlin of Weston, Florida.

The plane had departed the Dominican Republic late Monday when it crashed in the coastal town of Arecibo as it headed toward Puerto Rico's main international airport. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight when it was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the capital of San Juan.

No details have been released about the ongoing investigation. The FAA identified the aircraft as a Fairchild SA-227-AC cargo plane.

Greg Gullberg, who began flying with his brother when they were teenagers, said Steve Gullberg lived in Puerto Rico and knew the route well.

"They had flown it numerous times," he said. "They knew what they were doing."

He said his older brother attended space camp when he was younger and that his childhood room was always painted with airplanes and cockpits.

"Steve has wanted to be a pilot since forever. He always wanted to follow my dad's footsteps," he said of their father, a retired American Airlines pilot.

A former pilot with IBC Airways who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals from the airline industry said he had worked for the company for nearly two years and also worried about the safety of its planes.

"The planes are very old," he said. "They're always having mechanical problems, having to be fixed."

The FAA had awarded the plane that crashed a certificate of airworthiness in October 1986, and its certificate issue date was valid through 2017.

http://www.miamiherald.com



A pilot for a Caribbean airline who grew up in Florissant died Monday night in a plane crash in Puerto Rico, his family said. 

 Steve Gullberg II, 28, was co-piloting the cargo plane, which originated in the Dominican Republic. The flight was heading to San Juan, but the plane disappeared off the radar in a mountainous area in the northern part of the island, said Gullberg's brother, Greg Gullberg, 25. Steve Gullberg and his co-pilot were killed.

Steve Gullberg started working three months ago for the Fort Lauderdale-based airline, IBC Air. Greg Gullberg said his brother had expressed concerns about the airline's safety.

“He said there were some serious maintenance problems and he had some safety concerns,” he said. “We're trying to find out if this airline is knowingly negligent, dabbling with the lives of pilots.”

Greg Gullberg is a television reporter in Savannah, Ga. Their father, Steve Gullberg, is a retired pilot for American Airlines.

“He always wanted to be a pilot and follow my dad's footsteps,” Greg Gullberg said of his brother.

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation and the FAA is assisting, a spokesman for the agency told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

The brothers attended Hazelwood Central High School and then the University of Oklahoma. Steve Gullberg had jobs with other small airlines but considered the job at IBC Air to be his big break, his brother said. He was told he was going to be made a captain next month, his brother said. Steve Gullberg planned to live in San Juan for a couple of years and then come back to the mainland United States to settle down and raise a family, his brother said.

The Gullbergs' father flew to Puerto Rico on Tuesday to talk to authorities and identify his son's body. Greg Gullberg, who was visiting his family for the holidays, remained at the family's home in Florissant to be with his mother, Jessica.

Greg Gullberg remembered his brother as always having a curious, innovative mind. “His bedroom was always like a workshop. He was always taking things apart and making something new all its own.

“He was living his dream. He was following in his dad's footsteps and making my dad proud the way he always wanted to when he was a little kid.”