Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lancair IVP, N724HP, Automation of Delaware LLC: Fatal accident occurred March 08, 2014 in Hartsville, South Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA144
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Hartsville, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2016
Aircraft: ROGERS GEORGE T LANCAIR IVP, registration: N724HP
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

Witnesses reported that the pilot/owner/builder of the experimental, amateur-built, turbine-engine-powered airplane had been troubleshooting the airplane’s landing gear and electrical system on the day of the accident. After working on the airplane, the pilot/owner made an uneventful flight. Later that day, the pilot/owner departed on the accident flight with two other certificated pilots aboard. About 40 minutes later, relatives of the pilot/owner received text messages from him stating that the airplane’s landing gear would not extend and that they should ask for emergency services to be available at a nearby airport. About the same time, witnesses observed the airplane flying over the runway at that airport at an altitude about 600 ft above the ground. The airplane then banked steeply left, pitched upward to an angle of about 25 degrees, and then descended in a nose-high pitch attitude to ground impact. This maneuvering was consistent with an inflight loss of control and subsequent aerodynamic stall/mush. The airplane was almost entirely consumed by the subsequent post-impact fire. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures of the flight control system or the engine. The nose landing gear was retracted, and the left and right main landing gear were partially extended. The seat cushion for the right rear seat was displaced from its normal mounting position, and an access panel that was located beneath the seat and allowed access to the main landing gear actuators had been removed. Despite the fire-related damage to the hydraulic system, which was used for extension and retraction of the landing gear, the hydraulic reservoir remained intact and contained only a trace amount of hydraulic fluid. Given that both the primary and emergency landing gear extension mechanisms relied on the presence of hydraulic fluid for proper operation, it is possible that a lack of available fluid precipitated the pilot’s inability to extend the landing gear as reported in his text messages. However, due to the extent of damage to the remainder of the hydraulic system, a definitive cause for the failure of the landing gear to extend could not be determined. 

Examination of the wreckage also revealed that at the time of ground impact, the pilot/owner of the airplane was seated in the left rear seat, while the other two pilots were seated in the two front seats. It could not be determined which of the other pilots was flying the airplane when the loss of control occurred, and the seating positions of each occupant at the beginning of the flight are unknown. However, as neither of the other pilots had any flight experience in the accident airplane make and model, it is likely that the pilot/owner was in one of the front seats when the flight began and climbed into the rear seat during the flight when the landing gear would not extend in order to access the landing gear actuators. 

Review of the airplane’s maintenance records revealed no entries documenting that any of the required inspections or maintenance had been completed in the decade preceding the accident. Additionally, the maintenance records did not document repairs and modifications that had been performed on the airplane following a previous accident during which the airplane was substantially damaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Failure of the flying pilot to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident were the pilot/owner's decision to transfer physical control of the airplane during an inflight emergency to pilots with no previous experience in the accident airplane make and model and the failure of the landing gear actuation mechanism for reasons that could not be determined due to impact and postcrash fire damage.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On March 8, 2014, about 1858 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair IVP, N724HP, wa
s substantially damaged when it impacted terrain near Hartsville, South Carolina. The private pilot/owner/builder and the two pilot-rated passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight originated from Darlington County Jetport (UDG), Darlington, South Carolina.

According to witnesses, the pilot had been having problems with the airplane's landing gear system and had been receiving a "gear unsafe" indication. Earlier on the day of the accident, a witness also saw the pilot/owner working on the airplane, and when queried, the pilot/owner advised him that he was troubleshooting an electrical problem.

Later that day, the pilot/owner and a pilot-rated passenger, departed UDG, flew around the local area, before landing at Hartsville Regional Airport (HVS), Hartsville, South Carolina. At 1510 the pilot/owner refueled the airplane with 50 gallons of fuel, and then at approximately 1610, took off alone and returned to UDG. About 1740, the pilot/owner departed from UDG on the accident flight, this time with two pilot-rated passengers aboard.

At approximately 1819, a relatives of the pilot/owner received text messages asking them to come to HVS, as the accident airplane's landing gear would not extend. At 1836 they received a second message to "Call 911." Around the time that the messages were received, a witness observed the airplane pass by him numerous times, at a "low" altitude, during an approximately 15 minute period. On the last pass, he could hear the airplane's engine running, and observed the airplane fly over the HVS about midfield point, at 600 to 700 feet above ground level. Then airplane then banked sharply to the left, pitched to about 25 degrees nose up, then descend rapidly in a nose high attitude until he lost sight of the airplane. Moments later, he heard the sound of impact, and a large fire and accompanying smoke were observed.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

During the victim recovery and identification process it was determined that when the accident occurred, both pilot-rated passengers were in the front seats of the airplane and the pilot/owner was in the left rear seat of the airplane.

Pilot/Owner

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot/owner was 61 years old. He held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, and a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate with an inspection authorization for the accident airplane.

His most recent application for a FAA third-class medical certificate was dated February 8, 2012. He did not report his flight experience during that examination. On his application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, dated November 1, 2006, the pilot/owner reported that he had accrued 1,600 hours of total flight experience with 20 hours being accrued in the previous six months. Review of the pilot's logbook indicated that as of June 5, 1999 he had accrued approximately 441 hours of total flight time. The flight time reported to the FAA could not be reconciled, as no flight experience had been logged after the June 5, 1999 entry. The pilot/owner's most recent flight review was completed on September 25, 2004.

Left Front Seat Pilot

According to FAA records, the left front seat pilot was 75 years old. He held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent application for a FAA third-class medical certificate was dated March 11, 1991. On that date, he reported that he had accrued 200 total hours of flight time, with no hours in the last six months.

Right Front Seat Pilot

According to FAA records, the right front seat pilot was 29 years old. He held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent application for a FAA third-class medical certificate was dated June 13, 2012. On that date, he reported that he had accrued 100 total hours of flight time, with no hours in the last six months.

There was no evidence available to suggest that either the left or right front seat pilots had any previous flight experience in the accident airplane, or the accident airplane make and model.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident aircraft was a kit-built, four-seat, low wing, pressurized airplane, of composite construction. It was equipped with retractable tricycle-type landing gear, and was originally designed to be powered by a Continental TSIO-550, air-cooled, six cylinder, turbocharged engine, which produced 350 horsepower. The engine would typically have been mated to a three-blade, 76-inch diameter, variable pitch, constant-speed propeller.

The accident airplane had been modified by the pilot/owner by the installation of a Walter M601D turboprop engine that produced 724 shaft horsepower, driving an Avia V 508D, 99-inch diameter, three bladed, variable pitch, constant speed propeller, which was 22 inches in diameter larger, than the kit manufacturers recommended maximum of 77 inches.

The airplane in its modified configuration was capable of achieving cruise speeds in excess of 300 knots, at altitudes up to 30,000 feet.

According to FAA records on March 13, 1992, the airplane kit was purchased by Task Research Limited from Lancair International Inc. On August 14, 1993, Ownership was then transferred to Mogollan Custom Aircraft where build records indicated that numerous building tasks were accomplished.

On June 25, 2001, Ownership was once again transferred, this time to the pilot/owner.

On May 17, 2002, the pilot/owner completed FAA Form 8130-12 certifying that he had "fabricated and assembled" the airplane and that he "had records to support this statement" and would make them available to the FAA upon request. Then on July 8, 2002, the pilot also made a similar entry in the airplane's maintenance logbook.

On July 23, 2002, the pilot/owner made an entry in the engine logbook that he had installed the Walter engine. On that same day, an FAA designated airworthiness representative issued the pilot/owner his experimental operating limitations for the phase 1 initial flight tests. On September 3, 2002, the pilot made an entry in the aircraft logbook, stating that the airplane had accrued approximately 40 total hours of operation, that the prescribed test hours had been completed, and that the airplane was safe for operation. On September 30, 2004, at approximately 136 total hours of operation, the pilot/owner certified that the airplane had been inspected in accordance with the "N724HP Maintenance Inspection Program annual inspection and found to be in airworthy condition." This was the last entry recorded in the aircraft logbook.

Approximately 4 weeks later on October 26, 2004, at approximately 146 total hours of operation, the airplane and the pilot/owner were involved in an accident (NTSB Case ID ATL05LA012) at Sylvester Airport (SYV), Sylvester, Georgia. After the accident, the pilot/owner repaired the airplane. This required structural repair work, replacement of the Walter turboprop engine with one that he purchased from Air Lion Inc. with 1,662.3 total hours of operation on it, and repair and replacement of the main landing gear box, main landing gear, and other components. No maintenance logbook entries regarding the repairs to the airplane or the replacement of the engine were discovered during the investigation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at Hartsville Regional Airport (HVS), Hartsville, South Carolina, located 1 nautical miles north northwest of the accident site, at 1855, included: calm winds, 10 miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 7 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane had struck two trees before making ground contact, and coming to rest next to a row of trees. Multiple pieces of wood were present on the ground which exhibited evidence of propeller strike marks.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that it had been exposed to a postcrash fire and that there was no evidence of any preimpact structural failure. Further examination revealed that it was equipped with extended-range fuel tanks, but no fuselage fuel tank, which indicated the airplane, was able to carry approximately 110 gallons of fuel. The wing flaps were in the up position, and flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls, through breaks in the system that showed evidence of tensile overload, to the mounting locations of the flight control surfaces.

Examination of the propeller revealed evidence of S-bending, leading edge gouging, and chordwise scratching. Examination of the engine's single stage axial flow propulsor utilizing a borescope revealed evidence of rotational scoring and reverse bending on multiple turbine blades.

Examination of the landing gear system revealed that the landing gear handle was in the down position however, the nose landing gear was in the "up" position. The left and right main landing gear were partially extended, and the left main landing gear leg was fractured into two pieces. Examination of the main landing gear doors indicated that the right main landing gear door was closed during the impact sequence and the left main landing gear door was open during the impact sequence.

The landing gear system's hydraulic power pack fluid reservoir was designed to hold approximately 3 quarts of hydraulic fluid. When fully serviced, the fluid level could visibly be observed about 1 inch below the filler neck. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the fluid level of the accident airplane's hydraulic reservoir was below the secondary reservoir's pickup, and only contained about 10 tablespoons of fluid. The hydraulic fluid reservoir was otherwise intact, with no evidence of any fluid leakage. Due to the extent of fire damage, it could not be determined if the remainder of the hydraulic system was intact prior to the accident.

Further examination of the wreckage also revealed that the seat cushion for the right rear seat was displaced from its normal mounting position, and an access panel that was located beneath and allowed access to the main landing gear actuators, had been removed. Examination of the panel revealed scratch and pry marks on its topside, near one edge, and an open jackknife which belonged to the left front seat pilot was discovered on the floor, in close proximity to the panel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on the pilots at the Newberry County Memorial Hospital Morgue on behalf of the Darlington County Coroner. The listed causes of death were Carbon Monoxide poisoning and thermal injuries.

Toxicological testing of the pilots was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Specimens from the pilots were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Landing Gear System

The main landing gear was constructed of gun drilled tubular steel. The main landing gear was retracted into the fuselage via full rack and pinion gears driven by the hydraulic system. The nose landing gear provided with the original kit was a conventional air/oil oleo strut with internal viscous shimmy dampening. Retraction was accomplished with a separate hydraulic cylinder and operated through the normal hydraulic system. A dedicated gas strut was used for emergency extension.

The landing gear doors were operated through a retract linkage and were held open by a spring in the same linkage. The main gear outer doors were opened by springs in their mechanical linkage; the inner doors were opened by the main gear strut riding on a nylon track on the individual door. They were spring loaded toward the closed position, and held closed in flight by a cable mechanism for the inner door and through mechanical linkage for the smaller outer door.

The landing gear and flap system of the airplane were both actuated by a hydraulic system which was pressurized using an electrically-driven pump. This unit was referred to as the "power pack" because it comprised the electric motor, a small gear pump and a fluid reservoir into one unit. The pump would run in one direction only, pressurizing the system. A 700 psi accumulator was included to assist in landing gear and wing flap extension and retraction. When the pilot would operate the landing gear or flaps, high pressure fluid was routed in the selected direction. The landing gear handle and flap handle (on the instrument panel) were actually rotating valves which in turn, would route the fluid. A pressure switch was used to maintain system pressure (approximately 1100 psi) at all times when the master switch was turned on.

An electrically operated solenoid pin locked the gear handle into the down lock position. This switch had to be electrically activated to allow the gear handle to be moved out of the down locked position. An airspeed sensor switch would activate this solenoid pin, thus the solenoid pin would not retract and allow gear "up" until the airplane reached an airspeed of about 65 knots.

Landing Gear Operation

In the down position, the nose gear linkage would be "over centered" and the combination of the gas strut and normal hydraulic pressure would help hold it there. The main landing gear was held in the down (extended) position by a mechanical down lock pin located on each hydraulic actuation cylinder.

Retraction of the landing gear was accomplished by moving the gear handle to up position which would unlock the main gear down lock pins, then retract all three landing gear. As the landing gear became fully retracted, the hydraulic system would reach its maximum pressure and the pressure switch would shut off the pump. The landing gear would be held in the up position by hydraulic pressure.

The 700 psi accumulator in addition to assisting in landing gear and wing flap extension and retraction, would also absorb pressure bumps as well as allow the wing flaps to be operated several times without the system pressure falling below the "pump on" limit.

Emergency Gear Extension

As a gear down back up, a hand operated pump was installed. In the event of electrical failure or a line leak, etc. To use this system, the pilot would have to reduce airspeed to below 120, then pull the gear motor solenoid circuit breaker, and place the landing gear handle in the down position. In the kit manufacturer's original design, this would automatically allow the nose gear to drop down and lock due to the high pressure gas strut on the assembly.

The nose gear on the airplane though, was not the one designed and approved by the kit manufacturer for the airplane. Instead it was approximately 36 inches long and was designed by the pilot to provide clearance for the 99 inch diameter Avia V 508D propeller. It could not be determined, if it would also drop down and lock as the originally supplied nose landing gear assembly would.

The main landing gear was also designed to fall to a vertical position which was not fully down. At that time, the hand pump could be used to move the main gear into the full down position which then automatically would set the internal down-lock pins in the main gear cylinders.

FAA Required Inspections

According to the FAA; a condition inspection is the equivalent of an "annual inspection" for type certificated aircraft. Though Title 14 CFR Part 43 states that it does not apply to experimental airworthiness certificates, the operating limitations on experimental amateur built aircraft require that no person shall operate an aircraft unless within the preceding 12 calendar months it has had a condition inspection performed in accordance with the scope and detail of appendix D to Part 43, or other FAA-approved programs, and found to be in a condition for safe operation. This inspection was required to be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records.

Experimental operating limitations for operating amateur built aircraft are also issued for a particular aircraft and usually contain additional specific guidance from the FAA, which in the case of the accident airplane, also required that it not be operated unless it was inspected and maintained per an inspection program selected, established, identified, and used as set forth in CFR 91.409(e), (f), (g), and (h). This required that the pilot/owner select and identify in the airplane maintenance records an inspection program for inspection of the airplane, that it be approved by the FAA, and that the inspections also be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records.

Lancair Pilot Operating Handbook

The airplane's kit manufacturer published a suggested Pilot Operating Handbook and Airplane Flight Manual (POH/AFM). Review of this manual revealed that it contained guidance regarding maintenance, inspection, and operation of the airplane. With regard to the hydraulic system, the manual stated, "As with any hydraulic system, proper servicing is required." It also discussed required inspection periods advising that an annual condition inspection was required on all aircraft and that among other things, that the inspection must include the landing gear. It also advised that this inspection must be signed off in the "aircraft logbook" by an inspector, as well as any repairs necessary due to discrepancies found during the inspection. The POH/AFM also recommended two additional levels of inspections beyond the preflight inspections listed in the POH/AFM, and was to be conducted at 25 hour and 100 hour intervals. The "Recommended Servicing" section advised that the landing gear hydraulic reservoir be serviced each 100 hours.

The kit manufacturer's suggested POH/AFM also contained a section on emergency procedures, which included checklists for multiple emergencies including "LANDING EMERGENCIES," and systems emergencies for items such as "LANDING GEAR." Review of the checklist the pilot produced for use in the accident airplane revealed that it only contained three sections;

-"START"
-"BEFORE TAKEOFF"
-"LANDING"

There were no emergency procedures, listed.

http://registry.faa.gov/N724HP

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA144
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Hartsville, SC
Aircraft: ROGERS GEORGE T LANCAIR IVP, registration: N724HP
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 8, 2014, about 1858 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur built Lancair IVP, N724HP, was substantially damaged after a loss of control in Hartsville, South Carolina. The private pilot, and the two pilot rated passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Darlington County Jetport (UDG), Darlington, South Carolina.

According to witnesses, the private pilot had been having problems with the airplane's landing gear system and had been receiving a "Gear Unsafe" indication. Earlier on the day of the accident he was observed working on the airplane and when queried by one of the witnesses, the pilot advised him that he was troubleshooting an electrical problem.

Later that day, the private pilot and one of the pilot rated passengers, departed UDG, flew around the local area "for some time," and then landed at Hartsville Regional Airport (HVS), Hartsville, South Carolina. At 1510 the private pilot refueled the airplane with 50 gallons of fuel and then at approximately 1610 took off alone and returned to UDG. Sometime after returning to UDG, the private pilot took off again, this time not only with the pilot rated passenger he had been flying with earlier that day but, also with an additional pilot rated passenger.

At approximately 1819, a relative of the private pilot received a text message asking him to come to HVS, as the landing gear would not come down. Then at 1836 he received a second message to "Call 911." Around the time that the private pilot sent the text, a witness observed the airplane pass by him numerous times during an approximately 15 minute long period. The airplane was "low" to the ground. On the last pass, he could hear the airplane's engine running, and observed the airplane fly across HVS about midfield at 600 to 700 feet above ground level, bank sharply to the left, pitch up to about 25 degrees nose up, then descend rapidly in a nose high attitude until he lost sight of the airplane. Moments later, he heard the sound of impact, and observed a large fire ball and smoke.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane had struck two trees before making ground contact, and coming to rest next to a row of trees. Multiple pieces of wood were present on the ground which exhibited evidence of propeller strike marks.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that it had been exposed to a postcrash fire and that there was no evidence of any preimpact structural failure. The wing flaps were in the up position, and flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls, to the breaks in the system which showed evidence of tensile overload and from the breaks in the system, to the mounting locations of the flight control surfaces.

Examination of the propeller revealed evidence of S-bending, leading edge gouging, and chordwise scratching. Examination of the engine's single stage axial flow propulsor utilizing a borescope revealed evidence of rotational scoring and reverse bending on multiple turbine blades.

Examination of the landing gear system revealed that the landing gear handle was in the down position however, the nose landing gear was in the "up" position. The left and right main landing gear were partially extended, and the left main landing gear leg was fractured into two pieces. Examination of the main landing gear doors indicated that the right main landing gear door was closed during the impact sequence and the left main landing gear door was open during the impact sequence. Examination of the hydraulic reservoir revealed it was not full, and only contained about 10 tablespoons of hydraulic fluid. During the examination, no leaks were discovered in the reservoir.

Further examination of the wreckage also revealed that the seat cushion for the right rear seat was displaced from its normal mounting position and an access panel which was located beneath that mounting location, and which would allow access to the main landing gear actuators, had been removed. Examination of the panel revealed scratch and pry marks on its topside, near one edge, and an open jackknife was discovered on the floor in close proximity to the panel.






Joseph Loflin III "Josh" (center) and his father-in-law George Thomas Rogers (left) along with Leslie Raymond Bradshaw (right) 



 HARTSVILLE, SC -

Funeral services are set for all three of the victims of Saturday's plane crash in Hartsville.

Services for Joseph Loflin III "Josh" age 29, and his father-in-law George Thomas Rogers, age 61, will be held together on Tuesday.

Memorial services will be Wednesday for Leslie Raymond Bradshaw, age 75, who had retired from Sonoco, where Josh Loflin was a plant manager.

Visitation for Joseph Melton Loflin III "Josh", 29, and his father-in-law George Thomas Rogers will take place Monday, from 5 until 9 p.m. at Willow Oaks Farm in Society Hill.

There will also be a celebration of their life Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. at 6180 Little Mountain Road in Clover.

Josh, who was a manager at the Sonoco plant, died in the crash along with his father-in-law Rogers and another man, Leslie R. Bradshaw, 75, who was a Sonoco retiree.

Josh was married to Drake Rogers Loflin, his college sweetheart. He graduated from Clover High School in 2003 and Clemson University in 2007. Josh was known as "Buttercup" by his fraternity brothers of Alpha Gamma Rho of which he was an active member.

Josh was an avid pilot and a plant manager at Sonoco.

George Thomas Rogers' daughter, Drake, was married to Josh. George is also survived by his wife, Lyrae Creamer Rogers of Society Hill, along with three sons.

George graduated from NC State with a mechanical engineering degree and went on to own his own business building custom fabricated machines for over 30 years, beginning in 1983.

Brown-Pennington-Atkins Funeral Home is serving the Loflin and Rogers family.

Memorial services for Leslie Raymond Bradshaw will be Wednesday at 2 pm at the Chapel Norton Funeral Home. Visitation will follow the service at the residence.

Bradshaw was born in Rockingham, NC, and was retired from Sonoco Products after 44 years of service, was a member of the Old Timers Club, Hartsville Woodworkers Club, where he served as treasurer, and a member of the RC Club and Shaw Air Force Rod and Gun Club, the Darlington Humane Society, Sonoco Fireman, and the Civil Air Patrol.

Leslie was a highly-skilled craftsman in many areas.

"He specialized in making metal and wood structures for the garden; he and his wife Bobbie together created a wonder-world in their home and garden. People were always calling on him to help with projects for them, too," his obituary said. "He was always happy to oblige, always so generous with his time and talent, always smiling and gentle."

He constantly remodeled their home and a sunroom he built to his wife's specifications won 2nd place in the nation in the Better Homes and Gardens competition.

Leslie was one of the "three musketeer friends" with the late Pat Gibson and Cecil Winburn. They enjoyed going several times a week to Shaw Air Force Base to the Rod and Gun Club to shoot trap and skeet.

They loaded their own shells, worked on guns together and competed together.

The small plane they were in along with Leslie R. Bradshaw, 75, of Hartsville, went down in a neighborhood on Saturday near Forest Drive and Fox Hollow Drive. That's just outside of the city of Hartsville.

Autopsies of the three men are scheduled for Monday in Newberry.

The call came in at 6:55 p.m. and Hartsville fire chief says the homes surrounding the crash site were not damaged. The plane was badly burned and some of the woods caught fire.

A man who worked for the pilot told News13 the plane left Darlington County Jetport. He said the plane stalled and the wing went down and it's not the first time it's had issues.

The airport was a Lancair IV-P aircraft according to Kathleen Bergen, Manager for Atlantic Media Relations with the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA and the NTSB will investigate, and the NTSB will determine probable cause.

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.wbtw.com


Darlington County Sheriff's Office: https://www.facebook.com/DCSOSheriff 


Todd Gunther of the National Transportation Safety Board speaks to reporters Sunday afternoon in Hartsville
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Part of a single-engine Lancair IVP aircraft that crashed outside of Hartsville Saturday evening lies in a wooded area between two houses on Hollandia Circle in the Fox Hollow subdivision Sunday afternoon.
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 Pieces of a a single-engine Lancair IVP aircraft that crashed outside of Hartsville Saturday evening were still hanging from tree limbs Sunday afternoon.
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 Wreckage from a single-engine Lancair IVP aircraft that crashed outside of Hartsville Saturday evening lies in a wooded area between two houses on Hollandia Circle in the Fox Hollow subdivision Sunday afternoon.
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Part of the frame of a single-engine Lancair IVP aircraft that crashed outside of Hartsville Saturday evening lies in a wooded area between two houses on Hollandia Circle in the Fox Hollow subdivision Sunday afternoon.









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HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Law enforcement officials and investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the National Transportation Safety Board continued to sift through what remained of the wreckage of a single-engine plane on Sunday, hoping to piece together what caused it to crash in a residential neighborhood outside Hartsville Saturday evening.

Late Sunday morning, Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee released the names of the three men who died in Saturday’s crash. The men were identified as George Thomas Rogers, 61, of Society Hill; Joseph Melton Loflin III, 29, of Pelzer; and Leslie R. Bradshaw, 75, of Hartsville. Hardee said an autopsy has been scheduled for all three men for Monday in Newberry.

Rogers was piloting the plane, according to friends of the family. Loflin was his son-in-law. Bradshaw was a family friend. The three apparently decided to take advantage of Saturday’s good weather and take a casual flight around the area.

According to Todd Gunther of the National Transportation Safety Board, witnesses in the area said they saw the plane flying throughout the day Saturday. He said there was no communication between the plane and air traffic controllers prior to the crash. Gunther said no flight plan was filed.

The crash took place shortly before 7 p.m. in a wooded area between two homes on Hollandia Park Circle, in the Fox Hollow subdivision just outside of Hartsville. The subdivision is less that a mile from Hartsville Municipal Airport.

According to Hartsville Fire Chief Jeff Burr, fire trucks were on the scene minutes after the crash. He said the plane did not explode on impact, but the crash caused a small brush fire which was quickly subdued.

According to Gunther, the plane struck two trees before impact. The amateur builder plane, which can carry a pilot and three passengers, hit the ground roughly fifty feet from one home and about 75 to 100 feet from another.

“It’s most fortunate that no homes were hit,” said Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd.

Byrd said both homeowners of the two houses close to the crash site were at home at the time of the crash.

He said his department initially considered possible evacuation, but after determining the fire was contained, evacuations were deemed unnecessary.

David and Kerschner were in their home a block away watching television when they heard the crash.

“We heard the plane and then we didn’t hear it, and that was kind of odd,” Teresa Kerschner said. “We heard a loud bang and ran outside. We saw a big puff of smoke and then heard someone scream.”

David Kerschner said they walked closer and saw “pretty good flames.” He said the firefighters were there in no time and put out the fire.

“It’s just so, so sad,” added Teresa. “Our hearts go out to the family.”

FAA public affairs officer Kathleen Bergen said the plane was a single-engine Lancair IVP. Officials at a press conference late Saturday night said it was thought the plane's landing gear would not come down. They believe Rogers tried to circle the airport several times, likely hoping to use all of the fuel in the plane and avoid an explosion.

The plane was housed at Darlington Jetport Airport. According to Bergen, it appears the plane was returning to the jetport when it ran into some type of mechanical problems and attempted to land at the Hartsville airport.

Trevor Grayton of Hartsville, who said he worked with Rogers during the summer and had known him for many years, was devastated by the news of the crash.

"He was like a father to me,” Grayton said.  “He was one of the finest men I have ever met in my life and a very good pilot."

Grayton said he was told by friends of the family that Rogers and Lofflin were in contact with loved ones by cell phone just before the crash.

Rogers operated his own fabrication business on Highway 15 between Society Hill and Hartsville. He was married to Lyrae Rogers, Circuit Coordinator for Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program of the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Bradshaw was retired from Sonoco Products. According to friends, he was an avid woodworker who enjoyed making things for family members and friends.

Late Sunday afternoon investigators continued to look for clues at the crash site. Large, charred pieces of the plane, including its landing gear, sat ominously between the two brick homes. What looked to be part of a propeller from the plane rested on a bed of pine straw. Other pieces of the plane were still stuck in tree branches.

Gunther said an NTSB crew will conduct its investigation over the course of the next three days, looking at the plane’s structure, its landing gear, mechanics, the weather, and flight philosophy. He said a preliminary report will be released in 90 days. 

The last fatal plane crash in Hartsville occurred in August of 2006. A Piper aircraft went down as it approached Darlington Jetport Airport. Approximately 6 miles from the airport, control tower personnel cleared the pilot to land.

The airplane collided with trees and was located by emergency response personnel off a small private road in a field. Examination of the airframe, instruments, flight controls, engine assembly and accessories all revealed no evidence of a pre-crash mechanical failure or malfunction.


http://www.scnow.com

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Three men are confirmed dead in a small plane crash in Hartsville Saturday evening.

The plane crashed in a neighborhood southeast of the Hartsville Regional Airport at around 6:40 p.m., officials said. Coroner Todd Hardee initially confirmed there were two fatalities, and Darlington County Sheriff's officials later confirmed a third fatality.

The victims were identified by Hardee as 61-year-old George Rogers from Society Hill, 29-year-old Josh Melton Loflin from Pelzer, and 75-year-old Leslie Bradshaw from Hartsville.

Todd Gunther with the National Transportation Safety Board said at a Sunday news conference that the plane was an experimental amateur-built aircraft registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane had a turbo-prop engine with 725-horsepower, and could seat four people. Three were on board at the time of the accident.

According to records from the FAA, the airplane, manufactured in 2002, was a fixed wing single-engine Lancair IV-P.

Witnesses saw the plane flying in the Hartsville area for most of the afternoon, Gunther said.

The NTSB said there was not any communication between those on board with an official agency just before the crash, but there was communication between those on board with someone else through a cell phone speaking about problems with the plane. The NTSB Is not aware of a flight plan being filed.

The plane took off from Darlington County and attempted to land at the Hartsville airport, said Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd. The plane was apparently having mechanical difficulties with its landing gear, and went down about 50 feet from homes in the Fox Hollow subdivision.

The NTSB did find evidence that there was fuel on board, and there was a post-impact fire, Gunther said. There was no fire on the plane while it was airborne. The engine was rotating at the time of impact with the ground, he added, and the aircraft struck two trees before coming to rest.

Reporter Jody Barr tweeted from the scene that the plane went down between two brick homes off Hollandia Park Circle. The homes do not appear to be damaged.

Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes of the crash, Barr stated, and firefighters doused the flames shortly after their arrival. According to Barr, the plane wreckage was covered, lights were put up, and recovery crews secured the scene for FAA and NTSB investigators.

Federal investigators spent Sunday looking at wind and weather conditions during the time of the crash, and looking to see if the plane was in one piece after landing or if it broke up before. Investigators also interviewed witnesses, airport personnel, and friends and family of those involved, Gunther said.

The NTSB will be at the scene for three days, will going back to Washington DC to evaluate the evidence. In nine months to a year, a full report will be released about the accident investigation, but seven to 10 days from now we will get the preliminary report into the investigation.

An autopsy has been scheduled for all three men for Monday, March 10 in Newberry, SC, Hardee stated. The incident remains under investigation by the Darlington County Coroner's Office, the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, the NTSB and the FAA.
 

http://www.wistv.com

HARTSVILLE, S.C. — A 911 caller reported that a small plane was having trouble with its landing gear minutes before the plane crashed in a Hartsville subdivision, killing the three men on board, authorities said Sunday.  

No one on the ground was killed or injured when the plane crashed Saturday evening between two houses in Hartsville, authorities said. When firefighters arrived, the fuselage, grass and woods were in flames, with the fire reaching about 50 feet from the two houses, Hartsville Fire Chief Jeff Burr said Sunday. No homes were damaged.

Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee confirmed the three deaths. Those killed were Joseph Melton Loflin II, 29, of Society Hill; his father-in-law, George Thomas Rogers, 61, also of Society Hill; and Leslie Bradshaw, 75, of Hartsville.

The plane had taken off from Darlington County Airport, and the men likely were trying to return there, Sheriff Wayne Byrd said. A 911 caller whom Byrd said was a family member of friend of the family called about 6:40 p.m. to say the plane was having problems with its landing gear, he said. The pilot was likely trying to land at Hartsville Regional Airport, about a half-mile from the crash scene, authorities said.

“As far as we know, they were just out flying,” Byrd said. Skies were sunny Saturday afternoon with temperatures in the 60s.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane was a Lancair IV-P aircraft. A website about the plane says it seats four people and has a 350 horsepower engine.

Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene Sunday, Byrd said. The NTSB will determine the cause of the crash, Bergen said.




Hartsville. SC- Three people have been killed in a plane crash in the area of Forest Drive and Fox Hollow Drive in Hartsville. The crash was reported at approximately 1850 hours Saturday night. The Lancair IV-P aircraft crashed prior to landing at the Hartsville airport. The plane landed in a residential area however no houses were hit by the plane. The plane caught fire upon impact and also caused a grass/brush fire in the area. No other reported injuries and the crash is being investigated.

DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) -  The Darlington County Sheriff's office confirmed a small plane crashed Saturday evening right in the front yard of someone's home.

Captain Andy Locklair says it happened near Forest Drive and Fox Hollow Drive outside of the city of Hartsville but near the Hartsville airport.

Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd says three people were on the plane. Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee is not releasing the names at this hour. They were all men. Two were from the area and one was from outside the area.

The call came in at 6:55 p.m. and Hartsville fire chief says the homes surrounding the crash site were not damaged. The plane was badly burned and some of the woods caught fire.

A man who worked for the pilot told News13 the plane left Darlington County Jetport.  He said the plane stalled and the wing went down and it's not the first time it's had issues.

The airport was a Lancair IV-P aircraft according to Kathleen Bergen, Manager for Atlantic Media Relations with the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA and the NTSB will investigate, and the NTSB will determine probable cause.

Some operational statistics for Darlington County Jetport show there's about 22 planes that land and take off from there daily.  The makeup of the aircrafts are 49% transient general aviation, 44% local general aviation, 6%  air taxi  and 1%  military. That's data for a 12-month period ending September 2013.

The last time there was a double fatal plane crash in Hartsville was August 2006. A Piper aircraft went down as it approached Darlington Jetport Airport.  Control tower personnel cleared the pilot for the approach. Approximately 6 miles from the airport, control tower personnel cleared the pilot to land.

During the final approach, the pilot reported a missed approach, made a left turn, and began a descent. The control tower contacted the pilot, and inquired, if he "had the airport insight." The pilot responded "negative." The airplane continued to descend until it was lost off radar.

The airplane collided with trees and was located by emergency response personnel off a small private road in a field. Examination of the airframe, instruments, flight controls, engine assembly and accessories all revealed no evidence of a pre-crash mechanical failure or malfunction.

Source:  http://www.wbtw.com