Sunday, April 20, 2014

Aerocomp Comp Air 8 Turbine, OH-XDZ, Suomen Urheiluilmailijat ry: Accident occurred April 20, 2014 near Jämijärvi airfield (EFJM), Satakunta, Finland

Investigators identify one cause of Jämijärvi plane crash 

 A faulty wing helped cause a light aircraft crash in April, according to a report from the Safety Investigation Authority. Eight people died in the crash in Jämijärvi, Ostrobothnia.

Accident investigators think they have found the fault that caused a deadly plane crash that killed eight skydivers in Jämijärvi, Ostrobothnia, last April.

In a report published on Wednesday, the Safety Investigation Authority says that the pillar supporting the plane’s right wing broke during the flight, causing the aircraft to fall out of the sky. Investigators are also looking at other causes of the accident, but analysis of those factors is not yet complete.

The Comp Air plane’s aluminium wing support was broken long before the fateful flight, according to the report, but the fault wasn’t picked up during regular maintenance checks. The plane’s left wing was destroyed in the fire following the crash, preventing any analysis of its possible role in the accident.

Eight people from the Tampere skydiving club died in the crash on Easter Sunday, 20 April. There were 11 passengers on the plane, but three managed to jump out in time, using their parachutes to avoid serious injury.

Ismo Aaltonen is head investigator at Finland’s Accident Investigation Board

Investigators no closer to pinning down cause of Jämijärvi plane crash 

 Finland’s Safety Investigation Authority announced completion of a preliminary probe into the Jämijärvi plane crash which occured Easter Sunday. After five days of poring over the remains of the mangled and charred aircraft, the investigators say they have not been able to determine why the plane went down.

Investigators looking into the cause of last Sunday’s fatal airplane crash have wrapped up a preliminary probe into the accident, without finding any clear ondication of the cause of the incident. Another group will now commence a more detailed examination to uncover the cause of the crash.

The amateur-built Comp Air 8 light aircraft crashed in Jämijärvi during a skydiving excursion on Easter Sunday, killing eight people.

A great deal of information about the sequence of events

Investigators determined that the plane’s right wing broke in mid-air and turned upside down. However it’s not yet clear whether or not the broken wing prevented sky jumpers inside the plane from exiting through the jump door.

The plane took about one minute to plummet from 4,000 metres to the ground. All three survivors made the jump to safety from the cockpit door, two of them narrowly escaped with the plane less than 1,000 metres off the ground.

All plane parts accounted for

Investigators were able to account for all parts of the plane on the ground. The shell of the aircraft has been moved to the Niinisalo garrison in the Satakunta region of western Finland. Some parts have been sent for forensic examinations to determine the durability of the metal used and other structural details.

Many recordings of the incident

The Safety Investigation Board has been able to gather many recordings of the incident, however all images and video recordings were obtained from the ground when the plane was already in its deadly descent.

Investigators also got their hands on several in-flight recordings. Some were badly damaged but efforts are being made to extract any available data.

Team members also interviewed all of the survivors, however questioning is expected to continue.

 Head of the aviation investigation team Ismo Aaltonen works at the crash site near the Jamijarvi airport.

A parachute hangs from a tree close to the wreckage of experimental aircraft next to Jamijarvi Airfield, southwest Finland on April 21.

 Investigators will return to the site of Sunday’s fatal light airplane crash in Jämijärvi, western Finland to sift through the wreckage as they work to determine the cause of the accident. The crash site investigators say finding answers will be a slow and difficult process.  

 According to accident investigators from the Safety Investigation Authority Otkes, Monday’s search of the site of the light airplane crash revealed that no major parts of the plane were missing from the wreckage. Lead investigator Ismo Aaltonen said that both wings and the craft’s rudders were all at the crash site. So far speculation and initial reports indicate that the pilot had difficulty steering the plane.

Investigators will return to the site Tuesday looking for new clues, but the cause of the incident remains unclear.

The officials will be perusing technical drawings of the Comp Air 8 plane since the wreckage was so badly burned when the plane crashed to the ground.

According to Aaltonen, investigators will continue their search and examination of the crash site Wednesday if need be. He added that working with the aircraft shell is slow and perilous work because of the presence of unhealthy carbon fibre particles.

Once the crash site has been fully combed officials will move the shell to an indoor space for further investigations.

Cause of crash still unknown

So far officials have determined that the plane nose-dived to the ground from a height of about 4,000 metres.

“We’re at least looking at the aileron or altitude control. The plane’s nose suddenly went down, giving rise to negative g-forces and centrifugal forces. What caused this is still wide open,” Aaltonen said, adding that at this stage it’s not possible to draw far-reaching conclusions.

“In reality we don’t yet have any information as to why these steering control problems arose. Our investigation will focus heavily on what we can find out from the plane's shell, whether there were mechanical malfunctions or what the problem was,” he added.

Aaltonen said it would take some time before investigators are able to determine what caused the steering problems. Investigators interviewed eyewitnesses and survivors of the accident Monday, and Aaltonen said questioning could continue Tuesday. Officials will also review images and video material recorded by onlookers.

“We will carefully put together different perspectives to arrive at the most comprehensive picture possible of how events developed,” the lead investigator commented.

Eight people died in the accident Sunday.

Expert: Jämijärvi plane did not fall from very low 

Searching for answers in plane wreckage
Minister: Risks of aviation sports need re-examining

Skydiver crash victim: technical failure was to blame

Jämijärvi eyewitnesses: Plane made noises and lost parts before fall

At least three dead and five missing in light aircraft crash in Jämijärvi 

One of the first experts to investigate the remains of the Jämijärvi air accident, aviation mechanic Markku Väisänen, says that the craft’s structural integrity may have been compromised, either by overloading or a structural defect in the aircraft. 

Aviation expert Markku Väisänen says that a wing breaking mid-flight was the most likely cause of the plane crash which killed eight people on Easter Sunday. However, at this early stage of the investigation, it is still difficult to assess how and why the wing structure failed. More details are expected to unfold as the investigation continues.

According to the aviation mechanic, such a structural failure could be due to either overloading or a preexisting fault. An overload could have been caused by excessive speed or overly drastic adjustment of the plane’s movement.

However, in Väisänen’s view, it would be extraordinary if overload was indeed the reason for the plane’s disintegration and subsequent crash.

“At that stage of the flight, these kinds of movements should not be made at all, so it’s completely incomprehensible how that could have occurred,” he says.

Väisänen thinks that engine failure is unlikely to have led to the tragedy. He also discounts the theory that the structure of the aircraft may have deteriorated or become brittle, as it was a relatively new aircraft.

Earlier on, the Accident Investigation Board's head investigator, Ismo Aaltonen, told Yle that premature opening of a parachute did not cause the accident. Aaltonen publicly stated that information gleaned from the investigations will be announced after meeting with relatives of the victims.

The aircraft involved in the crash was the only Comp Air 8-type machine in Finland.

Little remains of the Comp Air 8 airplane.
 Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva 

Press release 

Ministry of Transport and Communications

21.4.2014 14.11

Minister of Transport and Local Government Henna Virkkunen wishes to express her own sadness, as well as that of the entire Finnish Government, following the light aircraft incident near Jmijrvi in Satakunta on Sunday. The Minister offers her sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to all others affected by this tragic incident.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications and Trafi – the Finnish Transport Safety Agency expect a full report on the incident to be conducted by the Finnish Safety Investigation Authority. Following the investigation, the aviation authorities will assess whether the aviation regulations need to be re-examined. There have been several fatalities as a result of civil aviation accidents in recent years.

Further information
Ms Laura Rissanen, Special Advisor to the Minister of Transport and Local Government, tel. +358 41 540 4505
Mr Pekka Henttu, Director General for the Aviation Sector, Finnish Transport Safety Agency, tel. +358 40 351 1931

 Accident Happened Over Popular Skydiving Site About 150 Miles by Road From Helsinki 

The Wall Street Journal 
By Juhana Rossi 
Updated April 20, 2014 3:13 p.m. ET 

HELSINKI—Police and investigators said eight skydivers died when a light utility aircraft suddenly fell from the sky over a popular skydiving site Sunday in Jamijarvi, a small town in Western Finland some 150 miles by road from Helsinki.
Three people, the pilot among them, managed to bail out with their parachutes from the aircraft and survived with only minor injuries.

"By Finnish standards, this is the most serious flight accident in decades," said Ismo Aaltonen, an investigator with Finland's Safety Investigation Authority.

Mr. Aaltonen was speaking in a joint news conference held by police and rescue services at the site of accident. The news conference was broadcast online.

According to information gathered by the police, the aircraft was traveling at a relatively high altitude of more than 10,000 feet before it plunged toward the ground.

Eyewitnesses "saw three parachutes detach from the plane which then came down in a steep angle," said Pentti Lehtimaki, an inspector with the local police service. The authorities gave no tentative theory for the cause of the accident. It was also unknown if the pilot had communicated the plane's distress before its fatal dive.

Investigators are now looking into eyewitness reports that claim some objects or aircraft parts fell away from the plane in its final moments on the sky.

The aircraft involved in the accident was an American-made Comp Air 8. Comp Air 8s are so-called homebuilt aircraft that are typically assembled from kits by people active in general aviation.

The rescue authorities said the wreckage was severely damaged because it burned after it had impacted with the ground. The police haven't identified the individual crash victims, but according to tentative information they are experienced sky divers from the city of Tampere, some 50 miles east from the accident site.

According to media reports and its Facebook site, a Tampere-based skydiving club was holding its annual "Easter Boogie" sky diving event at Jämijärvi over the Easter holiday weekend, which in Finland extends until Monday.


Aerocomp Comp Air 8 Turbine, OH-XDZ, Suomen Urheiluilmailijat

Moottorivika neljän kilometrin korkeudessa: Kahdeksan kuoli koneen maahansyöksyssä

Jämijärvellä Satakunnassa on sattunut lento-onnettomuus, jossa on kuollut kahdeksan ihmistä.

Tutkintaa johtava ylikomisario Petri Kangas vahvistaa Iltalehden paikalla olevalle toimittajalle, että kuolleita on yhteensä kahdeksan. He kaikki löytyivät palaneesta koneesta. 

Tutkinnanjohtaja sanoi aiemmin Iltalehdelle, että kuolleiden joukossa olisi myös koneen lentäjä. Asiasta liikkuu kuitenkin ristiriitaista tietoa.

Tutkinnanjohtajan mukaan kaikki uhrit ovat kotoisin Pirkanmaalta. Heitä ei ole vielä poliisin mukaan tunnistettu.

Kolme henkilöä löytyi hengissä maastosta. He pääsivät pelastautumaan laskuvarjolla hyppäämällä eivätkä loukkaantuneet vakavasti. He ovat kuitenkin sairaalahoidossa.

Potkuriturbiinikone syöksyi maahan noin kahden kilometrin päähän Jämijärven lentokentästä. Se sai moottorivian noin neljän kilometrin korkeudessa. Pelastuslaitos sai hälytyksen paikalle kello 15.40 sunnuntaina.

Pienkone syttyi tuleen osuessaan maahan. Koneessa oli lentäjä ja kymmenen matkustajaa, eli kaikkiaan 11 ihmistä. Kaikilla koneessa olleilla matkustajilla oli laskuvarjot, sillä heidän oli tarkoitus hypätä koneesta.  


A helicopter flies over the area near the Jämijärvi Airfield to search the victims. 
Photo Lehtikuva. 

People watch the rescue operation at the Jämijärvi Airfield. 
Photo Lehtikuv

A helicopter and an ambulance are seen at the Jämijärvi Airfield, southwest Finland, on Sunday after a light aircraft crashed.
 Photo Lehtikuva.

Jämijärvi eyewitnesses say plane made abnormal noises and lost parts before it fell

Three people were killed on Sunday in a light aircraft disaster in Jämijärvi, 70 kilometres from Pori. Several others remain missing. Eyewitnesses to the incident reported hearing strange sounds from the plane’s engine.

One caller says he was sunbathing with friends in the yard of his Jämijärvi cabin when he heard a strange noise. 

“Suddenly I heard an abnormal airplane engine sound and then we saw a smoking plane spiraling downwards behind the nearby forest.”

He says the next thing he heard was the sound of emergency rescue vehicles.

A second witness wrote that she was out jogging when she heard a small plane engine from the airfield's direction.

“Out of the blue, the engine’s roar stopped and I noticed it because it sounded so strange.”

She says it is possible that the engine noise came from the crashed aircraft.

Yet another witness says a piece fell from the plane before the crash.

An Yle reporter at the Jämi holiday resort next to the airfield reported a rescue helicopter and ambulance at the airfield at 6 pm.

New information indicates the Comp Air 8 turboprop-powered light aircraft contained ten parachutists, in addition to the pilot. Three of the ten have been found alive.

Read also:
At least three dead and five missing in light aircraft crash in Jämijärvi