Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Beech A36TC Bonanza 36, N800G LLC, N678DR: Accident occurred August 15, 2012 in Clifton Park, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA508
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in Clifton Park, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2013
Aircraft: BEECH A36TC, registration: N678DR
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The pilot and passenger were departing on an instrument flight rules business flight. During the initial climb, at an altitude of about 800 feet above the ground, the pilot advised air traffic control that the airplane had lost engine power. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing; however, the airplane struck several trees about 1,000 feet short of an open field. Examination of the airframe revealed no deficiencies of the fuel or fuel system, and a test run of the engine showed that it was capable of producing power. However, during the test run, the right magneto was found to be non-functional, and further disassembly of the component revealed that its contact points were corroded. Once the corrosion was cleaned away, the magneto functioned normally on a test bench.

The investigation was unable to determine a definitive cause for the reported total loss of engine power, although a non-functional right magneto could result in a partial loss of power and/or perceived rough engine operation. According to the airframe manufacturer’s procedure for a loss of engine power immediately after liftoff, the auxiliary fuel pump should only be placed in the “HI” position in the event of an engine-driven fuel pump failure. With the engine-driven fuel pump operating, the engine would “run rich and may quit depending on throttle setting, temperature and altitude.” Due to the extent of the damage surrounding the auxiliary fuel pump switch, its preimpact position could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during the postaccident investigation and testing.

On August 15, 2012, at 0727 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36TC, N678DR, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing near Clifton Park, New York. The certificated airline transport pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Albany International Airport (ALB), Albany, New York at 0724, and was destined for Plattsburg Airport (PBG), Plattsburg, New York. The business flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Review of air traffic control (ATC) information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot contacted ATC about 0720 and requested clearance to taxi for departure. The controller initially advised the pilot to taxi to runway 1 via taxiway D and A. The pilot subsequently advised the controller that he could accept an intersection departure from runway 1 at D, and was subsequently issued that clearance. At 0722, the pilot requested to depart from runway 1 at D, but was advised that there would be a 3 minute delay due to wake turbulence from a previously departed Boeing 737. The pilot then requested to “waive” the delay, and was issued a takeoff clearance about 1 minute later. In addition to a warning of wake turbulence, the pilot was issued a departure heading of 040 degrees.

The airplane departed from runway 1 at 0724, turned northeast, and continued to climb. At 0725, at an altitude of 1,100 feet msl, the pilot advised ATC, “eight delta romeo just lost our engine”. No further transmissions were received from the pilot, and radar contact was lost about 30 seconds later at an altitude of 300 feet msl.


The pilot, age 68, held an airline transport pilot certificate with numerous ratings, including airplane single engine land, as well as a flight instructor certificate with numerous ratings including airplane single engine. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on March 1, 2012 with the limitation, “must have available glasses for near vision.” A review of the pilot’s flight logs showed that he had accumulated 11,008 total hours of flight experience, 1,110 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model. During the 90 days preceding the accident, the pilot had accumulated 143 hours of flight experience, 34 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

According to the pilot’s son, the pilot was a friend of the accident airplane’s owners, and was allowed to utilize the airplane anytime he needed. He further described that the pilot flew very often, and had previously flown many people in the accident airplane. While the passenger did hold a pilot certificate, he had not flown a great deal in the recent past. The purpose of the flight was for the pilot and passenger to attend a business meeting in Plattsburg, New York.


According to airworthiness records maintained by the FAA, the airplane was manufactured in 1981 and was equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-520-UB turbo-supercharged, fuel injected engine. Review of maintenance records showed that a factory rebuilt engine was installed on the airplane in May 1996, at an aircraft total time of 1,591 flight hours. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on October 15, 2011 at 3,190 total aircraft hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated 3,364 total flight hours, and the engine had accumulated 1,773 total flight hours since its installation.


The ALB airport was comprised of two intersecting runways oriented in a 1/19 and 10/28 configuration, at an elevation of 285 feet. Runway 1 was 8,500 feet long by 150 feet wide. Taxiway A ran parallel to runway 1 and was located to the west of the runway. Taxiway D intersected runway 1 about 3,250 feet beyond the runway approach threshold. From that intersection, about 5,250 feet of runway was available for a departure.

The airplane was most recently serviced with 85 gallons of 100LL fuel by a fixed base operator at ALB on the day preceding the accident. Following the accident, a fuel quality assurance review was conducted by the fixed based operator, and no deficiencies were noted during the inspection.


The 0753 weather observation at ALB included calm winds, 10 statute miles visibility with patches of fog present to the west and southwest, few clouds at 100 feet, scattered clouds at 8,000 feet, a broken ceiling at 13,000 feet, and a broken ceiling at 25,000 feet. The temperature was 19 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.90 inches of mercury.


The airplane was not equipped with any flight data recording devices, nor was it required to be; however, a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) receiver was recovered from the wreckage, and found to contain data pertaining to the accident flight. The initial data point was recorded at 0721, as the airplane taxied toward runway 1 at ALB via taxiway D. The airplane subsequently taxied onto runway 1 at 0723, at the point where the runway intersected taxiway D.

The airplane accelerated down the runway and began climbing at 0724:26, and 8 seconds later had climbed to a GPS-derived altitude of 341 feet, at a GPS groundspeed of 88 knots. At that point, the airplane began a right turn about 1,600 feet prior to reaching the runway departure end. The airplane continued to climb while on an approximate 40-degree magnetic track. At 0725:50, the airplane reached a maximum altitude of 1,115 feet, at a GPS groundspeed of 111 knots, about 2 nautical miles northeast of the runway 1 departure end.

Over the next 30 seconds, the airplane turned about 90 degrees left as it descended and slowed. By 0726:24, the airplane had established a heading of 305 degrees, descended to 627 feet, and slowed to a GPS groundspeed of 85 knots. About 25 seconds later, the airplane’s final position was recorded at an altitude of 302 feet and a GPS groundspeed of 76 knots.

A plot of the airplane’s position for the final moments of the flight showed that an open field about 1,000 feet long, and aligned with the airplane’s final approach path, was located about 1,000 feet west of its final GPS-recorded position. Additionally, a two-lane asphalt road paralleled the airplane’s final approach path; however utility wires paralleled and crossed the road at numerous points in the vicinity of the accident site.


The accident site was located in a residential area approximately 3 miles northeast of ALB, at an elevation of 260 feet. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified by several damaged tree limbs, at a height of about 30 feet, and was located about 45 feet west of the airplane’s final GPS-recorded position. The wreckage path about was about 150 feet long, and oriented approximately 320 degrees magnetic. A ground scar, along with the outboard portion of the right wing and aileron, were located about 95 feet beyond the IIP, along the wreckage path. The main portion of the wreckage consisted of the fuselage and inboard portions of both wings, and was located about 45 feet from the ground scar. The fuselage remained upright, and was oriented on a 280-degree magnetic heading. The outboard portion of the left wing was located about 10 feet beyond the main wreckage.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage by all four of its attachment bolts. The outboard portion of the wing separated in the vicinity of the landing gear, and the left main landing gear remained stowed in its well. The right wing also remained attached to the fuselage by its attachment bolts, with the outboard portion separating near the outer portion of the flap. The right main landing gear remained stowed within its well. The landing gear actuator was in the retracted position.

Control continuity was confirmed from the control column to the elevator and left aileron, and through a fracture of the right aileron bellcrank to the right aileron, and rudder control continuity was confirmed from both rudder pedals to the rudder. Measurement of the left and right elevator trim tab actuators revealed extensions corresponding to a 10-degree tab-down position (nose up trim). Measurement of both flap actuator rods corresponded to a flaps retracted position.

The fuel selector was found in the left tank position. Examination of the fuel system revealed that it remained continuous from the firewall, through the selector valve, to both fuel tanks, with no breaches or obstructions noted. Residual fuel was observed in both main and both auxiliary wingtip fuel tanks. The color and odor of the fuel appeared consistent with 100LL aviation fuel, and all samples taken were absent of water or debris. The auxiliary fuel pump switch was found in the HIGH position, though the structure surrounding the switch was deformed consistent with impact.

The pilot and copilot seats remained attached to the seat rails with no deformation noted. The mounting points and buckles for both the pilot and copilot restraints appeared intact and undamaged, and first responders reported that the pilot and passenger were wearing both lap and shoulder restraints upon arriving at the accident scene.

The engine remained attached to the fuselage, and 2 of the 3 propeller blades exhibited impact-related damage. One blade was bent aft about 45 degrees near the mid-span point and the other blade was bent aft about 90 degrees near the mid-span point. None of the blades exhibited chordwise scratching or leading edge gouging.

The engine was separated from the airframe and shipped to the manufacturer for a test run. The impact-related damage was generally concentrated near the aft portion of the engine. The induction system riser to the number one cylinder, the induction system “Y” pipe, and oil cooler, along with several fuel system fittings, were replaced to facilitate the test run. During preparation for the test run, a red clay/dirt-like substance was found at an impact-damaged port of the fuel metering unit. The fuel manifold valve screen, located downstream of the fuel metering unit within the fuel system, was examined and found to be absent of debris or contamination.

The engine was subsequently placed in a test cell and started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling. The engine rpm was advanced in steps to 1,200, 1,600, and 2,450 rpm for a period of 5 minutes per step to allow for warm-up. The throttle was then advanced to full power for 5 minutes before the throttle was rapidly advanced from idle to full power 6 times. The engine performed normally throughout each of the tests without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption of power; however, testing of the magnetos showed that the right magneto was inoperative.

Following the test run, the right magneto was removed from the engine and examined. The points of the magneto exhibited corrosion. The corrosion was subsequently cleaned from the points, and the magneto was then run on a test stand. The magneto operated normally, and further disassembly revealed no anomalies.


The pilot sustained serious injuries during the accident and subsequently succumbed to those injuries on August 28, 2013. An autopsy and toxicological testing were not performed.


The airframe manufacturer published an emergency procedure detailing the actions pilots should take following a loss of engine power immediately after lift-off. After eliminating the possibility of fuel exhaustion, the procedure advised the pilot:

“2. Auxiliary Fuel Pump – LOW If a Failed Engine-Driven Fuel Pump is Suspected (Indicated by zero fuel flow):

3. Auxiliary Fuel Pump – HI”

A warning was noted below that stated:

“The only reason for the high (HI) boost position is to supply fuel for priming prior to starting and to supply fuel to the engine if the engine-driven fuel pump fails. DO NOT USE THIS POSITION FOR ANY OTHER REASON. If high (HI) boost is selected when the engine-driven pump is operating, the engine will run rich and may quit depending on throttle setting, temperature and altitude.”

The checklist advised that if an ignition problem was suspected, the pilot should verify that the magnetos were selected to the “BOTH” position.

The first step of the procedure for a rough running engine immediately after lift-off stated, “Ensure auxiliary fuel pump is not on HI.”


CLIFTON PARK — A second lawsuit has now been filed related to the August 2012 plane crash that killed two businessman, this suit filed by the estate of the pilot.

The estate of James F. Quinn filed the suit Aug. 25 in state Supreme Court in Albany County seeking unspecified damages against the company it contends did maintenance on the plane, Albany-based Hildt Aviation.

Quinn’s estate contends the plane crash was caused by “negligence, carelessness, recklessness and gross negligence” by Hildt Aviation in its hiring, instruction and maintenance practices.

The suit also contends conscious pain and suffering.

The suit by Quinn’s estate follows one filed by the estate of Walter F. Uccellini, chairman of the Troy-based United Group at the time of his death. Uccellini’s estate is seeking $10 million in damages from a long list of defendants, including The United Group and Hildt Aviation.

The suit by Quinn’s estate only names Hildt and variations of its name. The United Group is not named.

Hildt Aviation issued a statement Friday saying it fully cooperated with the National Transportation Safety Board investigation. It also described itself as “an experienced aircraft repair and maintenance company.”

The statement referred specific comments on the suits to its attorney, Eugene Massamillo of New York City. Massamillo could not be reached Friday.

The Aug. 15, 2012 crash into a Clifton Park home’s front yard claimed the lives of both Uccellini, 67, of Albany, and the pilot, 68-year-old Quinn of Westerlo. Quinn was vice chairman of The United Group.

Among the claims in the Uccellini suit are “negligent operation of the aircraft” by Quinn and “negligent servicing and maintenance” by the owner of the plane and others.

Quinn’s estate is not named as a defendant in the Uccellini suit. The United Group and other variations of the name are included because Quinn was employed by them and acting as their agent, according to the Uccellini suit.

Quinn’s estate is represented by attorney Amanda Twinam. She could not be reached.

The two men were killed after the 1981 single-engine Beechcraft A36TC they were in crashed after takeoff from Albany International Airport. The plane struck trees before crashing on a front lawn off Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park. The two men were en route to a business meeting in Plattsburgh.

Uccellini died at the scene. Quinn died later at a hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash and cited the cause as “total loss of engine power.” What caused the loss of power could not be determined because of damage to the plane from the crash, according to the report.

The NTSB report cited a corroded engine part that could have caused partial loss of power. It also cited a possible pre-crash position of a crucial switch in the cockpit. That switch, an auxiliary fuel pump switch, could cause the engine to quit if put in the wrong position, the report said, but the actual position of that switch couldn’t be determined due to the extent of impact damage around it.

The first indication of engine power loss came from the pilot just after takeoff, according to previous reports. Quinn advised air traffic control that “Eight Delta Romeo just lost our engine.” Radar contact was lost 30 seconds later.

The corroded engine part, called a magneto, “could result in a partial loss of engine power and/or perceived rough engine operation,” the report reads.

A magneto provides power to the engine’s spark plugs, according to online sources. Airplane engines usually have two, as did the Beechcraft. The engines can run on one, but the second provides a backup.

According to a previous report, the Beechcraft’s right magneto had corrosion on the points. Once that corrosion was cleaned, the magneto operated normally.

The plane was owned by a friend of Quinn‘s, who allowed Quinn to use it whenever he needed. The factory-rebuilt engine was installed in 1996. The last annual inspection prior to the accident was completed in October 2011, 10 months before the crash.

- Source:  http://www.dailygazette.com

August 22, 2014 -   ALBANY — The family of a developer killed in a private plane crash in Clifton Park in 2012 is suing the company he owned and the owners of the aircraft for $10 million. 

The children of the late Walter Uccellini are suing The United Group of Companies Inc., the company that Uccellini founded, as well as the Albany-based Hildt Aviation and several other defendants, according to a summons filed Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Albany.

At the time of his death on Aug. 15, 2012, Uccellini , 67, was the president of the The United Group. The vice-president, fellow developer James Quinn, 68, who was piloting the plane, died from his injuries two weeks after the crash.

The single-engine Beechcraft, headed for Plattsburgh, crashed shortly after takeoff from Albany International Airport at 7:27 a.m.

Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the crash to be "total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during the post-accident investigation and testing."

The NTSB also said a corroded magneto found in the wreckage could have contributed to "a partial loss of power and/or perceived rough engine operation."

Uccellini's son and daughter, Michael J. Uccellini and Jessica F. Steffensen, executors of his estate, are suing for negligence that they allege caused personal injury and wrongful death to Uccellini. The summons alleges Quinn was negligent and that the plane had negligent servicing and maintenance.

The suit was filed by attorney John P. Calareso, who could not be reached Friday.

The defendants could not be immediately reached.

- Source:  http://www.timesunion.com

James F. Quinn

State Police Capt. John McCarthy speaks to reporters at the scene of the place crash on August 15, 2012.

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