Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fatal plane crash: Fire melted fuselage

The fatal plane crash yesterday in Canterbury was witnessed by glider pilot John McCaw, uncle of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Mr.  McCaw was at the glider club when the Piper PA-28-236 Dakota aircraft crashed near Springfield, killing pilot Martin Lowen, 55.

He said he was "not in the headspace'' to talk about the crash today.

"I'm just sort of feeling the effects of today,'' he said.

"I'm quite upset about it. It's not something you'd want to witness.''

His wife Jill posted on her Facebook page that she had been speaking to her husband on the phone when he saw the plane crash.

"John was there and on the phone to me at the time. He and others raced through gorse and shrubbery to try and get to the site and help the pilot, to no avail - as the aircraft was exploding in flames.''

The McCaw family are heavily involved in gliding, and the couple's two sons are also pilots.

Richie McCaw has spoken about his family's long involvement with the sport, with his father and two uncles also flying gliders.

Fire melted the fuselage of the plane, slowing the work of safety investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

CAA spokesman Mike Richards said three investigators were at the scene, but it was too early to say what may have caused the accident.

"There are many many hours of painstaking work sifting through the ash from the wreckage to see if there are any clues that may explain what happened,'' Mr Richards said.

"Our investigators have found it particularly challenging as the fire from the impact has even melted the aluminum fuselage of the aircraft.''

The light plane had been towing a glider with two people on board, which was able to release from the tow and land safely.

Mr Richards said the engine of the plane was mostly intact, and was likely to be sent to a specialist firm in Dunedin to be stripped back to search for a mechanical cause of the accident.

"The team are now taking a detailed photographic record of the site and surrounding area and will also review police photographs and pictures taken by an off-duty TAIC investigator who was in the area yesterday.

"The next step will be interviewing eyewitnesses. The glider that was being towed by the
Piper PA-28-236 Dakota got away safely with both a pilot and instructor on board so they will be important witnesses to this tragic accident.''

Mr.  Richards said that due to the severe fire and the need for outside technical experts, it may be up to 12 months before the results of the investigation are known.

"However if the CAA identifies anything obvious that may have caused the accident it will alert the aviation community with the utmost urgency.

"Our goal is to learn what can from this accident and help prevent something similar happening again.''

The CAA said no update was yet available on the investigation into a second fatal aviation accident yesterday.

A glider crashed on a property near the Auckland Gliding Club airfield in Drury, South Auckland, killing the sole occupant on board.

The glider came down on a neighboring property to Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker's home.

Mr.  Baker said he didn't see the crash but saw the glider's shadow pass over. "My son saw the shadow and said `gee, that glider was close to the house','' he said.

He was alerted to the incident when phoned by a neighbor, and found police and ambulance officers already on the scene when he went to investigate.

Mr.  Baker said the crash was traumatic for the teenagers who were among the first on the scene.

"There were a lot of young kids around, a lot of teenagers around down there,'' he said.

"It was pretty traumatic for them.''


Indianapolis International Airport (KIND), Indiana

Plane makes emergency landing at Indy airport

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An airplane made an emergency landing at the Indianapolis International Airport Sunday afternoon.

Officials say a regional jet with 52 people on board landed safely just before 3 p.m. Carlo Bertolini with the Indianapolis International Airport says there was a report of a fuel pressurization issue.

The jet was a United Airlines aircraft, flight number 382. The plane was headed to Newark from Indianapolis, but returned to Indy. 

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Double Eagle II Airport (KAEG), Albuquerque, New Mexico

No injuries as small airplane lands on field outside Double Eagle Airport 

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Authorities say no one was hurt when a single-engine airplane ended up landing in a field near an Albuquerque airport.

The Albuquerque Fire Departments says the small plane missed its landing at Double Eagle Airport because of mechanical problems.

Fire authorities say the airplane ended up in a field south of the airport. They did not say how many passengers were onboard.

They say the aircraft appears not to have sustained any damage.

Double Eagle Airport is a general aviation airport that doesn't handle commercial passenger traffic.


Schleicher ASW 20L, ZK-GDF: Drury Hills, south of Auckland - New Zealand

'It went into a spiral descent' - pilot dies as stricken glider smashes into ground. 

When young pilot Adam Reid saw the glider go into a spiral, he knew disaster was imminent. Seconds later, the 19-year-old and his mate, Daniel Hunter, were racing through paddocks to the aircraft after it slammed into a tree. 

 The pilot was killed instantly in the crash just after 4pm at Drury, south of Auckland.

It was the second glider-related death in four hours, after a light towplane crashed in Canterbury, killing the pilot.

The Auckland tragedy unfolded after the glider was towed aloft just after 2pm from the Auckland Gliding Club's airfield on Appleby Rd, Drury.

Mr Reid was at a barbecue at Mr Hunter's house, near the club, when they saw the glider. "The right wing came over the left wing and it went into a spiral descent," said Mr Reid.

"As soon as I saw the wing go over I thought 'that's not supposed to happen'. It was flying pretty low ... I saw the glider spiral straight down to the ground."

Mr Reid, who has a private pilot's license and is working towards his commercial license, said that when he first saw the glider it was flying normally, but "within five seconds" it was in strife.

Neighbour Ian Pearson was watching cricket on TV.

"I heard an almighty bang, a big bang, a hell of a bang," he said.

The teenagers, who were swimming with their mates, jumped out of the pool and sprinted to the crash site.

"It was still, there was no movement," said Mr Reid.

Mr Hunter said the glider's wings were stripped off and stuck in the tree. They then spotted the fuselage in a dry pond nearby.

"I had to go and have a look and see if he (the pilot) was breathing, but there was nothing," Mr Hunter said. "He was gone."

The teenagers said members of the gliding club gathered at the crash site. One said the victim was a "reasonably experienced pilot".

Auckland Gliding Club spokesman David Hirst said the Civil Aviation Authority and police were investigating the crash, "and unfortunately I am under strict instructions not to reveal any further information".

Inspector Willie Taylor said the pilot was a co-owner of the glider.

He had died on impact as a result of "significant trauma".

The crash shook Mr Reid. "I'm meant to be flying (today), but I might have to take a day off," he said.

The Canterbury accident happened in Springfield, about 63km northwest of Christchurch, and killed Christchurch father Martin Lowen, 55.

He was the sole occupant of a PA-28-236 Dakota aircraft which launched a glider with two occupants just after midday.

Soon after, the plane crashed and burst into flames.


Witnesses and friends Daniel Hunter (left) and Adam Reid.
 Photo / Natalie Slade 

 The Schleicher ASW 20L (ZK-GDF)  which crashed on a rural property in Drury. 
Photo / Natalie Slade

New regulations produce pilot shortage

Rhonda Chamber is director of aviation at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport (KFOD) in  Iowa

The challenges facing the small regional carriers are daunting, affecting more than just Great Lakes Airlines out of Fort Dodge. The recent federal changes to the requirements for airline pilots are adversely affecting Great Lakes right now - more significantly than other carriers. But as with many new regulations, the full unintended effects are not realized until there is a passage of time. One of the changes went into effect on Aug. 1, 2013, and the other significant change just went into effect on Jan. 4 had to do with time off for pilots between flights. While these changes are affecting the regional carriers and small airports the most right now, the impact is starting to cause issues for large carriers operating at large airports, which led to the canceled flight woes of JetBlue and large airlines during the first week of 2014 when the snow and cold caused delays.

Before Aug. 1, 2013, a flight crew member below the level of captain could work for Great Lakes Airlines with a minimum of 250 hours of cockpit time. Changes made at the federal level now require all cockpit officers for Great Lakes to have 1,500 hours of flight time. The earlier requirements were the big reason that our passengers saw such young pilots flying the planes. Younger crew members could be hired by Great Lakes, but it was commonplace for them to leave once they got more experience and could qualify for better jobs with bigger carriers. The regional carriers, such as Great Lakes, provided a critical component in the career progression of an airline pilot by enabling them to increase their flight hours and experience. They gained experience and hours so they could be hired by the large air carriers. This career progression is now interrupted and the question is: "Where will future airline pilots come from?"

Anticipating the changes, Great Lakes hired a significant number of pilots that became qualified under the current regulation believing these pilots would have enough flight time and experience to continue to fly after Aug. 1. However, the new requirement enacted by Congress did not grandfather any pilots in when the changes occurred. So on July 31, 2013, a pilot was flying as a commercial airline pilot and then on Aug. 1, 2013, he was declared not qualified simply because a page turned on the calendar. It's disturbing and disrupting that Congress could suddenly declare that a pilot who has made 300-plus trips from Fort Dodge to Minneapolis in a twin engine turbo prop aircraft is no longer qualified to continue to make those flights while a pilot with 1,500 hours of flight time, possibly only in a single engine aircraft with no experience in flying a commercial aircraft is. The result of these damaging policies has a devastating impact for a business and for our community. One has to ask: How does this increase safety? To further compound the issue, the large carriers were aggressively recruiting the Great Lakes pilots who had the required 1,500 flight hours by paying unprecedented bonuses to come work for them. Great Lakes lost 50 percent of its pilots from January to December 2013. Most of these losses occurred in the last quarter of the year after the changes in the hour requirements were implemented.

The changes the government enacted are pricing young pilots out of the small-carrier market because the cost of an individual paying for 1,500 hours of flying time is not justified by the salary they will make. To put it in perspective, the cost to rent a small single engine four seat aircraft in Fort Dodge is $105 per hour, or $157,500 for 1,500 hours. Keep in mind, this cost is only for a small single engine airplane and doesn't include any costs for flight instruction, or the higher level of training needed to become an airline pilot. The individual pilot who pays for 1,500 hours of flight time isn't going to be looking to a regional carrier for a job, because they pay less that the bigger carriers do.

The final ruling for the exact requirements on this new rule did not get released by the government until the middle of July 2013, leaving no time for Great Lakes to react before it went into effect on Aug. 1, 2013. It is impossible to find pilots with 1,500 hours to comply with these new rules - they just aren't out there.

As a result, Great Lakes has experienced an unprecedented number of flight cancellations due to implementing these two federal regulations. They simply don't have the amount of pilots to fill the schedule under the current regulations and they can't replace them fast enough. Small regional carriers such as Great Lakes operate with extremely small margins in their budgets for finance, equipment and personnel. If one aircraft in their fleet cannot operate, it can disrupt their entire schedule. The same now goes for flight crews. Without the ability to hire younger pilots with fewer hours, those who remain with the company are indispensable. For example, if just one pilot hasn't had the required amount of hours of rest, gets sick, or even is stuck in a traffic jam, cancellations are inescapable and disruptive.

The challenge smaller regional markets and airports such as ours to maintain commercial air service is immense. New federal regulations such as these recently implemented ones only compound the challenges.

Smaller economies such as our rural area are already fragile and can be adversely impacted by well intended, but devastating moves by regulators. We can successfully navigate around many of the obstacles when presented that threaten our rural economy, but the damage to commercial air service - such a vital component of the local economy and our ability to compete in a global economy - seems insurmountable by these new government regulations. We must ask that this be revisited by our elected representatives.

Rhonda Chamber is director of aviation at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport.


Cabinet to take up special workforce case for Directorate General of Civil Aviation: Move comes in backdrop of an imminent downgrade by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration of India’s air safety rankings

New Delhi: The cabinet will on Monday consider a proposal by the aviation ministry to create 75 new positions at India’s understaffed aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The proposal was prepared last week and a special clearance is being taken in the backdrop of an imminent downgrade by the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of India’s air safety rankings, said an aviation ministry official who declined to be named.

“We do not want them (FAA) to take any untoward decision... we have already met 29 of the 31 points mentioned by them,” this official said.

FAA in December inspected DGCA to determine if it had taken action to correct 31 deficiencies that came to light in a September audit.

An FAA downgrade of India’s air safety rankings will effectively bar Air India Ltd and Jet Airways (India) Ltd from increasing flights to the US or having code-share relationships with any US airline.

DGCA has been short on staff since early last decade as many staffers retired and not enough replacements were hired even as airline passenger traffic grew six times in that period.

FAA mentioned this as one of the main problems with DGCA, questioning the Indian regulator’s ability to oversee India’s burgeoning air traffic.

“Once the cabinet clears this proposal on Monday we will be able to hire professionals from the market. Then only one point (from the audit) will be left—that is, to train DGCA officers on various aircraft type like the new Dreamliner,” the official quoted above said. “That will take time as it needs to be done over time in batches.”

A second official confirmed DGCA’s efforts to get cabinet approval for its proposal on Monday. He also requested anonymity.

Another DGCA official, who also declined to be named, said some officials from private airlines have already started joining and sitting in DGCA headquarters on year-long dedicated sabbaticals to oversee regulatory work.

Many trained professionals like pilots, who are paid nearly six times the salary the highest-ranking DGCA official gets, are unwilling to join the regulator full time at lower wages.

In November, the Prime Minister’s Office intervened in the matter, with the Prime Minister’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterji, foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, then aviation secretary K.N. Srivastava and other top civil servants reviewing the issue and deciding on allowing a proposal through the finance ministry to provide market-based salaries to DGCA staff, like is done in the case of state-run Air India.

DCGA is supposed to be replaced with a new Civil Aviation Authority, which is currently under consideration by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

But that proposal is likely to be delayed as “a key concern with the proposed structure is that the appointments are made by the government based on the recommendations of a selection committee composed of bureaucrats... whereas the objective should ideally be to achieve independent regulation by industry experts”, consulting firm Capa Center for Aviation said in its January report.

Some aviation experts, however, remain skeptical over the creation of new positions at DGCA.

“If they have not done anything for 5 years they are not going to do anything now,” said Mohan Ranganathan, aviation analyst and member of the government-appointed Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council. “The proximity of airlines and business jet operators with the DGCA has grown too close for comfort over the last few years, raising concerns over how many safety findings are genuinely found and corrected.”


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign/Willard Airport (KCMI), Savoy, Illinois

Turbulent time for Willard Airport 

Facing a recent decline in passengers, an ever-changing industry and regional competition, Willard Airport and its ambitious task force have plenty on their plate
SAVOY — Late one afternoon in June 1950, a DC-3 named "City of Champaign-Urbana" by Park Air Lines took off from St. Louis en route to a relatively new airport owned by the University of Illinois.

That summer, after several years of delays, the Champaign-Urbana area saw the launch of regular commercial air service.

Since then Willard has seen its share of successes (a well-regarded flight school, American Eagle increasing the number of daily flights to Chicago), disappointments (Delta pulling out, Vision Airlines' short-lived stint) and at least one oddity (Air Force One stuck in the mud).

Countless airlines (remember Ozark? Piedmont?), flights (Nashville! Las Vegas! Cincinnati!) and committees later, community leaders and area travelers are asking this question:

Where do we go from here?

"Willard is a nice little airport. It's close. It's convenient," said Vivienne Mackie of Urbana, who travels nationally and internationally about a dozen times a year. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Mackie and her husband have been in town since 1988. How often they fly out of Willard varies year to year.

"We've used (Willard) ever since we've been here, but not as frequently as in the beginning," she said.

Why not? Cheaper fares out of other airports. Wanting to fly on airlines that don't service Willard. Scheduling conflicts.

Other travelers will say it's the parking fees ($5 a day). Some, like Lawson Lau of Mahomet, who rack up frequent-flier miles on other airlines, prefer to drive to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. There they take advantage of park-sleep-fly packages, which involves staying at a hotel one night, leaving the car there for free and then taking the hotel's free shuttle to the airport.

"If they bring in another airline, like United, I'd consider (Willard)," said Lau, an area pastor.

UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise, who in her 2-1/2 years on campus has made economic development a priority, has asked a new task force to come up with recommendations on how to keep and expand air service at Willard Airport. As a follow-up to a 2011 study done for the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the task force also will examine and make recommendations on a governance structure for the airport, which is owned and operated by the university.

They've got about a year to do their work.

The challenge facing the group is, "What can we do with the airport to not only have it be successful but be an economic engine for the community?" said its chairman, retired Champaign city manager Steve Carter. "And how can we do that in a sustainable way, not just for a year or two but something we can count on for several years in the future."

"If it was easy it probably would have been done a while ago," Carter added.

The UI and Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District plan to hire a consultant to help the group facilitate the process this year. The cost is estimated at about $100,000, with the UI paying for about 90 percent and MTD covering 10 percent.

From here to where?

Right now American Eagle offers several flights daily to Chicago and one flight daily to Dallas/Fort Worth. A Nevada resort also offers flights via Sun Country from Willard.

On a recent American Eagle flight to Chicago, Candy Dobson of Cerro Gordo was headed to Charlotte, N.C., to visit her nieces, and Joanne Manaster of Champaign was headed to Abu Dhabi for a sustainability conference.

It was Dobson's first time flying out of Willard (she normally uses the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington). After her recent, hassle-free experience, she plans to consider Willard more.

"Check-in was really easy. The whole process was easy," she said.

As for Manaster, how often she flies in and out of Willard depends on who's paying for the ticket (if she's traveling for work, on a fixed honorarium or for pleasure) and which carrier she plans to fly. If it's going to cost her an extra $300 or so to fly the leg from Champaign to Chicago, she'll drive to Chicago, "even though it makes for an extra long day of travel," she said.

"The key is air service," said Bruce Walden, director of real estate planning and services and whose responsibilities include Willard Airport. "All other things go away, the issue of parking goes away. It's the ability to have air service that goes where people want to go at a frequency that gets them there when they want to get there and at a price that is tolerable. That's the key," he said.

Approximately 16 percent of travelers in the area fly Willard, Walden said.

The number of "enplanements" (passengers boarding planes) at Willard has dipped in recent years, especially since the departure of Delta Airlines in 2010. A decade ago the number was around 118,000. In 2012 the number slipped to about 86,000; 2013 figures haven't been finalized yet, according to Walden. In comparison, the Bloomington-Normal airport had 240,181 enplanements in 2012.

(In terms of takeoffs and landings, Willard is among the busier airports in the state due to activity associated with the UI's Institute of Aviation, Walden said. The UI had planned to close the institute, but Parkland College is taking on those aviation programs this year.)

University employees are the biggest users of the airport. There's no mandate for them to fly in and out of the local airport, but many do. The UI's annual expense out of Willard is about $5.6 million, according to UI Associate Chancellor Mike DeLorenzo.

As the university considers expanding service, officials have been looking east. Specifically Washington, D.C.

"With the amount of federal research we're engaged at the university ... the focus would be going east," DeLorenzo said.

Second place is the West Coast, such as San Francisco, due to UI researchers and employees of area technology companies doing business in Silicon Valley.

Mackie's first choice?

"Atlanta's a good hub. From there you can go almost everywhere," she said.

Maybe it was the 30-mile-an-hour winds or snow flying on the day Manaster was set to takeoff, but she would like to see a flight to the south, maybe Orlando?

When considering the future of Willard, one must ask the question, what is the future of the airline industry, said Alan Nudo, president of Robesons Inc. and a member of the task force. (Nudo has also sat on the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation's airport committee.)

In an era of increasing consolidation, jet fuel prices trending three times higher than they were a decade ago, the airport and the task force face steep challenges.

"All (airlines) have is capital equipment, and they move that capital equipment to where they can make a profit," Nudo said. "They will move their assets — planes — to where they can make money," he pointed out.

It's not unusual for airlines to demand revenue guarantees from communities in which they launch new service. In 2012, the UI was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Small Community Air Service Program to expand air service to the East Coast. The federal program helps fund revenue guarantees as well as marketing costs.

The UI's efforts to add East Coast service were put on the back burner for some time while the American Airlines/US Airways antitrust case was settled with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2000, the U.S. had about 11 major airlines (Northwest, Delta, United, Continental, AirTran, Southwest, ATA, American Airlines, TWA, US Airways, America West). Today there are four: Delta, United, Southwest, American.

"The industry has gone through such a big changes. We can't underestimate this merger," said DeLorenzo about American/US Airways.

"Now we're down to four airlines trying to serve major and regional airlines. Competition is great. It's difficult (to expand air service) but we're continuing to look at it. That's why want to get community input to help us through this process," he said.

Business opportunities

As part of its work, the task force also will look at how the airport can drive economic development in the region. That entails supporting and expanding aviation-related businesses and other opportunities at the airport.The airport property encompasses about 1,700 acres and some of that land is farmed. Those operations do bring in a good chunk of revenue to the airport, about $274,000 annually.

The airport itself employs about 22 people. Adding in other businesses that operate at the airport, such as Flightstar, the number is around 260.

"I think the airport is a driver for growth as well," not just aviation-industry related growth, but for all companies looking at Champaign-Urbana, said Dan Sholem, an equipment finance consultant and member of the task force.

"It's a job generator pure and simple," Nudo added.

"When national (business) concerns come in and look at a city (for a possible location), they have a checklist. One item is, is there an airport that gets me in and out in an efficient way? If a business is told, well, you can drive 40 minutes to Bloomington's airport, why wouldn't the business then locate in Bloomington?" Nudo asked.

UI role

The fact that the university is an airport owner and operator is rare. (Penn State's University Park Airport is owned by the university, but the terminal is managed by an airport authority.)

The university does subsidize its operations by about $433,000 annually.

Over the years, consultants and community members have floated other options for how the airport could be governed, such as by a local airport authority, a contractor that would manage operations, a city department, or even the C-U MTD.

At the time of the governance study (2011), UI officials were quoted as saying running an airport was not a "core competency" of the university.

When asked if the university ever intends to get out of the airport business, Chancellor Phyllis Wise said earlier this week the university is "trying to work out an organizational structure that will work for this community, because we realize that a really good airport is so important to people being able to get in and out of the city. We're working on whatever it will take, whatever organizational structure it will take, to be able to do that," Wise said.

Whether or not that means hiring an airport management company or establishing a new local governmental body to run it, Wise said, "We're thinking about all sorts of different alternatives."

Added DeLorenzo: "The answer is it's not part of our core mission to operate an airport." However, the airport is "integral to the success of the university," in terms of recruiting faculty, helping researchers move around the country and world, he said.

"I think it's going to have to be some kind of joint venture," said Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, "a public-private thing so no one (city or agency) gets overburdened."

The university has supported Willard since 1945, the year the airport was established, and the community has benefitted from it since then, Nudo said.

He has had held informal meetings with people from the private industry to hear their ideas and concerns and to drum up support for the airport.

"It's time for the community to be a part of this, to assist in making sure the future of Willard is bright," Nudo said.

Committee examines airport

What it is: Willard Airport Governance and Sustainable Air Service Advisory Task Force

Its aim: To essentially develop a business plan, to submit recommendations to Chancellor Phyllis Wise for short and long-term strategies to sustain and expand local air service. Also provide recommendations on the governance of the airport.

The group has met twice so far and plans to submit recommendations by the end of the year.

More info: Several reports are available on airport's website under the "task force tab" on the airport's homepage, A report with basic information about the airport is here.

Counting fliers

The number of Willard Airport enplanements (passengers boarding a flight), according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

2007 112,440

2008 98,225

2009 88,068

2010 85,715

2011 83,731

2012 86,408

Willard Airport (airport code CMI) ranked 232 in the nation for enplanements in 2012.

Bloomington-Normal's airport ranked 161.

2013 numbers not available yet.

Willard Airport expenditure averages, 2009-2013

Personnel/benefits: $1.332,091

General Services (e.g. insurance): $272,744

Utilities: $251,072

Supplies/Materials: $177,885

Other (Debt service/loan; telecomm/prof services, advertising, etc.): $270,242

Willard Airport revenue averages, 2009-2013

Parking: $470,272

UI/state funds: $433,707

Terminal space rental (incl FAA tower, TSA space): $432,762

FBO/T-Hangar: $394,457

Rental car commissions: $327,795

Farm sales: 274,194

Landing fees: $111,879

Misc. rev/other sales: $26,573

Source: University of Illinois

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Cessna 195B Businessliner, N1960C: Accident occurred January 19, 2014 at Winchester Regional Airport (KOKV), Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA097 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 19, 2014 in Winchester, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/05/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 195B, registration: N1960C
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, during the landing roll, he noticed three deer enter the runway from his left. One of the deer stopped on runway centerline and the pilot stated that he steered the airplane to the right, missed the deer, lost control of the airplane, and departed the right side of the runway. The airplane collided with a runway marker sign. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and left wing. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's attempt to avoid a deer on the runway, which resulted in loss of aircraft control, a runway excursion, and collision with a runway sign. 

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

WINCHESTER, Virginia — A small airplane has crashed at Winchester Regional Airport while conducting touch-and-go landings.

Airport manager and executive director Serena Manuel says the Cessna 195 veered off a runway Sunday. The plane took out a runway light and went through a sign before stopping in grass.

Manuel says the pilot and a passenger weren't injured. The crash damaged the plane's left wing and tore off the left landing gear.

She says the airport is shut down until it receives approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to remove the airplane.

The flight originated in Martinsburg, West Virginia

Virginia State Police also are investigating.


Two men walked away from their small plane after it crashed on the runway at Winchester Regional Airport in Winchester, Va. Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, around 12:15 p.m. The pilot, who wished not to be identified, said he was trying to avoid three deer when he crashed.
 (AP Photo, The Winchester Star, Jeff Taylor) 

Winchester, VA -- A small plane has crashed at the Winchester Regional Airport.

Frederick County Dispatchers say a call came in from the airport around 12:13 Sunday afternoon for a small plane that had crashed.

We're told at least two people were on that plane. 

Dispatchers say there are no reports of injuries.

Virginia State Police are handling the accident.  
We have a call into them for more information on how that plane came down.  


Seawind 3000, J & C Enterprises LLC, N829GS: Accident occurred January 12, 2013 in Sarasota, Florida

Shaun Jackson, a professor in U-M's School of Art and Design, was killed last January in an amphibious plane that was on its first flight after being grounded with engine trouble months earlier, according to an NTSB investigative report.

A year after a Florida plane crash killed a University of Michigan professor and the aircraft’s pilot, the crash’s cause remains unclear, according to an updated report from the National Transportation Safety Board. 

The NTSB’s probable cause report, which was released last week, states the investigation found nothing to indicate a problem with the plane during the ill-fated flight, or any issues stemming from an emergency landing four months earlier.

Shaun Jackson, a professor in U-M’s School of Art and Design, was in Florida to examine the amphibious airplane, which he apparently was considering buying. The Jan. 12, 2013, crash near the airport in Sarasota killed Jackson, 63, and pilot William Ardoyno, 70, of Hayward, Wis.

“Witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be climbing slowly after takeoff, then stopped climbing and appeared to be on the verge of a stall,” the report says. “One witness heard a backfire or popping noise before the accident.”

The airplane collided with trees and fell to the ground, the report says.

It’s not clear from the NTSB reports whether Jackson knew about a previous case of engine trouble that forced the amphibious plane down near Sebastian Inlet, Fla., in September 2012.

Afterward, a fuel injector line was replaced and propeller mechanisms were overhauled, but the plane had not been flown again before the crash, the report says.

“Smooth cuts in tree limbs indicated that the engine was operating at the time of impact,” said the report. “The reason for the pilot’s inability to establish a normal climb rate could not be determined.”

NTSB crash investigations can take more than a year to conclude. A previous fact-finding report in the crash was issued Nov. 19.

From The Detroit News:

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA109
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Sarasota, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: BENTON FRED D SEAWIND 3000, registration: N829GS
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 purpose of the flight was to demonstrate the amphibious airplane for a potential buyer. A witness stated that the pilot had difficulty starting the engine before the accident flight. Witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be climbing slowly after takeoff, then stopped climbing and appeared to be on the verge of a stall. One witness heard a backfire or popping noise before the accident. The airplane collided with trees and then the ground, and a postcrash fire consumed most of the wreckage.

The investigation revealed that, about 4 months before the accident flight, the accident pilot performed a forced landing on water due to a loss of engine power, after which maintenance personnel found and repaired a broken fuel injector line. During that maintenance, the airplane’s propeller was removed, overhauled, and replaced. The airplane had not been flown in the interim. However, maintenance personnel reported that the pilot performed high speed taxi tests before the accident flight and told them that the engine and propeller were performing satisfactorily. Further, postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller did not reveal evidence of a preexisting malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. Smooth cuts in tree limbs indicated that the engine was operating at the time of impact. The reason for the pilot's inability to establish a normal climb rate could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's inability to establish a normal climb rate after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Images of the Seawind 3000 (N829GS) that was forced to make an emergency landing at Sebastian Inlet on September 15, 2012:

 Photo by Sam Wolfe
Flight instructor Jack Ardoyno (left), of Hayward, WI, and Leonard Fleming, of Port Orchard, WA, laugh with firefighters David Dangerfield (not pictured) and Dustin Hawkins (center) after Fleming’s plane had to be beached at Sebastian Inlet State Park on September 15, 2012. The pair were flying the aircraft near the inlet when it experienced a l
oss of engine power and had to make an emergency landing in the Indian River. No one was injured in the landing.

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, PT. Intan Angkasa Air Service, PK-IWT: Accident occurred January 19, 2014 in Tual, South East Maluku, Indonesia

The authorities at Dumatubun-Langgur Airport in Southeast Maluku, together with the regency’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team, have identified four people who died in a plane crash in the Un Beach area, Tual city, Maluku, on Sunday morning.

“According to data we have obtained, four people killed in the accident were on board the aircraft. They comprised of pilot Capt. Widhi Kurniawan and Epi, an aircraft engineer,  two other passengers identified were Arif, who was said to be an official of a company, and his staff member, who was identified only as Jefry"   - 
Dumatubun Airport head Amran Hamid said in Ambon on Sunday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
Amran said that the airport authorities were still waiting for further information about the victims and the company they belonged to. He said that preliminary data on the identities of the victims were obtained after Dumatubun authorities coordinated with officials at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Papua. The four dead victims have been temporarily laid down at Tual Regional General Hospital (RSUD).

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain plane crashed at the Un Beach area in Tual city at 12:10 p.m. local time (10:10 a.m. Jakarta time).

Amran said bad weather was one of factors that might have caused the plane crash, as heavy rains with strong winds were hitting Southeast Maluku regency and Tual city when the incident occurred.

The exact cause of the incident remains unknown as an investigation still needs to be carried out by a special team from the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).

Dumatubun-Langgur Air Force Base commander Lt.Col.Ketut Adhiasa said the chartered aircraft owned by PT Intan Angkasa departed for Baubau from Sentani Airport after transiting in Dumatubun-Langgur Airport.

Prior to the accident, the pilot had contacted the airport control tower, asking for permission to land. Due to the bad weather, however, the plane was not able to land. The plane ended up circling above the airport before it crashed and burned.