Friday, April 11, 2014

Lake Bastrop, Texas: Crews scour lake bed for missing plane during exercise

 

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — As the world continues to watch the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, search and rescue crews closer to home are preparing for a similar scenario.

But large jets crashing into the ocean are fairly rare. Much more likely are small planes crash-landing in fields, creeks or lakes. First responders spent Friday simulating that scenario at Lake Bastrop.

“What we’ve learned is that we need to do it more often, because…everything doesn’t always go right,” said Cmdr. Brian Smallwood with the Texas Maritime Unit. “Sometimes we think if we put it on paper it’s going to go just as it was written, but that doesn’t always happen.”

Using information from witnesses, three divers from the Texas State Guard’s maritime regiment scour the water using sonar equipment. The lake runs just 13 feet deep, a far cry from the depths crews are encountering in their search for the Malaysian Airlines plane.

But the key to the this round of training involving more than 100 rescue workers is to make sure everyone meshes well, and knows each other’s strengths.

“We exercise together, we train together, so that when an incident occurs, we’re not all meeting each other for the first time,” said Greg Pyles with Texas Search and Rescue.

But making sure the search effort is successful requires the right people.

“It takes a person with a lot of commitment to achieve the skill level,” Pyles said, “(and to) commit to the training and the time away from family, and their paying jobs.”

That rescue training involves several agencies and will continue through Sunday.
 

Source:   http://kxan.com

Plane carrying ballots skids off runway in Yahukimo, Papua

A light aircraft carrying ballots and other election materials skidded off the runway in Yahukimo regency in Papua on Friday, hindering the distribution of materials for 10 districts in the regency.

Flying from Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo regency, the Cessna 208 Caravan, which was also carrying four passengers and a pilot, including two members of the District Election Committee (PPD), skidded off the runway and into a trench while landing at Kwelamdua Airport on Friday.

Though 4,077 ballots for 12 polling stations in Kwelamdua district were secured, the aircraft belonging to Dinomin Air could not continue its journey to deliver more ballots for other districts in the regency.

"Although the aircraft has been pulled out of [the trench] and logistics have been secured, the aircraft was still unable to continue its journey due to bad weather," Yahukimo General Elections Commission (KPUD) secretary Ambekmi Kobak told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Voting in 37 districts in Yahukimo had been moved to Saturday as ballot delivery was delayed.

"There are 10 districts that did receive materials. However, I cannot confirm whether voting in the 10 districts will be postponed pending a meeting," Ambekmi added.

Before delivering ballots for Kwelamdua district, the plane delivered ballots for Sumo district.


Source:   http://www.thejakartapost.com

Southwest Co-Pilot Retires After Wrong Airport Landing

Southwest Airlines Co. said one of the pilots of a plane that landed at the wrong Missouri airport in January has retired and the other has returned to duty.

While confirming the captain of the flight was back at work and the first officer had elected to retire, Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the airline, declined to say which pilot was in control when the Boeing Co. 737 touched down.

Dallas-based Southwest has now concluded its investigation into the incident and continues to work with the National Transportation Safety Board on its probe, King said by e-mail today.

Southwest put the two pilots on paid leave pending the outcome of the carrier’s inquiry and investigations by U.S. regulators. Flight 4013 from Chicago landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Branson, which is 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the main airfield served by Southwest and has a runway only about half as long.

The captain of the flight is a 14-year Southwest employee, while the first officer has been with the airline for 12 years, according to Southwest.

It was the second such incident involving a U.S. commercial plane in two months. The Southwest flight was carrying 124 passengers and five crew members. 


Source: http://www.bloomberg.com

NTSB Identification: DCA14IA037 
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Incident occurred Sunday, January 12, 2014 in Branson, MO
Aircraft: BOEING 737 7H4, registration: N272WN
Injuries: 131 Uninjured.

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

On January 12, 2014, about 1810 local time, Southwest Airlines flight 4013, a Boeing 737-7H4, registration N272WN, mistakenly landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri, which was 6 miles north of the intended destination, Branson Airport (KBBG), Branson, Missouri. The flight had been cleared to land on runway 14 at KBBG, which was 7,140 feet long, however, landed on runway 12 at KPLK, which was 3,738 feet long. There were no injuries to the 124 passengers and 7 crewmembers and the aircraft was not damaged. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Chicago Midway International Airport (KMDW), Chicago, Illinois. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.

Hector International (KFAR), Fargo, North Dakota: Airport sees record numbers, new hangars

Fargo -- March was the busiest month in history for Hector International Airport.

According to airport statistics, a total of 89,100 passengers boarded or got off a plane at Hector last month, making it the busiest month ever at the airport. March marked the 18th time in the last 19 months that a new monthly record for traffic was set at the airport.

In other airport developments, the Airport Authority has given preliminary approval to a hangar project being pursued by JP Development, parent company of the Jet Center.

Preliminary approval was also given to a hangar project proposed by Dakota Air Parts.

The new Jet Center hangar requires an apron expansion the Airport Authority would construct at an estimated cost of $885,000. The authority is applying for a state grant that could cover half of that cost, said Shawn Dobberstein, Airport Authority executive director.

The Jet Center project also anticipates a parking lot expansion of 15 to 20 parking spaces.

In addition to the Jet Center work, Dobberstein said another business, Dakota Air Parts, is looking to add one or two new hangars to its existing hangar complex.

The Airport Authority is looking for feedback from public to help it decide how much parking space should be built and when. An online survey can be found at www.fargoairport.com


Source:   http://www.inforum.com

Saturday, April 12th: Full-scale disaster exercise at the Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE) in Allentown, Pennsylvania

2014 Triennial Emergency Preparedness Exercise

What is the Emergency Preparedness Exercise

A full-scale disaster exercise of the Lehigh Valley International Airport Emergency Plan will take place Saturday, April 12, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  The purpose of the exercise is for local emergency organizations to gain practice and preparedness for a mutual aid response in the event of a major aircraft disaster.

The exercise will test the airport’s emergency response while providing hands-on training to airport personnel, local jurisdictions and other emergency personnel.  During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond as in a real emergency, including the use of sirens, firefighting and rescue equipment.

The exercise will be held in the secure airfield operations area and will not affect normal airport operations or flights, however it will involve a certain amount of smoke.  As a result, vehicle drivers traveling on Airport Road between Race Street and City Line Road may see smoke rising from the airfield.  In addition, there will be multiple emergency vehicles in and around the Airport as part of the exercise.

This full-scale emergency preparedness exercise, which is the culmination of months of planning and coordination across multiple jurisdictions and disciplines, is mandated by the FAA to ensure airports are prepared for real-life aircraft emergencies.  Airports are required by the FAA to conduct these exercises every 3 years.


Read more here:   http://www.flylvia.com

Nigeria: It’s Time To Privatize Our Airports -Capt. Daniel Omale

Capt. Daniel Omale

— April 12, 2014

It is needless to reemphasize the economic role of airports in a country. The huge issue about airport development, improvement and management is: who should bear the burden of continued operation of the airport?

While the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has been saddled with operating and managing the 22 airports in the country, the most efficiently operated and managed airport in Nigeria still remains the MM2, which is part of the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Aviation Services (BASL).

BASL has constantly kept the airport clean and serviceable with less government-type bureaucracy and inefficiency.

FAAN’s main revenues come from Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The ever-relegated Aminu Kano Airport, which has huge growth potential, is virtually underutilized. Therefore, at this point, it is more important to relieve FAAN of its burden by leasing out most of the airports in the country.

The core problem of airport improvement program in Nigeria is government’s interference with what FAAN generates internally, and as long as the airports authority is tied directly to government’s overbearing directive, there is no way Nigeria’s airports will function to international standards.

The Federal Airports Authority, if necessary, should select a few airports to manage and operate, with little or no government subvention. Private investors must be encouraged to take control of the other airports in other parts of the country with a view to increasing air traffic into the fields for more revenue generation to sustain the investment.


Some states like Jigawa, Gombe and Delta have created the structure for air link into their state capitals, but failed to manage the airports on their own. Handing such investments to FAAN will surely limit air traffic growth into the field.

Private investors will scan for business from foreign and domestic airlines. FAAN won’t.

Transportation is basic to the economy of any region, but little credit is given to the vital role it plays in linking suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers into a productive and efficient pattern of distribution. This is especially true from the aviation standpoint.

Everyone is aware of the contribution of highways to the road transportation system because almost everyone drives a car.

Aviation is a key element in the transportation network but this fact is not publicized as well. The airlines do a fairly good job of letting the public know the importance of scheduled service at primary airports, but the public is usually unaware of the benefits derived from the general aviation industry.

The local airport is the principal gateway to the nation’s transportation system. A community’s lack of an airport can be as detrimental to its development as being bypassed by a major road network. Gombe, the capital of Gombe State, has witnessed this development since the government of Danjuma Goje established an active airport there.


Communities that are not readily accessible to the airways may suffer economic penalties that can affect every local citizen whether they fly in a general aviation aircraft, use the airline, or never have occasion to travel at all.


The airlines provide excellent service to many major metropolitan areas of the country Abuja-Lagos, Portharcourt, and Kano but thousands of smaller cities, towns, and villages also need air transportation service. There are close to 1000 incorporated communities in the 36 states of Nigeria and an additional 500 unincorporated communities. Since scheduled airlines serve fewer than 5 per cent of the nation’s 22 airports with approximately 40 aircraft, there are a large number of communities and their citizens without immediate access to the fine airline system.

By having air access to all the nation’s airports, general aviation aircraft can bring the benefits and value of air transportation to the entire country.

Cities and towns that years ago decided not to build an airport have learned that lack of an airport jeopardizes community progress. Time and again, the lack of an airport has proved to be the chief reason why a community has been bypassed as a location for a new plant or a new industry.

The airport has become vital to the growth of business and industry in a community by providing air access for companies that must meet the demands of supply, competition, and expanding marketing areas. There is little doubt that communities without airports place limitations on their capacity for economic growth.

Obviously, FAAN should not be the sole operator of our airports, although, it is acceptable for FAAN to play active role in airports’ security in the nation.

Airports and related aviation and non-aviation businesses located on the airport represent a major source of employment for many communities around the country. The wages and salaries paid by airport-related businesses can have a significant effect on the local economy by providing the means to purchase goods and services while generating tax revenues as well. But local payrolls are not the only measure of an airport’s economic benefit to the community. Indirectly, the employee expenditures generate successive waves of additional employment and purchases which are more difficult to measure but nevertheless substantial.

In recent years, a number of issues have arisen concerning airport system development where the interests of several parties have come into sharp conflict. One such group of issues relates to the strategic policy of the federal government in development of the airport system. Some have suggested that past federal policy has placed too much emphasis on capital investment in new facilities and not enough on methods to make more effective use of existing facilities.

A second set of issues involves funding. Some observers have suggested that the federal role has become too large and pervasive and that responsibility for airport development should devolve either on the airports and their local sponsors or the federal government.

Other issues arise from the legal and contractual arrangements traditionally concluded between airports, airlines and other concessionaires.

Finally, there are issues surrounding the planning of future airport development, particularly the timing and location of demand growth and the role that the federal government will play in defining and meeting airport needs.

But since Nigeria is gearing towards privatization of most economic sectors, it’s best for government to allow private hands in airports’ operation in the country. Of course, security at the airport must remain with FAAN and  other law enforcement agencies.


Source:  http://leadership.ng

National Transportation Safety Board Renews Call for MD-11 Jet Safety: Board Wants New Cockpit Aids, Looks at Pilot Landing Experience

The Wall Street Journal

By Andy Pasztor


April 11, 2014 6:46 p.m. ET

Almost two decades after U.S. air-safety officials addressed some dangerous handling characteristics of MD-11 jetliners, there is a renewed call to take further action.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that regulators require installation of new cockpit aids and cues to help MD-11 pilots avoid botched landings that have resulted in a history of hazardous bounces, wing fractures and even some aircraft rolling over on the runway.

The board said the widebody jet, which suffered 13 hard landings between 1994 and 2010, has the highest rate of such dangerous touchdowns among 27 Western-built jet models, based on the number of flights.

More than 140 of the jets remain in service with cargo carriers, though passenger airlines have essentially phased them out. McDonnell Douglas Corp. introduced the plane 24 years ago and in 1997 Boeing Co. bought the company.

In addition to calling for installation of additional safety systems, the NTSB this month said it wants the Federal Aviation Administration to consider imposing more-stringent experience requirements on MD-11 pilots than those flying other big Boeing or Airbus jets. To maintain proficiency and comply with federal rules, U.S. airline pilots operating scheduled flights typically must make at least three landings every 90 days or they won't be considered "current" to fly passengers or cargo. In its letter, the board said the plane's accident history means that MD-11 pilots could benefit from "additional landing experience beyond the current requirement."

Such a recommendation is unusual, because implementing it could upset airline training and scheduling systems. Since MD-11s typically are used on medium- to long-haul routes, their pilots have relatively few chances to execute landings compared with pilots flying shorter routes. As a result, the safety board said such crews may lack "sufficient opportunities to maintain their skills" when it comes to "making appropriate control inputs" just before touchdown.

A spokesman for Boeing said the company is reviewing the recommendations and will submit comments by the beginning of July.

An FAA spokeswoman said the agency will "carefully consider all recommendations" from the NTSB and since 1993 has worked with the board to implement 44 of 47 previous recommendations related to the MD-11. "We look forward to working with the board on these new recommendations to improve the safety of the MD-11 fleet," the spokeswoman said.

The board's letter highlights the continuing safety controversy over the three-engine plane 24 years after McDonnell Douglas introduced it into service, promising that computerized flight controls would offer a big safety advance.

Instead, the MD-11 was beset by a series of problems, including particularly sensitive controls at low and high altitudes; a tendency for pilots to smack the plane's tail on the runway during takeoffs; and persistent landing accidents.

Boeing has implemented a number of software upgrades and pilot manual changes since it bought McDonnell Douglas. Starting in the late 1990s, the MD-11 gained a reputation as an unforgiving airplane with finicky handling that can make it particularly hard to land.

In 2011, the NTSB urged improved recurrent training and operational guidance for MD-11 pilots. The latest recommendations are intended to provide "longer term solutions for further reducing the risk of MD-11 landing accidents," according to the board.

In its letter, the safety board referred to a FedEx Corp. MD-11 that bounced repeatedly while trying to land in 2009 at Narita International Airport in Japan. The left wing broke, both pilots were killed and the cargo plane burned up. A year later, a Deutsche Lufthansa AG MD-11 cargo plane made a hard landing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, causing the rear of the fuselage to rupture and the nose gear to collapse. One pilot was seriously injured and the plane was destroyed.

A spokesman for FedEx said the company is still reviewing the recommendations, which were released in early April.

According to the NTSB, MD-11 hard landings frequently involve failures by the pilots to pull up the nose of the plane just before touchdown and in some instances stem from "mismanagement of bounced landings," which can cause the airplane to "porpoise," or exhibit a series of upward and downward motions close to the ground.

Other factors the board cited were the MD-11's high landing speed and cockpit placement that reduces pilot awareness of the landing gear's contact with the ground. The board said "it is important to reduce the possibility" of excessive flight command by pilots close to the ground, which could result in a bounced landing.


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Bowers Fly Baby 1A, N6054Q: Accident occurred April 11, 2014 in Mariposa, California

DONALD G. CORN: http://registry.faa.govN6054Q

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA165 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 2014 in Mariposa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/20/2015
Aircraft: WILLIAMS MYRON G BOWERS FLY BABY 1A, registration: N6054Q
Injuries: 1 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 plans-built single-seat airplane had been constructed about 8 years before the accident by another individual, who had flown it about 30 hours before it was purchased by the current owner/pilot. In the year since the purchase, due to the low build-quality of the airplane, the pilot had made several modifications and repairs to the airplane. The accident flight was the pilot’s fifth flight in the airplane. Review of the pilot’s flight logbook indicated that his most recent flight review occurred about 7 years before the accident and that he had flown only 15 hours in the 2 years before the accident. A witness reported that shortly after takeoff, when the airplane was about 3 miles from the airport, the engine began making a sound as if power was intermittently being interrupted. The nose of the airplane began to pitch up aggressively as it flew out of view. The wreckage location, wreckage distribution, and impact signatures indicated that the airplane struck the ground in a steep nose-low attitude, consistent with an aerodynamic stall event. Postaccident examination of the carburetor revealed multiple maintenance-related discrepancies, any one of which could have resulted in the loss of engine power. Additionally, before the accident, the pilot reported to a friend that the airspeed indicator was not reliable and that the airplane exhibited roll control anomalies. Both of these conditions would have hindered the pilot’s ability to safely operate the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The partial loss of engine power due to an improperly maintained carburetor and the pilot's subsequent failure to maintain aircraft control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 11, 2014, at 1007 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Bowers (Williams Myron G) Fly Baby 1A, N6054Q, collided with wooded terrain near Mariposa, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, Mariposa, about 0950. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A witness located about 3 miles northwest of Mariposa Airport, was outside and observed an airplane approaching from the southeast flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). The airplane began a left turn as it approached, and appeared to be descending. He described the engine as making a "missing" sound, as if power was intermittently being interrupted. The airplane then began a right turn, arcing around his location, and by the time it had passed behind him, it had descended to an altitude of about 300 feet agl. It then gradually rolled out of the turn and proceeded to fly towards the hills to the northeast. By then, the engine sound appeared muffled, and the airplane appeared to have slowed down considerably. The nose began to pitch up to about 30 degrees, almost parallel with the slope of the hill, as the airplane disappeared out of the witness's view behind trees. He did not hear any other sounds, but assumed the airplane had crashed. He then asked a family member to call 911; dispatch records from the Mariposa County Sheriff department revealed that the call was made at 1008.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 80-year-old-pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane issued in 1972. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued in October 2007, with limitations that he possess glasses that correct for near vision. At the time of his last medical application, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,800 hours.

An entry in the pilot's flight logbook dated June 22, 2013, indicated that he had received 0.6 hours of flight training with an instructor in a Cessna 152, practicing "maneuvers, stalls, slow flight"; however, the most recent documented flight review was completed in November 2007. According to the logbook, his total flight experience in the two year period preceding the accident was 15.1 hours. His total experience in the accident airplane was 3.1 hours, all of which occurred during 4 flights in the month leading up to the accident.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The plans-built, single-seat, low-wing airplane's primary structure was comprised of wood covered in fabric, with the wings and landing gear braced by steel wires. The airplane was powered by a four-cylinder Continental A65-8 engine, and equipped with a wooden two-blade propeller.

The airplane was issued its special airworthiness certificate on October 20, 2006, and that same day, was involved in an accident after losing power on its maiden flight. The pilot/builder self-reported that the loss of power was most likely caused by his failure to use carburetor heat, and the NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be, "a loss of engine power due to the pilot's failure to use carburetor heat during conditions that were conducive to carburetor icing."

The airplane was sold to the accident pilot in December 2012, with maintenance logbooks indicating that it had accrued a total of 29 flight hours. The logbooks indicated that over the next 3 months the pilot performed a series of repairs to the brakes, control surfaces, and flying cables, as well as replacing the propeller and right magneto cap. The pilot reported to a friend that the build quality of the airplane was "crude," and that he intended to progressively restore the airplane to an airworthy condition.

The airplane subsequently underwent a series of taxi tests in March 2013, but was not flown for the remainder of the year. On March 3, 2014, an annual inspection was completed by an FAA certified airframe and powerplant mechanic, who held an inspection authorization rating. The mechanic stated that prior to his examination the engine was backfiring, and the pilot had not been able to successfully resolve the problem. The mechanic subsequently discovered that the magneto leads to two cylinders had been transposed.

The first flight followed shortly thereafter, and according to the pilot's friend, was an accidental flight when the airplane broke ground during a high speed taxi test. About 2 weeks prior to the accident, the pilot performed an intentional flight test. During that flight he experienced flight control difficulties in roll. He also stated that the airplane's airspeed indicator was not performing consistently, and that he planned to move the Pitot tube further outboard on the wing, away from the propeller slipstream.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting station at an elevation similar to the accident site was located at Columbia Airport, Columbia, California; this was situated about 36 miles north-northwest of the accident location. The 1015 Columbia automated report indicated calm wind, sky clear, temperature of 23 degrees C, dew point 06 degrees F, and an altimeter setting at 29.93 inches of mercury. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest at the base of an oak tree, within densely wooded terrain at an elevation of 2,250 feet mean sea level (msl), about 3 miles northwest of Mariposa Airport. The terrain surrounding the accident site was comprised of grass and poison oak, interspersed with rocky outcroppings and various oak trees ranging in height from saplings to 20 feet tall. The airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of about 60 degrees, facing uphill on a 20-degree slope. A freshly cut swath through the tree branches was located directly above the airplane; the swath was nearly vertical. Although the airplane was surrounded by trees, no other damage to limbs or branches was noted.

The wings came to rest inverted, with the forward fuselage and engine located underneath the wing root. The tailcone and empennage structure had separated aft of the seat, and was resting undamaged on its right side. Both wings sustained aft crush damage to their leading edges. The entire cabin structure forward of the tailcone was fragmented, and the firewall was compressed against the rear of the engine. All cockpit flight controls exhibited varying degrees of bending damage, but remained functionally intact. The fuel tank sustained multiple breaches, and was detached but still located within the center section of the wreckage.

The airframe and engine did not display any indications of bird strike or fire.

The engine remained attached to its mount, which remained attached to the firewall. Both magnetos (Eisemann, Model AM-4) remained firmly attached to the engine, however, their plug caps had both fragmented, crushing and exposing the timing gears, points, and coils, as well as detaching all ignition wires and both P-leads.

The carburetor had broken away from the inlet manifold, and the inlet air filter assembly exhibited crush damage. The throttle cable was attached and continuous from the cockpit to the butterfly valve; the cable was in the full-forward position at the cockpit control. The carburetor heat control cable was continuous from the cockpit control to the heat box. The control was in the aft (carburetor heat on) position. The fuel primer was in the forward and locked position.

The top spark plugs were removed and examined. They were of the three-prong type, with the electrodes covered in grey deposits and exhibiting minimal wear. The inner surfaces of the exhaust pipes exhibited light grey deposits, and were free of oil residue. The crankshaft turned smoothly when rotated by hand utilizing the propeller hub, and compression was noted on all cylinders. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the rotating group, valve train, and accessory section. Visual inspection of the combustion chambers was accomplished through the spark plug bores utilizing a borescope; there was no evidence of catastrophic internal damage, and all combustion surfaces exhibited light grey deposits.

The hub of the wooden propeller remained attached to the crankshaft, and was embedded in the soil below the engine. The blades were fragmented, and multiple fragments were located resting in trees branches and on the ground east of the wreckage. The furthest propeller fragments were located about 40 feet from the main wreckage.

The on-scene examination did not reveal any pre-impact airframe or engine anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and all airframe components were accounted for within the immediate vicinity of the accident. A detailed report is contained within the public docket.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Coroners Division, on behalf of the Mariposa County Coroner's Office. The cause of death was reported as the effect of blunt injuries, with no other contributing conditions.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from the pilot were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). Analysis revealed negative findings for carbon monoxide and ethanol with the following positive drug findings:

>> Warfarin detected in Urine
>> Warfarin detected in Blood (Cavity)

Refer to the toxicology report included in the public docket for specific test parameters and results. According to CAMI, Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication, with no specific warnings pertinent to flight.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Carburetor

The Stromberg NA-S3B carburetor was examined at the facilities of Uni-Tech Air Management Systems, Kankakee, Illinois in the presence of the NTSB investigator-in-charge.

The carburetor serial, "Continental", and model numbers correlated to the gravity fuel-feed application for use with a Continental A-50 or A-65 engine. The carburetor was of the "low-altitude" fixed mixture control type, and was therefore not configured with a cockpit adjustable mixture control arm.

The carburetor sustained minimal damage and was externally examined. No obvious fuel leaks were observed, and according to the Uni-Tech representative, the fuel inlet hose was of the automotive type. No safety wire was present on the venturi retainer or the throttle valve lock adjustment screws.

The idle screw mixture appeared to be set at 3/4 of a turn back from fully closed, rather than the typical 3 turns. The Uni-Tech representative stated that it was not common to see an idle mixture screw set so low.

The throttle control arm moved smoothly when manipulated by hand. The arm was moved to the fully closed position, and the throttle valve completely obscured the venturi orifice. No gap was observed between the valve and the throat in this position, indicative of an incorrectly adjusted valve stop screw. According to the Uni-Tech representative, a valve without a gap at the venturi intersection results in an almost completely closed air inlet, and would inhibit or limit the engine's ability to operate at idle speed. The control lever was then moved to the full-open position, and the valve appeared to open beyond its center position by about 5 degrees.

The fuel bowl was separated from the upper casing, and internal components were examined. An undamaged Delrin float needle had been installed, with the appropriate rounded valve seat; however, no accompanying brass float balance weight had been installed as required by Bendix (Stromberg) Service Bulletin Number 84. Examination of the engine maintenance logbooks revealed an unattributed entry dated March 10, 2006 (before the first accident), stating, "Installed delron needle in carburetor". The entry did not indicate the installation of the accompanying float weight.

The main metering jet body appeared to be touching the float base, preventing full travel of the float. The float drop was then measured at the valve needle and exhibited 0.019 inches of travel as opposed to the minimum specified in Stromberg documentation of 0.048 inches.

The bowl assembly was mounted and leveled on a flow gauge test assembly, and fuel was applied to the inlet at a pressure of 1 psi. The float moved upwards, and fuel immediately overflowed out of the bowl consistent with binding of either the float or float assembly. The operation was tried again, and this time the fuel flow stopped once it had reached within 1/16th of an inch from the bowl seam. According to Stromberg specifications, the fluid level (float level) should be 13/32nds of an inch from the seam.

The float and float pin assembly was removed and examined. An indentation was observed on the lower portion of the float adjacent to the chafe strip, in an area corresponding to the main metering jet.

The valve was reinserted within the seat, and would not seal when low air pressure was applied. The needle seat assembly was removed, and two level-adjustment gaskets were present. The gaskets were 0.03 and 0.062 inches thick, respectively. According to the Uni-Tech representative, the maximum allowable combined gasket thickness was 0.05 inches.

The fuel inlet screen plug appeared to have been tightened with excessive force, and required considerable force to remove. Furthermore, the fuel inlet screen had been installed upside down, such that fuel would have flowed around the screen seat thereby limiting the screen's ability to capture debris.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Fueling records from Mariposa Airport indicated that the pilot purchased 5.12 gallons of 100 octane low-lead aviation gasoline about 1 hour prior to the accident. Daily records provided by Shell Aviation revealed that the fuel in the airport's tanks was clean and clear during the week leading up to the accident. Three other aircraft were serviced with fuel from the same tank on that day, and none reported problems.

The airplane met the FAA criteria for the light sport aircraft category, and the pilot's stated medical status along with his commercial pilot rating allowed him to operate with sport pilot privileges. As such, he was not required to hold a current FAA medical certificate.

The carburetor icing probability chart from FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, dated June 30, 2009, shows a probability of "icing at glide power" at the temperature and dew point reported at the time of the accident.

===========

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — Officials say a pilot has been killed after a small plane crashed at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says that the single-engine amateur-built Bowers Fly Baby 1A plane crashed shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.

Gregor says the plane went down about three miles north of the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport.

Gregor says the pilot was the lone passenger inside the plane. The name of the pilot has not been released.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will both investigate the cause of the crash.

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 MARIPOSA COUNTY –A Friday morning plane crash in Mariposa County has taken the life of one person.

Around 10:10 a.m. Mariposa County Sheriff deputies received word of a plane down near the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport off Highway 49. A Sheriff’s Office plane and a CHP helicopter were sent to investigate.

The officers eventually found the small private plane off northbound Hwy. 49.

Mariposa deputies and Search and Rescue personnel came to the crash site at about 11:45 a.m. Personnel confirmed there had been at least one death in the crash.

This scene is active and under investigation.


  
1 dead in Mariposa County plane crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office said one person was found dead after a small plane crashed in a rugged area just east of the Mariposa-Yosemite airport.

The Mariposa Sheriff's Office says investigators responded to a report of a possible plane crash near the Mariposa-Yosemite airport just after 10am Friday morning. Authorities were able to locate a small private plane that had crashed in a rugged area off Highway 49. They said one person died in the crash.

The FAA is en route to investigate the incident.

http://abclocal.go.com

Piper PA-32RT-300T Turbo Lance II, N39965: Fatal accident occurred April 11, 2014 in Hugheston, West Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA192
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 2014 in Hugheston, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/09/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32RT-300T, registration: N39965
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 departed on an instrument flight rules flight with a cruise altitude of 12,000 ft. About 1 hour after takeoff, the air traffic controller advised the pilot of an area of moderate to extreme precipitation along the airplane's route of flight, and the pilot replied that he observed the same on his "radar." (The airplane was not equipped with airborne weather radar, rather the pilot was likely referring to ground-based weather radar data that he was viewing on a tablet computer.) The controller cleared the pilot to deviate 30 degrees left of course. The pilot did not acknowledge the clearance and continued on a southeasterly course for about 10 minutes. He then initiated a 180-degree left turn during which the airplane climbed to about 12,600 ft and then descended to about 9,700 ft. Overlaying the airplane's flight track on weather radar data showed that, during the 180-degree turn, the airplane passed through an area of moderate to very heavy rain with the possibility of hail, severe turbulence, and lightning. Observing the airplane's change in heading and altitude, the controller asked the pilot if he was attempting to deviate around weather and if he required assistance. The pilot replied that he was "going a little bit to the left to the weather." The controller instructed the pilot to advise when he was established back on course, and the pilot acknowledged. 

Over the next 4 minutes, the airplane continued on a northwesterly heading and descended to about 9,000 ft as it exited the area of precipitation. During this time, the controller contacted the pilot four separate times, advising him that the airplane was below its assigned altitude and asking if he needed assistance. The pilot did not respond to the first inquiry. His responses to the second and third inquiries were slurred, and his speech rate was markedly decreased. He stated that he needed assistance and that he was trying to get back to the assigned altitude. The pilot did not respond to the fourth inquiry. The airplane then began a gradual 360-degree right turn, during which its altitude varied between 9,100 and 9,900 ft. The controller again asked the pilot his intentions, and the pilot stated that he was climbing back to 12,000 ft and heading direct to his destination airport. When queried as to the reason for the airplane's descent, the pilot replied "just a lot of weather here I'm working on it." The airplane continued turning right for about 2 minutes, then entered a steep right turn during which it descended about 2,500 ft in less than 30 seconds. 

During the following 5 minutes, the controller repeatedly asked the pilot if he required assistance, instructed him to climb, and assigned the airplane a heading of 270 degrees; however, the airplane climbed slowly on a heading of about 210 degrees. The controller advised the pilot that if he continued on that heading, the airplane would encounter moderate precipitation. The pilot's response was largely unintelligible. ATC again asked the pilot to verify the airplane's heading, and the pilot responded in a confused manner, but the airplane continued on its heading of about 210 degrees. No further transmissions were received from the accident airplane. About 1 minute later, the airplane turned south, continued to climb, and entered an area of light to moderate precipitation. The flight continued for about 8 minutes, conducting a series of turns to the right and left before it reached an altitude of about 12,100 ft, then entered a rapid descent. Radar contact was lost shortly thereafter. 

Postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and flight instruments revealed no evidence of preimpact anomalies, and there was no evidence of an in-flight breakup. No medical issues were identified with the pilot that may have contributed to the accident, and toxicological testing was negative for impairing substances and did not suggest carbon monoxide poisoning. The airplane was traveling at 12,000 ft for a portion of the flight, an altitude at which the use of supplemental oxygen is not required. While this does not preclude the possibility of a pilot developing hypoxia at that altitude, the airplane spent about 20 minutes below 10,000 feet, and the pilot's performance did not appear to improve during that time. Therefore, it is unlikely that the pilot was experiencing hypoxia. It could not be determined why the pilot was unable to maintain control of the airplane or why he did not request assistance from the controller.

The extent to which the pilot had familiarized himself with the weather conditions along the route of flight before takeoff could not be determined, as there was no record of a weather briefing from an official, access-controlled source. However, the pilot indicated to the controller that he had "radar" in the cockpit, and a portable ADS-B receiver and tablet computer were found in the wreckage, suggesting that the pilot was receiving weather information during the flight, to include Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) and significant weather advisories. Due to latencies inherent in the process of detecting weather at a ground site, compiling a mosaic image, and subsequently delivering that data to the cockpit, NEXRAD is not an accurate depiction of actual weather conditions and should not be used for tactical weather avoidance. The pilot's comment to ATC that "[my weather display is] a little later than yours" likely indicated that the pilot was aware of these limitations. 

However, it is likely that, based on the pilot's use of the word "radar," the controller assumed that the airplane was equipped with airborne weather radar, which would have provided real-time information to the pilot that could be used in tactical weather avoidance. Although they discussed the weather conditions, the pilot did not explicitly state, nor did the controller ask, what kind of weather information he was receiving. This may have led the controller to believe that the pilot was able to "pick through" the weather with real-time data. 

The pilot's inability to maintain altitude and heading likely alerted the controller that the pilot was experiencing a problem, and the controller subsequently asked the pilot a total of eight times over a period of about 15 minutes if he required assistance. However, despite apparently recognizing that the pilot was having difficulties, the controller failed to notify his supervisor of the situation as required. The controller also failed to ask specific questions to fully understand the difficulties the pilot was experiencing, and finally, he did not declare an emergency on behalf of the pilot, which would have ensured that the airplane was given priority handling. Further, the controller's supervisor was not performing other duties during the time that the controller was providing services to the airplane and should have been engaged in the situation. Although she was sitting only a few feet from the controller, she did not become aware of what was happening until another supervisor from a different area called and asked her what was going on with the airplane. Even then, the supervisor only monitored the situation momentarily before returning to her desk. Despite the shortcomings of air traffic control services provided to the pilot, the extent to which those services may have contributed to the outcome of the flight could not be determined as it is unknown how the pilot would have responded to any actions taken by the controllers.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of airplane control while operating in instrument flight rules conditions. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 11, 2014, at 1653 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T, N39965, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Hugheston, West Virginia. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed along the route of flight, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The personal flight departed Akron Fulton International Airport (AKR), Akron, Ohio, about 1513, and was destined for Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA), Spartanburg, South Carolina. The airplane was registered to C.W. Air, LLC, and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Air traffic control (ATC) voice communication and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that after departure, the pilot established radio contact with the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center and climbed the airplane to its cruise altitude of 12,000 feet on a direct course to SPA. About 1604, the controller advised the pilot of an area of moderate-to-extreme precipitation located at the airplane's 1- to 2-o'clock position about 45 miles ahead, and instructed the pilot to advise which way he wanted to deviate once he neared the area. The pilot replied that he would advise, and stated, "I see it here on this radar too." 

About 1612, the pilot contacted ATC and stated that, based upon his onboard weather information, a 30-degree deviation left of course would be required to navigate around the area of precipitation. The pilot also asked the controller, "if you see different on the live radar let me know." The controller responded, saying his radar was a few minutes behind, and that the pilot's on-board weather may be more accurate. The pilot replied, "yeah mine's a little later than yours so…" The controller informed the pilot that he could turn left to deviate around the precipitation, or he could turn right and "get around the back side of it." The controller then cleared the airplane for a deviation left of course, and instructed the pilot to resume a direct course to SPA when able. There was no recorded response from the pilot to this transmission. 

Between 1624 and 1627, radar data showed the airplane begin a slight right turn, followed by a left turn of about 90 degrees, and the airplane's altitude varied between 11,700 feet and 12,400 feet. At 1627, the controller asked the pilot if he was attempting to deviate around weather and if he needed assistance. The pilot responded, "uh I'm just going a little bit to the left to the weather niner six five." The controller instructed the pilot to advise when he was reestablished on course to SPA, and the pilot acknowledged. 

From about 1627:26 to 1629:16, the airplane continued a descending left turn to a northwesterly heading. At 1628:22, the controller again asked the pilot if he needed assistance. The pilot did not reply, and the controller queried the airplane a second time, to which the pilot responded, "niner six five go ahead." The controller asked again if he needed assistance, saying that the airplane was below its assigned altitude, and the pilot responded, "Uh I do need a little assistance niner six five I'm trying to get back to twelve niner six five." 

During the next several exchanges, the controller asked the pilot if he was still descending, if he needed further assistance in avoiding the weather, and advised of traffic nearby. The pilot repeated that he was attempting to climb back to 12,000 feet, however, radar data showed that the airplane remained at an altitude about 9,500 feet. 

When queried about his reason for the descent, the pilot replied, "uh just a lot of weather here I'm working on it niner six five."

About 1631, the airplane initiated a right turn and climbed to about 9,800 feet, before entering a steep, 540-degree right turn, during which the airplane descended to about 7,300 feet in about 23 seconds. 

About 1637, the airplane began to track west on a heading of about 270 degrees, before turning slightly left onto a heading of about 210 degrees. The airplane continued to descend to an altitude about 6,500 feet. The controller again asked the pilot if he required emergency assistance, and asked the pilot to verify that the airplane was climbing. No response was received from the pilot. About 30 seconds later, the controller asked if the pilot wanted to land at nearby Charleston airport (CRW), or if he intended to continue on a 270-degree heading. The controller also noted that the airplane was still descending. The pilot responded, "I'm working on the climb niner six five." 

About a minute later, the controller informed the pilot that he was still observing the airplane in a descent, and instructed him to climb and maintain a heading of 270 degrees. The pilot responded with the airplane's call sign, and the controller asked him to read back the instruction. The pilot then responded, "two seven zero niner six five." 

At 1640:53, the controller asked the pilot to verify the airplane's heading, and the pilot stated, "uh I'm flying a two seven zero and climbing nine six five." However, the airplane remained on an approximate 210-degree heading. 

About 3 minutes later, the controller called the airplane and stated, "November nine six five uh are you still turning to the right uh but now I am showing you to the uh northwest of some moderate to heavy precipitation (unintelligible) continue on your current heading you will go through some moderate precipitation I'm not sure if there's anything convective in that weather uh if you wanna turn now to the right to get away from that uh let me know but right now I do show you still going through some moderate to heavy precipitation I see that you're in the climb are you turning for Spartanburg or would you need more assistance around the weather that I'm showin." The pilot's response was largely unintelligible. 

The controller again asked the pilot to verify the airplane's heading, and the pilot stated, "two four er two seven zero niner six five." No further transmissions were received from the accident airplane. 

From about 1645 to about 1652, radar data showed the airplane climb to an altitude about 12,700 feet, then begin a series of erratic turns in a generally eastbound direction until entering a rapid descent before radar contact was lost. 

Two witnesses near the accident site observed the airplane as it overflew their home. They described the sound of the engine as "loud," but stated that it was fading in and out. They both stated that the airplane was in a nose-down, right bank attitude as it descended into trees. They subsequently heard the sound of impact, but did not see any smoke or fire in the vicinity of the crash site. The witnesses reported that the weather was overcast, and that it began raining about 10 minutes after the accident. 

Another witness stated that he observed the last several seconds of the flight prior to impact. He stated that his attention was drawn to the airplane when he heard the engine "sputter then rev up loud in 2 or 3 cycles." He went outside and saw the airplane as it passed near his home in a wings-level, nose-down attitude. He stated that the airplane's descent was "very steep." The airplane disappeared behind a ridge line, and he almost immediately heard a "thud," then called 911 to report the accident. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and sea, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in September 2013.

In an insurance application dated October 2013, the pilot reported 200 hours in the previous 12 months, 50 hours in the previous 3 months, and a total of 205 hours in the accident airplane make and model. Review of the pilot's personal logbooks revealed that he had accumulated a total flight time of about 1,024 hours. In the 6 months prior to the accident, the pilot logged 10 hours in the accident airplane, 6.2 hours of actual instrument experience and 7 instrument approaches.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1978, and was equipped with a Lycoming TIO-540 series, 300 hp turbocharged reciprocating engine. The most recent annual inspection was completed on May 17, 2013, at a total aircraft time of 3,344.8 hours. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located on a densely-wooded hillside at an elevation of about 1,400 feet. The initial impact point was identified by broken tree branches and the right wingtip fairing. The wreckage path continued from the initial impact point on an approximate 360-degree heading, and measured about 300 feet in length. Several 3-inch diameter tree branches displaying 45-degree cuts were identified along the wreckage path, and pieces associated with both wings, the vertical stabilizer and rudder, and left and right horizontal stabilizers were located. Terrain at the accident site and disposition of the wreckage precluded thorough examination. The wreckage was recovered, and examination of the airframe and engine was scheduled for a later date. 

A wreckage layout and examination was conducted on May 14, 2014, at a secure storage facility. Both left and right wings were destroyed and separated from the fuselage at their roots. The left aileron and its balance weight remained attached. Control continuity was established from the aileron bellcrank, which was separated at its attach points, to the wing root, where the control cables exhibited signatures consistent with overload failure. The left wing flap was separated and broken into two sections. The right aileron was separated from the wing and fragmented. Right aileron control continuity was established from the bellcrank, which was separated at its attach points, to the wing root. The cable ends displayed signatures consistent with overload failure. The vertical stabilizer was separated and displayed impact damage. A top portion of the rudder remained attached, and the bottom portion of the rudder was separated. The rudder control cables were cut by recovery personnel. The "T" tail stabilator was separated from the vertical stabilizer and was destroyed. One stabilator control cable was cut by recovery personnel; the other displayed signatures consistent with overload failure. The fuselage, cockpit area, and instrument panel were destroyed. 

The engine was separated from the airframe and extensively impact-damaged. All engine accessories, with the exception of a portion of one magneto, were separated on impact. The oil sump, part of the accessory case, exhaust and intake tubes, turbocharger, and waste gate assembly were all impact-damaged and separated from the engine. The engine was rotated by hand at the crankshaft flange, and valve train and drive train continuity were confirmed to the accessory section. A borescope examination of the cylinders revealed no anomalies. The turbocharger compressor wheel was impact-damaged. The turbine wheel was intact and exhibited light gray and light brown coloration. No indication of contact between the compressor blades and housing was observed. No coking or oil deposits were observed in the compressor housing. The exhaust bypass valve was impact damaged and partially open. 

The propeller hub was fractured and the propeller was separated from the engine. One blade remained attached to the hub, and exhibited s-bending and leading edge gouging and polishing. The other blade was separated from the hub and exhibited slight s-bending, leading edge gouging, and curling at its tip. 

The gyroscopic rotors from the airplane's attitude indicator and directional gyro were recovered and disassembled for examination. Both the attitude indicator and directional gyro rotors and rotor housings exhibited rotational scoring consistent with operation at the time of impact. 

An Appareo Stratus receiver, as well as an Apple iPad, were located in the wreckage. The Stratus is a portable unit that receives traffic information from the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) system, and also receives weather data via the Flight Information Services Broadcast (FIS-B) system. Weather information available through FIS-B includes NEXRAD radar data, Significant Meteorological Information advisories (SIGMETs), Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMETs), Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), and pilot reports (PIREPs). This data would have been displayed to the pilot graphically via the iPad. 

No oxygen tanks or oxygen masks were located in the wreckage. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A series of SIGMETs were issued for the Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia area on the day of the accident, beginning about 1155. These SIGMETs warned of a line of weather about 40 miles wide that contained embedded thunderstorms and was moving from west to east with cloud tops to 34,000 feet. 

Additionally, several AIRMETs were valid for the area of the accident site about the time of the accident. The AIRMETs forecasted moderate icing between the freezing level and 20,000 feet, moderate turbulence below 8,000 feet and between 7,000-18,000 feet, forecasted instrument meteorological conditions with ceilings below 1,000 feet, and visibility below 3 miles with clouds, precipitation, and mist. The pilot was not provided any information regarding AIRMETs or SIGMETs by ATC. 

An Area Forecast issued at 1345 and valid for the accident time forecasted a broken ceiling at 6,000 feet with cloud layers through 25,000 feet. Scattered light rain showers and thunderstorms were forecast with tops to 38,000 feet. 

A National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1700 depicted a cold front stretched from western Pennsylvania southwestward into western Kentucky. A trough stretched across the area of the accident site from southeastern Pennsylvania to eastern Kentucky. A surface low pressure center was located in western Pennsylvania, with a surface high pressure center located in central Illinois. The NWS Storm Prediction Center Constant Pressure Charts for the area surrounding the accident site depicted a low-level trough just east of the accident site at 2000 EDT. Areas near and ahead of troughs are typically associated with enhanced lift, clouds, and precipitation. 

The nearest upper air sounding to the accident site was located in Roanoke, Virginia (KRNK), about 77 miles southeast of the accident site. The 2000 EDT sounding data from RNK indicated a conditionally unstable environment in most layers from the surface through 24,000 feet. This environment would have been conducive to cloud formation and precipitation in areas where a frontal boundary or trough was nearby. Data also indicated that clouds were likely from 9,000 feet through about 14,000 feet, with areas of moderate rime icing. The freezing level was located about 9,900 feet. Sounding data also indicated a surface wind from 260 degrees at 11 knots. Wind direction remained out of the west through about 24,000 feet, with speeds over 50 knots about 15,000 feet. Several areas of possible clear-air turbulence were identified from the surface through 15,000 feet. 

Satellite imagery from 1645 and 1715 EDT indicated abundant cloud cover over the area of the accident site, with clouds moving from southwest to northeast. Several overshooting tops, a strong indicator of updraft activity, were observed in the area of the accident site and throughout central West Virginia about the time of the accident. Infrared analysis of the satellite data indicated that the cloud tops in the area of the accident site about the time of the accident were approximately 29,000 feet. 

The closest NWS weather surveillance radar Doppler (WSR-88D) was located in Charleston, West Virginia (KRLX), about 16 miles west-northwest of the accident site. The strength of the radar return, also referred to as echoes or reflectivity, is measured in decibels of Z (dBZ) on a scale from -30 to greater than 75. These values are categorized by the NWS into video integrator and processor, (VIP) levels. VIP Levels 1 and 2 (15-19 dBZ and 30-39 dBZ, respectively) are "very light" to "light to moderate," with possible light to moderate turbulence and lightning with rainfall from .01-.21 inches per hour; VIP Levels 3 and 4 (40-44 dBZ and 45-49 dBZ, respectively) are "strong" and "very strong," and associated with severe turbulence and lightning with rainfall around .48 inches to 1.1 inches per hour; VIP Level 5 (45-49 dBZ), "intense," is associated with severe turbulence, lightning, hail likely, and organized surface wind gusts, with rainfall around 2.5 inches per hour; VIP Level 6 (55-75 dBZ), "extreme," is associated with severe turbulence, lightning, large hail, and extensive surface wind gusts with rainfall of over 5.6 inches per hour.

Base reflectivity radar imagery correlated with the accident airplane's flight track indicated that between 1620 and 1630, the airplane passed through an area of precipitation with echoes between 30-50 dBZ. About 1645, the airplane again entered an area of precipitation, with echo values between 15 and 40 dBZ. The airplane continued in these echoes for the remainder of the flight. Data also indicated several lightning flashes in the vicinity of the airplane around the time of the accident. 

There were several PIREPs for the area around the accident site around the time of the accident. 

At 1722, a deHavilland DHC-8-100 located about 99 miles northeast of the accident site reported light rime icing at 15,000 feet. 

At 1739, a Mooney M20 located about 72 miles north of the accident site reported moderate rime icing at 10,500 feet, and stated that between 10,500 and 11,000 feet, the ice was "rapidly forming."

At 1743, a Piper PA-34 located about 15 miles southwest of the accident site reported light turbulence and moderate rime icing at 13,000 feet, and remarked that the icing became light at 11,500 feet. 

At 1804, a Cessna 550 located about 32 miles south of the accident site reported light rime icing between 12,000 feet and 16,500 feet. 

Yeager Airport (CRW), Charleston, West Virginia, was located about 13 nautical miles northwest of the accident site at an elevation of 981 feet. The 1654 automated weather observation included calm winds, 8 miles visibility, light rain, a broken cloud layer at 7,000 feet, an overcast cloud layer at 9,500 feet, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury. Remarks included that rain began at 1601 and ended at 1631, began at 1648 and ended at 1652, and thunderstorm ended at 1623, moving east. Remarks also advised of the presence of valley fog. 

There was no record of the pilot receiving a weather briefing from a Flight Service Station or through the DUAT or DUATS systems. 

MEDICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy and toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Charleston, West Virginia. The cause of death was listed as "catastrophic injuries received in a small aircraft crash." Toxicological testing was negative for ethanol and drugs. Liver tissue specimens contained carboxyhemoglobin in a saturation of 4.4%; a finding that does not suggest carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Additional toxicological testing was conducted on specimens from both the pilot and passenger by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. No tested-for drugs were detected. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing could not be completed, as no blood was available for testing. Ethanol was detected in muscle and liver samples of both occupants; however, it is likely that the ethanol was from sources other than ingestion. 

In the pilot's application for an FAA medical certificate about 6 months prior to the accident, the pilot did not report any preexisting medical conditions, and no significant issues were identified by the aviation medical examiner who issued the certificate. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center Interviews 

As part of the investigation, an NTSB air traffic control specialist and an NTSB meteorologist conducted interviews of personnel at the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZID ARTCC), including the meteorologist (MET) on duty at the time of the accident, the front line manager (FLM) on duty at the time of the accident, and the sector 24 radar controller (R24), who was in direct contact with the accident airplane. 

MET Interview 

The MET stated that his workload on the day of the accident was heavy. He recalled a cold front moving eastward with lightning and embedded thunderstorms, with tops to 30,000 feet. He stated that his weather briefing on the day of the accident included information about heavy showers, thunderstorm activity, icing conditions, turbulence, and strong low-level wind conditions. He stated that this information was made available to the controllers via the electronic status information system (ESIS). 

ZID ARTCC Front Line Manager Interview

The FLM stated that she had not reviewed audio or video replays of the accident. She stated that she was not performing any other duties at the time of the accident. When asked to rate the air traffic load at the time of the accident a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the heaviest traffic), she stated that she would classify the traffic load as a 4. When asked to classify the traffic complexity using the same scale (5 being the most complex), she stated the traffic complexity at the time of the accident was 3. She stated that the controller staffing at the time of the accident was "typical." When asked about the weather at the time of the accident, she recalled a band of precipitation in the southeast portion of the airspace, but was not aware of any convective activity. She had received a weather briefing from the center weather service unit (CWSU), but recalled no mention of severe or convective weather in the briefing. She stated that controllers rarely, if ever, ask for CWSU-produced weather products while on position. She said that her interaction with the CWSU was limited to cases of extreme turbulence or unexpected weather. 

She first became aware of the accident airplane when another area supervisor called to ask if she knew about the airplane, and was told that it might be in distress. As a result of the call, the FLM went to observe the R24 controller as he handled the airplane. The R24 controller stated to her that the pilot was having difficulty maintaining his assigned altitude, but that he sounded "fine." The FLM then listened to the accident pilot's radio transmissions and also believed he sounded "fine." She stated she did not consider the accident airplane to be in an emergency situation until radar and radio contact was lost, and did not recall anyone discussing or considering declaring an emergency on behalf of the pilot. She could not recall any past training at ZID on emergency handling procedures or severe/hazardous weather training. 

R24 Controller Interview

The R24 controller was asked to rate the air traffic load about the time of the accident on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the heaviest); he classified the traffic load as a 5. When asked to classify the traffic complexity using the same scale (5 being the most complex), he stated the traffic complexity at the time of the accident was 4. He recalled the weather conditions at the time included a long line of weather extending about 100 miles, with reports of moderate turbulence and areas of extreme precipitation around the Charleston, WV VOR. He stated that he discussed the weather with the pilot, and ultimately approved the pilot's request to deviate 30 degrees left of course. He subsequently observed the accident airplane continue south before beginning the left turn. He stated that the airplane appeared as though it was attempting to "pick" through the weather. He recalled the FLM coming over to his position and asking him questions, but stated that she did not provide any specific instruction on the handling of the airplane. At one point, he noticed the airplane turning north and descending, and asked the pilot if he needed assistance. He observed the airplane as low as 6,800 feet as it continued its turn back toward the weather, and he assigned the airplane a heading of 270 degrees and advised the pilot to return to his assigned altitude of 12,000 feet. As he continued to monitor the airplane, he noted that it appeared to be flying a heading of 210 degrees rather than the assigned 270 degrees. The controller asked the pilot to confirm the airplane's heading, and again asked if he required assistance. The pilot indicated that he was "okay" and continuing to climb. Radio contact was lost shortly thereafter. 

The airplane continued to climb to 12,000 feet before beginning a rapid descent, and a minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) alert was issued. The last altitude at which the controller recalled observing the airplane was 2,300 feet. He stated that he had not considered the situation to be an emergency until the pilot stopped responding to radio transmissions, followed by the loss of radar contact. He did not declare an emergency on behalf of the pilot because he thought that the pilot's voice sounded calm and felt that the pilot was in control of the airplane. 

When asked about the weather information available to him, the R24 controller stated that he was provided a general weather briefing by his supervisor prior to starting his shift, and that the briefing had included the potential for turbulence. He stated that he frequently checked the ESIS to stay apprised of potential issues that could impact his sector. When asked about the limitations of the center's weather radar and processor data (WARP), which depicted weather conditions on the controller's screens, the controller stated that he knew it was not completely accurate and that the data was delayed, but he did not know by how much. He could not recall if any SIGMETs were valid, or if he had provided that information to the accident pilot.

FAA Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control"

2-6-2 HAZARDOUS INFLIGHT WEATHER ADVISORY SERVICE (HIWAS) Controllers must advise pilots of hazardous weather that may impact operations within 150 NM of their sector or area of jurisdiction. Hazardous weather information contained in HIWAS broadcasts includes Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET), Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET), Convective SIGMET (WST), Urgent Pilot Weather Reports (UUA), and Center Weather Advisories (CWA).

2-1-25. SUPERVISORY NOTIFICATION 

Ensure supervisor/controller-in-charge (CIC) is aware of conditions which impact sector/position operations including, but not limited to, the following: 

a. Weather. 

b. Equipment status. 

c. Potential sector overload. 

d. Emergency situations. 

10-1-1. EMERGENCY DETERMINATIONS 

a. An emergency can be either a Distress or an Urgency condition as defined in the "Pilot/Controller Glossary." 

b. A pilot who encounters a Distress condition should declare an emergency by beginning the initial communication with the word "Mayday," preferably repeated three times. For an Urgency condition, the word "Pan-Pan" should be used in the same manner. 

c. If the words "Mayday" or "Pan-Pan" are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency. 

d. Because of the infinite variety of possible emergency situations, specific procedures cannot be prescribed. However, when you believe an emergency exists or is imminent, select and pursue a course of action which appears to be most appropriate under the circumstances and which most nearly conforms to the instructions in this manual.

Weather Radar Data

NTSB Safety Alert SA-017 warns pilots of the latencies inherent in the processes used to detect and deliver NEXRAD data from ground stations to the cockpit. The alert states the age indicator associated with an image on a cockpit display does not reflect the age of the actual weather conditions, but of the mosaic image created by the service provider. Therefore, weather conditions depicted on a mosaic image will always be older than the age indicated on the display. In extreme latency situations, these images may be as many as 15-20 minutes older than their indicated age. These limitations should be taken into consideration when utilizing in-cockpit NEXRAD displays for in-flight decision making, as movement and/or intensification of weather could adversely affect safety of flight. 

Physiological Factors

Hypoxia

Hypoxia is a state of oxygen deficiency in the body that can occur at high altitudes as a result of the decreased pressure in the atmosphere. For this reason, the FAA requires the use of supplemental oxygen for pilots flying unpressurized aircraft at altitudes above 12,500 feet for more than 30 minutes, and at all times above 14,000 feet. According to FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 61-107B, the portions of the brain governing judgment and cognitive skills are the first to show degraded function when the body enters a hypoxic state. Other signs and symptoms include rapid breathing, poor coordination, fatigue, nausea, headache, dizziness, and a feeling of euphoria. The AC stated that, while significant effects of hypoxia usually do not occur in a healthy pilot at altitudes below 12,000 feet, there is no definitive altitude at which the effects of hypoxia begin or end. The onset of hypoxia is insidious, and it can be difficult for pilots to recognize the symptoms and take corrective action before becoming impaired. If hypoxia is suspected, pilots should don oxygen masks immediately and descend to an altitude below 10,000 feet. 

Spatial Disorientation


The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute's "Intro to Aviation Physiology" defines spatial disorientation as a loss of proper bearings or a state of mental confusion as to position, location, or movement relative to the position of the earth. Factors contributing to spatial disorientation include changes in acceleration, flight in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), frequent transfer between visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and IMC, and unperceived changes in aircraft attitude. The publication states that pilots flying in IMC are more susceptible than usual to the stresses of flight, such as fatigue and anxiety, and any event that produces an emotional upset is likely to disrupt the pilot's mental processes, making them more vulnerable to illusions and false sensations.

CW AIR LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N39965

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA192  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 2014 in Cedar Grove, WV
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32RT-300T, registration: N39965
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators 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 April 11, 2014, approximately 1653 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T, N39965, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Cedar Grove, West Virginia. The commercial pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Akron Fulton International Airport (AKR), Akron, Ohio, about 1513, and was destined for Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA), Spartanburg, South Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Preliminary air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that after departure, the pilot climbed the airplane to an altitude of 12,000 feet on a direct course to SPA, and established radio communications with air traffic control (ATC). About 1612, the pilot requested and was cleared to make a 30-degree left turn to maneuver around an area of precipitation. About 1625, the pilot initiated a left turn to the north and began to descend, and when queried by ATC, stated that he was deviating around weather. The airplane subsequently turned right, made a 270-degree turn, and began tracking south, then southwest, before radio contact was lost with the pilot. Subsequently the flight was lost from radar contact and at 1653 emergency operators received calls concerning the accident.

Two witnesses near the accident site observed the airplane as it overflew their home. They described the sound of the engine as "loud," but stated that it was fading in and out. They both stated that the airplane was in a nose-down, right bank attitude as it descended into trees. They subsequently heard the sound of impact, but did not see any smoke or fire in the vicinity of the crash site. The witnesses reported that the weather was overcast, and that about 10 minutes after the accident, it began raining.

The wreckage was located on a densely-wooded hillside at an elevation of about 1,400 feet. The initial impact point was identified by broken tree branches and the right wingtip fairing. The wreckage path continued from the initial impact point on an approximate 360-degree heading, and measured about 300 feet in length. Several three-inch diameter tree branches displaying 45-degree cuts were identified along the wreckage path, and pieces associated with both wings, the vertical stabilizer and rudder, and left and right horizontal stabilizers were located. Terrain at the accident site and disposition of the wreckage precluded thorough examination. The wreckage was recovered to a secure storage facility, and examination of the airframe and engine was scheduled for a later date.



AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 2 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, SUBJECT OF AN ALERT NOTICE, WRECKAGE LOCATED IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN 22 MILES FROM CHARLESTON, WV

Benton, OH -  Lazarus Sommers and his wife Maryann took off from an air strip at the Akron Fulton airport at 3:18 p.m. Friday, April 11 and crashed in rural West Virginia about an hour and 45 minutes later.

The couple lived in this small town called Benton, almost two hours south of Cleveland. They were well-known and well-liked and an integral part of this community both socially and financially.

"Yeah. It's very devastating. Very sad. Tough loss for the community. Yes it will be," said Katie Yoder, a resident of Benton.

Lazarus and Maryann were en route to see their son in South Carolina. Their crash site was so remote access was a problem for authorities who responded to the scene.

"They are not able to get vehicles up there, not even ATVs," said Corporal Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Mr. Sommers, an accomplished pilot, earned his commercial license in 2010 but his experience was not enough to keep the small plane airborne. The aircraft was last seen almost dropping out of the sky.

"They saw a rapid descent and then 911 calls," added Humphreys.

Lazaraus Sommers was also the CEO of a company called GT Thunder, an extremely successful all terrain vehicle parts and service company with multiple national titles that brought much needed revenue to this small community from far and wide.

Many of his customers came from far away because he would work on their racing machines.

But a day after the crash many in this small town have heavy hearts tonight remembering their dearly departed friends.

"Very sad. We will pray for their family," said Katie Yoder.


The couple, from Benton Ohio, was well-liked and well respected.


The Sommers owned a business in Millersburg called GT Thunder, specializing in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Lazarus Sommers was active in competitive racing.

 In an online forum for ATV enthusiasts, their deaths were called “sad news for the racing community.”

“Very tragic incident. A major loss to our racing community and the world,” one forum writer said at TRX250r.net.


Anyone who witnessed the crash is encouraged to contact the NTSB by emailing witness@ntsb.gov.


 A husband and wife from Ohio were identified Saturday as the two people killed Friday evening in a Kanawha County plane crash. 

Lazarus Enoch Sommers, 50, and Maryann Sommers, 56, of Millersburg, Ohio, were aboard the Piper PA-32 aircraft when it crashed into a wooded hillside just before 5 p.m. Friday. The crash was about a mile from U.S. 60 between Glasgow and Hugheston, Cpl. Brian Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Saturday afternoon during a news conference at an emergency staging site in Cedar Grove. Humphreys could not confirm the purpose of the flight, but said the husband and wife were the only people aboard the plane. Officials said the couple were on their way to South Carolina but that the purpose of the flight or what led to Friday’s crash were not known.

The plane came from Akron Fulton International Airport, in Ohio, and was headed to Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport, in South Carolina.

Federal officials said Friday the pilot had requested help navigating around bad weather, according to Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

"Locating the crash site was, of course, difficult because of the topography — the land is very difficult to navigate," Humphreys said. "They had trouble reaching it in vehicles, so they called in for some ATVs, and local residents offered their ATVs, as well. Local law enforcement were finally able to locate it from an ATV, but they still had to walk on foot to get to the site."

Dennis Diaz, an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the NTSB arrived Saturday morning to gather perishable information and document the site for its investigation. Diaz said a preliminary report on the crash will be issued in the next 10 days but that a full report of the crash, including probable cause, could take up to a year.

"This is a very long process, so even though we're going to be wrapping up our on-scene investigation in the next day or so, the investigation will continue for quite some time," Diaz said. "The preliminary report will include what, where and when, but not the why and the how. That comes much later."

Diaz said the small plane was not equipped with a flight data recorder, or "black box," but the NTSB can use other items, such as handheld devices or other electronic devices to provide clues to the cause of the crash.

During recovery efforts Saturday, the agency retrieved personal documents, a pilot log book, an electronic tablet and other items from the site. Recovered items recovered will be transported to a facility in Delaware for analysis, he said.

"Additionally, we're going to be looking at the history of the aircraft, including its production history and maintenance history, as well as the pilot's history — his certificates and ratings in health, and any other pertinent information that may be available to us," Diaz said. "We will also look to understand the environment surrounding the accident, as we would in any investigation, and that will include air traffic control communications, radar data provided by the FAA, and weather information."

Chris Buchanan, 42, was at his home on Pratt Avenue in Pratt, across the Kanawha River from the crash site, early Friday evening when the crash occurred.

He heard a revving, struggling engine and went outside, where his son was already in the yard looking up at the plane.

"The engine was cutting on and off on it; I don't know if it was running out of fuel or what. It would shut off and kick back up and, the last time it shut off, it just hit the woods,"Buchanan said.

Buchanan said it was no more than 15 or 20 seconds after he first heard the struggling plane before he saw it hit the mountain.

"It never did catch fire — you could see the whole thing. It just hit the woods and that was it. There wasn't a flame, wasn't smoke, nothing,"he said. "I hate to say it — it was like a front-row seat. It was crazy. I hope to God I never see it again."


Pratt resident Chris Buckanan, 42, and his son, Christopher, 13, look at the hill where they saw the Piper PA-32 go down Friday. 



Dennis Diaz of the National Transportation Safety Board holds a news conference Saturday to discuss early details of the plane crash in Kanawha County that killed two people Friday evening.

Pratt resident Wayne Spangler looks across the Kanawha River through a spotting scope, trying to find the plane’s wreckage. His son, Jordan (right), and an unidentified neighbor join him.
























 KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews on the scene of a small plane crash in Kanawha County confirm two people on board have died.

The crash was reported near Riverside just before 5 p.m. Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells WSAZ.com they believe the plane is a Piper PA-32. The plane departed Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio.

The FAA says the plane was headed to Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport in South Carolina.

Two people were on board the plane when it crashed. The crash scene is about a mile from U.S. 60.

"I seen it come this way a little bit and started to putt a little bit and then I heard something really loud, and then I heard the plane and then I heard it crash," said Alayna Owsley, who witnessed the crash.

"The big hurdle is the topography. It's the roll of it, the height of the mountains, the angle of the hills; those types of things are very difficult to traverse," said Corporal Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriffs Department. "They aren't able to get vehicles up there, not even ATVs at this point so they're on foot."

The Aviation Technology Center out of Indianapolis says they had been in contact with the pilot, who was trying to detour due to weather.

The FAA is not releasing the aircraft N-number until after emergency officials on the scene release the names of the people killed in the crash


=========
Emergency responders have found the wreckage of a plane that crashed in eastern Kanawha County on Friday afternoon, and emergency officials were told that two people in the crash were dead.

 State Police found the crash site, Cpl. Brian Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department said around 7 p.m. About an hour and a half earlier, State Police were trying to find the crash site with a helicopter. The crash was reported just before 5 p.m.

Emergency officials were told by the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department that two people are dead, said a Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatcher.

The aircraft was reported to be a single-engine plane, a Metro 911 dispatcher said.

A Piper PA-32 “apparently crashed” in eastern Kanawha County, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman. The plane came from Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio, and was headed to Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport in South Carolina, she said.

Two people were on board the aircraft, the spokeswoman said. She said the FAA would release the plane’s identification number after local authorities confirmed the status of the plane’s two occupants and released their names.

Federal officials told the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management that the pilot of a plane en route from Akron to Spartanburg requested help navigating around bad weather, said Lawrence Messina, communications director of the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Messina said he couldn’t confirm the Akron flight was the one that crashed.

“While folks were trying to provide him with help, they lost contact,” Messina said.

Humphreys said the plane did not come from and was not headed to Charleston’s Yeager Airport, confirming what Yeager Director Rick Atkinson said shortly after the crash.

“[The plane] wasn’t one that left out here this afternoon, and there wasn’t anything with a flight plan to come in,” Atkinson said.

No distress calls were reported from the air traffic control tower to the airport, Atkinson said.

U.S. 60 from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge was closed briefly, but reopened around 6:30 p.m.


http://wvgazette.com

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews on the scene of a small plane crash in Kanawha County confirm two people on board have died.


The crash was reported near Riverside just before 5 p.m. Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells WSAZ.com they believe the plane is a Piper PA-32. The plane departed Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio.

The FAA says the plane was headed to Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport in South Carolina.

Two people were on board the plane when it crashed.

The Aviation Technology Center out of Indianapolis says they had been in contact with the pilot, who was trying to detour due to weather.

The FAA is not releasing the aircraft N-number until after emergency officials on the scene release the names of the people killed in the crash.

UPDATE 4/11/14 @ 6:55 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews have found the wreckage of a small plane in Kanawha County.

Deputies tell WSAZ.com, it is a single engine plane and it was found on a hillside near Riverside.

Metro 911 started getting calls that the plane had crashed just before 5 p.m. Friday.

Deputies say the plane did not take off from Yeager Airport in Charleston nor was it headed there.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells WSAZ.com, it's preliminary information is the plane is a Piper PA-32. The plane departed Akron Fulton International Airport in Ohio.

The FAA says they do not know where the plane was heading or how many people were on board.

The wreckage of the plane was spotted by crews on the ground and helicopter.

Deputies say right now the wreckage is unreachable and they are sending manned crews in right now.

Deputies say they do not know the condition of the people on board the plane.

UPDATE 4/11/14 @ 6:31 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews are searching for a plane that possibly crashed in Kanawha County.

Emergency crews have set up a staging area at Ward Cemetery near Cedar Grove. This is on Kelley's Creek Road.

Deputies responding to the scene tell WSAZ.com they have been told Yeager Airport lost contact with a pilot.

The Aviation Technology Center out of Indianapolis says they had been in contact with the pilot,  who was trying to detour due to weather.

A witness tells WSAZ.com she saw a plane going slow, and crash into the hollow. Other witnesses say they saw the plane hit the hillside and they saw smoke coming from the area. But at this time, crews have not found the crash.

Route 60 from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge was shut down, but reopened about 6:30 p.m.
============

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews are responding to reports of a small plane crash in the eastern part of the county.

Emergency dispatchers say crews are searching a hillside for the plane near Riverside High School.

Deputies responding to the scene tell WSAZ.com they have been told Yeager Airport lost contact with a plane in that area.

Deputies say several people have called them saying they saw the plane hit the hillside and now smoke is coming from the area.

Dispatchers say Route 60 is closed from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge until further notice.

WSAZ.com has a crew at the scene.


Emergency units are looking for a reported airplane crash in Eastern Kanawha County Friday evening, a Metro 911 dispatcher said.

The dispatcher said nothing has been confirmed related to the report yet, as the possible crash hasn’t yet been found.

The West Virginia State Police were attempting to locate the crash site via airplane at 5:30 p.m., the dispatcher said.

U.S. Rt. 60 -- East Dupont Avenue -- is shut down from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge until further notice.

Metro 911 received the report at 4:56 p.m.

The aircraft was reported to be a single-engine plane, the dispatcher said. She did not have any information regarding its origin or route.

Rick Atkinson, director of Yeager Airport, said it’s unlikely the downed plane is associated with the airport or Executive Air -- a private air terminal, but he hasn’t yet been able to confirm that.

“[The plane] wasn’t one that left out here this afternoon, and there wasn’t anything with a flight plan to come in,” Atkinson said.

No distress calls were reported from the air traffic control tower to the airport, Atkinson said.

Federal officials told the state’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management that the pilot of a plane en route from Akron, Ohio, to Spartansburg, S.C, requested help navigating around bad weather, said Lawrence Messina, communications director of the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

“While folks were trying to provide him with help, they lost contact,” Messina said.

DMAPS is gathering one, maybe two, National Guard helicopters to help with search and response efforts of the possible crash, Messina said.

Messina said he couldn’t confirm the plane crash or that the Akron flight is related at this time.

“Hopefully the sooner we get people there and get a helicopter in the air, we can get some answers,” Messina said.


http://wvgazette.com


 BREAKING: Small plane crash reported near Riverside 
 
KANAWHA COUNTY, WV -

UPDATE, 6:24 p.m., April 11:
One lane of East DuPont Avenue in the area of Hughes Creek has been opened to allow alternating traffic, according to a Metro 911 dispatcher.

Route 60 from Riverside to the Montgomery Bridge also has been reopened.

UPDATE, 5:52 p.m., April 11:
Emergency crews are now looking in the area of Kellys Creek for a plane that was reported down.

Additional emergency crews are setting up at Ward Cemetery near Kellys Creek.

Original story, 5 p.m. April 11:
Just before 5 p.m. April 11, Metro 911 dispatchers received reports of a small plane that had crashed in the mountains near the town of Riverside, in Eastern Kanawha County.

The Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department has confirmed that it has a crew trying to locate the plane, and Executive Air at Yeager Airport also received reports of a small plane crashed in Eastern Kanawha County. The airport was unaware of where the plane left from or its destination.

A metro 911 dispatcher said at about 5:30 p.m. April 11 all of East DuPont Avenue in the area of Hughes Creek is shut down to allow priority for emergency vehicles access to the road. The dispatcher said the area where the plane is reportedly located is "pretty remote," but emergency dispatchers would try to get at least one lane open to allow traffic to pass as soon as possible.

First responders are searching for a Saratoga, which holds between six and seven people, but emergency responders haven't found anything yet.