Friday, May 9, 2014

Redlands, California: Airfest organizer to pay half of city’s costs

A divided Redlands City Council has decided that Hangar 24 Craft Brewery should pay half of the fees the city will charge in connection with a two-day air show the brewery is putting on May 16 and 17 at Redlands Municipal Airport.

The brewery asked for a fee waiver in April after city officials determined that the city’s costs associated with the event, such as fire and police protection, would be about $70,666.

While the council routinely approves fee waiver requests from charitable organizations holding events in town, the waiver for the Hangar 24 Airfest and 6{+t}{+h} Anniversary Celebration was one of the largest ever requested. Mayor Pete Aguilar said in April that the council would delay a decision until he and Councilman Bob Gardner could negotiate an agreement for Hangar 24 to pay some of the fees.

On Tuesday, May 6, the council was asked to agree that the brewery would pay one-third of the fees, leaving about $47,000 for the city to waive. As the council’s discussion began, it quickly became clear that the amount was too high.

Gardner, who has argued against fee waivers since he joined the council three years ago, read a long list of services, each of which the city could provide for the $70,000 in fees the show would cost: More recreation programs for children, repairs to vandalized street lights, trimming 1,000 to 1,500 city trees, buying 50 computers, improving animal control services “and the list goes on,” Gardner said.

While Hangar 24 has been good for Redlands, he said, “things are still too tight in the city to approve such a large amount.”

The council questioned how much the city would benefit from the air show, especially if the brewery’s estimates are accurate and 20,000 of the expected 25,000 visitors already live in Redlands.

Cathy Grinnan, executive director of Hangar 24 Charities, said she has rented some 30 Redlands hotel rooms for people performing at the air show and is renting tents, booths and other equipment from a Redlands Parties Plus store. The business also is working with local companies for fencing, mobile ATMs, trailers and golf carts for the event, she said.

Councilman Paul Foster said that while he generally supports fee waivers for charitable organizations holding events in town, he wasn’t certain what Hangar 24 Charities supports.

“All I see on the website is an attractive logo,” he said, and a message that says the charity supports Southern California orange groves.

“It’s not Southern California that’s waiving this fee, it’s Redlands,” Foster said. “Why isn’t all the money going to Redlands?”

Grinnan said the charity is new and its mission is evolving. Among the groups it has supported are the Believe Walk, Redlands High School football and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, she said.

Aguilar and Gardner voted no – Aguilar because he had negotiated the one-third agreement and Gardner because the amount being waived was too high.

The final amount will be determined after the event, when the city has calculated its expenses. The estimated amount is $35,000.

Contact Jan Sears at 951-368-9477 or jsears@pe.com

AIRFEST SCHEDULE

 
The Hangar 24 Airfest and 6{+t}{+h} Anniversary Celebration will take place May 16 and 17 at Redlands Municipal Airport.

WHEN: 4 p.m.-10 p.m. May 16, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. May 17.

WHAT: Aerial performances, planes on display, music, food trucks and vendors, Kid Zone.

TICKETS: Admission $5, parking $5. Visit http://hangar24airfest.com/tickets.htm to purchase tickets.


Source:  http://www.pe.com

Final lineup for Airfest set 

The final lineup for the Hangar 24 Airfest and sixth anniversary celebration is ready for take off.

The annual festival is slated to feature country acts like JT Hodges and Her as well as rock bands like Everclear and The BellRays. The event is scheduled to start be on May 16-17 at the Redlands Municipal Airport. Gates open at 4 p.m. on May 16 and 9 a.m. on May 17, while last call is 9 p.m. both nights.

Bands scheduled to perform on May 16 will be all country groups and feature Orange County’s Redneck Rodeo, New York’s Her and Fort Worth Texas’ JT Hodges. Acts scheduled to appear on May 17 are mostly rock related and will be Kid Gramophone, Moonsville Collective, GrooveSession, Quetzal Guerrero, The BellRays and Everclear. 
 
Redlands Municipal Airport is at 1755 Sessums Drive in Redlands. Single-day tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for youths age 6 to 12. Parking is $5. Tickets for both days are $20 for both days, $10 for youths and $10 for parking. A VIP pass for both days is $200.

For more information, call 909-389-1400 or go to hangar24airfest.com.

Eagle Balloons Corp C-7, N3016Z: Fatal accident occurred May 09, 2014 in Ruther Glen, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA231 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Ruther Glen, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2015
Aircraft: EAGLE C-7, registration: N3016Z
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

Witnesses to the accident reported observing the balloon approaching the landing zone from the south where another balloon had just landed. A video obtained from one of the witnesses showed that, as the balloon descended and approached the landing site, the pilot engaged the burner; however, shortly after, the balloon struck power lines, which resulted in a spark. Subsequently, the basket and a section of the balloon’s envelope caught fire. The balloon then began an accelerated climb and drifted out of the camera’s view. The wreckage was found about 6 miles north of the power lines. Examination of the wreckage revealed no preexisting mechanical anomalies with the balloon.

Federal Aviation Administration guidance on balloon flying states that, if there is an obstacle between the balloon and the landing site, the pilot should either give the obstacle appropriate clearance and drop in from altitude; reject the landing and look for another landing site; or fly a low approach to the obstacle, fly over the obstacle allowing plenty of room, and then land. It is likely that the pilot identified the power lines late in the approach and ignited the burner to climb but that insufficient time remained to clear the power lines.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inadequate approach and his failure to maintain clearance from power lines, which resulted in a subsequent fire. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 9, 2014, about 1940 eastern daylight time, an Eagle C-7 Balloon, N3016Z, was destroyed by fire after a landing attempt to a field and subsequent impact with powerlines near Ruther Glen, Virginia. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local sightseeing flight that departed from Meadow Event Park, Doswell, Virginia, approximately 4 miles to the south of the accident location. The local sightseeing flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Multiple eyewitnesses reported that the accident balloon approached the intended landing area from the south where another balloon had just landed. As the accident balloon approached the landing site, the pilot engaged the burner; however, the balloon struck powerlines, which resulted in a spark. A video obtained from a witness indicated that as the pilot approached the intended landing area, he engaged the burner for about 15 seconds prior to impacting the powerlines. Subsequently, the balloon basket and a section of the envelope caught fire. The balloon then began an accelerated climb and drifted out of the top view of the video recording. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 65, held a commercial pilot certificate, with a rating for lighter-than-air free balloon, which included a limitation for hot air balloon with airborne heater. He did not hold, nor was he required to maintain, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate. According to a souvenir card, being handed out at the balloon festival, the pilot had 31 years of experience and over 660 hours of flight time. 

BALLOON INFORMATION

According to FAA and balloon maintenance records, it was equipped with two aluminum propane tanks, a wicker basket, and a 78,133 cubic foot envelope. In addition, it contained a small pod of instruments that consisted of a vertical speed indicator, altimeter, and envelope temperature gauge. The most recent annual inspection, on the balloon, was performed on August 5, 2013, and at that time it had accumulated 270.4 hours of total time in service. 

The balloon was comprised of a basket, which was composed of wood, padding, woven wicker, rope handles for passengers to hold onto, and a fuel cylinder compartment which contained the two fuel cylinders. Attached to the top center of the basket were the single burner valve/can, coils, pilot light regulator, and pilot light valve. Fuel lines ran from each of the two fuel cylinder tanks, up opposite sides of the basket, and attached to the burner can assembly. The balloon envelope was comprised of nomex and nylon panels. The envelope throat was to be attached to the top of the basket with cables. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1854 recorded weather observations from Hanover County Municipal Airport (OFP), Ashland, Virginia, located approximately 12 miles to the south of the wire strike site, included wind from 180 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 12,000 feet above ground level (agl), temperature 28 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.

An FAA inspector that was at the launch site prior to the flight departing stated that a mandatory safety briefing by the event organizer reviewed the weather conditions with the pilot participants of the balloon festival including the accident pilot. In addition, he stated that "wind conditions were measured on site several times prior to launch to establish a trend. I recall winds were slowly decreasing, from initially about 12 knots to some as low as 6 knots at the surface. The winds aloft indicated that winds by 1000 feet were increasing in velocity and shifting the course to the right." 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The debris path was approximately 6 miles in length and was oriented on a northeast heading from the attempted landing field. The balloon impacted electrical powerlines that were about 30 feet agl near the attempted landing field. Several pieces of charred material were present in the vicinity of the powerline. Two aluminum propane fuel tanks, a hand-held fire extinguisher, the instrument pod, and various pieces of the charred envelope fabric, that were associated with the lower portion of the balloon envelope, were recovered along the debris path. Both propane fuel tanks were intact but exhibited thermal and impact damage and were devoid of fuel.

The balloon crown, crown ring, deflation port, and the burner were recovered on May 27, 2014, approximately 9 miles northeast of the takeoff location and about 5.9 miles north of the powerline strike location. An examination of the recovered components was performed on August 25, 2014, at a salvage facility located in Clayton, Delaware. 

The balloon crown, crown ring, deflation port, basket bottom, and burner remained attached through several cables. The balloon envelope was torn in several sections. Several vertical and horizontal load tapes were torn. The skirt and throat of the balloon were torn and exhibited thermal damage. The crown line remained attached to the top of the envelope and the crown ring was found with all retained cords attached. Cord continuity of the crown, vent, and deflation line was established from the top of the envelope to the balloon basket. The bottom section of the deflation line exhibited thermal damage. The wood section of the basket was burned away, but the bottom section of the basket remained attached to the heating system of the balloon through stainless steel wires. 

The single burner remained attached to the basket frame. The valve block assembly, burner can, coil assembly, liquid fire jet assembly, and igniter assembly all exhibited thermal discoloration. The fuel lines remained attached to the burner assembly but exhibited thermal damage. When the burner assembly handle was operated, it did not exhibit any anomalies. In addition, the burner assembly was able to move freely among the assembly frame as designed. 

Further examination of the two recovered propane cylinder tanks revealed that the main valve on the center aluminum cylinder was damaged by fire and its position was not able to be determined. In addition, the fuel quantity gauge on each tank exhibited thermal damage and could not be read. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Richmond, Virginia, conducted an autopsy on the pilot on May 12, 2014. The autopsy listed "blunt force trauma" as the cause of death. 

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no ethanol was detected. However, both Fexofenidine and Valsartan were detected in the blood and liver. 

According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research, Forensic Toxicology Drug website, Fexofenadine, marketed under the trade name Allegra, was known as a nonsedating antihistamine used in the treatment of hay fever symptoms and the common cold. 

According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research, Forensic Toxicology Drug website, Valsartan, marketed under the trade name Diovan, was an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, commonly referred to as an Angiotensin Receptor Blocker or "ARB." It was typically used for the treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and post-myocardial infarction. 

TESTS AND RESEARCH 

Handheld Global Positioning System

A Garmin 12 handheld global positioning system (GPS) was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recorders laboratory for download in Washington, DC. The Garmin 12 handheld GPS system did not contain any pertinent information to the accident investigation. 

A Garmin Rhino 530HCX handheld GPS was recovered and sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for download in Washington, DC. The Garmin 530HCS GPS did not contain any pertinent information to the accident investigation. 

Cellular Phones

Three cellular phones were sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for download. The cellular phones held photographs prior to the accident, but did not contain any photographic documentation of the accident itself. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Witness Photographs

Several photos were submitted by witnesses. In particular, a witness located in another balloon that landed at the intended landing zone of the accident balloon, photographed another balloon landing at the intended landing zone site. In the photograph, the other balloon is shown on the ground in the field and unmarked powerlines are noted above a road just prior to the intended landing field. In addition, the photograph showed that the field that was the intended landing zone site had several trees just prior to it and located in front of the powerlines. 

Powerline Information

According to the power company, after the accident, they dispatched a team of employees to examine the powerlines. Upon examination, they noted that there was no structural damage to the lines. One phase line had a burn mark on the side that was closest to the intended landing zone. According to the power company, the powerlines were three-phase lines that were 7,200 volts phase to ground.

Balloon Flight Manual 

In the "Normal Flight Operations" section of the balloon flight manual, there was a note that stated, "Extreme care and judgment should be used in selection of landing sites in avoiding downwind powerlines."

In the "Performance" section of the balloon flight manual, it stated "during certification, the maximum demonstrated surface winds for landing were 7 knots." In addition, it stated that the "maximum demonstrated surface wind for take-off [was] 5 knots."

FAA-H-8083-11A Balloon Flying Handbook

In Chapter 3, "Preflight Planning," it stated "Almost all balloon flying is done in relatively benign weather conditions and mild winds. Most pilots prefer to launch and fly in winds less than 7 knots. While balloon flying is performed in higher winds, pilots accept that the faster the winds, the more they are exposed to risk and injury."

In Chapter 7, "Inflight Maneuvers," stated in part "One technique to determine if the balloon is ascending, flying level, or descending is to sight potential obstacles in the flight path of the balloon as the balloon approaches the wires, the pilot should determine how the wires (or other obstacles) are moving in his or her field of vision relative to the background. If they are moving up in the pilot's field of vision, or staying in stationary, then the balloon is on a descent that may place the pilot and passengers at risk. Conversely, if the wires are moving down in the pilot's field of vision, then the balloon is either in level flight or ascending, and able to clear the obstacle. Vigilance is required for constant scanning of the terrain along the flight path, and the pilot must be alert to avoid becoming fixated on sighting objects." In addition, it stated that "the balloon actually responds to a burn 6 to 15 seconds after the burner is used." 

In Chapter 8, "Landing and Recovery," it stated, "Having the skill to predict the balloon's track during the landing approach, touching down on the intended landing target, and stopping the balloon basket in the preferred place can be very satisfying. It requires a sharp eye trained to spot the indicators of wind direction on the ground. Dropping bits of tissue, observing other balloons, smoke, steam, dust, and tree movement are all ways to predict the balloon track on its way to the landing site. During the approach, one of the pilot's most important observations is watching for power lines." 

In addition, Chapter 8 reviews, "To summarize, if there is an obstacle between the balloon and the landing site, the following are the three safe choices.
1. Give the obstacle appropriate clearance and drop in from altitude.
2. Reject the landing and look for another landing site.
3. Fly a low approach to the obstacle, fly over the obstacle allowing plenty of room, and then make the landing."

Lastly, Chapter 8 addressed a "high-wind landing," which stated "When faced with a high wind landing, the balloon pilot must remember that the distance covered during the balloon's reaction time is markedly increased. This situation is somewhat analogous to the driver's training maxim of "do not overdrive your headlights." For example, a balloon traveling at 5 mph covers a distance of approximately 73 feet in the 10 seconds it takes for the balloon to respond to a burner input—a distance equal to a semi-truck and trailer on the road. However, at a speed of 15 mph, the balloon covers a distance of 220 feet, or a little more than two-thirds of a football field. A pilot who is not situationally aware and fails to recognize hazards and obstacles at an increased distance may be placed in a dangerous situation with rapidly dwindling options."

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA231 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Ruther Glen, VA
Aircraft: EAGLE C-7, registration: N3016Z
Injuries: 3 Fatal.


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

On May 9, 2014, about 1940 eastern daylight time, an Eagle C-7 Balloon, N3016Z, was destroyed by fire after a landing attempt to a field and subsequent impact with powerlines near Ruther Glen, Virginia. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight that departed from Meadow Event Park, Doswell, Virginia, approximately 3.75 miles to the south of the accident location. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Multiple eyewitnesses reported that the accident balloon approached a field from the south where another balloon had just landed. As the accident balloon approached the landing site, the pilot engaged the burner; however, the balloon struck powerlines, which resulted in a spark. Subsequently, the balloon basket and a section of the envelope caught fire. The balloon began an accelerated climb and drifted out of sight.

The debris path was approximately 1.75 miles in length and was oriented on a 025 degree heading from the attempted landing field. Two stainless steel propane fuel tanks, a hand-held fire extinguisher, the instrument panel, and various pieces of the charred envelope fabric, associated with the lower portion of the balloon envelope, were recovered along the debris path. Both propane fuel tanks were intact but exhibited thermal and impact damage. The balloon crown, crown ring, deflation port, the burner, and two other propane fuel tanks were not recovered.

The balloon was equipped with four propane tanks, a wicker basket, and a 78,133 cubic foot envelope. The most recent annual inspection on the balloon was performed on August 5, 2013, and at that time it had accumulated 270.4 hours of total time.

A Garmin 12 handheld global positioning system and three cellular phones were located, removed, and sent to the NTSB Recorder Laboratory for download.


Daniel T Kirk 

Daniel T Kirk
September 22, 1948 - May 9, 2014

Biography
Daniel T. Kirk, of Hartly, died Friday May 9. He was 65.

He was born September 22, 1948 in Miami, FL to Donald J. Kirk and Verna England Kirk.

He enlisted in the United States Army as a Private in 1970, raising to rank of Staff Sergeant. He graduated from officer candidate school in 1980 and retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 2007 after serving 10 years in the US Army Reserves and 24 years active duty with the United States Army. Dan had many interests including motorcycling, auctions, home improvements, and helping his parents but ballooning and his wife were his passions. He was a commercial hot air balloon pilot and avid patriot; he flew "Support Our Troops" and the American Flag from his balloon. He was a member and Treasurer of Hartly United Methodist church, Secretary of the Experimental Aircraft Association of Delaware, member of the Vietnam Veterans Association and the Balloon Federation of America.

Dan is survived by his wife, Janice Gray Kirk of Hartly; his parents Donald and Verna England Kirk of Dover; daughter Becky Kirk, of Virginia Beach, VA; son David of Raleigh, NC; step-daughter Kim Kraft and husband Peter of Indianapolis, IN; brother Donald Kirk II (Buddy) of Corpus Christi, TX; sisters Pamela Joy of Ashland, OR and Sandy Billings of Dover, DE and granddaughter Gabby Kraft.

Funeral services will be held at 1pm on Saturday May 17th at the Hartly United Methodist Church, 85 Main Street, Hartly, DE. A reception will follow at the Hartly volunteer Fire Company. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lew of flowers memorials may be sent to the Great Eastern Balloon Camp http://www.bfacamps.com/eastern-balloon-camp.html or the United Methodist Church, 85 Main Street, Hartly, DE 19953.
Memorial Services

Saturday May 17, 2014, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM at Hartly United Methodist Church Cemetery.

http://www.torbertfuneral.com

 


DOSWELL, V.A. (KRQE) – Hot air balloonists everywhere are in shock. A popular balloon pilot who took off Friday night in a Virginia balloon festival hit a set of power lines in a crash that turned dramatic and deadly. Captain Daniel Kirk was a familiar face in Albuquerque, too. He was a very experienced balloon pilot who loved the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Kirk is also at the center of Friday night’s horrific crash in Virginia. 

 “All we saw was just stuff falling from the sky, the basket, the balloon, everything was on fire,” recounts witness Joanne Strange.

It was the first ever Mid-Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Festival near Richmond, Va. Yet, it ended almost as soon as it began once the balloon hit the power lines and burst into flames.

“Witnesses tell us they heard two explosions from the hot air balloon. At one point, the gondola and the balloon separated and then the balloon took off at a rapid pace,” says Virginia State Police’s Corinne Geller.

Three people were on board – two University of Richmond basketball staff members and the craft’s pilot, Daniel Kirk.

In 2011, Kirk attended Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta.

“The competition and the flying. This is the largest hot air event in the world,” he said in an interview at the event.

Kirk had been flying since the early ’80s and his passion for balloons brought him to Albuquerque.

Kirk’s website shows “Starship,” the balloon involved in the Virginia crash, flying over the Rio Grande during another Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta event.

Balloon Fiesta records show he did not participate in last year’s fiesta. Kirk was among more than 20 teams participating in the Virginia festival, an event that led to “Starship’s” last flight.

Witnesses report seeing two of the passengers jump from the gondola once it caught fire Friday night.

“You could hear them screaming, ‘Please, dear God. Sweet Jesus. Help us. We’re gonna die. Oh, my God, please help us. Please help us,’ ” witness Carrie Hagar-Bradley says.

The search for Kirk and his two passengers began immediately. So far, recovery crews have found the remains of Kirk and one of his passengers. The search for the second passenger continues.

Kirk appeared to have a clean safety record. In the 2011 Balloon Fiesta video, he claimed to have not had a single injury in almost 30 years of flying.


 http://registry.faa.gov/N3016Z

NTSB asking for more oversight of balloons; operators’ group opposed

RICHMOND —The hot air balloon crash that killed three people in Caroline County on Friday was the first major crash of its kind in the U.S. since 1993, but a steady occurrence of nonfatal crashes has attracted the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board.

In an April 7 letter, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman asked Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael P. Huerta to hold hot air balloon operators to the same standards required of for-hire airplane and helicopter operators.

“The potential for a high number of fatalities in a single air tour balloon accident is of particular concern if air tour balloon operators continue to conduct operations under less stringent regulations and oversight,” she wrote.

The letter listed several accidents involving hard landings and other safety threats.

She requested that the FAA require hot air balloon operators to acquire a “letter of authorization” from the FAA.

Such a step, she said, would subject those operators to periodic safety checks and better assure that operators and pilots were properly trained.

She said that while an accident like the one in which 19 people were killed in Egypt in 2013 has not occurred in the U.S., it is possible.

“Based on the number of recurring accidents in the United States involving similar safety issues, the NTSB believes that air tour balloon operators should be subject to greater regulatory oversight,” she said in her letter.

The FAA has yet to act on the recommendation.

The Balloon Federation of America, which represents balloon operators and enthusiasts, is opposing the recommendation.

The “NTSB’s recommendation will not enhance safety, but will add another layer of unnecessary federal oversight to an already challenged FAA,” it says in a letter posted on the group’s website.

“Such a regulation would prove burdensome to the tour flight business owners and their pilots in both time and money to comply with the regulation. It would likewise stretch the FAA’s already thin resources of inspectors required to initially implement the program and then oversee its ongoing compliance and enforcement.

“Additionally such a regulation could require significant financial expenditure and investment of FAA personnel resources for the education and training of its inspector ranks, many of whom lack an extensive knowledge base of hot air ballooning and the unique business of balloon sight-seeing tour flights.”

In the past two decades, the most notable crashes have occurred outside the U.S.

In addition to the balloon fire that killed 19 of 21 people in Egypt in 2013, accidents killed six people in Slovenia and 11 in New Zealand the year before.

The last major accident in the U.S. was in 1993, when six people died after a balloon hit a power line near Aspen, Colo.



 
Natalie Mattimore Lewis 

One of the three people who were aboard the hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed in Virginia Friday was a 24-year-old staff member of the women's basketball team at the University of Richmond, her parents said Saturday.

Natalie Lewis, director of basketball operations for the university's Spiders program, graduated from the school in 2011. While enrolled, Lewis was a four-year varsity letterwinner and two-time captain of the swim team.

Lewis' body has not been found. Her parents said they remain hopeful as more than 100 searchers comb through the woods and fields for the third victim and the balloon wreckage.

"The search continues for our beloved daughter and we remain hopeful and ask for your continued prayers," read a statement from Patricia and Evan Lewis.

Her mother also told NBC News, "We don’t have a loss yet, we have a tragic accident. We remain hopeful.”

The remains of the pilot and the second passenger were recovered in the densely wooded area but have not been identified.



The balloon ascended around 8 p.m. Friday as part of a precursor to the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Meadow Event Park. But officials say it hit a utility line, which caused it to erupt into flames, shoot into the sky and then explode.
The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival was cancelled, organizers said in a statement.
 
http://www.nbcnews.com

'Stunned': University of Richmond Mourns Staffers on Hot Air Balloon 

University of Richmond officials said two of the three people aboard the hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed in Virginia Friday were staff members of its women's basketball team.

A statement released Saturday said associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis were aboard the balloon that crashed shortly before 8 p.m.


The remains of the pilot and one passenger were recovered in the densely wooded area but have not been identified.

Lewis' parents said they remain hopeful as more than 100 searchers comb through the woods and fields for the third victim and the balloon wreckage.

 In a statement, President Edward L. Ayers said the two women were beloved by the community.

"Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many," Ayers said.

"Words cannot begin to express our sorrow," said Keith Gill, director of athletics. "We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones."

Lewis graduated from the University of Richmond in 2011. While enrolled, she was a four-year varsity letterwinner and two-time captain of the swim team. She joined the school's athletics program in 2012.

Doyle served on the Spiders' staff for 16 years and helped guide the team to nine winning seasons, the university statement said. As a student-athlete, she was a two-time all-conference player.

The balloon ascended as part of a precursor to the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Meadow Event Park. But officials say it hit a utility line, which caused it to erupt into flames, explode and crash.

Ginny Doyle



 
 http://youtu.be/CfvLVgo2sjk
Published on Jul 29, 2012 
Having just gotten my fixed wing pilot's license I decided to learn how to experience "man's first flight," lighter than air. Capt. Dan Kirk had spent a lot of time training me for this day. This was actually my third flight in Caroline County, Maryland. Join us for 15 minutes of flight and landing.

 




Meadow Event Park decides to discontinue balloon festival after tragedy

 CAROLINE, VA (WWBT) -  Meadow Event Park has decided to discontinue the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival after a hot air balloon tragedy.

"It's just so sad," said Gwynn Owens. "I feel so sad for all of them."

Owens was sad to learn two of three victims from the tragic hot air balloon accident were found near her home. NTSB agents converged on her property.

 "They said about 700 meters," said Owens. "That's where the body was. I'm just so amazed at these people who could get through this mess. Those are briars and blackberries and just terrible things back there."

Virginia State Police said the remains were found 1500 yards apart.

"It was really amazing to me how respectful and quiet everyone was," said Owens. "That's why I didn't take any pictures or anything. I thought that would have been the supreme invasion of the privacy of those people."

Greg Hicks with Meadow Event Park says they have decided to discontinue the Mid-Atlantic Balloon festival.

 "Just a terrible feeling comes over you when you see something like that," said Hicks who says the park is now working on a fund for the family members of the victims.

"Will you all be making an initial donation?" we asked Hicks.

"Yes ," replied Hicks. "We're not sure how much yet, but that will be decided over the next several days. Whatever we do…it's not enough, but we have to do something."

Hicks says they also plan to refund all 4,000 people who bought tickets for the balloon event.

Sources tell NBC 12, search & rescue teams have recovered the remains of balloon pilot, Dan Kirk --- known to his buddies as Captain Kirk. NBC News spoke with his father, who called this a "freak accident" --- saying his son was always very cautious.   

The rescue team also recovered Associate Head Coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Richmond -- Ginny Doyle. We are told crews will resume their search for Natalie Lewis, the 24-year-old director of basketball operations at University of Richmond at first daylight.


Source:   http://www.nbc12.com

The pilot of the air balloon that caught on fire before exploding, leaving two dead and a third presumed dead, was an Army veteran with 30 years of ballooning experience, family said.

The father of pilot Daniel T. Kirk confirmed to NBC News that his son was the operator of the balloon that caught fire during a balloon festival Friday night in Virginia.

Donald Kirk said his son was a retired lieutenant Army colonel who served in the military for 37 years.

Friday's crash was "just a freak accident," Kirk said. He added that he had flown with his son more than 40 times and he was always very cautious.

Police would not identify the victims of the accident, but Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said during a news conference Saturday that they were not all residents of Virginia.

 Geller also shared the registration number of the Eagle Corp. hot air balloon, which indicates the balloon was registered under Kirk's name, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Kirk's ballooning certification was issued in 1996, and the balloon in Friday's accident was certified in 2001, according to the documents.

The balloon had not been recovered and may have been incinerated in the explosion, Geller said Saturday.

Kirk was the "Pilot in Command" of Starship Adventures, where he offered "scenic hot air balloon flights over the beautiful DelMarVa area," according to the website, which invites guests to "come touch the clouds."

"I look forward to booking your flight and introducing you to man’s oldest form of flight," said a letter written by Kirk on the site.



DOSWELL, Va. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says it will have a preliminary report on a deadly balloon crash in Virginia in 10 days.

An air safety investigator said Saturday that officials have yet to examine the records of the balloon or the pilot.

Investigator Heidi Moats said once the recovery of the wreckage is complete, the agency will "examine the man, the machine and the environment."

Searchers have recovered the bodies of two of three people who were on the balloon when it drifted into a power line, caught fire and crashed Friday night. They were looking for the balloon and the third occupant on Saturday.


A family spokeswoman says a University of Richmond women's basketball team staff member was one of two passengers on a hot air balloon that crashed in Virginia.

DOSWELL, Va. —  A family spokeswoman says a University of Richmond women's basketball team staff member was one of two passengers on a hot air balloon that crashed in Virginia.

Family spokeswoman Julie Snyder told The Associated Press on Saturday that Natalie Lewis' body has not been found.

The remains of the pilot and the second passenger have been recovered. They have not been identified.

The three were in a balloon Friday night that witnesses said crashed amid screams for help from the balloon.

Lewis was director of basketball operations at Richmond and a former swimmer there.

=========

The hot air balloon that burst into flames in eastern Virginia on Friday night, presumably killing all three on board, appears to be a freak accident — and uncommon for a leisurely activity associated with color and calm.

Since 1964, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated 775 hot air balloon incidents in the United States, 70 involving fatalities. Sixteen people died while hot air ballooning from 2002 to 2012, the NTSB said.

“People have been flying hot air balloons safely, since 1783 to be exact, long before the Wright Brother's first successful powered flight in 1903,” air safety expert Carl Holden told USA Today last year.

While experts stress the safety of flying, some of the most deadliest hot air ballooning accidents have occurred in recent years.

The deadliest occurred in February 2013, when a hot air balloon caught fire while floating over Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 of the 21 on board.

In 2012, a hot air balloon hit a power line in New Zealand and burst into flames, killing 11 people. In 2008, a balloon caught fire in Phoenixville, Pa., killing 4 passengers.

All hot air balloons operated in the U.S. must be inspected annually or every 100 hours of flight time if operated commercially, according to Federal Aviation Administration rules. Hot air balloon pilots are required to successfully complete a flight review every two years.

The Balloon Federation of America, the official national aero club for all balloonists, acts as an organizer for the more than 50 balloon clubs in 31 states and Canada.

Friday's accident occurred during a gathering of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival in Caroline County, Va. — one of over 200 festivals that have taken place since 2013.
The largest festival in the world occurs every October in Albuquerque, N.M., attracting 750 balloons.
 
DOSWELL, Va. (WRIC) - At least three people are unaccounted for after a hot air balloon caught fire Friday evening at the Meadow Event Park on the eve of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on May 9, a hot air balloon caught fire before ascending into the air. Sources at the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office say the balloon may have caught fire after hitting a power line, and that some passengers were seen jumping from the balloon.

Virginia State Police are responding to the incident and held a press conference at 10 p.m. Friday. According to VSP spokeswoman Corrinne Geller, there was a pilot and possibly two passengers aboard the balloon. The wreck has not yet been found, and no injuries or deaths have been confirmed.

"Multiple troopers, deputies ... will continue through the night until we find the wreckage," Geller said.

The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival at the Meadow
was scheduled to take place at the park on Saturday and Sunday. The Virginia Farm Bureau has canceled the event in the wake of the accident in the following statement:

"The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival regrets that there was a safety incident involving one of the balloons participating on the evening of May 9. Virginia State Police and local officials are on-site and trained for any emergency. Emergency officials responded to the incident. According to VSP, a balloon caught fire and crashed northeast of the Meadow Event Park. No wreckage has been found yet, and there are no confirmed injuries or fatalities. However, the pilot and at least two passengers are missing. A ground search is currently under way involving VSP, the Federal Aviation Administration as well as Caroline and Henrico County law enforcement and EMS personnel. State Police report that bad weather elsewhere in the Richmond vicinity has grounded air search for the time being. A balloon festival spokesman said the remainder of the event has been canceled. Details regarding advance ticket purchases for Saturday's and Sunday's events will be announced soon."

ABC 8News Digital Content Producer Lindsey Leake spoke with Dawn Howeth, a photographer from Tappahannock, who witnessed the flaming balloon. She was there to see the Balloon Glow, where patrons gather to see the balloons lit up from the inside. She says only 1,500 tickets were available for the event. Howeth said the balloons went north, up into the air and were supposed to come back down. One didn't.

"All of a sudden, we could see a balloon rise up that was obviously on fire," Howeth said. "We watched something large fall from it, assuming it was the basket. There were three people in it when it took off."

Howeth says a friend in the Caroline County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management told her the basket had been located--without a trace of the passengers.

"It was awful ... on fire going farther and farther away," Howeth said. "I can't tell you how high up it was, but it was a good distance away."

Howeth says she's glad she didn't have her zoom lens on hand when she witnessed the tragedy.

"Part of me wishes I had a zoom lens on, the other part of me is glad I didnt," she said. "What I saw is bad enough in my mind."

ABC 8News Reporter Claudia Rupcich spoke with Cole Holocker, who also witnessed the incident. He told her he felt helpless watching flames and smoke take down the balloon.

Stay with ABC 8News on air, online and on the go for updates on this developing story as they become available.


Story and photos:   http://www.wric.com

Navion G Rangemaster, N2473T, RTD Aviation, LLC: Fatal accident occurred May 09, 2014 in Hamilton Township, New Jersey

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

National Transportation Safety Board   - Docket And Docket Items:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


NTSB Identification: ERA14FA232 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Hamilton Township, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/14/2016
Aircraft: NAVION G, registration: N2473T
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 commercial pilot was traveling to attend an air show the following day. Upon arrival at the destination, he attempted a night instrument landing system approach but, due to low visibility, flew a missed approach. He subsequently requested and received vectors for a second attempt of the same approach. However, as the airplane neared the final approach course, the controller advised the pilot of worsening weather conditions, and the pilot then requested vectors to an alternate airport. After receiving a clearance, the pilot added power to the engine and initiated a climb, but the engine lost power, which the pilot attributed to either a fuel or an electrical problem. The airplane subsequently descended into trees and stuck the ground nose-low, on its left side, in a “violent deceleration.” The pilot stated that he had checked the fuel quantity in both of the airplane’s wing tip tanks and the connected main tanks before the flight using a calibrated stick and found about 10 gallons of fuel in each tip tank and 15 gallons of fuel in the main tanks. He also stated that he always took off and landed using the main fuel tanks and used the tip tanks in transit. The pilot further stated that, during the flight, he used the left tip tank for 22 minutes 40 seconds and was certain of the time because he used a stopwatch. He then used the main fuel tanks for the first approach and, after the missed approach, switched to the right tip tank. About 1 minute before the engine quit, he switched from the right tip tank to the main tanks again. Once the engine quit, the pilot moved the fuel selector through various positions and then checked the ignition, throttle, and mixture. The airplane was equipped with an engine monitor, which, among other parameters, tracked fuel flow. Data revealed that, at one point, fuel flow dropped to 0, with a concurrent reduction in all engine temperatures. Before the end of the recording, fuel flow spiked briefly up to 4 gallons per hour on four occasions before returning to 0, consistent with the pilot’s statement that he moved the fuel selector to different positions. Two of the spikes occurred for 2 seconds, and the other two occurred for 3 seconds. The pilot reported that, after intentionally running a tank out of fuel during en route operations, the engine would restart about 5 to 10 seconds after switching fuel tanks. At the accident site, fuel was found in all tanks except the left tip tank. Although compromised upon impact, there was no evidence of fuel leakage underneath or in the vicinity of that tank. Fuel supply system continuity, with no blockages noted, was later confirmed from all tanks to the engine, and after replacing some impact-damaged items, the engine was run from idle to full throttle multiple times with no anomalies noted. Although fuel was not found in the left tip tank at the accident site, a small amount was likely still present when the pilot initiated the climb after the missed approach, which then sloshed toward the aft end of the tank, unporting the fuel pickup. This introduced air into the engine fuel supply, which led to the loss of engine power. The lack of fuel found in the left tip tank, the absence of anomalies noted in either the fuel supply system or when the engine was test run, the cessation of fuel flow noted in the engine monitor data, and the fluctuation of fuel flow as the pilot subsequently moved the fuel selector through the tanks with fuel and tank-without-fuel positions cumulatively indicated the likelihood that the pilot inadvertently moved the fuel selector to the left tip tank when he began the climb to the alternate airport and was operating the engine from an almost depleted left wing tip tank when the engine lost power. The airplane was manufactured at a time when only seat belts were required; front-seat shoulder harnesses or other restraints with an equal level of protection were not mandatory. The airplane did not have shoulder harnesses at the time of the accident, and the Federal Aviation Administration does not mandate retrofit, instead relying on voluntary installation. The pilot-rated passenger in the right front seat was fatally injured when her head impacted the engine controls and instrument panel, an outcome that likely would have been mitigated with the presence and use of adequate shoulder restraints or other equal-level protection.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's mismanagement of the onboard fuel supply, which resulted in fuel starvation to the engine and a subsequent loss of engine power. Contributing to the death of the right front passenger was the inadequate occupant restraint.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 9, 2014, at 2031 eastern daylight time, a Navion G, N2473T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, after a loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and one of the passengers were seriously injured, while another passenger sustained minor injuries. A pilot-rated passenger in the right front seat was fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the flight, from St. Mary's Airport (2W6), Maryland, to Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey; however, approaching Atlantic City, the pilot requested and received an instrument flight rules clearance. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to attend a local area airshow the next day. Prior to the flight, he checked the weather via internet and called ACY Tower several times to check its progress. He was aware of potential low visibilities and his alternate plan if not be able to land at ACY was to either fly to an airport in Millville, New Jersey, or return home.

The pilot initially completed an ILS (Instrument Landing System) runway 13 approach to ACY; however, due to the low visibility, he could not complete the landing and flew a missed approach. The controller offered another approach, which he accepted. Commencing the second approach, the pilot was advised of the current weather [the controller reported a 200-foot overcast, ¼-mile visibility in fog], and knew then that he had no chance of completing the approach. He requested vectors to "Millville," and was told to climb to 2,000 feet. He added full power, and the engine "stopped" with the pilot perceiving either a fuel or an electrical problem.

Once the engine quit, the pilot moved the fuel selector through various positions, then checked the ignition, throttle and mixture.

In a written statement, the pilot further reported that after entering the climb, "the nose was in the climb attitude for a number of seconds and the engine simply stopped delivering power (propeller continued turning). I immediately checked the fuel [selector] (set to main), while entering a glide descent. I moved the fuel [selector] to right tip feed and moved and checked throttle, mixture and ignition settings. I am uncertain how long I held the fuel [selector] in the different positions but it was moved to main again after some delay. I remember my hand remaining on the fuel [selector] for some of the descent."

The pilot also made a "mayday" call to the tower and warned the passengers to brace themselves. The pilot maintained wings level and a nose attitude to maintain about 80 mph. The airplane subsequently struck the tops of trees, at which point the pilot released the controls and braced himself, followed by a "violent deceleration."

Radio Transmissions

According to FAA Air Traffic Control Accident Report excerpts,

At 1956, the approach controller advised the pilot that "the last couple of arrivals have been picking up the airport right at minimums."

At 1958, the airplane was cleared for the ILS (Instrument Landing System) runway 13 approach.

At 2004, the controller advised the pilot that the weather "goes all the way down to ground" and that runway visual range was 2,000 feet.

At 2010, the pilot advised the controller that the airplane was established on the approach. The pilot was then advised to contact the tower controller.

At 2011, the pilot contacted the local (tower) controller, who cleared the pilot to land, advised him of the current weather, and noted that he had the runway lights turned all the way up.

At 2016, the local controller asked the pilot if he had missed the approach, which the pilot advised that he had. The controller told the pilot to maintain runway heading and climb the airplane to 2,000 feet. He subsequently advised the pilot to contact departure control, which the pilot acknowledged.

At 2017, the pilot contacted departure control, and was asked if he wanted another approach. The pilot stated, "we'll try one more thanks."

The controller subsequently provided vectors, the first one left to 360 degrees, followed by 310 degrees.

At 2020, the pilot advised the controller that if they didn't "get in this time, we'd like to go to Millville."

At 2024, the controller advised the pilot to turn to heading 220 degrees.

At 2025, the controller advised the pilot that the airplane was 5 miles to MAYBN intersection, to turn left to heading 160 degrees, maintain 2,000 feet until established on the localizer, cleared for the ILS runway 13 approach.

At 2027, the controller advised the pilot to contact the local controller, which the pilot acknowledged.

At 2028, the pilot contacted the local controller, who asked if the airplane was left of course. The pilot responded that it was and that he was correcting to the right.

The controller then noted that the visibility was about ¼ mile with a 200-foot overcast, and the pilot asked him to confirm. After the controller did, the pilot stated, "we'll go around and if you could, give us vectors to Millville please." The controller then told the pilot to abandon the approach and climb to 2,000 feet. After consulting with the departure controller, the local controller, at 2029:39, advised the pilot to contact departure control, which the pilot acknowledged. (The latest radar contact, at 2029:32, indicated that the airplane was at 1,700 +/-50 feet.)

At 2030:04, the local controller noted to the departure controller that the airplane was still descending, which the departure controller also saw. The local controller then asked the pilot if he was "on the air." (Radar indicated that the airplane was about 1,300 feet.)

At 2030:13, the pilot answered, "affirm, we've got an engine problem; at the moment we're trying to restart." (Radar indicated that the airplane was about 1,200 feet.)

At 2030:17, the local controller stated, "I suggest you climb immediately," which the pilot responded, "that's a copy." (Radar indicated that the airplane was about 1,100 feet.)

At 2030:35, the local controller asked if everything was "okay," and the pilot responded, "that's a negative, we've got an engine out at the moment." (Radar indicated the airplane was about 700 feet.)

At 2031:02, the local controller asked the pilot if everything was okay again, and the pilot responded, "mayday, mayday, mayday, we've got an engine failure, we're about to crash." (The airplane was then below radar coverage; last contact was at 2030:50, at 500 feet.)

There were no further transmissions from the airplane.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 45, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate. The pilot reported 5,500 hours of time, with 100 hours in airplane make and model. His latest FAA second class medical certificate was dated January 23, 2014.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane was powered by a Teledyne Continental Motors IO-520-series engine driving a three-bladed metal propeller. The latest annual inspection was completed on March 1, 2014, at 2,323 hours; at the time of the accident, airframe time was 2,339 hours and engine time was 92 hours since it was factory-rebuilt.

The operating manual found in the airplane stated that the fuel supply system provided 108 gallons of usable fuel. There were two center wing tanks, connected to a sump, filled via a filler neck incorporated in the right tank, and two wing tip tanks. Fuel tank selection was via a floor mounted selector. The selector face was circular with a handle on top that rotated through the following positions: "OFF" at the 6 o'clock position, "LEFT TIP" at the 9 o'clock position, "MAIN" at the 12 o'clock position, and "RIGHT TIP" at the 3 o'clock position. On top of the handle was a knob that had to be lifted upward to move the handle to the "OFF" position.

Tip tank fuel was supplied via a finger strainer assembly located at the bottom, center of each the tank, half way between the nose and tail of the tank.

According to the pilot, the airplane's fuel gauges were inaccurate and he checked the fuel quantity in both tip tanks and the main tanks prior to the accident flight using a calibrated stick. Both tip tanks had 10 gallons each while the main tanks had slightly over 15 gallons total. In addition, and as was normal procedure, he ran the engine for 3 minutes on the ground from each tip tank to ensure proper tip tank feed.

The pilot further noted that he always took off and landed on main fuel tanks and utilized the tip tanks in transit. On the accident flight he utilized the left tip tank for 22 minutes, 40 seconds and was certain of the time due to using a stopwatch. He utilized the main tanks for the first approach and after the missed, switched to the right tip tank. About 1 minute before the engine quit, he switched from right tip tank to the main tanks again.

The pilot also advised that the boost pump was utilized for start and could be used during approach and takeoff. In addition, when utilizing tip tanks in cruise flight, it was normal to run a tip tank out of fuel. At that point, the main tank would be selected, and the engine would return to operating 5-10 seconds later. He further noted that the airplane was recently flown several legs round trip to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and during the last flight, when he ran a tip tank dry, it seemed that the engine took a little longer than normal to return to running.

The airplane was equipped with seat belts only (no shoulder harnesses) for all seats. When the airplane was manufactured, shoulder harnesses were not required by the FAA, nor are they required to be retrofitted. In December 2003, the certificate holder received an FAA Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) for pilot seat and copilot seat shoulder harnesses. The shoulder harness assembly included an anchor in the airplane's ceiling, above the inboard edge of the other occupant's seat, and a single belt that attached to the ceiling anchor, crossed the occupants' torsos, and attached to the seat belt near each occupant's outboard leg.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

ACY had crossing runways, designated 13/31 and 4/22. Runway 13 was 10,000 feet long and 150 feet wide with a touchdown elevation of 75 feet. The inbound course for the ILS RWY 13 approach was 128 degrees magnetic and the decision height was 275 feet above mean sea level.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather, recorded at ACY at 2035, included calm winds, fog, ½ mile visibility, indefinite ceiling at 200 feet, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located in a treed, flat wooded area the vicinity of 39 degrees, 28.26 minutes north latitude, 074 degrees, 39.03 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of about 70 feet. Tops of pine trees were cut in a descending path, with an estimated descent angle of 20 to 30 degrees, heading about 140 degrees magnetic for an estimated 200 feet. The tree cuts suddenly stopped about an estimated 60 feet above the ground in the vicinity of the wreckage location; there were no ground scars leading up to the wreckage.

The airplane came to rest on its left side, about 45-degrees nose down/tail up. The fuselage was mostly intact; however, both wings were separated from the airplane about 2 feet from their roots, and the empennage was separated from the fuselage.

All flight control surfaces were found at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit.

The propeller did not exhibit any chordwise scratching or leading edge damage that would have been consistent with the presence of engine power.

The left fuel tip tank was compromised. No fuel was found in it, nor was there an odor of fuel in the soil beneath it. Utilizing the calibrated stick, the right tip tank had about 5 gallons of fuel in it, and the connected main tanks had about 15 gallons of fuel in them. About 10 gallons of fuel were drained from the main tanks, with additional fuel remaining in the tanks. The fuel selector was found in the "main" position.

The wings were removed for transport, and they and the rest of the airplane were transferred to a storage facility for further documentation and an attempt to run the engine.

At the facility, fuel was run through the fuel supply system from the wing separation points through the engine firewall with no blockages noted. In the process, the fuel selector was moved through all positions successfully, with access to the "OFF" position requiring the knob on top of the selector handle to be lifted. About midway between the "LEFT TIP" and "MAIN" positions, as well as the "RIGHT TIP" and "MAIN" positions, there was a small area where the fuel flow would be turned off.

Air was also blown through the supply lines in the wings with no blockages noted. In addition, the finger strainers were removed from both tip tanks. The left tip tank finger strainer exhibited a small amount of debris on the strainer cage, while the right strainer cage exhibited no debris.

Closer examination of the engine revealed that it could not be run at that facility due to impact damage, and it was then shipped to the manufacturer to be run in a test chamber under NTSB oversight.

Engine Test

At the engine manufacturer's facility, due to impact damage, the engine's left front mount was replaced, along with the throttle body and Wye pipe. The oil quick drain was replaced with a plug. The cooling baffles, hydraulic pump, vacuum pump, and airframe breather system were removed, and the engine was fitted with a "test club" propeller.

The engine was subsequently started and allowed to warm up. It was advanced to 1,200 rpm and held at that rpm for 5 minutes to stabilize. It was subsequently advanced to 1,600 rpm, 2,450 rpm, and full throttle, and held at each power setting for 5 minutes to stabilize. The engine was later accelerated rapidly from idle to full throttle six times with no anomalies noted.

Engine Monitor

The airplane was equipped with an engine monitor, which among other parameters, tracked fuel flow. Data revealed that, at 20:30:06 (due to damage, the unit could not be powered up; the time noted was correlated to other in-flight events), fuel flow dropped to zero, with a concurrent reduction in all engine temperatures. Before the end of the recording, fuel flow spiked briefly up to 4 gallons per hour on four occasions before returning to zero, consistent with the pilot's statement that he subsequently moved the fuel selector to different positions. Two of the spikes were indicated for 2 seconds, while the other two were for 3 seconds.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot-rated passenger by the Office of the State Medical Examiner, Woodbine, New Jersey. Cause of death was determined to be "massive head injuries."

Cockpit evidence, including damage to the instrument panel and engine controls, and direction of the damage, was consistent with the passenger's head having impacted them in a forward, left direction.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Fuel Selector

During the final compilation of factual information, about 18 months after the accident, confirmation was requested as to how the pilot established what position the fuel selector was in, and whether he visually checked it with a flashlight, or used feel, or some combination. The pilot, who had returned to his home country, responded by email: "It's been a long time so I'm not sure I can be 100% certain but the changes to the fuel selection prior to the loss of power were checked visually. [The pilot-rated passenger] had a light which I used to reselect main but once we lost power I used feel only. I thought I secured the fuel after the crash but I honestly cannot be certain as that again was by feel."

Occupant Protection

According to the NTSB Safety Study, "Safety Airbag Performance in General Aviation Restraint Systems," adopted by the Board in January, 2011, NTSB has issued over 30 recommendations concerning general aviation (GA) occupant safety, "many of which have focused on the design, installation, testing, and use of shoulder harnesses."
A 1985 safety study conducted by the NTSB looked at 535 accidents in which at least one occupant was fatally or seriously injured. It found that shoulder harnesses were available for only 40 percent of occupants in those accidents and that only 40 percent of occupants used the shoulder harnesses that were available, resulting in a total usage rate of 16 percent. The study estimated that about 20 percent of the occupants who were fatally injured could have survived if they had worn shoulder harnesses and 88 percent of those who experienced serious injury would have had their injures mitigated by using shoulder harnesses.
In 1977, the FAA published an amendment to 14 CFR Part 23 that required shoulder harness installations in all newly manufactured GA aircraft starting in 1978, but only for front seats. Concurrently, 14 CFR Part 91 was revised to state that "required flight crewmembers" must use available shoulder harnesses during takeoff and landing. In response, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendations A-77-70 and -71, which respectively recommended that the FAA strengthen the rules to require installation of shoulder harnesses at all seat locations and require their installation on all GA aircraft, including those manufactured before 1978.

In 1985, the FAA modified 14 CFR 91.33 to require shoulder harnesses in all seats of GA airplanes manufactured after December 12, 1986, and amended 14 CFR Part 91 to require all occupants to wear shoulder harnesses, when available, during takeoff and landing. However, the FAA never modified its regulations to require retrofitting of aircraft manufactured before the 1978 and 1986 regulatory changes."

In June 1993, the FAA promulgated Advisory Circular (AC) 21-34, "Shoulder Harness – Safety Belt Installations," in which it provided benefits of shoulder harnesses and installation guidance. It noted that, "Shoulder harness-safety belt systems prevent serious head, neck, and upper torso injuries in what may be relatively minor accidents in terms of aircraft damage, and they can prevent irreversible or fatal injuries in more severe accidents. Therefore, the major benefits of shoulder harnesses occur in an accident environment, but they can be of no benefit if they are not available for use in an accident."

The 2011 NTSB Safety Study also found that, "Because of the longevity of aircraft, a large proportion of the active GA and air taxi fleet were manufactured before shoulder harnesses were required. For example, the 2008 FAA General Aviation and Air Taxi Survey found that 69 percent of active aircraft were manufactured prior to 1984, and 56 percent were manufactured prior to 1979. Although it is possible that many owners of older aircraft have retrofitted those aircraft to include shoulder harnesses without being required to do so, the NTSB continues to investigate numerous accidents in which shoulder harnesses are not present."
The 2011 NTSB Safety Study also included an evaluation of real-world performance of lap belt/shoulder harness combinations compared to lap belts only. An additional goal was to look at the relationships between shoulder harness effectiveness and other factors that might potentially influence survivability, such as whether there was a fire or a loss of control, whether the accident happened at or away from an airport, the phase of flight when the accident occurred, and pilot factors such as gender and age.
Data sampling included pilots involved in GA accidents between 1983 and 2008 for non-amateur-built airplanes with single reciprocating engines, with the primary outcome of interest being whether the pilot was fatally or seriously injured as a result of the accident. Other variables that were examined can be found in the Study.
Of the 37,344 pilots in the final sample, 15.2 percent were fatally injured and 8.7 percent sustained serious injuries. Over half (55.3 percent) of the pilots were reported to have used an shoulder harnesses, 23.9 percent used lap belts only, and 0.6 percent used no restraint. Restraint use was unknown in 18.9 percent of the cases.
Shoulder harness use was found to consistently reduce the risk of pilot fatalities and serious injuries when compared to lap belt only. The risk of fatality and serious injury with a lap belt alone was 50 percent higher than with shoulder harnesses. The benefits conveyed by shoulder harnesses were significant for multiple subgroups within the larger sample.
"Overall, the findings strongly suggest that lap belt/shoulder harness combinations provide significant protection beyond that offered by wearing only a lap belt and that there would be reductions in pilot fatalities and injuries if lap belt/shoulder harness combinations were installed and used in all GA airplanes."
As a result of the Safety Study, a number of recommendations were submitted to the FAA. One of those, A-11-004, referenced previous NTSB recommendations that the FAA require the installation of shoulder harnesses on aircraft manufactured before 1978, but also noted that the FAA never took steps to do so, using as its explanation that there was insufficient justification to impose additional costs on owners of older aircraft. A-11-004 then recommended again the required retrofit of shoulder harnesses on all GA airplanes in accordance with AC 21-34.

On February 15, 2012, the FAA responded that thousands of airplanes manufactured before December 12, 1986, do not have the structural provisions necessary for the installation of shoulder harnesses, and that the installation would "impose a severe economic burden, especially on airplanes requiring substantial structural modifications." The FAA suggested a two-point inflatable lap belt that would offer impact protection to the occupant's head and torso, and serve as a barrier between the occupant and cockpit structure. And, the FAA would permit the installation as a minor change.

On June 10, 2012, the FAA advised the NTSB that it intended to require that older airplanes be equipped with either a shoulder harness or inflatable lap belt.

On September 6, 2013, the FAA again advised the NTSB that many GA airplanes manufactured before December 12, 1986, did not have the necessary structure to install a shoulder harness, and that a two-point inflatable restraint would be the only possible solution. The FAA also noted that mandating the retrofit of aircraft manufactured before December 12, 1986, with a two-point inflatable restraint or a shoulder harness would require the determination that an unsafe condition existed and the issuance of an airworthiness directive. The cost of retrofitting the fleet would be substantial, and the economic burden levied on the GA fleet with such a mandate would outweigh any potential benefit. "Therefore the FAA does not intend to mandate the installation of a two-point inflatable restraint system or a shoulder harness on the existing fleet."

In addition, the FAA noted that "the intent has been, and continues to be, to develop a framework that permits an airplane owner to voluntarily replace a two-point conventional restraint with a two-point inflatable restraint. We will continue to promote the safety benefits of voluntary replacement of two-point conventional restraints with two-point inflatable restraints. I believe the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation to the extent practicable and consider our actions complete."

On December 26, 2013, the NTSB acknowledged the FAA's response, including allowing owners to voluntarily replace a two-point conventional restraint with a two-point inflatable restraint as a noteworthy improvement, but "we do not consider it an acceptable substitute for the recommended requirement. Because the FAA believes that it has fully responded to this recommendation and no further action, Safety Recommendation A-11-004 is classified as CLOSED – UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."


Morgan Brittany Smith




HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Pilot mismanagement of an onboard fuel supply system contributed to a May 2014 airplane crash, in the wooded area off Paddock Street, which killed a 28-year-old Maryland woman, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report.

A Navion-G single-engine plane, built in 1962, crashed into a wooded residential lot on Paddock Street near Cologne Avenue in Hamilton Township at about 8:30 p.m. on May 9, 2014, according to the report. Morgan Smith, of Lexington Park, Maryland; was killed in the crash. While fellow, passengers Cheyne Austin, 23, also of Lexington Park, and Alec Lewis, 23, of California, Maryland; and pilot Peter Kosogorin, 45, of Tall Timbers, Maryland; were injured.

“The pilot's mismanagement of the onboard fuel supply, which resulted in fuel starvation to the engine and a subsequent loss of engine power,” according to the report from the administration on April 14. “Contributing to the death of the right front passenger was the inadequate occupant restraint.”

Kosogorin was approaching Runway 13 at Atlantic City International Airport when the accident happened. Fuel was found in all the tanks except for the left tip tank and no anomalies and blockages where found in the fuel system, according to the report.


“The pilot inadvertently moved the fuel selector to the left tip tank when he began the climb to the alternate airport and was operating the engine from an almost depleted left wing tip tank when the engine lost power,” according the report.

FAA Philadelphia FSDO-17

http://registry.faa.gov/N2473T

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA232 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Hamilton Township, NJ
Aircraft: NAVION G, registration: N2473T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious,1 Minor.

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 May 9, 2014, at 2031 eastern daylight time, a Navion G, N2473T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, after a loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and one of the passengers were seriously injured, while another passenger sustained minor injuries. A pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the flight, from St. Mary's Airport (2W6), Maryland, to Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey; however, approaching Atlantic City, the pilot requested and received an instrument flight rules clearance. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to attend a local area airshow the next day. Prior to the flight, he checked the weather via internet and called ACY Tower several times to check its progress. He was aware of potential low visibilities and his alternate plan should he not be able to land at ACY was to either fly to an airport in Millville, New Jersey, or return home.

The pilot initially completed an ILS 13 approach to ACY; however, due to the low visibility, he could not complete the landing and flew a missed approach. The controller offered another approach, which he accepted. Commencing the second approach, the pilot was advised of the current weather [controller reported a 200-foot overcast, ¼-mile visibility in fog], and knew then that he had no chance of completing the approach. He requested vectors to Millville, and was told to climb to 2,000 feet. He added full power, and the engine "stopped" with the pilot perceiving either a fuel or an electrical problem.

Once the engine quit, the pilot moved the fuel selector through various positions, then checked the ignition, throttle and mixture.

The pilot also stated that the fuel gauges were inaccurate and that he checked the fuel quantity in both tip tanks and the main tanks prior to the flight using a calibrated stick. Both tip tanks had 10 gallons each while the main tanks had slightly over 15 gallons total. In addition, and as was normal procedure, he ran the engine for 3 minutes on the ground from each tip tank to ensure proper tip tank feed.

The pilot further noted that he always took off and landed on main fuel tanks and utilized the tip tanks in transit. On this flight he utilized the left tip tank for 22 minutes, 40 seconds and was certain of the time due to using a stopwatch. He utilized the main tanks for the first approach and after the missed, switched to the right tip tank. About 1 minute before the engine quit, he switched from right tip tank to the main tanks again.

The pilot also advised that the boost pump was utilized for start and could be used during approach and takeoff. In addition, when utilizing tip tanks in cruise flight, it was normal to run a tip tank out of fuel. At that point, the main tank would be selected, and the engine would return to operating 5-10 seconds later. He further noted that the airplane was recently flown several legs round trip to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and during the last flight, when he ran a tip tank dry, it seemed that the engine took a little longer than normal to return to running.

The wreckage was located in a flat, wooded area the vicinity of 39 degrees, 28.26 minutes north latitude, 074 degrees, 39.03 minutes west longitude. Tops of pine trees were cut in a descending path, with an estimated descent angle of 20 to 30 degrees, heading about 140 degrees magnetic for an estimated 200 feet. The tree cuts suddenly stopped about an estimated 60 feet above the ground in the vicinity of the wreckage location; there were no ground scars leading up to the wreckage.

The airplane came to rest about on its left side, about 45-degrees nose down/tail up. The fuselage was mostly intact; however, both wings were separated from the airplane about 2 feet from their roots and the empennage was separated from the fuselage.

All flight control surfaces were found at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit.

The left fuel tip tank was compromised. No fuel was found in it, nor was there an odor of fuel in the soil beneath it. Utilizing the calibrated stick, the right tip tank had about 5 gallons of fuel in it, and the connected main tanks had about 15 gallons of fuel in them. About 10 gallons of fuel were drained from the main tanks, with additional fuel remaining in the tanks.

The propeller did not exhibit any chordwise scratching or leading edge damage that would have been consistent with the presence of engine power.

The engine and airframe were transferred to a storage facility for further documentation and a future attempt to run the engine.



Morgan Brittany Smith
Obituary

Lexington Park, MD - Morgan Brittany Smith, 28, of Great Mills, Md. and formerly of Norfolk, Va. perished Friday, May 9, 2014 doing what she truly loved, flying!

Born in Oakland, Calif., Morgan was a Flying Qualities Lead for the F-35C aircraft, Pilot, Mentor, Adventurer, Explorer and Entrepreneur. Above that she was an inspiration to all. Morgan had traveled the world and has seen more in her short time on earth than most others do in a full lifetime. She touched countless young people as a mentor through a number of different programs. The world is a lesser place with her passing.

She is survived by her boyfriend, Jeff Robbins of Great Mills; her parents, Frank and Joy Smith and brother, Luke Smith, all of Norfolk; maternal grandmother, Peggy Meyer; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith of Greenwich, N.Y.; aunts, Cindy, Jerrine and Jill; uncles, Rick, Mark and Chuck; and a close knit group of cousins, other relatives, friends the world over and fellow Aviation Enthusiast.The memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sat. May 17, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Tidewater Drive Chapel. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Experimental Aircraft Association Inc. and specify the program to support is "Women Soar You Soar" at https://secure.eaa.org/development/index.html. 

Condolences may be offered to the family at: www.hollomon-brown.com

Township of Hamilton Police Department Press Release:  Plane Crash Victims Identified

Date of Incident:  5/9/2014

Location:  Wooded area off of Paddock Street

The Township of Hamilton Police Department has identified those on board the Navion G plane that crashed in a wooded area on Friday night.

The pilot is identified as:

Peter Kosogorin, age 45, of Tall Timbers, MD

The passengers are identified as:

Alec Lewis, age 23, of California, MD

Cheyne Austin, age 23, of Lexington Park, MD

Morgan Smith, age 28, of Lexington Park, MD

Kosogorin and Austin remain hospitalized at Atlantic City Medical Center Trauma Division.  Lewis has been treated and released.  Morgan Smith was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The crash is being investigated by Investigator Paul Cox of the NTSB and assisted by Detective Michael Virga of the Township of Hamilton Police Department.

HAMILTON Twp., N.J. (CBS) – Hamilton Township Police have identified those on board the plane that crashed into a wooded area Friday night.

It happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday on the 4800 block of Paddock Street, northwest of the Atlantic City International Airport.

Police say Morgan Smith, 28, of Lexington Park, Maryland was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The pilot, Peter Kosogorin, 45, and passenger Cheyne Austin, 23, both remain hospitalized at Atlantic City Medical Center Trauma Division.

Another passenger, Alec Lewis, 23, has been treated and released.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and assisted by the Hamilton Township Police Department.
===========

Police were still on the scene Saturday of a plane crash that left one dead and at least one injured Friday night in Hamilton Township.

The plane, a Navion G Rangemaster, crashed in a wooded area behind a residence near Cologne Avenue and Paddock Street at about 8:30 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Authorities said two of the four people onboard were able to walk away, while rescue crews removed the other two. The extent of injuries for the survivors was not available. Their identities had not yet been released Saturday.

FAA Spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Saturday that the pilot was on approach to Runway 13 of the Atlantic City International Airport when he reported engine problems.

On Saturday, 53-year-old Hamilton Township resident Greg Meyer, himself a local pilot, cycled past the scene after reading media reports.

"This area is right in the approach to the airport," he said. "Runway 13 is a large runway a lot of small and large planes use."

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the tail number N2473T.

According to the FAA registry database, the plane was a Navion G Rangemaster manufactured in 1962. It was registered to RTD Aviation, LLC, based out of Wilmington, Del. Messages left at two phone numbers associated with the company were not returned Saturday.

Knudson said an aircraft recovery company would arrive late Saturday with plans to remove the wreckage by Sunday evening. The crash did not result in a fire, he said.

Similarly, he said, an inspector will be on the scene with a preliminary report expected within five-to-10 business days.

The crash site was calm Saturday morning, with just a few police vehicles parked in the driveway of a private residence. It was a stark contrast of Friday evening when EMTs and firefighters worked late into the night. A number of observers also gathered near the site.

Jim Keefer, a nearby resident, said he heard three loud bangs and thought it was just a truck in the area.