Sunday, May 11, 2014

Piper J3F-65 Cub, N31786: Incident occurred May 11, 2014 in Livermore, California

Watch video: http://abc7news.com

CABIGAS JOHN V:  http://registry.faa.gov/N31786

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- A small plane has made an emergency landing at the Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore.

There have been no reports of injuries, but witnesses tell ABC7 News they saw the pilot taken away in handcuffs and that security approached that plane with guns drawn.

The FAA reports the plane, a Piper J3F-65 Cub, had engine trouble and landed in a field at the lab at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. 


Story:   http://abc7news.com


LIVERMORE -- For a second time in less than a month a single-engine plane made an emergency landing in a field about five miles east of the Livermore Municipal Airport, authorities said.

No one was injured in the landing in an open field around Sandia California National Laboratories about 3:30 p.m., authorities said.

A spokesman from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department said the Piper J3F-65 Cub had electrical issues and made the landing in a southwest buffer zone. The plane is registered to a Yuba City man, according to an FAA spokesman.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the engine problem, a spokesman said. The plane was not damaged, but it may take a couple days for fire officials to remove it, a Sandia spokesman said.

On the evening of April 16, the pilot of a single-engine Cessna 152 made an emergency landing in a field, also about five miles east of the Livermore Municipal Airport after the plane ran out of fuel, an FAA spokesman said. The two incidents are not linked.

Neither of the two people on board were injured and no damage to the plane was reported, the spokesman said. The FAA is also investigating that landing.


Source:   http://www.mercurynews.com

LIVERMORE, Calif. —  The pilot of a small airplane made an emergency landing in Livermore after experiencing engine failure Sunday afternoon, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The plane, a Piper J3F-65 Cub with the tail number N31786, reportedly experienced engine failure around 3:30 p.m., FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

According to the FAA's preliminary investigation, the pilot made a precautionary landing about 5 miles east of Livermore Municipal Airport, Gregor said.

Nobody on board the plane was injured and no damage to the plane was reported.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the engine problem.  


Source:  http://www.ktvu.com




MERCER COUNTY RESPONDS: Bucks County group files lawsuit over Trenton-Mercer Airport (KTTN) operations

TRENTON — Mercer County officials say a lawsuit filed in federal court by a Bucks County watchdog group will not affect operations at the Trenton-Mercer Airport, nor will it hold much clout in court.

Bucks Residents for Responsible Airport Management (BRRAM), along with several Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents, filed a lawsuit in Trenton’s US District Court on Monday accusing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Mercer County and the Board of Chosen Freeholders of failing to perform a comprehensive environmental impact analysis prior to authorizing commercial operations at the Trenton Mercer Airport (TTN).

The BBRAM is asking the freeholders and the county to conduct a mandated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), to authorize and expand commercial scheduled passenger jet service by any and all previous carriers and authorize and expand commercial scheduled jet service by current carrier, Frontier Airlines, according to the group’s website.

“I don’t think we are out of sync with what the FAA requirements,” said County Executive Brian Hughes who confirmed that as of Wednesday none of the county officials or members of the board of freeholders had received a copy of the litigation.

“We have not increased the square footage of the terminal nor have we increased the length of the runways, so there is really no reason for us to do an EIS, which could cost hundreds of thousand’s of dollars.”

Despite the increase in commercial flights to 73 a week by Frontier Airlines, there has not been a need to increase the footprint of the terminal nor a need to bring in larger jets to the airport. According to Hughes, the current runways are long enough to allow the A319 jets, operated by the low cost carrier, to fly into and out of the airport. Also, Frontier’s superior scheduling skills has kept pedestrian traffic at the airport to a minimum, he said.

“We are compromising on the type of jet they have because it is much quiet than some of the 737’s that used to come in and out and which were almost twice as loud,” said Hughes.

“If the noise from the old Eastwind Airlines, (which used to use the Trenton Airport as their commercial hub), was in compliance how do you get an airline that is quieter to be a bigger distraction?”

Although the BRRAM and other plaintiffs say they are not seeking to close the airport but rather are asking the court to compel the FAA and the county to comply with NEPA and start an EIS review process which could curtail expansion of Frontier Airline’s passenger service until the EIS is approved — with emphasis on noise impacts and possible mitigation measures.

“I’ve been involved and very vocal about the issues surrounding the airport more than anybody because I live closest to the airport than any of the other freeholders,” said Freeholder Lucy Walters, who although she is sympathetic about the noise pollution the jets cause as they take off and land at the airport — she too agrees with the county that conducting an EIS is a bit pre-mature.

“We first need to make sure that we have a partner that will stick around before we invests so much money to make the terminal bigger or increase the size of the runway which would trigger an EIS.”

The last time an EIS was conducted at the airport, according to Walters, was during the Robert Prunetti administration and was not thorough. It eliminated essential insights such as traffic conditions on Interstate 95.

Although recent weather situations have caused Frontier carriers to fly lower, causing more noise above homes which neighbor the airport, according to Walters, the EIS will only be done if and when the administrations’ projected increase in air-travel into and out of TTN becomes a reality.

“Look they’ve included everyone on this lawsuit, from the FAA to the county to the freeholders,” said county executive Hughes. “If the FAA is out of compliance then I guess we are too.” 


Source:  http://www.buckslocalnews.com

Tell Me About It: An interview with Jim Duval

1. How did you get interested in flying a plane?

I had two incidents that really sparked an interest in me to fly. I had friends from Detroit who flew down. That peaked my interest, to go from point A to B and save time. I was working with an individual from Ford. He took me up for a plane ride. I was hooked. I was 28 years old at the time.

2. How long have you been flying?

I started my training in October 1979. I got my private license in February of 1980 and I’ve had my license since 1980.

3. What was the process of getting a license to fly and do you have to do anything to keep it?

It’s really up to the individual. I picked mine up in six months. Most people take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. You have to do flying time — half of that is with the instructor and half is on your own. In order to keep your license intact, you have to stay healthy, maintain a medical, and every 2 years go up with an instructor. Flight review is to make sure you are still competent and safe. Every time you get a new rating, it resets the clock because you are taken on a check ride.

4. Where did you get your license and what kind do you have?

I got my private license here in Lima. I picked up my commercial instrument, flight instructor, and instrument flight instructor in Bluffton. I got the instrument in 1983, the commercial and instructor licenses in 1985. I got my instrument and instrument instructor license in 1986, and I got my multi-engine license in 1987. I got my multi-engine instructor license in 2003.

5. What kind of planes do you fly?

I’ve never counted the numbers, but I’ve probably flown 35 different types of planes. TAS Aviation in Defiance, Ohio — they are a twin Cessna maintenance facility. I fly virtually all piston test flights and pick-ups and deliveries. Once they come out of maintenance, I typically do the test flight.

6. How many hours a week do you fly?

It varies from none to 15 or 20. It also varies if you have a long trip or not. It’s kind of feast or famine.

7. What’s the most challenging thing about flying?

Probably trying to meet customers; deadlines with weather. Dealing with the weather has to be the most challenging, and this winter was very challenging. It was the most challenging winter I can remember.

8. What’s your favorite part about flying?

What I love the most is morning flights to work. It’s usually early and calm and quiet.

9. Have you ever had any close calls?

I have had a few moments over 30 years of flying where I was less than happy. I have never been fearful of my life but have been unhappy with the flight. A few were memorable, like electrical failures. You do things the way you were trained. You use your backup equipment. I never had a concern for my safety. There were times I wanted to get the plane on the ground for mechanical reasons, but really it’s probably much safer than driving to work.

Story and photo gallery:   http://www.limaohio.com

Delays in 'Unmanned Aerial Systems' Rules Led to Muddled Drone Policy: WSJ


Long before the current controversy over commercial-drone operations erupted, some Federal Aviation Administration officials considered unmanned aircraft "the third rail" of aviation regulation.

Delays and false starts in crafting rules for so-called unmanned aerial systems stretch back several years and helped pave the way for today's muddled policy and legal situation. Industry experts and lawyers contend the regulatory logjam is creating a dilemma for the budding industry.

Some individuals are probably going to ignore the prohibition on commercial uses, but most "corporate users take it seriously, and they are being held at the starting gate," according to Michael Senkowski, a partner in the Washington law firm Wiley Rein LLP. "It's just not a sustainable model."

Given the high level of public and White House interest in the topic, soliciting and responding to comments on initial rules covering small drones could take several years, according to FAA and industry officials

Until close to the end of the last decade, these industry officials say, the agency shied away from crafting rules for drones partly to avoid provoking the powerful lobby representing model-aircraft enthusiasts. Since the early 1980s, those hobbyists were essentially expected to regulate themselves, as long as they flew at low altitudes and stayed miles away from airports.

By 2008, however, the FAA had convened an advisory group to craft recommended rules for small commercial drones—those under 55 pounds and intended to operate below 400 feet. The 20-member committee, which included representatives from government, academia and the drone and airline industries, issued a report in April 2009 recommending more of a hands-off approach to small-drone regulation.

The report urged the FAA to have an independent standards-setting organization craft rules for building and operating small drones, and then require industry to adhere to those standards and conduct spot audits to determine compliance. But as public debate regarding privacy protections and other issues escalated over the next few years, the proposals remained in limbo.

White House regulatory officials and Transportation Department brass seemed to adopt a go-slow approach and declined to approve publication, according to people familiar with the process. The proposed rules bounced back and forth among reviewers and FAA experts for more than two years, according to one of those people.

"The privacy issue was a major stumbling block," recalls Ted Wierzbanowski of Aerovironment Inc., a drone manufacturer in California who was the co-chairman of the small-drone rule-making committee. "There are a plethora of reasons why this has been delayed."

At the request of the FAA, standards-setting organization ASTM International spent years crafting proposals for small drones, and earlier this year it released them.

Still, some worry that a few bad actors could influence the FAA to end up proposing unduly strict rules. The agency is already "arbitrarily making enforcement decisions" without any explicit legal basis, according to Gregory McNeal, a Pepperdine University professor. "If some individual drone operator acts recklessly, it could result in spoiling regulations for all the responsible users."

Jet Airways plans to shun loss-making routes, some domestic stations

Jet Airways will add more flights from Indian cities via Abu Dhabi, where Etihad is based, to boost profitability 

 

Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd, India’s second largest airline by passengers carried, is paring domestic operations as it piles up losses because of high operating costs and intense competition. 

The airline promoted by Naresh Goyal, which sold a 24% stake to Etihad Airways PJSC last year, is in the process of shutting some domestic stations and pulling out from loss-making routes, according to two airline executives.

Jet Airways is focusing on adding more flights from Indian cities via Abu Dhabi, where Etihad is based, to boost profitability, they said.

“We had closed three domestic stations, including Tirupati, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada (all in Andhra Pradesh), as part of rationalizing domestic operations. We are moving flights where demand is. For instance, we will add more flights in Mumbai-Delhi sector,” said one of the two executives, who requested anonymity.

Instead, the airline is planning to strengthen its low-fare unit JetLite (India) Ltd to compete with existing peers and new entrant AirAsia India. The parent, which is a full-service airline, will focus on metro routes, competing with state-run Air India and the new airline promoted by Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd.
Jet Airways declined to comment.

Jet Airways reported its fourth straight quarterly loss of Rs.267.89 crore for the three months ended December, considered the peak season for domestic airlines because of festivals and holidays in the period. Domestic operations accounted for a major chunk of the loss, at Rs.259.7 crore, as against a net profit of Rs.10.5 crore in the corresponding quarter of last year.

International operations reported a loss of Rs.8.2 crore. The share of Jet Airways’ domestic revenue in total revenue was around 43% in the quarter. The airline also warned of continuing weakness in the March quarter, which is typically a lean season for the airline industry. Competition is intensifying with Tata Sons Ltd teaming up with Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) to launch a premium airline, and with AirAsia Bhd to start a low-cost carrier.

“What would the ideal way forward be for Jet? To get a capital infusion from Etihad, buy more wide-body aircraft and expand its international network to take on the storm of Tata-SIA that’s coming up,” said Bharat Mahadevan, who until recently was regional manager for north-east Asia at Jet Airways.

He said Indian passengers who travel overseas make for a huge market and will not eat into Etihad’s share.

“The domestic market anyway has become a low-cost commodity market where it’s tough for Jet to compete with its cost structure. But this doesn’t seem to be Etihad’s plan for Jet,” Mahadevan said, referring to the option of Jet becoming an airline focused on international routes.

The second person quoted above, also requesting anonymity, said Jet Airways was not cutting domestic flights to add to international flights. But Jet Airways is adding more cities connecting Abu Dhabi, the hub airport of Etihad Airways, he said. At present, Jet Airways is connecting Abu Dhabi via three points, and this will go up to six to eight in the winter schedule.

“We had two to three codeshares with Etihad Airways, but now have over 20 codeshares connecting various destinations from Abu Dhabi,” he said. He added that Jet Airways was also adding more flights to other West Asian markets.

According to Mahadevan, Jet is heading in the direction of becoming an airline that will carry passengers from India for Etihad to transport them from its Abdu Dhabi hub, feeding the UAE airline’s extensive US, European and African networks. Etihad’s flights to India will provide passengers for Jet to carry to smaller cities. Mahadevan said this was not a profitable proposition for Jet.

“Moving forward, there will only be two full-service carriers in the domestic market in India—Air India and Tata SIA. Jet will be reduced to a feeder to Etihad,” said Mahadevan.

Source:   http://www.livemint.com

Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal's aide allegedly travels on flight crew bunk

Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal's executive assistant Jennifer D'Silva is alleged to have pressured the captain of its international flight to allow her to sleep on a bunk which is only meant for resting of flight crew members as per the DGCA norms, sources said.

The incident happened on the airline's Mumbai-Hong Kong flight recently in which D'Silva was traveling with her husband, they said. The flight time between the two cities is about five and a half hours.

"D'Silva was traveling to Hong Kong from Mumbai in the economy class. She wanted to sleep and asked for the bunk to be provided for this purpose. However, the pilot informed her that the bunk was only meant for the crew members and can't be given to a passenger. However, she forced the pilot to allow her to sleep on the bunk behind the cockpit," Jet Airways sources told PTI here.

They also said that the issue has been taken up with the members of the airline's pilots body, National Aviators Guild.

"The guild members are likely to discuss the issue on May 14 at their meeting with the management," the sources said.

When contacted, Jet Airways said that D'Silva had visited the bunk, but did not comment on the allegations.

"We confirm that the executive traveled in the economy class on the Bombay-Hong Kong sector, seated No 39A. She did visit the bunk area. However, this was not in violation of the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) rules," a Jet Airways spokesperson said in a statement to PTI.


Source:   http://www.financialexpress.com

Iran says it has built copy of captured American drone, will take it on test flight

Iran says it has “succeeded” in copying an American drone it captured in 2011 and will soon take the replicated aircraft on a test flight.

State television in Iran broadcasted images Sunday apparently showing a replicated US RQ-170 Sentinel drone alongside the original one, according to the AFP.

"Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone's secrets and copying them,” an officer in the footage reportedly said. “It will soon take a test flight."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was inspecting the aircraft during an exhibition organized by the country’s Revolutionary Guards air wing, said the unmanned drone is “very important for reconnaissance missions," the AFP reports.

Iran has long claimed it managed to reverse-engineer the RQ-170 Sentinel, seized in December 2011 after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern border with Afghanistan, and that it's capable of launching its own production line for the unmanned aircraft.

After initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the Sentinel had been monitoring Iran's military and nuclear facilities. Washington asked for it back but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

U.S. officials have said Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.

Iranian state television on Sunday also showed images that were apparently recorded by an Iranian drone flying over a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf, according to the AFP.

Meanwhile, Iran's president said Sunday his country would not surrender what it considers its right to nuclear development in upcoming talks with world powers, but that it would be "transparent" in negotiations over the contested program.

The talks, resuming Tuesday, face an informal July deadline to hammer out a final deal to limit Iran's ability to build nuclear arms in exchange for ending crippling economic sanctions it faces.

While the moderate President Hassan Rouhani and Iran's negotiators have the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hard-liners increasingly criticize the deal as giving up too much while gaining too little from the West.

Speaking Sunday to a group of Iranian medical and nuclear experts, Rouhani appeared to be trying to counter hard-liners in his country who say he plans to give up the program in exchange for sanctions relief.

"If the world seeks good relations with Iran, it should choose the way of surrendering to Iran's rights, respecting the Iranian nation and praising Iranian scientists," Rouhani said in the speech, which was aired live by state television.

"The Iranian nation has never been after a weapon of mass destruction since it does not see it as legitimate," Rouhani said. "We do not have anything on the table to submit to others except transparency," he added.

The West says Iran's nuclear program could allow it to build atomic weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes, like medical research and power generation.

Iran reached a historic interim deal in November with six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. In it, Tehran agreed to stop enrichment of uranium to 20 percent — a level that is a possible pathway to nuclear arms — in exchange for the easing of some Western sanctions.

Also on Sunday, Khamenei criticized the West for its demands Tehran restrict its missile power, IRNA reported.

"They expect restricting Iran's missile program while they are continuously raising military threats against Iran. Hence, such an expectation is idiotic and insane."

Iran's ballistic program has also been a concern for the West since ballistic missiles could be used to deliver nuclear warheads. Iran insists the missile program has no nuclear dimensions but is also adamant that its defense industry is a "red line" as a topic at the nuclear talks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Evansville Regional Airport (KEVV), Indiana: Air-traffic control tower briefly evacuated after 89 mph wind gust recorded

BOONVILLE, Indiana — Severe thunderstorms are raking parts of Indiana for the second time in three days.

The National Weather Service reports the traffic control tower at Evansville Regional Airport was briefly evacuated Sunday afternoon after staff there recorded an 89 mph wind gust. It says hail fell across parts of southern and central Indiana.

The new round of storm came on the heels of a Friday storm that produced straight-line winds as high as 120 mph that heavily damaged the roof of Boonville High School, about 15 miles northeast of Evansville.

The school canceled Monday classes.

Vectren Energy Delivery estimates nearly 1,700 of its electric customers in southwestern Indiana remained without power Sunday afternoon. 


Source: http://www.therepublic.com

Mooney M20C Ranger, N6704U: Fatal accident occurred May 06, 2014 in Cody, Wyoming

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA188
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 06, 2014 in Cody, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/17/2015
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N6704U
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 two pilots were on a multi-leg cross-country trip in the airplane to visit friends and relatives. Both pilots had current medical certificates, and it could not be determined who was acting as pilot-in-command at the time of the accident. The pilot seated in the right front seat had owned the airplane for over 20 years and had accumulated considerable experience flying it. Neither pilot had an instrument rating. 

Postaccident review of meteorological information indicated that at the time of the flight’s departure, the departure and arrival airports were reporting visual meteorological conditions; however, the initial segment of the flight required flight over mountainous terrain where instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and mountain obscuration existed. There was no record of either pilot having obtained an official weather briefing before the flight; however, they were most likely aware of the mountain obscuration, as it would have been visible before takeoff and during the initial stages of the flight.

The airplane was equipped with a panel-mounted GPS receiver that was capable of providing minimum safe altitude information along a user-defined flight plan, but it is unknown if the pilots were using this feature. An iPad, which the pilots reportedly used for navigation, was found in the cockpit; however, impact damage to the device prevented determination of what navigation software was installed. Additionally a sectional chart covering the accident area was on board; however, the chart was found stowed in the rear pocket of the left front seat, indicating that the pilots were not using it during the flight.

Radar and weather data revealed that the airplane entered the clouds shortly after takeoff. The flight track began to waver slightly about 7 minutes after takeoff, likely due to the airplane being hand-flown as it entered IMC. The flight track remained generally on course toward the destination airport as the flight progressed, and there was no indication of an attempt to return to the departure airport. The airplane flew through the mountainous terrain at a fairly consistent altitude about 2,500 ft below the maximum elevation figure of 12,500 ft mean sea level shown on the sectional aeronautical chart for the area and eventually struck the side of a mountain about 430 ft below its summit. 
The consistency of the airplane’s flight track indicates that the pilots most likely intentionally elected to enter IMC in an effort to fly over the mountainous terrain and into the clearer weather beyond. The airplane’s altimeter was set to the correct pressure, and postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The investigation was unable to determine why the pilots elected to fly at an altitude below the maximum elevation for the area. While both pilots had reported histories of significant cardiovascular disease, autopsies and toxicological analysis did not reveal any findings that would have contributed to the accident. Although ethanol was detected in the right-seat pilot’s urine, the levels were not sufficient to have caused impairment.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The non-instrument rated pilots’ decision to continue flight into known instrument meteorological conditions over mountainous terrain, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 6, 2014, at 1159 mountain daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N6704U, collided with mountainous terrain near Cody, Wyoming. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot/owner and private pilot-rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. The cross-country personal flight departed Yellowstone Regional Airport, Cody, about 1140, with a presumed destination of Twin Falls, Idaho. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site, and no flight plan had been filed.

Both occupants were brothers and had departed from Fayetteville, North Carolina, on April 28 in the accident airplane with the intention of touring the country to visit friends and relatives. Their ultimate destination was Seattle, Washington, where they had planned on arriving by May 11.

Family members became concerned when they had not heard from both occupants by May 8, and initiated a series of exchanges with various local law enforcement agencies, airport personnel, and relatives throughout the Cody and Twin Falls area. On May 10, still unable to locate the occupants, family members contacted Lockheed Martin Flight Services, and an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued. Utilizing radar data provided by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, search and rescue personnel from the Park County Office of Homeland Security were able to visually locate the airplane by helicopter in mountainous terrain within the Shoshone National Forest.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided radar data from the QSI (Lovell, Wyoming) Air Route Surveillance Radar sensor, which was located at an elevation of 9,962 ft, 60 miles east of the departure airport. The data revealed a primary target (no altitude information) on a beacon code of 1200, departing from the vicinity of Cody at 1141, and flying on a track of 248 degrees true towards the rising terrain of the Shoshone National Forest. Having passed over the town of Wapiti, 5 minutes later, the target initiated a right turn to 265 degrees and began reporting a Mode C altitude of 8,800 ft. For the next 6 minutes the target continued loosely on track as its heading varied back and forth 10 to 20 degrees in either direction. Having reached 9,900 ft, it passed below the 10,219 ft peak of Clayton Mountain, which was about 1 mile to the south. The track progressed for another 2 minutes, climbing another 200 ft, while passing 300 ft over an adjoining ridgeline, which rose above the targets altitude 500 ft to the south. The target continued on a course directly towards the eastern face of Howell Mountain, and over the next 96 seconds, began a climb to 10,500 ft as the terrain below fell away to 6,900 ft. The last recorded target occurred 24 seconds later, at an altitude of 10,200 ft.

The wreckage was located at an elevation of about 9,970 ft, on the eastern flank of Howell Mountain, about 430 ft below its summit, and about 1,200 ft northwest of the last target location.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Both occupants held current pilot licenses, and the airplane was equipped with dual controls. As such, a definitive conclusion regarding who was acting as pilot-in-command at the time of the accident could not be made.

Pilot/Owner

The pilot-rated owner was positioned in the right seat. He was 84 years old, and held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land, issued in 1967. He did not hold an instrument rating.

He held a third-class special issuance medical certificate issued on September 30, 2013, and valid for 1 year, based on a documented history of enlarged aortic root and aortic regurgitation. The certificate additionally had a limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. At the time of application, he reported using Losartan and Hydrochlorothiazide.

On his most recent medical application, the pilot reported a total time in all aircraft of 4,550 hours, with 27 hours in the past 6 months.

FAA records indicated that he received a 60-day "Order of Suspension" on June 25, 2009, for landing and then crossing an active runway in the accident airplane at an airport in Class D airspace, without establishing radio contact with air traffic control tower personnel.

Pilot/Pilot Rated Passenger

The second occupant was positioned in the left seat. He was 86 years old, and held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land, issued in 1952. He did not hold an instrument rating.

The pilot's most recent application for a medical certificate was dated September 9, 2013. At that time he was found ineligible due to coronary artery disease treated with coronary artery bypass grafting, and sleep apnea treated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Following a review by the FAA medical certification branch, he was issued a special issuance third-class medical certificate valid until September 30, 2014, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. At the time of application, he reported using Lisinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide, Atenolol, and Potassium Chloride.

On his most recent medical application, he reported a total time in all aircraft of 625 hours, with 27 hours in the past 6 months.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1963 and purchased by the pilot/owner in 1991. No maintenance records were recovered; however, a work order revealed that the last annual inspection, along with routine maintenance, was completed on April 7, 2014, at a maintenance facility in Kent, Washington. At that time the airplane had accrued a total of 4,407 flight hours. The tachometer time at the accident site indicated 4,448.5 hours.

The airplane was equipped with a single King KX-170B Nav/Comm transceiver and Indicator, along with a Garmin GNC-300XL GPS Receiver/Comm. Although the Garmin unit was certified for IFR (instrument flight rules), a placard had been installed stating, "GPS APPROVED FOR VFR FLIGHT ONLY".

Onsite examination revealed that the frequency gauge of the King Navigation unit was set to 114.80 MHz, with the course index set to 250 degrees. This frequency selection did not match any navigation aids along the route of flight, with the closest match being the Worland (RLY) VOR (very high frequency omnidirectional range) ground station, located 100 miles east-southeast of the accident site.

The airplane was equipped with an original equipment factory-installed autopilot, however, impact damage prevented an accurate assessment of its operational status at the time of the accident. An iPad was located in the forward cockpit, and according to family members, was used by the pilots for navigation. The unit was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Records Division for data extraction; however, it had sustained crush and bending damage which had destroyed its memory storage components.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Lockheed Martin Flight Services reported that no records were located indicating that the airplane's registration number was used to request a weather briefing, either by phone or through any approved DUAT vendors during the 3-day period leading up to the accident.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1200 MDT depicted a low pressure system with a central pressure of 995-hectopascals (hPa) over southwestern Wyoming along a frontal wave with a warm front extending eastward across southern Wyoming. Further north, a cold front was depicted surging out of Canada into Montana. The accident site was located between these two systems in an area of light northerly wind, with temperatures in the mid 40-degree Fahrenheit (F) range, with temperature-dew point spreads of 4-degree F. Light continuous rain was reported immediately north of Cody in Montana.

Yellowstone Regional Airport was located at an elevation of 5,102 ft. The airport was equipped with an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) which reported the following conditions at 1135, about 5 minutes prior to departure:

Wind from 360 degrees at 12 knots, visibility unrestricted at 10 statute miles, a few clouds at 1,300 ft above ground level (agl), broken clouds at 1,900 ft, overcast clouds at 3,100 ft, temperature 8 degrees C, dew point 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of mercury.

At 1155, an updated observation included the following:

Wind from 360 degrees at 11 knots, visibility unrestricted at 10 miles, a few clouds at 1,300 ft, few clouds at 2,100 ft, overcast clouds at 3,300 ft, temperature 7 degrees C, dew point 5 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.77 inches of mercury.

The terminal aerodrome forecast current during the accident period reported that marginal VFR conditions would prevail, with rain showers in the vicinity of Cody, scattered clouds at 900 ft agl, and overcast clouds at 1,500 ft. The weather was predicted to deteriorate further with overcast clouds down to 600 ft, and visibilities down to 2 miles.

The National Weather Service had a full set of AIRMETs (Airmen's Meteorological Information) current over the region, which reported mountain obscuration, turbulence, and icing conditions.

There were no SIGMETs (Significant Meteorological Information), Convective SIGMETs, or Weather Watches current prior to the accident. However, a Center Weather Advisory was issued by the Salt Lake City Center Weather Service Unit for an area of thunderstorms south of the accident site. Additionally, a convective SIGMET was issued for the area immediately south for an area of developing thunderstorms an hour after the accident.

The presumed destination, Twin Falls, was located at an elevation of 4,154 ft, 307 miles southwest of Cody. The initial route of flight took the airplane into the Absaroka Mountain Range, which contained peaks in excess of 12,000 ft. Beyond the accident site, a direct route would have taken the airplane over the lower open areas of the Snake River Plain, passing Idaho Falls, and onwards to Twin Falls.

A routine weather report (METAR) for Twin Falls was issued at 1053, which indicated wind from 250 degrees at 11 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast clouds at 4,900 ft, and an altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of mercury. At 1353, winds were reported to be from 360 degrees at 4 knots, with 10 miles visibility, light rain, and an overcast ceiling of 3,200 ft.

Examination of the "Kollsman" window of the airplane's altimeter revealed that it was set to 29.75 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was located 44 miles west of Cody. Shortly after it was discovered, photographs were taken from a helicopter by the Park County Office of Homeland Security, which revealed that it was covered in snow that obscured the lower forward section of the cabin along with the left wing. The main wreckage came to rest facing uphill on a 30-degree slope, at the base of a steeper 45-degree sloping bowl area. The main cabin was upright on a heading of about 290 degrees magnetic, and the crushed remnants of the right wing outboard of the main landing gear were located about 80 ft to the left and uphill of the cabin. At that time, the left wing could not be located. Search and rescue personnel reported that the snow depths in the area ranged from 3 to 5 ft.

The occupants were removed from the airplane about 3 weeks after the accident, once the snow had melted sufficiently to allow safe access to the site. By that time the left wing outboard of the main landing gear was located in between the fuselage and the right wing. The outboard section of the wing was almost completely undamaged, with its aileron still attached; the corresponding left flap remained intact and connected to the fuselage at its inboard hinge. Small fragments of debris were observed in the snow continuing about 250 ft above the main wreckage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination was performed by Forensic Medicine and Pathology PLLC of Billings Montana. The cause of death for both occupants was reported as the result of multiple blunt traumatic injuries. Findings for the pilot/owner included hypertensive cardiovascular disease, with severe hypertensive, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease reported for the pilot/pilot rated passenger.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from both occupants, were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Analysis revealed no findings for carbon monoxide.

For the pilot/owner, analysis revealed the following findings:

>> 10 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine
>> NO ETHANOL detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> NO ETHANOL detected in Muscle

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

For the pilot/pilot rated passenger, analysis revealed the following findings:

>> NO ETHANOL detected in Vitreous

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

Refer to the toxicology report in the public docket for specific test parameters and results.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Examination

The remote location of the airplane, along with treacherous snow conditions prevented an examination at the site immediately following the accident. The airplane was not insured, and therefore could not be recovered in a timely manner. As such, the entire examination was performed at the accident site by the NTSB investigator-and-charge and an FAA inspector on July 16, 2014.

Fuselage

The cabin sustained crush damage from the firewall through to the rear windows. The instrument panel along with all cabin flight controls were crushed and fragmented. The tail cone had buckled forward and was twisted 15 degrees along its longitudinal axis to the right.

Fragments of composite spinner material, as well as paint chips, scat tube, and rubber engine mounts were located in the soil about 5 ft in front of the engine. Shredded fragments of the engine cowling were located surrounding the primary wreckage, with the furthest piece located in the bowl area about 100 ft above the engine.

A total of nine pieces of luggage were located in the aft cabin, with a total weight of about 70 pounds.

The throttle, mixture, propeller and carburetor heat controls were all in the full forward position.

Right Wing

The right wing, which separated at the wing root, had slid past the fuselage since the day of the accident, and was located 25 ft to the south. The wing sustained significant leading edge crush, with the outboard section bent 90-degrees-aft midspan. The main landing gear remained within the well. The flap had detached, and was separated into two sections; the outboard of which was located adjacent to the cabin, with the inboard section just behind the tail section. The aileron was located midway between the wing and cabin.

Left Wing

At the time of the examination, the outboard section of the wing had slid about 300 ft down the mountain slope. According to search and rescue personnel, it slid down due to rotor wash from the recovery helicopter. The wing had separated from the spar at the wheel well, where it exhibited upwards and aft bending damage at its root. The inboard section of the wing remained attached at the fuselage and exhibited crush damage, which had forced the leading edge skins up and over the spar. The main landing gear assembly had separated from the spar, and was located next to the engine.

Empennage

The vertical and horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the tailcone, with all of their respective control surfaces attached. The empennage assembly remained attached, and control tube continuity was established from the control surfaces through to the aft cabin. The surfaces moved smoothly when pushed by hand.

Engine

The engine sustained minimal damage, exhibited no indications of catastrophic failure, and remained partially attached to the firewall. The carburetor had separated at the intake manifold, and had become detached from the inlet filter box, which was crushed. The forward pushrods for cylinders number 2 and 4 (inlet pushrod #2, exhaust pushrod #4) exhibited aft curvature. Both magnetos remained firmly attached to their pads, with all respective spark plug wires intact. All top sparks plugs, and the bottom spark plugs for cylinder 1 and 3, were removed and examined. All plugs exhibited normal to worn-out normal wear signatures when compared to the Champion AV-27 Aviation Check-A-Plug chart.

The engine's position and weight prevented complete rotation of the crankshaft at the accident site, however, the propeller could be partially rotated and exhibited free and smooth movement, with drive train continuity confirmed to the magnetos. All fuel lines from the firewall through to the engine driven fuel pump and carburetor were intact and tight at their fittings. The carburetor and both magnetos were removed for follow up examination.

The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft and appeared to have sustained minimal damage. The composite spinner had fragmented, with additional shards located underneath the propeller hub.

Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies which would have precluded normal operation. A complete report is contained within the public docket.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Maximum Elevation Figures

According to the Great Falls Sectional Aeronautical Chart that was current at the time of the accident, the depicted Maximum Elevation Figure in the area of the accident site was 12,500 ft mean sea level (msl); the accident site was located at 9,970 ft. The route of flight spanned the Great Falls and Salt Lake City Sectional Charts. Although a full complement of charts was located in the rear pocket of the forward left seat, the only chart located in the forward cabin area was for Seattle.

http://registry.faa.gov/N6704U

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA188
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 06, 2014 in Cody, WY
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N6704U
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 May 6, 2014, about 1200 mountain daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N6704U, collided with mountainous terrain near Cody, Wyoming. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot/owner and private pilot rated passenger were presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. The cross-country personal flight departed Yellowstone Regional Airport, Cody, about 1140, with a presumed destination of Twin Falls, Idaho. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site, and no flight plan had been filed.

Both occupants were brothers, and had departed from Fayetteville, North Carolina, on April 28, in the accident airplane, with the intention of touring the country to visit friends and relatives. Their ultimate destination was the Seattle area, where they had planned on arriving by May 11.

Family members became concerned when they had not heard from both occupants by May 8, and initiated a series of exchanges with various local law enforcement agencies and airport managers throughout the Cody and Twin Falls area. On May 10, still unable to locate the occupants, family members contacted Lockheed Martin Flight Services, and an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued. Utilizing radar data provided by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, search and rescue personnel from the Park County Office of Homeland Security were able to visually locate the airplane by helicopter in the Shoshone National Forest.

As of the publication of this report, due to the inhospitable nature of the terrain, the accident site was inaccessible to both NTSB and search and rescue personnel.




Mountain plane crash ends high-flying physics career of Robert Zimmerman and Boeing engineer brother 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Robert Zimmerman's life ended much as it had begun - deep in an American wilderness alongside his beloved older brother, Ward. On May 6, 2014, Robert's single-engine plane crashed into the side of a mountain near Yellowstone, 300 feet short of the 10,000-foot peak. The Zimmerman brothers, 84 and 86, had been flying across the U.S., visiting friends and relatives from Washington state to North Carolina.

Robert Zimmerman, former physics professor at Alabama A&M in Huntsville, and his brother were living an adventure that they dreamed up back when they were boys in South Dakota, says their sister, Hazel Zimmerman of Iowa. Her brothers would whittle airplanes from wood and install rubber-band motors. If any actual plane flew over, both would rush outside to gaze in wonder at the machine soaring above the short-grass prairie region of South Dakota where the family lived in a two-room house on a homestead without electricity or running water.

"Our food was what we could grow, raise or shoot," Hazel Zimmerman said. "The prairie provided wild game and choke cherries, wild plums and buffalo berries."

On May 5, the brothers stopped in Cody, Wy., departing Tuesday, May 6, 2014, during what they thought was a break in treacherous weather.

"Grounded in Wyoming," reads the text that Robert Zimmerman sent May 5 to his friend, Dr. Daryush Ila of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Zimmerman and Ila worked together at A&M from 1992 until 2011. "Freezing rains, scary high mountains all sides, but with food and warm beds."

Flying to Brazil

The brothers, both licensed pilots, had logged thousands of miles together - even island-hopping several times across the Caribbean to Brazil, where Robert Zimmerman taught for 36 years at the University of Sao Paolo. Ward, a retired Boeing engineer who invented the automatic engine controls used on all new commercial jets, had flown for the U.S. Navy during World War II. They both enjoyed working on the airplane and had scrupulous pre-flight inspections.

So the brothers had good reason to believe they could beat the storms and make it to Portland, Ore., where Ward's granddaughter had a homemade lemon pie, Ward's favorite, waiting for them.

"No one believes he is gone," said Dr. Ila, who has been fielding calls and emails from all over the world since the airplane disappeared on May 6. The wreckage was located May 12, but recovery of the bodies delayed by weather until Tuesday, May 27, 2014. "I saw one newspaper that described him as 'elderly' - they have no idea. Just at New Year's, we were skiing at Mt. Hood - he went from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. 'Elderly?' They have no clue."

Zimmerman infused his life with adventure. Extraordinarily bright - despite a horse's kick to his head when he was 2 that a doctor was sure would result in brain damage - he finished high school by 14. By 17, he began graduate work at M.I.T., where he completed a doctorate at 22.

During his years in Brazil, Zimmerman started a tennis school for students that helped kids win scholarships to universities around the world. He learned to fly accompanying his friend, Dr. Lawrence Holland, on a trip around Cape Horn, the southern-most point of South America.

Holland, a visiting scientist in Brazil in the 1960s, became friends with Zimmerman when Holland's colleagues, alarmed that he was sick, alerted the only other American on the staff. Zimmerman hopped on his bike, balancing a bucket of hot soup, with books on top. He walked in to Holland's hotel room, saying, "Hello. My name is Robert Zimmerman. I think this soup can help you."

Interested in everything and always ready for adventure, Zimmerman enjoyed surfing and hiking. He would leap from a mile-high mountain in Brazil to hang-glide on the winds, spiraling down to a beach miles away. In the early 1990s, after his first marriage had ended, he married eminent Brazilian physicist and operatic singer, Adelaide de Almeida. The pair traveled together around the world to speak at scientific conferences. They are scheduled to speak at an international conference in Japan in August.

"He was awesome," said Malek Abunaemeh, who wrote his dissertation with Zimmerman's direction at A&M. Abunaemeh is now professor of physics at the University of West Florida. "He always made you feel smarter than you are."

"Bob's biggest passion was people," said Lawrence Holland. "He could make anyone understand and love physics."

For more about the crash and subsequent search and rescue attempts, see these stories:

Story, photo gallery and comments:  http://blog.al.com














Park County Sheriff’s Office 
 A Sky Aviation helicopter inserts the Park County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue ground team at the site.




Courtesy photo 
Cornice 
 The snow cornice that hangs over the site of the wreckage.


 
Courtesy photo 
Wreckage 
The Mooney M20C Ranger aircraft as it rests in a ravine on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain. 



Courtesy photo 
Search and Rescue 
 Park County Search and Rescue personnel return from their discovery of the wreckage.

Courtesy photo 
National Guard 
Black Hawk helicopter from Charlie Company 5-159, Wyoming Army National Guard.



The Mooney M20C Ranger aircraft as it rests in a ravine on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain. 
~




Courtesy of Zimmerman family
Pilot Ward Zimmerman, right, of Seattle, missing in the crash in Wyoming, is seen in a family photo next to his son Ward Zimmerman III.


Ward Zimmerman

  
KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT  

CODY, Wyo. - The bodies of two elderly brothers who died in a plane crash in Yellowstone National Park earlier this month have been recovered from the crash scene.

The Park County Sheriff's Office said the bodies of Robert L. Zimmerman, 84 of Huntsville, Ala., and his older brother, 86-year-old Ward H. Zimmerman of Seattle, Wash., were recovered by search and rescue members Tuesday morning.

The bodies of the men were found in the seats of the Mooney M20C aircraft that crashed near the summit of Howell Mountain, according to a sheriff's office press release.

"An examination of the site indicated that the plane aircraft impacted the mountain some 300 feet from the top and slid down the mountain to its final resting place," the press release states. "Although it appears as though they both died on impact, an exact cause of death is pending an autopsy."

The men departed Yellowstone Regional Airport on May 6 and planned to fly top Twin Falls, Idaho. They were reported missing by family members on May 10, and the wreckage was located by a search helicopter on May 12.

Officials delayed recovery efforts due to the conditions on the mountain that created an avalanche risk.



The Park County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team (SAR) has recovered the bodies of two elderly brothers who crashed their small plane on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain earlier this month.

The bodies of Robert L. Zimmerman, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., and his older brother Ward H. Zimmerman, 86, of Seattle, were evacuated from the wreckage of their Mooney M20C aircraft at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The Zimmermans departed Yellowstone Regional Airport at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 6, en route to Twin Falls, Idaho, via Yellowstone Park. They were reported missing by family members the following Saturday. The wreckage was located the morning of May 12 by SAR using a helicopter from Sky Aviation out of Worland.

The location of the aircraft is on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain about 4.5 miles south of Highway 14-16-20 west at the Buffalo Bill Boy Scout Camp. Tests performed by SAR at the time of the discovery determined that the snowpack directly above the wreckage was unstable and that the risk of an avalanche was too high to attempt to reach the plane. However, due to the condition of the wreckage and harsh environmental conditions at the time, both brothers were presumed dead.

Sheriff Scott Steward surveyed the site from the air on Monday and was able to see firsthand that the mountain and surrounding snowfall was more stable. He, therefore, made the decision to send in a team Tuesday. Using the same helicopter piloted by Bob Hawkins of Sky Aviation, five members of SAR, including commander Martin Knapp were inserted into the crash scene at about 7 this morning.

Conditions at the site, including the slope of the mountain, prevented the helicopter from landing. As a result, the SAR team was inserted into the site as the helicopter hovered with the front of its skids touching the snow and the back of its skids some 3 feet from the ground, 100 yards from the wreckage. The Zimmermans were then airlifted out using a “long line” deployed from the helicopter.

Steward praised the dedication and bravery of the SAR members.

“Park County should be extremely proud of these volunteers,” Steward said. “I consider them one of the best, if not the top search and rescue unit in the state.

“It was unfortunate that we had to wait as long as we did to get the victims out, but I could not consciously send our folks in to the extremely dangerous avalanche situation that we were faced with, so I made the call to wait until the conditions were safe. The families understood our decision.”

Both victims were discovered still in their seats. An examination of the site indicated that the aircraft impacted the mountain some 300 feet from the top and slid down the mountain to its final resting place. Although it appears as though they both died on impact, an exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

“The recovery mission went off like a well-oiled machine,” Steward said. “The team was in and out with extreme precision and the mission was over in less than four hours. Hopefully this will help bring closure to the family as well as our team members.”


Source:   http://www.codyenterprise.com

CODY, Wyo. — It may be months before search and rescue members can reach a Mooney M20C Ranger plane that crashed on a mountain in northwest Wyoming.

The two elderly brothers from Alabama and Washington were on board the aircraft. They are presumed dead based on aerial views of the crash site on a rugged, snow-covered mountain just outside Yellowstone National Park.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office says the danger of avalanche makes it too risky to put people on the ground to recover the bodies and the plane. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lance Mathess says it could be two weeks or two months before the avalanche danger ends and the deep snow melts enough to allow recovery. The brothers were headed from Cody to Twin Falls, Idaho, and then to Seattle.



The pilot and passenger of an airplane that crashed up the North Fork are presumed dead, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. 

After reviewing aerial photographs and discussions with Search and Rescue personnel, Sheriff Scott Steward concluded the brothers died as a result of the crash.

“Given the damage to the aircraft as well as the extremely harsh environmental conditions in the area, there’s no other conclusion we can make,” Steward said.

Brothers, Robert Zimmerman, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., and Ward Zimmerman, 86, of Seattle, Wash., departed Yellowstone Regional Airport at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 6, en route to Twin Falls, Idaho via Yellowstone Park.

They were reported missing by family members the following Saturday.

S&R located the plane (a 1963 Mooney M20C aircraft) in the Washakie Wilderness area at 9:19 a.m., Monday, May 12, using a helicopter provided by Sky Aviation of Worland.

The crash site is on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain (about 4.5 miles south of the North Fork Highway at the Buffalo Bill Boy Scout Camp).

The plane was settled in a steep ravine on a 60-degree slope with a large cornice of snow situated above it. S&R reported heavy front-end damage and a wing torn from the plane.

S&R determined the snowpack above the wreckage was unstable and the risk of avalanche was too high to attempt to reach the plane.

A Wyoming Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter (Charlie Company 5-159) flew over the scene of the wreckage Monday to evaluate the possibility of winching a crew member to the site to determine the condition of the occupants.

S&R commander Martin Knapp, accompanying the National Guard, determined the avalanche risk was too high.

“After reviewing the conditions at the site of the wreckage, and taking into account my years of experience in avalanche evaluation and mitigation, I simply could not in good conscience risk any more lives,” Knapp said. “I realize it’s hard for the family of the brothers, but I have been in contact with them and they were in complete agreement with our decision.”

Steward praised S&R for their unselfish sacrifice and persistent determination.

“Our initial team spent over 14 hours in the back country on foot trekking through five feet of snow, over extreme mountainous terrain, in winds of up to 50 mph in an attempt to reach the downed aircraft,” he said. “These people are volunteers and I can’t say enough about their dedication.

“The people of Park County are fortunate to have them available.”

The sheriff’s office will continue monitoring conditions at the site and will begin recovery as soon as possible.

Residents are encouraged to avoid the area due to the avalanche hazard and out of respect for the Zimmerman family.

“Our prayers go out to the family of the Zimmerman brothers. The Park County Sheriff’s Office family wishes to express our sincere condolences,” Steward said.




A small airplane missing nearly a week was found Monday morning on the eastern flanks of Howell Mountain, about 4.5 miles south of Eagle Creek Trailhead on the upper North Fork.

The sheriff’s office said the pilot of a helicopter from Worland spotted the plane wreckage while searching the area.


Authorities were trying to reach the crash scene Monday afternoon. Avalanche danger at the scene was high and a larger helicopter was being brought in to help determine the status of the occupants. The plane, with heavy front end damage and one wing torn off, is settled in a steep ravine.

Two elderly brothers flew out of Yellowstone Regional Airport bound for Twin Falls, Idaho, last Tuesday and have not been heard from since.

According to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, pilot Robert Zimmerman, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., and his brother Ward Zimmerman, 86, of Seattle, Wash., landed at YRA on Monday, May 5, on their way to the Seattle area with a stopover in Twin Falls.

On Saturday the Twin Falls Police Department contacted the 911 Communications Center in Cody with a request to check with YRA for a 1963 Mooney M20C airplane.

According to relatives of the brothers, while it is not unusual for them to change travel plans, it is unusual for them to be out of touch for so long.

Joel Simmons of Choice Aviation confirmed to authorities the Zimmermans refueled at their facility and, after spending the night in Cody, departed YRA at 11:30 a.m. May 6.

Simmons said weather May 6 limited visibility. Because Robert Zimmerman intended to follow Visual Flight Rules and avoid areas of low visibility he was not required to file a flight plan.

The county Search and Rescue team (SAR) was deployed into the Kitty Creek drainage of the North Fork, based on archived radar data from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center to a point about four miles south of US 14-16-20 and west of Camp Buffalo Bill BSA.

Searchers were unable to detect any transmissions from the plane’s Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT), a device which is activated automatically by a hard landing.

This is the third airplane crash in Park County in the past year. Everyone on board survived the first two incidents.

In October 2013 two men from Alaska suffered minor injuries after their single-engine Piper 180 went down inside the east boundary of Yellowstone, southeast of the east gate road near Sylvan Pass.

In August 2013 the 17-year-old pilot of a Cessna 172 from Billings crashed west of Meeteetse during her first solo flight. She was found by a hunter and taken to the hospital.



CODY, Wyo. - A missing plane belonging to a Seattle pilot and his brother has been spotted on a mountain slope in a remote area of Wyoming not far from Yellowstone National Park, officials said. 

The plane, a 1963 Mooney M20C aircraft that was reported missing on Saturday, was spotted Monday morning by the Park County (Wyo.) sheriff's search and rescue team on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain.

The condition of the two brothers who were flying in the craft is still unknown because rescuers have been unable to reach the crash site.

The two - identified earlier as Ward H. Zimmerman, 86, of Seattle and his brother Robert, 84, of Huntsville, Ala. - were on a cross-country trip when their plane disappeared.

Lance Mathess of the Park County Sheriff's Office said the aircraft is settled in a steep ravine at about 9,900 feet in elevation with a large cornice of snow above it. The plane has heavy front end damage and one wing has been torn away.

A rescue helicopter was able to land two searchers on top of Howell Mountain, Mathess said, but tests found that the snowpack directly above the wreckage was extremely unstable and that the risk of an avalanche was too high to attempt to reach the plane.

A Black Hawk helicopter has been requested and is en route to the area from the Air National Guard base in Cheyenne, Wyo. Once it reaches the scene, options will be discussed that include possibly lowering rescuers down to the wreckage to determine the condition of the occupants, Mathess said.

The search for the missing brothers and their plane earlier was delayed by poor weather, but conditions improved enough Monday morning to resume searching.

Ramiro Rico, Zimmerman's grandson, said his grandfather left their Seattle home a couple months ago to go on a flying trip with his brother.

The two pilots were headed from Cody, Wyo., to Seattle with a stop in Twin Falls, Idaho, but they never arrived.

Family members said Zimmerman and his brother made many flights together - some as far as South America.


Story and comments:   http://www.komonews.com

CODY, Wyo. – Search and rescue teams spotted the small single-engine aircraft carrying an 86-year-old Seattle man and his brother crashed on a ravine near the Yellowstone National Park Monday.

The condition of the brothers was not known at 2 p.m., Park County Sheriff’s Office officials said.

Rescue teams searched for 84-year-old Robert L. Zimmeraman of Huntsville, Ala., and 86-year-old Ward H. Zimmerman of Seattle, Washington Sunday and Monday. The two brothers were reportedly flying over Yellowstone National Park en route to Twin Falls to visit friends on May 6. From there, they intended to fly to Seattle. They have not been heard from since landing in Cody, Wyoming.

The missing aircraft was located around 9 a.m. Monday near Howell Mountain in Wyoming. It was settled on a steep ravine, sheriff’s deputies said, with a large cornice of snow situated above it. The plane has heavy front end damage and one wing has been torn from the plane.

A helicopter was able to land two SAR personnel on top of Howell Mountain directly above the wreckage. Tests performed by the SAR team determined that the snowpack directly above the wreckage was extremely unstable and that the risk of an avalanche was too high to attempt to reach the plane, officials said

A Black Hawk helicopter has been requested and is en route to Cody from the Air National Guard base in Cheyenne. Once it reaches the scene, options will be discussed that include possibly lowering rescuers down to the wreckage to determine the condition of the occupants, officials said.


 In the snowed-in mountains near Yellowstone National Park, the crashed plane piloted by two brothers, in their 80s, was found Monday.

Family members of the two brothers, both pilots in their 80s, whose single-engine plane was found crashed Monday near Yellowstone National Park are still holding out hope the two are alive.

The brothers flew out of Cody, Wyo., on May 6, even though the snowy, rainy weather was bad enough that the man in charge where they refueled said he wouldn’t have done it.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office in Cody said the 1963 Mooney M20C “settled in a steep ravine with a large cornice of snow situated above it. It has heavy front-end damage, and one wing has been torn from the plane.”

But the threat of an avalanche kept rescuers on Monday from getting to the plane from where their helicopter had landed on top of a mountain overlooking the crash, said a Sheriff’s Office news release.

It said the condition of the brothers isn’t yet known.

Ward Zimmerman, 86, a retired Boeing engineer from Seattle, and his brother, Robert Zimmerman, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., had been flying around the country for several weeks on a pleasure trip.

Both were longtime, experienced pilots, said Jim Zimmerman, of Renton, a son of Ward Zimmerman.

On Monday, the sheriff asked for a Black Hawk helicopter from the Air National Guard base in Cheyenne to help out. It has winch capabilities.

Once the Black Hawk reaches the scene, said the Sheriff’s Office, “options will be discussed that include possibly lowering rescuers down to the wreckage to determine the condition of the men.”

It wasn’t clear whether that would happen late Monday or sometime Tuesday.

Meanwhile, relatives held out hope.

“It doesn’t look good right now, but they haven’t confirmed anything,” said Jim Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said his dad and uncle kept in touch with various family members, who had not heard from them since last Tuesday. But it was not unusual for the brothers to deviate from their travel plans.

On Thursday, the family began making calls to authorities.

The Sheriff’s Office said the plane was last seen Tuesday departing Yellowstone Regional Airport.

The brothers were headed from Cody to Twin Falls, Idaho, and from there to Seattle. Radar last detected the plane about seven miles outside the Yellowstone east entrance in northwest Wyoming, said the Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, Joel Simmons, director of operations at Choice Aviation in Cody, the facility from which the brothers had refueled, said the two brothers felt that a departure at around noon gave them “a little window” in between “some big weather systems.”

It had been raining and snowing throughout the day, he said. Simmons said he wouldn’t have taken off then for a flight to Twin Falls.

“It was inclement weather, freezing temperatures, a low cloud cover over some mountains west of us,” said Simmons. “They said they were comfortable with it and would push out of there. They were determined to keep moving.”

He said the brothers did say that if the weather worsened, “they would try to come back.”

Initially, the Sheriff’s Office said that due to the size of their aircraft, the brothers were not required to file a flight plan.

Planes fly with either Visual Flight Rules (VFR), in which they use cues such as the horizon or buildings, or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), the kind used when there is no visibility outside and mandated for all commercial passenger planes.

Simmons said the brothers’ plane wasn’t equipped with IFR and doesn’t believe they were even “IFR rated.”

It is up to pilots to make the final decision on whether to fly out using visual rules and decide if the weather permits it, although the FAA has guidelines.

It is up to them whether or not to file a flight plan when flying VFR, said the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

They hadn’t.

http://seattletimes.com




Occupants presumed dead in North Fork plane crash 

Searchers found the wreckage of a private plane on a North Fork mountain Monday morning and the two occupants are presumed to be dead.

The plane carrying pilot Robert L. Zimmerman, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., and his 86-year-old brother, Ward H. Zimmerman of Seattle, is believed to have crashed on May 6 as they attempted to fly from Cody to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Park County Search and Rescue personnel spotted the wreckage of the Mooney M20C Ranger aircraft around 9:15 a.m. Monday on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain. It was found in a steep ravine about four and a half miles south of U.S. Highway 14-16-20 West and the Buffalo Bill Boy Scout Camp.

After reviewing aerial photographs and talking with Search and Rescue personnel and the crew of a Black Hawk helicopter that surveyed the scene, Park County Sheriff Scott Steward "was forced to conclude that the brothers perished as a result of the crash," said Lance Mathess, a spokesman for the agency.

“Given the damage to the aircraft as well as the extremely harsh environmental conditions in the area, I think there’s no other conclusion we can make,” Steward said in a Tuesday morning statement.

The sheriff extended his condolences to the Zimmerman family.

The brothers were experienced pilots on a multi-week, cross-country trip that was to include a flight over Yellowstone National Park as they headed back to Seattle, a family member told The Seattle Times.

The plane suffered heavy front end damage and a wing was torn from the aircraft, Mathess said.

A helicopter from Sky Aviation brought two Search and Rescue members to the top of Howell Mountain after the discovery, but dangerous snow conditions prohibited them from descending to the plane, Mathess said.

A Black Hawk helicopter from Charlie Company 5-159 of the Wyoming National Guard flew over the scene on Monday afternoon. There had been hopes that the chopper could lower a crew member to the plane via winch to determine the condition of the occupants, but the risk of avalanche was found to be too high.

Mathess said the brothers flew into Yellowstone Regional Airport on May 5, then spent the night in Cody before flying out at 11:30 a.m. on May 6.

The Zimmermans’ family members began calling authorities about the overdue brothers on Thursday, The Seattle Times reported. Police in Twin Falls contacted the Park County Sheriff’s Office and asked for help around midday Saturday, Mathess said.

The U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center used archived radar data to track the Zimmermans’ flight path and provide what turned out to be the general area of the crash site, Mathess said.

Park County Search and Rescue personnel were deployed to the Kitty Creek area on Sunday, but poor weather prohibited any aerial searches until Monday.

Howell Mountain tops out at 10,964 feet in elevation.

Sheriff Steward praised the dedicated efforts of the Search and Rescue volunteers, who spent more than 14 hours on the backcountry search despite difficult weather conditions.