Thursday, June 05, 2014

Drone-Passenger Jet Collision? Mystery Clouds A Near Miss: Officials and Drone Enthusiasts Are Still Puzzling Over Exactly What Happened

The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas

June 5, 2014 8:21 p.m. ET

Weeks after a federal regulator first publicly described a near miss between a drone and an airliner, officials and drone enthusiasts are still puzzling over exactly what happened, a mystery that illustrates the challenges in tracking unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said on May 8 that an American Airlines Group Inc. jet in March nearly hit a model aircraft around 2,300 feet above Tallahassee, Fla. The official said the agency didn't know who had piloted the unmanned aircraft, but described the incident as dangerous.

The account angered many unmanned-aircraft enthusiasts, who saw it as an effort to justify FAA restrictions on commercial use of unmanned aircraft. Those enthusiasts have homed in on the few details known about the incident and settled on one general conclusion.

"The whole thing really hasn't made sense," said Florida State University physics professor Jeff Owens, who is vice president of a Tallahassee model-aircraft club that has debated the near miss at meetings and mapped out the incident's location in relation to the club's airfield.

Model aircraft are typically used by hobbyists and are models of larger airplanes. Drones typically don't resemble full-size aircraft and are more advanced and nimble than model planes, though the term drones is also used to describe any unmanned aircraft.

The FAA prohibits the commercial use of drones without its authorization. It has approved just two commercial drones for use off the Alaska coast, but the agency is now considering expedited approvals for several other uses, including filmmaking and agriculture. The FAA generally allows the recreational use of drones, though it urges users to follow several guidelines, including flying below 400 feet and staying away from airports.

Last month, the FAA said a model F-4 fighter jet with camouflage paint came so close to a 50-seat regional jet on March 22 that the pilot reported to air-traffic control that "he was sure he had collided with it." The agency since has said that its investigation has revealed little and that it has no other information.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics, a national association that helps regulate and insure model aircraft, said the FAA contacted the group the day after the incident. Association officials interviewed local model-aircraft operators and retailers, but found no leads.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the biggest drone trade group, said its inquiry into the incident also found nothing. "Many details remain a mystery and, for that reason, we believe it's important not to draw conclusions about what happened," the group said.

Adding to the mystery: A person with knowledge of the airline pilot's report said that, in contrast to the FAA official's account, the pilot, from American's US Airways unit, never believed his aircraft was in danger.

The FAA said it interviewed the pilot and stands by its account of the incident.

Drone pilots and advocates say they are skeptical of the FAA account in part because few model aircraft can operate at 2,300 feet. They also express doubt that a pilot flying at hundreds of miles an hour could describe the model aircraft so specifically.

"When you're in a cockpit, you don't see a bird until it hits your windshield," said private pilot Chad Dennis, an aerospace instructor at Middle George State College and the chairman of Georgia's working group on drones.

Two commercial airline pilots, including Sean Cassidy, national safety coordinator for a big pilots union, said pilots can make out objects if they come close enough and that it isn't unrealistic for the pilot to have recognized a model F-4 if he was an aviation enthusiast.

American declined to make the pilot available for an interview.

The dearth of information about a close call, despite the efforts of so many to investigate it, underscores the FAA's challenges in regulating drones in the U.S. The agency has yet to finalize formal rules for unmanned aircraft, so drones aren't required to have tracking technology or to be registered with the government or an insurance company.

Safety experts said near misses between manned aircraft are easier to investigate because the vast majority of planes carry transponders and show up on radar. Air-traffic controllers can't see drones on their scopes, nor can the systems on commercial passenger planes that scan for other aircraft. And basic rules for pilots to visually scan for traffic become more difficult with drones.

"The target that jet pilots are looking for is smaller and harder to see, and the other vehicle doesn't have a pilot in it," said John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems, an air-safety consulting firm.

Manned aircraft normally should be at least 1,000 feet apart vertically and several miles apart laterally. The FAA said in September that its most recent twelve months of data show roughly 4,400 incidents in which aircraft flew too close to each other.

Without a definitive account, alternate theories have cropped up. One scenario promoted by drone enthusiasts is that the pilot actually saw one of the full-sized F-4 fighter jets stationed at nearby Tyndall Air Force Base, which are former manned aircraft turned drones.

A full-sized F-4 would be hard to miss: it is 63 feet long, with a wingspan of roughly 38 feet. An Air Force spokeswoman said none of Tyndall's unmanned F-4s "were anywhere near where the near miss occurred."

In talks around Tallahassee and among the drone community, "people keep repeating the Air Force thing," said Steve Hogan, a Tallahassee attorney who represents many drone users. "If that isn't what happened, then I really don't know what to tell you."


Learjet 35, N549PA: Medical plane makes emergency stop at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (KCGI), Missouri

A Learjet bound for Louisville, Kentucky, made an unscheduled stop Thursday afternoon at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport after a warning light indicated one of its engines was on fire, an airport official said.
The Angel MedFlight plane was transporting a patient from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Louisville shortly before noon Thursday when an indicator light showed it had a fire in its right engine, airport manager Bruce Loy said.

Emergency personnel, including firefighters, law enforcement and an ambulance, headed to the airport to meet the plane, which landed safely in what Loy called "a routine emergency."

"I don't think they ever did confirm that they had one (engine fire), but to be safe, because they had a patient, they shut it off," Loy said.

As Loy spoke, workers were busy getting the occupants off the plane and inspecting it.

"They'll have somebody analyze it and make sure it wasn't just a short in the light," he said.

None of the six occupants of the plane -- pilot, co-pilot, patient and three others -- was injured, Loy said.

"Everybody's safe, and now they're going to make the determination about how they're going to get their patient to Louisville," he said. 

Story and photo:

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: Chopper crash pilot arrested

Frikkie Lutzkie

BULAWAYO,  Zimbabwe  – Police have arrested a South African millionaire running a game farm near West Nicholson, his lawyer has confirmed. 

Frikkie Lutzkie was arrested shortly after disembarking at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport on Monday, his attorney Vonani Majoko told Chronicle.

Lutzkie reportedly informed the authorities that he would be coming “to clear the air” following his involvement in a May 4 helicopter incident at Doddieburn Ranch that raised a lot of speculation after he buried the chopper.

Efforts to get a comment from police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba were in vain as a person who answered her mobile phone said she was busy.

However, Majoko said police took Lutzkie to Gwanda following the arrest and was brought to Bulawayo yesterday en route to Harare.

The lawyer added that the South African is yet to be informed of the charges he is facing.

“What we can confirm is that he has been in police custody since the 2nd of June. He flew into the country and landed at Bulawayo airport having made prior arrangements with the police that he was coming into the country to clear the air over allegations that he had committed certain offences as widely reported in the press,” said Majoko.

“He did not come following any application for extradition, he came voluntarily. He was taken to Gwanda where he was held overnight, was then brought to Bulawayo on the 3rd enroute to Harare.”

Lutzkie’s arrest follows the deportation over the weekend of Kevin Bloom, a man whom he had seconded to Doddieburn Ranch to check on Russian tourists who were camped there, an impeccable source told Chronicle yesterday.

“I am an investor. I have not committed any crime. I have never been convicted of any crime in my life. What could I have done?”

Lourens Botha, Doddieburn Ranch manager and Pieter Marais, one of Lutzkie’s alleged employees, are currently out on bail for allegedly working without permits at the ranch and they have since been ordered to stay at their residence in Burnside.

Over the weekend, Chronicle established that the ranch has been placed under heavy security including a 24-hour surveillance that has seen law enforcement agents restricting visits to the property.

In an interview on Sunday, Lutzkie stuck to his previous version that he had not violated any of the country’s laws as he buried the chopper in fear that some people, especially children, might tamper with it.

He said this could result in it exploding, injuring or killing people.

“I am an investor. I have not committed any crime. I have never been convicted of any crime in my life,” he said.

“What could I have done? If there was an explosion and people died, I was going to be arrested my friend.” 


Augusta A119,  Abalengani Helicopters,  ZS-RSL

Ocean City Air Show returns

The skies of downtown Ocean City will be roaring the weekend of June 13-15 with the return of the Ocean City Air Show. 

Now in its seventh year, the event, put together by B. Lilley Productions, will bring thousands to the resort town, eager to see what will fly through the air over the course of the weekend. It has emerged over the years as one of the top air shows in the nation, according to Bryan Lilley, president of B. Lilley Productions.

2014 is a unique year for the show, he said. In addition to the event being held on Flag Day and Father's Day, the Ocean City show is the only one on the docket for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in the mid-Atlantic — the 2014 Andrews Air Show in Maryland was canceled — and one of six shows nationwide that will feature an AV-8B Harrier II jet from the U.S. Marines.

The U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs parachute team and several civilian acts for the show will also be participating.

Website traffic to nearly doubled in comparison to 2012, the last year the military groups were involved, Lilley said.

"Last year was a great show with an all-star all-civilian lineup, but the absence of that feeling of patriotism, the absence of the red, white and blue flags and red, white and blue jets, it was missing something," he said. "When you have the military there and the patriotism there, it has that goosebump factor, it has the hair stand up on the back of your neck."

The show serves as a family friendly event and a way for curious minds to learn more about aviation and the military, Lilley said.

U.S. Air Force planes fly in formation as members of the United States Navy Seals Leap Frogs parachute onto the beach at the Ocean City Air Show 2011. The show includes teams showing off acrobatics and formations by civilian and military aircraft, a U.S. Navy Seals Flag Jump, a C5M Super Galaxy flyby and an A-10 Warthog demo. The Ocean City Air Show continues Sunday at noon, with show center at 16th Street oceanside.(Photo: Laura Emmons photo)

There will be several opportunities to meet and talk with the pilots over the course of the weekend, Lilley said. The best ways to do so are during evening hospitality events which will be held throughout the weekend, or staying at host hotels where the crews will be, which can be found on the event's website.

"To walk around with one of the Thunderbird pilots in uniform and watch them meet a 6-year-old kid and talk to him for 30 seconds, it can have an impact on his life," he said. "Meeting a pilot to a 6-year-old, you watch that, it's so cool. It's really hard to do the air show, it's a major challenge. The few moments like that make it all worth the effort."



• 7 p.m. Bacardi Welcome Party — Blu Crabhouse, 24th Street


• 8 a.m. Breakfast with the Performers — Layton's Family Restaurant, 16th Street

• 12:30 p.m. OC Air Show Preview — Show Center between 15th & 16th Streets

• 7 p.m. Air Show Take Off Party — Cowboy Coast, 17th Street


• 8 a.m. Breakfast with the Performers — Layton's Family Restaurant, 16th Street

• 9 a.m. Display Village and Premium Viewing opens — 13th to 19th streets on the Boardwalk

• 11 a.m. Flight Line Club VIP and Hospitality Chalets open — 14th to 17th streets

• 12:30 p.m. OC Air Show — Show Center at 16th Street

• 3 p.m. U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performance

• 4 p.m. Air Show Happy Hour — Surfin' Betty's Pool Bar, 16th Street

• 7 p.m. Air Show Performer Event, Ocean Downs — Route 589, Berlin


• 8 a.m. Breakfast with the Performers — Layton's Family Restaurant, 16th Street

• 9 a.m. Display Village and Premium Viewing opens — 13th to 19th Streets on the Boardwalk

• 11 a.m. Flight Line Club VIP and Hospitality Chalets open — Show Center Beach, 14th to 17th Streets

• 12:30 p.m. OC Air Show — Show Center at 16th Street

• 3 p.m. U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performance

• 4 p.m. Air Show Happy Hour — Surfin' Betty's Pool Bar, 16th Street

• 7 p.m. Air Show Afterburner Party — Captain's Table, Marriott Courtyard 15th Street

In association with the Ocean City Air Show; June 12 to June 15, eight (8) yellow buoys will be established to mark the restricted/event area offshore of the beach viewing area which spans approximately from TALBOT Street thru 33RD Street.
  • Ocean City Air Show Buoy: Chart 12211
  • North West Corner 38 21 37 71N—75 04 03.86W
  • North Center 38 21 32.06N—75 03 46.35W
  • North East Corner 38 21 26.72N—75 03 28.71W
  • East Center 38 20 30.82N—75 03 53.56W
  • South East Corner 38 19 34.77N—75 04 18.82W
  • South Center 38 19 39.89N—75 04 36.22W
  • South West Corner 38 19 45.21N—75 04 54.16W
  • West Center 38 20 41.69N—75 04 28.72W

Two additional Air show event buoys will be established:

  • Center Marker 38 20 36.25N—75 04 11.16
  • Bomb Burst 38 20 17.23N—75 04 19.96
Source: CG 5th District NTM 05222014

The U.S. military will return to the skies over Ocean City, Maryland in 2014 as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds return to headline the OC Air Show!  The 7th annual event will take place June 14-15, 2014 over the beach and boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland.
The OC Air Show will feature some of the nations top military and civilian performers including military jet demos, aerobatic demos, formation flight and parachute teams, and will be one of only six airshows in the nation to feature a demo by the USMC AV-8B Harrier!  

General viewing is free from the beach starting three blocks to the North/South of Show Center. The New VIP Skybox reserved seating terrace and the Flight Line VIP Clubhouse are available for purchase online or by phone. Both include reserved parking at or near show center. 

Nepal Airline Corporation de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter (9N-ABB) crash report out

Shows crew members did not follow standard operating procedures‚ pilot-in-command disregarded co-pilot's suggestions 

KATHMANDU: Nepal Airline Corporation’s Twin Otter crashed at Dihidanda of Masinalek in Arghakhanchi district on February 16, as crew members failed to follow standard operating procedures and the pilot-in-command disregarded the co-pilot’s call ‘not to descend the aircraft’, a report prepared by a committee formed to investigate the air accident says.

The aircraft had left for Jumla from Pokhara at 12:43pm carrying 15 passengers and three crew members. The flight was made by Pilot-in-command (PIC) Shankar Shrestha and Co-pilot Rabindra Banjara after weather conditions at Pokhara and Jumla airports were said to be clear.

But after seven minutes into the flight, the weather condition deteriorated and the aircraft diverted from its normal route and headed south. The plane then gradually started ascending and reached an altitude of 10,500 feet, where the temperature fell to minus six degrees centigrade.

Although the PIC issued a warning about the falling temperature, no action was taken to prevent icing, says the report, which was handed over to Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya today.

“Conversation between the PIC and co-pilot shows that the weather condition was adverse at that time. Yet, the PIC was more focused on completing the mission rather than returning to Pokhara,” said Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), who is also member secretary of the committee.

Then after 23 minutes into the flight, the co-pilot complained about track becoming worse and the plane headed towards Dang. Two minutes later, the aircraft descended to an altitude of 8,500 feet, where the temperature was recorded at zero degree centigrade.

After about another three minutes, the aircraft again encountered bad weather condition. A minute later the pilot called for diversion of the plane to Bhairahawa.

“By that time, the pilot and co-pilot seem to have lost sense of direction. And the PIC must have assumed they had entered the Tarai region,” said Meghendra Kumar Shrestha, senior aeronautical engineer and a member of the committee. “As a result, the PIC started descending the plane.”

However, the co-pilot suggested that the PIC not descend the aircraft or make a turn. But the PIC did just that.

“At that time, the co-pilot should have insisted ... Insistence at that particular time was very necessary,” the report says.

Then as the aircraft made a turn, it slashed a branch of a tree and hit the sloppy ridge with a huge impact.

“The aircraft was totally damaged and disintegrated. Some parts were completely burnt. Different parts and pieces got scattered on both sides of the ridge,” says the report.

And all 18 on board got killed.

“Based on the evidence, it could be concluded that the nature of the accident was a ‘Controlled Flight into Terrain’,” says the report referring to the type of accident which occurs when an aircraft under full control of the pilot is flown into terrain, water or an obstacle. In such a condition, pilots generally become aware of the gravity of the situation after it is too late and usually are in no position to take preventive measures.

“This occurred because of serious lack of coordination among crew members, PIC’s faulty decision and inability on the part of the co-pilot to strongly intervene in the PIC’s wrong action,” the report says.

MoCTCA Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya said that airline companies must be more careful while pairing PICs and co-pilots, as senior pilots tend to turn a deaf ear to advices laid by junior pilots. He made the comment referring to the aircraft accident of Agni Air in Jomsom in May 2012, in which the PIC had failed to heed the suggestion of the co-pilot. At least 15 people were killed in the accident.

“Also, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal should ensure that all aircraft making commercial flights are equipped with the appropriate Terrain Awareness Warning System,” says the report.

- See more at:

Nepal Airlines,  de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, 9N-ABB,  Flight RA-183

Nepal's history of plane crashes

Cleveland, Tennessee: Auction of Hardwick Field (KHDI) comes up short

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — This morning's auction of 62.54 acres of property formerly known as Hardwick Field here fell nearly $750,000 short of the land’s appraised value of $1.785 million, with Check Into Cash CEO Allan Jones taking most of the old airfield.

Jones took the lion’s share of the property, which amounted to 57.34 acres and included the facility’s runway and large maintenance hangar.

“I plan to use it for my muscle car collection,” he said.

Dempsey Auction opened the bid for that parcel at $1.498 million, but after receiving no response initially, lowered the bidding price to $750,000. Jones made the sole offer on the tract.

City officials expressed displeasure with the auction’s results.

“I’m disappointed in what we received for the property,” City Manager Janice Casteel said.

The proceeds from the auction are earmarked for reimbursing the city for its $6 million investment in the new Cleveland Regional Jetport, she said.

The sale of the former Hardwick Field property will be subject to the approval of the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority, state aviation officials and the Federal Aviation Administration.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press

Allan Jones 
Contributed Photo

Joseph Glenn Folsom Jr: Former Certified Public Accountant found guilty of stealing $580K for an airplane, classic cars, and lake property for himself

Joseph Glenn Folsom, Jr. 
Source: Lexington County Detention Center


A former Midlands certified public accountant has been found guilty of stealing approximately $580,000 from an estate in which he had named himself executor.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced 61-year-old Joseph Glenn Folsom, Jr., of Camden, was convicted of four counts of interstate transportation of stolen money following a three-day trial in Columbia that concluded Wednesday.

Nettles said evidence presented at the trial established that Glenn Folsom prepared the taxes for "E.F." and her husband for thirty years. "E.F." requested Folsom to draft her will in December 2006.  He did so, naming himself as the executor. When she died ten months later, Folsom used his power as executor to steal funds from the estate and buy classic cars, an airplane, and lake property for himself.

"The United States Attorney's Office will continue to prosecute those who abuse the trust placed in them by our most vulnerable citizens, in this case, an elderly woman and her family," said Nettles. "We are grateful for a system of justice that holds Glenn Folsom and those like him accountable for their actions."

"We are pleased by the resolution of this matter," said David A. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI "This individual betrayed the confidence and trust placed in him, and the financial losses in this case were staggering. We will continue working with our partners to identify and stop those who line their own pockets at the expense of others."

Folsom faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.

United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., will sentence Folsom at a later date.


Camden Accountant Found Guilty of Theft:

Yakovlev YAK-55M, N176FD: Fatal accident occurred June 01, 2014 at Stevens Point Municipal Airport (KSTE), Portage County, Wisconsin

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
International Council of Airshows (ICAS); Leesburg, Virginia

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Bill Cowden poses with his aerobatics plane on Sunday morning June 01, 2014 at the Stevens Point Air Show, a few hours before the plane crashed.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 01, 2014 in Stevens Point, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/2017
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK-55M, registration: N176FD
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The pilot was performing an aerobatic flight at an airshow event when the accident occurred. The flight team manager witnessed the accident and reported that the airplane entered an intentional inverted flat spin at the apex of an inside loop maneuver. The airplane completed more than 3 rotations in the inverted flat spin before recovering into a dive. The team manager then saw the airplane pitch up and enter an "aggressive" left turn. A review of ground-based video footage confirmed the sequence of events reported by the team manager and showed that, after the pitch up and left roll, the airplane entered a nose-low, descending left spiral that continued to ground impact. The observed flight path was consistent with an accelerated aerodynamic stall after the pilot had recovered from the inverted spin at a low altitude. The airplane cockpit was equipped with an aft-facing video camera that captured the pilot and his flight control movements. A review of the available cockpit footage confirmed that the pilot remained conscious throughout the accident flight and that the ailerons, elevator, and engine had responded to his control inputs. Although the rudder was obstructed from view in the video by the pilot's helmeted head, his observed leg movements were consistent with expected rudder inputs throughout the flight. Further, a postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during the aerobatic flight, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and entering an accelerated stall at a low altitude.
Bill Cowden


On June 1, 2014, about 1222 central daylight time, a Yakovlev YAK-55M airplane, N176FD, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an aerobatic flight over the Stevens Point Municipal Airport (STE), Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local airshow demonstration flight that departed about 1220.

The flight team manager, who provided the public announcement during the aerobatic flight, reported that the flight began with the airplane rolling inverted shortly after liftoff on runway 21 and making a shallow inverted climb past show center. The airplane then rolled upright before entering a 90° turn away from show center and the crowd. The airplane continued to climb as it turned to a heading opposite that of the takeoff runway, turned back to the runway heading, and reentered the aerobatic box. The airplane rolled inverted before it entered a 45° dive toward show center. The airplane then completed several descending aileron rolls before it rolled wings level and entered a near vertical climb. At the apex of the climb/loop, the airplane entered an inverted flat spin. The flight team manager stated that the pilot normally entered the inverted flat spin at 3,000 ft above ground level (agl) and completed three rotations before recovering in a vertical dive with a 4-5 g pullup at show center; however, on the accident flight, the pilot appeared to enter the inverted spin about 500 ft lower than normal and complete more than 3 rotations before recovering into a dive. According to the the flight team manager, the airplane then pitched up and entered an "aggressive" left turn that resulted in an accelerated aerodynamic stall.

A review of ground-based video footage showed that the airplane had completed 3-1/2 rotations in the inverted flat spin before it entered a near-vertical dive. The airplane pitched up momentarily before it developed a rapid left roll. The airplane subsequently entered a nose-low, descending left spiral that continued to ground impact.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the 47-year-old pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with single engine land and sea, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was type-rated for the Airbus A320, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, McDonnell Douglas DC-9, and Douglas DC-3 transport category airplanes. He also held a glider rating. The single engine land and sea airplane ratings were limited to commercial privileges. The glider rating was limited to private privileges. The pilot's last aviation medical examination was completed on March 24, 2014, when he was issued a first-class medical certificate with no restrictions or limitations. On September 16, 2013, the pilot completed an evaluation flight and was issued a Statement of Aerobatic Competency. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings. His last flight review, as required by 14 CFR Part 61.56, was completed on May 12, 2014.

The pilot's flight history was established using his pilot logbook. His most recent logbook entry was completed on May 28, 2014, at which time he had accumulated 8,266.1 hours total flight time, of which 3,628.5 hours were listed as pilot-in-command. According to the logbook, the pilot had accumulated 3,608.8 hours in single-engine airplanes, 4,649.7 hours in multi-engine airplanes, and 4.7 hours in gliders. The pilot had flown 184.2 hours during the 90 days before the accident, 36 hours in the month before the accident, and 0.8 hours during the 24-hour period before the accident. The pilot had accumulated 107.6 hours in the accident airplane make/model. According to available documentation, the pilot had completed one aerobatic training flight in his authorized aerobatic practice box during the 8-month period before the accident. The single aerobatic training flight was completed on May 28, 2014, in the accident airplane.


The airplane was a 1993 Yakovlev YAK-55M, serial number 930810. It was an aerobatic single-place, single-engine airplane with a fixed conventional landing gear. The airplane was powered by a 360-horsepower, 9-cylinder Vendeneyev M14P radial engine, serial number KR0312035. The engine provided thrust through a constant-speed, three-blade, MT-Propeller MTV-9-B-C propeller, serial number 110600. The airplane had a maximum allowable takeoff weight of 2,150 pounds. The pilot purchased the airplane on October 17, 2010. The airplane was issued an FAA experimental category airworthiness certificate for the purpose of exhibition and associated operating limitations on December 7, 2010.

According to the airplane maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on September 29, 2013. At the time of that inspection, the airframe and engine had accumulated 214.5 hours total time. The propeller had accumulated 51.4 hours total time. The last recorded maintenance was an engine oil change that was completed on May 22, 2014. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues. The recording hour (Hobbs) meter was damaged during the accident, and a definitive reading could not be obtained.


At 1215, an automated surface weather observation station located at STE reported: wind 200° at 14 knots, gusting 21 knots; broken cloud ceilings at 2,900 ft agl and 3,600 ft agl; 10 miles surface visibility; temperature 26° Celsius; dew point 19° Celsius; and an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of mercury.


The Stevens Point Municipal Airport, located about 3 miles northeast of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, was served by two asphalt runways, runway 3/21 (6,028 ft by 120 ft) and runway 12/30 (3,635 ft by 75 ft). The airport elevation was 1,110 ft mean sea level.


The accident site was located alongside a dirt road in a wooded area about 260 yards northeast of the runway 30 threshold. The elevation of the accident site was 1,095 ft. The main wreckage consisted of the entire airplane, which was orientated on a northwest heading. The wreckage was found in an upright position, and there was no appreciable wreckage debris path. The observed tree damage and the lack of a lateral debris path were consistent with a near vertical impact. All observed structural component failures were consistent with overstress separation, and there was no evidence of an inflight or postimpact fire. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The engine was found in a 2.5 ft deep impact crater and remained partially attached to the firewall. Three engine cylinders had partially separated from the crankcase, which prevented the engine from being rotated. After removing several cylinders, an internal examination did not reveal any mechanical discontinuities within the engine drivetrain. The No. 1 magneto exhibited impact damage that prevented a functional test. The No. 2 magneto provided a spark on all leads when rotated. All three propeller blades were fragmented, consistent with the engine producing power at the time of impact. The postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


At the request of the Portage County Coroner, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, located in Madison, Wisconsin. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt-force injuries sustained during the accident. The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on samples obtained during the autopsy. The toxicological test results were negative for ethanol and all drugs and medications.


A Garmin GPSMAP 396, serial number 67014609, was recovered from the wreckage and examined at the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory. The non-volatile data was recovered through a memory-chip recovery process. The final dataset was recorded on May 31, 2014, and was associated with a 0.8-hour flight from Menomonie Municipal Airport (LUM) to STE. The Garmin GPSMAP 396 device did not contain any data associated with the accident flight.

A GoPro Hero 3+ digital video camera, serial number 30C3CDE, was recovered from the wreckage and examined at the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory. A forensic recovery of the memory card revealed eight video files. Seven of the eight video files were not associated with the accident flight. The remaining video file contained 4 minutes 37 seconds of video footage from the accident flight.

A review of the available video footage established that the camera was mounted on the glare shield facing aft toward the pilot. The pilot's helmeted head, torso, hips, upper legs, and knees were in the field-of-view. Also visible were the pilot control stick, the inboard portions of both ailerons, the outboard portions of both horizontal stabilizers, and both elevator horns/counterbalances. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were obscured by the pilot's helmeted head. The video camera also recorded audio that detected changes in wind and engine noise during the accident flight.

A review of the video footage established that the flight controls were moving in conjunction with the pilot's control inputs and that he closed and locked the canopy before takeoff. The pilot initiated the takeoff by advancing the engine power lever gradually with his left hand. The airplane became airborne in a level attitude while over the runway 21 centerline. About 8 seconds after liftoff, the pilot activated the smoke system with his right thumb on the control stick, and the airplane briefly entered a slight climb before it rolled to the right into an inverted attitude. The inverted airplane was slightly left of the runway 21 centerline. The pilot then pushed the control stick forward to initiate an inverted climb. During the inverted climb, the pilot turned the airplane away from the showline and eventually rolled the airplane upright and continued in a climbing left turn onto a downwind for runway 21. While on the downwind, the pilot made a radio call and activated the airplane's smoke system several times. The airplane continued to climb on the left crosswind and eventually turned upwind for runway 21.

At 03:53 (mm:ss) into the recording, the pilot made a radio call, activated the smoke system, and rolled the airplane inverted. After rolling inverted, the airplane continued to fly level briefly before the pilot applied aft control stick with both hands to establish a descending flight path of about 45°. The airplane then completed 2-1/2 right aileron rolls while descending, and smoke was observed trailing the airplane's flight path. By 04:06, the airplane was upright and wings level. The airplane then entered an inside loop maneuver. While the airplane was ascending, the two intersecting runways were visible outside the airplane's canopy. The longitudinal axis of the airplane appeared to be about 20° offset to the runway 3/21 centerline. At 04:17, the pilot reduced engine throttle, and the recorded audio track was consistent with a partial reduction in engine power. About 1 second later, the unrestrained portion of the pilot's shoulder harness straps (strap ends) fell toward the top of the airplane's canopy indicating the airplane had entered a negative-g environment. The pilot applied slight forward control stick with his right hand. By 04:19, the pilot further reduced the engine throttle and applied additional forward control stick input. The airplane's heading remained offset about 20° from the runway 3/21 centerline. The elevator horns/counterbalances showed that the elevator was near maximum deflection as the control stick approached the full forward position. The pilot then applied a left rudder input while holding the control stick in the full forward position. The observed smoke trail was consistent with the airplane yawing. By 04:27, the airplane was established in an inverted spin and had completed one rotation. The pilot was still holding full forward stick with some right aileron input. The airplane completed several rotations while in the inverted spin before the pilot began to move the control stick forward and applied right rudder. The airplane's rotation rate began to slow, and by 04:31, the control stick was being held in a neutral pitch position. The elevator was observed in a neutral position when compared to the horizontal stabilizer. The pilot then moved the control stick to the right, and both ailerons were observed to move in conjunction with the control stick position. The shoulder harness straps were still floating, consistent with the airplane still in a negative-g environment. The pilot was holding the control stick with a clenched right hand. At 04:32, the pilot applied a rapid left aileron and left rudder control input. The ailerons were observed to respond to the control stick movement. The shoulder harness straps were no longer floating, consistent with the airplane in a positive-g environment. The airplane rotation stopped, and there was an increase in engine noise.

About a second after the rotation had stopped, the pilot quickly centered the control stick before moving the control stick aft. The elevator was observed to move in conjunction with the control stick movement. The ailerons appeared to be in a neutral position as the airplane pitched up from a nose-low descent toward level flight. Within the next 2 seconds, the horizon became visible behind the airplane. The upright airplane was banked slightly to the right as the airplane neared a level flight attitude. At 04:34, the pilot moved his head to look over his right shoulder. The airplane continued to pitch up and subsequently entered a level climb. The pilot then turned his head back toward the center of the cockpit, his right hand was still firmly griping the control stick, and his left hand was on the engine throttle. Runway 3/21 was observed directly behind the airplane and perpendicular to the airplane's flight path. The airplane then entered an abrupt left roll with a positive pitch angle. The pilot had not commanded the left roll with aileron or rudder control input. The control stick position was consistent with an aft pitch and a neutral roll input. The observed positions of the ailerons and elevator were consistent with the control stick position.

The video footage was analyzed frame-by-frame, and the left roll rate appeared to increase rapidly between frames. The pilot was still griping the control stick with his right hand while his left hand remained on the engine throttle. As the left roll developed, the pilot moved the control stick to the right and partially reduced the aft pitch. The airplane continued to roll left, and the runway 30 threshold markings became visible below the airplane. During the left roll, the pilot added additional right roll control and further reduced the aft pitch input. The ailerons and elevator responded to the control stick movement. Throughout the left roll, the pilot was looking forward, and his right hand remained on the control stick and his left hand on the engine throttle. At 04:37, the video footage ended with the airplane still airborne and rolling to the left. The airplane had rolled beyond 90° to the horizon and the runway 30 threshold markings were still visible under the airplane. The final impact sequence was not recorded by the video camera. However, during the final seconds of recorded video, the pilot's body positioning, active head movements, and flight control movements were consistent with him being conscious. Additionally, the review of the available video footage confirmed that the pilot had remained conscious throughout the aerobatic flight.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 01, 2014 in Stevens Point, WI
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK-55M, registration: N176FD
Injuries: 1 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 June 1, 2014, about 1222 central daylight time, a Yakovlev model YAK-55M airplane, N176FD, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an aerobatic flight over the Stevens Point Municipal Airport (STE), Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local airshow demonstration flight that departed about 1220.

The flight team manager, who also provided the public-announcement during the accident flight, reported that the accident flight began with the airplane rolling inverted shortly after liftoff, followed by a shallow inverted climb past show-center. The airplane then rolled upright before entering a 90-degree turn away from show-center and the crowd. The airplane continued to climb, while on the opposite heading used for the takeoff, before it turned back to the runway heading and reentered the aerobatic box. The airplane then rolled inverted before it entered a 45-degree dive toward show-center. The airplane then completed several descending aileron rolls before it rolled wings level and entered a near vertical climb. At the apex of the climb/loop, the airplane entered an inverted flat spin.

Ground-based video footage showed that the airplane completed 3-1/2 rotations in the inverted flat spin before it entered a near vertical dive. The video footage then showed a momentary increase in airplane pitch, achieving a positive deck angle of about 20-degrees, before the airplane entered a rapid left roll. The airplane then entered a nose-down left descending spiral into terrain.

A postaccident examination established that the airplane impacted terrain in a near vertical attitude. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The engine was located in a 2-1/2 feet deep impact crater and remained partially connected to the firewall. Three engine cylinders had partially separated from the crankcase, which prevented the engine from being rotated. After removing several cylinders, an internal examination did not reveal any mechanical discontinuities within the engine drivetrain. The No. 1 magneto exhibited impact damage that prevented a functional test. The No. 2 magneto provided a spark on all leads when rotated. All three propeller blades exhibited damage consistent with the engine producing power at the time of impact. The postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. A handheld GPS and GoPro video camera were recovered from the wreckage and were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for readout.
Menomonie pilots Bill Cowden, left, and Jeff Overby posed in 2013 as part of the Menomonie Airfest and Autorama. Cowden was killed Sunday when his plane crashed while performing at a show in Stevens Point.

MENOMONIE — Two days after a Menomonie pilot who was scheduled to participate in the event died when his airplane crashed at an air show, officials confirmed a Menomonie air show scheduled for later this month will occur.

The Menomonie Airfest and Autorama, scheduled for June 21-22, will take place despite the death Sunday of Menomonie pilot Bill Cowden at a Stevens Point air show, said Jeff Overby, a friend of Cowden’s and fellow pilot who is coordinating the Menomonie air show.

“We are moving forward,” Overby said.

To memorialize Cowden, 47, the Menomonie event will include the release of red, white and blue balloons. Those colors match the hues of the Yak-55M Russian single-seat aerobatic aircraft Cowden was piloting when he died.

During the show’s parachute jump, jumpers will dress in red, white and blue in honor of Cowden. And four bicycles — one custom painted for each one of the original pilots at the air show — were scheduled to be auctioned off. The bike in Cowden’s colors will be given to his son at a private event, Overby said.

Cowden’s plane was performing aerial maneuvers when it went down in a wooded area about 1,000 feet east of the Stevens Point Municipal Airport runway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Erik Edgren, who has his own air show from Oskaloosa, Iowa, has been added as a performer for the Menomonie show. According to his website, Edgren performs an airborne comedy routine, flying part of the act inverted in a C-85 powered plane. Other aerobatic performers scheduled for the event are Darrel Massman, Grant Nielsen and Larry Schlasinger.

Overby said he has met with the National Transportation Safety Board to discuss Cowden’s crash. A preliminary report of the crash will be issued in five to 10 days, said Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman.

“The on-scene stage of the investigation was completed and the wreckage released to the insurance company and family,” Weiss said.

Investigators examined Cowden’s crashed plane and nothing was sent for further review, Weiss said, noting two pilots who witnessed the crash will be interviewed. A handheld GPS unit and a camera in the cockpit of the plane will go to Washington to help with investigation, Weiss said.

Four videos taken by the public will also be used as part of the investigation, he said, noting the full crash report will take about one year to complete. The final crash analysis will be published on the website

Cowden loved flying and sharing it with others, people who knew him said.

“We know the risk is great when you are a pilot,” Overby said. “The reward is even greater.”


Bill Cowden

William M. Cowden 
January 4, 1967 - June 1, 2014
Menomonie, Wisconsin

William Morris Cowden, 47, died unexpectedly June 1, 2014, in an accident during his airshow performance in Stevens Point.

Bill was born Jan. 4, 1967, in Minneapolis, Minn., to Walter and Judy Cowden. At the age of 5, Bill and his family moved to Moorhead, Minn., where he grew up, graduating from Moorhead High School in 1985. Thereafter, Bill enlisted in the United States Air Force where he was trained as an aircraft mechanic. Bill transferred to the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1988, attended college and started flight lessons in a Cessna 150. In 1992, after graduating from North Dakota State University, Bill was selected to attend United States Air Force pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. In 1993, between T-37 and T-38 training, Bill married Heather Gullickson of Bowbells, N.D. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese AFB, followed by Fighter Lead-In at Klamath Falls, Oregon.

After earning his USAF wings, Bill was assigned as an F-16 Fighting Falcon (Viper) pilot in the ND Air Guard where he accumulated 1,500 F-16 hours. He retired with the rank of Major in 2006, the same week that he and wife, Heather, welcomed their son, Gunnar William. During his NDANG service, Bill was also hired as a pilot for Northwest Airlines, flying until he was furloughed for a time following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. At that time, he was briefly called to Active Duty. Bill kept busy during the furlough years functioning as Assistant Director of the Fargo Air Museum. In 2007, Bill and family moved to Menomonie. Northwest Airlines later merged with Delta Airlines, where Bill continued to fly as a first officer on the Boeing 757/767 until his death.

Bill had been flying for more than 25 years. He had accumulated more than 7,500 hours in more than 85 different models of aircraft, including gliders and seaplanes as well as type ratings in the Douglas DC-3, Douglas DC-9, MD-88, Airbus A-320, and the Boeing 757/767. Bill held a Level 1 Unrestricted Surface Level Aerobatic waiver. Bill was also an Airframe and Power-plant mechanic and aircraft builder. At the time of his death, Bill had been building his second RV-8 kit airplane. Bill loved to give rides to and mentor aspiring young pilots. He served for many years on airport boards and was once Chairman of the West Fargo Airport Authority. At one time, Bill was a SCUBA diver and a sky diver, accumulating 600 jumps, including one bridge jump and one 20,000 ft jump. When not flying, Bill enjoyed racing, shooting sports and his son’s various activities.

Preceding him in death was his mother, Judy. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Heather, and his son, Gunnar, Menomonie; father Walt (Karie) Cowden, Halstad, Minn.; sister, Kim Cowden, Grand Forks, N.D.; and brother, Kevin Cowden, Maple Grove, Minn.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 6, 2014, at Menomonie Alliance Church, 502 21st Street North, Menomonie. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until time of service. Burial will take place at Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery in Spooner with military honors. There will also be a memorial service at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 13, 2014, at the Fargo Air Museum, 1609 19th Ave. North, Fargo, N.D..

Olson Funeral Home of Menomonie is serving the family.

Airport board moves on after member removal miff: Wilmington International Airport (KILM), North Carolina

The New Hanover County Airport Authority meets in the boardroom at Wilmington International Airport. The meeting came just days after an aborted effort to discuss removing one of its members. 
Photo by Jonathan Spiers. 

The New Hanover County Airport Authority is apparently moving on from a miff last week that saw a meeting called, then cancelled, to discuss the removal of one of its members.

Judging by Wednesday’s regular meeting, which was finished in less than an hour and conducted rather amicably, one never would have known it was one week removed from a false-start attempt to entertain the removal of Al Roseman, one of the authority’s senior members.

An empty chair was all that separated Roseman from Chairman Tom Barber, who called last week’s meeting and cancelled it two days later. Barber said at the time he wanted to address issues with Roseman, who had voted against a majority of the board on several items of business in recent months.

Barber said he reconsidered and called off that meeting in an attempt to work together instead of against each other. Barber said: “I just decided the right thing to do for our charge, our community and the airport is to not have that meeting and to redouble our efforts to work together.”

That appeared the case Wednesday, as board members quickly—but not hastily—progressed through the meeting, hearing reports from staff and monthly updates, as well as a proposal by Roseman to set aside space for a memorial to a former “Mrs. ILM.” Roseman said the memorial is projected to cost $1,500 and that funds would be raised with no cost to the authority.

The board had been at odds in recent months over issues relating to general aviation services, specifically a change in fixed base operators allowed to do business on the airfield. The board voted in April to enter into negotiations with a new service provider, but Roseman and fellow member Carter Lambeth opposed the motion.

That provider, Brixtel Group, began operations of its AviatMall service at Wilmington International Airport over the weekend. Brixtel was awarded a five-year lease to provide fixed-base operator services at the airport. Other services will include aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul, flight training and charter services.

In a release announcing the opening, AviatMall CEO Andy Mansoor was quoted as saying: “We have been looking forward to being a part of the Wilmington International Airport and New Hanover County community.

“ILM is a key market for our customers, and a great addition for our pilot store. We appreciate the trust that the Wilmington International Airport authority has put in us, and are committed to providing exceptional service and uncompromising safety and security for our customers at ILM.”

Mansoor added the company would “immediately begin capital improvement projects to upgrade the facility and will be looking to hire additional employees from the local community as part of our efforts to continue to provide exceptional service. AviatMall is committed to and excited about being a strong partner to the airport and local community.”


Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BODP, Flintshire Flying School: Accident occurred August 16, 2012 in Bruera, Cheshire, UK

Karl Hendrickson (student pilot) and John Green (flight instructor)

Flintshire: Air crash deaths may have been caused by failed stall  

A failed stalling exercise may have  been responsible for a light aircraft  “nose-diving” into a field killing two   men.

The opening day of an inquest  heard  how John Green, 50, an experienced  pilot with Flintshire Flying School from Caergwrle, and  his student Karl Hendrickson, 43, from  Mold, died when their Piper PA-38-112  Tomahawk plummeted to the ground.

It crashed in Bruera, near Chester, on  farmland owned by the Duke of Westminster just before 9pm on August 16,  2012.

Mr Hendrickson, an employee at Airbus in Broughton, was described by his  wife of 14 years Laura as a great lover of  planes and had begun flying lessons with  the school in May that year.

He was on his eighth lesson when the  accident occurred. Mr Green had been  his instructor in all of them.

An investigation carried out by the Air  Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)  revealed that the 31-year-old plane had  been in a spin when it hit the ground.

John McMillan, an investigator with  the AAIB, who spent  two days examining  the scene and wreckage, said that he was  confident that the aircraft was in a  rotation when it landed

He said that the plane and engine –  which was fitted new in March 2012 –  both appeared in good condition and it  had a sufficient amount of fuel.

The inquest heard how flying school  student logs showed Mr Hendrickson  had recently completed exercise 10a –  slow flight – which aims to familiarize a  student with characteristics of the aircraft close to stall. He was due to complete exercise 10b which teaches them  how to recover from a stall.

James Healy-Pratt, representing Mrs  Hendrickson, questioned the AAIB representatives over concerns raised by  American experts that carrying out such  exercises in a Tomahawk could result in  a spin.

Andrew Blackie, also with the AAIB,  said that recommendations had been  made that manoeuvres like these should  be carried out at a higher altitude but  that it was not known the exact altitude  or speed of the plane when it started to  rotate.

Earlier in the inquest, Mark Petrie,  owner of Flintshire Flying School, said  he had originally bought the plane for  his children to learn in.

He described it as a ‘purpose built  training aircraft’ which Mr Green was  very familiar with.

Mr Petrie also said that Mr Green  loved his job and was extremely popular  with his students.

It was pointed out that the aircraft did  have dual controls and that Mr Green,  who had more than 10,000 hours flying  experience, could have taken control at  any point.

The inquest continues.

Story and photo gallery:

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BODP 

Location: Near Bruera, Cheshire
Date of occurrence: 16 August 2012
General Aviation - Fixed Wing


The instructor and student were conducting PPL training for slow flight aircraft handling. At an estimated height of between 2,000 and 3,000 ft, the aircraft turned rapidly through about 180° and descended at a high rate, crashing in a field. The evidence indicated that the aircraft had been in a spin to the left when it struck the surface. Both occupants were fatally injured.

A manufacturer’s revision to the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH), dated May 2012, included advice on the altitudes at which slow flight and stall manoeuvres should be initiated, to provide an adequate margin of safety in the event of an inadvertent spin. This revision, which related to a Safety Recommendation made by the United States of America’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 1997, reached the flying school in the month following the accident.

 NTSB Identification: CEN12WA562 
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Bruera, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 16, 2012, about 1940 universal coordinated time, a Piper PA-38-112 airplane, United Kingdom registration G-BODP, impacted terrain during an instructional flight near Bruera, Cheshire, United Kingdom. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. The local flight departed from Hawarden Airport (EGNR).

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). This report is for informational purposes only and contains information released by or obtained from the government of the United Kingdom.

Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0) 1252 510300

Commercial prop plane returns to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport/Sardy Field (KASE), Aspen, Colorado

The Q-400 is back and offers more flexibility in taking off, landing

After a two-year hiatus, a commercial propeller plane is returning to Sardy Field, giving greater flexibility in landing and taking off during difficult weather circumstances.

The Q-400, operated by regional carrier Republic for United Airlines, was scheduled to touch down at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport today at 8:52 a.m. It has the ability to land from the south, circling over the Aspen golf course if wind conditions warrant.

The only other aircraft that flies into Aspen is the CRJ-700 and it does not have the ability to change its approach, which always is from the north.

Because of its design, the Q-400 also can carry more weight when there are high temperatures and thin mountain air, which prevents the CRJ-700 from taking off with a full load.

“This plane is virtually immune to the weight restrictions,” said Bill Tomcich, the local liaison to the airline industry and president of central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass. “It is a very good aircraft for traveling between Aspen and Denver.”

United will use the aircraft for three of its nine daily flights from Denver to Aspen, Tomcich noted. The other six daily United flights from Denver will still be operated by SkyWest Airlines with the CRJ-700 aircraft.

The last time that aircraft flew into Aspen was when Frontier Airlines served Sardy Field. But the company discontinued service here in 2012. Republic bought Frontier out of bankruptcy in 2009 and continued to operate the fleet of Q-400s until Frontier discontinued use of that aircraft.

While it is a high-performing and comfortable aircraft, Frontier had no other routes where flying a Q-400 made sense.

United chose to go with the Q-400 to improve its overall reliability here, Tomcich said.

Also, starting today United is going to its full summer schedule, with the nine flights from Denver to Aspen, as well as daily nonstops from Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

And on June 11, American Airlines returns to Sardy Field with daily flights from Dallas and Los Angeles.


Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, native returns to area as Blue Angels crewman

When Zachery Bernat pays a visit to his family this weekend, he’ll really make an entrance.

The Punxsutawney native is part of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team, which will perform Saturday and Sunday at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe.

As crew chief, he is responsible for maintaining the multimillion-dollar aircraft and for the pilot’s safety.

“We perform engine turn-up operations, flight control and instrument checks. We set up the cockpits for the pilots. We ensure the pilots’ safety, their survival equipment and the overall appearance of the aircraft,” Bernat said.

“We strap pilots in, start up the aircraft and give them hand signals in sequence, so we’re actually a big part of the show, too.”

Bernat, 28, joined the Navy in 2005 after graduating from Punxsutawney Area High School, inspired by his sister, Amanda, who has been with the Coast Guard now for 14 years.

His twin brother, Jacob, lives in Punxsutawney.

“I joined the Navy to get away from home and to see what’s out there,” Bernat said. “My career just led me here.”

An aviation ordnanceman by rank, Bernat is on a three-year stint as crew chief for the famous fighter pilots.

“I work with all of the weapons systems of the F/A-18,” the planes that the Blue Angels fly. “I load all of the bombs and the missiles so the pilots can drop whatever ordnance they have.”

He found out about a year ago that he had made the team.

“It was awesome. I was stationed in Lemoore, Calif., and my mom was visiting me when I got the call.”

Once Bernat joined the team, he endured rigorous training for about four months.

“It’s an intensive program because there’s precious little time to learn a bunch of stuff,” he said. “It’s a good time to get the team together and focus and basically to become one.”

About 120 pilots and personnel are stationed in Pensacola, Fla., where the Blue Angels are based, he said, and about half of the crew goes to each air show.

This will be Bernat’s fourth show.

“It’s new, but it’s awesome. Especially seeing the kids’ reactions. That’s what makes this job even better.”

Preparations for a weekend air show start early in the week, he said.

“On Mondays we do all the maintenance and wash the aircraft and get ready for inspections. We get all of our gear ready. Typically on Tuesdays and Wednesdays we perform a practice demo here at the squadron” in Pensacola.

The team left Pensacola for Latrobe on Wednesday and today will meet with the media. The jets could be seen (and heard) Wednesday morning flying over Indiana.

A massive C-130 Hercules carries all of the gear, plus the personnel needed for the air show. Most of the crew goes ahead of the pilots, in the transport plane, and recovers the F/A-18s when they land, Bernat said.

Bernat’s family will be there for the show on Sunday. They’d be there Saturday, too, but that’s the day of Amanda’s wedding.

“It’s going to be a good time. They are excited,” he said.

It will be the first time Bernat’s parents, Donald and Carol Bernat, get to see their son at an air show.

“We are very excited,” said Carol Bernat, a seventh-grade teacher at Punxsutawney Area.

It will be a homecoming of sorts, too, for Bernat’s wife, Katie (Sawyer) Bernat, a 2003 graduate of Marion Center Area High School. The couple has two children, Aleyah and Ayden.'


North American AT-6C Texan, N1337: Accident occurred June 04, 2014 in Buckley, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA226
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 04, 2014 in Buckley, WA
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN AT 6C, registration: N13372
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 June 4, 2014, about 1530 Pacific daylight time, a North American AT-6C, N13372, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain following a loss of engine power near Cawleys South Prairie Airport (02WA), Buckley, Washington. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport rated pilot, who was seated in the front seat and airline transport rated passenger, who was seated in the aft seat were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from 02WA about 2 minutes prior to the accident.

Family members of both the pilot and passenger reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) that the airplane had recently been sold to the pilot by the passenger and that the flight was part of a local checkout flight. Family members further reported that the pilot and passenger had conducted a local flight earlier in the day, which lasted about an hour before they had returned for lunch.

Multiple witnesses located in the vicinity of the departure airport and accident site reported observing the airplane takeoff from runway 34 and the engine sounded normal. About 15 to 30 seconds after the airplane had passed the departure end of the runway, witnesses heard the engine sputter. Witnesses stated that they observed the airplane initiate a right turn to an easterly heading followed by a left 270-degree turn while ascending and descending erratically. Witnesses stated that throughout the turn, the engine sounds seemed erratic. As the airplane completed the turn to a southerly heading, the airplane seemed to have lost complete engine power and descended into trees.

Examination of the accident site by the NTSB IIC revealed that the airplane impacted trees and terrain about 1.25 miles northeast of 02WA within a heavily wooded area. An initial point of contact with trees, about 70-feet in height, was observed. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a heading of about 147 degrees magnetic and was about 238 feet in length. All major structure components of the airplane were located within the wreckage debris path. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

FAA Seattle FSDO-01

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- Two men killed in Wednesday’s crash of a World War II-era plane in Pierce County were retired commercial pilots. 

 Jim Cawley retired from Delta Airlines two years ago, according to his son, Clint Cawley.

"You couldn't have two more experienced pilots piloting the aircraft," said Clint.

Jim Cawley taught Clint and his younger son Curt to fly on the family's private airstrip.

"He spread his love of flying and family to us," said Clint.

Rod Richardson had owned the plane for the last 12 years and flew it about 600 hours without a problem.

Cawley bought the plane from his friend Richardson this week. Clint Cawley said his father and Richardson flew the plane in the morning without incident.

But shortly after taking off in the afternoon, it went down about a mile from the Cawley family’s private airstrip near Bonney Lake in Buckley.

The family does not know what caused the wreck.

"We've just got to trust he made the right choice at the right time," said Clint.

Clint works as a cargo pilot in Alaska. His younger brother works in operations with a Seattle airplane tour company.

Clint said what happened to their father won't keep them out of the skies.

"He'd want us to keep flying," he said. "I'll be back in the air soon."

NTSB investigators used a crane to drag the plane wreckage out of the woods Thursday. The investigation could take months.

Jim Cawley

Investigators battle thick brush to remove crashed plane  

BUCKLEY, Wash. —   A National Transportation Safety Board crew is battling poor visibility, but expects to have a crashed World War II plane removed from thick woods by Thursday evening. James Robert Cawley and his neighbor, Rodney John Richardson, were killed when the plane went down near Buckley Wednesday.

The wooded area where the plane went down is so thick with trees and shrubs that investigators won't be able to carry the larger pieces of the plane out.

There's also no way to get heavy equipment in on the ground, so they may have to use a crane to lift the wreckage out.

Another option is to airlift pieces out with a helicopter.

The World War II-era plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Buckley air strip.

The men were test-flying the plane because Cawley was going to buy it from Richardson.

People nearby reported hearing the plane sputtering before it crashed.

Both men were experienced pilots.  At least one of them was a retired commercial pilot.