Friday, June 13, 2014

Incident occurred June 13, 2014 at Scottsdale Airport (KSDL), Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The pilot of a small plane had to make a belly landing at Scottsdale Airport after having landing gear trouble Friday morning.

The pilot got an unsafe gear indicator light on his plane prior to his arrival at the airport, according to Scottsdale Fire Department Division Chief Jay Ducote. The pilot and another person were on board the single-engine plane.

The pilot did a low approach so fire crews and the airport tower could do a visual of the gear, which they determined was partially extended.

The pilot successfully completed a belly landing and no one was injured.

Airport operations and the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene.

A crane is being used to remove the plane from the runway.

The airport was temporarily closed because of this incident.


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

Officials signal alternative to selling Braden Airpark (N43), Queen City Airport (KXLL); pilots cautiously optimistic

The fates of Braden Airpark and Queen City Airport remain up in the air, but the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority is looking for companies to service them.

The authority is requesting proposals from companies that will provide fixed-based operator services. Those typically include the handling of fueling, ground operations and aircraft servicing, Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. said. An ad hoc committee formed in April to study the options for the airports suggested the request to see if there are companies willing to provide such services, Everett said. It's a potential alternative to their sale, he said.

Airport officials expect to see savings from having a fixed-based operator, and one of the reasons for putting out the request is to confirm that expectation, Everett said.

"It may not be the case, so that's why the committee is evaluating that as an option," he said.

Moyer Aviation used to provide the fixed-based operator services for Braden Airpark in Forks Township but stopped in spring 2013, he said. The company was on a month-to-month lease with the authority because its previous lease expired, and its operations relocated to Mount Pocono, Monroe County, Everett said.

Moyer Aviation paid the authority $55,000 a year to operate at Braden Airpark, which allowed the company to generate revenue, Everett said. The authority now provides limited service to Braden Airpark and full service to the Lehigh Valley International and Queen City airports, Everett said.

Forks Township Supervisor Erik Chuss said seeking proposals is a viable option that could save money for the airport authority in the long run. Selling the Braden Airpark, rather than maximizing revenues and minimizing expenses, will cost the authority millions of dollars, he said.

"It makes no sense to do that," Chuss said.

Supervisors decided against purchasing the airport for a nominal fee because of the financial obligations associated with it, he said. There was no asking price, Chuss said. Nonetheless, they recognize the airpark's importance to the Lehigh Valley's transportation infrastructure and the economic benefits to all of Northampton County, he said.

Everett said airport officials' goal now is to see if there are companies interested in serving as the fixed-based operator. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. July 16, according to a legal ad that ran in today's Express-Times. A pre-proposal conference and tour of the airports will be held 10 a.m. June 23 at Braden Airpark and 2 p.m. the same day at Queen City Airport, according to the ad.

The authority received two or three requests for information so far, Everett said.

Pilot Bob Kutzler said Braden Airpark is a mom-and-pop operation where parents and their kids can sit and watch the planes take off and land. A fixed-based operator who makes his livelihood running the small airport is more apt than the authority to do what's necessary to get the business back, he said.
 
"You need somebody that's enthusiastic about running the airport, that wants to make a go of it, and has the creativity to bring it back to the glory that it was 20 years ago," Kutzler said. 

Story and photo:  http://www.lehighvalleylive.com

West Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania: Family visits county site where man survived WW II plane crash

WEST NANTMEAL — Family members of the lone survivor of a fiery 1943 military plane crash gathered near the crash site for the first time Friday after they were contacted by the township’s Historical Commission earlier this month.

Betty Gillespie, the 90-year-old widow of Sgt. John F. Gillespie, was joined by her four children and their spouses Friday to view the area where her husband’s B-24 bomber went down in December 1943. The crash resulted in the deaths of all 10 other servicemen on board.

Gillespie, who served as one of the plane’s gunners, survived after the B-24 went down near the end of its journey from a military airfield in Oklahoma. He spent six months in military hospitals after the crash, first at the Coatesville VA and later at Valley Forge, to receive treatment for a broken back and severe burns.

Gillespie, who died seven years ago, went on to marry and father four children, all of whom joined their mother on Friday to view the site. In all, his family grew to include nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

“He always wondered, ‘why him?” He didn’t know why,” Gillespie’s son, Robert, said Friday.

Robert and his three siblings, John F. Gillespie Jr., Tom Gillespie, and sister Pat Kane, said their father did not talk a lot about the crash, but was happy to when asked about it.

“Every time he told us about it we learned a little more,” John F. Gillespie Jr. said.

John and Betty Gillespie married less than a year after the crash. He never flew in the military again, but he did stay in the service for years after the accident. Years later he took to the air again on commercial flights during family vacations, his sons said.

“I didn’t think they (the military) would take him back, but they did,” Betty Gillespie said.

After meeting township secretary Susan Ward and members of the historical commission at the West Nantmeal Township Building on Friday morning, the Gillespie family traveled just about a mile away to Hedge Road, where the plane went down.

Pat Kane, Gillespie’s daughter, said her father told her that he remembered his body was at least partially consumed by flames after he was thrown from the wreckage, but he was lucky enough to land in an unknown body of water.

With the help of local farmers, the Gillespie family located a small stream near the suspected site of the crash. It was the first time anyone in the Gillespie family visited the site where their father nearly perished. If he had, they noted, none of them would be there.

“There is a reason we’re all here. He always told us that,” Kane said.

Ward said the township and its historical commission hope to mark the crash site with a permanent plaque in the near future.

The following is the list of servicemen who perished in the crash:

- Staff Sergeant Vincent B. McNally - Philadelphia

- Second Lieut. George W. Wilmont, Pilot - Evansville, Indiana

- Second Lieut. Martin Queenth, Navigator - Milford Connecticut

- Technical Sgt. Walther G. Wellbect - West Bend, Wisconsin

- Technical Sgt. Rufus N. Mabley - Fayetteville, North Carolina

- Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Guary - Fall River, Massachusetts

- Sgt Robert E. Hawkins - Hood River Oregon

- Second Lieut. A. Hamilton - Buffalo, New York

- Sgt. Vern A. Vanderline - Detroit, Michigan

- An unidentified Lieutenant


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

Lafayette Regional (KLFT), Louisiana: Airport tax headed to council again

A parish-wide election to collect an additional penny in sales tax for a new airport terminal is on Tuesday’s Lafayette City-Parish Council agenda.

In April, the council gave the Dec. 6 special election preliminary approval. The council is set Tuesday to finalize the election call. The State Bond Commission also needs to give its nod of approval.

The Lafayette Regional Airport is asking voters parishwide to approve the additional one-cent tax on all sales in the parish, except food and prescription medication. If approved, it would be collected for eight months in 2015, from April 1 through Nov. 30, and generate about $37 million.

The Airport Commission plans to self-finance about $30 million and seek state and federal grants to reach the estimated $90 million needed for the project.

The tax would be used to build a new airport terminal, additional parking and additional aircraft ramp space.

The new terminal as proposed would measure about 86,000 square feet, about 40 percent larger than the existing terminal, and would be reconfigured on the property to allow for easy expansion and to accommodate more and larger aircraft, a report by airport design and engineering firm URS Corp. states.

Plans call for at least five aircraft gates along with a larger passenger screening area, a larger secure seating area for waiting on flights and a larger passenger greeting area.

Airport officials say the facility is at capacity now. Last year, more than 230,000 passengers flew in or out of the airport, up from 159,000 in 2002.

A demand forecast conducted for the airport predicted a 50 percent increase in passengers between 2008 and 2025, when 653,000 passengers are expected to use Lafayette Regional Airport, Aviation Director Greg Roberts has said.

Source:  http://www.theadvertiser.com

Beech Baron 58, N93HS: Incident occurred June 13, 2014 at Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP), Mississippi

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA307 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 13, 2014 in Tupelo, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: BEECH 58, registration: N93HS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, during the landing roll, he inadvertently raised the landing gear handle instead of the flap handle. The landing gear retracted, and the airplane impacted the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage. The pilot did not report any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadvertent retraction of the landing gear on the runway, which resulted in a landing gear collapse.


Beechcraft Baron 58,  Total Asset Management LLC, N93HS: http://registry.faa.gov/N93HS 

TUPELO – Emergency crews responded to a downed plane at Tupelo Regional Airport around 3:30 this afternoon.  

Josh Abramson, executive director of the Tupelo Airport Authority, said no one was injured when the light, twin-engine aircraft made a belly landing.

Story and photo:   http://djournal.com

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Tupelo airport officials say a light twin engine aircraft made a belly landing at the Tupelo Regional Airport Friday afternoon. 

The pilot tells WTVA's Jessica Albert he was practicing take-off and landing procedures when the accident happened around 3:30 p.m.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Executive Director Josh Abramson says the airport is closed as workers remove the plane from the scene.
 

Story and photo:   http://www.wtva.com

Airbus, Boeing Compete to Pack Seats in Smallest Planes: A320 to Add Nine Seats, 737 Max Shoots for 10 More; Reconfiguring Doors, Galleys, Restrooms

The Wall Street Journal

By Robert Wall and Jon Ostrower


June 12, 2014 6:00 p.m. ET


Rivals Airbus Group NV and Boeing Co. are competing for an unusual distinction: Which can pack more passengers into its smallest jet?

Airbus this week said it won approval from European authorities to carry 189 passengers on its A320 single-aisle plane, nine more than in the past. That matches the maximum passenger load for Boeing's equivalen 737 model. Airbus said a new version of the Airbus A320 will be available starting next year.

Boeing, meanwhile, is gauging market interest in boosting seating on its 737 Max 8, an updated version of its best-selling single-aisle jet, from 189 seats, said Keith Leverkuhn, general manager for the Boeing 737 Max program.

Airlines typically maintained a mix of economy and higher-paying business-class seats to maximize sales. But as budget carriers have become important jet purchasers, Airbus and Boeing increasingly have focused on finding ways to satisfy desires to maximize seats, mostly on short- and medium-distance planes.

"Airlines are eager to put more passengers into the aircraft," said Airbus Senior Vice President Klaus Röwe.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings PLC is among the airlines clamoring for more seats. It repeatedly has said that it wants to have 199 seats on jets to maximize the number of passengers it can carry without adding a flight attendant. The European airline currently flies the Boeing 737-800, which maxes out at 189 seats.

For the Airbus A321, a single-aisle jet just a bit bigger than the A320, Airbus is moving and redesigning doors to carry as many as 240 passengers, up from the current 220, Mr. Röwe said. Restrooms and the galley, where food is stored, also are being reconfigured to make space for seats. Adding 20 seats to the A321 reduces per-seat costs 6%, according to Airbus.

Boeing is evaluating changes including widening doors and spacing rows more tightly to add 10 economy seats to the 737 Max, people familiar with the manufacturer's thinking said.

Strong demand has swelled order backlogs at Airbus and Boeing for small, single-aisle planes, driving both companies to raise production. Airbus in 2016 plans to increase A320 output to 46 a month from 42 and is considering whether it could raise that to 50 or 54 planes after 2018.

Boeing, which is on track to building 47 narrow-bodies a month starting in 2017, also is looking at raising production. Output could reach 52 planes a month toward the end of the decade, the company has said.


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Abilene Regional Airport (KABI) hit hard by Thursday hail storm

ABILENE, Texas -

Abilene Regional Airport was hit very hard by the hail storm Thursday night.

Airport General Manager Don Green tells KTXS there were holes punched through the parking lot awnings.

There was severe damage to the skylights, with some shattered or cracked by very large hail. Many windows on the north side of the airport were destroyed.

There was damage to planes, including damage to one that was about to take off. It was brought back to the terminal and passengers were taken off the plane. No passengers were injured.


Source:  http://www.ktxs.com

2/3 P-51B/C Mustang, N51BM: Fatal accident occurred June 13, 2014 in Marion, South Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA289
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 13, 2014 in Marion, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: MEYER CLAIR O 2/3 P 51B/C MUSTANG, registration: N51BM
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 private pilot's wife reported that he planned to conduct taxi tests in the airplane on the day of the accident but that he did not intend to fly it. According to her recount of the accident, she observed the pilot taxi the airplane to the beginning of the runway where it idled for several minutes while the pilot waited for another airplane to depart. The pilot then initiated a takeoff roll and the airplane lifted off the ground about midfield with the landing gear retracted. As the airplane climbed, it "entered a sharp left turn," which was followed by a nose down dive. Another witness reported that he observed the pilot complete an engine run-up and then take off and enter a "shallow" climb. About 1,000 ft above the ground, the airplane entered a nose-down descent, and then impacted a corn field about 1 nautical mile from the airport.

Postaccident examination of the airframe did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The engine did not display any evidence of lubrication distress or internal scoring indicative of an engine seizure or other catastrophic failure. Additionally, the witnesses reported no interruptions in engine power throughout the flight. Although these findings suggest that the airplane was under power, the investigation was unable to determine how much power the engine was producing at the time of the accident.

The pilot was issued a Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate about 4 months before the accident. On his application for the certificate, he reported no significant medical conditions, no prescription medications, and no visits to other healthcare providers. Records obtained from his personal physician indicated that he had a history of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, valvular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias. In addition, his medical history included hospital admissions for coronary artery bypass surgery, gallbladder removal, and quarterly visits for several years before the accident. The pilot had also been prescribed several prescription medications to control these conditions; only one of which, a sleep aid, was identified during postaccident toxicological testing. These findings indicate that the pilot was not compliant with his treatment regimen around the time of the accident.

The pilot's cardiovascular conditions and his failure to use the prescribed medications to treat them put him at high risk for a number of incapacitating symptoms that would not have been evident during the autopsy, including severe chest pain and shortness of breath from angina or a heart attack, sudden inability to use the arm and leg on one side (stroke), and sudden loss of consciousness from a hemorrhagic stroke or arrhythmia. It is likely that the pilot was incapacitated at the time of the accident due to his cardiovascular disease, which resulted in his loss of airplane control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The airplane's impact with terrain shortly after takeoff due to a physiological incapacitation of the pilot.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 13, 2014, about 1303 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built 2/3 P-51B/C Mustang, N51BM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Marion County Airport (MAO), Marion, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local and personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot's wife reported that the pilot had planned to perform taxi tests in the airplane on the day of the accident, but that he did not intend to fly it. During the pilot's preflight inspection, she observed the pilot sump the fuel tank and activate the fuel pump. After starting the engine, the pilot taxied the airplane to the end of runway 22, and waited about "5 to 6 minutes" for another airplane to depart. The pilot then accelerated down the runway, became airborne about "midfield," and retracted the landing gear. As the airplane climbed, it made a "sharp left turn" and subsequently entered a "nose dive" before disappearing behind trees. Shortly after, she heard the sound of impact. She reported that the engine sound was smooth and continuous through the takeoff and climb.

Another witness observed the pilot complete an engine run up check before he departed and began a "shallow" climb to the south. The witness' view of the airplane was momentarily obstructed, but as the airplane came back into view, he observed it enter a nose-low attitude from about 1,000 feet above ground level, and "dive straight into the ground." The witness also reported that he did not observe any interruptions in power, and stated that it appeared the engine was running normally.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 64, held a private pilot certificate that was issued on July 26, 1986, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot's logbooks were not recovered. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on February 2, 2014, at which time he reported 3,933 total flight hours and 22 hours accumulated in the previous 6 months. Additionally, he reported no medical conditions, hospitalizations, medications, or non-aviation related healthcare visits since his previous medical certificate issuance. His medical certificate was issued with the limitation, "must have available glasses for near vision."

According to the pilot's wife, he had accumulated approximately 350 total flight hours in the airplane make and model at the time of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was powered by a Ranger 6-440C-5 Series inverted, in-line, 200 horsepower, air-cooled engine, equipped with a 4-blade wooden propeller. According to FAA records, the airplane's airworthiness certificate was issued in September 1980. The airplane was registered to the accident pilot in May 2002.

The airplane logbooks were not recovered; however, a recent maintenance history was constructed from records submitted by a mechanic who completed several owner-assisted inspections with the pilot. The records indicated that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 15, 2013 at 786.4 hours total time in service. A recently-overhauled engine was installed and inspected on July 12, 2012 following a gear-up landing.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1315 recorded weather observation at MAO, included wind from 270 degrees at 8 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, broken clouds at 4700 ft. and 5000 ft., temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 17 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.87 inches of mercury.

Given the atmospheric conditions present, the density altitude at the time of the accident was calculated as approximately 2,150 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in a cornfield about one mile southeast of MAO, and all major structural and flight control components were accounted for at the accident site. An initial impact point (IIP) was identified by several broken corn stalks. The empennage was connected to a portion of the fuselage, which was oriented on a 258-degree magnetic heading. Both wings exhibited aft crush damage along their leading edges, and the wing roots were covered in a black residue that resembled oil. All four propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub; two of the blades came to rest in the debris path, and the other blades were found in the cornfield, one about 80 feet and the other about 6 feet from the main wreckage.

Both ailerons were impact-separated at a bell crank that connected the aileron assemblies to the control stick. The wing flap control tubes were traced from the cockpit to the wing flaps, which could be manipulated by hand. A clevis rod that connected the control tubes to the flap handle separated from the turnbuckle body, which exhibited evidence of shear damage to its internal threads. An examination by the NTSB materials laboratory confirmed that the damage was consistent with mechanical overloading of the rod end from the turnbuckle body. A safety wire that connected the rod end to the turnbuckle also displayed damage consistent with overload. Elevator, rudder, and aileron flight control continuity was traced from the cockpit to each of the respective control surfaces.

The aluminum fuel tanks were breached and an odor of fuel was detected at the accident site. Both fuel tank strainer screens were free of contaminants. Fuel line continuity was traced from the wing tanks through the fuel selector to the fuel line at the engine, which exhibited evidence of overload separation. The fuel selector rotated freely between the right and left tank positions and was not obstructed. The carburetor was not recovered from the accident site.

Engine

Due to impact damage to the crankshaft, the engine crankshaft could not be rotated and internal drive continuity could not be established. The right magneto case displayed impact damage, but the primary leads remained secured to the unit and were continuous to the right side spark plugs. The left magneto was also impact-damaged and several primary leads were severed. The throttle linkage was intact and operable through its full range from the throttle knob to the engine. A portion of the oil hose remained connected to the oil pump and the oil reservoir, which had been breached. A sample taken of the oil within the crankcase appeared clean and free of contaminants. Examination of the crankcase revealed an evenly-distributed presence of oil and no damage other than the bend to the shaft. While a large breach in the oil reservoir was present the internal engine components did not display any indications of lubrication distress, overheating, or oil starvation. Additionally, there was no evidence of internal scoring within the crankcase consistent with a catastrophic engine failure. The carburetor was not recovered from the accident site.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Charleston, South Carolina. The autopsy report listed the pilot's cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries."

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing detected the presence of Zolpidem, a short-acting prescription sleep aid marketed under the trade name Ambien, in the pilot's liver and urine. The test was negative for ethanol.

Medical records obtained from the pilot's primary care physician (PCP) indicated a history of non-insulin-dependent diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and significant heart disease. His heart conditions included arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and valvular disease. In 1998, the pilot was admitted to the hospital for angina after failing an exercise stress test. A cardiac catheterization revealed stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery that involved the large diagonal. In addition, he had gallbladder surgery in 2003. Records also indicated that the pilot underwent quarterly visits to his PCP for many years. Neither these visits nor the pilot's diabetes or heart conditions were ever reported by the pilot on his FAA medical certificate applications.

The pilot's most recent visit to his PCP was on February 27, 2014, three weeks after his last FAA medical certificate examination. At this time his medication list included nitroglycerin sublingual tablets, used to treat symptoms of angina; Mag-oxide, a form of magnesium used to treat low magnesium levels; metformin, used to treat Type II diabetes; Atacand, a blood pressure medication also used for the treatment of heart failure; Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering agent; aspirin, and Ambien.

A laboratory test was completed during the pilot's most recent examination, which demonstrated a fasting blood sugar of 196 mg/dl (normal is 65-110 mg/dl) and Hemoglobin A1C of 9.4%. Hemoglobin A1C is a measure of the average blood glucose level over the preceding several weeks. Normal Hemoglobin A1C is below 5.6%, diabetes is diagnosed with a Hemoglobin A1C above 6.4%, and good control of diabetes is considered a result less than 7%. No stress tests or other evaluation of the status of his coronary artery disease were present in records from the three years prior to the accident.


NTSB Identification: ERA14FA289
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 13, 2014 in Marion, SC
Aircraft: MEYER CLAIR O 2/3 P 51B/C MUSTANG, registration: N51BM
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 13, 2014, about 1303 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built 2/3 P-51 B/C Mustang airplane, N51BM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Marion County Airport (MAO), Marion, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's wife, on the day of the accident the pilot told her that he had planned only to taxi the airplane to "circulate the oil." She observed the pilot perform a preflight inspection, start the engine, then taxi to the runway, where he remained at idle for "5 to 6 minutes" prior to taking off. The airplane lifted off the runway about "midfield," and the pilot retracted the landing gear. The wife described the airplane's initial climb as "normal". After reaching the end of the runway, the airplane made a "sharp left turn", "sank" and entered a "nose dive." The airplane disappeared from view behind trees, and she subsequently heard the sound of impact. She reported that she did not hear any engine roughness or interruption of power during the takeoff.

Another witness observed the airplane depart and begin a "shallow" climb to the south. The witness' view of the airplane was momentarily obstructed, but as the airplane came back into view, he observed it in a nose-low attitude as it descended towards the ground. The witness also reported no engine roughness or interruption of power.

The airplane came to rest in a cornfield about 0.5 nm south of MAO. The debris path was oriented 078 degrees magnetic, and the main wreckage was oriented on a heading of 258 degrees magnetic. The empennage and most of the fuselage remained intact and the engine cowling had separated. The wings were intact with the leading edges resting against the cockpit. Both wings also exhibited significant aft crush damage along their leading edges. All four propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub, and three of the blades exhibited chordwise scratching. The fourth propeller blade was separated into fragments that were scattered between the initial impact point and main wreckage.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary investigation report this week on a plane crash last month in Marion that killed John Milton Sherbert.

Sherbert, 64, was flying a experimental amateur-built 2/3 P-51 B/C Mustang airplane on June 13 when it crashed in a cornfield off of Bluff Road shortly after it took off from Marion County Airport.

The NTSB report says on the day of the accident, Sherbert told his wife that he had planned only to taxi the airplane to circulate the oil.

It adds she observed Sherbert perform a preflight inspection, start the engine, then taxi to the runway, where he remained at idle for "5 to 6 minutes" prior to taking off.

The airplane lifted off the runway about "midfield," and the pilot retracted the landing gear, according to the report.

It says Sherbert's wife described the airplane's initial climb as "normal" and after reaching the end of the runway, the airplane made a "sharp left turn", "sank" and entered a "nose dive."

It says the airplane disappeared from view behind trees, and she subsequently heard the sound of impact.

NTSB investigators add Sherbert's wife reported that she did not hear any engine roughness or interruption of power during the takeoff.

NTSB says the preliminary report is subject to change and may contain errors. It adds any errors will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

Source:   http://www.carolinalive.com


FAA West Columbia FSDO-13


MARION, S.C. — Investigators with the National Transportation and Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday recovered the wreckage from a Friday afternoon plane crash in Marion County that killed Florence pilot John Sherbert.

NTSB Air Safety Investigator Stephen Stein held a briefing at the Marion County Airport on the initial findings regarding the Midget Mustang or two-third scale model P-51 airplane.

“He was departing the airfield when he crashed,” he said. “The wreckage was actually found a half-mile south of the airport.”

Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson said Sherbert was killed on impact when his single-engine, single-occupant plane made impact in a nearby cornfield. Richardson said the body was sent Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy.

Stein said the aircraft will remain at the airport where an airframe and engine examination will be conducted.

The fact-gathering process will also review the pilot’s training proficiency, flight history, certification records along with environmental factors.

A preliminary report could be expected within five to 10 days, he said.

“Once that whole fact-gathering phase of our investigation is complete, which is a process that could take up to 12 months, then we will publish what’s known as a factual report,” he said.

Marion County Airport Director Margaret Pittman said the 64-year-old Sherbert was an experienced flyer she had known for 10 years. The accident occurred under perfect flying conditions, she said.

“Conditions were perfect,” Pittman said. “It’s just normal summer day, no extra wind. Visibility was good.”

Pittman said Sherbert did not build the plane himself. She added that it was not a plane he flew frequently from the airport.

Stein added that part of the perishable information contains witness statements. He encouraged witnesses to forward a statement to the NTSB at witness@ntsb.gov or call 202-314-6000.


Source:  http://www.scnow.com


MARION, S.C. — After Florence pilot John Sherbert cleared Runway 4 on Friday afternoon at the Marion County Airport, he steered his two-third scale P-51 Mustang aircraft into a turn and then disappeared.

Sherbert’s stunned wife watched in disbelief with two others airport operations, airport director Margaret Pittman said.

“I think John has crashed, I can’t see him any more,” Sherbert’s wife said, according to Pittman.

Pittman added, “It was as a spur of the moment thing. He made the turn and disappeared.”

A 911 call at 1:20 p.m. confirmed that the 64-year-old with a military background and years of flying experience had crashed into a cornfield just past the runway.

“He had already taken off from the airport, climbed to 1,000 feet and then just (went) nose down,” Pittman said.

Jerry Richardson, Marion County coroner, said Sherbert was killed on impact when his single-engine, single-occupant plane fell into a cornfield about a half mile from the airport.

Richardson said that there was no fire, and an autopsy would be performed Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Kathleen Bergen said the FAA was aware of the P-51 Mustang amateur built, experimental aircraft crashing. Aircraft registration noted the plane was built in 1980.

It’s unknown when a flier at the Marion County Airport advertising Sherbert’s plane was posted, but it lists the aircraft as having 765 hours of Total Time Air Frame. TTAF is a measurement of a plane’s mechanical age.

Pittman said the accident occurred under perfect flying conditions. She knew Sherbert for 10 years and said he was a capable pilot with a military background.

“Conditions were perfect,” Pittman said. “It’s just normal summer day, no extra wind. Visibility was good.”

Pittman said Sherbert did not build the plane himself. She added that it was not a plane he flew frequently from the airport.

Eric Weiss, a spokesman with the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed an investigator would be investigating the cause of the crash. Officials cordoned off the scene until the investigator arrived later Friday.

Sherbert opened the dedication ceremony for the Florence Veterans Park in 2008, flying over in a WWII P-51 Mustang with the markings of the 357th Fighter Group.

Sherbert also owned a software company, J & S Software of SC Inc.

The last fatal plane crash in Marion County happened April 17, 2005. Williard “Will” Kay Mincey, 64, was flying a WWII P58 replica in a remote area of Marion County when his plane went down after hitting the top of some trees as it made a turn. Mincey, the sole occupant of the plane, was retired military and frequently flew his plane for small groups of friends, just as he had been doing before the plane crash.


Source:  http://www.scnow.com

MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A small plane crashed on Bluff Road near the Marion County Airport Friday afternoon, killing the pilot, officials confirmed.

John Milton Sherbert, 65, of Florence was killed in the crash, Coroner Jerry Richardson confirmed.

The project plane crashed in a corn field shortly after taking off from the runway of the airport, resulting in the death of the pilot, said an official with the Marion County Airport.

The crash happened at the end of the airport, about 200 yards from the Highway 501 Bypass, according to Marion County Sheriff Mark Richardson.

The crash occurred at around 1:20 p.m. Friday, said Eric Weiss from the NTSB. The FAA will be investigating this crash, the airport official said.

The plane is described as a Mustang replica out of Florence, and was kept in a hanger at the Marion Airport, officials said. The airport official said the plane was not built by the pilot.

The cause of the crash is not known at this time.

An autopsy will be performed Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina. Results from the autopsy could take up to a month to be determined, the coroner said.

Cape Air cancels Adirondack to White Plains flights

LAKE CLEAR — The new Cape Air service planned from here to Westchester County and the New York City region has been canceled.

The airline had announced in April the addition of one daily flight from Adirondack Regional Airport to Westchester County Airport in White Plains.

The new schedule was set to begin June 26 and operate six days a week.

“They’re still going to fly flights that have some seats booked," Lake Clear Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said on Friday.

"Anyone who had already booked, those flights are still going to go.”

LOW BOOKINGS
 
The reason for cancellation was likely due in part to low numbers of early reservations, Hurwitch said.

“We’re not sure why it wasn’t successful. Everyone said they wanted it, but the numbers didn’t show it."

The White Plains trip was not part of Cape Air’s federally supported Essential Air Service plan, which serves to taper costs to consumers.

The company had asked for federal support to add the Lake Clear-White Plains trip but was denied funding.

UNSUBSIDIZED


The cost of unsubsidized airplane flights to White Plains was more than $250 one way.

A book of 10 tickets priced for commuter discount between Saranac Lake and White Plains was still promoted on Cape Air’s reservation website Friday for $2,899, or about $290 one way.

June 27 tickets from Saranac Lake to Westchester were available for reservations, and the site indicated the cost as $252 one way. A June 29 flight also apparently had available seats, according to the website on Friday.

That Sunday flight was priced at $302 one way.

Cape Air press officials did not immediately return calls to the Press-Republican.

ONLY ONE FLIGHT DAILY


Saranac Lake resident Lee Keet helped organize a group that urged Cape Air to connect the Adirondack airport with the New York City region.

“Late last year, a group of us helped in its request to the federal (Department of Transportation) for an additional subsidy to initiate service between Saranac Lake and Westchester, with coach service continuing to Manhattan," he explained via email.

"The DOT did not favor this request, but Cape Air elected to try the service without subsidies.

“While I applaud Cape Air’s initiative, the lack of financial support probably doomed the service," he offered.

"Cape Air could only underwrite one flight a day, not an easy service to use with no evening return flights from NYC or no morning flights from SLK (Adirondack Regional), making it almost useless for anyone but a tourist.

'NYC MARKET EXISTS'


The single daily trip likely excluded business people who needed to commute to the city, Keet said.

"And the $500 to $834 fare (round trip) is really only for business people (tourists can drive to Saranac Lake in under 5 hours in their own or in a $100 rental car),” he said. “The success of the Boston – Saranac Lake service in my opinion can be largely ascribed to the government EAS subsidies. This kick-start let Cape Air grow a regular service that eventually allowed Cape Air to add flights that were not subsidized.”

Keet said they believe an Adirondack-to-NYC market exists.

“The bottom line is that we still believe a properly priced (under $250 one way) regular morning and evening service to one of the NYC airports would be well used.

"We understand why Cape Air would back away from a lack of customer interest, but we applaud their attempt to create this service.”

Source:  http://www.pressrepublican.com

Europa, G-OURO: Plane crash couple found in pub

A couple who were in a light aircraft which crashed in a Northamptonshire field escaped unhurt and were found by ambulance crews in a nearby pub.

The Dufton Europa plane crash landed in a field in Maidwell on Thursday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the field, but found an empty plane.

Ambulance crews found the pilot Iain McKay and his wife, of Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, at the The Stags Head, where they had walked after the ordeal.

Simon Nixon, the manager of the pub, said: "A lady came in her with her husband. It was not until she ordered a drink (non-alcoholic) that she said she was a bit shaken up because she'd just had a plane crash. I asked if she was OK and she had a little bit of a cut to her arm. Other than that she seemed OK.

"It's not often you have plane crashes where people are able to walk away."

An off duty policeman alerted the ambulance crews of the couple's whereabouts.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has yet to comment.

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


 Previous accident: July 05, 2013 

http://www.aaib.gov.uk

The aircraft’s gull-wing doors were closed during pre‑flight preparation. However, the pilot reported that he did not turn round to check that the rear securing pin was properly engaged to ensure door locking. Nothing unusual was noticed during takeoff until the aircraft was passing a height of 300 ft, at which point the pilot’s door opened and, after about four seconds, detached from the aircraft. As the door detached, it struck the port wing trailing edge, causing superficial damage. The pilot made a ‘PAN PAN’ call and returned to a normal landing at Turweston. He attributed the loss of the door to his failure to carry out a visual check for correct engagement of the rear locking pin.

Federal Aviation Administration Controllers Still Working 'Rattler' Schedules

WASHINGTON June 13, 2014 (AP)
By JOAN LOWY
Associated Press

Air traffic controllers are still working schedules known as "rattlers" that make it likely they'll get little or no sleep before overnight shifts, more than three years after a series of incidents involving controllers sleeping on the job, according to a government report released Friday.

The report by the National Research Council also expressed concern about the effectiveness of the Federal Aviation Administration's program to prevent its 15,000 controllers from suffering fatigue on the job, a program that has been hit with budget cuts. And the 12-member committee of academic and industry experts who wrote the report at the behest of Congress said FAA officials refused to allow them to review results of prior research the agency conducted with NASA examining how work schedules affect controller performance.

The FAA-NASA research results "have remained in a 'for official use only' format" since 2009 and have not been released to the public, the report said.

The committee stressed its concern that controllers are still working schedules that cram five eight-hour work shifts into four 24-hour periods. The schedules are popular with controllers because at the end of last shift they have 80 hours off before returning to work the next week. But controllers also call the shifts "rattlers" because they "turn around and bite back."

An example of the kind of schedule that alarmed the report's authors begins with two consecutive day shifts ending at 10 p.m. followed by two consecutive morning shifts beginning at 7 a.m. The controller gets off work at 3 p.m. after the second morning shift and returns to work at about 11 p.m. the same day for an overnight shift — the fifth and last shift of the workweek.

When factoring in commute times and the difficulty people have sleeping during the day when the human body's circadian rhythms are "promoting wakefulness," controllers are "unlikely to log a substantial amount of sleep, if any, before the final midnight shift," the report said.

"From a fatigue and safety perspective, this scheduling is questionable and the committee was astonished to find that it is still allowed under current regulations," the report said. The combination of "acute sleep loss" while working overnight hours when circadian rhythms are at their lowest ebb and people most crave sleep "increases the risk for fatigue and for associated errors and accidents," the report said.

FAA officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association defended the scheduling, citing the 2009 study that hasn't been publicly released. The union said in a statement that NASA's research showed that "with proper rest periods," the rattler "actually produced less periods of fatigue risk to the overall schedule."

In 2011, FAA officials and then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promised reforms after a nearly a dozen incidents in which air traffic controllers were discovered sleeping on the job or didn't respond to calls from pilots trying to land planes late at night. In one episode, two airliners landed at Washington's Reagan National Airport without the aid of a controller because the lone controller on the overnight shift had fallen asleep. In another case, a medical flight with a seriously ill patient had to circle an airport in Reno, Nevada, before landing because the controller had fallen asleep.

Studies show most night shift workers, not just controllers, face difficulties staying awake no matter how much sleep they've had. That's especially true if they aren't active or don't have work that keeps them mentally engaged. Controllers on night shifts often work in darkened rooms with frequent periods of little or no air traffic to occupy their attention — conditions scientists say are conducive to falling asleep.

"We all know what happens with fatigue," said Mathias Basner, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school and the sleep expert on the committee. "The first thing you expect to see is attention going down, reaction time slows, you have behavioral lapses or micro-sleeps. ... If you have to react quickly in that situation, that is problematic."

After the 2011 sleeping incidents, the FAA stopped scheduling controllers to work alone on overnight shifts at 27 airports and air traffic facilities and increased the minimum time between work shifts to nine hours.

Another change was the creation of a "fatigue risk management program" for controllers. However, budget cuts "have eliminated the program's capability to monitor fatigue concerns proactively and to investigate whether initiatives to reduce fatigue risks are providing the intended benefits," the report said.

Basner said the FAA was making no effort to determine whether there is a correlation between work schedules and controllers errors. For example, there were near collisions between airliners near Honolulu and Houston recently. Such incidents are usually the result of controller errors.

The FAA and the controllers union have established a program that encourages controllers to report errors by promising they won't be penalized for honest mistakes. The reports are entered into a database that the agency is supposed to use to spot trends or problem areas. But controllers are sometimes too busy to file reports, and the report forms don't seek information on the controller's schedule or other details that might be used to determine whether schedules are contributing to errors, Basner said.

When FAA officials were asked about this, they indicated "they didn't see the necessity to analyze the data that way," he said.

The committee also thought it was "a bit strange" that FAA officials wouldn't show them their 2009 study conducted with NASA, Basner said.

"You would think you would get 100 percent support, but we didn't get it," he said.

Source:   http://abcnews.go.com

 

Air-traffic staff probe brief disappearance of flights from European radars

VIENNA/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Dozens of aircraft briefly vanished from air-traffic control radars in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic on separate occasions this week and last week, officials said on Friday, adding that they were now investigating the incidents.

Air-traffic controllers in Austria and Germany said data about the planes' position, direction, height or speed went missing on June 5 and June 10, but the outages posed no serious danger to people on the aircraft travel ling at high altitude.

A spokesman for German Air Traffic Control said: "Planes disappeared from screens for a matter of seconds, here and there. The outages were sporadic and not grave."

"It must have been an external source of disruption. We are trying to identify the cause," the spokesman said.

In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in March there has been a growing focus on the tracking of passenger aircraft.

The airline industry has pledged to come up with proposals by September for a better system of tracking aircraft over oceans and other remote areas. But incidents in controlled airspace are relatively rare.

Europe's air corridors are among the densest in the world and there have been calls for better technology and coordination and a unified control network, although some air traffic controller unions oppose these measures.

In the recent incidents, extra air-traffic controllers stepped in Austria and communicated with the affected planes by radio and took steps including increasing the safety distances between planes, a spokesman for Austro Control said.

He said that 10 planes transiting Austrian airspace were affected in the first incident and three in the second, and that he had heard that 50 aircraft were affected across Europe.

Austria's Die Presse newspaper said Slovakia was also affected. The Slovak air authority could not immediately comment on the report.

The incidents are being dealt with by European air navigation safety organization Eurocontrol and EASA, the European air safety agency, he said. Neither of these bodies was immediately reachable for comment.

Richard Klima, spokesman for the Czech Air Navigation Service, said: "We saw random outages of aircraft detection within the system of the so-called secondary radar lasting several tens of seconds and up to several minutes. But thanks to the complete coverage of air space also through classic primary radars, we constantly had information about the positioning of airplanes and operational safety was not threatened."

Austrian media linked the events to electronic warfare exercises by the western military alliance NATO, which had no immediate comment.

A spokesman for Austria's defense ministry said the ministry was investigating the incidents but could not immediately confirm how many planes were involved.

The spokesman said military radar - which actively track plane movements, unlike the passive radar used by civilian air-traffic control - had continued to work at all times.

Source:    http://uk.reuters.com

Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian, N5335R: Fatal accident occurred June 13, 2014 in White Plains, New York

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

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

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

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


NTSB Identification: ERA14FA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 13, 2014 in White Plains, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-46-500TP, registration: N5335R
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 arrived at the fixed-base operator on the morning of the accident and requested that his airplane be brought outside and prepared for an immediate departure; this occurred 1 hour 15 minutes before his scheduled departure time. Radar data showed that the airplane departed 23 minutes later. According to air traffic control data, shortly thereafter, the ground and departure controllers contacted the tower controller and asked if the airplane had departed yet; the tower controller responded, “I have no idea. We have zero visibility.” Weather conditions about the time of the accident included a 200-ft overcast ceiling with about 1/4-mile visibility.

Only five radar targets identified as the accident airplane were captured, and all of the targets were located over airport property. The first three radar targets began about midpoint of the 6,500-ft-long runway, and each of these targets was at an altitude of about 60 ft above ground level (agl). The final two targets showed the airplane in a shallow right turn, consistent with the published departure procedure track, at altitudes of 161 and 261 ft agl, respectively. The final radar target was about 1/2 mile from the accident site. Witnesses reported observing the airplane impact trees in a wings-level, slightly right-wing-down attitude at high speed. 

Examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies of the airplane. The pilot’s personal assistant reported that the pilot had an important meeting that required his attendance on the day of the accident flight. His early arrival to the airport and his request to have the airplane prepared for an immediate departure were actions consistent with self-induced pressure to complete the flight. Due to the poor weather conditions, which were expected to continue or worsen, he likely felt pressure to expedite his departure to ensure he was able to make it to his destination and to attend the meeting. This pressure may have further affected his ability to discern the risk associated with departing in low-visibility and low-ceiling conditions. As noted, the weather conditions were so poor that the local air traffic controller stated that he could not tell whether the airplane had departed. Such weather conditions are highly conducive to the development of spatial disorientation. Further, the altitude profile depicted by the radar data and the airplane’s near wings-level attitude and high speed at impact were consistent with the pilot experiencing a form of spatial disorientation known as “somatogravic illusion,” in which the pilot errantly perceives the airplane’s acceleration as increasing pitch attitude, and efforts to hold the nose down or arrest the perception of increasing pitch attitude can exacerbate the situation. Such an illusion can be especially difficult to overcome because it typically occurs at low altitudes after takeoff, which provides little time for recognition and subsequent corrective inputs, particularly in very low-visibility conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain a positive climb rate after takeoff due to spatial disorientation (somatogravic illusion). Contributing to the accident was the pilot's self-induced pressure to depart and his decision to depart in low-ceiling and low-visibility conditions.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 13, 2014, at 0808 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N5335R, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain after takeoff from runway 16 at Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was destined for Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot had flown from PWM to HPN the previous day for a family event. The fixed base operator (FBO) at HPN serviced the airplane with 60 gallons of fuel, which filled the tanks, and was advised to expect the pilot at 0900 the next day for his return flight to PWM. Instead, the pilot arrived at the FBO at 0745, and requested his airplane be brought outside and prepared for departure immediately. The pilot contacted HPN ground control and was provided taxi instructions, and was subsequently cleared for takeoff by the control tower.

Air traffic control and radar information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane departed at 0808, and that the HPN air traffic control tower was contacted shortly thereafter by the ground controller and the departure controller, inquiring if the airplane had departed yet. The tower controller responded, "I have no idea. We have zero visibility."

Only five radar targets identified as the accident airplane were captured, and all were over HPN airport property. The first three radar targets began about mid-point of the 6,500-foot runway, and each indicated an altitude of about 500 feet mean sea level (msl). The airport elevation was 439 feet. The next and final two targets depicted a shallow right turn at 600 feet and 700 feet, respectively, before radar contact was lost. The final radar target was about one half-mile from the accident site.

The airplane collided with trees and terrain behind a house, and in front of horse stables on residential property. Two witnesses at the stables were interviewed, and their statements were consistent throughout. They each stated that the weather was "dark, rainy, and foggy," and their attention was drawn to the airplane when it "appeared" out of the clouds immediately above the trees, traveling "very fast." One witness stated that he heard the airplane before he saw it. They stated that the airplane impacted trees in a level attitude, and upon impact, was enveloped by a cloud of "blue smoke" with the odor of diesel fuel.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA Class 3 Limited, Special Issuance medical certificate was issued on November 25, 2013 and was not valid for any class after July 31, 2014. The pilot reported 5,100 hours of flight experience on his most recent medical certificate application.

The pilot's total flight experience could not be reconciled, but examination of the pilot's most recent logbook revealed the pilot had logged 5,371.6 total hours of flight experience. In 2013, he logged 126.7 hours of flight experience, all of which was in the accident airplane. In 2014, he logged 7.3 hours, with the last entry on February 28, 2014.

On a separate page, a pre-printed sticker from a flight school dated May 14, 2014, reflected an aircraft specific instrument proficiency check and flight review were satisfactorily completed. The training included 9.9 hours of ground school and 1.1 hours of flight training on that date.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 2001, and was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A, 850 hp turboprop engine. The most recent annual inspection was completed June 3, 2014, at a total aircraft time of 1,927.2 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 0815 weather observation at HPN, 1 mile north of the accident site, included an overcast ceiling at 200 feet and one-quarter mile visibility in fog. The wind was from 090 degrees at 6 knots. The temperature was 17 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.85 inches of mercury.

Weather at PWM at the proposed time of arrival included an overcast ceiling at 300 feet with 1.5 miles of visibility in light rain and fog.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on June 14, 2014. There was a strong odor of fuel, and all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 270 degrees magnetic and was approximately 360 feet in length. The initial impact point was in a tree approximately 60 feet high, and the airplane impacted several other trees before impacting the ground about 205 feet beyond the first tree strike. Several pieces of angularly-cut wood were found the length of the debris field.

The airplane was fragmented, and scattered along the length of the wreckage path. Control continuity to the wings could not be confirmed due to multiple breaks in the control cables and bellcranks, but all fractures appeared consistent with overload failure. Control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the rudder and elevator.

The fuselage lay on its left side against a tree, 280 feet down the wreckage path. The instrument panel and cockpit were destroyed by impact. The cabin and empennage were largely intact. The landing gear and wing flaps were retracted.

The engine and propeller were both about 290 feet down the wreckage path, and separated by approximately 20 feet. All four propeller blades exhibited similar twisting, bending, leading and trailing edge gouging, and chord-wise scratching. One propeller blade was fractured near its root and on its outboard tip, but the associated pieces were located at the accident site.

The engine was separated from the airplane and found upright. The accessory gearbox and inlet case were fractured at numerous locations. The accessory gearbox spur gears and fractured sections of the accessory gearbox were recovered at the site.

The first-stage compressor blades tips were all bent opposite the direction of rotation. The exhaust duct and gas generator were compressed from impact.

The gas generator case was sectioned between the "C" flange and the fuel nozzle bosses to access the hot section components. The upstream side of the first stage power turbine blades and disc exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine vane and baffle. The power turbine retention nut exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine baffle.

The downstream side of the compressor turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the upstream side of the first stage power turbine vane and baffle.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Westchester County Office of Laboratories and Research, Valhalla, New York, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy listed the cause of death as blunt force injuries.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and all tested-for drugs and their metabolites.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A touchscreen-capable personal tablet device and an airframe-mounted data acquisition unit were recovered and sent to the NTSB Recorder's Laboratory in Washington, DC for examination. No usable data was recovered from either device.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to Lockheed-Martin Flight Service (LMFS), the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing from either LMFS or from a Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) vendor. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan through DUATS, but did not include an alternate airport in the flight plan.

According to 14 CFR Part 91.169, IFR flight plan: Information required; an IFR flight plan for aircraft other than helicopters must include an alternate airport when, "For at least 1 hour before and for 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival, the ceiling will be at least 2,000 feet above the airport elevation and the visibility will be at least 3 statute miles."

The pilot's family and personal staff provided a detailed timeline and narrative description of the pilot's activities on the day of and the days prior to the accident. They detailed work/rest cycles concurrent with a standard work day.

According to the pilot's personal assistant, the pilot had a meeting scheduled the day of the accident that was "very important to him. [He] was unusually punctual, never late and would have been focused on arriving on time."

The Westchester Four departure procedure from HPN included the instructions: "Takeoff Runway 16: Climb heading 162 [degrees] to 800 [feet], then climbing right turn heading 320 [degrees], maintain 3,000 [feet]."

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3) described some hazards associated with flying when visual references, such as the ground or horizon, are obscured. "The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) in particular tends to confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in the attitude of the airplane, nor can they accurately sense attitude changes that occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated; leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation."

The FAA publication Medical Facts for Pilots (AM-400-03/1), described several vestibular illusions associated with the operation of aircraft in low visibility conditions. Somatogravic illusions, those involving the utricle and saccule of the vestibular system, were generally placed into one of three categories, one of which was "the head-up illusion." According to the text, the head-up illusion involves a forward linear acceleration, such as takeoff, where the pilot perceives that the nose of the aircraft is pitching up. The pilot's response to this illusion would be to push the control yoke forward to pitch the nose of the aircraft down. "A night takeoff from a well-light airport into a totally dark sky (black hole) or a catapult takeoff from an aircraft carrier can also lead to this illusion, and could result in a crash."

FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-22, Aeronautical Decision Making, stated, "Pilots, particularly those with considerable experience, as a rule always try to complete a flight as planned, please passengers, meet schedules, and generally demonstrate that they have 'the right stuff.'" One of the common behavioral traps identified was "Get-There-Itis." The text stated, "Common among pilots, [get-there-itis] clouds the vision and impairs judgment by causing a fixation on the original goal or destination combined with a total disregard for any alternative course of action."

http://registry.faa.gov/N5335R  

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA288 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 13, 2014 in White Plains, NY
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 500TP, registration: N5335R
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 13, 2014, at 0808 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N5335R, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain shortly after takeoff from Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was destined for Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot had flown from PWM to HPN the previous day. The fixed base operator (FBO) at HPN serviced the airplane with 60 gallons of Jet-A fuel, which filled the tanks and FBO personnel were advised to expect the pilot at 0900 on the following day. The pilot subsequently arrived at the FBO at 0745 and requested his airplane be brought outside and prepared for an immediate departure.

Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the flight departed HPN at 0806 and that the air traffic control tower was contacted shortly thereafter by the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility inquiring if the flight had departed. The local controller responded that the flight should have departed but that "visibility was so low he couldn't tell."

Review of recorded radar data indicates five radar targets identified as the accident airplane were captured, and all were over HPN airport property. The first three radar targets began about mid-point of the 6,500-foot runway and each were at 500 feet mean sea level (msl). The airport elevation was 439 feet msl. The final two targets depicted a shallow right turn and were at 600 and 700 feet msl respectively, before radar contact was lost. The final radar target was observed about 1/2 mile from the accident site, and the final track roughly aligned with the wreckage path.

Examination of the accident site indicated that the airplane collided with trees and terrain behind a house, and in front of horse stables on residential property. Two witnesses at the stables were interviewed and their statements were consistent throughout. They each stated that the weather was "dark, rainy, and foggy," and their attention was drawn to the airplane when it appeared out of the clouds immediately above the trees. One stated that he heard the airplane engine before he saw the airplane. The airplane was wings level when the outboard section of the left wing struck the first tree, the inboard section of the left wing struck the second tree, and then the airplane broke apart in a large cloud of blue "smoke" that smelled like "diesel" fuel.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on November 25, 2013 and was not valid for any class after July 31, 2014. There were restrictions that required the pilot to wear corrective lenses for distant vision and possess glasses for near vision. The pilot reported 5,100 hours of flight experience on his last medical application.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2001. According to a trip log recovered at the accident site, the airplane had accrued 1,931 total hours of flight time. The most recent annual inspection was completed June 3, 2014, at 1,927 total aircraft hours.

At 0815, the weather reported at HPN, located 1 nautical mile north of the accident site, included an overcast ceiling at 200 feet and 1/4 mile visibility in fog. The wind was from 090 degrees at 6 knots. The temperature was 17 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.85 inches of mercury.

Examination of the accident site revealed a strong odor of fuel and that all major components of the airplane were accounted for. No evidence of an in-flight or post-impact fire was observed on any of the airframe components. The wreckage path was oriented about a magnetic heading of 270 degrees and was approximately 360 feet in length. The initial impact point was in a tree approximately 60 feet above the ground. Other trees were struck before the initial ground scar, which was about 205 feet beyond the first tree strike. One tree, about 24 inches in diameter, had a 10-foot length of trunk sectioned and carried 50 feet down the wreckage path. Several pieces of angularly-cut wood were found along the length of the debris field.

The airplane was fragmented, and scattered along the length of the wreckage path. Control continuity was traced through multiple breaks in the control cables and bellcranks to the relevant flight controls, and each separation of the cables exhibited signatures consistent with tensile overload. Control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the rudder and elevator.

The fuselage came to rest on its left side against a tree, 280 feet down the wreckage path. The instrument panel and cockpit were destroyed by impact. The cabin and empennage were largely intact.

The engine and propeller were both about 290 feet down the wreckage path, and separated by approximately 20 feet. All four propeller blades exhibited similar twisting, bending, leading and trailing edge gouging, and chord-wise scratching. One propeller blade was fractured near its root and on its outboard tip, but the associated pieces were located at the accident site.

The engine was separated from the airplane and found upright. The accessory gearbox and inlet case were fractured at numerous locations. The accessory gearbox spur gears and fractured sections of the accessory gearbox were recovered at the site.

The first-stage compressor blades tips were all bent opposite the direction of rotation. The exhaust duct and gas generator were compressed from impact.

The gas generator case was sectioned between the "C" flange and the fuel nozzle bosses to access the hot section components. The upstream side of the first stage power turbine blades and disc exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine vane and baffle. The power turbine retention nut exhibited rotational scoring consistent with contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine baffle.

The downstream side of the compressor turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the upstream side of the first stage power turbine vane and baffle.

An engine data acquisition unit and a tablet computer were recovered from the accident site and sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for subsequent examination.


Flight Standards District Office: FSDO-11 in Farmingdale, New York 




Dr. Richard Rockefeller 





 

 














 

 




 









Stratford Stables, owned by Karen and Danny Lutz, was the scene of the plane crash that took the life of Dr. Richard Rockefeller.


PURCHASE – The National Transportation Safety Board has cleared the scene of Friday's fatal plane crash that killed a member of the Rockefeller family as the agency enters the next phase of its investigation, which could take up to a year to complete, officials said.

An iPad and a piece of the engine the NTSB can get parameters off of were among the wreckage recovered from the Piper Meridian single-engine turboprop plane, which was piloted by 65-year-old Richard Rockefeller and crashed shortly after leaving Westchester County Airport, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said Sunday.

There are also witness reports the agency is going to follow up on, Weiss added, and the airplane is now in an undisclosed location before it is transferred to a storage facility in Delaware.

"We look at the man, the machine and the environment," Weiss told The Journal News of the second phase of the investigation, which includes a 72-hour look back before the crash. In the meantime, a preliminary report should become available in seven to 10 days.

 As the NTSB continues its probe, local law enforcement have also left the scene off Cottage Avenue, which ran from Purchase Street to the SUNY Purchase campus, Harrison police said. 

Rockefeller, who practiced as a family physician until 2000 and had worked on global health causes, was flying back home to Maine after visiting the family estatein Pocantico Hills. His father, David Rockefeller, served as chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan and celebrated his 99th birthday Thursday.


He took off for Portland from Runway 16 under foggy and rainy conditions at 8:06 a.m. and crashed about two minutes later southwest of the airport and northwest of SUNY Purchase, striking trees off Cottage Avenue and narrowly missing a house. There was no distress call or post-crash fire. He was the only person on board and no one else was injured. 

On Friday, there was a quarter-mile visibility around the time of the crash, with a 200-foot cloud ceiling. The NTSB has requested radar data but the plane may have never made it to radar coverage level, Weiss said.

During the second phase of its investigation, the NTSB will collect aircraft and maintenance records, look at how often Rockefeller flew and how recently, examine medical records and test engine or aircraft components if necessary, Weiss said. That information will make up part of a factual report, taking up to a year to complete.

A probable cause report during the third and final phase of the investigation could be issued a month or six weeks later, the spokesman said.


Story, photo gallery and video:   http://www.lohud.com


PURCHASE, N.Y. -- For the largely unscathed residents of 120 Cottage Ave. in Purchase, Friday's plane crash could have been much worse. 

The entrance to Cottage Avenue remained closed on Saturday morning as the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration continue to investigate the deadly plane crash on Friday morning, June 13, that killed famed billionaire John D. Rockefeller's great-grandson, Dr. Richard Rockefeller.
 
The plane crashed into trees on the property, which is registered to Stratford Stables, narrowly missing an occupied home. According to the stable's website, it is the residence of Karen and Danny Lutz. 

Phone calls made on Saturday to the number on the website went to voicemail. 

South Horse Stables, run by Jorge "George" Ventricelli of Greenwich, Conn., shares the property with the Lutz's.  

According to Ventricelli, the plane landed in a small garden behind the Lutz's property. 
"Everybody is okay," Ventricelli said. "There's no structural damage. The plane crashed right behind the owners' house." 

Ventricelli wasn't there at the time of the accident, and has not been able to return to the property since. 

At the nearby Purchase Country Market, manager Nasreem Asif of Purchase said she wasn't in town at the time of the accident, but was upset by the news. 

"It's a real tragedy," she said. "I'm very sad to hear about it." 

As of Saturday, arrangements have not been made for Rockefeller's wake and funeral.
 

PURCHASE – It was supposed to be a happy trip. 

Richard Rockefeller had flown his small plane from his home in Maine to Westchester on Thursday to have dinner with his father, David, who was celebrating his 99th birthday. The journey, just before Father's Day, turned tragic on Friday when the 65-year-old doctor and philanthropist took off from Westchester County Airport for the flight home. Less than 10 minutes later, he was killed when his plane crashed near the SUNY Purchase campus.

"It's a terrible tragedy," said family spokesman Fraser Seitel, who confirmed the death. "The family is in shock. Richard was a wonderful and cherished member of the family. He was an experienced pilot. He was a medical doctor, and it's horribly sad."

The Rockefeller estate, which includes Kykuit and David Rockefeller's Hudson Pines, is in Pocantico Hills and the family has long been one of the most prominent in Westchester.

Airport operations administrator Peter Scherrer said the plane, a Piper Meridian single-engine turboprop, took off from Runway 16 at the airport and went down at 8:08 a.m., narrowly missing a house and crashing into treetops off Cottage Avenue in Purchase. The weather was foggy and rainy. The flight had been expected to last an hour and 14 minutes.

Richard Rockefeller lived in Falmouth, Maine. According to FlightAware flight tracking service, the plane had left Portland International Jetport in Maine at 2:22 p.m. Thursday and landed at Westchester Airport at 3:41 p.m.

Richard Rockefeller practiced as a family physician in Falmouth until 2000 and had worked on global health causes. He served as president of the Health Commons Institute, a nonprofit organization, and chairman of the U.S. Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders, according to the Rockefeller Brothers Trust Fund website. He was married and had two grown children.

Scherrer said Rockefeller, who was the only person on board, flew out of the airport regularly. There were no reports of any other injuries.

"If that engine quit and you're 1,000 feet in the air and you look out, you know what you're seeing? Nothing. You're seeing nothing but white," he said. The Mamaroneck resident mostly flies Cessna Skyhawks and owns an aviation marketing consulting business.

Scherrer, the operations administrator, said that judging from the wreckage, the plane appeared to have followed those procedures. He also said that there was no indication that Richard Rockefeller issued a "Mayday" or radioed that there was any kind of problem.

Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said debris from the plane was spread over several hundred feet and jet fuel was splattered over much of the crash site. He said Rockefeller's body was found about 10 feet from a large piece of wreckage that included the cockpit. The body was removed by the Westchester Medical Examiner's Office shortly before noon.

"It was lucky there was no fire," Marraccini said. "There are some very large pine trees that could have ignited very easily."

A Piper Meridian is about 30 feet long, about 11 feet high with a 43-foot wingspan and carries 170 gallons of fuel. They retail beginning about $2.2 million and seat six. The turboprop allows it to fly higher and faster than a piston-engine plane.

"It's not a cheap aircraft," Cipriano said. "It's for the one-percenter."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to head up the crash investigation.

The airport closed after the crash but flights resumed at 9:45 a.m., Scherrer said.

Comments on the death of Dr. Richard Rockefeller from philanthropic organizations he was involved in.

- "Richard gave so much of his life to support Doctors Without Borders," said Dr. Deane Marchbein, MD, president of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers-USA. "He made so many vital contributions that have helped Doctors Without Borders provide independent medical humanitarian assistance to millions of patients in over 70 countries. The entire Doctors Without Borders family extends its profound condolences to Richard's family. We are devastated by his loss."

Rockefeller was instrumental in founding Doctors Without Borders in the United States and served the organization in a number of capacities since 1989.

- Tim Glidden, President of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a conservation organiation, said the group was "deeply saddened by the news of Richard Rockefeller's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

"Richard's passion for the coast of Maine was a central part of his entire life," Glidden said. "He followed his mother's footsteps in making Maine Coast Heritage Trust a place to put that passion into action. We are eternally grateful for his many contributions to the land conservation movement in Maine and across the world."

Richard served on MCHT's board and council continuously from 1989 – 2014 and served as board chair from 2000 – 2006.


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March 30, 2014: As trees in Conn. grow, Westchester runway trimmed 

For pilots landing into a west wind at Westchester County Airport, the first 1,300 feet of the runway is already off-limits because of trees the airplanes must fly over in Connecticut.

But soon, the Federal Aviation Administration may force the airplanes to touch down a few hundred feet farther down the airstrip, even as the county is waiting for a report on how to get more use of the runway, the shorter of two the airport offers.

Vacationers flying on JetBlue, Delta or US Airways use the airport's main runway, not the shorter one, which is called 11/29. But their waits for flights could become longer if more small corporate jets and turbo-prop airplanes are forced to use 11/29, some warned.

"People aren't going to stop going there, they're just going to wait longer," said John Johnston, president of the Westchester Aviation Association.

The FAA first ordered the airport to move the landing line, called a displaced threshold, in 1988 because of the height of the maple and ash trees, the closest of which are several hundred feet from the end of the airstrip. Last year, the inspectors said the trees continued to grow, and the line might soon need to be pushed farther along, said airport general manager Peter Scherrer.

"The last time, they said that, hey, you're getting close; it's tight at the bottom," Scherrer said.

FAA officials told The Journal News only that they continue to monitor the situation.

But Scherrer said a change could come as soon as the next inspection, scheduled for this week, or it could happen in later years. Either way, any change would need to be a significant move, he said. The current threshold stops just before the intersection with the main runway, 16/34. Since markings can't be made in the intersection, the line on 11/29 would have to be moved 350 feet or more, Scherrer estimated.

This comes as the airport prepares to chop 300 feet off the other side of the runway next year to meet an FAA requirement for a safety zone.

"The runway will be so short, it will be only be able to be used by very few airplanes," said Bill Weaver, the head of Million Air, a private-jet service company at Westchester County Airport.

In November, 2011, the county hired McFarland Johnson of Binghamton for $350,000 to figure out what to do with it. That report is expected to be completed soon.

One idea, shifting the runway, would cost $40 million, money that would be difficult to find, said Patty Chemka, deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation.

Installing landing guide lights called a precision approach path indicator system may help persuade inspectors to leave the runway as it is, but adding to pilots' abilities to approach on a steady path, especially at night when the trees are hard to see, Scherrer said.

"It would probably buy us some time," Scherrer said. "It's a short-term solution."

For now, the county is holding off on a $12 million project to give the runway its first repaving in 20 years.

Westchester's attempts to coax and even to force the landowners in Connecticut to remove or trim the trees failed years ago. The battle went all the way through the federal courts in the 1990s, and Westchester officials don't intend to try it again.

"We lost that battle at the Supreme Court," Chemka said. "We're not revisiting that now."

On a typical day, only about 5 percent of the airplanes landing and taking off at the airport use runway 11/29, Scherrer said. But it becomes more important when traffic is heavy and air traffic controllers want to alternate the landings and departures. Also, when a strong wind blows from the west or northwest, approaching runway 11/29 from the east allows small planes to land into the gusts rather than fighting a crosswind.

"That's the most important runway for landing when we have heavy winds from the west or northwest," Scherrer said.

While the airport has become popular with vacationers, such commercial flights made up less than 20 percent of the 151,000 landings and take-offs last year, Scherrer said. Corporate flights are the most common by far. It is also used by flight schools and private pilots, who appreciate having the second runway.

"You don't get stuck behind all the jets when you can use the shorter runway," said Dr. Jill Silverman of Yorktown, a psychologist and private pilot who flies single-engine Cessnas.

Taking away the alternate runway robs efficiency by halting operations if there's a problem on the one working airstrip and by mixing different types of airplanes that fly and land at different speeds.

"It's almost like going on the Taconic Parkway and someone's doing 40 miles and hour and someone else is doing 65 and someone else is doing 80," Scherrer said.

If the airport becomes less convenient to use, Johnston said, it would take away from one of the benefits that make Westchester attractive to corporations and other businesses such as flight schools.

"When the pain level gets to a certain point, they're going to say 'Thank you very much,' " Johnston said. "Aviation is a mobile product."

Source:   http://www.lohud.com 


Many small-plane crashes at Westchester County Airport (KHPN) 

There have been many crashes and other incidents involving small aircraft either leaving or approaching Westchester County Airport over the years. They include:

November 2012: A pilot from Eastchester, N.Y., was injured when he crash-landed a small plane in a parking lot off of King Street just across the Greenwich border, less than a mile south of Westchester County Airport. The Journal News reports the single-engine Beechcraft might have clipped trees along the Reckson Executive Park.

June 2011: Four people were killed in a crash of a Cessna 210 Centurion in a wooded area near American Way North in Greenwich, about a mile north of the airport, minutes after taking off. The pilot radioed the airport shortly after takeoff and said he had to return. But the plane plummeted before reaching the runway and burst into flames.

September 2007: A small plane crashed during takeoff from Westchester County Airport, sliding off the runway and crashing into trees and a fence, injuring the pilot, who was treated for minor injuries at Westchester Medical Center.

April 2005: A flight instructor based at Westchester County Airport and his student died in a crash in a wooded area near the Kensico Reservoir, about a mile from the airport. An ensuing lawsuit claimed the instructor was giving a lesson in instrument-based flying under improper weather conditions and failed to heed low-altitude warnings from the control tower.

June 2001: A Florida pilot was killed in backcountry Greenwich when his Piper Saratoga crashed into fog-shrouded woods near a residence off Bedford Road and then exploded. Authorities believe the pilot became disoriented while attempting to land at Westchester County Airport, possibly due to loss of oxygen in cockpit.

December 1996: The pilot of a single-engine Cessna sustained minor injuries when his plane crash-landed on a residential street near Scalzi Park in Stamford after taking off from the airport.

September 1996: The pilot and a passenger escaped injury when a World War II-era biplane made an emergency landing at Greenwich Point beach after its engine failed following departure from the airport.

May 1996: Two men escaped injury when their single-engine Cessna 206 crashed into Rye Lake in New York during its approach to the airport.

September 1990: Five people received minor injuries when their twin-engine Turbo Commander crashed in Byram Lake in Armonk, N.Y., while approaching the airport.

June 1990: A man and his grandson were killed when their twin-engine Cessna crashed into Rye Lake in Harrison, N.Y., as they attempted to land at the airport.

November 1989: A single-engine Piper Cherokee crashed into an island in the Kensico Reservoir in New York while approaching Westchester County Airport in poor visibility, killing two people and injuring one.

December 1988: The pilot of a single-engine plane escaped injury in an emergency landing on the golf course at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich when he was unable to reach the airport.

December 1988: Three people were killed when their single-engine plane crashed in Harrison after taking off from the airport.

July 1988: Two Greenwich men were killed when their single-engine Piper Cherokee crashed in a wooded area of Mount Pleasant, N.Y., on its approach to the airport.

November 1987: A flight instructor and his student escaped injury when their single-engine Cessna Skyhawk made an emergency landing on the Innis Arden Golf Course in Old Greenwich five minutes after taking off from the airport.

April 1987: The pilot was killed when a twin-engine Beech Baron crashed into a Pleasantville, N.Y., house while attempting to land at Westchester County Airport.

January 1987: Two men escaped injury when their single-engine plane ran out of gas and they made an emergency landing on Interstate 684 in North Castle, N.Y.

November 1984: Two people were critically injured when their airplane crashed while making an emergency landing near the Sprain Brook Parkway in Greenburgh, N.Y.

December 1983: Two Eastchester, N.Y., residents were killed when their single-engine Cessna crashed in Greenwich while attempting to land at Westchester County Airport.

June 1983: Four people were killed when a single-engine plane crashed into a field in Ridgefield.

July 1982: Two men were injured when their single-engine plane crashed into Rye Lake in New York.

June 1982: Three men were killed when their plane plunged into Long Island Sound off Larchmont, N.Y.

March 1981: Two men survived when their single-engine plane lost power while approaching Westchester County Airport and crash-landed in a playing field at the State University of New York at Purchase.

February 1981: A Lockheed Jetstar owned by Texasgulf Inc. of Stamford crashed during an approach to the fog-shrouded airport, killing six of the firm's executives and two pilots. It was the worst aviation accident in Westchester history.

February 1981: A Harrison pilot escaped serious injury when he crash-landed his Piper Commanche in Rye Lake while attempting to land at Westchester County Airport in heavy fog.

September 1979: A single-engine Cessna plummeted into Mead's Point in Greenwich, killing the pilot and critically injuring a passenger.

September 1979: Six people escaped injury when their 12-passenger twin-engine plane, crippled by the loss of its right landing gear, crash-landed at Westchester County Airport.

September 1978: A small plane carrying three passengers who sustained minor injuries, crashed in North Castle, N.Y., while making a final landing approach to the Westchester County Airport.

December 1977: A United Airlines pilot died when his six-passenger plane went down on a front lawn in Greenwich shortly after takeoff from Westchester County Airport during a light snowstorm.

August 1977: Two Pennsylvania men were killed when their single-engine Piper Cherokee went down near the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich after taking off from the airport.

August 1976: The pilot of a two-passenger plane escaped serious injury when his aircraft crash-landed on a front lawn in New Castle, N.Y.

January 1976: One person was killed and three were injured when their single-engine Cessna crashed in North Castle, N.Y., while making its approach to Westchester County Airport.

November 1974: Three men and a woman died after their single-engine Cessna crashed in New Castle at night in fog.

October 1974: A pilot survived after he crashed just north of the Westchester County Airport while attempting an instrument landing.



Peter Scherrer doesn't treat his 9-to-5 job like a 9-to-5 job.

"I usually get into work at 6:30 or 7:30," says the 59-year-old airport operations administrator at Westchester County Airport. "It's a time when I can get paperwork done and answer emails before the day really starts."

The day never really ends at the airport, which sees 46 planes depart and 46 planes arrive each day. And Scherrer has a hand in pretty much every aspect of the operation.

"People run airports, and I'm fortunate to work with 1,300 good people at the airport who make me look good," he says. "I always tell people, 'Paperwork can get done later, even if I have to come in on the weekend to do it. People are what makes the airport run.' "

Scherrer is one of the busiest people at the county airport. He oversees everything from negotiating leases and contracts to safety and security, customer service, interacting with airlines and tenants, maintenance, construction, aircraft rescue and firefighting and emergency response.

The emergency response aspect of the job got a workout on on June 13, when Richard Rockefeller's single-engine Piper Meridian crashed shortly after takeoff from Westchester, costing the Maine doctor, a member of the Rockefeller dynasty, his life at 65. The plane came to rest not far from the airport, in a Purchase neighborhood. No one on the ground was injured.

Scherrer's responsibilities technically end at the perimeter of the 700-acre airport property, but he was called to the June 13 scene by the Harrison Police.

Related: Crashes and incidents at the Westchester County Airport

"Responders know their community and what to do and the more people who show up at the scene, they just get in the way," Scherrer says. "But if requested, we'll go to the site."

Scherrer ended up handling media requests and answering questions about the incident.

Airport teams don't need to be at the scene of a crash to be useful. The point person at an air crash can contact Scherrer's team to get answers to questions ranging from the kind of airplane to the type of fuel it was carrying.

Scherrer's team trains regularly to prepare for something they hope doesn't happen: a crash at the airport.

"We do a lot of meetings, once a month, which are important," he says. "We do training exercises with the local community. The most important thing about emergency response is that you can recognize someone's face and know what their job is, so there's instant interaction and you save a little time when you respond to an emergency. Everybody knows what they have to do because you have a relationship. That's always been most important to me, that you know everybody by their first name." 

Scherrer tells his team that emergency responses demand precision. 

"I say 'Your role sometimes is very short. Sometimes, it's very long. But know your role so you don't get beyond what you're supposed to do. Make sure you do that little role perfectly.'"

Sherrer, a Hawthorne native, knows his way around a cockpit. He was on the flight team at Western Michigan University, and went to the national competitions three straight years competing against top schools such as the Air Force Academy.

But he never wanted to fly for a living. He wanted the kind of job he has right now.

He and his wife, Debbie, live in Yorktown Heights and have six grown children, ages 26 to 36, and two grandchildren.

"A lot of people think it's a sleepy little airport, but we're a busy little airport, the second largest corporate airport in the country, probably the world," he says.

See a disaster drill

Watch the team at Westchester County Airport perform a disaster drill, with the help of dozens of volunteers playing injured passengers, at www.lohud.com.


Story, photo and video:  http://www.lohud.com


May 20, 2014:   Westchester airport repairs mean delays in bad weather
Travelers using Westchester County Airport could see a rash of delayed and canceled flights during bad weather for the next two months as equipment that sends pilots landing information is replaced.
 

That's the bad news. The good news is that a few months from now, the new, more precise equipment is expected to add reliability at the airport, letting pilots land safely in more adverse weather.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration began the work May 12, the airport's ability to handle traffic has been "minimized or nonexistent" during bad weather, like the rain and fog in the area last week, airport manager Peter Scherrer said.

"We took a lot of delays and canceled flights," Scherrer said. "It made it a little tough for the travelers and for the airlines, and for us."

Two antennas dating to the 1990s are being replaced on runway 16, the larger of the two runways and the approach used more by commercial flights in bad weather, Scherrer said. The FAA is handling — and paying for — the project to replace the localizer and glide scope antennas, which send airplanes their horizontal and vertical positions.

Things are expected to return to normal around July 23, with planes once more using the approach for the current instrument-landing limit at the airport: a half mile of visibility and cloud cover as low as 200 feet.

By November, after a test period, airplanes would be allowed to land with even less visibility and cloud cover as low as 100 feet.

The news that the antennas were down was jarring to Rye Brook resident Richard Hubert, who learned about the work from a Delta Air Lines crew when he was flying back from Atlanta in the rain.

"I was outraged," Hubert said. "That is something that you shouldn't find out about when you're sitting on an airplane."

While his flight landed, he was alarmed to learn that pilots would have to rely on visual flight rules.

"Those are what the barnstormers used in the 1930s," he said.

Scherrer said planes have no problem landing without the instrumentation in good weather.

Planes landing from the other direction on the airport's main runway would have no approach lights and therefore face more restrictive minimum criteria: A pilot needs three-quarters of a mile visibility and cloud cover no lower than 350 feet, Scherrer said.

The airport and FAA agreed recently to install the new antennas, which will help improve capacity at the airport, which saw 1.75 million passengers pass through its main terminal in 2012, he said.

"Hopefully it goes quickly," he said, "and hopefully we have good weather."


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