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
Investigating Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oakland FSDO-27
Jerry L. Parker: http://registry.faa.gov/N518BC
NTSB Identification: WPR14FA258
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 21, 2014 in Livermore, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: PARKER LOEHLE MUSTANG T5151, registration: N518BC
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 was conducting a local personal flight. One witness reported that the airplane departed the airport and that, when it was about 2 miles from the airport, it pitched up, banked left, and then flew straight down. Another witness stated that the airplane was trailing smoke and appeared to be on fire and that the airplane banked left and right, pitched up, and then pitched straight down. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain, which ignited a grass fire. Postaccident examination of the wreckage found no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A year before the accident, the pilot was involved in a hard landing following a loss of engine power in the accident airplane. Review of recent correspondence between the pilot and the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the pilot had removed fuel filters on the airplane that had resulted in the loss of power at certain altitudes and installed an electric fuel pump in addition to replacing all of the polyurethane tubing that supplied fuel to the engine. Maintenance records revealed no entries pertaining to the fuel system. Due to impact damage and postimpact fire damage, the source of the in-flight fire could not be determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
An in-flight fire of unknown origin for reasons that could not be determined because of impact damage and postimpact fire damage.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On June 21, 2014 about 1700 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Loehle Mustang 5151, N518BC, was destroyed when it impacted terrain about two miles from the Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), Livermore, California. The private pilot was the sole occupant and was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from LVK at 1653.
According to a controller at the LVK air traffic control tower (ATCT), the airplane just departed LVK and was about 2 miles northeast as it pitched up sharply, banked to the left and flew straight down before impacting the ground. Another controller at the LVK ATCT stated the airplane was trailing smoke then was on fire. The airplane banked left and right and abruptly pitched up while trailing smoke. The airplane then nosed over and flew straight down towards the ground. Both witnesses recalled something departing the airplane while in the descent and realized it may had been the pilot jumping from the airplane.
A security camera located about a 1/2 mile to the southwest of the accident location recorded the airplane in flight seconds prior to impacting the ground. The recording captured the airplane in a steep nose dive while trailing smoke. The airplane impacted the ground followed by a large explosion.
A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the 63-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in January 15, 2013, with no limitations stated.
Review of the pilot's logbook indicated a total flight experience of 830 flight hours. Further review revealed that the pilot flew the accident airplane four times in the previous three weeks prior to the accident.
The accident airplane, a 2013 Loehle 5151 Mustang, serial number 5151-10873332, was a low-wing, retractable conventional gear, single-passenger, experimental amateur-built airplane, made primarily of wood construction. The airplane was powered by a 64 horsepower Rotax 582 UL DCDI engine, serial number 5305705, and equipped with a 4-bladed Warp Drive Carbon Fiber propeller. According to the airplane logbooks, the last annual inspection was complied with on March 30, 2014, with a total time of 22 hours.
According to email communication with the FAA, dated June 8, 2014, the pilot stated that he had removed fuel filters on the airplane that was resulting in the loss of power at certain altitudes. He also reported he installed an electric fuel pump for an auxiliary pump and fuel pressure gauge. He concluded in the email that he replaced all of the polyurethane tubing that was supplying fuel to the engine.
Further review of the airplane's maintenance logbooks revealed no logbook entries regarding the fuel system had been entered.
A review of recorded data from the LVK automated weather observation station, located 3 miles southwest of the accident site, revealed at 1453, wind was from 200 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point 7 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.88 inches of mercury.
LVK was equipped with two parallel runways, designated 7/25 R and L. Runway 7L/25R measured about 5,253 by 100 feet, and runway 7R/25L measured about 2,699 by 75 feet. The two runway centerlines were separated by about 500 feet, and the threshold of runway 26L was staggered about 1,300 feet west of the 25R threshold, and the threshold of runway 7L was staggered about 1,300 feet west of the 7R threshold. LVK is at an elevation of 400 feet msl.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector documented and photographed the accident site. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was with the ground on north facing sloped terrain. Impact marks consistent with the airplane colliding with the terrain in a nose down attitude and wings level. All flight controls, wings and fuselage were highly fragmented throughout the debris path. The debris path was approximately 330 feet in length and oriented along a 358 degree magnetic heading. About 10 acres of land was burned. The pilot was found to the east of the debris path about 420 feet from the FIPC.
Examination of the recovered wreckage was conducted on July 2, 2014, at the facilities of Plain Parts, Pleasant Grove, California, by representatives from Rotax Aircraft Engines, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with the oversight by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC). The examination did not reveal any evidence of any preexisting mechanical malfunction which would have precluded normal operation.
Examination of the recovered airframe revealed extensive impact damage. The fuselage and wings are of wood structure and no large sections were present. The ailerons, rudder or elevators were not found intact during the examination. Numerous wing spar hardware was found in the main wreckage and only small portions of the wood spar material was found that was thermally damaged and partially attached to the hardware.
The instrument panel separated into two sections with numerous instruments displaced. The instruments had thermal and impact damage and their indications were not legible.
Control cable continuity was established from the cabin control stick to the rudder horn. The elevator push-pull control tube was separated from the control stick and elevator attachment and had impact damage. The aileron control cables were intact to the aileron attachment hardware. The aileron interconnect cable was separated and exhibited signatures consistent with tension overload at the separation.
The seat belt assembly hardware was found and only small portions of melted webbing remained attached. The main buckle was not attached and the lever handle was in the stowed position and bent to one side.
The 12-gallon fuel tank, associated lines and inline filters were not found during the examination. The header tank pickup tube was found intact and the screen was clear and undamaged. A marine type fuel cap assembly was found and the cap was closed and secure. The o-ring seal on the cap was intact and undamaged.
Examination of the Rotax 582UL engine revealed that it was partially separated from the engine mount structure. The engine and a section of the fire wall remained partially attached and both had impact damage.
The exhaust muffler assembly separated from the engine and had crush damage. The 90-degree exhaust connection tube from the Y-pipe to the muffler had deformation on the outside bend, closing off about 50 percent of the tube. The exhaust Y-pipe remained attached to the engine and showed signs of modification (shortened).
The forward side of the engine had impact damage. The ignition system had thermal damage and was mostly consumed by fire. The power takeoff (PTO) cylinder had impact damage revealing the connecting rod, piston and internal surfaces. The cylinder head assembly was removed and the combustion areas were covered in a light coating of oil. The MAG (magneto side) cylinder overhead combustion area had small impact marks. The throttle and choke control quadrant remained attached to the engine by the control cables. The throttle lever was found in the mid-range position and the choke handle was in the off position. The starter separated from the engine and had impact damage. The engine driven fuel pump separated from the engine and had thermal damage.
The radiator had impact damage and associated lines were destroyed by fire.
The top spark plugs were removed and the electrode areas had dark sooty deposits. The electrodes exhibited no wear signatures.
The propeller assembly separated from the engine and all four blades separated near the hub. The composite blades had delamination and rotational markings at the tips. The spinner was not located during the examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot on June 24, 2014. According to the report the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "acute blunt and thermal trauma."
The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. According to CAMI's report, no drugs of abuse were detected.
On August 18, 2013, the pilot landed hard after reporting a loss of power after take-off. The pilot was flying the accident airplane during its maiden test flight. The pilot terminated the flight with about 4,000 feet of runway remaining, landed hard, which resulted in the damage of the main landing gear and propeller.
NTSB Identification: WPR14FA258
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 21, 2014 in Livermore, CA
Aircraft: PARKER LOEHLE MUSTANG T5151, registration: N518BC
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 21, 2014 about 1700 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Loehle Mustang T5151, N518BC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain about two miles from the Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), Livermore, California. The pilot was the sole occupant and was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from LVK at 1653.
According to witnesses, the airplane was about 1,000 feet above ground level when it abruptly pitched up while trailing smoke. The airplane then nosed over and spiraled towards the ground. Fire and smoke was seen trailing the airplane prior to impacting terrain.
The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.
The Alameda County Coroner confirmed his identity as 63-year-old Jerry Parker of Livermore. His body was found about 300 feet from the wreckage of his experimental "kit" plane.
"Everybody loved him, he made friends everywhere he went," said Parker's friend of twenty years, Tom Gorman, "it's just shocking to me, that it was engine failure because I can't imagine him missing anything."
On YouTube, videos Parker posted show take-offs and landings in the plane he'd spent four years building. He told friends his test flights were going well.
"He's been flying the past few weeks, over the house, around Livermore, and was saying the plane is about ready," noted Gorman, "he was thinking of taking it down south to visit his daughter."
But on Saturday around 5 p.m., just a few minutes into another flight, Parker's plane caught fire over the Livermore hills. Trapped in a burning cockpit, he freed himself and fell more than a thousand feet to his death.
"Jerry basically lived at the airport, he was a classic airport bum," Rich Perkins told KTVU.
Perkins was Parker's friend, and his boss, who hired him as an airplane mechanic because he was so skilled, so meticulous.
On an aerobatic flight, he says, Parker would have been required to wear a parachute, but not on a routine flight.
"We'll never know how much time Jerry had or what was going through his mind," said Perkins somberly, "We're just not going to know, how severe that fire was."
Perkins says people often doubt the reliability of "experimental" or "kit" planes after such an accident. In fact, he says, they meet same standards, and undergo the same rigorous FAA inspections, as factory-produced planes.
"These airplanes typically don't exhibit any real problems," explained Perkins. "The accident rate on these kit airplanes is generally no greater than you would find on a certified airplane."
When in trouble, the kit plane's light weight and maneuverability should enable them to glide to the ground. But fire changes everything.
"It sounds like he took off and minutes later it just caught fire," said friend Gorman, "and then he had the most horrific choice I've ever heard of."
Ironically, added Gorman, Parker loved to free fall, and sought out the bungee jump ride at the fair, which drops riders one hundred feet.
"So if that was his choice, between a fire and a free fall, he would choose free fall," lamented Gorman.
Jerry Parker was a mechanical engineer by profession, and a Vietnam combat veteran. He spent more than a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a military contractor, and returned to the Bay Area a few years ago, with the kit plane he bought overseas.
His friend Tom Gorman notes Parker survived many dangerous experiences in the Middle East.
"He's been shot at more times than anybody should be shot at. And it was his recreational activity that finally killed him."
The NTSB is investigating the accident.
LIVERMORE -- An Air Force veteran who died over the weekend after his plane caught fire and crashed into a field near a freeway had built the aircraft, his employer said Monday.
Jerry Parker, 63, of Livermore, jumped from his replica P-51 Mustang after it caught fire during takeoff from Livermore Airport, about 5 p.m. Saturday. He fell 1,000 feet and died instantly, authorities said.
"I flew with him several times, and he was extremely skilled as a pilot," said Rich Perkins, the owner of Attitude Aviation in Livermore. Parker, a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force, worked as a mechanic for the company.
Perkins said Monday that Parker, who was a Vietnam veteran, had recently been in Iraq and Afghanistan but wanted to get out of those dangerous locales and back to a stable lifestyle at home.
The replica of a P-51 Mustang was a "kit plane," according to Perkins, one that is assembled by its owner. The Federal Aviation Administration must approve such aircraft for flight and had done so with the plane that Parker was flying, Perkins said.
"It's basically a great big model airplane," Perkins said. "They're built to higher standards than certified airplanes. My concern is that people will think this was just some crazy person trying to build an airplane and then flying it. Nothing could be further from truth. This was an excellent pilot and mechanic."
Witnesses told sheriff's deputies that Parker jumped from the aircraft without a parachute after the plane caught fire during takeoff from Livermore airport. The tower reported that the plane was in trouble, then reported flames.
Fire crews quickly contained a blaze that was sparked by the crash, keeping it to 1.5 acres of vegetation, Alameda County Fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.
When he fell, Parker landed about 300 yards from the plane, officials said, and died on impact. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which left the aircraft demolished.
"Unfortunately in flying, once in a while the wrong thing goes wrong at the wrong time, and you have a crash," Perkins said. "Every pilot knows that going in."
Fire crews contained the fire quickly, and nobody else was injured, Knowles said. Cal Fire, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire and Camp Parks all assisted with the response.
Story and photo: http://www.contracostatimes.com
A pilot has died, as an experimental plane he was flying crashed and sparked a brush fire in a field in Alameda County near Livermore Saturday afternoon, a fire battalion chief said.
According to Federal Aviation Administration official Allen Kenitzer, the small aircraft, described as an experimental Loehle Mustang, crashed in a field about 2 to 3 miles northeast of Livermore near I-580 shortly after departing from Livermore Municipal Airport.
The crash was reported near North Livermore Avenue just north of Interstate Highway 580 shortly before 5 p.m., Alameda County fire Battalion Chief John Walsh said.
When emergency crews arrived at the wreckage, the pilot, who was the only person on board, was declared deceased at the scene, according to the fire battalion chief.
J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department said the pilot was killed instantly.
"At some point, he got out of the plane, and we don’t know whether he jumped or was thrown out of the plane, but he was not in the plane when it crashed," he said. "His body was found 300 yards away.”
The crash sparked a brush fire that reached about 1.5 acres, before it was contained at 5:17 p.m., Walsh said.
A Loehle Mustang is a type of plane typically constructed from a kit and includes a wood fuselage and a fabric cover. Deputies said all that is left of the plane is a motor and some small parts.
The cause of the plane crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The identity of the pilot has not been released, and no other injuries have been reported.
Story and video: http://www.nbcbayarea.com
What's left of a experimental kitplane lies in a field off North Livermore Avenue, half a mile from 580. The pilot was found dead about 300 feet away Saturday.
Sergeant JD Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department told KTVU the pilot's troubles started shortly after taking off from the airport in Livermore airport around 5 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses said the plane looked like it was on fire.
"At some point the pilot either jumped out of the plane or was forced out of the plane just prior to it crashing on the hillside," Nelson said.
Nelson says looking at the wreckage, it's his belief the pilot would not have survived the crash and as terrifying as it must have been, getting out of the burning plane was the pilot's best option.
"The pilot was killed instantly when he landed in the field about 300 feet from where the plane ultimately landed," he said.
Aviation sources told KTVU the plane that crashed was a kitplane, a 3/4 replica of a World War II fighter plane. However, instead of metal, the replica's frame is made of wood and the skin made of fabric. Sheriff's investigators said that was consistent with what they found among the debris.
The fiery crash also sparked a brush fire that spread an acre and a half before Alameda County fire crews arrived on scene to put it out.
The FAA is investigating the cause of the fire in the plane and resulting crash. The pilot has not been identified.
Story and video: http://www.ktvu.com
NTSB Identification: WPR13CA379
Accident occurred Sunday, August 18, 2013 in Livermore, CA
Aircraft: LOEHLE 5151, registration: N518BC
NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
LIVERMORE -- The male pilot of an experimental plane was killed in a crash early Saturday evening near Interstate 580 that touched off a brush fire, according to emergency responders.
The crash, which destroyed the plane, occurred just before 5 p.m. in a field off North Livermore Road. Alameda County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said the identity of the pilot would not be released until the coroner's investigation was complete.
Witnesses saw the pilot jumping from the aircraft, which Nelson described as a "kit plane," without a parachute after the plane caught on fire after taking off from Livermore airport and heading north. The tower reported it saw the plane in trouble, then saw flames.
The pilot fell about 1,000 feet and landed about 300 yards from the plane, he said. He was killed instantly on impact.
"Nobody ever survives that," Nelson said.
Firefighters quickly contained the blaze, which scorched about 1.5 acres, said Aisha Knowles, spokeswoman for the Alameda County Fire Department. No one else was injured, she said.
Cal Fire, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department and Camp Parks all assisted in the response, Knowles said. The area about half-mile north of westbound Interstate 580 near North Livermore Avenue includes rolling hills and ranch land with a few residences nearby.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the accident, which left little remaining of the plane, Nelson said.
"It's completely demolished," he said. "There's airplane parts and that's it."
Story and photos: http://www.mercurynews.com