Thursday, July 17, 2014

Overland Park charity with ties to controversial pilot draws Federal Aviation Administration ire

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed a $66,000 fine for an Overland Park charity with ties to a controversial pilot and convicted criminal.

The FAA says the Nazarene Aviation Fellowship violated aviation regulations in 2012 by operating an aircraft in an unauthorized and unsafe manner.

More specifically, they say the organization gave pilot David Riggs permission to use a Soviet-era military jet to perform proficiency checks on other pilots and for movie filming. Instead, he used the jet to conduct passenger flights in formation with another jet.

Another pilot in the formation crashed, killing himself and his passenger. The wife of the man who died has filed a lawsuit.

Nazarene Aviation Fellowship is a nonprofit group organized by Jerry Brockhaus, an Overland Park insurance agent. Brockhaus could not be reached for comment.

A 2006 financial document for the organization showed total revenue of $560 with just $150 in expenses.

Much more is known about Riggs, whose name popped up in local, national and international media throughout the years — each time involved in a new scheme.

He set up a company in Kansas City called Mokan Productions, but when federal regulators began looking into the company’s finances he fled town. He later turned up in South Africa, where he was tied to illegal ivory smugglers.

Riggs also spent time in a Hong Kong prison before being extradited to the United States where he was convicted of fraud and spent time behind bars.

In 2010, authorities in Santa Monica, Calif., charged Riggs with buzzing the pier using a jet similar to the one at issue now. His pilot’s license was suspended at that time, and he remained unlicensed during the 2012 event that caught the FAA’s attention.

Riggs died in September after crashing his plane in China, where he was participating in air races. A Chinese interpreter riding in his plane also died in the crash.

Ron Roberts, a former business partner of Riggs, has written a self-published biography of the man called “Hollywood Grifter.” He claims that Riggs created the Nazarene Aviation Fellowship as a shell to hide certain property, including his aircraft.

Riggs filed for bankruptcy in April 2010 in Los Angeles. The FAA registration for the plane in question was issued to Nazarene in May 2010.

“This guy is my ex-partner, and there’s nobody in the world knows Dave Riggs better than I do,” Roberts said. “He’s a world-class con man.”


Accident occurred July 17, 2014 at Pennridge Airport (KCKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania

The Red Baron he was not. 

A pilot flying a bright red biplane failed to properly navigate the runway of Pennridge Regional Airport Thursday morning, flipping tail-over-propeller upon landing and coming to rest upside-down at the edge of the tarmac.

Miraculously, Pennridge Regional police Chief David Mettin said the pilot was uninjured.

“The biplane came in for a landing and went off the side of the runway,” Mettin said. “Somehow it flipped over … but there were no injuries.”

Airport manager Jean Curry said the plane was a Stearman Vintage Trainer, easily recognizable by its bi-wing and single propeller design. She declined to give details about the pilot or crash, citing an ongoing investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“They’ll be on-site conducting interviews and will be in contact with the pilot,” Curry said. “I can’t give any information until that is completed.”

Shortly after the crash, which occurred just before 11 a.m., a truck-driven crane arrived at the scene to right the plane. Hooking to the tail end of the Stearman, the crane lifted the plane entirely into the air before setting it down right-side-up.

A second truck then towed the vehicle into a hangar.

“The plane was removed from the runway and (the airport) was reopened,” Curry said.

Curry said the incident was a first she’s seen in her 14 years managing the airport.

At the scene, witness Michelle Yuro, who came to the airport from Robbinsville, New Jersey, to sky-dive, said the bright red plane reminded her of the infamous Red Baron.

“He touched down and it looked like he was out of control. He just went off a little and nosed over and landed right on his back,” Yuro said. “I don’t know a lot about flying but from what I’ve seen it looked like he was coming in fast.”

Yuro saw the male pilot walk away from the crash. Besides a crushed tail tip, there was little visible damage to the plane.

“I saw him walk right out,” Yuro said. “He got himself out and then in the interim everyone ran over there.”

It was Yuro’s second failed jumping attempt in a week, after her first was cancelled following a sky-diving accident that left two people hurt.

An instructor with a Philadelphia-based sky-diving company, who declined to give his name, said he had to cancel all of his jumping appointments for the day. He said it was the first time in his 12 years that a plane crash of any kind had hurt his business.

Sky Ad Company Has ‘Zero Intention’ of Stopping Flights: Aerial Banners' owner explains why his company will continue to fly advertisements over Waikiki and other beaches in contravention of local laws

Bob Benyo, president of Aerial Banners North, says he is ready to fight in court for his companyʻs right to keep towing advertising banners over Oahu.

Benyo says Aerial Bannersʻ small yellow plane will be in the air this weekend with at least two flights to tow aerial banners over local beaches.

“I have zero intention of stopping until someone in the U.S. government, someone from the Federal Aviation Administration, tells me to stop,” said Benyo, who was reached by telephone in his office in Hollywood, Florida.

Benyo says he could understand people being angry if he wanted to fly over tranquil rural areas but he says downtown Honolulu is a city just like any other big city, and cities have aerial advertising.

“I don’t like upsetting people, but what we are doing is allowed in every state, including Alaska.”

“And we are not up in the air for a long time. The plane whizzes by in 30 seconds and is gone. We are not up there for hours.”

Benyo says his pilot this weekend will tow a banner across Oahu carrying a client’s “happy birthday” wish.

Another banner expected to be hauled over Honolulu will say, “Will you marry me?”

Benyo says he continues to get requests for banners with personal messages but his potential business clients in Honolulu “have gotten cold feet” and are holding off until Aerial Bannersʻ case is sorted out in court.

The company insists it has the right to fly advertising messages in Hawaii despite state and county laws that prohibit aerial advertising.

An Aerial Bannersʻ pilot was cited July 4 by the Honolulu Police Department for breaking county law after the pilot flew across the North Shore and Kailua Beach hauling banners saying, “ABN loves America” — the company refers to itself by its initials — and “God Bless USA.”

The citation carries a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of 30 days in jail, or both.

The pilot also flew across Oahu on Memorial Day weekend towing a large American flag.

The pilot will appear on August 5 in state district court. Aerial Banners attorney Michael McAllister says the company will defend the pilot and, he says, if the company is also slapped with a citation later, “It will vigorously defend itself.”

Aerial Banners insists a Federal Aviation Administration waiver allows it to fly banners in every state, including Hawaii.

But the FAA itself clarified that the waiver does not supersede Hawaii’s state laws and county ordinances, which forbid “outdoor, off-premise advertising.”

Off-premise means any outdoor advertising that is done away from the business itself, and that includes aerial advertising.

The cityʻs aerial advertising ban has been challenged twice and upheld each time by the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has told Aerial Banners to stop and The Outdoor Circle has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the company.

Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has notified Aerial Banners North that it is operating in violation of city and state laws and will be cited and prosecuted.

The Outdoor Circle says it received dozens of complaints from members after the Aerial Bannersʻ Memorial Day flight over the North Shore and Kailua Beaches.

Outdoor Circle executive director Marti Townsend says. “I am disappointed to hear Aerial Banners is undeterred by the public outcry as well as the clarification by the FAA that what it is doing is illegal.”

“This particular area of the law has already been settled and it is unfortunate the we have to spend public money to explain this once again.”

Benyo says it is not his intention to be disrespectful. He says the company will not fly over peopleʻs homes in the suburbs but that it will restrict will its flights to Oahuʻs beaches, “because it is our job to fly where people gather” and over crowded highways during drive time traffic.

“It might be nice for people to read something when they are stuck in traffic,” says Benyo.

He says he will never fly banners like the anti-abortion group, Bio-Ethical Reform, which in 2003 illegally hired small planes to tow banners over Oahu that showed aborted fetuses.

“I want to keep it clean. I want to keep away from advertising that turns people’s stomachs. We will keep the content of the advertising as G-rated as possible”

Benyo says it is also his intention to limit his aerial advertising business to Oahu and Maui, rather than the entire state. But he says, “That may change.”

His company’s self-promotion materials say banners towed by planes are very effective way to advertise because when people hear the noise of a plane they automatically look up to glance at the ad.

The plane that Aerial Banners uses on Oahu is a Piper Pawnee, a single engine plane often used for crop dusting. It flies out of Kalaeloa Airport.

When I asked Benyo about noise pollution and the nuisance of his plane flying by Oahuʻs beaches when beach goers are trying to relax, he said, “All airplanes make noise, cars make noise. Noise is a part of life. Airplanes are going to be here forever.”

Benyo says he has been in the aerial advertising business for 20 years, operating three aerial advertising companies. He has 50 employees in 27 different markets.

Benyo is aware of the public outcry about Aerial Bannersʻ flights. When I tell him I also disagree with his push to fly advertising banners over Oahu, he thanks me.

“I understand. You are a native. I respect your position but I respectfully disagree with you.

“I am not trying to change the way you guys think. I am only trying to follow the law,” he says. “The waiver allows our company to fly legally. We have a legal right to fly from Kalaeloa Airport.”

And Benyo is undeterred by the never-give-up spirit of the Outdoor Circle.

“I know the Outdoor Circle is powerful. I am proud of it and I respect it. I just think it is barking up the wrong tree. They will soon realize it is the federal government that controls air space not the counties and the states,” he says.

Benyo stresses again that he will only pull up stakes in Hawaii when a federal judge or the FAA tells him to stop.

“I am not a cowboy. I am not a renegade. I am not looking for a fight,” he says.

Benyo says he hopes to prevail in court. He says after that happens, “I hope to win public opinion by flying banners for charities and flying public service announcements. Then maybe everyone will know we are not such bad guys.”

Kathryn's Report

Story, Photos and Comments:

Courtesy: Aerial Banners North

Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga, N297AS: Fatal accident occurred July 16, 2014 in North Captiva Island, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA343 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in North Captiva Island, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/06/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-301T, registration: N297AS
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.

A witness familiar with the pilot reported that the accident flight was the pilot’s second flight to the airport that day to transport ceramic tiles to that location. One witness reported that the airplane appeared to be “taking off attempting to recover [from] an aborted landing and did not have the airspeed to recover.” Several witnesses observed the airplane having difficulty climbing before it impacted water in a left-wing-low attitude. Based on the witness statements, the pilot was likely performing a go-around maneuver before the accident, and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall. The airplane came to rest on its left side in about 8 ft of water and 200 yards from the departure end of the intended runway. Several witnesses reported hearing the engine operating with no hesitations noted, and postrecovery examination revealed no mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities of the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

During the examination, 666 lbs of ceramic tiles were found unsecured in the cargo compartment; this exceeded the cargo compartment weight limit by 57 lbs and would have degraded the airplane’s climb performance and increased its stall speed. The investigation could not determine the actual distribution of the unsecured tiles in the cargo compartment before the accident, so postaccident weight and balance calculations were performed for several tile distribution scenarios. The calculations revealed that, with a relatively even distribution or with the tiles in the forward position of the cargo compartment, the center of gravity (CG) would have been within the CG envelope limits; with the tiles in the forward position, the CG would have been near its forward limit. However, with the tiles in the aft position, the CG could have exceeded the aft CG limit by as much as about 4 inches.

Based on the evidence, it is likely that, during the approach to land, the unsecured tiles began to slide forward, which would have made the airplane’s nose feel heavy and might have led to the pilot’s decision to go around. However, when the pilot applied power and began to pitch the airplane’s nose up during the go-around, it is likely that the unsecured tiles slid aft, which resulted in the CG exceeding its aft limit, the airplane’s nose pitching up further, and the pilot’s pitch control authority decreasing. These conditions resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack, experiencing an aerodynamic stall, and colliding with water. Although pilots operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 are not required to conduct preflight weight and balance calculations, 14 CFR 91.9 does require the pilot-in-command to comply with the operating limits, including weight and balance, in the approved airplane flight manual, which provides pilots weight and balance computations, charts, and graphs.

Although toxicology testing of the pilot revealed ethanol in both the liver and muscle specimens, the variation in the amount of ethanol in the tissue specimens suggests that most, and perhaps all, of the ethanol came from sources other than ingestion. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the pilot was impaired by ethanol at the time of the accident. Further, no evidence for medical impairment or incapacitation was found.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s failure to secure the cargo in the cargo compartment, which resulted in a weight shift that led to the center of gravity exceeding its aft limit during a go-around attempt and a subsequent aerodynamic stall. Also causal to the accident were the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and his loading the airplane beyond the cargo compartment weight limit.


On July 16, 2014, about 1745 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301T, N297AS, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water near North Captiva Island, Florida. The airplane departed from Page Airport (FMY), Ft. Myers, Florida about 1735 with an intended destination of Salty Approach Airport (FL90), Ft. Myers, Florida. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight was filed. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

Numerous witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be departing from FL90. Some of those accounts stated that the airplane "was having a hard time trying to climb" or "that it appeared that the pilot was trying to build up speed to gain elevation" prior to the left wing making contact with the water. One eyewitness, who was familiar with the pilot, reported that the pilot had flown in earlier in the afternoon with a load of tile and the accident flight was the second trip for the day. Another eyewitness reported that the airplane appeared to be "taking off attempting to recover [from] an aborted landing and did not have the airspeed to recover." Several of the witnesses reported that they audibly observed the engine operating at the time of the accident. Some of the witnesses reported the airplane was about 7 feet above the ground when it passed over the beach.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land with a rating for instrument airplane. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued on October 22, 2013. The pilot's flight logbook was located in the forward baggage compartment of the airplane. The logbook was saturated with water and considerable damage was done to the edge of the logbook; however, some pages were separated and on the last full page of handwritten entries indicated that the pilot had accumulated 2,018.7 total hours of flight experience. The subsequent page had four entries of 0.5 hours each, for a total flight experience of 2,020.7 hours; however, those entries were not dated.


According to FAA records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on December 10, 1999, and was registered to Howard Aviation on June 11, 2007, and the pilot was listed as the "president." It was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A engine and driven by a Hartzell propeller model HC-I3YR-1RF. A review of copies of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on January 13, 2014, at a recorded Hobbs meter reading of 1,225 hours and indicated an engine total time in service of 1,225 hours. The Hobbs hour meter was observed at the accident site and indicated 1267.5 hours.


The 1745 recorded weather observation at FMY, located approximately 20 miles to the east of the accident location, included wind from 330 degrees at19 knots with gusts of 30 knots, visibility 1 3/4 miles with thunderstorms in the vicinity and light rain, scattered clouds at 2,400 feet above ground level (agl), broken clouds at 3,400 feet agl, overcast at 5,500 feet agl, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 23 degrees C and barometric altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury. The remarks section included a peak wind at 1741, lightning in all quadrants surrounding the airport, rain began at 1745 and a thunderstorm was present between 1727 and 1744.

No witnesses or first responders reported lighting, rain, or adverse winds in the vicinity of FL90 at the time of the accident.


The airport was privately owned and at the time of the accident did not have a control tower. There was one runway designated runway E/W. The turf runway was 1,800 feet long and 100 feet wide. The airport was about 6 feet above mean sea level and had a sandy beach area located at both ends of the runway.


The airplane was located in 8 to 10 feet of water, approximately 200 yards west-southwest of the extended centerline of the runway designated "W." The main wreckage was located at coordinates 26:36'215N 082:13.640W. The airplane was resting its left side on the sea floor. The left wing separated during the impact sequence and was originally found at coordinates 26:35'250N 082:13.670W. The engine remained attached to the airplane and was collocated with the main wreckage. The airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of approximately 340 degrees.

The airplane was recovered utilizing three lifting air bags. During recovery the tie straps damaged the right wing in the vicinity of the aileron. The stabilator and left wing could not be located utilizing sonar or visual sighting.

Post recovery examination of the wreckage and witness statements indicated that the airplane impacted the water in a left wing low attitude. The fuselage was placed on a hangar floor for the examination. The right wing was removed to facilitate transportation and the left wing was not located at the accident location. The nose gear as viewed was in the nose wheel well; however, the hydraulic extension ram was extended and bent aft during the accident sequence. The right main landing gear was impact-separated at the attach point; however, the hydraulic ram was extended 8 inches, correlating to the right main landing gear being extended and locked at the time of impact. The flap jackscrew was measured at 3 exposed threads, which correlated to a flaps 40 position or fully extended position.

Porcelain tiles and two wooden pallets were located, unsecured in the cabin section of the airplane. The tiles and pallets were removed and weighed, on a scale; the contents weighed a total of 666 pounds. A placard located on the aft wall of the cargo compartment indicated that 609 pounds was the maximum allowed cargo weight.


The fuselage remained intact; the left cargo/passenger door remained attached, had an approximate 8 inch gouge just aft of the forward hinge point, and the cabin had a gouge on the roof approximately 6 inches above the pilot, or left side, window. The windows remained in position; except for the pilot side windscreen and pilot side window, which were not located. The forward cabin door remained attached and during recovery the locking mechanism operated normally; however, during post recovery examination the door was slightly ajar and would not lock into position. The airplane was equipped with two front seats; the four aft passenger seats were removed sometime prior to the accident flight. The pilot seat exhibited torsional twist to the left, similar to the torsional twist of a mass in place at the time of impact. Both seats remained on their respective seat tracks and locked in place. Seat restraints were located and all were unremarkable, operated normally with no abnormalities noted and exhibited no web stretching. The two front seatbelts were unlatched when found. No cargo securing mechanism was noted in the accident aircraft other than the passenger seatbelts and a single cargo strap that were found folded and stowed inside the aircraft.


The instrument panel remained attached and the "L Mag" and "R Mag" switch on the ceiling were in the "ON" position. All instrumentation remained attached and the turn and bank indicator indicated a left bank turn. The control "T"-bar and the sprockets and chains remained attached; however, binding was noted at the base of the "T"-bar. Removal of the channel cover indicated that the floor had a slight buckling and manipulation of the buckling allowed the control cables to operate. Control cable continuity was traced to all the cable breaks from the associated attach points and the breaks had the appearance of broomstrawing at the fracture points. The right side aileron balance cable was cut to facilitate transport to the salvage yard. The fuel selector valve indicator and fuel selector valve both indicated that the right fuel tank was selected. The throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were in the full forward positions. The throttle was operated and was confirmed operating through the full arc of operation at the throttle linkage. The fuel pump and air-conditioner switches were found in the "OFF" positions. The landing gear lever was in the "DOWN" position and the gear switch was bent to the right. The flap handle was in the "40 degree" or full flap position.


The vertical fin and rudder remained attached; however, the stabilator was impact-separated from the fuselage and was not recovered. The impact damage was consistent with overload fractures. The rudder was attached to the vertical fin at its hinge points and control cable continuity was confirmed to the rudder pedals. The stops were in place and exhibited no peening. The rudder balance weight was located in the rudder assembly. The rudder position at impact could not be determined.

The stabilator was separated from its mounting. The fracture points were consistent with being separated in an aft and right direction. The stabilator trim drum was absent and not located.

Left Wing

The left wing was impact separated and was not located. However, the attach structure exhibited overload fractures in the aft and positive direction. The primary balance cable was fractured and exhibited tensile overload signatures. Control continuity was established to the fracture point.

Right Wing

The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. The wing was unremarkable, except for the damage that resulted from the recovery of the airplane. The right main landing gear was impact separated at the attach fitting; however, considering the hydraulic ram position of 8 inch, the landing gear was determined to be in the down and locked position. The flap remained attached to the wing and on the flap track; however, the exact position could not be determined except by utilizing the exposed threads under the floor in the cabin section. The aileron remained attached and was operated by the control cables, which were cut to facilitate transport, and revealed no anomalies. The aileron balance weight was in position and attached to the outboard section of the aileron. The fuel tank contained 15 gallons of blue fluid similar in color and smell as aviation 100LL fuel. The fuel cap was tight and secure and no water was present in the fuel when drained to facilitate recovery. A small hole was punctured by investigators into the forward section of the tank to facilitate draining of the fuel into containers. The wing tip remained attached.


The engine remained attached to the airframe via the mounts, cables, and wires. The propeller remained attached to the propeller hub, which remained attached to engine. The fuel inlet screen was removed and was free of debris. The fuel injectors were removed from the engine and a partial obstruction was observed in all injectors, however, utilization of low air pressure air removed the obstructions. All lines from the divider and vent return were intact. The turbocharger remained attached to the engine; the impeller rotated smoothly by hand and exhibited soft or minor damage to two of the impeller blades. An undetermined quantity of oil was observed in the turbocharger drain back tank. The turbocharger waste gate operated smoothly with no abnormalities noted. All ignition leads were intact and secured to the spark plugs. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and appeared normal in wear and slightly dark in color. The bottom sparkplugs were wet with oil, which was consistent with the at-rest position of the engine. The engine was rotated utilizing the propeller through the propeller hub and continuity was confirmed to the right rear magneto pad and the magneto impulse coupling was audibly observed to be actuating. Thumb suction and compression was confirmed on all six cylinders. The magnetos were removed and were spun utilizing a cordless drill; however, no spark was observed. The left and right magnetos remained attached to the engine. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and the shaft remained intact. The vacuum pump was removed and rotation was accomplished by hand with suction noted at the intake fitting. The oil dipstick was present and oil was observed on the oil dipstick; however, an accurate quantity could not be determined. The density control and pop off valves remained attached to the engine. The oil filter was removed, cut open, and was free of metallic particulates. The air/oil separator was removed and examined, revealing oil was present in the screen and a minimal amount of debris was noted.

No obstructions were observed in the exhaust crossover section.


The Hartzell 3-bladed propeller exhibited S-bending and tip curling on all blades. All three propeller blades were bent in the aft direction between 17 and 19 inches from the propeller hub. The propeller governor remained attached to the engine and operated with no abnormalities noted.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 19, 2014 by District 21, State of Florida, Office of the District Medical Examiner. The cause of death was listed as "Drowning."

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronuatical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report revealed the following:
96 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Liver
46 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle
N-Propanol detected in Liver
N-Propanol detected in Muscle

Additionally, putrefaction (which consists of the post-mortem creation of ethanol) was noted as yes. The report further stated that no drugs were detected in the liver.


CFR Part 91.9(a) states, "Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft without complying with the operating limitations specified in the approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual, markings, and placards, or as otherwise prescribed by the certificating authority of the country of registry."

Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A)

Section 4 "Aerodynamics of Flight" states "The CG [center of gravity] range is very important when it comes to stall recovery characteristics. If an aircraft is allowed to be operated outside of the CG, the pilot may have difficulty recovering from a stall. The most critical CG violation would occur when operating with a CG which exceeds the rear limit. In this situation, a pilot may not be able to generate sufficient force with the elevator to counteract the excess weight aft of the CG. Without the ability to decrease the AOA [angle of attack], the aircraft continues in a stalled condition until it contacts the ground."

The "Glossary" defines CG as "the point at which an airplane would balance if it were possible to suspend it at that point. It is the mass center of the airplane, or the theoretical point at which the entire weight of the airplane is assume to be concentrated. It may be expressed in inches from the reference datum, or in percentage of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC). The location depends on the distribution of weight in the airplane."

Advisory Circular (AC) 61-67C "Stall and Spin Awareness Training"

Chapter 1 "Ground Training: Stall and Spin Awareness" states in part "The CG location has a direct effect on the effective lift and AOA of the wing, the amount and direction of force on the tail, and the degree of stabilizer deflection needed to supply the proper tail force for equilibrium. The CG position, therefore, has a significant effect on stability and stall/spin recovery. As the CG is moved aft, the amount of elevator deflection needed to stall the airplane at a given load factor will be reduced…this could make the entry into inadvertent stalls easier…IN an airplane with an extremely aft CG, very light back elevator control forces may lead to inadvertent stall entries…"

Saratoga II TC PA-32R-301T Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)

Section 6 "Weight and Balance" states in part "Misloading carries consequences for any aircraft. An Overloaded airplane will not take off, climb or cruise as well as a properly loaded one. The heavier the airplane is loaded, the less climb performance it will have. Center of gravity [C.G.] is a determining factor in flight characteristics. If the C.G. is too far forward in any airplane, it may be difficult to rotate for takeoff or landing. If the C.G. is too far aft, the airplane may rotate prematurely on takeoff or tend to pitch up during climb. Longitudinal stability will be reduced. This can lead to inadvertent stall and even spins…"

Weight and Balance

According to the POH the airplane's maximum gross weight limit was 3600 pounds and the CG envelope was between 78 and 95 inches, depending on the aircraft weight. The airplane's weight and balance was calculated utilizing the available information for the fuel, pilot's weight at autopsy, cargo distribution, and airplane configuration. Although it could not be conclusively determined the amount of fuel on board at the time of departure, 15 gallons of fuel was removed from the right fuel tank. Assuming that the left fuel tank was devoid of fuel, the airplane would have weighed approximately 3,547 pounds. The CG Moment Envelope indicated that the accident airplane's CG may have been near the aft CG limit, but within the envelope. However, it could not be accurately determined how the tiles were distributed in the cabin. If the tiles were loaded in, or shifted to, the forward section of the cargo compartment the CG could have been as far forward as 91.56 inches. If the tiles were loaded in, or shifted to, the aft section of the cargo compartment then the CG could have been as much as 98.93 inches or 3.93 inches aft of the most rearward approved CG.


NTSB Identification: ERA14FA343 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in North Captiva Island, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-301T, registration: N297AS
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 July 16, 2014, about 1745 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301T, N297AS, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water near Salty Approach Airport (FL90), Ft. Myers, Florida. The airplane had departed from Page Airport (FMY), Ft. Myers, Florida, about 1735. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight had been filed. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several eyewitnesses reported that the airplane was attempting to land; however, the airplane was about halfway down the runway when the pilot aborted the landing attempt. During the go-around maneuver the airplane was observed at no more than 10 feet above ground level, the engine was heard operating; however, the airplane "was not climbing." The left wing impacted the water, separated, and subsequently the airplane sank. One of the witnesses reported that this was the pilot's second trip that afternoon to FMY for porcelain tiles.

The airplane was found in 8 to 10 feet of water approximately 200 yards west southwest of the extended centerline of the runway designated "W." The airplane was resting on its left side on the sea floor. The left wing had separated during the impact sequence and was originally found about 50 feet away; however, due to the underwater current the following day, the wing was unable to be located. The engine remained attached to the airplane and was co-located with the main wreckage. The airplane came to rest on an approximate 340° magnetic heading.

The stabilator was unable to be located utilizing sonar nor visual sighting.

Post recovery examination of the wreckage and witness statements indicated that the airplane impacted the water in a left wing low attitude. The landing gear lever located in the cockpit was in the "DOWN" position and the hydraulic ram on the nose landing gear and right main landing gear correlated to a gear down position. The flap jackscrew was measured and correlated to a flaps 40 degree position or the full flaps extended position. The right wing fuel tank contained approximately 15 gallons of blue fluid similar in color and smell as aviation 100LL fuel and was devoid of water. The fuel selector and fuel selector valve, located under the floor of the cockpit, was selected to the right fuel tank. The engine remained attached to the airframe via the mounts, cables, and wires. Engine continuity was confirmed from the propeller hub to the rear magneto pad. Thumb suction and compression was confirmed on all cylinders. The 3-bladed propeller exhibited S-bending and tip curling on all blades.

Continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedals to the rudder assembly. Right aileron cable continuity was confirmed from the control yoke to the cable cut made during recovery at the right wing root and from the right wing root to the aileron. Left aileron cable continuity was confirmed from the control yoke to the left wing root, at which point the direct cable and balance cable both exhibited tensile overload. Cable continuity was confirmed from the control yoke to the stabilator attach point; however, the stabilator trim drum was not present.

The four passenger seats had been previously removed and two wood pallet structures were present on the floor of the cargo area. Porcelain tiles, of various sizes, were present. Following recovery of the airplane, the tiles were removed from the airplane and weighed a total of 666 pounds.

Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Miami FSDO-19

North Captiva, FL -  We have the stories of witnesses who tired to save a pilot involved in a local plane crash.  The crash off North Captiva Island killed the pilot, Gregg Howard.

Calls for help to 911 were abundant after a six-passenger plane crashed of North Captiva Island.  We listened to more than half a dozen 911 calls from the minutes after the crash happened.

“The plane is floating. The wing is up. We need someone now. The Coast Guard now,” said a caller.

Frantic callers asked to get help for a complete stranger. Their memories of the crash moments before their calls were all too clear.

All of the callers told operators they saw what they thought was a person floating in the water. Several people headed out in kayaks to search.

“I think I see one person above water,” said one caller, “They’re going to rescue this person. My husband just went out to try to help.”

But as the witnesses watched from shore, they quickly learned what they saw was not what many hoped.

“We thought this object we saw was the head of a person. But, it must be part of the plane,” said another caller.

Reports of a person outside the airplane were later revealed to be an object separated from the plane floating in the water.  Many of the calls lasted nearly a half hour. Witnesses stayed on the phone with 911 until first responders arrived.

Greg Howard 

Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga (N297AS) photo taken moments before accident.

Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga, N297AS

North Captiva, FL - Crews will pull a submerged plane out of the water Friday morning as the investigation into a deadly plane crash continues.

Officials say the plane will be taken out of the water at Pineland Marina and will be transported to Groveland at a “secured location.”
The crash happened Wednesday evening just west of the landing strip in North Captiva Island. Authorities received the call at 5:52 p.m.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials confirmed a Piper PA-32 crashed into the water as it was trying to land at the Salty Approach Airport. Witnesses say they noticed one wing sticking out of the water, while the rest of the plane was submerged.

Authorities Thursday night confirmed they found a body inside the plane but have not released the person's identification. According to flight records, the pilot of the plane is Gregg Howard, of St. Petersburg.

On Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived from Virginia to begin looking into what caused the plane crash as it was attempting to land on the grassy airstrip.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has assumed the investigation.

Neighbors witness crash

People who live on the island tell us there are a number of pilots that live along the runway. The property owners are the only ones allowed to use the Salty Approach Air Strip.

Neighbors tell us they saw the plane throughout the day.

“He was kind of turned sideways when he went in. It didn’t look right. I was like something’s gotta be wrong,” said witness Allison Scraub.

Late Wednesday afternoon, witnesses say they saw the plane leave North Captiva Island. Nearly an hour and a half later, witnesses saw it slam into the water off the island’s coast.

“He was coming in. Then he got to the end, he didn’t stop. He kept going. [He] sort of went into the air, but didn’t get up high enough,” said Scraub.

As people glued their eyes on the wing that stuck halfway out of the water, others scrambled to call 911. They feared that someone was trapped inside the plane that was sinking into water 80 feet deep.

“It was landing, but it sounded like it was going too fast,” said witness Erick Bush.

Bush went out on his boat to see for himself – hoping he could help. But he was too afraid to jump in.

“I didn’t want to get hung up in something down there and then drown with him. But I knew someone was in there,” said Bush.

The pilot, Gregg Howard, was making improvements to his North Captiva home. Neighbors say he was bringing tile back from Fort Myers.

“His plane broke into pieces,” said witness Sherman Cottrell.

Witnesses say Howard was attempting to land the plane during a thunderstorm.  We're told it could take months before we know the official cause of the crash.

Tracking the flight

We exclusively tracked the pilot's flight using recorded traffic.

A recording between the pilot and air traffic control reveal he was informed of dangerous weather approaching. Maps during the conversation show the pilot was trapped between numerous storms with few options.

There was a 5-mile wide band of precipitation between the airport and 10 miles away. The pilot was told it was not recommended for any pilot to fly into that weather.

Despite the warning, the pilot took off.

At 5:37 pm he leaves Page Field. At 5:48 pm he is told the airport is closed to visual flights. At 5:39 pm he requests weather conditions.

The pilot is told to communicate with RSW but that didn't happen. Wind patterns reveal they were blowing from the east.

Expert pilots at Page Field said landing a Piper Saratoga on the Captiva airstrip isn't an easy thing to do - and they warned against landing a plane that size on such a small strip.

BOCA GRANDE, FL - After sitting partially submerged in the waters off North Captiva Island for close to two days, the small plane that slammed into the sea on Wednesday is now back on dry land.

We were there as crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and SeaTow lifted the Piper PA-32 out of the water and towed it to a dock in Boca Grande.  There the plane's fuel tank was emptied and the one remaining wing was sawed off - allowing it to be hoisted onto an awaiting trailer.

"Everything look to be intact from what I could see," said Kellen Calale who watched the plane being towed from a nearby dock.

Authorities confirmed they found a body inside the plane but have yet to release the person's identification. According to flight records, the pilot of the plane is Gregg Howard, of St. Petersburg.

It is believed Howard was trying to land at the Salty Approach Airport on North Captiva in bad weather when the plane crashed Wednesday evening - just west of the landing strip on North Captiva Island.  

On Friday, some friends opened up about Howard, saying he was well liked and an experienced pilot. They're trying to understand what caused his flight to crash.

"I'll think about Gregg every time I fly. He'll always be with us. A real tragedy," said Zeke McDonald, friend of Howard.

Howard was headed toward retirement, and renovating a home on Captiva Island.

The plane is now at a secure location just outside of Orlando.  That is where investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will pulle the plane apart - looking for any clues as to what caused the crash.

NTSB officials say it could take up to a year for the results of their investigation to be released.

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N13SK: Incident occurred September 30, 2018 near near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), Broward County, Florida and Accident occurred July 16, 2014 in Rockville, Parke County, Indiana

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

September 30, 2018: Landed on a road.

Date: 30-SEP-18

Time: 09:58:00Z
Regis#: N13SK
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172N
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

What could have been a fiery plane crash instead became a safe landing in the middle of a road Sunday morning.

Just before 6 a.m., Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue got a call about a Cessna Skyhawk that lost power as it approached Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The plane was near the end of its three-hour flight from southern Georgia when the pilot, who has not been identified, reported hearing the engine sputter mid-flight.

Two people, including the pilot, were aboard the four-seat plane at the time.

“It stalled on approach,” said fire rescue spokesman Stephen Gollan. “Our biggest concern was that it was a very populated area.”

But rather than crashing, the pilot steered the plane, which has a nearly 36-foot wingspan, onto a nearly 90-foot-wide road about one mile from the airport.

No one was injured, according to fire rescue officials.

“If you didn’t have a pilot that wasn’t as knowledgeable as this person was, it’s very possible that this outcome would have been completely different,” Gollan said.

Original article can be found here ➤

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rockville, IN
Accident Number: CEN14LA374
Date & Time: 07/16/2014, 1450 EDT
Registration: N13SK
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that the engine experienced a partial loss of power while the airplane was in cruise flight. After the pilot unsuccessfully attempted to restore engine power, he made a forced landing to a cornfield. Postaccident examination of the dual magneto system revealed that the four screws designed to hold the magneto points in their operational positions were loose, which caused both magneto points to remain in the closed position as the center cam was rotated and likely resulted in the partial loss of engine power. Airplane maintenance records indicated that the airplane had been flown 8 hours since its last annual inspection about 5 1/2 months before the accident. No further information about the maintenance was available.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power due to a failure of the dual magneto system. Contributing to the accident was the improper maintenance of the duel magneto system.


Magneto/distributor - Failure (Cause)
Magneto/distributor - Incorrect service/maintenance (Factor)

Personnel issues
Scheduled/routine maintenance - Maintenance personnel (Factor)

Factual Information

On July 16, 2014, about 1450 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N13SK, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Rockville, Indiana. The pilot and passenger were not 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. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight departed from a private airport near Rockville, Indiana about 1400.

According to the pilot, the engine lost partial power while in cruise flight. The pilot attempted to restore engine power by applying carburetor heat and checking the mixture and fuel selector positions, but engine performance continued to worsen. The pilot performed a forced landing into a corn field, during which both wings were damaged.

During examination of the engine, both points of the single drive/dual magneto system would not open; as the center cam was rotated to the 'points open' position, both points remained closed. Further examination revealed that four screws designed to hold the magneto points in their operational position had become loose. Two of the loose screws did not have any torque paint on them; torque paint for the other two loose screws was missing from the screw slot.

Aircraft records indicted the airplane had flown eight hours since its last annual inspection on February 3, 2014. The investigation was not able to interview the mechanic who performed this annual inspection and recent maintenance on the airplane.

History of Flight

Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail

Hard landing (Defining event) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 64
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/05/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/07/2013
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 1000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 250 hours (Total, this make and model), 1000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N13SK
Model/Series: 172N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17271183
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/13/2014, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2307 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 8 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5613 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 0-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: HOPKINS JACK E
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPRG, 654 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1450 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 176°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Rockville, IN (Priv)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Rockville, IN
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None

Latitude, Longitude:  39.796111, -87.676944 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA374   
4 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Rockville, IN
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N13SK
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 16, 2014, about 1450 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N13SK, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Rockville, Indiana. The pilot and passenger were not 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. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight departed from a private airport near Rockville, Indiana about 1400.

According to the pilot, the engine experienced a loss of power while in cruise flight. The pilot attempted to restore engine power by checking carburetor heat, mixture, and fuel selector positions, but engine performance continued to worsen. A forced landing was performed into a corn field, during which both wings were substantially damaged.

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Officials have confirmed a small airplane crash in Parke County just west of the Putnam County line.

Indiana Conservation Lt. Kent Hutchins stated the crash happened just south of US Highway 36.

The plane had engine failure, crashed into the edge of a cornfield and traveled an estimated 50 feet into the field before stopping.

“He did a very good job at controlling the descent,” Hutchins stated.

Hutchins also stated the pilot has both military aviation experience as well as general aviation experience.

The FAA registry shows the Cessna aircraft is registered to a Jack Hopkins out of Rockville.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Flight MH-17, 9M-MRD: Fatal accident occurred July 17, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine

South Africa team goes to Ukraine to identify pilot killed in Malaysian crash

July 23, 2014 17:46

Cameron Dalziel with his wife, Reiné, and elder son, Sheldon. Dalziel was among the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

A team has left South Africa to identify the body of the South African pilot killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in the Ukraine, the pilot’s brother said.

Campbell Dalziel, brother of Cameron Dalziel who was killed in the crash, said today he believed the team would go to the Netherlands where the remains of those killed were being taken.

“The British foreign office have been good and the Canadian Helicopter Corporation for whom my brother worked have been good,” he said.

“Also the SA deputy director of consular services, Alfred Brown, and Brigadier Helena Ras of the SA Victim Identification Center. She’s a friend and she’s assisted with the DNA swab from my mother and father.”

Ras has also taken ID documents.

“She’s going there with all the documents and dental records, and they’re going to do the investigation and ID the body.”

Dalziel said the support he and his family had received since the crash had been overwhelming, even from people who did not know his brother.

“The whole situation was a senseless act. My brother was a passenger, and he was a passenger with over 200 people on that flight,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know other people’s families, and I’m sure others are sharing what we’re going through. There are tears and too many words.”

He said a memorial for Cameron would likely be held next week.

Agence France-Presse reported this afternoon that the first bodies from flight MH17 had arrived in the Netherlands, almost a week after the plane was shot down over Ukraine.

Grieving relatives, along with the king and queen of the Netherlands, received the as-yet unidentified victims.

The bodies are to be transferred to a military base at Hilversum, southeast of Amsterdam, where forensics experts will identify them.

Flags of the 11 nations that lost citizens in the crash flew at half-mast at the airport in Eindhoven.


Cameron Dalziel with his wife, Reiné, and elder son, Sheldon. Dalziel was among the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

Anzac crash case nears end: Couple frustrated they will not see those in command at the time taking responsibility


A guilty plea is expected today from the NZ Defence Force over health and safety failures which led to the deaths of three men in a 2010 military helicopter crash.

The parents of one of the men killed in the crash want any guilty plea to come with a public apology from the NZDF - including from its commander at the time, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparae.

This afternoon, the Wellington District Court will see the NZDF called to answer a charge it failed to protect its staff from "hazards arising from the operation of helicopters" while at work.

The case was brought by crash survivor Sergeant Stevin Creeggan, who laid criminal charges against his commanders alleging breaches of health and safety after the Government bungled its handling of the case.

Sergeant Creeggan was badly injured in the crash, with his parents initially wrongly told he had died. He remained in the service, overcoming traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones.

Andrew and Pauline Carson's son Ben, 25, was killed in the accident, with pilots Hayden Madsen, 33, and Dan Gregory, 28.

The Carsons yesterday praised Sergeant Creeggan for his courage in taking the case against his commanding officers.

Mr Carson said the case was driven by Mr Creeggan's desire to avoid future preventable accidents, and to hold the Royal New Zealand Air Force accountable.

The Carsons are frustrated they will not see those who were in command at the time taking personal responsibility. Mr Carson said: "To me, [Sir Jerry] Mataparae, [Air Vice-Marshal] Graham Lintott and two or three others should be in the dock. They were the people responsible. They should be the people facing the charge."

Sir Jerry was chief of the defence force at the time and Vice-Marshal Lintott chief of air force. Sir Jerry left to run the GCSB before being made Governor-General and Vice-Marshal Lintott serves as New Zealand's defence attache in Washington.

Sir Jerry was "hiding behind the Queen's petticoats", said Mr Carson. "You can't just give him a new uniform and a new job and that's the end of it." The Governor-General's office referred comment to NZDF, which had no comment to make ahead of the hearing.

The men were travelling in the second of three helicopters from Ohakea air force base to Wellington for the 2010 Anzac Day service to carry out a fly-over. In bad weather, shortly before dawn, they lost their way in fog and the helicopter went into the hill above Pukerua Bay.

The military Court of Inquiry into the crash found fault with the culture at Ohakea's 3 Squadron and the preparedness and training of pilots flying in bad weather with night vision goggles.

The Herald then revealed the officer who had signed off the flight did so after sending an email months earlier warning commanders someone would be killed through the squadron's attitude.

Helicopter crash

• April 2010: An Anzac Day fly-over ends in tragedy after a helicopter crashes killing three aboard.
• October 2011: The air force unsuccessfully prosecutes the pilot who signed off the crash.
• December 2011: The military Court of Inquiry is released, criticizing the helicopter squadron's culture.
• September 2012: The Herald reveals the officer who signed off the flight had warned the reckless culture would end in tragedy.
• October 2012: A leaked air force report reveals a string of safety recommendations were ignored.
• March 2013: Air force unsuccessfully prosecutes the lead pilot.
• November 2013: The courts give Stevin Creeggan permission to prosecute the air force.
• July 2013: The air force is called to answer a criminal charge. 

Story and Photos:

Pauline and Andrew Carson praised Sergeant Stevin Creeggan for his courage in taking the case. 
Photo / Peter Meecham

Planned redevelopment of landmark airplane hangar at Hamilton-Owens Airport (KCUB) doesn’t fly ... for now

COLUMBIA, SC — Partners in the planned restoration of a landmark 1929 steel-and-glass airplane hangar at Columbia’s Hamilton-Owens Airport are moving on.

A contract expired last week between Richland County and CW Hangar Partners, who put three years into plans to buy and redevelop the empty building across from City Roots farm in Rosewood.

Commercial developer Ed Garrison said the group “didn’t even come close” to raising the $4.7 million needed to turn the spacious building into an events venue, restaurant and small aviation museum.

“We’re all very disappointed,” he said.

Rosewood residents and boosters had rallied behind the project, which would have saved one of the last hangars remaining from a Depression-era partnership between Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers.

“It’s a beautiful building,” said City Roots owner Robbie McClam, an architect-turned-farmer. “It’s in disrepair, unfortunately, and I’m sure it was going to be very expensive to bring up to the standards we’d all like to see.”

But McClam said the developers’ legwork could allow someone else to step in to preserve an important historic building.

Jenna Stephens, president of the Rosewood Community Council, agreed. “It is such a cool space that something has to come along there.”

Three other partners in the deal were Five Points businessman Scott Linaberry, architect Joseph Rogers and real estate broker Ben Riddle.

Linaberry said he hopes a nonprofit organization or partnership of local governments might take over where his group left off.

Richland County Councilman Greg Pearce, the council liason to the airport commission, said he’s interested in exploring the alternatives.

“It’s one of two or three surviving Curtiss-Wright hangars in the whole country,” Pearce said. “The Curtiss-Wright organization was the pioneering force behind modern-day air travel. It’s a building that has historic value, and I would hate to see it continue to decay down to nothing.”

Linaberry said the group’s structural engineer found the building to be in pretty good shape, with mostly cosmetic problems. Granted, he said, “There are some things we could do to shore it up and still maintain the visual integrity of the building as it was in ’29.”

Six or eight months ago, the vintage B-25 bomber that had been housed in the hangar was moved by the S.C. Historic Aviation Foundation, which now owns the plane, airport director Chris Eversmann said.

Story and Photo Gallery: