Friday, July 18, 2014

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (KCLT) updating jet noise maps

http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is updating its noise exposure maps for the first time since 1998, and the new maps could lead to more homeowners being bought out or receiving noise insulation. 

 The starfish-shaped noise exposure maps help city officials determine which properties are eligible for purchase by Charlotte Douglas and which are eligible for extra insulation, storm doors and storm windows, based on the average amount of noise they receive from jets overhead.

Charlotte Douglas has hired consultant Landrum & Brown, and plans to finish the project by July 2015, with maps for now and looking ahead to 2020.

It’s too soon to predict how much the airport’s noise boundaries will shift, officials say.

“We don’t know what that will look like until we run the program,” said deputy interim Aviation Director Jack Christine. “This map will tell us what areas are eligible for noise mitigation.”

As Charlotte Douglas has grown, its noise has increased along with the number of flights. With more than 700 daily departures, Charlotte Douglas is the sixth-busiest airport in the nation.

The loudest airport noise is north and south of the airport’s three parallel runways and off the ends of its diagonal runway, where planes fly low during takeoff and landing.

To identify noise problem areas, Landrum & Brown is developing a detailed computer model of daily flights at the airport and their attendant noise. The model’s predictions are then checked against decibel measurements from around the airport to ensure accuracy.

65-decibel cutoff

Airplane sounds are measured during the day and night and averaged together, with a 10-decibel penalty added to noise between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Areas with an average of 65 decibels of noise or more are considered unsuitable for houses, schools, places of worship, nursing homes, libraries, hospitals and other similar uses.

The averaging of noise levels means that even though a house might have several flights a day that exceed the 65 decibel threshold, the property might not qualify for noise insulation if the average is under 65 decibels.

Charlotte Douglas has bought out neighborhoods in the path of planes, a process that generally takes years. The former Morris Park neighborhood north of Wilkinson Boulevard has been demolished since the airport acquired almost all of the property there, and is now an airport employee parking lot and future rental car maintenance facility.

So far, Charlotte Douglas has insulated about 1,000 homes, six churches and three schools against airplane noise. About 400 properties in the highest-noise areas have been purchased. Most of the $67 million worth of expenses has been reimbursed by the federal government.

And the airport is in the process of buying houses south of its newest parallel runway, which opened in 2010. Charlotte Douglas is buying the 370-acre neighborhood for an estimated $35 million and plans to demolish the houses there and use the land for future industrial development.

‘You get used to it’

Some nearby residents said they have grown used to the noise near Charlotte Douglas.

Kenneth Martinez, a criminal justice student at UNC Charlotte, has lived south of the airport’s third parallel runway in a suburb off Steve Chapman Drive with his parents for about five years. His neighborhood is adjacent to the one Charlotte Douglas is buying, and planes pass overhead every few minutes. Residents there are used to raising their voices or pausing outdoor conversations when the planes fly over.

“It doesn’t really bother us,” Martinez said. “In a weird way it’s kind of soothing.”

Others said they have noticed the noise grow in recent years. Doug Pruitt, a computer programmer, has lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade and said flights have “increased drastically” since the third parallel runway opened.

“You get used to it after a certain point,” said Pruitt, who said the noise doesn’t bother him. “The airport was here before we were.”

Retiree Deborah Parrott said she’s hopeful the airport will provide additional relief from the noise.

“It would be nice for them to do something about it,” she said. “Why not give us new windows that keep the noise out?”

http://www.charlotteobserver.com



Hard landing cost Fiji Airways $8.6m

KathrynsReport.com

http://www.fbc.com.fj

The hard landing of the A330 plane in March at the Sydney Airport has cost Fiji Airways $8.6m.

According to airline CEO, Stefan Pichler, that was the amount the airline had to pay, however the total cost of the repair is much higher.

“This was the expense we had to pay. The expense in total was more because we had to lease the landing gear, ferry the material back and forth, and whatever so the total cost must be higher but we got back some money from the insurance that’s the net cost for us. "

Pichler adds, had the incident never occurred, it would have meant $8.6 m more profit.

Meanwhile, the pilot has been demoted.

http://www.fbc.com.fj


KathrynsReport.com

Deja Phew: Challenger, N31686 - East Moriches, New York

KathrynsReport.com

http://www.nydailynews.com

For the second time in eight days, New York pilot makes emergency landing on Long Island highway 

Frank Fierro of Suffolk County makes another unexpected touchdown on the Sunrise Highway. In pretty much the same place.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com


Challenger, N31686: Incident occurred July 10, 2014 near Spadaro Airport (1N2), East Moriches, New York 

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A HIGHWAY, NEAR EAST MORICHES, NY 

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11

http://www.asias.faa.gov/N31686 

FIERRO FRANK: http://registry.faa.gov/N31686 


 
EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (AP) -- A New York pilot has experienced deja phew.    The same pilot who made an emergency landing last week in the median of a Long Island highway did the exact same thing Friday. In the nearly the exact same place.

Suffolk County police say a single-engine Challenger ultralight plane landed on the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway because of engine trouble just before 1 p.m. Pilot Frank Fierro landed the same plane in almost the same place on July 10.

Police say Fierro had taken the plane for the first time since last week's incident. It was taken back to nearby Spadaro Airport in East Moriches.

KathrynsReport.com

10 things to know for the Offutt Air Force Base Air Show

KathrynsReport.com

http://www.jrn.com

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) Offutt Air Force Base’s Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show returns. Here are 10 things from the air show’s website you need to know about going and having a good time:

1. When
The air show runs Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20. The base gates will open at 8 a.m.

2. Parking
Organizers say there is limited parking on base and recommend taking advantage of multiple off-base parking locations with a shuttle to the air show. Park and Ride locations are at Bellevue West, Bellevue University, South Roads, Bellevue East, and Offut Air Force Base (Bellevue gate behind the Sarpy County Museum) AFWA Lot. (Click each location for a Bing map)

3. Taking the shuttle
The shuttle will run from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The last ride to the air show will leave at 3 p.m. Organizers says those in line at 3 p.m will still get a ride, but anyone after that will be turned away. The shuttles will run back to the parking lots until everyone has been returned.

4. Air act times
Air acts are scheduled for noon and 4 p.m., but depend on the weather and Air Boss.

5. Biking to the air show
This year you can bicycle to the air show. Organizers have set up bike lanes that lead right up to the gate of the base. From there, you’ll ride your bike to a bicycle-only lot. Helmets are required and cyclists must go single-file.

6. What not to bring
Attendees can expect to go through security where the following items will be taken and not returned: firearms, knives, any instrument used for cutting or slashing, pepper spray/MACE, fireworks, sparklers, coolers, backpacks, briefcases and packages.

Small purses, fanny packs and diaper bags are allowed, but will be searched.

7. Air performers include:
Blue Angels, F-22 Raptor, Michael Goulian, Trojan Horsemen, Leap Frogs and more.

8. Planes on display include:
A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and more.

9. Other organizations at the air show:
National Weather Service, Bellevue Fire Department, Boy Scouts of America, Civil Air Patrol and more.

10. IT’S FREE


http://www.jrn.com

KathrynsReport.com

Air Tractor AT-401B, Frontier AG Inc, N4223F: Accident occurred July 18, 2014 in Ellis County, Kansas

http://registry.faa.gov/N4223F


NTSB Identification: CEN14LA376 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Ellis, KS
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 401B, registration: N4223F
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 17, 2014, about 2330 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-401B single engine turboprop airplane, N4223F, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain near Ellis, Kansas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Frontier Ag Inc., and was operated by Frontier Agricultural Service, Inc.; both of Oakley, Kansas. Dark night visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan had not been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 positioning flight. The airplane had departed from Moritz Memorial Airport (K61), Beloit, Kansas, sometime after 2245 for planned flight to Oakley Municipal Airport (OEL), Oakley, Kansas.

No witnesses to the accident have been found, however evidence at the scene showed an initial impact scar with wreckage debris scattered generally to the south. The fuselage came to rest upright about 200 feet south from the initial impact point. There was no postimpact fire.

At 2335 the automated weather observing system at Hays, Kansas (KHYS) located about 14 miles southeast from the accident location, reported, visibility of 10 miles, broken clouds at 1,000 feet, broken clouds at 2,500 feet, overcast clouds at 3,300 feet, temperature 17 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 13 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of Mercury. AIRMET Sierra issued at 2145, and valid at the accident time near the accident flight level, forecasted instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions for the accident site with ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibilities below 3 miles with precipitation and mist.

The astronomical data obtained from the United States Naval Observatory for the accident location indicated that sunset occurred at 2102 and moonrise occurred at 0026 on the following day.



GARRETT MOORE
Obituary


Garrett Moore, 23, of Higginsville, died in a plane crash on July 17, 2014. Funeral Friday, July 25th, at 10:30 am, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Arr: Kaiser-Wiegers Funeral Home, 660-584-2626


http://www.legacy.com/garrett-moore

http://www.hayspost.com

ELLIS COUNTY–An Oakley man is dead after a single-engine plane crash northeast of Ellis earlier this morning.

The pilot was identified by the Kansas Highway Patrol as Garrett Moore, 23, Oakley. The Air Tractor AT-401B spray plane was owned by Frontier AG in Oakley.

According to Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Alstatd at the scene, the plane was found by a farmer in his pasture early Friday morning.  Alstatt said the plane had earlier been reported missing.

Currently the Kansas Highway Patrol is on scene and the Federal Aviation Administration is enroute from Wichita.

plane crash cu copyEmergency responders were called out shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.  There was no fire.

HAYS – The Ellis County coroner has been called to the scene where an aircraft was reported down in a field in northwest Ellis County.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Friday first responders were dispatched to a report of an aircraft down in a field north of Hays.
Approximate location of the aircraft incident north east of Ellis

Approximate location of the aircraft incident northeast of Ellis

The incident is near 170th Avenue and St. John- St. Andrew Road, about five miles north and five miles east of Ellis.

There is no fire at the scene. The Kansas Highway Patrol is on the scene and will assist with an investigation.


http://www.hayspost.com




Aerial Banners North: Mayor asks residents to report aerial advertising

KathrynsReport.com

http://www.staradvertiser.com

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking Honolulu residents to call 911 to report violations of Honolulu's aerial ban, so police can respond and issue citations.

Caldwell has also asked the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke a certificate of waiver that the the agency issued to allow Aerial Banners North to fly commercial banners over Hawaii, despite an aerial advertising ban in Honolulu.

On the Fourth of July, Honolulu police issued a citation against an Aerial Banners North pilot for an alleged violation of the city's aerial advertising ordinance. A hearing on the case is scheduled for District Court in Wahiawa on Aug. 5.

The pilot faces a maximum fine of $500 and three months in jail.

Caldwell is also seeking the help of Hawaii's congressional delegation to get further assistance from the FAA.

Michael J. McAllister, an lawyer for Aerial Banners North, said its FAA waiver allows it to fly banners throughout North America and Oahu and pre-empts any state or county prohibitions.

McAllister said the company will also defend the citation issued to its contract pilot.


http://www.staradvertiser.com


KathrynsReport.com

Van's RV-9A, N19VC: Accident occurred February 23, 2014 in Apopka, Florida

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA130 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 23, 2014 in Apopka, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/03/2014
Aircraft: VICTOR M CORDERO RV-9A, registration: N19VC
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that, during the approach to landing, the airplane’s propeller stopped spinning but that the engine continued functioning normally. He subsequently made a forced landing to a field. During the landing, the airplane flipped over and came to rest inverted, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and vertical stabilizer.


Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the spline shaft had uncoupled from the drive disk adapter. The splines of the spline shaft, the drive disk adapter, and the propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) input spline exhibited signs of severe wear consistent with fretting corrosion. Research revealed that several spline shaft failures had occurred on other airplanes; some of the failures resulted in a loss of engine power and subsequent forced landings, whereas some of the failures were identified during inspection. The manufacturer issued guidance to users to apply a nickel or copper antiseize compound on the spline shaft during installation of the PSRU to decrease wear; however, the manufacturer did not provide users with any instructions or recommendations to routinely inspect and lubricate the spline components. The pilot/builder reported that the PSRU and spline shaft had not been removed, lubricated, or inspected since it had been installed about 325 hours before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the propeller spline shaft, the drive disk adapter, and the propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) input spline due to a lack of inspection and lubrication, which resulted in a total loss of propeller drive and a subsequent forced landing. Contributing to the accident was the lack of manufacturer guidance for inspecting and lubricating the PSRU gearbox spline components.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 23, 2014, about 1335 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur built Cordero RV-9A, N19VC, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing in Apopka, Florida. The private pilot received minor injuries and the passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from Marsh Harbour International Airport (MYAM), Marsh Harbour, Bahamas at 1130 and was destined for Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), Sanford, Florida.

According to the pilot's written statement, the airplane was at an altitude of 3,000 ft and on approach for a landing on runway 9L, at SFB. Two minutes later, about 1330, the propeller stopped rotating, but the engine continued to function normally. There were no annunciations or warnings displayed on the engine monitoring unit. The pilot declared an emergency with Orlando approach who then issued a radar vector to the pilot for Orlando Apopka Airport (X04), Apopka, Florida, which was approximately 4 nautical miles away. The pilot subsequently determined the airplane would not glide to X04 and turned the airplane towards a dirt road. As the airplane approached the road, the pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid some obstacles and then touched down. During the landing roll the nose-wheel made contact with the ground and the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single engine land and instrument airplane. He had accumulated about 1,170 hours total flight time, of which 324 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent third class Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate was issued on January 8, 2013.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the RV-9A, a two-seat, all-metal, low-wing airplane with tricycle configured landing gear was issued an airworthiness certificate, in the experimental category, on July 18, 2011. It was built from a series of kits provided by Vans Aircraft and Eggenfellner Aircraft, Inc. The airplane was equipped with an Eggenfellner Subaru H4 modified automobile engine which included a Gen 3 V4 propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU) gearbox that was used to drive the propeller at a speed slower than the engine speed. The engine was equipped with an IVO propeller assembly that consisted of three electrically-controlled wooden propeller blades.

The engine kit was based on an EJ-25, 2.5L Subaru water cooled 4-cylinder engine and was rated at 160 HP at 5400 rpm.

The pilot/builder stated that he purchased the kit for the airplane in 2001 and began construction shortly after. He purchased the engine, which at the time, was equipped with a Gen 1 PSRU and solid flywheel, direct from Eggenfellner Aircraft, Inc. in 2002 and installed the engine about January 2008. In 2011, prior to receiving the airworthiness certificate, the pilot employed Eggenfellner Aircraft, Inc. to remove the original PSRU and replace it with a Gen 3 V4 PSRU.

During a telephone interview a representative of Eggenfellner Aircraft, Inc., now defunct, stated that the Eggenfellner Subaru H4 engine transfers power to the PSRU through a spline shaft. One end of the spline shaft is inserted into a splined drive disk adapter at the engine. The splined drive disk is bolted to the engine crankshaft through the flywheel. The other end is inserted into the PSRU input spline.

The spline shaft and PSRU input spline were taken from the transfer cases of Nissan Pathfinders. The machining of the drive disk adapter that affixes to the solid flywheel and crankshaft were outsourced to a separate facility and made from non-heat treated 4140 steel.

The engine information system (EIS) installed in the cockpit showed that the total time for the airframe and engine at the time of the accident was 324.5 hours

The last recorded annual inspection took place on September 13, 2013, at which time 278 hours were reported. A review of the maintenance records revealed no record that the PSRU had been removed or that the spline components had been inspected or lubricated since installation. In addition, the pilot/builder of the airplane stated that he had not inspected or lubricated the PSRU, the spline shaft, or drive disk adapter during the airplane's total time in service.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1353 automated weather observation at SFB included winds from 210 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; few clouds at 2,900 feet; temperature 27 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

According to information provided by the FAA, the airplane came to rest inverted in an area of vegetation. Photographs provided by the FAA showed the airplane remained mostly intact with fragments of the nose cone and wingtips distributed along the wreckage path. The forward wingtip sections of both wings and the vertical stabilizer were impact damaged. An outboard section of the left wing had been separated leaving the rib structure exposed. The nose landing gear was bent about 20 degrees inward. The engine remained attached to its mount at all attachment point, and the hub and PSRU remained attached to the engine. All three propeller blades remained attached to the hub and two of the blades exhibited both longitudinal and chordwise cracks. The inboard section of each blade was cracked about 1 foot from the hub and one blade was partially separated.

Additional examination of the engine was performed under the supervision of NTSB investigators. The propeller was rotated freely by hand with only slight resistance at some positions. The propeller hub was then removed and continuity was confirmed from the propeller through the PSRU to the engine.

Removal of the PSRU revealed that the spline shaft rotated freely within the drive disk adapter, which was attached to the engine solid flywheel. The PSRU input spline contained approximately one teaspoon of red dust (consistent with ferrous fretting-wear debris). The drive disk adapter and spline shaft were then removed from the flywheel and separated. The teeth of the spline shaft exhibited mechanical damage consistent with the wear on the drive disk adapter teeth.

Further examination at the NTSB Material's Laboratory revealed that the PSRU input spline, spline shaft, and drive disk adapter exhibited severe wear and were void of lubrication. Examination of the spline shaft and drive disk adapter using a 5X to 50X stereo zoom microscope revealed the flanks of the spline shaft teeth that mate with the drive disk adapter were worn by about 75%, with the tips of the teeth forming sharp cusps that had been bent over consistent with rotation of the spline shaft within the drive disk adapter. Wear surface features on the spline shaft teeth were consistent with fretting wear that had progressed to adhesive wear. [Additional information can be found in the Materials Laboratory Factual report located in the public docket.]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Reported Spline Shaft Failures

The pilot/builder was also a member of the Subenews Yahoo! Group, which is a web group devoted to builders and maintainers of Eggenfellner Subaru aircraft engines. The Subenews group website contained historical reports of spline shaft failures in its group posts and newsletters. In September 2012, the Subenews group issued a bulletin titled "Safety Alert Bulletin: Spline Shaft Failures." The document provided several examples of spline shaft failures; some resulted in loss of engine power and subsequent forced landings while some failures were identified during inspection. In one example, the owner of an airplane equipped with an Eggenfellner Subaru H4 engine with a Gen 3 V4 PSRU encountered a loss of power at about 160 hours of operation and performed an emergency landing in a soccer field. A follow-up inspection of the engine revealed severe wear of the spline shaft and drive disk adapter. In addition the pilot shaft had broken from the spline shaft. In July 2012, another owner encountered a loss of power and completed an emergency landing. His subsequent examination of the engine revealed severe wear of the spline shaft and drive disk adapter. This engine, equipped with the Gen 3 gearbox, had a total time of 1,425 hours. After learning of these reported events, other owners conducted spline shaft inspections and discovered severe wear on their spline shafts and drive disk adapters.

Manufacturer Guidance – Spline Components and Lubrication

The Eggenfellner Aircraft Gen 3 V4 PSRU installation manual dated January 2008, instructed customers to "wipe a small amount of anti-seize compound on the new spline shaft." According to a statement by a company representative, the splined components incur constant metal to metal contact and will wear over time. As a result the factory would place a small portion of nickel or copper based anti-seize on the components during installation. He stated that it would make sense to remove the PSRU each year during annual inspection, but does not recall communicating this guidance to customers. When asked what the lubrication requirements were for the spline components, the representative stated they had previously seen only one other spline shaft failure. He added that due to the limited number of failures they had not issued any additional lubrication guidance to customers.

Active members of the Subenews group community reported that no spline shaft lubrication or inspection recommendations had been issued by any representative of Eggenfellner Aircraft, with the exception of the segment in the installation manual that instructs customers to apply anti-seize compound to the spline shaft during installation.

Owners are currently experimenting with various greases and combinations of greases in an attempt to better control the wear to the spline components.

Fretting Corrosion

According to Dow Corning, a lubricant/sealant manufacturer, fretting corrosion is defined as:

"Frictional wear which occurs at fits and seats due to oscillations with very low amplitude and high frequency. Usually, the very small iron wear particles react to rust in combination with oxygen, which finally results in seizing of the seats. Another disadvantage of fretting corrosion is the rapid material fatigue of the steel, a fact which can easily lead to breaking. (Fretting corrosion can be prevented most effectively by the separation of both metal partners, e.g. by means of solid lubricants.)"







KathrynsReport.com

http://www.avclaims.com/N19VC.html

Bid deadline: AUGUST 15, 2014

LOGBOOKS WERE LOST IN THE ACCIDENT - 

AIRCRAFT: 2011 Vans RV-9A N19VC, s/n: 90319, AFTT 345.3      

PROPELLER:  Destroyed
 
EQUIPMENT:  10” Dynon Skyview Glass panel, Garmin 300XL Nav/Comm, Garmin SL40 VHF
 
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Aircraft had propeller gear box failure, lost power and made an off-field landing.
 
Damage includes but may not be limited to the following:
Propeller destroyed.
Damage to fuselage, wings, canopy, and tail.

The following items have been retained by the NTSB for further examination:   
 *Spline Shaft
 *Spline drive disk adapter,
*Prop Speed Reduction Unit (PSRU)

Salvage Bid and Photos: http://www.avclaims.com/N19VC.html   

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA130
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 23, 2014 in Apopka, FL
Aircraft: VICTOR M CORDERO RV-9A, registration: N19VC
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 February 23, 2014, about 1335 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur built Vans RV-9A airplane, N19VC, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing in Apopka, Florida. The private pilot received minor injuries and the passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot cancelled his instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan and was operating under visual flight rules. The flight originated from Marsh Harbour International Airport (MYAM), Marsh Harbour, Bahamas at 1130 and was destined for Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), Orlando, Florida.

According to the pilot's written statement he cancelled his IFR clearance at 3,000 feet and was cleared to maintain his "present heading" for runway 9L. Two minutes later, about 1330, the propeller suddenly stopped rotating, but the engine appeared to function normally. There were no annunciations or warnings on the engine monitoring unit. The pilot declared an emergency with Orlando approach who then issued a radar vector to the pilot for Orlando Apopka Airport (X04), Apopka, Florida, which was approximately 4 nautical miles away. The pilot began to follow the vector, but quickly determined the airplane would not glide to X04 and turned the airplane towards a dirt road. As the airplane approached the road, the pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid some obstacles and then touched down. During the landing roll the pilot momentarily kept the airplane nose in the air; however, once the nosewheel made contact with the ground the airplane nosed over and came to rest. A Lake County Sheriff's helicopter arrived at the scene about 1345 and the crew extracted the pilot and passenger from the wreckage.
 

The airplane was powered by an Eggenfellner 2.5L Subaru conversion with a Prop Speed Reduction Unit (PSRU). An aircraft recovery crew member who recovered the aircraft reported that the pro peller rotated freely as if it were not connected to the gearbox.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

Senator plans to ask Federal Aviation Administration for missile defense systems on commercial airliners

KathrynsReport.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com

In the wake of the destruction of a Malaysia Airlines jet that was shot down over eastern Ukraine, a United States senator says commercial aircraft should come with active defenses.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.) says he will petition the Federal Aviation Administration to install missile defense systems on commercial airliners.

“I think they should actively look into mounting active defenses on civil aircraft that are carrying hundreds of people,” said Kirk, a former Navy intelligence officer. “It’s not too technically difficult to add a radar warning system on an aircraft, where a pilot in command could dispense chaff to defeat a radar guided missile.”

Kirk said he would write to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to propose defense systems. He said the over throw of Muammar Gaddafi and collapse of the Iraqi army had allowed large stockpiles of surface to air missiles to fall into uncertain hands.

“At this point we can’t just hide. We should think about how to defeat this threat technically,” Kirk said. “We should advise passengers whether an aircraft has active defenses or not and let them make the decision as they’re booking. I think that would really restore a lot of confidence in the system.”

The FAA has already taken some action after the downing of the Malaysia Air flight, banning any U.S. flight from operating over eastern Ukraine.

Kirk said that identification of the missile that brought down MH17 as a Buk SA-11 suggested that active duty Russian military had a hand in the act.

​ ”The the Buk missile system is such a complicated radar guided system. I would think a bunch of Ukranian hillbillies would not have an ability to operate it efficiently,” Kirk said. “You would have to have the back up of the active duty Russian military to properly deploy and use the Buk.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com

KathrynsReport.com

Magni M-16, N216MG: Accident occurred July 17, 2014 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

MAGNIFLIGHT LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N216MG 

NTSB Identification: CEN14CA382
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Cape Girardeau, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/11/2015
Aircraft: GREMMINGER GREG MAGNI M 16, registration: N216MG
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

The pilot reported that he was performing a local flight in a gyroplane. He stated that he flew the gyroplane for an unknown period of time and then regained consciousness in a field after the accident. He reported that there was a transection of a nearby power line and that the gyroplane suffered damage to the propeller, main rotor, landing gear, and fuselage. He reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions of the gyroplane.

A witness reported seeing the gyroplane flying about 20 to 30 feet above ground level. He stated the pilot was waving at him. He noticed that the gyroplane was heading for a set of power lines nearby and he began waving to the pilot as a warning. The witness reported that the gyroplane struck the top wire of the power transmission wires, and then lost control and impacted the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient altitude while maneuvering which led to a collision with power lines.

  
Flight Standards District Office: FAA St. Louis FSDO-62 

A gyrocopter pilot was taken to the hospital Thursday afternoon after the experimental aircraft he was flying crashed in a field west of Cape Girardeau. 

The pilot's name was not immediately available, but Capt. David James of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department said he did not appear seriously hurt.

"He's at least alive, sitting up and talking," James said. "... He looked like he was in good shape."

The owner of the field where the aircraft went down reported it was flying low enough for the pilot to wave at him before it hit a wire and crashed, James said.

The landowner tried to alert the pilot to the presence of the wire, James said.

"It looks like he hit that wire and just burned into the beanfield," he said.

No one else was injured in the crash, and the only damage appeared to be to the gyrocopter and a swath of beans about 50 yards long and two rows wide, James said.

Assistant chief Mark Hasheider of the Cape Girardeau Fire Department said the gyrocopter was flying out of the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

Hasheider said his department assisted Gordonville firefighters at the scene.

Gyrocopters are small, helicopter-style aircraft with a pair of propellers -- one on top and one on the back.

"They're pretty safe for the most part," James said.

He said most gyrocopters have just one seat, but the one that crashed Thursday was a two-seater model designed for training.

James said the Missouri State Highway Patrol was working the scene, and officials from National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

Until the NTSB investigation is finished, the gyrocopter likely will remain where it is, James said.

"They don't carry much fuel on those things," he said.
 

Story and Magni Gyro prospective buyers (in the Southeast Missourian comments section):  http://www.semissourian.com

First responders work the scene of a gyrocopter crash off of Cape Girardeau County Road 203, Thursday, July 17, 2014. The gyrocopter crashed in a field of soybeans. One person, the pilot, was on board at the time, and was taken by ambulance from the scene to an area hospital.

FAA's Informal Warnings Against Some Drones Not Binding, Court Says: Unmanned-Aircraft Advocates Say Agency Policy Hampers an Industry Ready to Take Off

KathrynsReport.com

http://online.wsj.com

The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas
July 18, 2014 6:07 p.m. ET

A federal court ruled the Federal Aviation Administration's informal letters and emails ordering some drone users to stop using the devices are not legally binding, in a case brought by a Texas group challenging the agency's stance.

In April, a Texas search-and-rescue group asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to set aside an FAA order to stop using remotely piloted aircraft in the group's searches. On Friday, three judges in the court dismissed the challenge, saying that the FAA email at the center of the case was not a formal, legally binding order. The court said it lacked authority to review a claim in which "an agency merely expresses its view of what the law requires of a party," the decision read.

The FAA said it was reviewing the decision. In court documents, Justice Department lawyers representing the FAA had argued that the court should dismiss the challenge because the FAA email in question was simply a warning and is thus not subject to judicial review.

"The email represents the opinion of a subordinate agency employee regarding the view that the FAA would be likely to take if confronted" with unauthorized use of a drone, the lawyers said in the court documents.

Brendan Schulman, attorney for Texas EquuSearch, the search-and-rescue group, said although the court dismissed his petition, "the result is helpful. It clarifies the organization is not under any FAA directive to not use this technology."

Mr. Schulman suggested the order could complicate the FAA's efforts to enforce its drone policy. The agency has used informal letters and emails to tell drone users to halt operations. Mr. Schulman said Friday's order confirms that many of those enforcement attempts are legally just warnings.

Texas EquuSearch has used drones since 2006 to map search areas and look for missing people. The group halted its use of the devices after the FAA ordered it to stop in a February email. On Friday, Mr. Schulman said the group plans to resume using drones immediately.

The FAA prohibits the nonrecreational use of drones in the U.S. without its permission. The agency has granted limited approvals to hundreds of public entities for academic or governmental use, and to two companies for commercial use in Alaska.

Unmanned-aircraft advocates have criticized that policy as hampering an industry that's ready to take off. Many users have quietly violated those rules by flying drones for filmmaking, farming, construction and other uses.

In response, the FAA has sent some of these users emails or letters, telling them they are violating FAA policy and ordering them to stop.

Mr. Schulman leads an informal group of lawyers who say the FAA does not have the authority to effectively ban commercial drones. Indeed, Mr. Schulman recently won a case in which a National Transportation Safety Board judge overturned an FAA fine against a man for allegedly flying a drone recklessly, ruling that the devices are "model aircraft" and thus not subject to the FAA's rules on manned aircraft.


http://online.wsj.com

KathrynsReport.com

Augusta SPA A109E, N507CF, TriState CareFlight LLC: Fatal accident occurred July 17, 2014 in Newkirk, New Mexico

TRISTATE CAREFLIGHT LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N507CF 

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA369
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Newkirk, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2016
Aircraft: AGUSTA SPA A109E, registration: N507CF
Injuries: 3 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.

After the commercial pilot received an emergency medical services helicopter flight request, he quickly (in about 20 seconds) assessed the weather conditions and accepted the flight. No records were found indicating that the pilot obtained an official weather briefing before departing on the flight, and the investigation could not determine which weather resources the pilot used to assess the weather. About 8 minutes later, the pilot called the company's operations center to report that the flight was departing; this was the last communication received from the pilot. The helicopter was operating in an area that was known by company pilots, including the accident pilot, to have the potential for low visibility, even though there were no airport weather reporting facilities or Doppler radar coverage in the area.

A review of GPS data showed that, while en route to pick up the patient, the helicopter performed a slight descending 360° turn before continuing toward the hospital. Weather overlays with the GPS track indicated that the helicopter made the 360° turn about the same time that an outflow boundary wave, which could have increased the potential for windshear and strong updrafts and downdrafts and reduced ceilings and visibility. Following the 360° turn, the helicopter proceeded toward the destination. About 14 minutes later, the helicopter turned right and began flying toward a major highway. It is likely that, due to the reduced visibility in the area, the pilot was flying toward the highway to follow the lights toward the city. The helicopter then turned further right and began to climb. As the helicopter entered another outflow boundary wave, it turned left. The left turn tightened, and the helicopter began to rapidly descend into terrain. The helicopter impacted a mesa in a near-level attitude.

A review of a company communication recording showed that, about 17 minutes after the estimated accident time, the operations center attempted to contact the flight crew and was unsuccessful. The company sent three company helicopters to the accident helicopter's last known position; one helicopter pilot flew near the helicopter's site but was unable to see anything, and the two other pilots could not proceed close to the accident site due to clouds and low visibility. The wreckage was subsequently located by local law enforcement. A postaccident examination of the helicopter and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.

Due to mid- and low-level cloud cover, it is likely that no lunar or celestial lighting was available for amplification by the pilot's night vision goggles (NVG). Since the helicopter was not equipped with an infrared spotlight, only cultural light would have been available for NVG amplification. However, the helicopter was operating in a remote, sparsely populated area with minimal cultural light. Although the pilot's recurrent training included recovery procedures from inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and his training records showed that he satisfactorily completed this item on his most recent training flight about 8 months before the accident, the circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot's inadvertent visual flight into IMC, which resulted in a loss of helicopter control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadvertent visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of helicopter control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 17, 2014, at 0142 mountain daylight time, an Agusta A109E helicopter, N507CF, collided with a mesa near Newkirk, New Mexico. The commercial pilot, flight nurse, and paramedic were fatally injured. A postimpact fire ensued and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by TriState CareFlight LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions existed for the helicopter's departure and a company visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 0051 and was en route to a hospital in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

The helicopter was the subject of an alert notice and was found by a local resident. The helicopter wreckage came to rest on the north side of a mesa about 150 ft above the surrounding terrain. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage. All main airframe and engine components were accounted for at the accident site.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 46, held a commercial pilot certificate for helicopter and instrument helicopter. He also held a flight instructor certificate for helicopter and instrument helicopter. On September 17, 2013, the pilot was issued a second class medical certificate with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.

The pilot was hired by TriState CareFlight (TSCF) on September 10, 2009. During his employment with TSFC, he began flying Agusta 119 helicopters, before being transferred to Eurocopter AS350 helicopters. On December 13, 2012, he was assigned the duties of pilot in command of Agusta A109 helicopters. Using data from TSCF and the pilot's annual resume, it was estimated that he accumulated about 6,167 total hours, with 208 hours in Agusta A109 helicopters, over 410 hours of night time, 75 hours of simulated instrument conditions, and 0 hours of actual instrument conditions. The pilot had been operating out the of the Santa Fe base for over a year and a half and had been flying in the mountainous desert environment of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico since his hire in 2009. He had flown numerous flights in the Santa Fe and Tucumcari areas prior to the accident.

The most recent check flight for the pilot was accomplished on December 16, 2013. It was a combined 14 CFR Part 135.293 and 135.299 check flight. The flight lasted 1.2 hours, was flown completely under night vision goggle (NVG) use, and some of the maneuvers flown and evaluated included: normal operations, emergency operations, unusual attitude recovery, inadvertent instrument flight rules (IFR) procedures, and NVG failure in flight. Astrological conditions for that training flight would have included clear skies with a bright moon at 100% disk illumination.

The pilot was qualified to fly using NVGs. At the time of the accident he had accrued at least 162 hours of flight assisted by NVGs. His last recurrent NVG training flight was on December 16, 2013, with ground training accomplished that day. The pilot inspected and tested his NVGs on July 16 and reported no discrepancies on the company's NVG Sign-Off Sheet. In the 90 days prior to the accident, he had flown 8.3 hours of NVG time:

Date Hours
April 23, 2014 0.4
April 25 2.4
April 27 1
May 22 2.6
May 26 1
May 27 0.2
June 18 1.1
June 19 0.6
July 16 0.8

The pilot normally worked a schedule that consisted of 7 days on-call and 7 days off-call. Prior to the accident, the pilot had been on-call for 15 days. From July 2 to July 8, the pilot was on-call between 0700 until 1900. The pilot was then given 24 hours off and then on July 9, was on-call between 1900 until 0700. The accident occurred on the pilot's eighth consecutive shift. Prior to the accident flight he had previously flown 0.6 hours on that same shift.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Agusta A109E helicopter was manufactured in 2000 and had been modified for helicopter air ambulance (HAA) flight operations. It was powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C turbo shaft engines each rated at 549 horsepower. The helicopter was certified for instrument flight rules operations. The last inspection, completed on July 4, 2014, was an approved aircraft inspection program which combined the 25 hour, 50 hour, and 150 hour inspections. After that date, the helicopter flew 17.3 hours with 2 discrepancies. On July 7, the accident pilot reported weak wheel brakes which were replaced that day. On July 11, the accident pilot reported a transmission oil chip light illumination. After the flight, maintenance cleaned "slight fuzz" from the chip detectors and returned the helicopter to service.

The helicopter was equipped with a Garmin GNS-530 GPS/NAV/COM, a SkyConnect Transceiver, and a panel mounted Garmin GPSmap 396. The cockpit was modified for NVG use via a supplemental type certificate. In addition, the helicopter was equipped with an enhanced ground proximity warning system, auto flight system, and radar altimeter.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather study was conducted for the accident flight by an NTSB Senior Meteorologist. A review of the National Weather Service Surface Analysis Chart for 0000 mountain daylight time (MDT) found a fairly active surface environment with a surface trough located over the accident site at 0000 MDT. In addition, a stationary front was located south of the accident site and three areas of low pressure were located to the distant northwest, south, and southeast of the accident site. Potential existed for clouds and precipitation due to numerous lifting mechanisms around the accident site to include combined surface, low-level, and mid-level troughs. At 1845 on July 16, the Storm Prediction Center predicted a 15% chance of damaging thunderstorm wind or gusts of 50 knots within the vicinity of the accident site until 0600 on July 17.

A review of aviation weather reporting facilities in the vicinity of the accident flight, revealed that the helicopter likely had a southerly wind component until flying south to southeast of Las Vegas, New Mexico at which point the wind would have shifted to out of the northeast. In addition, cloud ceiling would have lowered as the flight proceeded towards Tucumcari. An upper air sounding indicated the potential for cloud formations between 5,000 and 8,000 ft mean sea level (msl), with the possibility of rain showers and thunderstorms. Additionally, the sounding indicated the strongest wind speeds possible with a microburst or outflow boundary would have been between 45 to 53 mph. A potential for low-level wind shear was identified between 5,000 and 6,000 ft msl with clear air turbulence from the surface to 10,000 ft msl.

The closest Doppler radar site was located at Cannon Air Force Base (FDX), located 43 miles southeast of the accident site. Scans initiated between 2124 MDT on July 16 through 0235 MDT on July 17, revealed two distinct features before, during, and after the accident time. First, an outflow boundary moved from east to west across New Mexico from 2124 MDT to 0030 MDT. As the outflow boundary moved from east to west, the surface wind direction switched from southerly to northeasterly, concurrent with the aviation weather reporting facilities. Next, another outflow boundary and wave pattern was detected on the 0235 scan but due to Doppler beam angle and distance to the accident site was likely masked on the earlier scan. Backwards trajectory analysis was completed to map the progression of the outflow boundaries. Mapping estimated that the first outflow boundary and associated convective activity would have been over the accident site at the accident time. This would have increased the potential for increased wind shear, strong updrafts and downdrafts, reduced ceilings, and reduced visibility.

Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) Sierra, issued at 2045 MDT on July 16 and valid at the accident time for the accident site and route of flight, forecasted instrument meteorological conditions for the accident site with ceilings below 1,000 ft and visibility below 3 miles with precipitation and mist.

The terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) for Tucumcari, located 32 miles east of the accident site, issued at 2334 MDT on July 16 forecasted wind from 030 degrees at 11 knots, prevailing visibility 6 miles, rain showers in the vicinity, few clouds at 2,000 ft agl and a broken ceiling at 8,000 ft agl.

The phase of the Moon was waning gibbous with 65% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated. At the time of the accident there would have been no moon visible due to the mid- and low-level cloud cover that the accident flight was likely flying beneath.

COMMUNICATIONS

TSCF used the SkyConnect satellite communication system to communicate between their California based operations center and the accident helicopter. At 0050:48, the pilot called the operations center to report that he had departed for Tucumcari. No further communications were made from the helicopter.

The helicopter was operating under a company visual flight rules flight plan and was not in communication with air traffic control.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The helicopter came to rest midway between the peak and the surrounding terrain of a 300-foot high mesa, at a measured elevation of 4,654 ft msl. The wreckage was generally located in one area with fragments of main rotor blades and light debris scattered nearby. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the wreckage. The main wreckage consisted of the main rotors, fuselage, tail boom, and tail rotors. Some of the exterior panels and medical equipment were found strewn in the area surrounding the wreckage.

All linkages between the swash plate and pitch change horns were found intact and cotter pinned. The tail rotor blades rotated when the tail rotor drive shaft was turned by hand. All linkages to the tail rotor blades were found intact and cotter pinned. On the boulder where the tail rotor had come to rest, machining was visible on the rock's surface consistent with tail rotor blade strikes. In addition, the top of a boulder closest to the nose of the helicopter wreckage displayed circular scuffing with a portion of a main rotor blade tip wedged into the rock.

The helicopter's airspeed indicator needle pointed at 190 knots. Of note, the helicopter's never exceed speed (Vne) is listed as 168 knots. The left side vertical speed indicator needle pointed between 2,500 and 3,000 ft per minute descent. All other gauges were destroyed or unreadable. The lower portion of the helicopter was partially buried in the dirt and gear positioning was consistent with the landing gear in the retracted position. The emergency locator beacon was impact and thermally damaged. A Garmin GPSmap 396 was found buried in the dirt and was sent to the NTSB laboratories in Washington, D.C. for a data download.

Due to the mesa's slope and thermal damaging of the surrounding rocks, the wreckage could not be fully examined on-site. A postaccident examination was conducted after the wreckage was transported to a storage facility. The examination revealed that portions of the flight controls displayed fracture signatures consistent with overload and/or thermal damage. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the flight controls. The engines were examined and did not display any preimpact anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was authorized and conducted on the pilot by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. The cause of death was the result of multiple injuries and the manner of death was ruled an accident.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing was negative for all tested drugs and substances.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

SkyConnect Data

The onboard SkyConnect system allowed for tracking of the company's helicopters at their operations center. The data track began at 0052 with the helicopter on the company's helipad at SAF. The helicopter briefly taxied southwest on taxiway Charlie before it departed the airport. While en route, the system reported the helicopter's position about every 30 seconds. The helicopter tracked on a 100° heading at 9,500 ft msl (about 3,800 ft agl) and 160 knots groundspeed until about 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas, New Mexico. At 0120:13 the Garmin GPSmap 396's data began recording and provided better data resolution than the SkyConnect data. The two tracks followed very closely to each other with the Garmin data being captured about every 10-20 seconds. This report will focus primarily on the data provided by the Garmin.

Garmin GPSmap 396

The data from the panel mounted GPS was downloaded and found to retain the accident flight. Flight data began recording at 0120:13 when the helicopter was already en route to Tucumcari. The first complete data point from the accident flight occurred at 0120:26 as the helicopter tracked 106° at 9,237 ft msl with a groundspeed of 158 knots. At 0121, the helicopter began a slight descending left 360° turn. The helicopter descended as low as 1,225 ft agl before it resumed a course towards Tucumcari. The helicopter flew about 6,600 ft msl (about 1,200-1,800 ft agl) with a groundspeed of about 130 knots. At 0136:17, about 30 miles west from Tucumcari, the helicopter turned right and flew south-southeast. The helicopter descended to 6,000 ft msl and the groundspeed increased to 160 knots and then reduced to 140 knots. At 0140:09 the helicopter continued the right turn and flew south-southwest while climbing to 7,763 ft msl. At 0140:49, the helicopter turned left. As the helicopter passed through a 90 degree heading change, the helicopter began to descend. At 0141:21 the helicopter began a 940 ft per minute (fpm) descent, which increased until the last reporting point. The helicopter continued a left 360° turn that tightened as the turn progressed. The last reporting point occurred at 0141:47 with the helicopter at 4,840 ft msl (200 ft agl) and groundspeed of 93 knots. The estimated final descent rate was 14,760 fpm.

Weather overlays with GPS flight track

Due to weather radar beam angles and distance to the accident site from the weather radar sites, the radar beam likely missed the outflow boundary around the accident time. Using known weather information, modelling of the outflow boundary waves was performed. Weather associated with these outflow boundary waves would be consistent with increased wind shear, strong updrafts and downdrafts, reduced ceilings, and reduced visibility.

When the helicopter flew east-southeast and performed a slight descending 360° turn at 0121, it was directly near the estimated location of an outflow boundary wave. The boundary wave was the second wave that moved through the area from the north-northwest to the south-southeast. The helicopter accelerated past the second boundary wave and continued to the east-southeast. At 0136, when the helicopter maneuvered to the south-southeast it was between the first and second boundary wave. At 0141, the helicopter likely flew into the first boundary wave about the time it began the left turn and descent toward the terrain.

Agusta Engineering Data

Engineers from Augusta Helicopters assessed the Garmin GPS data to evaluate the ability of a helicopter to perform the final spiraling left 360° turn. They found that the helicopter remained within the structural design limits and estimated the helicopter bank angles continued to increase during the turn almost reaching 70° of bank and loaded near 2.7 Gs. The helicopter would have been flying a high speed, high load factor descending turn, with its main rotor system approaching or having reached its aerodynamic limit.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

TriState CareFlight LLC Operations

The helicopter was operated by TriState CareFlight LLC. The helicopter was tasked in accordance with the company's standard operating procedure. Telephone recordings were provided which revealed information about the flight.

At 0018, a hospital in Tucumcari, New Mexico, telephoned TSCF's operations center to request a patient transfer from the hospital to another hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The helicopter stationed at Tucumcari had been recently tasked with another flight, so the operations center contacted the pilot of the closest helicopter which had landed in Amarillo, Texas to refuel. The pilot declined the flight due to thunderstorms between Amarillo and Tucumcari. At 0042, TSCF's operation center contacted the accident pilot at Santa Fe, New Mexico and provided the flight request details. After being given the route of flight, the pilot assessed the weather for about 20 seconds before accepting the flight. It is unclear what weather resources the pilot may have consulted prior to the accident flight. At 0050, the pilot called the operations center and informed them that he was departing for the flight. That was the last transmission made from the accident crew.

When the helicopter stopped tracking, the operations center received a notification that the helicopter's progress had stopped. At 0200, the operations center attempted to contact the accident crew via satellite communications and cellphones and was unsuccessful. At 0209, the operations center contacted the on-call supervisor and informed him that a helicopter was dispatched to Tucumcari and was overdue. At 0215, a teleconference was held with multiple supervisors from the company attempting to locate and contact the accident crew. They contacted local law enforcement and asked for officers to respond to the last known location. At 0234, TSCF called the local flight service station and asked to begin search and rescue procedures for the helicopter and its crew. TSCF tasked several company helicopters to fly to the last known coordinates of the accident helicopter to see if they could locate the helicopter or contact the crew on the radios. Three helicopters flew towards the accident site and two of the helicopters were unable to proceed due to low visibility. One helicopter flew near the helicopter's site but was unable to see anything, could not reach the crew on the radio, and did not hear an emergency locator transmitter beacon. At 0322, TSCF was informed that the local land owner's ranch hand spotted a fire on the property near the last coordinates and responded to investigate. At 0355, New Mexico State Police confirmed that the wreckage of a helicopter had been located.

Operations Specifications

In reference to the accident flight, the following specifications would have been valid for the flight:
The Agusta 109 helicopters were authorized to perform visual flight rules (VFR) flight en route and could operate both day and night. Flights at night in designated mountainous terrain must have a minimum ceiling of 1,000 ft. Night "local" flights needed 3 miles visibility and "cross country" flights needed 5 miles visibility. Local flying areas are those areas in which the pilot has demonstrated a level of familiarity which allows the use of lower VFR operating minima. Prior to conducting VFR operations, the pilot must determine the minimum safe altitudes along the planned en route phase of flight to include the minimum safe cruise altitude. The pilot must clear all terrain and obstacles for the route of flight by at least 500 ft for night operations. All night or NVG en route cruise operations require a minimum altitude of 500 ft agl. Prior to each flight, the pilot assesses the risk for the flight through the completion of a risk assessment form. Only the risk assessment form for the previous flight was located. The form for the accident flight was likely onboard the helicopter and was destroyed in the accident.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Low Visibility Area

The helicopter was operating in an area that was known by company pilots to have the potential for low visibility. This area extended from Moriarty, New Mexico, to Amarillo, Texas, and from Wagon Mound, New Mexico, to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. TSCF personnel reported that this area could develop low visibility even when the surrounding aviation weather stations reported clear weather. A photo of the map at the Santa Fe base is provided in the docket associated with this report.

ITT Night Vision & Imaging Aviator Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS) 9 F4949

The operator utilized a Generation III ANVIS 9 system for their aircrews. According to company personnel, the pilot and one additional crew member were to utilize the ANVIS 9 during NVG operations. Marketing documents stated that the ANVIS 9 had a 40 degree nominal field of view. The F4949 intensified light 2,000 to 3,500 times.

Meteorological modelling of the accident area estimated that due to mid and low-level cloud cover, the helicopter likely operated without the aid of lunar or celestial light sources. The helicopter was not equipped with infrared spotlight, nor was it required to be. The helicopter was equipped with a regular spotlight which would not have been compatible with the NVGs and was likely not used.

The pilot and one of the crew members would have utilized the NVGs during the flight. Damage to the NVGs precluded the determination of whether the NVGs were in the down position during the accident.

United States Army Field Manual (FM) 3-04.203, Fundamentals of Flight, May 2007

The Army has incorporated NVGs into their flying programs for decades, making their knowledge base larger than most organizations. While not required reading for civilian pilots, FM 3-04.203 was constructed to educate pilots of the principles surrounding aviation for them to be better prepared to react to unexpected conditions. Chapter three titled "Rotor-Wing Environmental Flight," section 62 states "…when moon illumination is low or during the new-moon cycle, the desert presents a formidable challenge to night flying. It is probably the most difficult environment in which to interpret terrain relief and elevation, especially while using [night vision devices]. Unaided night flight and operations are far more difficult and not recommended." In chapter four, titled "Rotary-Wing Night Flight," several passages described the hazards and risks of night flight with night vision systems. Key points were that the NVGs had a tendency to distort depth perception and distance estimation with the quality of depth perception being dependent on ambient light, terrain surface conditions, the ability of the NVG device, and the pilot's experience flying in those conditions. "…adverse weather is difficult to detect at night. Often the decrease in visual acuity and a gradual loss of horizon are very subtle. As meteorological conditions deteriorate, aviators must decrease airspeed to reduce risk of flying into inadvertent [instrument meteorological conditions]." The "NVG's field of view significantly reduces peripheral vision as compared with unaided flight. Crewmembers must use a continual scanning pattern to compensate for the loss." "Maneuvers requiring large bank angles or rapid attitude changes tend to induce spatial disorientation. An aviator should avoid making drastic changes in attitude/bank angles and use proper scanning and viewing techniques."


NTSB Identification: CEN14FA369 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Newkirk, NM
Aircraft: AGUSTA SPA A109E, registration: N507CF
Injuries: 3 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 17, 2014, at 0142 mountain daylight time, an Agusta A109E helicopter, N507CF, collided with a mesa near Newkirk, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and 2 crew members were all fatally injured. A postimpact fire ensued and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Tristate Careflight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the helicopter's departure and a company visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Santa Fe Municipal Airport, Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 0051 and was en route to a hospital in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

The helicopter was the subject of an alert notice and was found by a local resident. The helicopter wreckage came to rest on the north side of a mesa about 150 feet above the surrounding terrain. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage. All main airframe and engine components were accounted for at the accident site. The helicopter was retained for further examination.

At the time of the helicopter's departure from KSAF, an automated weather reported a calm wind, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, temperature 59 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 52 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.13 inches of mercury.

At 0153, an automated weather reporting facility at the Tucumcari Municipal Airport (KTCC), Tucumcari, New Mexico, located 37 miles east of the accident site, reported wind from 050 degrees at 15 knots, 10 miles visibility, ceiling overcast at 1,400 feet, temperature 66 F, dew point 57 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.84 inches of mercury.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The staff at Christus St. Vincent Hospital are mourning Friday after three well-known hospital employees were killed Thursday.

David Cavigneaux, 46, Rebecca Serkey, 29 and James Butler, 46, died when a medical helicopter crashed in eastern New Mexico early Thursday morning.

TriState CareFlight owns the chopper that left the hospital late Wednesday night to pick up a patient in Tucumcari. Sometime later, the company lost contact with the chopper.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday, state police started searching for it. But it was ranch owners who saw it on a mesa off I-40 in Newkirk, east of Santa Rosa.

“When the landowner’s employee located the wreckage, it was fully engulfed in flames in the side of a mountain, kind of a rocky hillside,” Sgt. Damyan Brown said.

The company released the following statement Friday:

We at TriState CareFlight (TSCF) are grieving the loss of three admired members of our emergency medical transport family. TriState CareFlight (TSCF) is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its initial investigation of the wreckage of an TSCF emergency medical helicopter early Thursday morning in eastern New Mexico. The NTSB will provide further details as the investigation continues. Our thoughts are for their families and friends in remembering the commitment to saving lives. 

 The FAA and NTSB are investigating what caused the crash. Clouds were low and the wind was gusting at the time.

http://krqe.com

Rebecca Serkey: Popular New Jersey paramedic killed in New Mexico helicopter crash

TRIBUTE: A popular flight paramedic from Leonia was killed in a medical helicopter crash in New Mexico overnight.

Rebecca Serkey was one of three people killed when the chopper crashed around 3 a.m. into a hillside in the town of Newkirk, about 135 miles east of Albuquerque, a flight nurse in Nevada and a local EMT who had plans to get together with her this weekend confirmed.

The helicopter was flying from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe to Tucumcari, authorities there said.

“She was a tremendous asset to every department that she worked for and has touched so many lives!” wrote the Ridgefield Volunteer Ambulance Corps, one of many she worked for in her career. “She will be truly missed!”

Serkey and fellow members of her TriState CareFlight crew, based in Arizona, were well known in the area.

“These crew members were our colleagues, our friends and our neighbors,” the hospital said in statement. “Our hearts, and our prayers, go out to the loved ones of these extraordinary individuals, who were committed to saving lives every single day.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.

Serkey, a nationally certified paramedic who began her career in Bergen County, joined the CareFlight team in July 2012.

She previously worked for Saint Clare’s Health System in Dover, Denville, Boonton, Sussex and Hacketstown, as a lab instructor at Rockland Community College in Suffern and as a paramedic with UMDNJ in Newark and Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

A self-described “adrenaline junkie,” Serkey studied police science at John Jay College in Manhattan and was an active SCUBA diver.

“I love my jobs and my volunteering I wouldn’t give it up,” she once said. “I work ridiculous hours sometimes, but people do not wait until 9 AM to get sick or hurt.”

A former pool lifeguard and camp counselor, Serkey also was an EMT with Fort Lee for eight years, with Holy Name for four years and with Ridgefield for a year. She was also a campus police officer for two years at William Paterson University in Wayne.

Serkey was corps secretary, training officer, crew chief and driver for the Leonia Volunteer Ambulance Corps from May 2003 to September 2007 and a probationary firefighter with the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department from March 2006 through December 2007.

She also was driver and EMT crew chief with the Palisades Park Volunteer Ambulance Corps from April 2005 to November 2006.

Serkey played varsity soccer and ran track at Leonia High School and was in the band, playing two different saxophones in five ensembles all four years. Serkey also was president of the Rod and Reel Club, a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and the service club.