Monday, September 8, 2014

Windsor, Canada: Plane Loses Contact With Air Traffic Controller

Transport Canada has released information about a recent incident over the skies of Windsor where a small private plane cruising over the city did not respond to numerous instructions by Windsor Airport’s air traffic controllers.

In a preliminary report published Monday evening, Transport Canada noted they received information from air traffic controllers at Nav Canada that a privately registered, single engine Piper PA-28R-200 propeller plane did not respond to numerous air traffic control requests on Saturday afternoon while a WestJet Boeing 737 was approaching to land.

According to the report, which is listed under Transport Canada’s “near midair collisions” occurrences category, the private plane was in a “wide right hand circuit” traffic pattern for Runway 30 when it was “instructed numerous times to fly north of the river to pass behind a WestJet Boeing 737-700″ which was heading in to land on Runway 25.

“There was no response from the Piper PA-28R-200,” according to the report. The WestJet 737 landed on Runway 25, and passed under the private plane, the report said.

The report didn’t state how close the two aircraft came to each other.

“The aircraft called the tower while on right base Runway 30 [headed perpendicular to the runway] stating he had his volume turned down,” the report noted.

Transport Canada did not identify the registration number of the private plane but noted the incident did not result in injuries, fatalities or damage.

The report stated three other aircraft were delayed by five minutes.


Story and Comments:  http://windsorite.ca

Backovich GP-5, N501GP: Accident occurred September 08, 2014 in Reno, Nevada

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA369 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 08, 2014 in Reno, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/29/2016
Aircraft: BACKOVICH GEORGE C G P 5, registration: N501GP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The one-of-a-kind airplane designed specifically for air racing was participating in a practice air race session. Photographic and video evidence showed that the airplane entered the race course while accelerating and descending as the pilot was banking left around the back side of the race course. 

While passing one of the race pylons, the outboard portion of the right wing failed, and the airplane began rolling to the right followed by the empennage fragmenting and separating from the fuselage as the airplane descended into the ground. Based on the available evidence, the outboard right wing separation was the initiating failure and the empennage separation was a secondary failure. 

The outboard portion of right wing was reconstructed using the pieces found in the initial debris path. The reconstruction revealed that the right wing forward box spar fractured at the inboard end of a splice repair to the right wing spar in an area where the upper and lower spar caps transitioned from a singular rectangular cross section to two smaller rectangular finger sections. The scarf joints on each finger were also fractured through the adhesive with no evidence of wood grain failure on either side of the scarf areas. Typically, failure of a bonded wood joint should occur within the wood grain adjacent to the bond area if the adhesive has been properly prepared and applied. The accident airplane was involved in a landing accident about 30 months before the accident that substantially damaged the right wing. 

The wing was reportedly removed from the airplane and repaired by the original designer. No information existed on the repair, no logbook entry was made for the repair, and no requirement for documenting any repairs to the airplane existed in the operating limitations. It is likely that the right wing spar repair was not done in accordance with the approved methods in the Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular (AC) 43.13-1B, thus the strength of the wing in the area of the repair was reduced. Aircraft maintenance records contained entries related to cracking in the right and left wing lower skins. Personnel working on the airplane during the air races reported that the cracking was located in the area aft of the forward spar near the main landing gear trunnions, which was well inboard of the area where the right wing failed. 

The investigation determined that these cracks did not contribute to the accident. The morning of the accident, the pilot attempted a practice flight; however, he pulled off the course shortly after entering the course due to an excessive vibration. The race crew determined that the pilot had encountered the rev-limiting function on the engine control unit. The pilot reported to another pilot that he thought the airplane was going to shake itself apart during the event.

It is possible that the airframe vibrations induced by the engine could have affected the spar repair on the right wing. Further, the airplane’s high speed, high g-loads, and left bank produced wing loads sufficient to fail the right wing forward spar at the location of a previous repair. Even though the airplane was likely not being operated outside the original design envelope at the time of the right wing failure, the reduced strength of the repair led to the wing’s failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the right wing under normal race loads due to an improper repair of the right wing spar that reduced its structural strength following a previous landing accident.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 8, 2014, about 1516 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Backovich GP-5 airplane, N501GP, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight breakup while conducting a practice race at the Reno-Stead Airport (RTS) Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to Lancair Northwest LLC, Portland, Oregon, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the air race flight. The local flight originated from RTS about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

Photographic and video evidence was obtained from spectators that captured the accident sequence. The evidence showed that the airplane was established in a left bank when a portion of the outboard right wing separated. The airplane began rolling to the right and descended to impact with the ground. The empennage fragmented and separated as the airplane was rolling and descending.

Information provided by the Reno Air Race Association (RARA) revealed that the accident airplane had flown earlier in the day prior to the accident. During this flight, the pilot initiated a mayday call and landed due to a vibration, which he felt was due to reaching the engine rev limiter.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 63, held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. A second-class airman medical certificate was issued to the pilot on May 14, 2014, with the limitation stated "must have corrective lenses for distant and near vision." The pilot reported on his air races entry packet, dated July 18, 2014, that he had accumulated over 9,000 hours of total flight time, 35 hours within the previous 90 days, and 120 hours in the accident make/model airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The experimental amateur-built single-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear, tailwheel equipped airplane, serial number (S/N) 001, was completed in 2002. It was powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine, rated at 625 horse power. The airplane was also equipped with a three bladed adjustable pitch propeller. The Backovich GP-5 airplane was designed by a private individual specifically for air racing and was completed in 2011 in its current configuration. The one-of-a-kind airplane was 24 feet, 2 inches long with a wing span of 22 feet, 2 inches. The airplane was manufactured with wood primary structure and had a fiberglass overwrap layer on the exterior surfaces. No design drawings or engineering documents exist for the airplane.

The airplane was originally completed in 2002 and received a special airworthiness certificate on December 30, 2002, in the experimental category with registration number N153GB. The accident pilot flew the airplane in the 2010 National Championship Air Races (NCAR) and subsequently purchased the airplane on behalf of Lancair Northwest, LLC, on October 6, 2010. The airplane registration number was changed to N501GP on November 12, 2011. The airplane received a new special airworthiness certificate on July 10, 2012, in the experimental category with experimental operating limitations for phase 1 and phase 2. The airplane was entered and raced in the 2012 NCAR where it placed fourth. It was not entered in the 2011 or 2013 NCAR.

The airframe logbook had numerous entries from its beginning on November 28, 2002, through September 15, 2010, when the last entry was made before the sale. The airframe had accrued 41.5 hours time in service (TIS) by this date. The entries detailed ongoing issues with the engine and numerous test flights. An entry on August 7, 2010, certified that the flight testing was complete at 40.25 hours TIS.

The first entry after the sale was made on January 26, 2012, in which a new electrical system, engine mount, engine, and avionics was installed at 42.5 hours TIS. A condition inspection was also completed at this time. Four additional logbook entries were made before the accident date. On February 5, 2013, work was documented on the landing gear and a condition inspection was signed off at 98.0 hours TIS. On March 18, 2014, work was documented to repair cracks in the left wing lower skin and repair the elevator bellcrank bulkhead. A condition inspection was signed off at 128.2 hours TIS. On September 2, 2014, work was documented to repair cracks in the right wing lower skin and to tighten and re-safety a bolt on the right aileron bellcrank. The condition inspection was signed off at 128.2 hours TIS. On September 3, 2014, work was documented on the tail wheel at an unknown TIS.

The engine logbook documented the installation of the engine on January 26, 2012, with a tach time of 0.0 hours. A total of 4 entries in the engine logbook documented minor maintenance and condition inspections of the engine that matched dates on 4 of the entries in the airframe logbook. Three of the engine entries contained tach times that matched with the tach time reported in the airframe logbook but the corresponding increase in airframe time did not correlate.

The propeller logbook documented the installation of the propeller on January 2, 2012, with a total time of 0.0 hours. Three additional entries in the propeller logbook documented condition inspections of the propeller that matched dated entries in the airframe and engine logbooks. The propeller total time entered on February 5, 2013, did not correlate with either the airframe or engine times.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A review of recorded data from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport automated weather observation station, located about 14 miles south of the accident site, revealed at 1455, conditions were wind from 200 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 21 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, a scattered cloud layer at 10,000 feet, temperature 30 degrees Celsius, dew point -2 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Reno/Stead Airport is a non-towered airport that operates in class G airspace. The airport features two runways, 14/32, a 9,000-foot long and 150-foot wide asphalt runway, and 8/26, a 7,608-foot long and 150-foot wide asphalt runway. The reported airport elevation is 5,050 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site by representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that wreckage debris was scatted between race pylons 5 and 6 of the outer race course. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the approximate 4,000 foot long debris path. All debris remained within the predetermined safety areas for the outer race course.

There were three distinct debris fields located in the sagebrush covered terrain. The first debris field along the route of flight contained the outboard portion of the right wing, fragmented portions of the right aileron, the aileron bellcrank, and numerous pieces of wing skin and internal wing structure. The second debris field along the route of flight contained the right and left horizontal stabilizers, right and left elevators, the fragmented vertical stabilizer and rudder, pieces of the empennage structure, and several pieces of the acrylic canopy. The third debris field along the route of flight contained the initial impact crater and the highly fragmented remains of the airplane, engine and propeller. There was no evidence of a post-crash fire. The entire airplane was accounted for in the three debris fields.

The debris from the first and second debris fields was collected separately for further examination. The g-meter was found in the third debris field. One pointer was situated just above zero, one was situated at -4.5 and one was situated at -4.0. The Advanced Flight Systems AF-4500 multifunction display (MFD) screen and main body were recovered separated in the third debris field. The Pectel SQ6 Engine Control Unit (ECU) was also recovered in the third debris field.

The MFD and ECU were sent to the NTSB Vehicle Reorders Laboratory for download and analysis. See the NTSB Onboard Electronic Devices Specialist's Factual Report in the public docket for the details of the investigation.

Further examination of the right wing was conducted by the Airworthiness Group. The group reconstructed the outboard right wing using the pieces recovered in the first debris field. The largest intact piece of right wing included the forward portion of rib 9, rib 10, rib 11, the wingtip outboard of rib 11, the forward spar outboard of rib 10, and portions of the upper and lower skins. Most of the outboard 50 inches of right wing was conclusively identified in the recovered debris from the inboard end of the aileron to the wing tip. The outboard 50 inches of upper wing skin was identified and reconstructed between the forward and rear spars. The leading edge structure forward of the forward spar and inboard of rib 9 (about 32 inches inboard of the wing tip) was not conclusively identified. The forward portion of rib 9 was intact forward of the forward spar. The aft portion of rib 9 between the forward and rear spars was reconstructed. The nose of the leading edge between rib 9 and about 9 inches inboard of the wing tip was not conclusively identified. Most of the lower wing skin from rib 9 outboard was identified and reconstructed between the forward end of the nose ribs and the rear spar. A triangular section between ribs 9 and 10 and forward of the forward spar was not conclusively identified. Rib 10 was intact and located about 10 inches outboard of rib 9 or 22 inches inboard of the wing tip. There was a rectangular section of lower wing skin missing just outboard of rib 10 that extended from the rear spar location forward about 4 inches. The area was consistent with the location of the outboard aileron balance weight.

The forward spar was a box structure. The forward spar upper spar cap transitioned from a solid rectangular cap to two finger caps about 7 inches inboard of rib 9. Examination of the wreckage revealed a spliced section of forward spar upper spar cap about 18.5 inches long that spanned from about 10.5 inches inboard of rib 9 to about 8 inches outboard of rib 9. The spliced section contained the transition area with a single scarf joint at the inboard end in the rectangular area and two scarf joints at the outboard end in the finger area. The spliced section of forward spar upper spar cap remained attached to a section of the wing upper skin. The upper spar cap was fractured through the grain of the splice piece at the inboard scarf joint. The bond line and remaining portion of the scarf were not identified. The upper spar cap fingers were fractured through the grain of the splice piece from about rib 9 outboard. The forward finger scarf was intact. The aft finger was also fractured at the scarf with both adhesive and wood grain failure in the scarf area. The outboard ends of the finger scarfs also had thin wood doublers installed on the lower surface of the upper spar cap. There was no evidence of doublers installed at the inboard scarf joint on the upper spar cap.

The identified portions of the forward spar lower spar cap only consisted of the two fingers, there was no transition area. Each finger had a spliced section between about 7 inches inboard of rib 9 to about 6 inches outboard of rib 10. The inboard scarfs were fractured through the adhesive with no fracture of the wood in the scarf areas. Each of the fingers was also fractured about 10 inches inboard of rib 9 (inboard of the end of the scarf joints) with features consistent with positive bending overload. The outboard scarf joints were intact and each had a thin wood doubler installed on the upper surface of the lower spar cap. There was no evidence of doublers installed at the inboard scarf joints on the lower spar cap. There was significant excessive dried adhesive present throughout the area of the spliced section of spar.

The aileron bellcrank was recovered separated from the wing structure but still remained attached to a section of the forward spar aft web just inboard of rib 9. The section of aft web extended from about 8 inches inboard of rib 9 to about 3 inches outboard of rib 9. The section of aft web from about 3 inches outboard of rib 9 to rib 10 was separated from the wing. The aileron push-pull tube was fractured about 7.5 inches inboard of the bellcrank attach point with features consistent with bending overload. The aileron control link was fractured in the threaded portion at the aft end about 10 inches aft of the bellcrank attach point. The forward spar forward web was fractured about 10 inches inboard of rib 9 and intact from the fracture to the wing tip. Most of the rear spar was reconstructed from the inboard aileron hinge to the outboard aileron hinge. This portion of rear spar was separated from the recovered outboard wing section and recovered in many pieces. A section of rear spar around the center aileron hinge was not identified in the wreckage.

Several pieces of the right aileron were recovered in the first debris field to include the inboard end with inboard hinge and balance weight attached, about 70% of the trailing edge, a section of lower skin and aileron fairing, the outboard end, two ribs, several pieces of the upper and lower leading edge, sections of the aileron spar, and the outboard hinge. The remaining structure was not conclusively identified in the debris including the center hinge and outboard balance weight. Examination of the inboard and outboard hinges did not show any evidence of over travel or repeated contact with the stops.

Many small pieces of wing skin, wing stringers, and wing ribs were recovered in the first debris field that could not be definitively placed during the reconstruction. There was no evidence of dry rot or other discrepancies in the pieces examined.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Washoe County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on September 9, 2014. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and had negative results.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The crew chief reported that the airplane suffered a collapse of both main landing gear during a landing at Hollister Municipal Airport, Hollister, California, on March 11, 2012, following a test flight. According to information provided by the FAA, the pilot was unable to get the right main landing gear in the down and locked position. During the landing, the right main landing gear collapsed and the left main landing gear broke off the airplane. The airplane sustained damage to both main landing gear and doors, the right wing, air scoop, and propeller. Photographs provided to the investigation showed significant damage to the right wing upper and lower skins and leading edge. Damage to the internal wing structure could not be quantified from the photographs. According to the crew chief, the wing was removed from the airplane and sent to the designer for repair.

The airplane was flown to an airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July, 2013. During the return flight, the accident pilot reported to the crew chief that the pitch characteristics of the airplane were abnormal. Inspection of the airplane found the bulkhead where the elevator quadrant was attached had fractured from its mounts. The damage was repaired and documented in the airframe logbook. The crew chief reported that the cracks in the right and left wing lower skins were located in a similar location on each wing, aft of the forward spar in the area of the main landing gear trunnions. The cracks were reportedly repaired in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular (AC) 43.13-1B.

In a telephone interview with the designer and builder of the airplane, he stated that the wing was a one- piece construction at original manufacture. The forward spar was a box spar and was designed to carry all of the wing bending loads. The spar caps were of one-piece design with no splices along the length. The rear spar and wing skins carried the wing torsion loads. He informed the investigation team that the design drawings had been lost. He recalled repairing the right wing after the landing gear failure in March, 2012 but only recalled repairing the leading edge and leading edge ribs on the right wing. He did not recall any spar damage on the right wing. No engineering data was generated for the repair and he stated it was all performed in accordance with AC 43.13-1B.

The accident pilot performed a practice flight on the NCAR course during the morning of September 8, 2014, and called a mayday during the flight. The pilot reported to the crew chief that the airplane began to shake when he applied power. The crew examined the data from the engine control unit and found that the rev limiter had engaged as the rpm increased to the set limit of about 6,000 rpm. A normal inspection of the airplane by the crew did not reveal any discrepancies.

The pilot reported to another Sport Class pilot that he thought the airplane was going to come apart it was shaking so badly during the event.

FAA AC 43.13-1B "contains methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the Administrator for the inspection and repair of nonpressurized areas of civil aircraft, only when there are no manufacturer repair or maintenance instructions." Chapter 1 - Wood Structure, Section 4 - Repairs, contains information on the design of scarf joints and the repair of wing spars. Figure 1-8 in the AC provides information on the method to splice box spar flanges. The AC states that reinforcement plates must be used on all scarf repairs to spars and provides minimum dimensions for scarf joints. The information in Figure 8 shows that for box spar flanges, the scarf should have a minimum slope of 15 times the thickness of the flange being spliced. Reinforcement plates should be at least 1/2t thick and 21t long where t represents the thickness of the flange being spliced.

The investigation team planned to reexamine the wreckage after obtaining the logbooks and other additional information. Unfortunately, the insurance company disposed of the wreckage without the knowledge or approval of the NTSB.

http://registry.faa.gov/N501GP

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA369
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 08, 2014 in Reno, NV
Aircraft: BACKOVICH GEORGE C G P 5, registration: N501GP
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 September 8, 2014, about 1516 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Backovich GP-5 airplane, N501GP, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight breakup while conducting a practice race at the Reno-Stead Airport (RTS) Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to Lancair Northwest LLC, Portland, Oregon, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the air race flight. The local flight originated from RTS about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

Witnesses reported that the accident airplane departed runway 26, turned south and maneuvered to enter the race course. As the airplane was observed passing outer pylon 5, portions of the right wing separated from the wing structure. Subsequently, the airplane began to roll to the right and impacted terrain.

Examination of the accident site by representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that wreckage debris was scatted between race pylons 5 and 6 of the outer race course. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the approximate 4,000 foot long debris path. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.


Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Reno FSDO-11





 7:35 p.m. update

Lee Behel, a veteran pilot and past champion at the Reno National Championship Air Races and a retired fighter pilot for the Nevada Air National Guard was killed in a crash on Monday during a heat race at Reno-Stead Airport.

Behel, 64, was competing in the Sport Class – a class he helped found in 1998 and was president of – in his race plane, "Sweet Dreams" an experimental GP-5, when it appeared to suffer a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed at the north end of the race course at 3:16 p.m., according to Tim Spencer, the Air Races' emergency operations director. Behel was the only person on board the single-engine aircraft.

Air Races spokesman Mike Draper said the plane went down at the north end of the airport, away from the grandstands where the fatal crash occurred in 2011 that killed pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators. In the 51-year history of the Air Races, 19 pilots have died during racing.

Behel had been involved in the air races for more than 20 years and the 2008 champion in the Sport Class Gold Race.

"Lee was a very talented pilot but, more importantly, an enthusiastic and compassionate friend and the entire Air Race family will miss him deeply," said Mike Major, chairman of the Reno Air Racing Association said in a statement. "This is a difficult day for all of us and our thoughts and prayers are with Lee's family and friends."

The cause of the crash is officially unknown and the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating, FAA Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor said in an e-mail.

The Air Races said qualifying at the event will continue as scheduled, beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The Air Races officially open to the public on Wednesday and continues through Sunday with the championship races.

Draper said a tribute for Behel is being planned and will take place later in the week. Details are still being worked out.

Behel lived in San Jose, Calif., and was a retired auto dealer. He spent 24 years with the Nevada Air National Guard, flying the F-4 Phantom and other military aircraft including the F-101 Voodoo. He started his Air Guard career in 1972 and retired in 1996 as a lieutenant colonel.

He started competing in the Air Races in 1998, flying two different planes in the Sport Class and also competing in the Jet Class since its inception in 2002.

7 p.m. update

Lee Behel, a veteran pilot and past champion at the Reno National Championship Air Races and a retired fighter pilot for the Nevada Air National Guard was killed in a crash on Monday during a heat race at Reno-Stead Airfield.

Behel, 64, was competing in the Sport Class – a class he helped found and was president of – in his race plane, "Sweet Dreams" an experimental GP-5, when it appeared to suffer a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed at the north end of the race course at 3:16 p.m., according to Tim Spencer, the Air Races' emergency operations director. Behel was the only person on board the single-engine aircraft.

Air Races spokesman Mike Draper said the plane went down at the north end of the airport, away from the grandstands where the fatal crash occurred in 2011 that killed pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators. In the 51-year history of the Air Races, 19 pilots have died during racing.

Behel had been involved in the air races for more than 20 years and the 2008 champion in the Sport Class Gold Race.

"Lee was a very talented pilot but, more importantly, an enthusiastic and compassionate friend and the entire Air Race family will miss him deeply," said Mike Major, chairman of the Reno Air Racing Association said in a statement. "This is a difficult day for all of us and our thoughts and prayers are with Lee's family and friends."

The cause of the crash is officially unknown and the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating, FAA Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor said in an e-mail.

The Air Races said qualifying at the event will continue as scheduled, beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. The Air Races officially open to the public on Wednesday and continues through Sunday with the championship races.

Draper said a tribute for Behel is being planned and will take place later in the week. Details are still being worked out.

Behel lived in San Jose, Calif., and was a retired auto dealer. He spent 24 years with the Nevada Air National Guard, flying the F-4 Phantom and other military aircraft including the F-101 Voodoo. He retired from the Guard in 1996 as a lieutenant colonel.

He is a longtime competitor in the Air Races, flying two different planes in the Sport Class and also competing in the Jet Class since its inception in 2002.

6:48 p.m. update
Lee Behel retired from Nevada Air Guard in 1996 as a Lt. Col. He was the 2008 Sport Class champion at Reno Air Races. He also raced jets.

6:36 p.m. update
The pilot who died was Lee Behel, 64, a veteran of the air races and retired Nevada Air Guard fighter pilot.


 6:22 p.m. update
 
This is the 19th pilot to die in a racing crash in the Reno Air Races' 51-year history. Ten spectators and a pilot were killed in 2011 crash.

5:56 p.m. update

This is the latest information released by the Federal Aviation Administration, via public information officer Ian Gregor:

-- A single-engine, experimental GP5 crashed under unknown circumstances around 3:15 p.m. on the race course during a qualifying run for the Reno Air Races.

-- Local authorities at the scene are reporting the pilot, who was the only person on board, was killed.

-- There were no injuries to anyone on the ground. I cannot yet confirm a tail number for the aircraft. The FAA and NTSB will investigate this accident. NTSB is the lead investigative agency.

-- The NTSB investigator usually posts a basic preliminary report on the agency's website, www.ntsb.gov, within a week or two of an accident.

-- However, it typically takes NTSB months to come up with a probable cause for accidents.

-- Neither the FAA nor NTSB releases the identities of people involved in aircraft accidents.

4:43 p.m. update


A race plane crashed on the course at the Reno National Championship Air Races Monday afternoon, killing the pilot.

The name of the pilot has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

 
List: Fatal crashes at the National Championship Air Races


Tim Spencer, the Air Races' emergency operations director, said the crash occurred at 3:16 p.m. during a Sport Class heat race.

"We've got the NTSB en route to perform an investigation," Spencer said.

The Air Races released a statement at 4:30 p.m. saying racing has been suspended for the remainder of the day and was tentatively scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Spencer said the plane suffered a mechanical failure in the air and crashed on the race course.

This is the first fatal crash at the Air Races since 2011 when Unlimited Pilot Jimmy Leeward's P-51 Mustang crashed into the box seats in front of the main grandstands, killing him and 10 people on the ground.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

4:35 p.m. update

Fatal plane crash reported at Reno Air Races on Monday.

Sport class plane went down. Identity of pilot not released.

The name of the pilot has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and are on the way to conduct an investigation.

The plane was competing in a Sport Class heat and crashed on the course at 3:16 p.m.

Remaining events today have been cancelled.

The event is to resume at 8 a.m. Tuesday, as planned.

4:30 p.m. update

Fatal plane crash at Reno Air Races. Sport class plane went down. Identity of pilot not released.

4:20 p.m. update


A plane "went down" at the Reno-Stead Airport at 3:30 p.m., but severity and details aren't known, the Reno Air Races say.

Richard Adams: Retiree helps add to Havelock center’s airplane collection - New Bern, North Carolina

Richard Adams of New Bern shows his most recent contribution to the Havelock Tourist and Event Center. 
Drew C. Wilson/Halifax Media Services



HAVELOCK | Richard Adams of New Bern was impressed the first time he saw the aviation exhibits at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center. The 83-year-old made a decision that he wanted to be a part of it.

He’s been making models to donate to the center ever since.

Adams recently brought his fifth by the center, where the exhibits are maintained by the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation.

“When I drove by here and I saw the plane out front, I said ‘Gee, something’s got to be done,’” Adams said. “It just blew my mind, all the different equipment, engines and history of aviation. It’s a wonderful thing. I can’t praise this place enough.”

The most recent plane to be delivered was a 1918 Fokker D.VII, a World War I-era German biplane that was on the cutting edge for its time.

“It had a 180 horse power BMW in-line six and it could hang on its propeller as it was going up to get the other planes,” Adams said. “It was just so powerful that it would just almost stand in the air. It would shoot them all down. It is such a darn good plane.

“This is the best of the best in Germany in the first world war, an extremely high-prized plane it was so good. As soon as the war was over, all the countries jumped to get a hold of it because it was so good.”

The Fokker D.VII could fly 124 mph and had two machine guns synchronized to shoot rounds through, but not hit, the plane’s propeller.

“I had that model kit in a box when I was a child,” said Adams, who lives in New Bern. “I found it a little while ago, so I put it together a little while ago when I was 80. It was for kids to fly. It wasn’t to be authentic. I made it as authentic as it could be.”

Adams added gauges, pedals, a hand pump, throttle, air vents and carved the propeller based on pictures of the original plane he found. He even made a little pilot out of clay and painted him.

“He’s got his hand on the joy stick and the throttle,” Adams said. “It’s a lot of fun. It keeps me young.”

To Adams, the Fokker D.VII represents an advance in aviation that fits well with the other models he has contributed to the center. He has a 1903 Wright Brothers first flyer, a 1909 Louis Bleriot plane that was the first to fly across the English Channel, the Fokker, a 1930 Curtiss Hawk biplane, and a late 1940s-era Piper Cub.

Adams, a veteran of the Korean War, is a former military helicopter pilot who flew the H-21 Boeing Vertol in Vietnam. The early helicopter had a nickname, The Flying Banana, because of its distinctive shape.

“It was 87.4 feet long and grossed out at 15,300 pounds,” Adams said. “It had a B-17 engine in it, R818102 nine cylinder, 1,425 horsepower, 300 gallons of 145 octane, three transmissions. She was a very nice aircraft to fly.”

Adams got his own nickname.

“The called me Flying Black Cloud because my aircraft was hit more times than anyone else in the company,” Adams said.

He survived the war to become an industrial arts teacher for 25 years.

“I’m making model airplanes now and I’m having a heck of a good time and the Lord was good,” Adams said.

Adams is currently making a 16-inch Pittman, an American civilian plane from 1929, and he looks forward to bringing that to the center.

“We need to have a place like this in every town to let people know what’s happening in the world,” Adams said.

Adams’ work is appreciated.

“He’s been a wonderful supporter of our cause and our missions,” Amanda Ohlensehlen, tourist center director, said of Adams’ support for the aviation foundation. “He has followed us as we have grown over the years. He just kept coming with these wonderful gifts. He has built model planes with children at the Fly-In. He and his wife Ingrid have volunteered for those events. We are very fortunate to be able to share that and help educate others.”

Adams said he is glad to do it.

“I’m very happy to help out the cause here,” he said. “And Amanda has done such a good job to advance and educate people on aircraft, and people need to know more about it. I’m nobody. There’s so many more that have given their lives to the cause. America is the greatest in the world and anything that can be done to help it is what I want to do.”


Story and Photo:  http://www.newbernsj.com

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, N1116Y: Accident occurred February 08, 2007 in Alliance, Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. —A small plane crashed in Nebraska’s panhandle seven years ago, but right now there’s a multimillion-dollar lawsuit underway in Douglas County as a result of the crash.

Video: Pilot files lawsuit seven years after crash

Pat O’Brien, the pilot of the single-engine Cessna plane, is suing the manufacturers in Douglas County Court because of contractual issues. O’Brien was to fly from Eppley Airfield out to Scottsbluff, but crashed near Alliance on Feb. 8, 2007, and was permanently injured.

His legal team’s argument states that the plane’s deicing equipment failed. The defense team even brought in part of the plane to show jurors.

A crew had to haul a wing from a downtown Omaha street up into the city’s legislative chambers to make the case.

The defense team argues O’Brien shouldn’t have been flying in the icy conditions and that pilot error caused the plane to crash, leaving behind the mangled mess.

Based on what we were told from inside the court room, this trial could last anywhere from another 2-3 weeks as the jury hears from two teams of lawyers.

Story and Video: http://www.ketv.com


http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS
 

NTSB Identification: CHI07FA068.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, February 08, 2007 in Alliance, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 208B, registration: N1116Y
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The pilot was dispatched on a nonscheduled cargo flight to an airport other than his usual destination because it had a precision instrument approach, while his usual destination airport did not. The pilot elected to fly to his usual airport, and attempted a nonprecision instrument approach. The airport had both a VOR and an NDB approach. The NDB approach was noted as being out of service, although there was still a radio signal coming from the navigation aid. The pilot was cleared for the VOR approach, although instrumentation inside the cockpit was found set for the NDB approach, and radar track data disclosed that the flight path was consistent with the NDB approach path, not the VOR's. The airport's reported weather was 1.25 miles visibility, with a 200-foot overcast in mist. The airport's minimum NDB approach altitude is 652 feet above touchdown height. The airplane did not reach the runway, and collided with a pole and a building. Inspection of the airplane disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

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

The pilot's descent below minimum descent altitude while on a nonprecision approach. A contributing factor was a low ceiling.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 8, 2007, about 0225 mountain standard time, a Cessna 208B, N1116Y, operated by Suburban Air Freight Inc., sustained substantial damage on impact with a building and terrain during a non-precision approach to runway 12 at the Alliance Municipal Airport (AIA), near Alliance, Nebraska. The non-scheduled domestic cargo flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 135. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was on file and was activated. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized. The flight originated from Eppley Airfield (OMA), near Omaha, Nebraska, about 2345, and was dispatched to the Western Nebraska Regional Airport/William B. Heilig Field (BFF), near Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

The operator's accident report, in part, stated:

Scheduled U.S. Mail route operating AIA - LBF [North Platte, 
Nebraska] - OMA, OMA - AIA. Due to low IFR conditions and 
preceding night's aircraft diverting to, and remaining at CDR, 
(Chardon, Nebraska), and being unable to position into AIA for the 
evening departure, decision was made to leave the first [airplane] at 
CDR overnight, and simply fly a [second airplane] from OMA - BFF 
where [weather] was suitable for ILS [instrument landing system] 
approach. Only non-precision approaches, with higher minimums, 
are available at AIA. Thus, the accident [airplane] was dispatched 
to take mail directly to BFF, which has precision approaches (ILS), 
and the U.S. Mail truck was to meet the aircraft at BFF. That is a 
normal procedure for occasions when AIA is below non-precision 
landing conditions. All scheduled flights operate on "canned" flight 
plans which are on file. ... The flight from OMA to either BFF or 
AIA proceeds along the identical route until west of North Platte, 
Nebraska. ... The change is typically only requested after handoff 
from [Minneapolis] Center to [Denver] Center, west of North Platte. ...

Since the direct route from OMA - BFF passes literally over, or 
almost over, the procedure turn for the AIA approach procedures, 
there is always the option for a pilot to check weather at AIA, and if 
it has unexpectedly improved so as to allow landing at AIA, certainly, 
then he may land. However, in this case, the mission was not to go to 
AIA, land, and remain for the next evening's return, but rather to simply 
proceed to BFF, execute the precision approach, drop off the mail, and 
return to OMA empty immediately.

An excerpt from a Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) transcript follows:

Agencies Making Transmissions Abbreviations
Denver ARTCC, Sector 35R Radar Controller ZDV35R
Suburban Air Freight, INC. (Omaha, NE) SUB22
...

0846:46 ZDV35R sub air two two denver center

0846:52 SUB22 denver center sub air two two level eight thousand

0846:55 ZDV35R sub air two two denver center roger the uh alliance
altimeter is three zero one seven and do you have the uh
alliance weather yet

0847:10 SUB22 three zero one seven sub air two two uh we are 
requesting the uh v o r runway one two

0847:18 ZDV35R sub air two two roger

0848:09 ZDV35R sub air two two do you have the uh weather and notam
information for alliance

0849:17 SUB22 sub air two two i have the uh alliance awos and notams

0849:22 ZDV35R sub air two two roger

0854:15 SUB22 denver center sub two two request

0854:17 ZDV35R sub air two two go ahead

0854:20 SUB22 roger sub air two two would like to uh uh amend my uh
request for the uh v o r runway three zero at alliance
and uh in the event uh i have to go missed approach i'll
be uh planning to uh head over to scottsbluff

0854:36 ZDV35R sub air two two roger maintain seven thousand until
alliance v o r outbound cleared for v o r runway three
zero approach to the alliance airport

0854:48 SUB22 sub air two two departing eight for seven thousand
maintaining seven thousand until established cleared v o r 
runway three zero alliance thank you

0857:11 SUB22 sub air two two copies all switching to advisory and i'll 
close out my flight plan with columbus radio or i'll contact
you later if i have to uh divert to Scottsbluff

0857:21 ZDV35R sub air two two roger

0857:57 ZDV35R sub air two two radar service terminated change to 
advisory frequency approved report your uh arrival with 
columbus radio or you can report back to me if you uh 
have to go missed approach there

0908:41 SUB22 denver center sub air two two request

0908:52 ZDV35R alpine or correction uh sub air two two go ahead

0908:56 SUB22 (unintelligible) sir sub air two two looks like i'm gonna
have to uh flr the v o r runway one two after all request
uh v o r runway one two at alliance

0909:08 ZDV35R sub air two two roger uh cleared for v o r runway one
two approach to the alliance airport maintain seven 
thousand until established on a published segment of the
approach

0909:20 SUB22 sub air two two maintaining seven thousand until 
established cleared v o r runway one to alliance thank
you sir- - - and uh switching back to advisory

0909:29 ZDV35R sub air two two roger change to advisory frequency 
approved

0909:34 SUB22 sub air two two

A witness, who was a train engineer in a standing locomotive about a quarter mile from the impact site, reported that he felt a shock wave against his locomotive and thought it was impacted by something. He went out to inspect the locomotive. The train had collected a coating of ice and the weather was foggy according to the engineer. He stated that he saw a leaning power pole across the roadway and saw steam rising from the ditch across the roadway. He went to investigate, saw the airplane, and called 911.

FAA inspectors interviewed the pilot and he reported that he did not recall the accident.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land limited to center thrust and instrument airplane ratings on October 25, 1977, based on military competence provisions allowed under 14 CFR Part 61.73 Military Pilots or Former Military Pilots: Special Rules. On December 14, 1977, he added an airplane single-engine land rating to his commercial certificate following a check ride in a Cessna 172. On August 25, 1978, he was reissued his commercial certificate without the center thrust limitation based on his military competence in the KC-135A airplane. On June 22, 1982, he was issued a type rating in the Boeing 707 and 720 airplanes based on his military competence in the KC-135A airplane. On August 22, 1982, he was issued an airplane single-engine certified flight instructor certificate following a check ride in a Piper PA-28R-200. On June 19, 1989, he was issued a type rating in the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 based on his military competence in a KC-10A airplane.

The pilot's last medical examination was completed on July 10, 2006, and the pilot was issued a second-class medical certificate with a limitation to wear corrective lenses.

According to the operator's report, the pilot reported a total flight time of 4,863 hours. The operator reported that the pilot had flown 523 hours in the Cessna 208. The operator reported that the pilot had flown 203 hours during the last 90 days and 64 hours during the last 30 days.

On October 2, 2006, the pilot attended and completed the airplane manufacturer's winter operations training seminar. The pilot attended recurrent ground training for the Cessna 208 aircraft on January 17, 2007. The pilot's last FAA Airman Competency/Proficiency Check was completed on January 18, 2007, and he was approved for 14 CFR Part 135 pilot-in-command operations in the Cessna 208.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

N1116Y, a Cessna 208B, Caravan, serial number 208B0368, was a single-engine, turbo-prop, high-wing airplane, equipped with fixed tricycle landing gear. The fuselage and empennage are of an all-metal semimonocoque design. The wings are externally braced and have two integral fuel tanks. The accident airplane was configured for flight into known icing conditions and to carry cargo. The airplane was equipped with two cockpit seats. The Cessna 208B had its certified maximum takeoff weight increased by supplemental type certificate SA00188SE to 8,950 lbs. A 675-horsepower Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A, serial number PCE-19241, powered the airplane. The propeller was an electrically heated three-bladed McCauley 3GFR34C703-B model with hub serial number 952444. 

The airplane was equipped with distance measuring equipment (DME) and was not equipped with global positioning system (GPS) navigation equipment. 

A Radio Magnetic Indicator (RMI) was installed. The RMI display combined three navigation data points on one indicator. The data points were the current aircraft heading and the magnetic headings to VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR) and Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) stations, which were shown by the RMI's twin needles. Either needle could be switched to show VOR or NDB data in reference to the frequency that the pilot had selected in the navigation/communication radio or NDB receiver. 

The airplane was equipped with a panel mounted KI 525A Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) which showed standard Directional Gyro and Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) information, slaved heading, and VOR, Localizer, and Glideslope information in one display. The HSI indicator incorporated a Course Select Knob that rotated the course pointer to the desired course on the compass card. This knob corresponded to an Omni Bearing Selector (OBS) on standard VOR indicators. The HSI had a Heading Select Bug, which was a movable orange marker on the outer perimeter of the compass display, used primarily to select the desired heading you wished to fly. This desired heading can be coupled to the autopilot system.

The airplane was being maintained under an approved aircraft inspection program for the Cessna 208B. Phase nine of the program was completed on January 11, 2007. The airplane had accumulated 7,248.3 hours of total flight time and it's Hobbs meter read 6,188.7 hours.

The airplane was modified with a Cessna Service Bulletin (SB) titled, "FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ICING - LOW AIRSPEED AWARENESS SYSTEM INSTALLATION." The propeller anti-ice switch activated the awareness system. The SB, in part, stated:

The new low speed awareness system is designed to alert the pilot 
with the illumination of an annunciator light on the instrument panel 
and the sound of an aural horn when the airspeed is less than 
approximately 110 [knots indicated airspeed]. ... Compliance with 
this Service Bulletin will assist the pilot in taking appropriate actions 
during icing operations.

The dispatch record for the flight showed the airplane was carrying 2,126 pounds of cargo during the flight. The cargo was rechecked after the accident and its rechecked weight was 2,206 pounds.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A Senior Meteorologist for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) compiled a Meteorological Factual Report for the investigation. The report listed pilot reports (PIREP) near the airplane's route of flight. The PIREPs showed that airplanes were reporting light to moderate icing conditions. Airmen's meteorological information (AIRMET) advisories were issued for IFR conditions. The AIRMET was valid from 1945 on February 7, 2007, through the time of the accident.

At 0153, the recorded weather at AIA was: Wind 050 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 1 1/4 statute miles; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature -6 degrees Celsius (C); dew point -7 degrees C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury.

At 0219, the recorded weather at AIA was: Wind 070 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 1 statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature -6 degrees C; dew point -7 degrees C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury


AIDS TO NAVIGATION

There were five non-precision instrument approaches and no precision approaches available at AIA. The non-precision approaches were the area navigation (RNAV) GPS RWY 12 approach, the RNAV GPS RWY 30 approach, the VOR RWY 12 approach, the VOR RWY 30 approach, and the (NDB) RWY 12 approach.

The pilot was cleared for the VOR RWY 12 approach. The published inbound course was 111 degrees magnetic and the straight in minimum descent altitude for that approach was 4,560 feet above mean sea level (MSL), which was listed as 632 feet above the touchdown. The straight in minimum descent altitude, for DME equipped aircraft, once past the AIA 2.3 DME fix was 4,380 feet MSL, which was listed as 452 feet above the touchdown. The touchdown zone elevation for runway 12 was 3,928 feet MSL. The published weather minimums for the approach were a 700-foot ceiling and one-mile visibility for category A and B aircraft. The published weather minimums for the approach were a 500-foot ceiling and one-mile visibility for category A and B aircraft equipped with DME. 

The straight-in minimum descent altitude for the NDB RWY 12 approach was 4,580 feet MSL, which was listed as 652 feet above the touchdown. The published inbound course was 127 degrees magnetic. The published weather minimums for the approach were a 700-foot ceiling and one-mile visibility for category A and B aircraft. 

A NOTAM had been issued on February 1, 2007, stating that the AIA's NDB was out of service. Pilots reported that the signal associated with AIA's NDB frequency was still being transmitted while the out of service NOTAM was in effect.


AIRPORT INFORMATION

AIA was located about three miles southeast of the city at an elevation of 3,931 feet MSL. It was served by three runways 8-26, 17-35, and 12-30. Runway 12-30 was 9,202 feet long and 150 feet wide. The runway was made of asphalt. Medium intensity runway lighting for runway 12-30 and 8-26 was pilot-controlled. Pilot-controlled runway end identifier lights and a visual approach slope indicator serviced runway 12.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was found resting upright impacting a power pole near the intersection of West 25th Street and Highway 385. The airplane fuselage had split open on its left side aft of the flaps. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The inboard section of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage.

A metal building northwest of the airplane was found with tears in its roof and side. The tears in the roof were in line with a ground scar that started about 60 feet southeast of the torn wall section. The ground scar continued on about a 105-degree magnetic heading and stopped at the airplane wreckage. The airplane wreckage was about 230 feet from the torn wall section. The outboard section of the left wing was found near the ground scar. A flap rail from the left wing was found in the building and the left navigation light cover was found on the roof by the first tear in the roof. Red media was observed on the roof by the navigation light cover. The propeller hub separated from the engine. Two propeller blades separated from the hub and were found resting near the ground scar. The third propeller blade separated from the hub and was found in a field about 150 yards south of the start of the ground scar and was about 200 yards southwest of the main wreckage. The left fuel tank was compromised. The smell of jet fuel was present around the left wing. The right wing fuel tank contained liquid consistent with jet fuel. The fuel line to the engine contained liquid consistent with jet fuel. The emergency locator transmitter was found activated. The Hobbs meter indicated 6,240 hours. The DME selector switch was positioned to the number one navigation radio. The Heading Select Bug was pointing to a desired course of 120 degrees. The Course Select Knob was selecting a course of about 106 degrees. Both of the RMI's indicator switches were set to NDB.

Ice was found on the leading edge boots of the wings, elevators, and rudder. Ice was found on the propeller anti-icing boots. The ice accumulation was consistent with rime ice and the ice varied in thickness from 1/10 inch to 1/8 inch. Ice was found on unprotected surfaces of the aircraft. The maximum amount of ice that was found on the airplane was on the right strobe light. The light had about 3/8 inch of ice on its leading surface. The switch for the propeller anti-ice was found in the off position. 

An on-scene investigation was conducted. Flight control cables were traced from the cockpit to their respective surfaces. All breaks in the cables were consistent with overload. Engine control cables were traced from the cockpit to the engine and engine control continuity was established. The airframe exhibited no pre-impact anomalies.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) prepared a Final Forensic Non-Fatal Toxicology Accident Report. The report stated:

MIDAZOLAM detected in Urine
MIDAZOLAM NOT detected in Serum

The NTSB's Medical Officer extracted the following medical information from post-accident emergency room records maintained on the pilot by the general hospital at which he was initially treated:

2/8/07 - "Trauma Nurse's Notes" indicate, in part, "...
0315 Versed [midazolam] 2 mg intravenous push ...
0338 3mg Versed intravenous push ..."

The following medical information was provided to the NTSB's Medical Officer, by staff of the CAMI Forensic Toxicology Research Team:

The serum tested on this pilot was noted to have been drawn at 0305 on 2/08/07.
The urine tested on this pilot was noted to have been collected at 0626 on 2/08/07.


TESTS AND RESEARCH

The FAA supplied recorded National Track Analysis Program (NTAP) radar data for the flight. That NTAP data was plotted on approach procedure charts for the VOR RWY 12 approach and the NDB RWY 12 approach. The flight's track did not align with the VOR approach. The track was consistent with the NDB approach.

On March 6, 2007, the engine was examined at a storage facility in Greeley, Colorado. The engine's pneumatic lines were intact. Visual inspection of the compressor and combustion sections revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The compressor turbine exhibited a circular witness mark consistent with contact with the power turbine's baffle. The power turbine and its shroud exhibited witness marks consistent with turbine blade rubbing. The reduction gearbox's first and second stage planetary gear coupler was fractured. That fracture surface was smeared. Liquid consistent with jet fuel was found in the fuel lines to the fuel nozzles and liquid exited the fuel pump when the pump was rotated by hand. No engine pre-impact anomalies were detected that would have prevented engine operation.

The avionics were examined at a Honeywell facility in Olathe, Kansas, on April 17, 2007. The avionics exam revealed that the number one navigation/communication radio was intermittent during testing. The number one navigation/communication radio was selecting the VOR frequency for AIA. The number two navigation/communication radio was operational during testing. The number two navigation/communication radio was selecting the VOR frequency for AIA. The autopilot sustained damage, passed its built in test function after power was applied, functioned during testing, and no pre-impact anomalies were detected with the autopilot. The ADF was operational when power was applied and was selecting the same frequency as AIA's NDB. The transponder exhibited a 1200 code when power was applied.

The airplane's de-ice valves were examined under FAA supervision at a BF Goodrich facility in Uniontown, Ohio, on April 3, 2007. The valves were operational during testing.

The standby alternator was examined at a Kelly Aerospace facility in Wichita, Kansas, on April 19, 2007. The alternator was operational during testing.

The starter/generator was examined under FAA supervision at a Unison facility in Holtsville, New York, on April 20, 2007. The starter/generator sustained connector block damage. The connector block was replaced and the generator was operational during testing.


ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

Excerpts from 14 CFR Part 61.73 Military pilots or former military pilots: Special rules, in part, stated

(a) General. Except for a rated military pilot or former rated military 
pilot who has been removed from flying status for lack of proficiency, 
or because of disciplinary action involving aircraft operations, a rated 
military pilot or former rated military pilot who meets the applicable 
requirements of this section may apply, on the basis of his or her 
military training, for:
(1) A commercial pilot certificate;
(2) An aircraft rating in the category and class of aircraft for which 
that military pilot is qualified;
(3) An instrument rating with the appropriate aircraft rating for which 
that military pilot is qualified; or
(4) A type rating, if appropriate.
(b) Military pilots on active flying status within the past 12 months. A 
rated military pilot or former rated military pilot who has been on 
active flying status within the 12 months before applying must:
(1) Pass a knowledge test on the appropriate parts of this chapter that 
apply to pilot privileges and limitations, air traffic and general 
operating rules, and accident reporting rules;
(2) Present documentation showing compliance with the requirements of 
paragraph (d) of this section for at least one aircraft category rating; and
(3) Present documentation showing that the applicant is or was, at any 
time during the 12 calendar months before the month of application--
(i) A rated military pilot on active flying status in an armed force of the 
United States; or
...
(d) Aircraft category, class, and type ratings. A rated military pilot or 
former rated military pilot who applies for an aircraft category, class, 
or type rating, if applicable, is issued that rating at the commercial 
pilot certificate level if the pilot presents documentary evidence that 
shows satisfactory accomplishment of:
(1) An official U.S. military pilot check and instrument proficiency 
check in that aircraft category, class, or type, if applicable, as pilot in 
command during the 12 calendar months before the month of application;
(2) At least 10 hours of pilot-in-command time in that aircraft category, 
class, or type, if applicable, during the 12 calendar months before the 
month of application; or
(3) An FAA practical test in that aircraft after--
(i) Meeting the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section; 
and
(ii) Having received an endorsement from an authorized instructor who 
certifies that the pilot is proficient to take the required practical test, 
and that endorsement is made within the 60-day period preceding the 
date of the practical test.
(e) Instrument rating. A rated military pilot or former rated military 
pilot who applies for an airplane instrument rating, a helicopter 
instrument rating, or a powered-lift instrument rating to be added to 
his or her commercial pilot certificate may apply for an instrument 
rating if the pilot has, within the 12 calendar months preceding the 
month of application:
(1) Passed an instrument proficiency check by a U.S. Armed Force in 
the aircraft category for the instrument rating sought; and
(2) Received authorization from a U.S. Armed Force to conduct IFR 
flights on Federal airways in that aircraft category and class for the 
instrument rating sought.
(f) Aircraft type rating. An aircraft type rating is issued only for aircraft 
types that the Administrator has certificated for civil operations.
...
(h) Evidentiary documents. The following documents are satisfactory 
evidence for the purposes indicated:
(1) An official identification card issued to the pilot by an armed force 
may be used to demonstrate membership in the armed forces.
(2) An original or a copy of a certificate of discharge or release may be 
used to demonstrate discharge or release from an armed force or former 
membership in an armed force.
(3) Current or previous status as a rated military pilot with a U.S. Armed 
Force may be demonstrated by--
(i) An official U.S. Armed Force order to flight status as a military pilot;
(ii) An official U.S. Armed Force form or logbook showing military 
pilot status; or
(iii) An official order showing that the rated military pilot graduated from 
a U.S. military pilot school and received a rating as a military pilot.
(4) A certified U.S. Armed Force logbook or an appropriate official U.S. 
Armed Force form or summary may be used to demonstrate flight time in 
military aircraft as a member of a U.S. Armed Force.
(5) An official U.S. Armed Force record of a military checkout as pilot in 
command may be used to demonstrate pilot in command status.
(6) A current instrument grade slip that is issued by a U.S. Armed Force, 
or an official record of satisfactory accomplishment of an instrument 
proficiency check during the 12 calendar months preceding the month 
of the application may be used to demonstrate instrument pilot qualification.

FAA records showed that the accident pilot was involved in an incident on August 30, 1984, at Lowell, Michigan. He passed a reexamination with an inspector from the Fresno, California, Flight Standards District office on December 10, 1984. 

The accident pilot was involved in a mishap as an Air Force pilot on September 2, 1997, at Pope AFB, North Carolina. He was the aircraft commander of an EC-135C, serial number 63-8053, which sustained nose landing gear damage and post impact hydraulic fire damage during landing.

On March 31, 2004, he was involved in an accident at Omaha, Nebraska. The NTSB's report stated that "Swearingen SA226-T, N636SP, sustained substantial damage during takeoff when the airplane veered off the right side of runway 30 (3,801 feet by 75 feet, concrete) at the Millard Airport." On June 14, 2004, he passed a reexamination with an inspector from the Lincoln, Nebraska, Flight Standards District Office.

A witness who had flown with the accident pilot, in part, stated:

On active duty, assigned to the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB [pilot's 
name] had some difficulty completing the EC-135 checkout 
program. I was asked to observe his performance in both the 
simulator and the aircraft. My professional assessment as the 
instructor given to both the Operations Officer and the Commander 
was not to certify, then LtCol [pilot's name] to command an EC-135. 
I recommended this based on his lack of confidence during air 
refueling as a receiver, and his indecisiveness during critical phases 
of flight while being task saturated. If everything was "as scripted", 
as planned he was competent. However, when there were issues such 
as weather, mechanical problems or schedule deviations he focused 
on the point and lost track of the overall objectives. Tunnel Vision.
After we both retired, he was flying a Merlin IIIB for a private company 
and had some operational questions. Because I was experienced in 
that type aircraft he asked for my advice. I noted that we had the same 
instructor at Flight Safety and that the training was adequate, but 
that the instructor had no operational experience in our aircraft type. 
I made a point of talking to him about the things I had learned after 
flying a Merlin for several years. He listened, but continued to 
operate the aircraft as he was before our flights. In my opinion some 
of the precise issues we talked about as strong techniques and more 
clearly defined procedures were causal to his accident with the 
Merlin at Millard later that year. It is my professional opinion after 
flying with and observing [pilot's name] that he was not a "stick and 
rudder" pilot. He is extremely intelligent and after studying technical 
data knew the tech data perfectly, but did not apply his knowledge in 
a timely, accurate manner consistently. In a crunch, or when 
overwhelmed he had a tendency to lose overall situational awareness, 
and lacked the ability to multy-task. These are not good traits for a 
single pilot operation.

FAA regulations in-place at the time of the accident and current regulations, to include 14 CFR Part 61.73 Military pilots or former military pilots: Special rules, do not require FAA personnel to review the pilot's incident and accident record from military service prior to the issuance or after the issuance of a FAA pilot certificate based on military competency.

The operator's safety recommendation, in part, stated:

Subsequent information provided by retired military pilot(s) suggest 
there may have been awareness in the military flying environment of 
decision making issues, but no records, evaluations, or indications of 
any kind are available to civilian aviation entities considering the 
hiring of ex-military pilots. Such information as might be available 
from civilian flying activities, if released by or provided by military 
sources might be of immense assistance. A recommendation might 
be considered whereby such materials and information might be 
shared or made available.

The parties to the investigation included the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, Suburban Air Freight Inc., Pratt & Whitney Canada, and Honeywell.

The aircraft wreckage and retained items were released to a representative of the insurance company.