Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle, N51RX, registered to Elite Medical Air Transport and operated by Amigos Aviation: Fatal accident occurred August 27, 2014 near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

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

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Inc; Mobile, Alabama

Ram Aircraft, LP; Waco, Texas

Registered to Elite Medical Air Transport, LLC, El Paso, Texas
Operated by Amigos Aviation, Inc., Harlingen, Texas
http://registry.faa.gov/N51RX

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA462
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Las Cruces, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N51RX
Injuries: 4 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.

According to the line service technician who worked for the fixed-base operator (FBO), before taking off for the air ambulance flight with two medical crewmembers and one patient onboard, the pilot verbally asked him to add 40 gallons of fuel to the airplane, but the pilot did not specify the type of fuel. The line service technician drove a fuel truck to the front of the airplane and added 20 gallons of fuel to each of the multiengine airplane's wing tanks. The pilot was present during the refueling and helped the line service technician replace both fuel caps.

Shortly after takeoff, a medical crewmember called the company medical dispatcher and reported that they were returning to the airport because smoke was coming from the right engine. Two witnesses reported seeing smoke from the airplane Several other witnesses reported seeing or hearing the impact and then immediately seeing smoke or flames.

On-scene evidence showed the airplane was generally eastbound and upright when it impacted terrain. A postimpact fire immediately ensued and consumed most of the airplane. Investigators who arrived at the scene the day following the accident reported clearly detecting the smell of jet fuel.

The airplane, which was equipped with two reciprocating engines, should have been serviced with aviation gasoline, and this was noted on labels near the fuel filler ports, which stated "AVGAS ONLY." However, a postaccident review of refueling records, statements from the line service technician, and the on-scene smell of jet fuel are consistent with the airplane having been misfueled with Jet A fuel instead of the required 100LL aviation gasoline, which can result in detonation in the engine and the subsequent loss of engine power. Postaccident examination of the engines revealed internal damage and evidence of detonation. It was the joint responsibility of the line technician and pilot to ensure that the airplane was filled with aviation fuel instead of jet fuel and their failure to do so led to the detonation in the engine and the subsequent loss of power during initial climb.

In accordance with voluntary industry standards, the FBO's jet fuel truck should have been equipped with an oversized fuel nozzle; instead, it was equipped with a smaller diameter nozzle, which allowed the nozzle to be inserted into the smaller fuel filler ports on airplanes that used aviation gasoline. The FBO's use of a small nozzle allowed it to be inserted in the accident airplane's filler port and for jet fuel to be inadvertently added to the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The misfueling of the airplane with jet fuel instead of the required aviation fuel, and the resultant detonation and a total loss of engine power during initial climb. Contributing to the accident were the line service technician's inadvertent misfueling of the airplane, the pilot's inadequate supervision of the fuel servicing, and the fixed-base operator's use of a small fuel nozzle on its jet fuel truck.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 27, 2014, about 1903 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 421C airplane, N51RX, impacted terrain during initial climb near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot, two medical crewmembers, and one patient were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Elite Medical Air Transport, LLC, El Paso, Texas, and was operated by Amigos Aviation, Inc., Harlingen, Texas, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 air ambulance flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident at the accident site, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed. The airplane departed LRU destined for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona.

The airplane arrived at LRU about 1822 to load the patient for a flight to PHX. According to the line service technician who worked for the fixed-base operator (FBO), both engines were shut down and the pilot was still seated in the cockpit when he asked the technician to add 40 gallons of fuel to the airplane; the pilot did not specify the type of fuel. The line service technician drove a fuel truck to the front of the airplane and then added 20 gallons of fuel to each wing tank. The pilot then helped the line service technician replace both fuel caps. The line service technician then printed the fuel ticket, which the pilot signed.

At 1901:45, shortly after departure, a medical crewmember onboard the airplane called the company medical dispatcher and reported that the flight was returning to LRU because smoke was coming from the right engine. A witness driving on the interstate highway near the airport reported seeing the airplane flying about 200 ft. above ground level (agl) with smoke coming from the right engine. The airplane then began descending and entered a left turn. Another witness driving on the highway reported seeing smoke trailing from the airplane when it passed over him about 100 ft. agl. He saw the descending airplane continue to turn left and then lost sight of it. Several other witnesses reported seeing or hearing the impact and then immediately seeing smoke or flames.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and multiengine land ratings. He also held an FAA flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued an FAA first-class airman medical certificate with no limitations on October 28, 2013.

The pilot's personal logbooks were not available for examination. Based on FAA records, pilot training documents, and other records from Amigos Aviation, the pilot's flight experience was estimated to be 2,432 total flight hours, of which 1,553 hours were in multiengine airplanes and about 1,379 hours were in Cessna 421 airplanes.

Line Service Technician

The line service technician had been employed by the FBO since April 7, 2014. He stated that he had no previous work experience in aviation, he did not hold an FAA airman certificate of any kind, and he was not a pilot or an aircraft mechanic. FBO records showed he had completed its on-job-training program and been issued an American Petroleum Institute Class C training certificate. At the time that he refueled the airplane, he was the only FBO employee on duty.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low-wing, retractable-landing-gear, pressurized, multiengine airplane, serial number (S/N) 421C0871, was manufactured in 1981. It was powered by two 375-horsepower Continental Motors GTSIO-520-L turbo-charged engines. Engine S/N 292408 was installed on the left side, and engine S/N 292022 was installed on the right side. Each engine drove a three-bladed, variable pitch, full-feathering McCauley propeller.

A review of the aircraft maintenance records showed that an annual inspection had been completed on March 5, 2014, at an aircraft total time of 8,181.4 hours and an hour meter reading of 869.6 hours. A maintenance logbook entry dated August 24, 2014, showed the hour meter reading was 904.3 hours. FAA records showed that the airplane had been registered to Elite Medical Air Transport, LLC since April 15, 2010.

The airplane was equipped with Micro Aerodynamics vortex generators, which were installed in accordance with FAA-approved Supplemental Type Certificate SA5193NM.

Preaccident photographs of the airplane showed labels near the fuel filler ports that had black letters on a white background and stated, in part, "AVGAS ONLY." A postaccident review of refueling records and statements from the line service technician revealed that the airplane had been misfueled with 40 gallons of Jet A fuel instead of the required 100LL aviation gasoline.

The airplane was not equipped with, and was not required to be equipped with, either a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1855, the automated weather observing system at LRU, located about 4 miles northeast of the accident location, reported wind from 040° at 5 knots, visibility of 10 miles, broken clouds at 6,500 ft., temperature 23°C, dew point 16°C , and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of m ercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted desert grasslands operated by the United States Bureau of Land Management at a terrain elevation of about 4,420 ft. mean sea level. On-scent evidence showed that the airplane was generally eastbound and upright when it impacted terrain, which resulted in the separation of the left propeller blades and right aileron. The airplane came to rest inverted about 78 ft. east of the initial impact point on a wreckage debris path of about 93°, and an immediate postimpact fire consumed most of the airplane. The nose of the inverted fuselage was oriented to about 160°. All major components of the airplane were observed and accounted for at the scene. Investigators who arrived at the scene on the day following the accident reported clearly detecting the smell of jet fuel.

Both engines, most of the left wing, the inboard portion of the right wing, and all of the tail surfaces remained attached to the fuselage. The right aileron was completely separated from the airplane and came to rest about 55 ft. to the southeast of the main wreckage.

Control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the respective flight control surfaces except for cable separations consistent with either cable cuts by first responders or tensile overload. Thermal and impact damage prevented an assessment of any of the cockpit instruments.

The left aileron trim actuator extension was measured, and it was about 1/4 inch, which corresponded to a setting of about 21° trim tab trailing edge down (airplane nose up). The left and right elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal attachment points. The right elevator trim tab remained attached to the right elevator. The right elevator trim actuator extension was measured, and it was 11/16 inch, which corresponded to a setting of about 21° trim tab trailing edge down.

The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer attachment points, and the rudder trim tab remained attached to the rudder. The rudder trim actuator extension was measured, and it was 2 1/4 inches, which corresponded to a neutral rudder trim position. Measurements of the flap mechanism corresponded to a flap extension of about 9° flaps down. All three landing gear assemblies remained attached and appeared to be in the retracted position.

The left propeller hub remained attached to the left engine crankshaft propeller flange; however, all three propeller blades were completely separated from the propeller hub. The propeller blade marked as "1" was found 502 ft. southwest of the main wreckage; the propeller blade marked as "2" was found 285 ft. east of the main wreckage; and the propeller blade marked as "3" was found 55 ft. southeast of the main wreckage. None of the propeller blades exhibited significant twisting, leading edge gouges, or chordwise scratches; however, the outer 12 inches of the No. 2 blade was bent toward the camber side, and the outer 8 inches of the No. 3 blade was bent toward the camber side.

The right propeller assembly remained attached to the right engine crankshaft propeller flange, and all three blades remained attached to the propeller hub. The propeller blade marked as "A" exhibited no significant twisting, leading edge gouges, or chordwise scratches. The propeller blade marked as "B" was melted into two sections about 16 inches from the blade root. The propeller blade marked as "C" exhibited no significant twisting, leading edge gouges, or chordwise scratches; however, the outer last 14 inches of the blade was bent toward the noncamber side.

The fuel caps were found securely fastened to their fuel tank filler ports. The fuel caps were then removed, and it was observed that the filler ports had been modified with smaller restrictive inserts about 2 inches in diameter that would prevent insertion of a larger refueling nozzle.

The engines were removed for further examination.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Office of the Medical Investigator, Albuquerque, New Mexico, conducted an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was listed as "thermal injuries, inhalation of products of combustion and blunt thoracoabdominal trauma."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology report stated that no listed drugs were detected in urine. The toxicology testing detected 17 ml/hg ethanol was detected in the urine, and an unquantified amount of n-propanol was detected in the urine. No ethanol was detected in blood or liver. Such low levels of ethanol are likely produced postmortem, particularly when not detected in the blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Left Engine Examination

Examination of the left engine revealed that it exhibited significant fire and impact damage. The oil cooler, induction system, and intercooler were partially melted by the postcrash fire. All of the engine accessories were impact and thermally damaged. The right magneto case was melted, exposing the internal components. Both magnetos cases were melted, and only the rotating magnet remained attached to the engine. The fuel pump was thermally damaged and remained attached to the engine, and the drive coupling was intact. The alternator and propeller governor were thermally damage and remained attached to the engine. The remainder of the external surfaces of the engine exhibited varying degrees of impact and thermal damage.

All of the internal components of the left engine exhibited thermal damage but no signs of lubrication distress. The cylinders exhibited heat damage and evidence of detonation. All pistons exhibited scuffing and heat signatures on the skirt. The Nos. 2, 5, and 6 pistons showed evidence of detonation on the face of the piston with portions melted away on the outer edge.

The main and rod bearings exhibited normal operating signatures and thermal damage from the postcrash fire. The crankshaft, camshaft, gears, connecting rods, and reduction gears all exhibited thermal damage and normal operating signatures. The crankcase exhibited normal operating signatures and impact and thermal damage. The fuel system components were impact and fire damaged. The engine accessories were intact and exhibited thermal damage.

Right Engine Examination

Examination of the right engine revealed that it exhibited significant fire and impact damage. The induction system and intercooler were separated. All of the engine accessories were impact and thermally damaged. The right magneto case was melted, exposing the internal components. The left magneto remained attached but exhibited thermal damage. The fuel pump was thermally damaged and remained attached to the engine. The drive coupling was intact. The alternator and propeller governor were thermally damaged and remained attached to the engine. The remainder of the external surfaces of the engine exhibited varying degrees of impact and thermal damage.

All the internal components of the right engine exhibited thermal damage due to the postcrash fire but no signs of lubrication distress. The cylinders exhibited heat damage and evidence of detonation. All pistons exhibited scuffing and heat signatures on the skirt. The Nos. 1, 2, and 5 pistons showed evidence of detonation on the face of the piston with portions melted away on the outer edge.

The main and rod bearings exhibited normal operating signatures and thermal damage from the postcrash fire. The crankshaft, camshaft, gears, connecting rods, and reduction gears all exhibited normal operating signatures. The crankcase exhibited normal operating signatures and impact and thermal damage. The fuel system components were impact and fire damaged with portions melted away. The engine accessories were intact and exhibited thermal damage. Only portions of the induction system remained attached to the right engine; the remainder was melted away by the postcrash fire.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Federal Guidance

According to the FAA Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, page 6-19:

Detonation is an uncontrolled, explosive ignition of the fuel/air mixture within the cylinder's combustion chamber. It causes excessive temperatures and pressures which, if not corrected, can quickly lead to failure of the piston, cylinder, or valves. In less severe cases, detonation causes engine overheating, roughness, or loss of power."


According to the FAA Airframe & Powerplant Mechanics Powerplant Handbook, AC 65-12A, Chapter 10,

Unless detonation is heavy, there is no cockpit evidence of its presence. Light to medium detonation may not cause noticeable roughness, observable cylinder head or oil temperature increase, or loss of power. However, when an engine has experienced detonation, we see evidence of it at teardown as indicated by dished piston heads, collapsed valve heads, broken ring lands or eroded portions of valves, pistons and cylinder heads. Severe detonation can cause a rough-running engine and high cylinder head temperature."

According to FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 20-122A, "Anti-Misfueling Devices: Their Availability and Use," paragraph 6.1 , "Aviation statistics indicate that the use of improper fuel has caused or contributed to an inordinate number of accidents and incidents. Most of these have involved single-engine aircraft (and some multiengine) that were misfueled with jet or turbine engine fuel instead of gasoline, which these aircraft use. Misfueling a reciprocating engine-powered aircraft with jet…fuel can and has produced catastrophic results when engines failed during the critical takeoff phase of flight."

Paragraph 6.3, states, "Fuel tank filler openings in reciprocating engine-powered aircraft may be equipped with pilot-installed adapter rings reducing the opening size from 3 inches to 2.3 inches in diameter. Jet or turbine engine fuel nozzle assemblies will be equipped with spouts with a minimum diameter of 2.6, thereby reducing the probability of introducing jet or turbine engine fuel nozzles into the filler openings of aircraft requiring gasoline."

Paragraph 7.3, states, in part, "in the interest of safety and standardization, it is recommended that Fixed Base Operators…equip their turbine fueling equipment…with the larger size nozzles…to prevent misfuelling."

According to FAA AC 150/5230-4B "Aircraft Fuel Storage, Handling, Training, and Dispensing on Airports," page 1, Paragraph 3, "Application," "This AC provides an acceptable means of complying with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 139 (hereinafter referred to as Part 139) for all Part 139 airport operators. Although non-certificated airports are not required to develop fuel standards, the FAA recommends these airports use the guidance contained in this AC to develop such standards for the continued enhancement of aviation safety."

Page 7, chapter 2, paragraph 1, e, states, "14 CFR §139.321 (b) places the responsibility of determining standards for fueling safety on the individual airport based on state, local, or municipality fueling regulations. The FAA does not intend this AC to replace airport procedures that are tailored to meet requirements imposed because of the use of special equipment or as a result of local regulations."

Industry Guidance

In 2005 , the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation issued Safety Brief Number 4 SB04-07/05, "Misfueling." The safety brief cautioned about the dangers of misfueling and recommended that pilots specify the fuel type and grade when ordering fuel, be present at the refueling and actively observe the fueling process, match the fuel truck color coding with the wing fueling decal, confirm that the fuel nozzle is compatible with the aircraft's fuel filler, and confirm that the fuel grade on the invoice matches the fuel grade ordered.

The July/August 2006 issue of National Air Transportation Association's "NATA Safety 1st eToolkit," Page 1, "Aircraft Misfueling – A Continuing Threat," recommended that an effective misfueling prevention program should be adopted into the standard practices at all fueling operations and that the prevention program should include the following: "Training; Grade Confirmation; Written Fuel Order Forms; Grade Decals for Aircraft and Fueling Equipment; Selective Nozzle Spouts; and Fuel Receipt Quality Control Procedures."

In March 2016, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert SA-050 "Pilots: Fueling Mistakes." The General Aviation Safety Alert cautioned pilots on the dangers of misfueling and gave several recommended preventive safety procedures.

In March 2016, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert SA-051 "Line Personnel: Fueling Matters". The General Aviation Safety Alert cautioned line personnel on the dangers of misfueling and gave several recommended preventive safety procedures.

In January 2017, the Energy Institute issued Publication EI 1597, "Procedures for Overwing Fueling to Ensure Delivery of the Correct Fuel Grade to an Aircraft," 2nd edition. The publication included recommended procedures for confirmation of the proper fuel grade, wing decals, fuel grade confirmation forms, use of selective nozzle spouts, fueling procedures, control of unattended fuelings, control of self-service fuelings, grade identification markings for refueling equipment, and training.

Debris from the medical aircraft crash about half a mile west of the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds was removed from the scene.  


 Randall Jarman, a recovery manager with Air Transport in Phoenix, tightens wire straps to secure debris from the crash site of a medical aircraft. All four people aboard were killed in the crash just west of Las Cruces.  

A crane removes wreckage from the site of a medical aircraft crash about half a mile west of the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. 


New Mexico State Police Lt. James Frietze leads investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and NSTB to a crash site half-mile southwest of the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds. 


NTSB Identification: CEN14FA462
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Las Cruces, NM
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N51RX
Injuries: 4 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 August 27, 2014, about 1900 mountain daylight time, a Cessna Airplane Company 421C, multi-engine airplane, N51RX, was destroyed after impacting terrain during initial climb near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot, two medical crewmembers and one patient were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Elite Medical Air Transport, LLC; El Paso, Texas, and was operated by Amigos Aviation, Inc.; Harlingen, Texas. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 air ambulance flight. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing LRU for a flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona.

The airplane arrived LRU about 1834 to pickup a patient for a flight to PHX. The pilot was still seated in the cockpit when he gave the line service technician a verbal order for a total of forty gallons of fuel. The line service technician drove the fuel truck to the front of the airplane and refueled the airplane putting 20 gallons in each wing. The pilot then assisted the line service technician with replacing both fuel caps. They both walked into the office and the pilot signed the machine printed fuel ticket.

After departing LRU to the west a medical crewmember onboard the airplane called their medical dispatcher on a satellite telephone and reported they were returning to LRU because of a problem with smoke coming from the right engine. A witness driving westbound on the interstate highway reported the airplane was westbound and about 200 feet above ground level (agl) when he saw smoke begin to appear from the right engine. The airplane then began descending and started a left turn to the east. Another witness, driving eastbound on the interstate highway, reported the airplane was trailing smoke when it passed over him about 100 feet agl. He saw the descending airplane continue its left turn to the east and then lost sight of it. Several witnesses reported seeing the impact or hearing the sound of impact and they then immediately saw smoke or flames.

Evidence at the scene showed the airplane was generally eastbound and upright when it impacted terrain resulting in the separation of the left propeller and the separation of the right aileron. The airplane came to rest inverted about 100 feet from the initial impact point, and there was an immediate postimpact fire which consumed much of the airplane. Investigators who arrived at the scene on the day following the accident reported detecting the smell of jet fuel.

A postaccident review of refueling records and interviews with line service technicians showed that the airplane had been misfuelled with 40 gallons of Jet A fuel instead of the required 100LL aviation gasoline.

At 1855 the automated weather observing system at LRU, located about 3 miles northeast from the accident location, reported wind from 040 degrees at 5 knots, visibility of 10 miles, broken clouds at 6,500 feet, temperature 23 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 16 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of Mercury.


LAS CRUCES >> Numerous safeguards should have been in place to prevent the type of fueling error that preceded last month's fatal crash of a plane leaving the Las Cruces Airport, an attorney said.

 "If everything was as it should have been, it would have been very difficult," said Mark Pierce, a Texas-based attorney and pilot, talking about the plane receiving the wrong fuel on Aug. 27.

A technician filled the twin-engine, propeller-driven plane with jet fuel instead of the required aviation-grade gasoline about half an hour before the evening crash, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released last week.

The NTSB's report did not indicate whether that mistake caused the Cessna 421C to crash. But Pierce said engine failure reported by the crew onboard and black smoke seen by witnesses on a nearby interstate are consistent with such a fueling error and subsequent crash.

Investigators smelled jet fuel the next day at the crash scene, the report states.

Aside from being a commercial pilot and certified instructor, Pierce works for a law firm in Austin, Texas that has handled air ambulance crashes similar to last month's incident.

The aircraft that went down was registered to Elite Medical Air Transport out of El Paso and, that night, was transporting a Las Cruces 


The NTSB report doesn't specify what measures the Las Cruces Airport or Southwest Aviation, the company that operates there and the fuel farm, had in place to ensure aircraft receive the correct fuel.

A copy of the fuel farm lease between the city and Southwest Aviation, obtained this week by the Sun-News though a public records request, provides few details about the fuel other than listing the two types — jet fuel and aviation gasoline, known as avgas — stored there.

The lease requires Southwest Aviation to carry insurance and states the city, any elected officials and employees will be held harmless for any liabilities or claims against the facility. Pierce said that type of wording is standard in such arrangements.

Hal Kading, owner of Southwest Aviation, has declined to discuss his company's general policies or practices related to fueling aircraft, saying that the company is part of the ongoing investigation.

Pierce said there should have been numerous safeguards.

First, since 1987, federal rules required all Cessnas like the model that crashed to be modified so that a jet fuel nozzle wouldn't fit into the aircraft's fuel port. The jet fuel nozzles are typically spade shaped, Pierce said.

"It's almost inconsiderable that in 2014 the modification wouldn't have been done," Pierce said.

Federal Aviation Registry data, available via its website, doesn't list the year that specific Cessna 421C was built. But that model was not produced after 1985, records show.

The plane was up to date with its certificate, records show, and was operated by Amigos Aviation of Harlingen, Texas.

Pierce said investigators will also look at the fuel truck, to ensure it had the proper nozzle. Avgas nozzles are smaller than those generally used for jet fuel. He said it's possible that a different nozzle was used to fill a smaller aircraft with jet fuel, then was not replaced to fill the Cessna.

Records show that the pilot, 29-year-old Freddy Martinez of El Paso, was in the cockpit that evening when he ordered 40 gallons of fuel from a line service technician, the NTSB report states.

The NTSB report states that after Martinez ordered the fuel, an unidentified technician drove a fuel truck up to the plane and refueled it, adding 20 gallons near each wing.

Martinez helped the technician replace fuel caps, the report states, then signed the corresponding fuel ticket after they both walked inside.

Onboard with Martinez were three others: Fredrick Green, 59, a Las Cruces man being transported for cancer treatment; flight paramedic Tauren Summers, 27, of El Paso; and flight nurse Monica Chavez, 35, of Las Cruces.

Jet fuel smells and looks different than avgas, Pierce said, but the fueling process likely wouldn't have released enough fumes for those nearby to tell the difference.

A propeller-driven plane won't run on pure jet fuel, Pierce said, but a misfueled plane can because it typically has a mixture of avgas. That eventually leads to unplanned combustion inside the engine and, ultimately, failure, he said.

The complete investigation will take some time, Pierce said, and the FAA takes a "hard look" at operators when air ambulances crash.

City Council discussed improvement to the airport at Tuesday's meeting, but those were part of the airport's long-term plan and unrelated to the crash, City Manager Robert Garza said.

Pilots land in Denison for National Aerobatic Championships: North Texas Regional Airport (KGYI)

DENISON -- Some of the most skilled pilots on the planet are arriving in Texoma this week.

They're here for the National Aerobatic Championships which has been held in Denison for decades.

About 100 pilots hope to spin, flip and land a win at the event that begins this week.

"That's what everybody strives for when they first come here," pilot Kelly Adams said.

Adams flew in Tuesday from southeast Texas. He's a pilot for a commercial airline.

"You fly straight and normal for so long. Here it's a lot of precision, quick movements, quick thought process," he said.

North Texas Regional Airport director Mike Shahan says staff are now preparing for the event that's been held in Denison since 1971.

"Since '71, I think there's been three times that they were not here," Shahan said. "They went somewhere else but they've always come back here."

Still Shahan says local businesses benefit from the event.

"You're probably looking at 200 people staying here for a week and they're staying at hotels and so forth and some are in RV's, they're eating out, so there's a lot of benefit there," Shahan said.

While most fly for bragging rights, some are aiming for a spot on a 10 person National Aerobatics Team. The team will compete in the world championship next August in France.

The same event was held in Denison in 2013.

"The greatest aerobatic pilots in the world have set on this bench," NAC technical director Gary Deban said.

Shahan says practice flights begin Thursday.

The competition runs from Sunday through next Friday.

It is free and open to the public.


- Source:  http://www.kten.com


Half-hour delay may have prevented fatal plane crash: Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion, VH-MEQ

A fatal plane crash in south-west Queensland may have been avoided if the flight had been delayed 30 minutes, a report has found.

In March last year cattle producer and former world champion bull rider John Quintana and livestock agent Charlie Maher were travelling from Roma to Cloncurry to inspect cattle when their Cessna 210 plane crashed shortly after take-off.

The wreckage was found two kilometres north-west of Roma Airport in south-west Queensland.

A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found the plane had taken off before sunrise, but the pilot, Mr Quintana, did not have a Night Visual Flight Rules Rating and possibly lacked the proficiency to control an aircraft relying solely on flight instruments.

During take-off it was believed Mr Quintana became disorientated, lost control and crashed.

The investigation found delaying the flight for half an hour would have meant taking off with sufficient daylight and possibly preventing the accident.


http://www.abc.net.au

http://www.couriermail.com.au

http://www.atsb.gov.au

What happened

At about 0518 Eastern Standard Time on 25 March 2013, a Cessna T210N aircraft, registered VH‑MEQ, took off in dark night conditions from runway 36 at Roma Airport on a flight to Cloncurry, Queensland. Following the activation of the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter, a search was commenced for the aircraft by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. It was subsequently located 2 km to the north‑west of the airport, having collided with terrain while heading in a south-westerly direction. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot and passenger were fatally injured.


What the ATSB found

 
The ATSB found that the departure was conducted in dark night conditions, despite the pilot not holding a night visual flight rules rating and probably not having the proficiency to control the aircraft solely by reference to the flight instruments. During the climb after take-off, the pilot probably became spatially disorientated from a lack of external visual cues, leading to a loss of control and impact with terrain.

No mechanical defect was identified with the aircraft or its systems that may have contributed to the accident.


Safety message

This accident reinforces the need for day visual flight rules pilots to consider the minimum visual conditions for flight, including the relevant weather information and usable daylight. In this case, if the pilot had delayed the departure by 30 minutes, the flight would most likely have progressed safely in daylight conditions.

There are numerous airports in Australia, including Roma, that have an abundance of ground lighting in one take-off direction but not another. This accident highlights the potential benefits of night visual flight rules and instrument-rated pilots considering the location of ground lighting when planning night operations.

Finally, the benefit of crash-activated emergency locator transmitters that include global positioning system-based location information, thereby providing for a timely emergency response in the event of an accident, is emphasized.

http://www.atsb.gov.au


 Grazier John Quintana was one of two men killed when a Cessna 210 crashed near Roma in March 2013.
 (Courtesy of Andrew Rankin) 

The scene of the plane crash near Roma. 
Picture: Elvine Peter


Accident occurred September 16, 2014 in Chesapeake, Virginia

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Fire department officials in Chesapeake say a man is fighting for his life after an accident involving an ultralight aircraft Tuesday night.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call just before 6 p.m. for the accident in the 700 block of Beaver Dam Road, according to Capt. Scott Saunders with the Chesapeake Fire Department.

Saunders said a man in his 20’s was operating the lightweight aircraft when it hit a power line. He suffered life-threatening injuries and is currently in critical condition.

Virginia State Police may investigate the incident as they would investigate a plane crash, Saunders said.

No further information has been released. 


Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story.


Pennridge Airport (KCKZ) 'benefactor' dies in plane crash: Beechcraft 300LW Super King Air, LV-WLT, accident occurred September 14, 2014 in Nordelta, Argentina

A former owner of Pennridge Airport died Sunday in a plane crash near Buenos Aires, Argentina, international media outlets report.

According to Britain’s Daily Mail, Gustavos Andre Deutsch, 78, and his wife were killed when a small aircraft he was piloting crashed into a home in Nordelta, an upscale suburb of the country’s capital. The airplane struck the roof of one home and smashed into a second, setting fire to both.

Both homes were unoccupied, and it was believed that Deutsch was trying to land the airplane when the crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. local time, the article said. A BBC report says Deutsch was piloting a Beechcraft 300LW Super King, a twin-turboprop airplane that typically has seating for eight passengers.

Reached Tuesday, Jean Curry, manager of Pennridge Airport, confirmed Deutsch’s death and called him a “benefactor,” adding that the airport underwent a period of growth during his ownership from 1982 to 2000.

“He built the hangars. He extended, resurfaced and widened the runway and put in weather stations and fuel pumps,” Curry said. “He basically developed the airport into what it is today.”

Curry says Deutsch stayed on as liaison between the airport and the Swiss company Bilsbury, which purchased Pennridge Airport in 2000. Curry described him as a personal mentor and kind individual, and said she believed it was at Pennridge that Deutsch learned to fly.

“He was a very intelligent and caring person,” Curry said. “Very polite and considerate, and very much a gentleman.”

Deutsch was also the owner of the now-defunct aviation company Private Airlines Argentinas, according to the Daily Mail report.

Curry said Deutsch maintained a residence in the Pennridge area during his ownership of the Pennridge Airport, and would occasionally rent a home on the airport property while acting as a consultant. She believed he originally came to the area because of family connections to his wife, who was not identified in media reports.

She said Deutsch’s death was a tragedy for the airport staff.

“He was always cordial and polite with everyone … and was very good to me, as far as being a mentor and helping me learn the business.”


- Source:   http://www.theintell.com

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking, N6648V: Accident occurred September 13, 2014 in Monroe, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA436 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 13, 2014 in Monroe, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2015
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N6648V
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

During the approach at night, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power, and the pilot performed a forced landing into trees. Subsequent examination of the engine revealed that the oil filter adapter was loose and that it was installed incorrectly with two copper crush gaskets rather than with one copper crush gasket and one fiber gasket per the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The fiber gasket would have held the required torque for the fitting; however, the copper crush gasket did not hold the required torque. Because the oil filter adapter was loose, oil leaked from the engine, which led to the failure of the Nos. 4 and 5 connecting rods due to a lack of oil lubrication. The oil filter adapter was not original equipment on the engine. Although it could be installed under a supplemental type certificate, a review of maintenance and aircraft records did not reveal any entry or record pertaining to the installation of the oil filter adapter. The airplane had been operated for about 70 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed about 1 year before the accident. It could not be determined when the oil filter adapter was incorrectly installed. 

Although the pilot stated that he had fueled the airplane with 100 low-lead aviation gasoline, automobile gasoline was recovered from the fuel tanks. The higher-compression ratio engine was not designed or approved to operate on automobile gasoline, and engine examinations revealed that it had been operating at higher temperatures due to the use of automobile gasoline. If the engine had not failed due to oil starvation, it is likely that it would have soon begun to detonate due to the use of the improper fuel.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The improper installation of the oil filter adapter at an unknown time, which resulted in an oil leak and subsequent oil starvation to the engine. 

On September 13, 2014, about 2130 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N6648V, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing into trees, following a total loss of engine power during approach near Monroe, Georgia. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Dallas Bay Sky Park (1A0), Chattanooga, Tennessee, about 1940. No flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Greene County Airport (3J7), Greensboro, Georgia. 

The pilot reported that prior to the accident flight, he completed a preflight inspection of the airplane, which included adding 100 low-lead aviation gasoline to the left and right wing fuel tanks. He had anticipated fog at his destination airport and planned for a potential diversion to several alternate airports. He subsequently diverted to Monroe-Walton County Airport (D73), Monroe, Georgia. About 3 miles from D73, the pilot heard a "bang" as the engine began to run rough and catch fire. He then pulled the mixture lever back and moved the fuel selector to off. He also dove the airplane until the fire was out. The pilot set up for a forced landing and attempted to glide to D73, but the airplane impacted trees about 1 mile from the airport.

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number 30301, was manufactured in 1970. It was powered by Continental Motors IO-520, 300-horsepower engine with a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1. The engine was equipped with a McCauley three-blade, constant-speed propeller. According to the aircraft logbooks, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 21, 2013. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 2,969 total hours of operation. The engine had accumulated 1,798 hours since it was remanufactured in 1974. The airplane had flown about 68 hours from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident. The pilot purchased the airplane on November 20, 2013. 

The engine was equipped with an F&M Enterprises Inc. (model C6LC) oil filter adapter. The oil filter adapter was not original equipment, but could be installed on the engine under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) number DE09356SC; however, review of the engine logbook did not reveal any record of the oil filter adapter installation. Further review of FAA airworthiness records for the accident airplane did not reveal any record of the installation being filed with the FAA. Review of the oil filter adapter manufacturer's installation instructions revealed that one fiber gasket and one copper crush gasket were to be used in the installation. 

Initial examination of the engine revealed a hole near the top front of the case. The wreckage was recovered to a salvage facility for further examination by a representative from the engine manufacturer, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The examination revealed that the Nos. 4 and 5 connecting rods had separated and exhibited heat damage due to a lack of lubrication. Further examination revealed that the oil filter adapter was loose and had been installed using two copper crush gaskets, rather than one copper crush gasket and one fiber gasket per the installation instructions. 

Additionally, automobile gasoline was recovered from the fuel tanks, which was not approved for that model engine. Examination of the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinders revealed little to no combustion deposits, consistent with higher operating temperatures of automobile gasoline in that engine.

JASON L. BAILEY: http://registry.faa.gov/N6648V 

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA436
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 13, 2014 in Monroe, GA
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N6648V
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 September 13, 2014, about 2130 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N6648V, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing into trees, following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Monroe, Georgia. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Dallas Bay Sky Park (1A0), Chattanooga, Tennessee, about 1940. No flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Greene County Airport (3J7), Greensboro, Georgia.

The pilot reported that he had anticipated fog at his destination airport and planned for several alternate airports. He subsequently diverted to Monroe-Walton County Airport (D73), Monroe, Georgia. About 6 miles from D73, the pilot heard a "bang" and the engine lost all power. The pilot set up for a forced landing and attempted to glide to D73, but the airplane impacted trees about 1 mile from the airport.

Initial examination of the engine revealed a hole near the top front of the case. The engine was retained for further examination.



 WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather 


CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The pilot of the plane that went down in Walton, Georgia Saturday tells Channel 3 he, his passenger and the two dogs on board are doing okay.

Pilot Jason Bailey suffers from 3 broken ribs, a cracked sternum, punctured lung, broken tailbone, bruised heart and two fractured disks in his lower back on top of multiple contusions and lacerations. He says being able to walk away from the crash site is nothing short of a miracle.

When Jason Bailey left Chattanooga around 7:30 in the evening, he thought it would be an uneventful one-hour flight to Greensboro, Georgia. It was getting dark when Bailey decided to change his route to Monroe Georgia, that airport was closer and radiation fog was making it impossible to see.

"If you have ever been on Lookout Mountain, when it's really foggy up there sometimes you can't even see in front of your face. In the fog it was definitely that thick," said Bailey.

Just 6 miles from the airport with the field beacon and runway lights in sight, there is a loud bang. Bailey told Channel 3 his engine suddenly caught fire filling his cockpit with smoke.

"All of a sudden a very unexpected loud bank and it was obviously from the engine and immediately following was black smoke, the smell of black smoke. It's one of those things where you train for it you've read about it but it's not just you, it's everybody else on board in the cockpit," said Bailey.

In seconds Bailey opened a side window, shut off the fuel and pointed the nose to the ground to put out the flames. He quickly realized he wouldn't make the runway.

"In my mind I was thinking well it's been a good few years I've had here , we might not make it," said Bailey.

The plane hit a couple of trees, went into a spin and landed nearly 100 feet from his destination. Fellow pilots say it is a miracle anyone survived.

"It's truly by the grace of God they're walking out of that. Jason is a good pilot, I've flown with him before... nice and smooth and he is good. He had pretty good skills to get it down like that, " said fellow pilot Frank Davey.

At first Bailey says he didn't feel much pain, he was too worried about his passengers. Luckily his passenger is doing okay, she is reportedly recovering from a few broken ribs and a back injury.

One of the dogs flying with Bailey was ejected from the plane during the crash, that pup survived with multiple fractures and a separated shoulder.

The other dog flying will also be okay, he only has a fractured paw. Bailey says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

He tells Channel 3 he believes missing the fog in Greensboro and hitting the small patch of trees beside the runway, saved their lives.

Source:  http://www.wrcbtv.com



A Chattanooga Pilot's plane goes down in the Georgia woods and lives to tell the tale. 

The Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking had to make an emergency landing in Monroe County Saturday night after the weather took a turn for the worse.

NewsChannel9 spoke to Pilot Jason Bailey by Skype this evening from his hospital room in Monroe County, Georgia. Bailey is pretty banged up but he says that's nothing compared to what could have happened to him and his passenger.

Broken bones, a cracked sternum and a few bumps and bruises. Bailey admits he's seen better days. But he tells us he's thankful to be alive.

"Part of me still can't believe it. I think of the reports I've read, I think of how violent the impact was and it's one of those things where it can't be described and other way than God's grace," said Bailey.

Bailey says he thought the flight to visit family in Georgia would be smooth and brief. Instead, Bailey was forced into a situation where he had to act fast.

"Suddenly out of nowhere I heard a very loud bang.  In addition to that or along with it, came the ominous flames out of the front of the cowling there which covers the engine, the power plant. Smoke started billowing out and also started filing the cabin," said Bailey.

With no time to think, Bailey says he shut the engine off and dove the plane down where it eventually landed in a pile of trees.

"It did run through my mind that you know, we may not make it through this because when we first hit that first tree branch, it was violent beyond anything I've ever personally experienced," said Bailey.

But with the help of adrenaline, Bailey was able to remain alert and call for help.

"It was a very violent impact but I was conscious through the whole ordeal and able to kick the door open when we got there with the endorphins and the adrenaline and we all lived somehow so miraculously," said Bailey.

But don't expect this Private Pilot with more than 500 hours to stay away from the skies anytime soon.

"If friends showed up right now and asked me to go for a ride in an airplane, I'd say, hey doc, I'll be back in a few minutes," said Bailey.

Chattanooga resident Tammy Jarrard was also flying with Bailey when the plane crashed. Bailey says she's in stable condition and suffered a few cracked ribs, bruises and lacerations but she is expected to be okay.

They were also traveling with two dogs who also suffered a few injuries, but they too, are going to be just fine.


- Source:  http://www.newschannel9.com






Pilot Jason Bailey

Pilot Sonny Dupler speaks about incident: Cessna 150F, N8446G, Industry Air Park (38OH), Baltimore, Ohio

 

BALTIMORE – Former Walnut Township Trustee Sonny Dupler bought his 1967 Cessna 150 F just last week, but he's already done flying it.

Dupler crashed the plane Tuesday while taking off from an airstrip near Ohio 37 and Ohio 256.

"I think I just pulled it off a little quick and stalled it out," he said. "Once you do that, you get all this kind of stuff (shaking his hands) and it's tough to recover."

Dupler, who said he has been flying since he was 9, was not hurt. He said he was traveling around 60 mph when he stalled the plane at 25 feet. The plane then hit the ground nose first, damaging the landing gear and the right wing.

"It didn't hit that hard," Dupler said. "It looks terrible, but it really didn't hit that hard."

Dupler said he just recently got back into flying after a long absence. He said he was not going anywhere, but just planned on flying around. He said it may be cheaper to sell the aircraft off for parts and buy another instead of repairing it.

Despite the scary incident, Dupler was jovial after the crash.

"There's no sense in being upset," he said. "It happens. I've seen others to the same thing."

But Dupler said this was his first crash.

"It's just like a lot of things, you're away from it and you lose your touch," he said. "I just pulled it off the ground, I think, just a little premature and stalled it. Once you stall it and the nose pops up, everything goes to hell in a hand basket."

Dupler said he didn't have time to be scared while he was trying to right the plane before crashing it.

"Never even thought about being scared," he said.


- Source:  http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N8446G


Sonny Dupler's plane sits just off the access road next to the air strip he was trying to takeoff from Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, when the engine stalled causing him to crash from about 25 feet in the air. Dupler wasn't hurt in the crash, but wasn't sure if his plane would be worth repairing.
(Photo: Matthew Berry/Eagle-Gazette)

Springfield-Branson National Airport (KSGF) wins Federal Aviation Administration safety award

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

For the 10th year in a row, Springfield's airport has received a discrepancy-free safety inspection from the Federal Aviation Administration.  On Monday, the FAA recognized the airport by awarding it the “Airport Safety Enhancement Award.”

The award goes to airports that receive discrepancy-free safety inspections three years in a row.  Getting one discrepancy-free inspection is a great accomplishment for any airport.  Doing it 10 years in a row is a rare achievement.

"Every airport employee is, in some way, responsible for the safety of our customers," said Shawn Schroeder, airport director of operations.  "Having their hard work validated by the FAA is much deserved."

The annual FAA safety inspection is a demanding review of everything at the airport that affects aircraft safety.

FAA inspectors review a long list.  It includes runway pavement condition, airfield marking and lighting, the readiness of the airport fire department, snow and ice removal, fencing, the height of grass, and wildlife control.

Wildlife was a hot topic with the public five years ago after a flock of Canada geese brought down a US Airways flight after take-off from New York City (the plane landed in the Hudson River with no loss of life).  Airports, however, have talked about wildlife for years — as in, "how do we control it?"

The airport must show FAA inspectors that it knows what wildlife is on the airport, and that it has a plan to deal with it.

“Runway inspections are one way we track wildlife,” said Troy Morehouse, airfield maintenance worker.  "You look for any remains of an animal hit by an aircraft.  We collect it and record where it was found on the runway.”

Even small birds get attention.

“Smaller birds can be very dense.  So, when a plane hits them, it’s almost the equivalent of getting hit by a baseball," he said.

Dealing with wildlife is just part of the airport's role in keeping planes safe.

When an aircraft is on the ground it depends on airport lights, signs and paint to figure out where to go in a safe manner. The Springfield airport has about 1,400 lights along the edges of the runways and taxiways.  Add to that several hundred signs, along with miles and miles of painted lines.  If you could put all the paint in a six-inch line, it would be 40 miles long.  And all of it — lights, signs, paint — has to be nearly perfect.

After so many years of acing the inspection, is there any way to make things even better? Morehouse says there is.

"We all try to better ourselves every day and improve on what we've done.  That may sound kind of crazy — we've done so well the past 10 years — I mean, what is there left to improve on? There's always something to improve on,"  he said.

- Source:  http://www.ky3.com

Tower Technology Gets Federal Aviation Administration Test At Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO), Virginia

The Leesburg Airport is teaming up with SAAB Sensis Corporation to test a new remote air-traffic control system that could result in approval for a permanent FAA air traffic control tower at the town’s airport.

The Town Council last week approved an agreement allowing the company and the research arm of the Virginia Department of Aviation to test SAAB’s new system at the airport while it seeks FAA safety certification for the new technology. The project is expected to take place starting in June 2015.

For the past year, the town’s Airport Commission has supported the development of an air traffic control tower to better handle increasing flight activity. Leesburg Airport is the second-busiest general aviation airport in Virginia with more than 100,000 takeoffs and landings annually. However, considering it took eight years for a tower to be built at Frederick Airport (MD), Leesburg Airport leaders wanted to find a quicker route.

SAAB’s new product is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next-Gen campaign to improve flight control nationwide. The remote air traffic control tower system has been certified for use in Europe and tested in Australia but not in the United States. Leesburg will provide that testing ground.

“To get a control tower established is pretty tough, especially with federal sequestration—that makes funding hard,” Airport Manager Scott Coffman said. “So the state put us in touch with SAAB—they were looking for a place to test and get certification of their remote control product in the U.S. They selected Leesburg as a site and will have the FAA people come do their safety and risk analysis of the system to make sure that it’s a safe product that can be used in the United States.”

The decision to test at Leesburg Airport also made sense from SAAB’s standpoint.

“It’s a busy general aviation airport and it doesn’t currently have a air traffic control tower, but it does have a really good mix of different aircraft types flying in and out," SAAB media relations manager Rob Conrad explained. “They have a flight-training operation and it’s in a complex airspace near Dulles, so it’s a good test situation for the project.”

The only cost to the town during the three-month testing period will be two phone lines and electrical power estimated at $2,000. Coffman believes that fee is small considering how much money the town would save using SAAB’s product rather than constructing a traditional traffic tower.

“For us, it’s an interesting product,” Coffman said. “Number one, it’s less expensive than a brick and mortar control tower because this is essentially a camera array that’s on an existing building or tower that looks at the airspace around our airport.

“It’s much simpler to build a camera array, and the remote part of the tower means that the air traffic controller is in a remote location. They don’t have to be looking out a window. Their product is designed so they could be essentially anywhere. It’s kind of cool.”

Coffman thinks that having a permanent air traffic tower would help attract business jet operators as well as improve flight safety and offer more efficient communication to pilots.

Even with increasing air traffic, Leesburg residents shouldn’t be worried about the changes, he said.

“As far as the residents of Leesburg, they’re not going to hear any additional noise or anything like that. In fact, a control tower could help with keeping pilots on certain paths as they come into the airport,” Coffman said.

- Source:   http://www.leesburgtoday.com

Kolb FireStar: Incident occurred September 16, 2014 in Pompey, New York

POMPEY HILL, N.Y. -- Police have identified the man injured in a plane crash in Pompey Hill as 57-year-old Donald R. Casler of Erieville.

Casler had just taken off around 1:30 p.m. from the Pompey Hill airstrip in a field on the west side of Oran Delphi Road, state police Capt. Jeffrey Raub said. Police described Casler's injuries as not life-threatening.

Witnesses saw Casler's plane, a FireStar ultralight, bank to the left twice before he struck a utility pole and crashed, police said.

Casler took off from the airstrip, which is a few hundred feet away from the wreckage, and headed east. He began banking left, the witnesses told police. He crossed Oran Delphi Road and banked left again, they said.

He was facing the road once again, this time heading west.

That's when he crashed into a utility pole, taking down a wire. One wing of the plane landed in a ditch on the road. The rest of the aircraft landed in the cornfield east of Oran Delphi Road, about 30 feet off the road.

A witness stopped and called 911.

The Pompey Hill and Delphi Falls Fire Departments, CAVAC Ambulance and state police arrived on the scene shortly after.

He was talking, breathing and conscious, but said he was in a lot of pain Raub said. CAVAC Ambulance transported him to Upstate University Hospital to be treated for injuries to his lower extremities, Raub said. The injuries were not life-threatening, he said.

Police said they knew very little about Casler's flying experience. Casler lives on Tainter Road in Erieville, which is in Madison County.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene of the crash to investigate the cause, Raub said.


- Source:   http://www.syracuse.com







Pompey (WSYR-TV) – Emergency crews have been called to a report of a downed ultralight aircraft in the town of Pompey on Tuesday afternoon. 
 
The aircraft is down in a cornfield near the intersection of Oran Delphi Road and Route 20.

One person was transported to a local hospital, according to a fire official at the scene.

The person was conscious following the incident.

The location is near the border separating Onondaga and Madison counties.

State Police are investigating the incident.

New airport hangar building on hold: Norfolk Regional (KOFK), Nebraska

Take-off is being delayed for a proposed $1 million hangar building and taxiway at the Norfolk Regional Airport.

The Norfolk City Council last month passed a resolution acknowledging that a future property tax increase of about $60,000 annually for 10 years would be needed for the project. That’s because rent from aircraft owners wouldn’t cover all of the debt service on the loan.

Since then, the Norfolk Airport Authority has reconsidered its plan.

“We had push-back on this on the tax increase. The decision was made faster than we probably should have done,’’ Dan Geary, airport authority chairman, told the council on Monday.

Questions were asked that didn’t get very good answers, Geary said, so the airport authority last week decided to delay the project for more study.

A bid opening had been planned in the spring for the eight-bay hangar.

Geary said the additional study would take about six months, which is also when a Federal Aviation Administration grant approved for the project is to expire.

“We’ll do an in-depth study of the rent we’re charging,’’ he said, adding later, “We’re not going to build the hangar for a while.’’

The airport authority will further track any vacancy and turnover that occurs, as well as who is inquiring about renting the 35 existing hangars, which are full.

Geary said accounting will be changed so that hangar expenses are separated from the general fund. The hangars generate about $70,000 in income, he said, which is money the airport doesn’t have to get from the city.

City Attorney Clint Schukei said a new resolution, rescinding the language about the future property tax increase, would be brought to the council at its next meeting.

The airport authority learned last month that its application for loans and a Federal Aviation Administration grant had been approved.

The $267,471 grant is to pay for the taxiway. Local share amounts to $29,719.

Also part of the project is a $491,699 no-interest loan from the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics to build the hangar. The local share is $210,842.


- Source:  http://norfolkdailynews.com