Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II, N335AE, Air Evac Lifeteam: Fatal accident occurred October 04, 2014 in Wichita Falls, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA003 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, October 04, 2014 in Wichita Falls, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2015
Aircraft: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON 206L 1, registration: N335AE
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 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 reported that he was making an approach to a hospital helipad into light wind at night when he chose to go around because he felt that the approach was too high and fast. The pilot lowered the helicopter’s nose, added power, and raised the collective, and the helicopter then entered a rapid, “violent” right spin. A review of the last 43 seconds of the helicopter’s flight track data revealed that, as the helicopter approached the helipad, it descended from 202 to 152 ft and decelerated from a ground speed of about 9 to 5 knots before it turned right. The pilot attempted to recover from the uncommanded spin by applying left antitorque pedal and cyclic, but he was unable to recover, and the helicopter then spun several times before impacting power lines/terrain. Postaccident examination of the helicopter and the engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have caused the helicopter’s uncommanded right spin. The helicopter was under its maximum allowable gross weight at the time of the accident, and the wind was less than 4 knots. 

Federal Aviation Administration guidance states that the loss of tail rotor effectiveness could result in an uncommanded rapid yaw, which, if not corrected, could result in the loss of aircraft control. The guidance further indicates that, at airspeeds below translational lift, the tail rotor is required to produce nearly 100 percent of the directional control and that, if the required amount of tail rotor thrust is not available, the aircraft will yaw right. Therefore, it is likely that that the pilot did not adequately account for the helicopter’s low airspeed when he applied power to go around, which resulted in a sudden, uncommanded right yaw due to a loss of tail rotor effectiveness. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain yaw control when he applied power to execute a go-around at a low airspeed in dark, night conditions, which resulted in a rapid, uncommanded right yaw due to a loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 4, 2014, about 0155 central daylight time, N335AE, a Bell 206L1+ helicopter, was destroyed by post-impact fire after it impacted terrain while on approach to the United Regional Hospital helipad, in Wichita Falls, Texas. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the flight nurse, paramedic, and patient died. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc, O'Fallon, Missouri. A company visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the patient transfer flight that departed Jackson County Hospital, near Waurika, Oklahoma, about 0133. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the air medical flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

A witness, who was a photojournalist for NBC News 3 in Wichita Falls, TX, was driving southbound on the central freeway and was passing over Maurine Street when he first saw the helicopter. He said it appeared to be flying toward the "north" and its spotlight was turned on. As the witness continued to drive south toward downtown Wichita Falls, he realized the helicopter was hovering over 10th and Grace Streets and he thought it was odd that the helicopter had not landed yet and maybe he was waiting for someone to clear off the helipad. The witness said the helicopter was hovering at a height that was equal to the height of the top of the hospital, about 100-120 feet. The witness said that when he reached 9th Street, he saw the helicopter begin to spin to the right and move from its position over 10th and Grace Streets south toward the helipad. He said the helicopter entered the spin slowly and began to descend as soon as it started to spin. Initially, the witness thought the helicopter was going to land, but it continued to spin and descend. The helicopter then disappeared from his view behind a building. Shortly after it disappeared from his view, the witness saw sparks. He called 911 and drove the scene. Once he arrived on-scene the police and first responders were already there.

According to the pilot, he and his Duncan, Oklahoma, based medical crew had just returned from a flight to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, when he received a call from company dispatch to pick-up a patient in Waurika and transport him to United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls. The pilot accepted the flight, but told dispatch that they needed 15 minutes on the ground to prepare for the flight since they had just landed.

The pilot stated that he, along with the paramedic and flight nurse, re-boarded the helicopter, performed the necessary checklists, called dispatch and filed a flight plan. The flight to Waurika was uneventful. After landing, the pilot stayed in the helicopter for about 20 minutes with the engine running while the patient was prepped and loaded. The pilot and medical crew then departed for Wichita Falls. The weather was clear and the wind was three knots or less. The pilot said he used night-vision-goggles (NVGs) while en route, but flipped them up as he approached the hospital due to intense ground lighting. Upon arriving in Wichita Falls, the pilot said he performed a "high recon" of United Regional Hospital's helipad and called out his intentions to land. He performed the pre-landing checklists, and started the approach to the helipad from the northwest at an altitude of 700 feet above ground level (agl). Both of the hospital's lighted windsocks were "limp" but were positioned so they were pointing toward the northwest. The pilot, who said he had landed at this helipad on numerous occasions, said the approach was normal until he got closer to the helipad. He said he felt fast "about 12-15 knots" and a "little high," so he decided to abort the approach. At this point, with about ¼ to ½ -inch of left anti-torque pedal applied, he added power, "tipped the nose over to get airspeed," and "pulled collective." The pilot said that as soon as he brought the collective up, the helicopter entered a rapid right spin. He described the spin as "violent" and that it was the fastest he had ever "spun" in a helicopter. The pilot told the crew to hold on and that he was "going to try and fly out of it." The pilot said he tried hard to get control of the helicopter by applying cyclic and initially "some" left anti-torque pedal "but nothing happened." The pilot said he added more left anti-torque pedal, but not full left anti-torque pedal as the helicopter continued to spin and he was still unable to regain control. He also said the engine had plenty of power and was operating fine. The pilot recalled the helicopter spinning at least five times before impacting the ground inverted. He said smoke quickly filled the inside of the helicopter, so he unbuckled his seatbelt assembly, took off his helmet, punched out the windshield and exited the burning helicopter.

The pilot also said that he did not hear any unusual noises prior to the "tail coming out from underneath them" and he did not recall hearing any warning horns or seeing any warning/caution lights. When asked what he thought caused the helicopter to spin to the right so quickly, he replied, "I don't know."

The helicopter was equipped with a handheld Garmin GPS 396 and Sky Trac ISAT-100 flight-tracking software. The SkyTrac system recorded position every 5 seconds versus the GPS that recorded position every 60 seconds. Data was successfully downloaded from each unit. The data between the two units was fairly consistent and revealed that after the helicopter departed Waurika, it flew on a south-westerly heading until it crossed Highway 447 in Wichita Falls. It then flew on a westerly heading until it reached Highway 287, where it then turned on a north westerly heading. As it proceeded to the northwest, the helicopter flew past United Regional Hospital to the east before it made a left, 180 degree turn about 1 to 1.5 miles north of the hospital. The helicopter then proceeded directly to the helipad on a south-easterly heading. A review of the last 43 seconds of the recorded Sky Trac data revealed that as the helicopter approached the helipad, it descended from an altitude of 202 feet to 152 feet and decelerated from a ground-speed of about 9 knots to about 5 knots before it turned to the right. Over the next 10 seconds, the helicopter traveled back toward the northwest as it descended to an altitude of 54 feet and increased to a ground-speed of about 17 knots before the data ended at 0155:14. The location of the last recorded data point was consistent with where the helicopter impacted the ground. 

A portion of the accident flight and impact were captured on one of the hospital's surveillance cameras. A review of the surveillance tape revealed the helicopter approached the helipad from the north with the spotlight turned on (the pilot said that he used the spotlight during the approach). The helicopter then climbed and went out of frame before it reappeared in a descending right hand turn then hit the ground. The time of impact was recorded at 0154:56. About 6 seconds later, there was a large explosion.

Another Air Evac flight crew (pilot, paramedic, and a flight nurse) was based at United Regional Hospital, and were in their quarters near the helipad when the hospital-based pilot heard the helicopter. The crew was preparing to assist the inbound crew with the patient transfer. The hospital-based pilot stated that when he opened the door to their quarters, he heard the helicopter arriving from the north. As the helicopter got closer, he heard "a change in rotor noise" followed by the sound of a "snap then bang then silence." The hospital-based pilot yelled to his crew that the helicopter may have crashed. All three immediately responded to the accident site where they found the helicopter upside down, facing west, and on-fire. The hospital-based pilot said the flight nurse, who was seated in the rear right seat, was lying about 6-feet away from the helicopter. She was on fire and most of her Nomex flight suit had burned away. The hospital-based pilot also saw the paramedic, who was seated in the rear, left seat, crawling out of the wreckage and the pilot was crawling out of the front of the wreckage. Due to the intense fire, there was no way to assist the patient.

The hospital-based paramedic stated that he was asleep when he was alerted of the inbound flight. He heard the helicopter approaching "then nothing." The lights in their crew-quarters then flickered for about 10 seconds. The hospital-based pilot then came in and said the helicopter had crashed. The hospital-based paramedic said that when he got to the accident site, the flight nurse was lying on her back on the sidewalk. The paramedic was on fire and about 10 feet away from the helicopter in the street. A bystander was using his shirt to put out the flames on the paramedic. The hospital-based paramedic then ran over to the injured paramedic. He said the paramedic was alert and was aware that he was involved in an accident. The hospital-based paramedic said he picked the injured paramedic up, placed him on a gurney and took him to the emergency room. He did not talk to the flight nurse or pilot.

The hospital-based flight nurse stated he was in bed, but had not fallen asleep. He heard the hospital-based pilot say that a company helicopter was inbound and he could hear it approaching the helipad. The flight nurse said he was putting on his jumpsuit when he heard the helicopter "power-up" followed by silence then the sound of a "crash." He and the two others immediately responded to the accident site. When the hospital-based flight nurse arrived on scene, he saw the flight nurse and thought she was deceased until she started screaming for help. The pilot was crawling through the front windshield and his foot was stuck. There was a "winding noise" coming from the helicopter so he helped him get out and away from the burning helicopter. He asked the pilot if he was ok, and he responded, "I don't know." The hospital-based flight nurse then saw the hospital-based paramedic dragging the injured paramedic away from the helicopter. He immediately realized the injured paramedic was a good friend and his flight partner. The hospital based flight nurse immediately went over to him and found the injured paramedic was alert. The injured paramedic said they were on final approach to the helipad when the helicopter started to spin, but he wasn't sure why.

The hospital-based flight nurse later asked the pilot what happened, and the pilot said "he wasn't sure." When he told the pilot that the paramedic said that the helicopter had spun, the pilot responded, "yeah."

The patient died in the accident but the flight nurse and the paramedic survived and were treated for severe burns. However, they both succumbed to their injuries within a month after the accident.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument rotorcraft-helicopter. The operator reported his total flight time as 1,810 hours. About 1,584 of those hours were in helicopters, of which, 214 hours were in the Bell 206 series helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical was issued on May 13, 2014, without limitations or waivers. The pilot was also a chief warrant officer with the United States Army. He attended Army flight school and was trained in the CH47D Chinook helicopters.

According to time-on-duty records provided by the operator, the pilot came on duty October 2, 2014, at 1810. This was the start of his first shift after having the previous 6 days off. He had only made one flight prior to the accident flight.

The pilot was hired by the operator on June 9, 2014. At that time, he reported a total of 1,755.6 total hours, of which, 159.1 hours were in the Bell 206 model helicopter. A review of his training records revealed he started initial/new-hire training on June 10, 2014, and satisfactorily completed ground school and 10.9 hours of flight training. The training included normal and emergency procedures, including loss of tail rotor effectiveness. On June 22, 2014, the pilot passed a flight crew-member competency/proficiency check- Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 135/NVG check ride. 

The pilot also completed "Initial Orientation-Flight" training at his assigned base in Duncan, Oklahoma. The training involved 5 flight hours and included cross country flights to the local area hospitals and landmarks; 2 hours of night flying for the same purpose; day and night approaches to hospital and elevated helipads; familiarization with all hazards, terrain and man-made, identified on the Duncan, Oklahoma base hazard map. This training was completed on July 8, 2014.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather at Sheppard Air Force Base/Wichita Falls Municipal Airport (SPS), about 5 miles north of the accident site, at 0152, was wind from 140 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 51 degrees F, dewpoint 33 degrees F, and a barometric pressure setting of 30.24 in HG.

HELIPAD INFORMATION

The United Regional Hospital's ground-level helipad was located directly across the street from the hospital's emergency room entrance. The final approach/take-off area (FATO) was 60-foot-wide by 60-foot-long and was privately owned and operated by United Regional Health Care System. At the time of the accident, the hospital based flight crew's helicopter was in the hangar and the helipad was clear of obstacles.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine, seven-place helicopter was manufactured in 1981 and equipped with a Rolls-Royce C-250-30P turbo shaft engine. It was configured for air medical transport; one pilot, two medical crew, and one patient. The operator reported that at the time of the accident, the airframe had about 18,378.6 hours total time and the engine had about 3,546.2 hours total time.

The helicopter was retrofitted with Van Horn Aviation (VHA) after-market composite tail rotor blades (Supplemental Type Certificate No. SR02249LA). According to VHA's website, this install helps reduce overall aircraft noise and produce more tail rotor authority. 

The estimated gross weight of the helicopter at the time of the accident was 4,274 pounds, or about 176 pounds below the maximum gross weight of 4,450 pounds.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

An on-scene examination of the helicopter was conducted on October 4-5, 2014, under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (NTSB IIC). The helicopter collided with power lines and came to rest inverted between two trees that lined a public sidewalk about one block northwest of the helipad. All major components of the helicopter were located at the main impact site. Small sections of the helicopter were found strewn within 100 feet of where the main wreckage came to rest.

The helicopter was recovered and taken to a salvage facility where a layout examination was conducted on October 6, 2014. The above mentioned party members were in attendance for both the on-scene and salvage yard exams.

The helicopter wreckage was extensively burned and fragmented into large and small sections. These sections were laid out in a manner that was consistent with how they would have been situated prior to the accident. The tail rotor and portion of the empennage sustained the least amount of impact and fire damage.

The tailboom had separated from the main body of the helicopter just aft of where it attached to the fuselage.

Both tail rotor blades exhibited minor leading edge damage and there was some de-bonding on the trailing edge. The pitch control tube to the gearbox to the 90-degree bend and forward to where the tail boom had separated from the fuselage was intact. The tail rotor gearbox magnetic plug was clean and there was no fluid observed the tail rotor gearbox sight-glass.

The right horizontal fin remained attached to the tailboom and exhibited some thermal damage. The left horizontal fin was folded under and burned.

The tail rotor driveshaft was relatively intact, but damage was noted to the Thomas couplings, which were splayed, and the hangar bearing between #1 and #2 was out of alignment.

The aft short-shaft was separated and exhibited thermal damage. The forward end of the short shaft was burned. The shaft did not rotate due to thermal damage. The oil cooler blower housing had mostly melted away.

The front end of the oil cooler blower shaft and spines were intact. The forward short-shaft was attached to the aft end of the freewheeling unit located in the engine accessory gear box. But the aft end that attached to the forward end of the oil cooler blower shaft was separated. The splines were intact.

The freewheeling (FW) unit rotated, but did not turn due to thermal damage.

The flex frames on both ends of the main drive shaft were fractured. There was no twist in the shaft. The engine to transmission adapter on the aft of the transmission was rotated and continuity was established to the main rotor system.

Control tubes were fractured and thermally damaged, but continuity was established for the throttle control and collective to the broom closet. Continuity for the cyclic was also established, but the cyclic control had fractured and was found in the wreckage.

The left anti-torque pedals (co-pilot side) dual control pedal assembly was installed, but the linkage had been disconnected and the pedals were locked by the operator to prevent someone from inadvertently depressing the pedals. 

Continuity was established for the right anti-torque pedals. An impact mark was observed on a section of the anti-torque pedal assembly where it ran through a lightning hole in the lower fuselage. A measurement from the center of the bolt that secures this tube to the location of the impact mark was taken. Then, the measurement was used to determine the position of the pedal at the time of impact by lining the mark up with an exemplar helicopter. The measurement revealed the right pedal was displaced about 50-75% at the time of impact.

The rotating and non-rotating sections of the swash plate were fractured and burned, and the control links were fractured and thermally damaged. Extensive thermal damage was noted to the transmission.

Both of the main rotor blades exhibited impact and fire damage. Blade #1 had fractured outside of the doublers. About 6 feet of the outboard blade exhibited impact damage and about 24-inches of the blade tip had separated and was not burned. A section of the blade tip exhibited impact and striations marks consistent with it striking a cable.

Blade #2 was also fractured at the doublers. The after-body was missing due to fire. The tip of the blade was partially attached with a small unburned section being completely separated.

Though the helicopter sustained extensive thermal damage, continuity for all the main flight control systems was established and no pre-mishap mechanical anomalies were observed that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

It was also observed that the two main fuel lines that transfer fuel from the forward fuel tanks to the main tanks were separated at their rear fittings just aft of the broom closet. According to the FAA and Bell, there are no break-away fittings or mechanism (sensor) that would have sensed a separation and stopped fuel flow after the accident if power was applied. If the engine continued to run after the accident, raw fuel would have continued to be pumped into the aft cabin area from the forward tanks. Fuel may have also drained from vent lines due to the helicopter being inverted.

The engine sustained extensive thermal damage. The engine was separated into sections and no pre-mishap anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The annunciator panel was examined by the NTSB Materials Laboratory for the presence of any stretched light bulb filaments. Each annunciator light was x-rayed to determine the status of the two bulbs inside. While there was some evidence of age-related sagging, no stretched filaments were found in any of the annunciator lights.

MEDICAL INFORMATION

A toxicological examination was conducted on "first-draw" blood specimens taken from the pilot when he was admitted to United Regional hospital's emergency room after the accident. These specimens were subpoenaed by the NTSB and shipped to the FAA's Accident Investigation Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the testing were negative for all items tested.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA issued Advisory Circular (AC) 90-95, Unanticipated Right Yaw in Helicopters, in February 1995. The AC stated that the loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) was a critical, low-speed aerodynamic flight characteristic which could result in an uncommanded rapid yaw rate which does not subside of its own accord and, if not corrected, could result in the loss of aircraft control. It also stated, "LTE is not related to a maintenance malfunction and may occur in varying degrees in all single main rotor helicopters at airspeeds less than 30 knots."

Paragraph 8 of the AC stated:

"OTHER FACTORS...Low Indicated Airspeed. At airspeeds below translational lift, the tail rotor is required to produce nearly 100 percent of the directional control. If the required amount of tail rotor thrust is not available for any reason, the aircraft will yaw to the right."

According to the FAA Rotorcraft Flying handbook (FAA-H-8083-21A), "Loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) or an unanticipated yaw is defined as an uncommanded, rapid yaw towards the advancing blade which does not subside of its own accord. It can result in the loss of the aircraft if left unchecked. It is very important for pilots to understand that LTE is caused by an aerodynamic interaction between the main rotor and tail rotor and not caused from a mechanical failure. Some helicopter types are more likely to encounter LTE due to the normal certification thrust produced by having a tail rotor that, although meeting certification standards, is not always able to produce the additional thrust demanded by the pilot."

"LTE is an aerodynamic condition and is the result of a control margin deficiency in the tail rotor. It can affect all single rotor helicopters that utilize a tail rotor of some design. The design of main and tail rotor blades and the tail boom assembly can affect the characteristics and susceptibility of LTE but will not nullify the phenomenon entirely." 

This alteration of tail rotor thrust can be affected by numerous external factors. The main factors contributing to LTE are:

1. Airflow and downdraft generated by the main rotor blades interfering with the airflow entering the tail rotor assembly.

2. Main blade vortices developed at the main blade tips entering the tail rotor.

3. Turbulence and other natural phenomena affecting the airflow surrounding the tail rotor.

4. A high power setting, hence large main rotor pitch angle, induces considerable main rotor blade downwash and hence more turbulence than when the

helicopter is in a low power condition.

5. A slow forward airspeed, typically at speeds where translational lift and translational thrust are in the process of change and airflow around the tail rotor will vary in direction and speed."

"If a sudden unanticipated right yaw occurs, the following recovery technique should be performed. Apply forward cyclic control to increase speed. If altitude permits, reduce power. As recovery is affected, adjust controls for normal forward flight. A recovery path must always be planned, especially when terminating to an OGE hover and executed immediately if an uncommanded yaw is evident. Collective pitch reduction aids in arresting the yaw rate but may cause an excessive rate of descent. Any large, rapid increase in collective to prevent ground or obstacle contact may further increase the yaw rate and decrease rotor rpm. The decision to reduce collective must be based on the pilot's assessment of the altitude available for recovery. If the rotation cannot be stopped and ground contact is imminent, an autorotation may be the best course of action. Maintain full left pedal until the rotation stops, then adjust to maintain heading."




http://registry.faa.gov/N335AE

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA003 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, October 04, 2014 in Wichita Falls, TX
Aircraft: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON 206L 1, registration: N335AE
Injuries: 1 Fatal,3 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 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 October 4, 2014, about 0155 central daylight time, N335AE, a Bell 206L1+, was destroyed by post-impact fire after it impacted terrain while on approach to the United Regional Hospital helipad, in Wichita Falls, Texas. The commercial pilot, flight nurse, and the paramedic were seriously injured and the patient was killed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc, O'Fallon, Missouri. A company visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the patient transfer flight that departed Jackson County Hospital, near Waurika, Oklahoma, about 0133. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the air medical flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the pilot, he stated that he and his Duncan, Oklahoma, based medical crew had just returned from a flight to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, when he received a call from company dispatch to pick-up a patient in Waurika and transport him to United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls. The pilot accepted the flight, but told dispatch that they needed 15 minutes on the ground to prepare for the flight since they had just landed.

The pilot said that he, along with the paramedic and flight nurse, re-boarded the helicopter, performed the necessary checklists, called dispatch and filed a flight plan. The flight to Waurika was uneventful. After landing, the pilot stayed in the helicopter for about 20 minutes with the engine running while the patient was prepped and loaded. The pilot and medical crew then departed for Wichita Falls. The weather was clear and the wind was three knots or less. Upon arriving in Wichita Falls, the pilot said he performed a "high recon" of United Regional Hospital's helipad and called out his intentions to land. He performed the pre-landing checklists, and started the approach to the helipad from the northwest at an altitude of 700 feet above ground level (agl). Both of the hospital's lighted windsocks were "limp" but were positioned so they were pointing toward the northwest. The pilot, who had landed at this helipad on numerous occasions, said the approach was normal until he got closer to the helipad. He said he felt fast "about 12-15 knots" and a "little high," so he decided to abort the approach. At this point, with about ¼ to ½ -inch of left anti-torque pedal applied, he added power, "tipped the nose over to get airspeed," and "pulled collective." The pilot said that as soon as he brought the collective up, the helicopter entered a rapid right turn. He described the turn as "violent" and that it was the fastest he had ever "spun" in a helicopter. The pilot told the crew to hold on and that he was "going to try and fly out of it." The pilot said he tried hard to get control of the helicopter by applying cyclic and initially "some" left anti-torque pedal "but nothing happened." The pilot said he added more, but not full left anti-torque pedal as the helicopter continued to spin and he was still unable to regain control. He also said the engine had plenty of power and was operating fine. The pilot recalled the helicopter spinning at least five times before impacting the ground. The pilot said the helicopter landed inverted and quickly filled up with smoke. He unbuckled his seatbelt assembly, took off his helmet, punched out the windshield and exited the burning helicopter.

The pilot also said that he did not hear any unusual noises prior to the "tail coming out from underneath them" and did not recall hearing any warning horns or seeing any warning/caution lights. When asked what he thought caused the helicopter to spin to the right so quickly, he replied, "I don't know."

The helicopter was equipped with tracking software that recorded its position every 60 seconds. A preliminary review of the track data revealed that after the helicopter departed Waurika, it flew on a south westerly heading until it crossed Highway 447 in Wichita Falls. It then flew on a westerly heading until it reached Highway 287, where it then turned on a north westerly heading. As it flew to the northwest, the helicopter flew past United Regional Hospital to the east before it made a 180 degree turn about 1 to 1.5 miles north of the hospital. The helicopter then proceeded directly to the helipad on a south easterly heading before the data stopped at 0154, about .2 miles north west of the helipad. At that time, the helicopter was about 212 feet above ground level (agl), on a heading of 138 degrees at a ground speed of 11 knots.

A portion of the accident flight and impact were captured on one of the hospital's surveillance cameras. A preliminary review of the surveillance tape revealed the helicopter approached the helipad from the north with the spotlight turned on (The pilot did state in his interview that he was using the spotlight during the approach). The helicopter then climbed and went out of frame before it reappeared in a descending right hand turn before it impacted the ground. The time of impact was recorded at 0154:56. About 6 seconds later, a large explosion occurred where the helicopter impacted the ground.

An on-scene examination of the helicopter was conducted on October 4-5, 2014, under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (NTSB IIC). The helicopter collided with power lines and came to rest inverted between two trees that lined a public sidewalk about one block northeast of the helipad. All major components of the helicopter were located at the main impact site. A post-impact fire consumed the main fuselage and portion of the tail boom. The tail rotor assembly and vertical fin exhibited minor fire and impact damage.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument rotorcraft-helicopter. His employer reported his total flight time as 1,810 hours. About 1,584 of those hours were in helicopters, of which, 214 hours were in the Bell 206 model helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical was issued on May 13, 2014, without limitations or waivers.


 
Leslie Stewart


Air Evac Lifeteam officials reported on Wednesday evening that Flight Nurse Leslie Stewart has died from injuries she sustained in an accident on October 4, 2014.

Daniel Sweeza, vice president of operations for Air Evac Lifeteam, released the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Leslie’s family, and everyone involved in this accident. This is a tragic day for us at Air Evac Lifeteam. Our employees are like family, and we are devastated by this loss. Our focus at this time is on providing support for her family and friends, along with the families of our flight paramedic and pilot, who remain hospitalized.”

The two other crew members are still in the hospital recovering. Flight paramedic Johan van der Colff IV is still listed in critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Pilot Zechariah Smith is being treated at United Regional and his condition was upgraded to fair. The patient being transported in the helicopter to United Regional, 26-year-old Buddy Rhodes, died in the crash.


http://www.texomashomepage.com


Names of the Air Evac Crew Injured in Crash Released 

 
Johan van der Colff IV 


 Zechariah Smith


UPDATE - The three Air Evac Lifeteam crew members who were injured in a helicopter crash in Wichita Falls on Saturday morning have been identified.

Air Evac Lifeteam officials confirm the Duncan, OK employees on board the helicopter were pilot Zechariah Smith, flight nurse Leslie Stewart, and flight paramedic Johan van der Colff IV.

The cause of the accident is unknown.  It's under investigation by Air Evac Lifeteam officials. Officials with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are also in Wichita Falls investigating.

Air Evac officials say the patient on board that helicopter passed away at the scene.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officials say they believe that person was a Waurika shooting victim.

OSBI Public Information Officer Jessica Brown says the Waurika Police Department requested OSBI Investigative and Crime Scene assistance after a shooting at a home in the 500 block of East D. Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Brown says the victim, who they have identified as 26-year-old Buddy Rhodes, was inside the home with several other people.

She says a shotgun was involved, and at some point, the shotgun discharged striking Rhodes in the upper body.

Brown says medical personnel in Waurika requested Air Evac, which arrived on scene and transported Rhodes to United Regional.

Brown says investigators believe Rhodes was on the Air Evac helicopter when it crashed in Wichita Falls.

The three Air Evac crew members survived the helicopter crash.  All three suffered serious injuries.

Wichita Falls Fire Chief Jon Reese says the Air Evac team in Wichita Falls were the first to arrive at the crash scene at 9th St. and Grace which happened just before 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Reese says they were able to pull the pilot and the other two crew members from the wreckage.

Authorities say the pilot is currently being treated at United Regional and is in critical condition.

The other two crew members were flown to Parkland in Dallas for severe burns.

Authorities say they are in critical condition.

Multiple agencies including the Wichita County Sheriff's Office, Wichita Falls Police Department, Wichita Falls Fire Department, and Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the crash site.

While the crash scene is blocked off, hospital officials say access to United Regional's main entrance, Bridwell Tower and the ER is open.

We spoke with a witness who says she was driving a cab in the area when she saw the helicopter go down.

Cari Winchester, who witnessed crash, says, "I was sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store when I heard the helicopter. It didn't seem like it sounds right then, because I hear them all the time around here. It sounded like it was bogged down. Then I heard it. It was bogged down and it was like struggling. It did it like three times, struggling. Then you heard a big, loud snap like of electricity and seen the flash."

Power lines were also snapped in the crash and several people in the area may be without power.

Oncor will work to restore power once they are allowed into the secured area.

As far as the shooting in Waurika goes, Brown says OSBI agents and local investigators are working with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office to determine how to proceed with the case.

Brown says as of yet, investigators have not made an arrest in the shooting.

http://www.texomashomepage.com

China 'sends warning' with release of photographs of disputed South China Sea island: Photographs of Yongxing Island show lengthy runway that could be used by the military

 
An overview of Yongxing Island clearly showing the extent of the runway, which will be available to People's Liberation Army aircraft. 
Photo: SCMP


China has released the first high-resolution photographs of a newly built runway on a disputed island in the South China Sea.

An analyst said the aim of publishing the photographs of the airstrip at Yongxing Island, or Woody Island, was to send a warning to Vietnam and the United States that China was strengthening its military presence in the area.

Beijing had also been angered by the United States announcement earlier this month that it was partially lifting its 40-year-old arms embargo on Vietnam, analysts said.

Yongxing, Sansha city's main island, is built on one of the Paracel Islands that are also claimed by Hanoi.

The photographs were published on the websites of Xinhua and other major Chinese news portals, including one showing large signs saying the airstrip had been built by military and civilian contractors.

Yongxing Island is 1.8km wide, but the airstrip is more than 2,000 metres long, suggesting to analysts that it could also be used by the military.

"The newly built runway will become China's unsinkable aircraft carrier because it will provide an ideal take-off and landing base for the People's Liberation Army naval air force," said Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong .

"The latest development at Yongxing Island is aimed at warning Washington that Beijing is well prepared in case the US joins with Vietnam to deal with Beijing when any possible military conflict over the territory takes place in the future," he said.

The US State Department said the easing of the arms embargo on former adversary Vietnam would only apply to maritime surveillance and security equipment, but military observers in China said the aim was to help strengthen Hanoi's defences in the South China Sea.

Tensions over the disputed territory sparked anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in May after China deployed an oil rig off the Paracel Islands.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie , a retired PLA officer, said the runway would also pave the way for China to set up an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea.

A similar move in the East China Sea, which requires aircraft to notify China of their flight plans through the air space, sparked anger among China's neighbours last year.

"The new runway is now the biggest airport in the southernmost part of China," said Li.

"It will enhance Chinese fighter jets' combat capability, reconnaissance flights and even counter-reconnaissance skills.

"Sansha airport is also designed to be a supply depot for Chinese naval fleets with overseas peacekeeping missions. The runway will also help newly developed tourism in the Paracels."

Yongxing is 300km southeast of Hainan and has a permanent civilian population of about 1,500. It also houses army divisions comprising at least 6,000 troops after it was upgraded to a prefectural-level city two years ago.

Story and Photos:  http://www.scmp.com

Gary/Chicago International Airport (KGYY) gets turbulent welcome from Gary councilman

GARY — Impatient with the lack of progress at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, City Councilman Roy Pratt ripped a report from the private operator of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Tuesday, calling it “poppycock.”

Pratt, D-at-large, listened to the assessment of airport progress from Oswin E. Moore, president and CEO of AvPorts. Then he slammed it.

“Much of what you’re saying is poppycock, we always looked at it for connecting flights, and employment for Northwest Indiana and Gary. All this other drifting around, we don’t need. We need connecting flights.”

Moore traveled to Gary from AvPorts’ headquarters in Virginia to offer his update along with airport director B.R. Lane as the council held a public hearing on airport spending.

Moore told the council AvPorts is committed to spending $100 million in the next 40 years at the airport to foster economic growth. Moore also promised to spend $300,000 in training local workers so they could be hired for the new jobs created.

“We thought Gary was a good fit,” said Moore. “It if is good enough for Boeing and for the President than what is it that’s not packaged right?

Moore said AvPorts will market the airport to other corporations and airlines.

Pratt said studies have been done on the airport for years. “We know how money can be made with the airport. It’s time for us to start using what we know we have,” said Pratt. “We do a lot of talk, but nothing happens.”

Lane defended AvPorts saying there have been numerous discussion about what could happen at the airport “but aviation is a particular field and it works a certain way.”

Lane said city officials aren’t aviation experts. “Let them give us the data and we retain the right to make decisions. That was the whole idea of the public/private partnership.”

The airport, a separate taxing entity, has a proposed $3.5 million operating budget for 2015.

- Source:  http://posttrib.suntimes.com

Wellmont Health System sells interest in plane, jet previously traveled to St. Louis six times in three months

WJHL.com  

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) - If Wellmont Health System changes ownership later this year, access to Wellmont's private plane will not be part of the transaction. That's because Wellmont says it recently sold its stake in that jet.

We first raised asked former Wellmont CEO Denny DeNarvaez about the plane back in June. Although the health system sold its share of the jet around the same time DeNarvaez abruptly resigned, spokesperson Jim Wozniak says the two were not connected.

"We no longer have any ownership in that plane," Wozniak said in an email on September 15th. "We divested our interest about two weeks ago. We mentioned awhile back that we were open to opportunities to divest ourselves of the plane. An opportunity developed a few months ago that enabled us to go that route. As is the case with many transactions, this took a little while to finalize. The decision to divest ourselves of the plane had no connection to Denny's resignation."

DeNarvaez previously told us Wellmont was trying to sell its stake in the jet, but said at the time, no one really wanted partial ownership in a plane.

According to flight records from Flight Aware, we discovered the plane took six flights to St. Louis from the Tri-Cities over a five-month period earlier this year. Those trips occurred on Mondays and Thursdays and three of them occurred in one week alone, according to Flight Aware. Those six flights are more departures from TCRA to a single city than anywhere else during that time frame, according to the plane's records on Flight Aware.

According to records filed with the Saint Louis County Property Assessor's Office, the former CEO still owns property in St. Louis. In addition, a handful of other past and current top Wellmont executives have ties to St. Louis too, according to their biographies.

Wellmont Health System also has a professional relationship with a company there. According to published reports, Wellmont has had a business relationship with NAVVIS Healthways over the years, a consulting firm headquartered in St. Louis.

We've contacted representatives of NAVVIS about that relationship, but have yet to reach anyone.

We've also made repeated efforts to talk with DeNarvaez about the plane following her resignation. Last time we talked, three months before her departure, DeNarvaez answered our questions about Wellmont's one-sixth ownership in the 1982 Westwind One.

"We're sort of stuck with it until we can sell it," she told us at the time.

She admitted spouses of board members and executives occasionally tagged along on trips and said those people reported the fringe benefit on their tax returns. She also assured us the plane was purely for business. She called it a cheaper, easier way to fly and said Wellmont rarely used it.

"It is not used for personal use, it is used for business use," DeNarvaez said at the time. "The reality is it gives us access to the plane a couple times a month and that's the only reason we have it."

Wellmont turned down our requests for an interview for this story.

"Wellmont no longer has an ownership in the plane," Wozniak reiterated in a September 16th email. "When we did, we issued a statement about it. That's the only information we can provide about the plane."

Wozniak is referencing a June statement from former Wellmont Board Chairman Buddy Scott, Jr. in response to our original story about the plane.

"The company has adopted policies governing the use of the plane and requires demonstrated benefit to the company," Scott said as part of that statement. "Wellmont's Board of Directors takes our organization's stewardship seriously and ensures appropriate policies and procedures are in place to preserve sound business practices."

"We appreciate your question, but there is nothing further we can provide beyond all the other information we have supplied you," Wozniak said in reference to a follow-up question about the St. Louis trips.

We then provided specific details of the flights in question, including dates and times.

"Thank you for asking," Wozniak said. "There is nothing more we can add than what we have already said."

It's worth mentioning again, up until recently, Wellmont was one of six owners of the jet. That means we can't say with any certainty who was traveling when the plane was in the air. However, we can rule out those partial owners who say they did not travel to St. Louis.

Two of the other partial owners tell us, to their knowledge, their businesses did not use the plane for any flights to St. Louis during that time frame.

That leaves three other partial owners unaccounted for, which means it is possible another company flew to St. Louis.

We found the parent company of the Blountville-based aircraft. However, Jeff Benedict, HMV Aviation, LLC's registered agent, would not answer our questions about the plane.

As we've previously reported, leading up to DeNarvaez's departure, Wellmont called in a former Virginia Attorney General to conduct an internal review.

- Source:  http://www.wjhl.com

Jetstar plane turns back for emergency Sydney landing and passengers evacuated due to medical emergency

A Jetstar flight from Sydney to Darwin was turned back last night after a passenger started vomiting blood during the flight’s ascent.

Paramedics in HAZMAT suits met the flight in Sydney around 10:30pm but a Jetstar spokesman said that was standard procedure due to the vomiting.

It is understood the man’s illness was related to a pre-existing renal condition.

A Jetstar spokesman said the passenger presented as “gravely unwell” about an hour into the journey and the captain made the decision to turn back based on medical advice.

After arriving back in Sydney the man, aged in his 50s, was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

There is no suggestion the incident is related to the current Ebola scare that has now seen five US airports introduce extra screening for passengers.

Quarantine officials examined the plane and the man, aged in his 50s, was rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

The 140 Passengers on board were escorted off the plane and put up for the night in hotels.

A Jetstar spokesman said the man’s medical condition was not contagious and it was not related to Ebola.

“About an hour out of Sydney there was a decision made to return to Sydney because it was the nearest diversion point and a medical situation had emerged on board,” he said.

“A passenger presented fairly unwell and ill they were vomiting and we did some investigating and it was determined they had a pre-existing medical condition.

“We were given advice that in the interest of their well-being that we should turn back so they could get medical treatment.”

He said it was “not contagious or communicable” and there was “no suggestion” it was Ebola.

Jetstar will fly the 140 stranded passengers out tonight on a flight scheduled for the same time at 8.45pm which will fly in addition to the existing flight. They were put up in hotels overnight.

In  coming days, passengers will have their temperatures taken on arrivals at New York’s JFK airport, Newark Airport in New Jersey, Washington ‘s Dulles, O’Hare in Chicago and Atlanta’s  Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Those airports receive about 94 per cent of all passengers arriving into the US from the three worst Ebola hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Australian Airports have no plans to start taking temperatures of arriving passengers, a Federal Health Department spokeswoman said.

Story and Comments:  http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au

Four airlines submit bids for Kearney Regional Airport (KEAR), Nebraska

KEARNEY — A second bid process brought more options for air service at the Kearney Regional Airport.

Four airlines have submitted bids to provide service at the Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff airports. Kearney received notice of the bids today (Wednesday), City Manager Mike Morgan said.

The airlines that submitted bids are Great Lakes Airlines, the current air service provider for Kearney, Boutique Air, Aerodynamics Inc. and Via Air, Morgan said.

Each airline proposed a different level of service, but all would fly to Denver, Morgan said. Boutique Air’s proposal also included the option to fly to a different location.

Aerodynamics and Via Air would fly the largest capacity, with 50-passenger and 30-passenger service proposed, respectively. Boutique Air proposed nine-passenger planes, and Morgan said the Great Lakes bid is “very similar” to its first bid, which also proposed nine-passenger service.

The city now has until Nov. 7 to review the bids and make a recommendation to the Department of Transportation, which has the final say in awarding a contract.

Mayor Stan Clouse will also form a citizens committee to review the proposals. The committee will include business professionals, community leaders and members of the city’s Air Transportation Committee, Morgan said.

The city and the citizens committee will consider a number of factors in their evaluation, including the airlines’ customer service record, routes, type of aircraft, fares, frequency of flights and connections with other airlines.

Morgan said that it’s too soon to tell which bid looks the most promising, but that the city would begin the review process immediately.

“It’s too early to tell what these bids reflect, but it’s certainly nice to get these four options for the community to evaluate,” he said. “The bottom line today is, we got four bids.”

- Source:  http://www.kearneyhub.com

Woman says tweets got her kicked off plane at Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL); airline responds

 

PHILADELPHIA -- JetBlue has responded to a woman's allegations that her posts on Twitter got her booted from a flight on Tuesday night at Philadelphia International Airport.

The passenger, Lisa Carter-Knight, told Action News that she tweeted about an incident that began with an apparent joke that caused passengers to be removed from a plane.

In a statement responding to the incident, JetBlue officials said "It is not our practice to remove a customer for expressing criticism of their experience in any medium."

It continued: "We will remove a customer if they are disruptive and the crew evaluates that there is a risk of escalation which could lead to an unsafe environment. The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly."

"If we feel a customer is not complying with safety instructions, exhibits objectionable behavior or causes conflict at the gate or on the aircraft, the customer will be asked to deplane or will be denied boarding especially if the crew feels the situation runs the risk of accelerating in the air. In this instance, the customer received a refund and chose to fly on another carrier."

However, the airline did not specifically say how, or if, Carter-Knight was being disruptive.

Carter-Knight says it all started what seemed to be a misunderstanding between the pilot and a joke by one of the passengers.

The remark was overheard by the pilot as the plane was being boarded.

"We had been waiting an hour, so there was a joke by another passenger - it had been a long night and he hoped there was a fully stocked bar on the airplane. The pilot ran out and said 'that's it, everybody out by the gate.' I've been accused of being intoxicated," she said.

The pilot told the more than 90 passengers he was now obligated by law to take a sobriety test. It came back negative, but delayed the flight more than three hours past its original departure time.

So, Carter-Knight began tweeting the story and says that's what got her ticket revoked.

"They were not comfortable with me being on the flight because I shared my experience tonight with friends and followers on a Twitter page," she said on Tuesday night.

She arrived at the airport early Wednesday morning to finally get a flight home to the Boston area, but on a different airline.

She added "I never accused the pilot of being drunk. I simply was communicating with family that was concerned that I was still on the ground in Philadelphia."

Overnight, JetBlue did refund her money.


Story and Video:   http://abc7news.com

Cirrus SR-22T, N930RH: Fatal accident occurred August 30, 2014 in Wallops Island, Virginia

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 30, 2014 in Wallops Island, VA
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22, registration: N930RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 August 30, 2014, at 1517 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T, N930RH, registered to and operated by a private individual, impacted the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles east of Wallops Island, Virginia, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot, who was the sole occupant. The airline transport pilot was presumed fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight, operating under instrument flight rules, originated from Waukesha County Airport (UES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1043 central daylight time, and was destined for Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Manassas, Virginia.

A review of radar data and voice transcriptions revealed that the airplane took off from the departure airport and climbed to an altitude of 21,000 feet mean sea level (msl) before leveling off. The airplane maintained this altitude for about one hour. At 1200, the pilot contacted air route traffic control center (ARTCC) and requested to descend to 17,000 feet At 1220, the pilot contacted ATC and again requested to descend to 15,000 feet, and was cleared to descend and maintain 15,000 ft. At 1228:20 the pilot contacted ATC and requested to descend to 13,000 ft., ATC advised the pilot to standby and he would get him lower shortly. At 1229:19, ATC cleared the pilot to descend and maintain 13,000 ft., and the pilot acknowledged. At 1249, the pilot contacted ATC and requested to go down to an unspecified altitude. The air traffic controller asked the pilot what altitude did he want to descend to, but for the next 2 minutes the pilot just keyed the mike with no answer. At 1251:12, the pilot advised ATC that he was having some difficulties, and was cleared to descend and maintain 9,000 feet. At 1252:35, the pilot again advised that he had a problem and ATC advised him to descend. The pilot responded that he'll try and repeated his call sign. At 1256:32, the controller asked the pilot if he had oxygen onboard in which he responded "I do", which was followed by the microphone being keyed with no speech. The air traffic controller asked the pilot if he was wearing his mask and did he have the oxygen working and the pilot responded "yes, affirmative sir." He then asked the pilot to turn his oxygen to 100 percent, and the pilot replied that "he was showing 100 percent at that time. Finally, the air traffic controller advised the pilot to descend and the pilot told the controller to "hang on a second," which was the last transmission made by the pilot.

About 1340, the airplane traveled into restricted airspace near Washington, D.C., and remained about 13,000 ft., before being intercepted by two North American Aerospace Defense Command intercept aircraft. The intercept pilots indicated that the pilot was unconscious, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The intercept aircraft continued to follow the airplane until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia.

The pilot, age 67, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and multi-engine land. His most recent FAA second class was issued August 7, 2014. The pilot reported 3,360 total hours of flight experience on that date. The pilot's logbook was not available for review; however a review of the pilot's Cirrus Training Profile May 21, 2014 revealed the pilot reported 3,330 total hours of flight experience of which 3,216 hours were as pilot in command and 2,780 hours were in single engine airplanes. The pilot declared approximately 500 hours of experience with both the Avidyne Entegra Avionics and Garmin GNS 430/530 GPS systems.

The pilot had accrued approximately 50 total hours of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model.

The pilot's wife was asked to provide a statement describing the pilot's routine during the 72 hours prior to the accident flight. She stated that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred and that the pilot had a full nights rest the night before the flight. She stated that no traumatic events or incidents had occurred that would have resulted in any stress.

The four-seat, low-wing airplane, serial number 0813, was manufactured in 2014. It was powered by a Continental model TSIO-550 series engine equipped with Hartzell PHC-J3Y1F-1N/N7605B propeller. Review of the factory logbook records showed that a fixed oxygen system was installed in accordance with STC SA01708SE, on June 14, 2014. The production test flight was completed on July 7, 2014, and an Airworthiness Certificate was issued on July 8, 2014.

The recorded weather at the Wallops Flight Facility (WAL), Wallops Island, Virginia, located approximately 59 miles from the accident site, at an elevation of 40.2 feet, at 1554, included wind from 150 degrees at 10 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a scattered ceiling at 4,800 feet above ground level (agl), temperature of 27 degrees C, dew point temperature of 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

According to the Coast Guard, they were launched on a report of a downed airplane approximately 50 miles off the shore of Wallops Island, Virginia. When they arrived on scene they noted that a fishing vessel was present at the impact location. They boarded the vessel and the occupants reported the incident from their point of view. They stated to the Coast Guard officer that they heard a loud "fighter jet" and began to scan the sky. Once they had eyes on the jet, they watched as the jet was flying in circles around a small airplane that was flying low towards the water. The witness said that the airplane got really low to the water and eventually impacted the water. He went on to say that his boat was the first to arrive on scene, and upon arrival, the tail of the airplane was still above the water. They attempted to put "lines on"; but within seconds the airplane was completely submerged. He said that they looked in the cabin and did not see any signs of a struggle. They picked up the floating debris and waited to see if more debris or fuel sheen would rise up, they found neither.

Examination of the floating debris revealed that it was a main landing gear strut with the wheel attached and the engine cowling. The rest of the airplane remained submerged and was not recovered.

The pilot's body was not recovered so neither autopsy nor toxicological testing were performed.

Ronald M. Hutchinson: http://registry.faa.gov/N930RH

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 30, 2014 in
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22T, registration: N930RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2014, at 1517 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T, N930RH, registered to and operated by a private individual, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles east of Wallops Island, Virginia, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot, the sole occupant. The airline transport pilot is presumed fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight, operating under instrument flight rules, originated from Waukesha County Airport (UES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1043 central daylight time and was destined for Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Manassas, Virginia.

A review of preliminary radar data revealed that the airplane took off from the departure airport and climbed to an altitude of 21,000 feet msl before leveling off. The airplane maintained this altitude for approximately one hour before descending to an altitude of approximately 13,100 feet msl. According to air traffic controllers, communication was lost with the pilot at 1300 EDT. The airplane traveled into restricted airspace near Washington D.C., and was intercepted by two North American Aerospace Defense Command intercept aircraft. The intercept pilots confirmed that the pilot of the aircraft was unconscious, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The intercept aircraft continued to follow the airplane until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. Within 30 seconds after impact, the nose of the airplane submerged below the surface of the water. Nearby boaters attempted to assist the downed airplane but the airplane began to sink below the surface. Debris from the airplane was collected and turned over to the Coast Guard.


AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, WRECKAGE LOCATED 56 MILES OFF THE COAST NEAR WALLOPS ISLAND, VA

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Richmond FSDO-21

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


Ronald M. Hutchinson 
"Hutch"



Obituary for Ronald M. Hutchinson "Hutch"

Died unexpectedly doing what he loved. 

Adoring husband of Maureen for 47 years. 

Cherished father of Cheryl Blackstone, Michelle Schofield and Patrick Hutchinson. 

Beloved father-in-law of Joe Blackstone, Dave Schofield and Stephanie Hutchinson. 

Proud Pop Pop of Meghan Molly, Abigael, Shannon, Emma, Anna Rose, Rachel, Joseph, Catherine, Mackenzie, Logan, Sean Patrick and Kyle. 

Deeply loved by his brothers and sisters from Cincinnati, OH. 

Hutch will be dearly missed by friends the world over.

Hutch lived his life's passion for 35 years at Harley Davidson and mastered his love of flying.

A gathering will be held at the Funeral Home Friday, 21600 West Capitol Drive, Brookfield, September 5, 2014 from 4-8PM. 

Additional gathering time will be held Saturday, September 6th from 9-11AM at CHRIST KING PARISH, 2604 N. Swan Blvd., Wauwatosa, WI.   A Memorial Mass will follow at 11AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to: Beyond Vision, 5316 W. State St., Milwaukee, WI 53208; or Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 324, PO Box 18631, Milwaukee, WI 53218. 

- Source:  http://www.krausefuneralhome.com/obituary


Ronald Hutchinson 
~


Sportfishing Boat “Tied Up” Witnessed Plane Crash; Fishermen Watched As Jets Escorted Cirrus SR-22T (N930RH) Into Ocean

OCEAN CITY — The crew on an Ocean City sportfishing boat was the first on the scene last Saturday when a small private aircraft crashed into the ocean after flying across the Eastern Shore from the Washington D.C. area with an unconscious pilot and an F-16 fighter jet escort.

Shortly after 3 p.m. last Saturday, a private Cirrus SR-22T crashed into the Atlantic just over 50 miles due east of Wachapreague, Va. in the Washington Canyon just south of Ocean City.

The private plane, piloted by Ronald Hutchinson, 67, was on a flight plan from Waukesha, Wis. to Manassas, Va. last Saturday when it flew into restricted air space over Washington at about 13,000 feet.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Cirrus SR-22T plane had not been responding to radio calls since about 1 p.m. Under the protocol for an unresponsive plane flying in restricted airspace, two U.S. NORAD F-16 aircraft were sent up and came along the Cirrus to investigate and observed the pilot to be unconscious in the cockpit. Hutchinson was the only occupant of the plane.

The two F-16 jets escorted the Cirrus SR-22T on autopilot along its course across the Eastern Shore until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean in the Washington Canyon about 50 miles or so off the coast of Wachapreague, Va. around 3:17 p.m. The Coast Guard in Portsmouth launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina and the Coast Guard cutter Beluga from Virginia Beach to respond. The Coast Guard searched the area until sundown on Saturday and resumed the search on Sunday morning before calling it off.

According to Bob Builder on the “Tied Up,” based out of Sunset Marina in Ocean City, the search was in vain because the Cirrus SR-22T went down so quickly in about 85 fathoms, or over 500 feet, in the Washington Canyon. Builder and the “Tied Up” crew were fishing in the area and the incident unfolded just about a quarter of a mile from their location.

“We were fishing in the area and we saw the fighter jet on the horizon flying slow and at a low altitude,” said Builder this week. “As the jet got closer and closer, we could see there were two of them and they appeared to be escorting a small private plane. The jets and the smaller plane kept getting lower and lower toward the ocean and we were about a quarter of a mile away. As the fighter jets got closer to us, they fired off signal flares in a synchronized pattern, maybe about five of them.”

Builder said the entire incident unfolded in a matter of a couple of minutes from when they first spotted the F-16 on the horizon until the private plane crashed into the sea.

“As the small plane got closer to the surface, the jets peeled away and went up to a higher altitude,” he said. “The Cirrus SR-22T just kind of glided into the ocean with a huge explosion of water. It crashed into the west wall of the Washington Canyon in about 85 fathoms.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” cruised over to the crash site to offer any assistance if needed or if possible, but the small plane went down quickly and there was not much anyone could do.

“We rode over to it in time to see the fuselage go under the surface and disappear in the deep water,” he said. “The entire plane went down in less than 10 minutes. There was minimal debris and it completely disappeared. The jets circled over the crash area for about five minutes and then peeled off and flew away.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” crew did not know of any of the events leading up to the crash they witnessed from just a quarter mile away or so.

“It was a very somber moment,” he said. “We weren’t sure at the time of there was one person on board or two or three or five.”

Builder said the “Tied Up” crew never felt in danger despite their close proximity to the crash. It is rather remarkable the plane traveled across the entire Eastern Shore on auto pilot with an unconscious pilot before crashing into the sea when it ran out of fuel.


“You could tell the jets were extremely well-equipped and in control of the situation,” he said. “We obviously paid close attention, but at no time did we think we were in danger. I think the jets could have controlled where and when it went down.”


- Source:  http://mdcoastdispatch.com


Ron Hutchinson

On Saturday, August 30, Ronald Hutchinson, 67, lost consciousness while flying his Cirrus SR-22T plane and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the VA shore. He was the only person on board. 
 
Hutchinson, who lived in Brookfield, WI was on his way to Manassas, VA to visit family.

Hutchinson retired from Harley-Davidson after nearly 35 years with the company in the spring of 2009. During his time with Harley-Davidson, he rose to the position of Senior VP. He worked in many different departments within the company, where his passion for the product was only surpassed by his love of developing people. All who knew him would agree that he truly lived his life with boundless zeal.

A pilot of nearly 40 years, Hutchinson held numerous ratings for various types of aircraft, and had logged over 4,000 hours.

According to the Coast Guard press release issued Aug. 30, there were no survivors and no wreckage; the search was suspended on the morning of Aug. 31 in accordance with standard operating procedure.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Maureen Catherine, his children Cheryl (Hutchinson) Blackstone and her husband Joe, daughter Michelle Hutchinson Schofield and her husband Dave, and son Patrick and wife Stephanie. He had twelve grandchildren: Meghan, Shannon, Joseph and Logan Blackstone; Rachel, McKenzie and Kyle Schofield; Abigael, Emma, Anna Rose, Catherine and Sean Hutchinson.

The family requests and appreciates that privacy be granted them during this difficult time. 

The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday called off its search for a Brookfield man whose Cirrus SR-22T left Waukesha on Saturday before running out of fuel and crashing into the Atlantic Ocean after he mysteriously lost consciousness and contact with aviation officials.

Retired Harley-Davidson executive Ronald Hutchinson, 67, was on a personal trip, his son Patrick Hutchinson said Sunday. He said his father had been flying for 40 years and was in very good health.

“I want to applaud the efforts of the Coast Guard,” he said. “All the federal agencies involved kept us informed of every step of this.”

Only a wheel and a piece of cowling had been found, by a fisherman in the vicinity of the crash, about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island, Va., according to the Coast Guard.

As the Cirrus SR-22T entered restricted airspace near Washington, D.C., fighter jets scrambled to inspect it. Those pilots reported that the operator of the Cirrus SR-22T appeared to be unconscious. The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday the pilot had stopped responding to radio communications about 1 p.m.

The Coast Guard said an HC-130 Hercules plane MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter searched the area for the downed pilot on Saturday afternoon until dark, and that a Coast Guard ship continued the search through the night.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

The Cirrus SR-22T was registered to Hutchinson, 67, of Brookfield. It had been scheduled to land at Manassas (Va.) Regional Airport on Saturday afternoon. It left from Crites Field in Waukesha.

Hutchinson is a retired Harley-Davidson senior vice president for product design. He was among a handful of senior Harley officials who had been considered to be in the running to become the firm’s CEO until the company hired Keith Wandell from Johnson Controls in 2009.

Since retirement, Hutchinson had worked as a consultant and until just recently had served as chairman of the board of Wiscraft Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping blind people find employment in manufacturing.


Ronald Hutchinson was Senior Vice President of Product Development for Harley-Davidson Motor Company. In this role, Hutchinson was responsible for O.E. Motorcycle Engineering, including Platform Teams and Centers of Expertise; Materials Management; Logistics and Transportation; and the Parts, Accessories, Custom Vehicle and Trike Operations.  In addition to P&L responsibility for the $1.3 B PACT organization, he had accountability for the product design and development capabilities of that organization.

Hutchinson worked for Harley-Davidson more than 30 years. From 1975-1985, he held a series of engineering, manufacturing and quality positions. After a four-year period during which he was a Principal and Vice President of KW Tunnell, Hutchinson returned to Harley-Davidson as Vice President of Total Quality in 1989. He has subsequently held a number of senior leadership positions including Vice President of Customer Service; Vice President of Parts & Accessories; Vice President and Coach; and Senior Vice President of Product Development.


Ron Hutchinson

JUST ABOUT ANYBODY who’s dealt with Harley-Davidson in the past three decades has run across Ron Hutchinson, or at least some of his work.

In a career that spanned 34 years with The Motor Co., the lifelong motorcyclist (pictured at right) held a variety of engineering, education, manufacturing, quality, sales, service and marketing positions — all of them tied closely to the product — and he retired in 2009 as senior vice president of product development.

It’s hard to keep a guy away from the business who describes his entry into the two-wheeled world like this: “I started riding when I was nine on a minibike that my dad built — small, yet fast enough for a couple of great Irish cop stories.”

Hutchinson says he missed the industry and the relationships he forged with H-D’s dealer network, so after six months of retirement he started looking for a way to re-engage. He launched Accessory3, a manufacturer of aftermarket products for OEM trikes. He’s also recently signed a joint marketing agreement with Lehman/Champion and is looking at other OEM and conversion opportunities. Senior editor Dennis Johnson interviewed Hutchinson about his new venture.

Read more here: http://www.dealernews.com
 
Cessna 185: Florida - New York
Published on October 8, 2014
  http://youtu.be


NTSB Identification: ERA14LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 30, 2014 in
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22T, registration: N930RH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2014, at 1517 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22T, N930RH, registered to and operated by a private individual, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles east of Wallops Island, Virginia, after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot, the sole occupant. The airline transport pilot is presumed fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight, operating under instrument flight rules, originated from Waukesha County Airport (UES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1043 central daylight time and was destined for Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Manassas, Virginia.

A review of preliminary radar data revealed that the airplane took off from the departure airport and climbed to an altitude of 21,000 feet msl before leveling off. The airplane maintained this altitude for approximately one hour before descending to an altitude of approximately 13,100 feet msl. According to air traffic controllers, communication was lost with the pilot at 1300 EDT. The airplane traveled into restricted airspace near Washington D.C., and was intercepted by two North American Aerospace Defense Command intercept aircraft. The intercept pilots confirmed that the pilot of the aircraft was unconscious, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The intercept aircraft continued to follow the airplane until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. Within 30 seconds after impact, the nose of the airplane submerged below the surface of the water. Nearby boaters attempted to assist the downed airplane but the airplane began to sink below the surface. Debris from the airplane was collected and turned over to the Coast Guard. 


 NTSB Identification: ERA14LA424
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 05, 2014 in Open Water, Jamaica
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N900KN
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 5, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Socata TBM700 (marketed as TBM900), N900KN, impacted open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica. The commercial pilot/owner and his passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight that originated from Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York at 0826 and destined for Naples Municipal Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) data received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after departing ROC the pilot climbed to FL280 and leveled off. About 1000 the pilot contacted ATC to report an "indication that is not correct in the plane" and to request a descent to FL180. The controller issued instructions to the pilot to descend to FL250 and subsequently, due to traffic, instructed him to turn 30 degrees to the left and then descend to FL200. During this sequence the pilot became unresponsive. An Air National Guard intercept that consisted of two fighter jets was dispatched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina and intercepted the airplane at FL250 about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The fighters were relieved by two fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida that followed the airplane to Andros Island, Bahamas, and disengaged prior to entering Cuban airspace. The airplane flew through Cuban airspace, eventually began a descent from FL250 and impacted open water northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

According to a review of preliminary radar data received from the FAA, the airplane entered a high rate of descent from FL250 prior to impacting the water. The last radar target was recorded over open water about 10,000 feet at 18.3547N, -76.44049W.

The Jamaican Defense Authority and United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. Search aircraft observed an oil slick and small pieces of debris scattered over one-quarter mile that were located near the last radar target. Both entities concluded their search on September 7, 2014.