Sunday, November 9, 2014

Los Angeles Police Department is reviewing use of helicopters for non-department events

The Los Angeles Police Department helicopter climbed over a ridge of homes surrounding the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club's golf course and dipped down over a fairway, its blades churning as it hovered above the grass.

Dozens of golfers, children and parents waved and snapped photos from the clubhouse deck.

There wasn't a suspect in sight. No crime had occurred. The police chopper was there for a different reason: to drop scores of golf balls onto the course as part of a fundraiser for the Parent Teacher Assn. at Palm Crest Elementary School.

The helicopter's appearance was arranged by an LAPD sergeant whose children attend the La Cañada Flintridge school.

The choppers' main purpose is to help track suspects and patrol the city from above. But the department routinely donates its helicopters and officers to community functions and air shows to help promote the agency or raise money for police-related causes.

Some of the events are held outside Los Angeles and have no direct connection to the LAPD or the city, police officials said.

After inquiries from The Times, the LAPD said it has launched an investigation into the department's participation in the Oct. 27 La Cañada Flintridge fundraiser as well as other events, and is examining its policies on when to approve the use of the choppers.

"At first glance, it doesn't sound like something we should be doing," said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, an LAPD spokesman, about the La Cañada Flintridge event. "But we're going to take a look at it."

The LAPD's Eurocopter AS350 B2 and four-man crew — three officers in the air and a safety officer on the ground — were provided free of charge for the event, said Capt. Gary Walters, who oversees the LAPD helicopter fleet.

Officers dropped the balls from the helicopter as part of a raffle in which donors to the PTA event paid money for each ball. The owners of the six balls that landed closest to a yellow circle painted on the green won prizes, which included an iPad Mini, a GoPro camera and a laptop computer.

After dropping the balls, the helicopter flew up and over the golf course clubhouse, blaring its siren before disappearing over a row of homes nearby.

"It is part of our goodwill efforts," Walters said. "It is for the spirit of the community."

The sergeant who arranged the chopper's appearance sits on the PTA "Dads Committee," Smith said. The committee helped organize the PTA event.

Brian Parker, a member of the committee, said the LAPD sergeant has a friend in the department's Air Support division, which operates the helicopters. He declined to name the sergeant.

Smith also declined to identify the sergeant, citing safety and privacy concerns for his children.

The helicopter's appearance cost $771 in fuel, maintenance, personnel and planning costs, Smith said.

Last year, an LAPD helicopter crew flew to the Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach, where an LAPD chaplain dressed as Judah Maccabee, a key figure in the celebration of Hanukkah, handed out dreidels to schoolchildren.

The helicopter was arranged by the chaplain, who had a child attending the school, Smith said. He said the chaplain's father was the head rabbi at the private school.

That event was considered "part of an educational and religious outreach," Smith said.

LAPD officials said the agency's helicopters have been sent to 16 other non-department events since 2013, 11 of which were outside the city limits, according to a list provided by the department. At least seven of those appearances were at air shows across the region, many of them organized by private, nonprofit groups.

The LAPD allows helicopters to participate in some community events as a way to promote the department and encourage recruitment, Smith said.

The Air Support Division, which has a fuel budget of more than $2 million, bills itself as the largest municipal airborne law enforcement operation in the world. So far this year, its fleet of 17 helicopters has responded to more than 37,000 requests for help and logged about 13,500 hours in the air.

The department said the division's commanding officer had approved sending helicopters to the events in La Cañada Flintridge, Huntington Beach and elsewhere.

"It is not something the pilot can do because my kid's going to whatever school," said Walters, the current commanding officer.

In response to questions from The Times, the LAPD issued a statement saying it is reviewing "all recent charitable and community events in which LAPD helicopters participated."

"Based on that review, the department will consider modifying the protocols and approval process for all community engagements, charitable events and other activities occurring outside the City of Los Angeles," the statement said.

Some city officials questioned the use of LAPD helicopters for private groups that have no connection to the department's mission.

Los Angeles Councilman Bernard Parks, a former LAPD chief, said the decision to send a pilot and crew who were not already on patrol to La Cañada Flintridge raised "even more concerns."

"It's one thing if you are working and you deviate from your work and go do something that is in close proximity," he said. "It's another thing to say, 'We just brought this helicopter in to go to La Cañada.'"

A spokeswoman for L.A. City Councilman Mitchell Englander, a reserve LAPD officer, said he had asked the department to review the use of its helicopters.

Bob Anderson, who heads the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition, which has long advocated for flight restrictions to limit aircraft noise in residential areas, said the appearance in La Cañada went against the LAPD's past promises "to do as much as they can to ensure they fly as high as possible when not actively pursuing their mission."

Anderson, a semi-retired aerospace engineer, said residents understand that the LAPD uses helicopters to augment its patrols, but said unnecessary flights funded by taxpayer dollars were unacceptable.

"These helicopters are very expensive to fly, and every trip needs to be justified," he said. "Let them use a private helicopter. That it is not even in the city limits is even stranger."

Story and photos:  http://www.latimes.com

Hank's History: How I got a commercial pilot's license

 
Hank Billings
(Photo: News-Leader file photo)


Commercial.

 For most folks, it's the price for TV.

For pilots, it's a step above a private license, enabling them to fly for hire.

It was suggested I needed a commercial license to fly newspaper photographers for aerials.

I wasn't sure and didn't know how to finance it.

Pilot pal Bob Fiedler came to my rescue.

He had an instructor's rating and offered me free dual if I paid for the aircraft rental.

I jumped at the bargain.

Bob had a wonderful sense of humor.

He asked me to do a lazy eight, showing good control coordination.

"What was THAT?" Bob asked.

"A lazy eight,' I replied.

"Oh, I thought it was s crazy eight," Bob replied.

That joshing went on during other skill maneuvers and day and night cross-country flights.

Finally, Bob warily pronounced me ready for a flight test. And we were still pals.

Bob Soehner was the first FAA flight safety agent assigned here to flight test the many who earned licenses on the GI Bill of Rights.

I took my test in an Aeronca Champion at McFarland Airport.

Bob gave me a forced landing on takeoff.

I reached for the carburetor heat lever.

Bob opened the throttle.

When the test was over, Bob told me, "I nearly washed you on that forced landing. Reaching for the carburetor heat would have caused you to wash out the landing gear. If it had been a real forced landing, you wouldn't need the heat anyway."

Next week, I'll describe some flights the commercial license permitted.

- Source:  http://www.news-leader.com

Bombardier says China Express Air orders 16 planes

Nov 10 (Reuters) - China Express Airlines has placed a firm order for 16 CRJ900 NextGen regional jets from Bombardier Inc, the Canadian firm said in a statement late on Sunday.

China Express has also taken an option for another 8 CRJ900 NextGen regional jets, it added.

The agreement was signed in Beijing on the sidelines of a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders and chief executives.

Bombardier, which competes with Embraer SA, currently has about 35 CRJ and CRJ NextGen regional jets in service in the Greater China area.

China Express is a private regional airline based in Guizhou province. 


- Source:  http://www.reuters.com

Gates Learjet 35A, N17UF, Diplomat Aviation Bahamas Ltd: Fatal accident occurred November 09, 2014 at Grand Bahamas International Airport (MYGF), Freeport

NTSB Identification: ERA15RA047 
 14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, November 09, 2014 in Freeport, Bahamas
Aircraft: GATES LEARJET CORP. 35A, registration: N17UF
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On November 9, 2014, about 1652 eastern standard time, a Gates Learjet Corp 35A, N17UF, registered to Diplomat Aviation (Bahamas) Ltd., was destroyed when it impacted a crane and terrain during approach to Grand Bahama International Airport (MYGF), Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. The airline transport pilot, copilot, and seven passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated from Lynden Pindling International Airport (MYNN), Nassau, Bahamas, about 1600 and was operating under Bahamian flight regulations at the time of the accident.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accident Investigation & Prevention Unit
Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation
P.O. Box AP-59244
Nassau, N.P., The Bahamas
1 (242) 376-1617
1 (242) 377-6060 FAX
Email: aaipu.bcaa@gmail.com
website: www.aaipu-bcaa.com

This report is for informational purposes, and only contains information released by the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.


  
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The public is advised that the Department of Civil Aviation is now in possession of a Preliminary Report on the Freeport, Grand Bahama aircraft crash which took the lives of nine persons, at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 9th, 2014.  The narrative of that report is now being released by that Department. The report was prepared by the Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit (AAIPU) of the Department on November 20th, 2014, and it contains specifics on the aircraft and crew, and on the weather conditions and flight details.
 
According to the AAIPU report, both pilots Captain Stanley Thurston, and First Officer Frahkan Cooper were licensed and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, and were in possession of valid first class medical certificates, which were issued in November, 2014.  Day instrument meteorological conditions prevailed upon the departure of the aircraft from Odyssey Aviation, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the 24 minute flight to Freeport. The Preliminary Report has also confirmed that The Bahamas Area Forecast published on November 9th, 2014 by The Bahamas Meteorological Department advised that there was a frontal boundary over the northwest Bahamas and lower, moving over the northern Bahamas. 

Details provided in the Preliminary Report indicate that the aircraft uploaded 160 gallons of fuel prior to its departure from Odyssey Aviation, was provided with the current weather conditions upon contact with Freeport Air Traffic Control, and was cleared for an instrument approach.  However, the aircraft was unable to land in Freeport on its first attempt, due to heavy rain showers and reduced visibility, and the crew therefore executed a missed approach. It was during the return for the second approach, while attempting to visually locate the runway, and following deteriorating weather due to rain and haze, that the aircraft struck a crane in the Grand Bahama shipyard and crashed. 

The AAIPU is being assisted in its investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB) the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) and Bombardier, the manufacturer of the aircraft.  The team will re-assemble at the NTSB Headquarters in Washington in December, 2014 to continue its investigations.       
  
Click HERE to read the report (PDF).

A PRELIMINARY report into the plane crash that killed nine people in Grand Bahama on November 9 attributed the main cause of the tragedy to deteriorating weather conditions that reduced visibility resulting in a missed landing on the aircraft’s second approach to the airport.

The report was released yesterday.

In its findings, the Department of Civil Aviation’s Air Accident Investigation & Prevention Unit (AAIPU) explained that on the day of the crash, Meteorological Department officials released a weather report indicating that there was a frontal boundary over the northwest Bahamas.

Additionally, the weather report said there was the possibility of heavy showers and moderate to severe turbulence in the aircraft’s flying vicinity. It listed the daytime visibility at 1.5 at the time of the crash.

“The aircraft was unable to land on first attempt, due to heavy rain showers and reduced visibility,” the report said. “The crew executed a missed approach procedure and continued outbound and entered the published holding pattern at 2,000 feet. Some time after entering the holding pattern, ATC (air traffic control) reported the weather as improving and thus a second. . .approach was requested by the crew and granted by ATC.

“During the return for the second instrument approach, ATC reported the weather as again deteriorating due to rain and haze. While attempting to find the runway visually during the second approach, the aircraft descended and subsequently struck a towering crane at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.”

The report said the plane hit two support beams above the crane operator’s cab, approximately 115 feet mean sea level.

After losing the outboard portion of its right wing and fuel tank, the aircraft continued its “downward, uncontrolled descent, crashing inverted into a mound of garbage at the City Services Limited, (a garbage and metal recycling plant) which is located adjacent to the Grand Bahama Shipyard,” the report said.

The aircraft stopped after colliding with a metal generator-housing unit located at the recycling plant, the investigators said.

Pilot, Captain Stanley Thurston and co-pilot, First Officer Frahkan Cooper were licensed and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the ill-fated eight-seater Learjet 36, AAIPU officials said.

Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) Senior Pastor Dr Myles Munroe, 60, his wife Ruth, BFMI Vice-president Dr Richard Pinder, newly ordained youth pastors Lavard “Manifest” Parks, his pregnant wife Radel, and their five-year-old son Johanan died when the jet hit a crane at the Grand Bahama Shipyard. American citizen Diego DeSantiago was also on board the flight.

They all died immediately on impact.

"(Both pilots) were in possession of valid first class medical certificates, which were issued in November, 2014,” the report said.

“Day instrument meteorological conditions prevailed upon the departure of the aircraft from Odyssey Aviation, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the 24 minute flight to Freeport. The preliminary report has also confirmed that the Bahamas Area Forecast published on November 9, 2014 by the Bahamas Meteorological Department advised that there was a frontal boundary over the northwest Bahamas and lower, moving over the northern Bahamas.

“The aircraft uploaded 160 gallons of fuel prior to its departure, was provided with the current weather conditions upon contact with Freeport Air Traffic Control, and was cleared for an instrument approach.”

Investigators found that there was never a fire or explosion on board the Learjet as was previously speculated.

The aircraft was equipped with a Fairchild Model GA100 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and 2 Honeywell International N1 Digital Electronic Engine Control monitors which were recovered and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, DC and Honeywell International in Wichita, Kansas respectively, for readout.

Bahamian civil aviation officials with the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Bombardier – the manufacturer of the aircraft – will reassemble in Washington, DC, next month, to continue investigations.

According to initial reports from the Department of Civil Aviation, the plane left Nassau shortly after 4pm and crashed around 5.10pm in Grand Bahama.

Dr Munroe was an internationally acclaimed author, motivational speaker and consultant who ministered around the world.

The group was flying into Grand Bahama from New Providence for an annual leadership conference organised by Dr Munroe.

A memorial for Dr Munroe and his wife will be held on December 3 beginning 6pm at the national stadium. Their funeral is scheduled for the next day at BFMI on Carmichael Road.

Story and Comments:  http://www.tribune242.com


Photo: ADDRESSING THE MEDIA – Transport and Aviation Minister, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, addressed the media Monday, on the tragic plane crash that killed all passengers Sunday in Freeport. Shown behind the Minister are Director of Civil Aviation, Mr. Ivan L. Cleare and Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Lorraine Armbrister. 

 FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - The investigation into the tragic plane crash that killed ten passengers on Sunday in Grand Bahama will be an effort between Civil Aviation inspectors, the plane’s manufacturers, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said Transportation and Aviation Minister, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin during a press briefing on Monday. 

 Among those killed in the deadly crash were world renowned religious leader, Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth, along with other passengers who were flying to Grand Bahama from Nassau on a private jet for the Global Leadership Forum. Dr. Munroe was to be the forum’s host.

Minister Hanna-Martin said there are currently three inspectors from Flight Standards at the crash site at the Grand Bahama Shipyard, who are documenting the scene, while members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force are working to preserve the scene for further inspection by Bombardier, manufacturer of the aircraft, along with members of NTSB, who will arrive on Tuesday.

This effort, said the Minister, will conduct an investigation of the cockpit voice recorder to see what information can be gained from it. “It’s really an investigation and we want to discourage people from speculating – there’s lots of that and it’s not helpful. The inspectors are on the ground. It’s going to help us understand exactly what it was that happened that led to this terrible incident.”

The investigation will begin in full force on Tuesday, said the Minister, when it is hoped more information will be gathered. “A key, or a critical piece of information will be the cockpit voice recorder or whether there is a data voice recorder. We are not sure of that yet. But, that will greatly assist in understanding what happened here.”

Also present during the briefing were the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Lorraine Armbrister and the Director of Civil Aviation, Mr. Ivan L. Cleare.

The Minister says that many people fly in planes, and whenever there is a crash, and when people die, it is a setback. “In this case, there were some really outstanding contributors to our country and internationally. There was also a child onboard, and so it had the array of things that make it very difficult event for all of us. The Bahamas is a small place and everybody feels in a very deep way.”

Minister Hanna-Martin had high praise for the efforts of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who worked through the night in stormy weather at a difficult scene. “I’d like to give them credit for all they have done.”


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.
 
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

http://registry.faa.gov/N17UF 

AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 9 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, WRECKAGE LOCATED 4 MILES FROM GRAND BAHAMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FREEPORT, BAHAMAS


 
The Bahamians killed in the crash with Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth in Grand Bahama. From left, co-pilot Franhkan Cooper (top), pilot Stanley Thurston (bottom), Dr.  Richard Pinder, Lavard and Radel Parks and their son Johanan, five. The identity of the ninth victim of the crash, a visitor from Africa, has not yet been released.


Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin yesterday visited the crash site at the Grand Bahama Shipyard, where the Lear 36 jet went down on Sunday killing Dr Myles Munroe, the president and founder of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, and eight others on board.

Mr. Christie told reporters that the government needs to ensure the investigation into the accident moves quickly and to make policy changes if needed.

Ms. Hanna Martin said representatives from the US National Transportation Safety Board Transportation Board (NTSB) and from Bombardier, the manufacturers of the aircraft, are due to arrive in Freeport today for the start of a full-scale investigation into the crash.

The search for the cockpit voice recorder, she said, is crucial in determining what led to the “terrible incident.”

A team from the Flight Standards Inspectorate began its preliminary work at the crash site yesterday, gathering information, documenting the scene, and taking photographs.

Because the jet was a US-registered aircraft, Ms Hanna Martin said it was necessary for the NTSB to be involved in the investigation.

“The investigations will be a coordinated effort between that Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, the US NTSB, and the manufacturers, and they will begin to move forward in locating the cockpit voice recorder to see what information that it gives.

“So right now it is really an investigation and we want to discourage people from speculating because it’s lots of that (happening), and it is not helpful. The inspectors are on the ground and it will be a combined cross-sectoral effort that will review the circumstances and help us understand exactly what it was that happened and led to this terrible incident.

“A key and critical piece of information will be the cockpit voice recorder, and whether there was a data voice recorder, but we are not sure of that yet, but that will greatly assist in understanding what happened here,” she added.

Bad weather

On Sunday, Grand Bahama experienced severe weather conditions of heavy rain, lightning, and thunderstorms.

Officials said the plane left the Lynden Pindling International Airport around 4pm. Some time around 5.10pm, the plane - on approach to land at the Grand Bahama International Airport - struck a crane and reportedly exploded in mid-air, before crashing in a junk pile at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

Director of Civil Aviation Ivan Cleare said that the pilots were given the “all clear” by Air Traffic Control to fly to Freeport.

“The weather was good enough for them to fly yesterday,” Mr Cleare said. “Of course, sometimes the weather deteriorates and the pilots would have to make a decision.

“But they were given an update on the weather as they would have come in, and it would have been up to the pilots to accept an approach or decline the approach,” he explained.

Mr. Christie spoke to reporters around 1pm after visiting the crash site. He said that Dr Munroe’s death has had a “profound impact” on the country.

“We must ensure that wherever the answers take us, that if it has policy implications we can effect whatever changes we have to using this as an example of it,” he said of the investigation.

“I wanted to visit the crash site to get a sense of what happened,” he added. “When any horrific accident takes place and there is a loss of life, it is a major occasion in a country as small as the Bahamas. When it happens for someone who is an iconic leader, then it becomes a more profoundly impactful experience for the country.”

“I ask myself why would God take the life of someone who was one of his angels, one his disciples, one of his apostles,” he said, referring to Dr Munroe.

Mr. Christie told the leaders of Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFM) that life must go on and that they must put in practice the teachings of Dr Munroe.

“We are going to have to find the right way to celebrate the life of Dr Myles Munroe. He has made an extraordinary and defining contribution to the Bahamas, and worldwide.”

Dr. Munroe and his wife Ruth, both 60, were on their way to Freeport for the Global Leadership Summit. Also travelling with them were BFMI’s senior vice president Dr Richard Pinder, 59, and youth pastors Lavard Parks, and his wife, Rudel Parks, and their young son, Johannan.

Piloting was Capt Stanley Thurston, 62, with co-pilot Franhkan Cooper, 34. Another passenger, believed to be a visitor, who has not been identified was also on the plane.

Despite the tragedy, the conference went onto as scheduled yesterday morning at the Grand Lucayan Resort. It was a sombre moment for those attending and conference officials as they sang songs of praise and reflected on the life of Dr Munroe.

Banners with photographs of the world renowned spiritual leader hang prominently in the lobby of the convention centre.

Ambassador Andrew Young, an American politician, and a close friend of Dr Munroe, spoke to the gathering. He said that he was blessed to have known Dr Munroe and spend time with him. He told the BFM family that the presence of Dr Munroe will always be with them in spirit.

Leo Douglas, a member of BFM in Freeport, who communicated with Dr Munroe minutes before the crash, was devastated by the news.

“I got a text from him (Dr Munroe) saying that they were about to land, and I said I would meet him at the hotel,” he recalled.

A special prayer service was held at the BFM headquarters in New Providence last night. 


http://www.tribune242.com


The passengers and pilots preparing to board the ill-fated flight. 

The leader of Bahamas Faith Ministries, Dr Myles Munroe, and his wife Ruth have been killed in a plane crash in Grand Bahama.

The crash took place this afternoon and killed all nine people on board the private jet. The plane reportedly struck a crane at the Grand Bahama Ship Yard, exploding on impact and crashing into the ground near a junkyard area.

The Department of Civil Aviation reported that the plane was a Gates Learjet 35A which departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for the Grand Bahama International Airport.

The plane left LPIA at 4.07pm with nine people on board and crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5.10pm, the Department of Civil Aviation said.

A police on source on the island previously said two were feared dead. However, police sources later confirmed that all those on board had been killed.

The police source also said it was believed the group was heading to a conference hosted by Pastor Munroe.

The identities of the other people on board have not yet been confirmed.

The statement said while the department was advised of fatalities, it was awaiting confirmation from police on if there were any survivors.

The Grand Bahama Airport Company Crash Fire Rescue Department responded to the incident, and the Police and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue (BASRA) are presently on the scene.

The department said a full scale investigation will start tomorrow morning at daylight, which will include the Department of Civil Aviation Aircraft Accident Investigation Prevention Unit.


- Source:  http://www.tribune242.com


Freeport, Grand Bahama — Breaking News coming into Bahamas Press confirms we have a plane crash at the Shipyard site on Grand Bahama island.

We understand the private aircraft were flying passengers inbound onto Grand Bahama for a major religious conference which in opening tonight.

We can confirm the aircraft crashed around 5:10pm.

Unconfirmed reports suggests some 9 persons were onboard.

BP IS LIVE AT THE CRASH SCENE where we can report heavy rains in the Grand Bahama area had caused flights to be diverted.

Sources tell us because of bad weather in the Grand Bahama area flights were diverted; even two scheduled local flights of Bahamasair aborted landing in the second city due to the inclement weather.

Bahamas Press is Live….


BAHAMAS -  Faith Ministries leader Dr Myles Munroe was among nine passengers on board a plane that crashed in Grand Bahama this afternoon, multiples sources have said.

The Department of Civil Aviation reported that the plane which crashed on Grand Bahama was a Gates Learjet 35A which departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for the Grand Bahama International Airport.

The plane left LPIA at 4.07pm with nine people on board and crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5.10pm, the Department of Civil Aviation said.

A police on source on the island previously said two were feared dead. However police have not officially confirmed the number of deaths.

The police source also said it was believed the group was heading to a conference hosted by Bahamas Faith Ministries International Pastor Myles Munroe.

The identities of the people on board have not been released.

The statement said while the department was advised of fatalities, it was awaiting confirmation from police on if there were any survivors.

The Grand Bahama Airport Company Crash Fire Rescue Department responded to the incident, and the Police and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue (BASRA) are presently on the scene.

The department said a full scale investigation will start tomorrow morning at daylight, which will include the Department of Civil Aviation Aircraft Accident Investigation Prevention Unit.


Story and Comments:  http://www.tribune242.com





 

Cessna 140A, N5612C: Fatal accident occurred November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, California

Kiely Vaca
The Cessna 140A was piloted by Jon Dennis, 69, who along with passenger Kiely Vaca, 18, were killed on November 8th, 2014.



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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration- Flight Standards District Office; San Jose FSDO-15, California;
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas;
Continental Motors Group; Mobile, Alabama.

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

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




NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
Injuries: 2 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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark, Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived. The FAA issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane, and the wreckage was located the following day within a heavily wooded valley about five miles north of Frazier Lake Airpark by search and rescue personnel.

Overhead power distribution lines had separated near their mid-spans over the valley near the accident site. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies, separated at a distance of about 1,500 feet, and were about 300 feet above ground level near the accident site. Residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact, with exception to the propeller assembly, which was located near the main wreckage. The main wreckage was about 600 feet south of the distribution lines. Braided wire striations were observed on the propeller assembly and outboard area of the right wing.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 69, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine and multiengine land, airplane single-engine sea, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft rating. Additionally, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate with ratings in single- and multiengine land airplane, and a basic ground instructor certificate. A second-class airman medical certificate was issued on May 14, 2014 with restrictions that he must have available glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 22,000 total flight hours and 30 hours in the last 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, high-wing airplane, serial number (S/N) 15545, was manufactured in 1950. It was powered by a Continental C-90-14F engine, serial number 42725-0-14, rated at 90 horsepower, and equipped with a McCauley fixed pitch propeller.

A review of the maintenance records revealed that during the last annual inspection on August 2, 2014, the airframe and engine both had a total time of 5,484 hours, with 1,092 hours on the engine since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting station to the accident site was located at Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California, which was located 26 miles southwest of the accident site, at an elevation of 84 feet msl. At 1453, several minutes prior to the accident, the station disseminated an automated observation report; wind 7 knots at 270 degrees, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 24° C, dew point 12° C, altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

According to the US Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department, in the town of Hollister, the sun was located at 20.1 degrees above the horizon at an azimuth of 228.9 east of north at 1500. Sunset was at 1702.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the aircraft had been flying to the south and the wreckage was located on an east-facing slope of a wooded valley about five miles east of Gilroy, California. The wreckage was substantially damaged and there was no debris field. The first identified point of contact was tree strikes near the top of surrounding oak trees directly above the main wreckage. An area of disturbed dirt was found uphill from the wreckage on steep terrain. The area of disturbed dirt was about 25 feet in length and had paint transfer marks on rocky outcroppings. The propeller assembly was found near the main wreckage and had impact damage. The airplane was upright and was facing uphill in the direction of about 340 degrees magnetic. The engine and cowling had impact damage and were crushed rearward into the cabin area. Both wings had leading edge damage. The main gear legs were bent rearward. The right wheel separated from the landing gear strut. All primary flight controls were attached to the airplane. The right horizontal stabilizer had impact damage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Santa Clara County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on November 10, 2014. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries due to airplane crash."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and all results were negative.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The right wing leading edge and right wing strut had impact marks consistent with a wire strike, and electrical arcing signatures were visible on one of the propeller blade leading edges. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. For further information, see the postaccident examination summary in the public docket for this accident.
 

Volunteers searched on November 9th, 2014 for the victims of a plane crash near Gilroy, California. -Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department


NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
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 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 November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark (1C9), Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived at their intended destination. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane. The wreckage was located on November 9 within a heavily wooded area about 5 miles north of 1C9 by search and rescue personnel.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact with exception to the propeller assembly which was located near the main wreckage. Both wings had leading edge damage, the engine and forward fuselage was severely crushed rearward, and the empennage remained attached with impact damage to the right horizontal stabilizer. All primary flight controls remained attached to the airplane. The separated propeller assembly revealed that one of its blades had multiple s-type bending and a small portion of that blade's tip was missing. The other blade was slightly bent rearward. Braided wire striations were observed on the outboard area of the right wing and propeller.

Overhead distribution power lines located a few hundred feet from the main wreckage were found separated near their mid-spans. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies at a distance of about 1,500 feet and spanned the valley below, about 300 feet above ground level. According to residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident.

The airplane wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.



GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Jose high school student is being remembered as a remarkable young women who had everything going for her, until the small plane she was in went down over the weekend.

Lincoln High School senior Kiely Vaca was killed in the crash in a remote area near Gilroy.

Students say it was very quiet at school on Monday. By all accounts, Vaca wasn't just well-liked, she was beloved. She was 18 years old and played varsity basketball.

News of her death hit the student body hard.

"Every class, you could hear a pin drop. Everything was silent," said student Nisreen Abuayed. "Usually it's really upbeat. Today, a lot of teachers said if you need a minute, to put your head down."

Volunteers gathered in the remote spot outside Gilroy where Vaca and 69-year-old Jon Dennis died in a plane crash Saturday night. Investigators are looking into why small plane went down, while those who knew Vaca are remembering how much she touched their lives.

"She put others before she put before herself in. Like she was really compassionate," John Garcia said. "She would try to help others out before she would help herself."

Grief counselors were at school all day to help students and teachers cope with the teen's death. Those closest to her were so distraught they didn't go to school at all.

"There might be some teenagers who haven't experienced a death of such a close friend, so it's really a time for parents to be on the lookout," San Jose Unified School District spokesman Jorge Quintana said.

Employees at Great America in Santa Clara are grieving too. Vaca worked in the park services department for two years. She was one of 2,500 hundred employees, but her manager Dan Murillo said she stood out.

"I always played around with her," he said. "I called her Ky-Ky, so she started calling me Dan-Dan. So every time we greeted each other she's like, 'Hey, Dan Dan' with her big smile, positive attitude."

She had a big smile that will no doubt live on in people's memory.

Story and Video:   http://abc7news.com



Authorities were working over the weekend to recover wreckage from a small-plane crash that killed two people near Gilroy.

The Cessna 140 crashed Saturday evening "under unknown circumstances" about four miles northwest of Hollister, sustaining substantial damage, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The passengers died Sunday, Santa Clara County coroner's officials said. They were identified as Kiely Vaca, 18, of San Jose, and Jon Dennis, 69, of Gilory, who owned the plane.

It had been traveling from Hollister to Watsonville, which is north of Monterey Bay.

Crews searching for the plane's wreckage found it Sunday morning.


The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was the subject of an alert notice Saturday. The notices are usually issued when neither communication nor radar can be established with an aircraft.

A friend tweeted a photo showing Vaca wearing a headset used during a previous flight.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a small plane crash near Gilroy.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesperson for the FAA, told NBC Bay Area that the accident occurred Saturday evening. The airplane, a Cessna 140, was traveling from Hollister to Watsonville. It crashed under unknown circumstances approximately four miles northwest of Hollister, Kenitzer said. The wreckage was discovered Sunday morning following a search.

According to local authorities, there were two people on board the aircraft at the time of the crash. Santa Clara County Sheriff's office tweeted that there were no survivors. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the accident. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is also on the scene of the crash. Sheriff's office spokesperson Kurtis Stenderup described the crash site as a rural area off Highway 152.

"We had to use ATVs and 4x4 to get to the actual crash site," he said.


Plane crash north of Pacheco Pass Highway

 Gilroy, CALIF. -  The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is working a crash site for a small plane north of Pacheco Pass Highway in Gilroy.

At this time it is still unknown if the crash is related to the missing aircraft reported Sunday morning in San Benito County.

Santa Clara County sheriffs and the California wing of the Civil Air Patrol are on the scene of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has also been called to the scene.

The Cessna 140 aircraft flew out of Frazier Lake Airport in Hollister at 1 p.m. Saturday and didn't return when due back. A man and a woman were reported on board the plane.

The search for the missing aircraft has been underway since 6 a.m.

Updated: Plane crash reported off Pacheco Pass  
 
Authorities have located an airplane that crashed off Pacheco Pass that may be the missing aircraft reported Sunday morning.

A rancher found the crashed aircraft off Pacheco Pass near Canada Road, said Capt. Eric Taylor with the San Benito County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities were already searching for an airplane that took off from Frazier Lake Airpark on Saturday and did not return when due back, according to a statement from the county sheriff's office released Sunday morning.

There was a man from Gilroy and woman from San Jose on the plane, but families asked that authorities not immediately identify them, Taylor said.

"They're hiking down to see if it's the same plane or not," said Taylor, referring to deputies with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office received a report at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday about an "overdue aircraft" at Frazier Lake Airpark in San Benito County. The plane took off around noon and had yet to return as of shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the sheriff's office in its initial release.

Those two people were on board the 1950 Cessna 140A aircraft, described as being white with a red nose and red stripe down the side.

"The pilot has a history of just doing some local flying," Taylor said.

Anybody having any information on this missing aircraft was urged to call the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office at (831) 636-4080 or a nearby enforcement agency.

Look back for more. This story is developing.


Gilroy: Plane crash leaves no survivors

 At least person has been found dead amid the wreckage of a plane that crashed on a ranch just east of Gilroy, a Santa Clara Sheriff's County spokesman said Sunday.

Sheriff's Office personnel were called to the property just off the Highway 152 corridor around 10 a.m. Sunday, and did locate at least one body, spokesman Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said. It was not known immediately when the plane crashed, but Stenderup said nobody on the property was injured.

Officers from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were expected to be at the scene either late Sunday or early Monday morning, he said.

"We have no survivors," he said. "We're holding off on giving out anything official until the NTSB and the FAA representatives arrive."

Officials did not say immediately whether the plane was the Cessna 140 that went missing Saturday night with a man and woman aboard. That plane left Frazier Lake Airpark in Hollister around 1 p.m. Saturday, and was reported overdue around 10 p.m. when it didn't return.

The site of the crash is in a hilly area and difficult to reach, Stenderup said.

"The crash is in a very remote area, so there are some logistical issues with trying to get there. But we're working on that."

The U.S. Air Force Search and Rescue team, and the Civil Air Patrol searched early Sunday for the missing plane, which had a tail number of #N5612C, according to authorities.

Plane with lawmakers averts accident

KATHMANDU: Nepal Airline Corporation’s Twin Otter with a call sign, 9N ABU, averted an accident on Sunday morning, while preparing to take-off from Phaplu Airport in Solukhumbu.

The aircraft, which was heading towards Kathmandu, encountered ‘technical problem’ in the engine.

NAC Spokesperson Saroj Kasaju said the aircraft faced minor technical problem for which they had to halt the flight.

"The problem was fixed and the aircraft later flew to sectors like Biratnagar on Sunday,” he said.

The aircraft was carrying 15 passengers, including five lawmakers, who were members of a committee formed to investigate into alleged foul play during the second CA polls held last year.


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

Spirits, WWII planes soar for Veterans' Day at John Bell Williams Airport (KJVW), Raymond, Mississippi

 
WWII B-17 Bomber pilot Charles Hull (blue jacket) poses with Army National Guard Black Hawk pilot Joe Spears and his children Parker, 2, and Noah, 6, at J.B. Williams Airport on Saturday.
(Photo: Therese Apel)


On Saturday, Spc. John Patterson got to live out a lifelong dream. 

 Even though he's served in the infantry for more than 10 years, including fighting in Iraq, he has always wanted to fly in a North American T-6 Texan. Thanks to a local pilot and business owner, he got to do that.

Patterson was there with his wife, Holley, and his service dog, Tucker.

"I was raised around and in airplanes my entire life, my father flew, and he took us up to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to the big fly-in every year since I was about 10 years old," Patterson said. "My favorite section was the warbirds, and that's pretty much where I pretty much stayed the entire time I was up there, and I always wanted to ride in one. This is my chance."

John Mosley, owner of Clinton Body Shop, said his business sponsored the event and picked up the tab for the gas for the flights because it was a way to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have defended our freedom.

"We want these veterans to know they're not forgotten, and that we appreciate what they did," he said. "It doesn't by any means pay them back, but it's a small token. It's something to let them know they're appreciated."

Lonnie Mallory is a Vietnam-Era Air Force vet. He and his wife Alta, who first rode in a plane when she was 7 1/2 months pregnant and he was deployed to Germany while he was in the service, were among the crowd of excited participants. Mallory worked on B-52s and F-4s during his time in the service, working in electronic warfare.

He said it touched him that Mosley would put such an event together.

"Just them saying thank you for the service, and getting to fly in a small airplanes," he said. "There's nothing more pretty than getting to be up there in a small aircraft."

National Guard Black Hawk pilot Joe Spears brought his wife Bonnie and his two children, Noah, 6, and Parker, 2. He said he has tried to instill in his family an understanding of the military, and events like Saturday's help drive the point home.

"So we don't forget how we got to where we are right now, and to continue that for every generation, so they know it was important back then, right now, and in the future to live in a free country," said Spears.

WWII B-17 Bomber pilot Charles Hull also was on hand. He didn't go up in one of the planes, but he told stories of his time as a pilot, and how he once flew a private plane around the world.

J.B. Williams Airport Manager Michelle Jackson said it was an honor to host the event.

"It's always a privilege to honor the brave men and women who have kept our country safe," she said. "We owe them a debt that cannot be repaid."

Story, Video and Photos:  http://www.clarionledger.com

 
A Navion awaits its next passenger Saturday when veterans were given free rides in WWII-era aircraft, courtesy of Clinton Body Shop and JB Williams Airport.
(Photo: Therese Apel)

'Jets rebuilding' plane flies over MetLife Stadium before Steelers game

EAST RUTHERFORD — It's tough to see in the photo below, which was taken from the MetLife Stadium press box about an hour and a half before Steelers-Jets on Sunday, but that's an airplane flying overhead with a banner that reads "Jets rebuilding since 1969." Come on. That's not even clever!

Airplane banners as a form of protest became A Thing this week, when a Jets fan arranged to fly a plane over practice on Wednesday that read "Fire John Idzik." Idzik is the Jets' general manager, and he's drawn the ire of Jets fans because of the team's 1-8 start. The Jets, as a gag, had a staffer fly a toy helicopter with a "Go Jets" banner above practice the following day. Which at least is kind of funny.

But rebuilding since 1969? Sure, the Jets haven't won a Super Bowl since '69, but they've certainly had some formidable teams since then, including a group that reached back-to-back AFC championship games as recently as four years ago. But the people are angry. No one said their protests had to make any sense.

Story, Comments and Photo:   http://www.nj.com


Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (KEAU) sees interest in vacant restaurant space

The chairs at Farm on Starr have been off the floor for a week now. The year and a half old establishment closed at the end of October.



The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport has already had some interest in its now vacant restaurant space.

Airport Manager Charity Speich told the Herald Friday that she has already showed the facility to multiple interested parties. But it’s hard to tell how serious any of the parties are, she added.

Last week, Farm on Starr abruptly closed its doors to the surprise of airport officials. Speich said that the owners of the establishment had contacted her in mid-September explaining that they wanted to find a replacement for their business. But the sudden closing hadn’t been discussed.

“We didn’t know they were going to close on that date,” Speich said.

Finding a replacement is important for the airport because it’s an expected service, Speich said. “It’s more of an inconvenience than anything,” she said. Travelers passing through airports expect to find a place to eat.

Speich said that an advantage in finding a replacement company is that the facility was recently renovated.

“It’s an option where (a business) could walk in and start operating,” she said.

Farm on Starr opened in April of 2013 with a $3,000-a-month minimum lease. Before that, Connell’s II operated there for many years.

Thursday night the Airport board met in closed session to discuss options regarding the closure and finding a replacement, but Speich said that no action was taken.

In the mean time, Speich said that anybody with reservations for a meeting room should call 715-839-6241.

- Source:   http://chippewa.com

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N2152T, Frederick Flight Center: Fatal accident occurred November 09, 2014 in Hinton, Virginia

A small plane crashes. Night falls. And one man struggles to survive.

Dr. Bernhard "Bernie" Helmut Charlemagne of Frederick, Maryland, died at the scene.


John Hicks had survived a childhood of poverty and years of addiction before the 2014 plane crash in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. He still teaches hunter safety courses in Maryland.


Bob Shiflet, left, and Phil Hoover at the Clover Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in Dayton, Va. They were the first two people to reach the crash site. The newspaper articles feature their rescue efforts.



They had been flying for a half-hour when John Hicks noticed that the Cessna’s airspeed had dipped, so he mentioned it to the flight instructor. His teacher, sitting next to him in the cramped cockpit, pushed in the throttle, accelerating the aircraft with such power that it rocked Hicks’s head back. It was then that he lifted his eyes, peered out the windshield and saw what was directly before them in the darkness enveloping the George Washington National Forest: a mountain.

At more than 120 mph, the 2,500-pound plane sliced through a cluster of Appalachian hardwoods in a remote corner of northwestern Virginia. The tip of the left wing snapped off and the right wing struck a tree so hard that it streaked the trunk with red paint. Hicks heard metal rip, glass shatter, tree limbs break, the engine scream. And yet the Cessna 172, he realized, hadn’t stopped moving.

Then it did.

Hicks had longed to learn to fly since childhood, but he’d been convinced that people like him — who’d grown up poor, barely graduated from high school, worked blue-collar jobs — simply didn’t do things like that. He often took lunch breaks at airport parking lots just to watch the planes take off. Then two years ago, at age 50, his roofing business had done well enough that he could afford the $10,000 it would cost to get his pilot’s license — formally known as an airman certificate.

And so, on the evening of Nov. 8, 2014, already with 23 hours of experience in the air, Hicks and his German-born teacher, Bernie Charlemagne, had taken off from Frederick, Md., in what was supposed to be the student pilot’s longest flight to date. Instead, their small plane became one of more than 1,200 private U.S. aircraft to crash that year.

Seconds after the impact, Hicks opened his eyes. Through the ringing in his ears, he heard gurgling.

“We’re in water,” he thought, now afraid of drowning. “We’re sinking.”

The Cessna had slammed into a rock, leaving a metallic scar in the mountainside before sliding 20 feet down. Just yards from plummeting off a steep incline, the plane had been caught by an oak tree and settled with its nose straight down and its cracked tail pointed into the night sky.

To Hicks’s right, Charlemagne gasped for air.

Panic engulfed Hicks, even as he realized — because of its smell — that the gurgling sound he heard was fuel flowing out of the ruptured tanks in the wings. What if it caught fire? He ripped the key out of the ignition and switched off the yellow lights on the instrument panel. Hicks unbuckled his harness, but he remained trapped. The wreck was so violent that it had shoved the pedals beneath the seat, trapping his legs.

“I can’t breathe,” Charlemagne shrieked.

Hicks’s heart pounded. He had to get out.

He yanked on his blue Levi’s until he freed his feet, then crawled out and slumped onto the open plane door, now serving as a platform.

He inhaled. He exhaled.

It was nearing 6:30 on a winter night, and at 3,100 feet above sea level, the temperature on the mountain would soon approach freezing. His left foot, snapped below the shin, was pointed back to his knee, and his right foot had been crushed at the ankle. Inside the plane, the man to whom he had entrusted his life sounded certain that he was about to die. And soon Hicks would begin to fear that because of bad luck and worse judgment, they might never be found.

In a sense, though, what he faced that night felt familiar. Hicks had already endured a half-century of struggle, and none of it — not his tumultuous childhood, years of addiction or near collisions with death — had broken him.

Now he had to find a way to survive once more.



‘Get me out!’

Hicks needed a plan.

He had just severed the harness around Charlemagne, who then slumped through the blown-out windshield with his feet still pinned beneath the seat.

“Get me out!” Charlemagne pleaded. But Hicks, strong and stout at 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, couldn’t free him.

And now, as always, he focused on his next step. “What’s the plan?” Hicks would say so often that friends repeated it just to tease him.

He’d developed that obsession with what would come next because as a child he rarely knew.

His father, a mechanic, was a drunk who on especially bad nights beat Hicks’s mother, Margaret. When Hicks was 6, she left his dad and moved with him and his younger brother, Bobby, to an unkempt apartment in Silver Spring, Md., where the boys found cockroaches beneath their bunk beds and shared meals on a plywood slab stacked atop car tires. To support her boys, Margaret took a job at the phone company that paid $75 a week.

Their poverty embarrassed Hicks, who hated when do-gooders left cans of food on their doorstep. He never did homework, but he did learn to fight and steal bicycles and, at age 11, drink alcohol. Around 15, after his mother had remarried, he drank so much Southern Comfort one evening that when he stumbled into the back yard vomiting, she called an ambulance.

The chaos in his life nearly killed him that night, and on many other occasions in the years that followed as he collapsed into drug abuse. What saved Hicks a decade later was a plan that led him to meetings where every night he introduced himself the same way: “Hi, my name is John. I’m an addict.”

Sprawled on the door of the wrecked airplane, he worked on another plan: We have to get off this mountain.

His cellphone had been clipped to a pocket of his jeans, but now it was gone, presumably crushed on the mountainside. Charlemagne’s was missing, too. Beneath a full moon, Hicks searched through two flight bags and found an emergency radio kit, but its battery had died.

Dread gripped him.

His fiancee, Michele Bossard, had left for Moscow on business, which meant only her son, JB, would notice Hicks’s absence. At just 13, would he know what to do? Even if he did make a report, Hicks realized, JB was likely to tell authorities that the plane was headed to Charlottesville, their original destination. The boy did not know that the flight instructor had decided before takeoff that they would instead travel to Hot Springs, more than 60 miles west.

Charlemagne hadn’t filed a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration or, before leaving the Frederick Flight Center, written their intended destination on the whiteboard, as he usually did. The light to the plane’s emergency locator transmitter was on, but Hicks suspected its antenna had broken.

No one, he thought, would know how to find them.

Both men were quiet now, Hicks on the door and Charlemagne, 49, trapped upside down in a cockpit splattered with blood. They’d first met weeks earlier and flown together seven or eight times. To Hicks, Charlemagne was quirky but enthusiastic, a description used by many who knew him. Friends said he found his greatest joys in both teaching and learning. He’d studied politics in Washington and economics in London and traveled through Europe, Africa and South America, developing a dry but charming sense of humor. His wife, Irene Mueller, supported his many passions — flying, camping, engraving, tinkering — and spent weekends with him at flea markets.

Hicks knew almost none of that about Charlemagne, but there they were on the side of a mountain with the moon climbing higher and the night growing colder.

“I’m sorry,” Charlemagne told him. “I love my wife. I just want to be home.”

Then he said nothing more.



‘Please, God, let John be okay’

JB woke up at 11 that night, hours after he’d fallen asleep in their Monrovia, Md., home. He had expected Hicks back around 8 for dinner.

The teenager checked the garage and saw that their blue Dodge Challenger was still gone.

He texted and called, leaving messages: “John, if you get this, please call back.”

JB tried his mother, but couldn’t reach her in Russia. He sat down in the living room next to their dog, Lulu, and began to cry.

His biological father had killed himself before he was born, and he had struggled with that reality for years. He was just 3 when his mother met Hicks, who had taught JB how to tie a hook to a fishing line, control his breath while aiming a hunting bow and taunt Flyers fans at Caps hockey games.

At their favorite Italian restaurant after JB’s basketball practice the night before, Hicks could talk about nothing but his upcoming flight.

And now JB feared that the man who helped raise him had died in a crash.

“Please, God,” he prayed, “let John be okay.”

He called 911.

His dad was a student pilot, JB told the dispatcher. He had flown that night but still had not come back. JB insisted, until investigators believed him, that something had gone wrong.

“I had already lost one father,” he said later. “I didn’t want to lose another.”



‘Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.’


A chill swept over Hicks.

The temperature had descended into the 30s, and all that protected him were his jeans, a T-shirt and a thin Harley-Davidson sweatshirt.

Earlier, he had tried to toss Charlemagne’s jacket down to him, but it had landed on the ground beneath the plane’s nose.

Now Charlemagne was dead, and Hicks began to wonder what had gone so wrong. Their plane lacked equipment that could detect dangerous terrain, although not once had the flight instructor consulted an aeronautical chart for the area.

Investigators would later learn that Charlemagne did not take one on the flight.

Every small-plane crash is different. Of the 257 that led to deaths in 2014, many were due to pilots simply losing control, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. But that’s not what happened to Charlemagne, who had inadvertently flown an under-control Cessna into a mountain.

The accident would baffle both the pilots who admired him and the federal investigators who studied it. He had nearly 6,000 hours of experience and, according to the safety board’s later inquiry, showed no signs of distress in the days before his last trip.

“If Bernie was flying, I would go to sleep. He’s conscientious, he’s safety-minded,” said Arthur Chausmer, a physician who knew Charlemagne through the Civil Air Patrol. “Everybody I know makes mistakes.”

But Charlemagne’s mistakes had cost him his life — and left Hicks fighting to escape the same fate.

After half an hour of fishing for his flight jacket with a tree limb, Hicks snagged it. It was wet with fuel, but he still put it on.

Fearing frostbite, he retrieved a white Nike tennis shoe that had come off in the cockpit. His right foot was so swollen that he had to loosen the sneaker’s laces. As he slid it on, his bones crunched. It felt as if he had stepped into a blender.

Still frigid, Hicks spotted a loose piece of carpet in the baggage area above him. He ripped it out and covered his lap.

He remained doubtful that anyone had reported them missing, and yet, he felt a peace. He’d faced death before.

At age 26, two months after he’d been caught driving drunk, Hicks returned to his Maryland apartment drunk again. He hated the person he’d become.

“Trouble,” he said, “just followed me everywhere.”

Hicks smoked PCP and chugged Jack Daniel’s. He slumped onto his hallway floor and put the barrel of a 9mm pistol in his mouth.

His finger curled around the trigger. Seconds passed, but he couldn’t squeeze. Hicks realized he wanted to live.

He opened a phone book and called the first substance-abuse hotline he could find.

During his recovery, a friend took him deer hunting for the first time. Hicks found refuge in the woods and soon began to share his passion at a hunter-safety course, where year after year he taught people how to face crisis. “STOP,” he repeated hundreds of times: “Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.”

But his expertise wasn’t all that buoyed him. Hicks was driven, too, by his sheer orneriness. He hated to relent, ever. “John’s an a-----e,” his brother liked to say, and Hicks never disputed it. That attitude had damaged relationships, including one with his adult daughter, from whom he was estranged, but it had also sustained him through a violent motorcycle crash, a recession that jeopardized his roofing business and the constant temptation to drink or use drugs again.

And so, as his feet turned purple, Hicks concentrated on the night sky, refusing to acknowledge his body’s anguish. And while glimmers passed that he knew were probably satellites, Hicks signaled at them with flashlights for hours, refusing to just sit there. And when he heard the heavy footsteps of an approaching black bear, Hicks screamed and cursed and slammed the tree limb into the side of the Cessna, refusing to live through a plane crash only to die from a mauling.

Hicks made another plan, too: If he wasn’t rescued soon, he would start a massive fire; and if that didn’t work, he would make splints for his legs and rescue himself.



‘There it is’ 


The sun had just risen when Bob Shiflet’s pager began to beep.

“Aircraft incident,” the dispatcher said, so Shiflet left the northwest Virginia farm where he’d lived all of his 65 years and drove the one mile to the Clover Hill fire station.

Soon, he and another volunteer firefighter, Phil Hoover, headed out in the unit’s Hummer. Each had received calls like this before, but they seldom found anything.

“We kind of thought,” Shiflet said, “we were going on a wild-goose chase.”

Investigators had tracked the plane’s final radar contact, a signal from its emergency transponder and, most critical, a ping off Hicks’s cellphone, which had landed intact just 20 feet uphill from the wreckage.

“Air Force search and rescue is attempting to locate you,” said a message sent to Hicks’s phone at 5:31 a.m.

He had no idea.

Still, the search area was vast. Shiflet and Hoover drove to a clearing at the mountain’s top, then hiked into the forest.

Word that Hicks was missing soon reached his family. In Georgia, his brother, a former Army Ranger who had seen comrades killed in crashes, suspected that Hicks was dead. In Moscow, Bossard read an email and collapsed on the floor of her hotel room.

About 8 a.m. in Virginia, Nolan Dean, a retired locksmith, got a call from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office — a small plane may have gone down near him. The 67-year-old wheeled a Cessna 150 out of his spacious garage and, joined by a deputy, took off. He had planned to ascend to 5,000 feet and fly in widening circles, but as the morning sunlight washed over a distant mountainside, something shiny caught his eye.

Through leafless trees, the wrecked plane came into view.

“There it is,” Dean said, relieved that they’d found it so quickly, but certain no one could have survived the crash.

Dean was soon joined in the air by an Air Care helicopter. Nearing the wreckage, the crew spotted movement.

Zeb Lilly, a paramedic onboard, was stunned.

“We’re being signaled by a survivor of the crash,” the 33-year-old radioed to the rescue teams on the ground.

With the coordinates recorded, both aircraft left.

On the ground, Hicks was convinced the plane and helicopter crews hadn’t seen him.

“That,” he said, “was the epitome of despair.”

News of a survivor invigorated Shiflet and Hoover, who drove halfway down the mountain, where a Rockingham fire captain had mapped a path to the site.

The pair set off around 9, faced with a brutal mile-plus hike up a 30-degree slope. Every four minutes, their radio sent a signal to the firefighter tracking their course.

“Bear left,” he told them again and again.

Hicks heard voices in the distance. He screamed and whistled, but no one replied. What if, even now, they couldn’t find him? The thought was overwhelming.

Then, suddenly, Hoover appeared from around a wing of the plane.

For a moment, Hicks struggled to process it. His chest pulsed. Finally, he smiled.

Was he okay, the firefighter asked?

Both of his legs were broken and maybe an arm, Hicks told him.

Had anyone else survived?

“Bernie didn’t make it,” Hicks said, and at last he began to sob.

An air traffic controller looks out over the airfield at the Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland in 2013. Bernie Charlemagne and John Hicks used the airport while Charlemagne was teaching Hicks to fly.



‘Just grateful to be here’

Two years later, Hicks shuffled across the driveway and eased into a white Chevrolet TrailBlazer.

Around both ankles, which he could no longer bend, were white streaks from two surgeries that left cadaver bone with eight screws in his left leg and two titanium plates with 14 screws in his right.

“Today is not a good day,” he said. “The cold, I can feel it.”

Usually, Hicks carried a purple pill case packed with Celebrex for arthritis, Lyrica for nerve damage and Percocet for the ache in his legs and his back, because two vertebrae had cracked on impact.

But Hicks needed a new painkiller prescription, so he had returned to Maryland from his home in Florida, where the warm weather allayed his discomfort.

He turned onto Interstate 70, and as the SUV cleared a line of trees coated in fall foliage, the Frederick airport appeared on his right. Hicks glanced over, as he always did. Goosebumps coated his skin.

The nightmares had begun in the hospital. Sometimes, he imagined being trapped in the cockpit again. Other times, he heard Charlemagne’s voice.

He would wake suddenly, gasping and with eyes wide. During his two weeks in the hospital, Hicks asked his fiancee and brother never to leave him alone.

Charlemagne’s wife called him there, and Hicks recounted her husband’s last words. It was the first time Bossard had ever seen him cry.

The crash emotionally rewired Hicks. On his boat dock in Florida, he would catch himself breaking down at the thought of his mother, who died 11 months after his rescue, or his daughter, with whom he still hadn’t reconciled.

He pulled into his doctor’s office and limped inside, where a nurse tested his blood pressure.

“It says I’m going to live, right?” he asked, then laughed.

“Yes, you’re going to live,” she said, smiling.

Humor, he had found, was therapeutic. In disagreements with Bossard, he liked to play the “plane crash card” for sympathy. “Nothing,” he’d argue, “trumps that.”

“I’m just grateful to be here,” he often said, as much for himself as anyone else.

After his rescue, it had taken him three months to walk again and a year, with the aid of a cane, to go with JB to a Washington Capitals game. On some mornings, his feet throbbed with such intensity that he needed 20 minutes to get from the bed to the bathroom.

An insurance settlement from the flight center allowed him to pay off his more-than $200,000 in medical bills, move to Florida and buy a boat and a Sierra Denali pickup.

Doctors told him he’d never work on roofs again, so he started a company, South Florida Arms, selling guns. Business is slow, but he hasn’t given up.

Hicks got his prescription from the doctor and drove toward home. On the way, he took a detour, pulling into a parking spot that faced the Frederick runways. On a chain-link fence in front of him hung a tattered, windblown sign: “LEARN TO FLY.”

“I think I’ll never do it again,” he murmured.

Hicks couldn’t pilot a plane while on such powerful medications, but he still loved the idea of flying. That feeling had brought him back to the airport time and again.

Hicks watched a man walk toward a four-seat Piper with a maroon underbelly. He nodded at it.

“I flew that with Bernie,” he said.

Hicks had memorized what came next: preflight check, radio the tower, taxi to the runway.

A different plane took off, then another and another. Hicks waited. At last the Piper sped down the runway and lifted into the air, soaring toward a cloudless blue sky.

Original article can be found here:   https://www.washingtonpost.com


James “JB” Bossard, left, John Hicks and Michele Bossard in Frederick, Md., in spring 2015. John Hicks survived a small-plane crash in 2014.



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

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

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

VICTOR TANGO AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N2152T

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA046 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Hinton, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N2152T
Injuries: 1 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 student pilot had planned the instructional cross-country flight from his home base airport to another airport about 100 miles away with an intermediate stop to practice landings. However, just before departure, the flight instructor changed the destination to a different airport that was located further away and in mountainous terrain; however, he did not provide the student pilot time to plan the new flight route. No flight plan was filed nor was there any record of flight following for the accident flight. After conducting several landings at the intermediate airport, the flight proceeded toward the destination; the sun had set at this time. The instructor told the student to fly a heading of 240 degrees at 3,000 ft mean sea level (msl). The student asked the instructor about terrain elevation in the area, and the instructor responded that he was not certain of the elevations because the airplane was not equipped with a G-1000 navigation system. The student pilot reported that there were no aeronautical charts readily accessible while in flight to reference terrain elevation, and no aeronautical charts associated with the accident area were found in the accident airplane during postaccident examination. The aeronautical chart for the area showed a maximum elevation of 5,100 ft, and a mountain near the accident location with an elevation of 3,700 ft. The instructor then began to demonstrate the autopilot to the student, including various climb rates. The student stated that the airspeed began to decline and he asked the instructor if he should add power, which the instructor did. The student reported that the engine was operating normally and responded to power inputs. However, shortly thereafter, the airplane impacted a mountain at an elevation of about 3,100 feet msl, which was about 300 feet below the mountain peak. Ground scar and wreckage information indicated that the airplane impacted the terrain in a wings-level attitude on a near horizontal flight path.

Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Given the lack of onboard navigation charts for the area, the dark night conditions, and the instructor’s decision to change the destination and not conduct preflight planning for that leg of the flight, the pilots were likely not aware of the altitude of the surrounding terrain, which resulted in controlled flight into rising terrain.

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

The flight instructor’s decision to conduct a night training flight in mountainous terrain without conducting or allowing the student to conduct appropriate preflight planning and his lack of situational awareness of the surrounding terrain altitude, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 8, 2014, about 1822 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172S, N2152T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and the ground in the George Washington National Forest, near Hinton, Virginia. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured and the student pilot received serious injuries. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight had departed from the Winchester Airport (OKV), Winchester, Virginia, after reportedly performing at least one touch and go landing maneuver and the intended destination was Ingalls Field Airport (HSP), Hot Springs, Virginia.

According to the student pilot, the flight was originally scheduled in a G-1000 equipped Cessna 172; however, the night before the accident flight that airplane was not available and the flight was scheduled in an instrument flight rules (IFR) equipped Cessna 172, which was the accident airplane. The CFI requested the student pilot to plan a flight from Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Frederick, Maryland, to OKV for pattern work, then to Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), Charlottesville, Virginia, with a return to FDK.
On the day of the accident the student submitted the flight plan to the CFI who did not indicate any issue with or any change to the plan. The student pilot and CFI met at 1600 at FDK, at which time the CFI told the student there would be a destination change. Instead of going to CHO, the CFI changed the destination to HSP. The CFI did not require the student pilot to conduct any preflight planning specific to the new route.
The flight departed FDK about 1700. While enroute the CFI instructed the student to navigate to the Martinsburg VOR. After reaching the Martinsburg VOR the CFI gave the student a heading toward OKV where "stop and go" landings were performed. After conducting several landings at OKV the CFI, assigned the student a heading of 240 degrees and an altitude of 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl).
The student reported that while enroute he queried the CFI about terrain elevation in the area to which the CFI replied that he did not know the specific terrain elevation because "the aircraft did not have the G-1000." The student pilot further reported there were no aeronautical charts "out for immediate reference." About 68 miles from their intended destination the CFI conducted a demonstration of the autopilot to which he established an "altitude hold at 3,000" feet. Various heading changes were demonstrated as well as a climb at 200 feet per minute and then a 500 foot per minute climb. The student pilot reported that just prior to the accident, he observed the airspeed decrease from their cruise airspeed of 120 knots to 90 knots, at which point the CFI applied full-power. Subsequently, the airplane impacted terrain. The student further reported that it was "pitch black outside" and that the engine responded "normally" to the full power application.

No flight plan had been filed, nor communication established with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control prior to or during the flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
Flight Instructor

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and flight school records, the CFI, age 49, held an airline transport pilot certificate issued August 5, 2010, with a rating for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, helicopter, and a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine sea, airplane multiengine sea, and glider. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine, multiengine, and instrument, and glider. He held a first-class medical certificate, which was issued on December 19, 2013, and had a restriction of "must wear corrective lenses." According to a copy of his pilot logbook, the most recent recorded entry was dated October 28, 2014, at that time the pilot had 5,941.1 total flight hours with 1,182.2 hours as a flight instructor, and 410.7 total hours at night. His most recent flight review was conducted on October 9, 2014.

Student Pilot

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and student pilot's records, the student pilot, age 51, was issued a third-class medical certificate, which was also his student pilot certificate, on September 15, 2014. According to his pilot logbook, his first entry was dated August 20, 2014, and the most recent entry was dated October 27, 2014. At the time of the most recent logbook entry, the pilot had 23.8 total flight hours with 22.5 of those in the airplane accident make and model. It also indicated that the student pilot had not performed a solo flight and 4.5 total flight hours were conducted at night.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane, serial number 172S9446, was issued an airworthiness certificate on July 30, 2003, and was registered to Victor Tango LLC on May 12, 2006. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, Serial number L-30073-51A, 180-hp engine. It was driven by a McCauley IA 170E propeller. The airplane's most recent phase III inspection was completed on September 11, 2014. At the time of the inspection the airplane's total time in service was 4,263.3 hours and a recorded tachometer of 1,284.7 hours. The engine was overhauled and reinstalled in the airplane on September 11, 2014, and its most recent logbook entry was dated October 7, 2014, was recorded as a 24-hour oil change. At the time of the entry the engine had accrued 4,001.6 hours total time in service, 23.1 flight hours since overhaul, and had a record tachometer time of 1,307.8 hours. The tachometer was located at the accident site and indicated 1,328.2 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
The 1815 recorded weather observation at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD), Staunton/Waynesboro/Harrisonburg, Virginia, approximately 18 miles to the south, included wind from 190 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 8 degrees C, dew point minus 1 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury.

Sun and Moon Data

According to the United States Naval Observatory, on the day of the accident sunset occurred at 1709 and the end of civil twilight occurred at 1736. Moon rise occurred at 1849 with 96% of the Moon's disc would have been illuminated.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted the side of a mountain approximately 3100 feet above msl, which was about 300 feet below the top of the ridgeline. The accident location was at 38°33.14 N and 079° 00.54 W. The debris path was oriented on a 212 degree (true) heading, began with impact to a row of trees approximately 100 feet northwest of the main wreckage, and started with a section of the right aileron located about 25 feet from the main wreckage, along the centerline. A log with a fresh cut of 45 degrees with some red paint transfer was located along the debris path. The left wingtip was located about 25 feet from the main wreckage, and about 20 feet to the right of centerline. A silver metallic groundscar, on a rock, the end of the debris path centerline and a broken section of one propeller blade was found 1 foot from the groundscar. The main wreckage was located about 20 feet downhill leaning against a tree in a near vertical attitude.

Nose Section

The nose section, including the cockpit, exhibited impact crushing and the engine remained attached to the associated airframe attach points; however, both bottom mounts and the right upper mount were impact damaged. The engine remained attached to the firewall, which remained attached to the airframe; however, the engine mounting structure was bent in the negative and aft direction and was in contact with the underside of the airplane. The propeller remained attached to the engine; however, one propeller blade was impact separated approximately mid span and located near the initial impact point. The propeller exhibited chordwise scratches and curling on the outboard section; however, the tip was impact separated and unable to be located at the accident site. The No. 1 and 3 top and bottom spark plugs were removed, appeared to be light gray in color, and were normal in wear exhibiting low in use time when compared with the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Fluid was evident at the accident site and was visibly noted as dripping from the secured fuel cap on the left wing, the right wing was devoid of fuel; however, it had been breached due to impact damage. The fluid was similar in color and smell as 100LL aviation fuel.

Right Wing

The right wing exhibited impact crush damage, along the entire span. The flaps remained attached at their respective attach points and track rollers. The flap push rod remained attached to the bellcrank, which remained attached to the flap. The flap cable exhibited tensile overload similar in appearance to broomstrawing, however, cable continuity was confirmed with all exposed areas. The inboard section of the aileron remained attached and cable continuity was confirmed from the base of the control column through the associated fracture points out to the aileron. The outboard section of the aileron was located along the debris path and had been impact separated. The right wing's fuel caps remained attached, seated correctly, and locked in position; however, the right wing fuel tank was breached and devoid of fuel.

Tail Section

Rudder continuity was confirmed from just aft of the rudder pedals through the tail section to the rudder; however it could not be determined at the rudder pedals due to aft crush damage of the forward cockpit section. The tail was fractured about fuselage station 110. The tail section was leaning to the right side of the airplane and connected by the right side sheet metal skin. The rudder and elevator remained attached; however, continuity could not be confirmed to the elevator, due to binding of the cable in the tail section. The trim tab actuator was not accessed due to the precarious position of the vertical placement of the tail on the cliff face.

Left Wing

The left wing exhibited extensive crush and impact damage along the entire span. The fuel tank contained an undetermined amount of fuel, the fuel cap remained in place and seated. The wing remained attached to the fuselage at the attach point, aileron continuity was confirmed from the door post to the aileron and exhibited tensile overload (broomstrawing). All control surfaces remained attached to the wing structure. The flap push rod remained attached to the bellcrank; however, the control cable exhibited tensile overload.

Cockpit

The cockpit exhibited impact and crush damage in the positive and right direction. The flight control column was intact and the cables were in the as intended position, around the respective pulley.

Both front seats remained attached to the seat rails, the four locking pins remained in position for the two front seats. The left seat rails separated from the floor at the rivet points but remained attached to the seats. The right seatbelt and shoulder harness were cut by first responders. The fuel selector valve was found in the "BOTH" tank position and the fuel shutoff valve was in. The elevator trim could not be determined to the damage in the cockpit. The engine controls were found with the throttle and mixture control in the full forward position.

The flap handle was in the "UP" position and the indicator revealed zero degree position. The flap actuator was observed with no exposed threads which correlated to a flaps 0 degree setting.

In addition to on-scene examination of the wreckage, the recovered airframe and engine were examined at a recovery facility several weeks later. All damage was consistent with impact damage. The observed evidence was consistent with the flaps retracted and the engine operating normally, at impact. No evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions were noted during either examination. A detailed report of the engine examination following recovery, titled "Engine and Empennage Examination" is located in the docket associated with this accident.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the CFI on November 10, 2014, by the Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as authorized by the Medical Examiner of Rockingham County. The cause of death was reported as "Blunt injuries" and the report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the CFI by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no carbon monoxide detected in the blood, no ethanol was detected in Vitreous, and no drugs were detected in the urine.

SURVIVIAL ASPECTS

After the airplane had not returned to its home base airport, a search and rescue operation was initiated the following morning after being reported by the student pilot's father. The airplane was located later that day, in a remote area of the George Washington National Forest. According to FAA records, several reports of an ELT signal being audibly heard were reported to an FAA Air Traffic Control Radar facility. The reports were passed from the receiving controller to their direct supervisor; however, for unknown reasons the supervisor did not investigate the reports further nor report the signal to search and rescue personnel until the following day, after the airplane was reported as overdue. The ELT was found at the accident site connected to the antenna and the "ON" light was illuminated. The ELT was later tested and emitted an audible tone.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Air Traffic Organization Policy Order JO 7110.65V

Chapter 10-2-10 "Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Signals" states in part "When an ELT signal is heard or reported:
a. EN ROUTE. Notify the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC)
b. Terminal. Notify the ARTCC [Air Route Traffic Control Center] which will coordinate with the RCC.
c. Terminal. Attempt to obtain fixes or bearings on the signal
d. Solicit the assistance of other aircraft known to be operating in the signal area
e. TERMINAL. Forward fixes or bearings and any other pertinent information to the ARTCC…"

Charting and Obstructions

Review of the airplane's route of flight revealed that the pilots had selected a direct route of flight from OKV to HSP, which brought them into proximity of rising terrain and obstructions within a Designated Mountainous Area, at their selected cruise altitude of 3,000 feet msl.

Review of the Cincinnati Sectional Aeronautical Chart revealed that the quadrangle bounded by the ticked lines of latitude and longitude surround the accident site contained a maximum elevation figure of 5,100 feet msl. That figure was based on information concerning the highest known feature in the quadrangle, including terrain and obstructions. The area in the vicinity of the accident location also included an elevation mark of 3,700 feet msl.

Onboard Aeronautical Charts

During the examination of the wreckage a search for aeronautical charts revealed that the Washington Sectional chart was the only chart located and was found folded and was in the CFI's flight bag, located within the wreckage.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)

According to FAA information, CFIT accidents account for 17 percent of all general aviation fatalities. The FAA defines a CFIT accident as a situation that occurs when a properly functioning aircraft "is flown under the control of a qualified pilot, into terrain (water or obstacles) with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot of the impending collision."

NTSB CFIT Safety Alert

In January 2008, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert (SA) entitled "Controlled Flight Into Terrain in Visual Conditions" with the subheading "Nighttime Visual Flight Operations are Resulting in Avoidable Accidents." The SA stated that recent investigations identified several accident that involved CFIT by pilots operating under visual flight conditions at night in remote areas, that the pilots appeared unaware that the aircraft were in danger, and that increased altitude awareness and better preflight planning likely would have prevented the accidents.

The SA suggested that pilots could avoid becoming involved in a similar accident by accomplishing several actions, including
- Proper preflight planning
- Obtaining flight route terrain familiarization via sectional charts or other topographic references
- Maintaining awareness of visual limitations for operations in remote areas
- Following IFR practices until well above surrounding terrain
- Advising ATC about potential inability to avoid terrain
- Employing a GPS-based terrain awareness unit

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A)

Chapter 17, defined situational awareness as the "accurate perception of the operational and environmental factors that affect the airplane, pilot, and passengers during a specific period of time." It goes on to state that a situationally aware pilot "has an overview of the total operation and is not fixated on one perceived significant factor…some of the elements inside the airplane to be considered are the status of airplane systems, and also the pilot and passengers." The chapter goes on to state and cautioned that "an awareness of the environmental condition of the flight, such as spatial orientation of the airplane, and its relationship to terrain, traffic, weather, and airspace must be maintained."


NTSB Identification: ERA15FA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Hinton, VA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N2152T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 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 November 8, 2014, about 1822 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172S, N2152T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain in the George Washington National Forest, near Hinton, Virginia. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot received serious injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which departed from Winchester Regional Airport (OKV), Winchester, Virginia, about 1745.The flight had an intended destination of Ingalls Field Airport (HSP), Hot Springs, Virginia. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91

Preliminary radar information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that after departing OKV, the flight maintained an enroute altitude of about 3,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), a consistent groundspeed of 87 knots, and a course of 227 degrees. The radar data did not reveal any abnormal flight maneuvers during the flight. There was no record of communication between the pilot and any air traffic control facilities.

The airplane impacted the side of a mountain about 3,100 feet msl, which was approximately 300 feet below the ridgeline. The debris path was oriented on a 213-degree heading, measured about 100 feet in length, and began with trees strikes northeast of the main wreckage. The main wreckage was located leaning against a tree in a nose-down, near vertical attitude. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

According to nearby weather recording stations; the weather around the accident location was clear skies with prevailing wind out of the south between 4 and 7 knots. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset was at 1709, and the end of civil twilight was 1736; moonrise was 1849. The moon was a waning gibbous with 96 percent of the moon's visible disk illuminated.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Washington FSDO-27


AirCare5 Medevac Shenandoah Valley:  https://www.facebook.com

Rockingham County FIRST ALERT: https://www.facebook.com
  ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Efforts to removed a crashed plane in Rockingham County were put on hold Thursday. 

A helicopter that was on its way to the plane crash site had to delay its efforts to recover the plane.

The helicopter was coming from Elkins, W. Va., according to Virginia State Police; however, the helicopter couldn't make it due to snow and freezing rain while they were on their way.

Investigators waited at the Gospel Hill Mennonite Church for that helicopter, while a truck transport company was on standby waiting for the plane wreckage to arrive.

Keith Holloway, with the National Transportation Safety Board, said it can take up to 12 to 18 months to wrap up a full investigation on a plane crash.

"We are very thorough in our investigations and we go through each part of the investigation with a fine tooth comb. So it does take a while for us to determine a cause because we look at everything. We don't speculate," explained Holloway.

State police said efforts to recover the plane will resume Friday at 9:45 a.m.


- Source:  http://www.whsv.com



ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)-- The terrain of the remote area where the plane crash occurred is a dense forest. Pilot Nolan Dean took WHSV back to the site onboard of the same plane used to help lead the rescue several days ago. 

Dean wound up for another day in the skies, retracing his steps to the same ones made the night of the accident. He was one of the first responders, lending a hand to the rescue.

The plane crash sent one person to the hospital, and airlifted another to UVA Medical Center.

"If you are in that condition... alive... and someone is circling... at least you know someone is there," said Dean. "It gives you hope."

Dean says he will never forget the image; the tail of the plane still sticking straight up in the middle of the dense national forest.

"I want to show you how difficult this land is to navigate through... its such a thick.. dense.. wooded area..its very difficult to get to on foot," said Dean.

He says after going back to the site, that he was glad he was able to help save a life.

The National Transportation Safety Board hopes to have their preliminary report finished in the next five to 10 days.

Story, Video, Photo and Comments:   http://www.whsv.com


FREDERICK, Md. - Virginia State Police have identified the name of the pilot that was killed in the plane crash in Rockingham County, Va. on Saturday. 

 The pilot, identified as 49-year-old Bernhard Charlemagne, was a Frederick native. The student pilot, 51-year-old John Hicks of Monrovia, survived the crash and was transported to University of Virginia Medical Center.

The crash took place northwest of Harrisonburg around 7:00 p.m.

"This is a cross-country check flight for the student, from my understanding," said Sergeant Les Tyler. "He had several destinations - he had to go to in order to complete this flight. The final destination would've been Hot Springs, Virginia, which is down in the lower part of Virginia."

The plane took off from Frederick Municipal Airport, and had flown to Martinsburg and then to Winchester. Tragedy struck during its trip to its final destination of Hot Springs.

"It was overdue and the family of the pilot and copilot could not make contact with the pilot and copilot, so they notified authorities that the flight was overdue," added Sgt. Tyler.

Authorities and family members last heard from Charlemagne and Hicks around 6:57 p.m. The plane crashed in a remote location five miles north of Route 33 in the George Washington National Forest. The plane was a 2003 Cessna 172S aircraft that was owned by Victor Tango Aviation, LLC of Wilmington, Del.

"That plane went from Frederick, Maryland to Martinsburg, West Virginia, and then went to the Winchester, Virginia area and then was heading south towards Hot Springs, Virginia," added Sgt. Tyler.

Virginia State Police, along with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, are in the process of finding out the cause of the crash. State Police were also assisted by the Rockingham County EMS, Sheriff's Office and U.S. Forest Service.

The Frederick Municipal Airport was not willing to make a comment on the crash, but did say it was a tragedy.


http://www.your4state.com

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -   Virginia State Police have identified the victims of a fatal plane crash. The aircraft went down in Rockingham County Saturday night.

The Cessna 172S crashed in a remote location about five miles north of Route 33 in the George Washington National Forest. That's the Fulks Run section of the county. Police found the wreckage around 7:00 Sunday morning.

The flight originated in Frederick, Maryland and was bound for Hot Springs, Virginia. A pilot and a student pilot were on board.

State police say the pilot, 49-year-old Bernhard Helmut Charlemagne, of Frederick MD, died at the scene. John Smith Hicks, 51 of Monrovia, MD was injured and flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center. There's no word on his condition.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by state police, the FAA and the NTSB.

Virginia State Police Release:

Harrisonburg, VA - Virginia State Police investigated a fatal plane crash that claimed one life. The crash occurred northwest of the City of Harrisonburg in Rockingham County on November 8, 2014 at approximately 7 p.m.

The plane was conducting a cross country instructional flight and had a pilot and student pilot onboard. The flight originated in Frederick MD and had flown to Martinsburg WV and then to Winchester VA. The plane's then headed to its final destination of Hot Springs VA. The last contact with the plane was at approximately 7 p.m. on the November 8. The plane was reported overdue and a search was initiated.

The plane was located on November 9, 2014, and the Virginia State Police were called to the scene at 6:57 a.m. The crashed site is at a remote location 5 miles north of Rt. 33 within the George Washington National Forrest. The plane involved was a 2003 Cessna 172S single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft small plane that was owned by Victor Tango Aviation LLC of Wilmington, Delaware.

State Police along with the FAA and NTSB are still in the process of determining the cause of the crash. The Virginia State Police were also assisted by resources from the Rockingham County EMS, Sheriff's Office and U.S. Forrest Service.

The pilot is identified as Bernhard Helmut Charlemagne, age 49 of Frederick Maryland. Mr. Charlemagne died at the scene in the crash.

The student pilot is identified as John Smith Hicks, age 51 of Monrovia Maryland. Mr. Hicks was transported to University of Virginia Medical Center.

The crash and the causative factors are still under investigation by Trooper H. L. Stover of the Virginia State Police and the FAA and NTSB.

http://www.nbc29.com

 








ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)-- 4:40 P.M. UPDATE:

Rescue crews from all over Rockingham County spent several hours braving the cold and wilderness in a remote area of the George Washington Forest to find the victims and survivors of the plane crash. The U.S. Air Force first identified that there was a crash in the mountains.

Crews say they used their best tactics to get the victims out of the forest.

"Every incident is unique in some way," said Casey Mork. "The terrain just made it very difficult this time."

Mork says the rescue was a challenging task.

"It was definitely tough," said Mork. "Even with the coordinates getting to the right spot in a timely manner, it took a while to get up there with the terrain and the brush and the down trees and everything else."

Crews rescued 51-year-old John Hicks from Maryland. He was flying the plane with his flight instructor, Bernhard Charlemaene, who did not survive the crash, in a remote area over a mountain in the George Washington Forest, when it went down.

Hicks suffered a sprained ankle, and was conscious when rescue crews reached him.

"He was talking to us on the way down, we readjusted him a couple of times in our packaging trying to make him more comfortable, as comfortable as he can be," said Mork.

Mork says that even though a life was lost, he's grateful he was able to at least save one.

"It's always great to be able to help someone like that and get them the help they need, the medical attention they need so it's definitely rewarding," said Mork.

Another team went up earlier in the day to get the body of the instructor. Virginia State Police confirm they still do not know why the plane went down.

UPDATE 4:30 PM: Virginia State Police confirm that the crash killed the 50-year-old instructor of the plane, and sent 51-year-old John Hicks, to UVA Medical

The plane took off from Frederick, Md., headed to southwest Virginia, just before 7 a.m. on Nov. 9. State police were called to the scene of the crash in a remote area of the George Washington Forest, after they located a signal from the downed plane.

This crash is still under investigation. Right now, WHSV is working to find out the cause of the crash.