Friday, December 5, 2014

Cirrus SR20 G2, Leading Edge Flight Training, N407ND: Accident occurred December 05, 2014 at Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (KFNL), Fort Collins/Loveland, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA069
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 05, 2014 in Fort Collins, CO
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N407ND
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

On December 5, 2014, about 1435 central standard time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N407ND, impacted terrain during approach at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (FNL), near Fort Collins, Colorado. The solo student pilot was seriously injured and the aircraft was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Cirrus LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan. 

The student pilot stated that he entered the traffic pattern at FNL for a full stop landing on Runway 33. He observed a Sikorsky UH-60 helicopter on downwind and delayed his turn to base until the helicopter was on final, abeam his position. While on final, the student pilot adjusted his aim point to land long, as he was concerned with wake turbulence and wanted to land beyond the helicopter's touchdown point. Just prior to landing, he encountered turbulent air and attempted to go around. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain and cartwheeled, which resulted in damage to the fuselage and wings. 

An airport surveillance camera at FNL captured the accident airplane approaching the runway about 30 seconds in trail of the UH-60 helicopter. 

At 1435 the weather observation station at FNL reported the following conditions: wind 110 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear sky, temperature 14 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 4 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.22 inches of mercury.


Highest Injury: Minor

Damage: Substantial

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING SUSTAINED SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE, FORT COLLINS LOVELAND AIRPORT, LOVELAND, CO

Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

http://www.leflighttraining.com

CIRRUS LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N407ND



A pilot was injured Friday afternoon when the small plane he was flying smashed into the ground at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport.

Emergency crews were called about 2:30 p.m. Friday on a report of a small aircraft that had crashed near the main runway of the airport, 4900 Earhart Road in Loveland, said Battalion Chief Michael Cerovski with Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority.

Fire, police and medical crews rushed to the airstrip and located a plane that was splintered in pieces, the tail almost completely gone. There was no active fire when crews arrived, but there was smoke. There is a fire station across the street from the airport’s main hub.

The male pilot was treated and transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the City of Loveland said via Twitter. Cerovski said the man was awake and talking when he was taken away by ambulance.

It was not immediately known whether the plane crashed on take-off or landing, nor was it known how long the investigation would take or how serious the pilot’s injuries were. His identity was not publicly released Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration was en route Friday to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

Winds were light and temperatures were in the mid-50’s at the time of the crash.

Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is owned by both cities and serves corporate and general aviation needs as well as unscheduled commercial flights. More than 200 aircraft are based at the facility, and helicopters buzzed throughout the landing areas Friday while investigators worked down the runway.


















Plans for autocross to be resubmitted to Federal Aviation Administration for evaluation: Greater Cumberland Regional Airport (KCBE), Maryland

WILEY FORD, W.Va. — The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority voted unanimously on Thursday to resubmit the autocross event description and safety plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for their formal evaluation as it relates to federal grant assurance funding. The authority also voted to work jointly with National Road Autosport to submit the proper form to the FAA.

Authority Chairman Gregg Wolff recommended not moving forward with a specific autocross schedule for 2015 until receiving the green light from the FAA.

“Regardless of the outcome, (National Road Autosport) is welcome to come forward with a mind open to new possibilities to work together with the PHAA to develop a long-range relocation plan for mutual benefit to the airport and the autocross as the construction phase of the AIP (Airport Improvement Plan) looms on the horizon,” said Wolff.

The motion to submit the form to the FAA was made in order to determine a feasible, sustainable solution to the autocross issue, said Wolff.

John Felten, president of National Road Autosport, thanked the authority for agreeing to submit the required forms to the FAA.

“... The reason we have persisted at asking for consideration here isn’t that we make a penny on what happens here but we see it’s been beneficial in our community and that the community is actually the benefactor of us working together,” said Felten. “I appreciate this board’s confidence in asking us to come to the table with you guys. I understand that there is no guarantees but we’ll all be adult enough to accept the decision of the FAA.”

The authority voted in June to deny access to the airport’s operational grounds for autocross racing in 2014 and said that the reasoning behind their decision was because it could affect FAA funding.

“Airports are facilities dedicated to aviation-related activity first and foremost. The PHAA’s first priority is safe and efficient operation of this facility as an airport,” said Wolff. “Our fundamental goal, the instrument that has driven decision making for the last 14 years is to complete our airport improvement plan and this board remains absolutely committed to it. This cannot happen without federal grant assurance funding.”

The FAA is committed to ensuring safe and efficient aeronautical activity at the airport and the federal funding must meet certain guidelines. The authority was able to secure a grant assurance of $2.3 million and the process was streamlined because there wasn’t a 2014 autocross to consider, according to Wolff.

Source:  http://www.times-news.com

Airline officials: It was a bird strike, not a maintenance issue

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. —Airline officials say upon further investigation, a plane's windshield was cracked as a result of a bird strike and not a maintenance issue as reported earlier Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, United Airlines flight 4331 departed Burlington International Airport on its way to Washington Dulles International Airport.

"We want to make sure that everybody is safe first and that goes all the way up to the FAA and back down to the ground here," said Nic Long, of the Burlington International Airport. "Really it's a coordination of everybody trying to get that plane on the ground first and then continuing normal operations afterwards."

ExpressJet, which operated the flight, says that based on crew interviews and completion of maintenance inspection it was in fact a bird strike that caused the damage.

At the time of the incident, the plane was carrying 52 people. The plane was able to land safely at BTV.

- Story and photos: http://www.wptz.com


Expressjet Embraer ERJ-145, N13958, Flight EV-4331, UA-4331

Midair near-misses show need for tighter drone controls

The surge in reports of near-misses between drones and aircraft suggests it may only be a matter of time before one of the remote-controlled devices causes a tragedy in the nation’s skies.

That would be unfortunate on a number of levels. Not only could it be a human disaster, but it could also damage a budding industry that shows important potential for uses in public safety, news gathering and remote delivery.

Under pressure by news organizations to release records, the Federal Aviation Administration says commercial airlines, private pilots and air-traffic controllers have reported more than 25 midair incidents in the past six months in which drones came disturbingly close to aircraft. In some cases, the drones were mere seconds or feet from impact with the aircraft.

Although most of the drones were the smaller camera-equipped models used by hobbyists and photographers, they could potentially bring down a plane by striking a propeller, penetrating a windshield or being sucked into an engine. Helicopters – such as those used by medical emergency and rescue teams – would be especially vulnerable to crashing if a drone struck a rotor.

Lawmakers and drone manufacturers want the FAA to develop regulations so that commercial use of the devices can expand. But that could be endangered by hobbyists’ negligence that has led to the near-misses. Even if rules are drawn up, the FAA doesn’t have the staff to enforce them, police airports and track down offenders.

Hobbyists are required to keep their drones under 400 feet and five miles away from airports. But some of the reports involved drones flying at thousands of feet, including one in which a Republic Airlines Flight almost hit a drone flying at 4,000 feet Sept. 30 near New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Drones also aren’t supposed to be operated within five miles of an airport, yet many of the reports were of incidents near major airports in New York and Washington, D.C. Let a drone hit a plane carrying some members of Congress and see what happens to the drone industry. Even more disturbing than an accidental collision would be a deliberate one, which could have serious implications for the airline industry.

The challenge seems to be to get greater control over the private use of drones, especially since prices have dropped to the point that they’re more widely affordable. Perhaps requiring that they be outfitted with identification/tracking devices would help deter misbehavior.

Source:  http://www.thenewstribune.com

Naples Airport Authority pays $1 million for Health Management Associates hangar

NAPLES, Fla. - The Naples Airport Authority has purchased a more than $1 million hangar from Health Management Associates, adding space for up to seven more planes.

It’s the second sale of HMA property this year, since Tennessee-based Community Health Systems purchased Naples’ only Fortune 500 company in January, leaving its local office space and hangar vacant.

“Having two of these big corporate hangars really is a good thing for us,” said Ted Soliday, the airport’s executive director, adding that they’d hoped since 1995 to add more space. “We had intended at that time to build an office and a hangar, but couldn’t afford it.”

County deeds show the Naples Airport Authority paid HMA $1.012 million in October for the 9,600-square-foot hangar, which is attached to the office building the airport built in 1995. The roughly 760-square-foot HMA office, in the airport office building, was accessible through its hangar and the authority will be leasing that space to another tenant. The airport has another large hangar, about twice the size, that it’s owned and leased out since the early 1980s.

When the airport building was built, Soliday said, enough offices were built to lease to tenants, including HMA, European American Flight and the Pilot Shop. HMA then built a hangar for three aircraft the company used to fly corporate executives to its hospitals nationwide.

HMA operated dozens of hospitals nationwide, including two Physicians Regional hospitals in Collier County, with 1,400 employees, and a hospital in Lehigh Acres in Lee County — all now operated by Community Health.

On Sept. 30, deeds show, HMA sold its high-profile office center, a three-building, 190,000-square foot office complex off U.S. 41 near the Waterside Shops. Chicago-based real estate investor Steelbridge Capital LLC paid $33.65 million for the complex.

“They were having a hard time considering how to sell (the hangar),” Soliday said. “We knew they were leaving and that’s when we approached the new company and asked what their plans were for the hangar — and then we made an offer.”

Four aircraft now occupy the hangar, which is leased to Nicewonder Aviation LLC, Fly Away Home LLC, Lake Marketing and a businessman, Soliday said, adding that it can accommodate up to seven planes “very carefully.”

The air-carrier airport is home to flight schools, charter operators, car rental agencies, corporate and nonaviation businesses and community services, including fire and rescue, mosquito control and the County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit. There were 95,120 takeoffs and landings last fiscal year.

The hangar is among 300 there, most of them smaller buildings used by individual pilots. The numerous hangars enabled the Naples Airport Authority to submit a request for proposals to Hertz, which is building its headquarters in Estero.

“The advantage we had is our hangar was already available,” Soliday said, adding that Hertz has leased that space for about two years.

The additional hangar space also will help during hurricane season, when pilots need to secure aircraft, Soliday said, adding that they can fit many planes inside due to varying sizes and wing heights.


- Source:  http://www.naplesnews.com

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking, N6629V: Accident occurred November 30, 2014 near Jesse Viertel Memorial Airport (KVER), Boonville, Missouri

The condition of a Salina physician who was injured in a plane crash Sunday in Missouri has been upgraded, a Columbia, Mo., hospital spokeswoman said.

Dr. Brenda Schewe, 56, an internal medicine hospitalist at Salina Regional Health Center, was in fair condition Friday at the University of Missouri Hospital.

Her daughter, Kathryn Taylor, 25, of Wichita, was being released from the hospital Friday, and her son, Jacob Taylor, 23, of Kansas City, already has been released, the hospital spokeswoman said.

Schewe's husband, Charles Sojka, a Salina flight instructor and certified aircraft mechanic, was killed when his small airplane crashed Sunday morning about half a mile from the Boonville, Mo., airport.


- Source:  http://www.salina.com


AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE WERE 4 PERSONS ON BOARD, 1 WAS FATALLY INJURED, 3 SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, 1/2 MILE FROM BOONEVILLE AIRPORT, BOONVILLE, MO

http://registry.faa.gov/N6629V

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Kansas City FSDO-63


Sen. Warner Sends Federal Aviation Administration Letter on UAS Regulations

Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to the FAA Administrator regarding the agency’s efforts to design effective regulations for unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Virginia is part of a multistate consortium that is one of six FAA regional test sites for studying the safe integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into the existing airspace.

In his letter, Sen. Warner argues against requiring a pilot’s license for the operation of these vehicles, and urges the FAA to make development of a UAS regulatory framework a top priority in the new year.

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N9679H, Western New York Flying Club Inc (and) Progressive Aerodyne Searey, N89KD, Fly Away Inc: Accident occurred September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459A 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9679H
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: KEVIN D'ANGELO SEAREY, registration: N89KD
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Uninjured.

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 accident airplanes, a Cessna and an experimental amateur-built Searey, were two of several airplanes participating in a volunteer event designed to provide the opportunity for young people to fly in a general aviation airplane. A route of flight for the event was established and briefed, and the pilots were instructed to make position reports over the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency at certain landmarks along the route of flight; however, no procedures were in place to account for the disparate operating characteristics and speeds of the aircraft participating in the event. Radar and GPS data showed that the Cessna overtook and descended to the altitude of the Searey as the Searey climbed slowly. During the last moments before impact, both airplanes were depicted at the same altitude and in close lateral proximity. The Searey pilot was unaware that his airplane had collided with the Cessna, but upon experiencing control difficulty, performed a forced landing to an area of thick vegetation. The Searey was substantially damaged during the landing. Immediately after the collision, the Cessna entered a descending spiral to ground contact.

A performance radar and cockpit visibility study determined that the Searey would have remained a relatively small and stationary object in the Cessna’s windscreen, appearing below the horizon and just above the engine cowling, for several minutes before the impact. The study also determined that the Searey may have been difficult to distinguish against the background of terrain. Additionally, since the airplanes were on a converging course, the Searey would have presented little relative motion to the other pilot, making detection more difficult. The Cessna would not have been visible to the Searey pilot because it approached from an area that was obstructed by the airplane’s structure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate visual lookout for known traffic in the fly-in event traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 27, 2014, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N9679H, and an experimental amateur-built Searey XLS, N89KD, collided in midair approximately 2 miles southeast of the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport (BQR), Lancaster, New York. The commercial pilot and passenger on board the Cessna were fatally injured. The pilot of the Searey performed a forced landing to a thicket of low brush, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The private pilot and passenger in the Searey were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for either airplane, each on local personal flights which departed BQR at 1009 (Searey) and 1012 (Cessna). Both airplanes were participating in an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles event, and the flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses provided statements, and their accounts were consistent throughout. They each said their attention was drawn to the sound of the airplanes and/or the sound of collision. The airplanes were both traveling westbound as one airplane overtook the other, or was on top of the other, before one airplane (Cessna) was seen to "tip" or "roll" inverted before it descended vertically in a spiral. The second airplane (Searey) descended in a 180-degree turn and the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, "revving" or "sputtering" throughout the descent.

Radar information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted both airplanes traveling westbound on roughly the same ground track; the Cessna at 1,774 feet and 90 knots groundspeed, and the Searey ahead of the Cessna, at 1,575 feet and 70 knots groundspeed. As the Cessna approached the Searey from the east, it descended slowly to 1,625 feet. At the same time, the Searey climbed slowly to 1,625 feet. During the last moments prior to impact, both airplanes were depicted at 1,625 feet, and in close lateral proximity. Radar contact with the Cessna was lost in the vicinity of its accident site, while the Searey was depicted in a descending right turn.

The pilot of the Searey, who was flying from the left seat, said he was in cruise flight and nearing the point when he was to begin the turn north toward the airport, when he felt a sudden "bang" and heard a "snapping" sound. He said he wasn't sure if the airplane had struck something, or if something in the airplane had broken. The pilot said the airplane was unresponsive to control inputs in the pitch axis, and that he used engine power to control pitch. Due to limited controllability and trees further along on his flight path, he elected to land the airplane in the thicket to avoid greater hazards and for crash attenuation.

The passenger in the right seat of the Searey was interviewed by police in the company of her parents the day following the accident. According to the passenger, she looked out the right window and "…saw a white airplane coming at us from above and I knew it was going to hit us. I tried to warn the pilot but there wasn't enough time and the microphone was too far away." The passenger went on to describe the collision, the descent, the landing in the thicket, and her egress from the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The Cessna pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued September 16, 2014 at which time he reported 2,115 total hours of flight experience.
The Searey pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued July 10, 2014. The pilot reported 4,270 total hours of flight experience.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the Cessna was manufactured in 1975. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed April 25, 2014 at 8,069 total aircraft hours.
According to FAA records, the Searey was manufactured in 2014. Its most recent condition inspection was completed January 13, 2014, and the airplane had accrued 160 hours since that date.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1054 weather observation at Buffalo International Airport (BUF), Buffalo, New York, located 5 miles west of the accident site included clear skies, calm winds, and 10 statute miles visibility.

AERODROME INFORMATION

BQR was situated beneath the outer ring of the Class C airspace that surrounded BUF, at a field elevation of 752 feet mean sea level (msl). The single runway, oriented 8/26, was 3,199 feet long at 75 feet wide. The traffic pattern altitude was 1,552 feet msl, and the airport was not tower-controlled.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The Cessna came to rest on flat, wooded terrain and was examined at the accident site. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude, with the engine buried beneath the instrument panel in the initial impact crater, and was severely deformed by impact forces. The leading edges of both wings were uniformly crushed aft in compression. The airframe was cut by rescue personnel, and further sectioned for removal from the woods. Control continuity was established from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces. The propeller blades displayed twisting, bending, leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. Both blades displayed spiral striations about 5 inches inboard of the tips consistent with a wire strike.

The Searey came to rest upright in a dense thicket. The trailing edge of the right wing flap displayed a series of parallel slash marks, the structural tubing was severed, and the fracture surfaces were smeared. The structural cable between the wing strut and the empennage was still attached at each end, but missing an approximate 5-foot section of its middle. The two severed ends displayed features consistent with overload. The empennage displayed a vertical opening and parallel slash marks.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office the Chief Medical Examiner for the County of Erie, Buffalo, New York, performed the autopsy on the Cessna pilot. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the Cessna pilot. The testing was negative for the presence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Amlodipine was detected in the blood and urine. Amlodipine was in a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers and was used to treat high blood pressure or angina. Salicylate, a metabolite of aspirin, was detected in the urine.

The NTSB Chief Medical Officer performed a medical review of the pilot's records and the reports cited above. The review revealed no evidence of any medical condition or substance that may have contributed to the accident.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Young Eagles Event

The purpose of the EAA Young Eagles Program was to provide the opportunity for young people to fly in a general aviation airplane. The district coordinator for the event was interviewed by an FAA inspector about the conduct of the event.

The coordinator had organized the event using the instructions provided by EAA, which included an informational webinar for organizers. The volunteer pilots were required to be EAA members, and were also required to attend a briefing prior to the event. The items briefed included the current and forecast weather, the runway in use, the route of flight, and the various landmarks that defined the route.

The flight route consisted of a straight-out departure to the east, climbing to an altitude of 1,800 feet. About 10 nautical miles from the airport, the airplanes were to turn right and return to the airport on a track parallel to and about 2 miles south of the outbound track. The course terminated abeam the midpoint of runway 08/26. At or about that point, the airplanes were to descend to traffic pattern altitude, turn north to cross the runway south to north, then enter a left downwind for landing on runway 08. Traffic pattern altitude at BQR was 1,552 feet.

Pilots were instructed to use the BQR common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for all communications, which included position reports when making turns and at several designated landmarks along the route of flight. Airspeeds were neither set nor restricted while established on the route.

According to the vice president of the local EAA Chapter, each airplane participating in the event was assigned a discrete transponder code in coordination with the control tower at BUF; however, none of the airplanes were in contact with, or receiving any services from, the control tower.

Radar Study

A radar study was performed by an NTSB Airplane Performance Specialist. The radar data used in the study were secondary returns from the short-range Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9) located at Buffalo Niagara International airport (BUF), Buffalo, NY (transponder codes 0433 and 0416 for the Searey and the Cessna, respectively).

In addition to the radar data, a Garmin 496 portable GPS receiver was recovered from the Searey and successfully downloaded. The radar and GPS track data was used to establish a timeline of the flights, ground and flight tracks for each airplane and to create a simulation of the flight as viewed from the cockpit of the Cessna.

According to the simulations and graphs produced by the study, as seen from the Cessna, the Searey would have been located below the horizon and just above the Cessna's engine cowling for most of the westbound leg of the flight. While the Searey may have been within the Cessna's field of view, the Searey would have been difficult to see against the background of the terrain. Further, based on the distance between the Cessna and the Searey throughout the flight, the Searey would have been a small dot in the terrain background until the final seconds before impact.

Because of the high-wing structure of the Searey, and its relative position and altitude, the Cessna was blocked from the Searey pilot's view by the right wing, roof, and aft cabin structure, as the Cessna was above and behind the Searey during the latter portion of the flight prior to collision.
Although the pilot of the Searey stated that he was reporting his position on the CTAF along the route of flight as prescribed in the pre-event briefing, this could not be confirmed, as radio communications made over the CTAF were not recorded.

FAA Advisory Circular 90-48D, "Pilots' Role in Collision Avoidance," stated, "Pilots should also be familiar with, and exercise caution in, those operational environments where they may expect to find a high volume of traffic or special types of aircraft operation. These areas include airport traffic patterns, particularly at airports without a control tower…"

FAA Pamphlet P-8740-51, "How to Avoid a Midair Collision," stated, "…an aircraft on a collision course with you will appear to be motionless. It will remain in a seemingly stationary position, without appearing to move or to grow in size for a relatively long time, and then suddenly bloom into a huge mass filling one of your windows. This is known as "blossom effect." Since we need motion or contrast to attract our eyes' attention, this effect becomes a frightening factor when you realize that a large bug smear or dirty spot on the windshield can hide a converging plane until it is too close to be avoided."



According to statistical studies, flying is far safer than driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2008 compilation of driving and flying statistics, for example, revealed more than 5 million U.S. driving accidents for that year and only 20 accidents for U.S. air carriers. Based on the study’s results, NHTSA calculated the odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash to be 1 in 98 and the odds of dying in a plane crash to be 1 in 7,178 over a person’s lifetime. Yet, the public remains rightly concerned when plane crashes, including those caused by mid-air collisions, occur.

On September 27, 2014, for example, a double-plane crash in Lancaster, New York, resulted in the death of two people and the injury of two others during a youth aviation program at the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport. According to a police officer who investigated the crash, the program involved the Experimental Aircraft Association and was intended to “expose youth to aviation.” A report by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the two single-engine planes involved in the collision were a Cessna 172 and an amateur-built Searey aircraft. The operator of the Searey was able to make an emergency landing in a field, but the Cessna 172, which was occupied by a 78-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy, crashed, resulting in the death of both occupants. Though at least one eye witness has reported seeing the planes “clip wings,” the exact cause of the accident is still under investigation by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB).

Who can be held responsible for injuries or deaths caused in plane accidents? In cases such as the accident between the amateur Searey and the Cessna 172 in Lancaster, New York, more than one individual and/or entity may be subject to liability.

Legal Responsibility for Injuries and Deaths Resulting from Plane Collisions and other Aircraft Accidents

 
Mid-air collisions between aircraft larger than those involved in the Lancaster crash are less common than they once were. Federal regulations requiring the installation in such aircraft of Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) have contributed to the decrease in mid-air collisions between larger planes. TCAS allow a pilot to monitor the air traffic around an aircraft and provide details regarding the location of nearby traffic. More advanced systems also provide a pilot with specific instructions for avoiding nearby traffic.

Under Title 14, Part 91 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), however, small, non-commercial aircraft that fly in the United States are not required to have TCAS. Though the owners of small non-commercial aircraft may purchase TCAS, the system will not provide the location of other aircraft that do not have transponders. This system of avoiding mid-air collisions is not foolproof, according to many who use it. Nevertheless, the Lancaster collision may have been avoided if both planes had been equipped with TCAS.

Can the owners and/or operators of planes involved in mid-air collisions be held responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by the crash if their planes were not equipped with TCAS? The answer to this question will depend on the circumstances of the particular case.

The violation by an owner or operator of a plane of any Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) would be considered negligence on the part of the aircraft owner or operator in a negligence action brought to recover damages for someone’s injury or death sustained in an aircraft accident. In order to hold such a defendant liable, however, the plaintiff would also need to establish that the violation of the rule in question was a cause of the victim’s injury or death. Thus, in a collision between two large commercial aircraft resulting in injuries or deaths, the owner of either aircraft may be held liable for victims’ resulting injuries or deaths if the owner’s failure to install and/or properly maintain TCAS is determined to have been a cause of the collision that resulted in the victims’ injuries or deaths.

In the case of the collision between the small, non-commercial aircraft in Lancaster, New York, however, the absence of TCAS would not be a factor in the determination of the plane owners’ and operators’ liability, since TCAS is not required for such aircraft. Under what circumstances can the owners or operators of smaller planes be liable for victims’ injuries and deaths?

The owner of a plane may be found directly liable for accident injuries and deaths caused by negligently maintaining the plane or by negligently allowing an incompetent pilot to fly the plane. The non-owner operator of an aircraft may be held liable for injuries and deaths caused by the operator’s negligence. Such negligence may include a pilot’s violation of any applicable FAR, decision to fly in bad weather, or failure to keep an adequate lookout for other planes in the area. In the case of the collision between the Cessna and Searey aircraft, both operators may be found to have negligently contributed to the accident by flying too close to each other.

The Dangers Posed by Small Non-commercial Aircraft Operated by Negligent or Inexperienced Pilots Are a Serious Concern


Today’s writer is Jeff Killino, a respected litigation attorney and the managing partner of The Killino Firm, P.C. Attorney Killino has extensive experience with all types of accident and wrongful death cases, including those arising out of airplane accidents caused by owner or operator negligence or defects in aircraft. He has achieved national recognition for his work in accident and personal injury cases, including a product liability action that led to the recall of 450,000 defective tires manufactured in China, on major television networks such as CNN, ABC, FOX, and the Discovery Channel.


- Source:  http://www.theepochtimes.com
 
NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9679H
Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459B 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Aircraft: KEVIN D'ANGELO SEAREY, registration: N89KD
Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 27, 2014, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N9679H, and an experimental amateur-built D'Angelo Searey XLS, N89KD, collided in midair approximately 2 mile southeast of the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport (BQR), Lancaster, New York. The Cessna departed controlled flight after the collision, descended vertically in a spiral, and was destroyed by impact forces at ground contact. The Searey entered a descending right turn, and performed a forced landing to a thicket of low brush, and was substantially damaged. The commercial pilot and passenger on board the Cessna were fatally injured. The private pilot and passenger in the Searey were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for either airplane, each on local personal flights which departed BQR at 1009 (Seareay) and 1012 (Cessna), respectively. Both airplanes were participating in an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles event, and the flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses provided statements, and their accounts were consistent throughout. They each said their attention was drawn to the sound of the airplanes and/or the sound of collision. The airplanes were both traveling westbound as one airplane overtook the other, or was on top of the other, before one airplane (Cessna) was seen to "tip" or "roll" inverted before it descended vertically in a spiral. The second airplane (Seareay) descended in a 180-degree turn and the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, "revving" or "sputtering" throughout the descent.

Preliminary radar information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that both airplanes were assigned discrete transponder codes. The data depicted both airplanes traveling westbound on roughly the same ground track. The Cessna was at 1,774 feet and 90 knots groundspeed and the Searey was further west, at 1,575 feet and 70 knots groundspeed. As the Cessna approached the Searey from the east, it descended slowly to 1,625 feet. At the same time, the Searey climbed slowly to 1,625 feet. For the last few seconds of the Cessna's flight, both airplanes were depicted at 1,625 feet, and in close lateral proximity. Radar contact with the Cessna was suddenly lost in the vicinity of its accident site, while a descending right turn was depicted for the Searey.

The 1054 weather observation at Buffalo International Airport (BUF), 5 miles west of the accident site included clear skies, calm winds, and 10 miles visibility.

The Cessna came to rest on flat, wooded terrain and all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest nose down with the engine buried beneath the instrument panel in the initial impact crater, and was severely deformed by impact forces. The leading edges of both wings were uniformly crushed aft in compression. Control continuity was established from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces. Both propeller blades displayed similar twisting, bending, leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching.

The Searey came to rest upright in a dense thicket. Examination of the airplane revealed that the trailing edge of the right wing flap displayed a series of parallel slash marks, and the structural tubing was severed, and the fracture surfaces were smeared. The structural cable between the wing strut and the empennage was still attached at each end, but missing a section about 5 feet in length in the middle. The two severed ends displayed features consistent with overload separation. The empennage displayed a vertical opening and parallel slash marks.

NORAD, Northern Command getting new leader

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) — The two military operations responsible for protecting North America are getting a new commander.

Navy Adm. Bill Gortney will formally take charge of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command on Friday.

He succeeds Army Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr.

NORAD is a joint U.S.-Canada command that defends the skies over both nations and monitors sea approaches. Northern Command is responsible for defending U.S. territory from attack and helping civilian authorities.

Both are based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Source:   http://gazette.com

Bombardier expects lower oil prices to hit business aircraft sales

The Canadian plane maker Bombardier expects lower oil prices to hurt sales of business aircraft in the Middle East.

The Montreal-based company says the energy sector is the biggest client for its business jets.

“If the prices of oil continue to drop, as we have seen it in the past four to five weeks, then I suspect that there will be some decrease of sales in the region,” said Khader Mattar, regional vice-president of sales for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Oil has shed nearly 40 per cent of its value since peaking at around US$115 per barrel in June, amid an increase in production in the US.

Putting oil prices aside, Mr. Mattar still expects the Middle East to be one of the fastest- growing regions for business aviation. He expects the number of business aircraft in the region to reach 1,400 by 2033.

Separately, the Middle East Business Aviation Association has predicted that the number of business jets in the region will reach 1,200 registered aircraft by 2020, up from 530 in 2013.

“One of the main drivers in those markets is that the number of wealthy people in Turkey has increased dramatically the last few years,” said Mr. Mattar.

“Saudi Arabia has been a traditional market for us in terms of business jets. It’s a leader in the Middle East.”

However, a US-based maker of airplane engines is less optimistic.

Honeywell Aerospace said in a report in late October that demand from the Middle East and Africa for business jets had moved below its historical growth rate of 4 to 7 percent a year. The report said that the region’s purchases have been affected by ongoing conflict in the region, lower oil prices and health crises in Africa.

Bombardier has 100 business jets flying in the Middle East, representing a 25 percent market share. The plane maker has 22 aircraft in Saudi Arabia, 20 in Turkey, and 18 in the UAE.

For medium-size business jets, Bombardier’s Challenger series accounts for 60 per cent of deliveries in the region. The medium-haul aircraft can fly directly from Dubai to London. Its wide-body and luggage space have helped to make it popular in the region, according to Mr. Mattar.

He said the sectors that demand business jets in the Middle East are: oil, construction, and banking. Governments and entrepreneurs are also among the strong buyers of business aircraft in the region.

“People need a tool to travel, particularly to areas that lack an airline traveling into small destinations,” said Mr. Mattar.

“Frequency of small airlines is also affecting people to travel within the region. They look at the private jet as a good tool for their business to expand.”

One area that hinders growth of business aviation in the Middle East is financing.

“Banks worry that governments may change or regulations may change and they cannot get our money out,” Mr. Mattar said.

“The regulations here need to be developed. It’s coming, but I would like to see more of that.”

“It is the manufacturers’ job to educate banks here on how to finance aircraft,” he added.


- Source:  http://www.thenational.ae

Royal Canadian Mounted Police pilots fudged weights on rule-breaking flights: Planes flew too heavy, pilots fudged weight records, public sector integrity commissioner finds

RCMP pilots flew planes loaded with too many passengers and too much baggage, and fudged the records, the public-sector watchdog says in a report released today.

The pilots in some cases didn't log the weight of the plane's fuel when passenger and baggage weight was logged as coming close to exceeding the allowable weight. In other cases, the total passenger weight entered was considered unlikely given the number of people on board.
Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion found the RCMP pilots were "making false entries in aircraft journey log books and flying overweight, thus contravening paragraph 602.07(a) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations."

The RCMP, in its response contained in the report, objected to Dion using the language of "making false entries ... as this suggest[s] a deliberate deception or malfeasance on the part of the RCMP personnel."

The report was expected to be significant after the government went to Federal Court to try to prevent Dion from tabling it, arguing it would undermine public confidence in the RCMP. The court dismissed the injunction motion.

In one of the flight logs, Dion's investigators found five passengers were recorded as having a combined weight of 399 kilograms (about 880 pounds). Witnesses estimated the two pilots' weights to be about 125 kilograms, or 275 pounds, each, making it "unrealistic" the other three passengers had only a combined 149 kilograms or 330 pounds between them.

On that same flight, where the takeoff weight was entered as just below the maximum capacity of 4,740 kilograms, or 10,450 pounds, the fuel weight wasn't logged.
 
1 plane sold last summer 

Three other logs revealed questionable baggage weight, given the number of passengers and the length of the trips, the report found. An Aug. 31, 2012, overnight trip to Washington logged the weight of the luggage of five passengers as 25 kilograms, or 55 pounds.
For a flight on Sept. 5, 2012, the total baggage weight was logged as 23 kilograms, or 50 pounds, for each leg of the journey, regardless of whether there were two, four or six people on board, Dion's report says.

One of the planes mentioned in the report was sold in July 2014 — a Piaggio Avanti P180 that had been bought by former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli in 2002.

A spokesman for the RCMP said the Mounties had already begun to address the spirit and intent of the problems in August 2013, when it called in Transport Canada. The RCMP have already begun reviewing the logs for quality assurance purposes, and are regularly reminding pilots of their obligations, Greg Cox said in an email.

The RCMP has filed an appeal at the Federal Court, Cox added. Dion said the Mounties are questioning his decision to investigate and to continue to investigate after corrective measures were taken. They're also questioning whether the principles of fundamental justice were properly applied.

"The situation is still before the Federal Court — unless of course, as I wish they do, the RCMP withdraws it," Dion said.

Report delayed due to court case "The RCMP acknowledges that the [Ottawa air service] did not maintain logs in accordance with Canadian Aviation Regulations. Some [aircraft journey logbooks] indicate aircraft, likely due to calculation errors, may have been flown overweight," Cox wrote.

The report was supposed to be tabled the week of Nov. 17, but was delayed by the court proceedings.

Dion said he considered ordering an audit into all RCMP flight records – the force has planes in 19 locations across Canada – but decided against it because the force is committed to taking corrective action.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told reporters Monday that he couldn't comment on the case, but said his force would respect the court's decision.

Duff Conacher, founder of Democracy Watch, said the integrity commissioner needs more power and independence. He said the RCMP taking the commissioner to court follows an undemocratic pattern.

"It is yet another case of government wrongdoing and the most serious issue is the government and the RCMP have tried to prevent it from becoming public," Conacher said.

RCMP fleet by the numbers

 The RCMP has had an air fleet since 1937. Currently, the fleet comprises 39 aircraft distributed across 19 bases, or air sections, throughout Canada.

The fleet includes the following types of fixed and rotary wing aircraft:
  • Pilatus — 16
  • Cessna — 12
  • Eurocopter — 9
  • De Havilland Twin Otter — 1
  • Kodiak Quest — 1 
The fleet also had a Piaggio Avanti P180 that was sold in July 2014.

The RCMP uses the aircraft for:
  • Northern and regional patrols and surveillance.
  • Transport of personnel, evidence and supplies — including into northern and remote locations where air travel may be the only means of transport. 
  • Searches.
  • Transport of emergency response and containment teams.
  • Operational support for front-line officers.
The Air Services Branch of the force employs 150 people, including 78 pilots, and 49 aircraft maintenance engineers and avionics technicians, and in 2012-13 cost about $30 million to operate.

Story and comments:   http://www.cbc.ca

A 2003 Piaggio Avanti P180 was auctioned off earlier this year on a government of Canada surplus website. It was bought by the RCMP under former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli for more than $8 million, but sold for $1.3 million. (gcsurplus.ca)

Airbus lags Boeing but faces tense end to order race

(Reuters) - Europe's Airbus sold 248 jets in November, but remained behind Boeing as both plane makers accelerated towards what could be a tight finish to their annual order race.

November's Airbus sales included a total of 120 A320-family aircraft to three unidentified customers.

However CIT Leasing canceled an order for one of 15 new-generation A350-900 wide-body jets it had bought, as it finalized an order for 15 upgraded versions of the older A330. 

In total, Airbus won 1,328 total orders between January and November, company data showed on Friday. After adjusting for cancellations, it had 1,031 net orders. It delivered 554 jets.

On Thursday, Boeing reported 1,380 orders between Jan 1 and Dec 2, including 100 737 MAX confirmed by Ireland's Ryanair. Net orders stood at 1,274 aircraft.

Boeing delivered 647 aircraft in the first 11 months.

The two plane makers are heading towards a stronger than expected order intake for 2014, as airlines seek the fuel savings offered by efficient models despite lower oil prices.

Airbus, which is already above its net order target for 2014, has a further 500 provisional orders announced but not yet finalized. Some of these typically get booked in December.

Boeing looks set to top 1,300 net orders for a second year running, exceeding an internal target of 1,100 and reaching what had seemed a stretching scenario just a few months ago.

Airbus said its waiting list of jets sold but not yet delivered had risen above 6,000 units for the first time.

Both firms use overbooking to guarantee a taker for each aircraft produced, mimicking the technique used by airlines to fill seats, meaning some unfilled orders will trickle away.

In a sign of previous overbooking, industry sources say Airbus has been pushing buyers of the current-generation A320 to upgrade to the newer A320neo so that it can halt production of the older model in 2018, as planned, and contain costs.

Completing the switch on time while ramping up the A350 are both are seen as crucial to its margin goals.

In November, JetBlue converted an order for 10 of the classic version of A321 to the new A321neo.

The tally included the first firm orders for the upgraded A330neo but left unresolved questions over a gap in orders for the current version, which has already seen a production cut.

Airbus has said it is negotiating a potential deal with China, but analysts say assuring smooth cash generation from the A330 remains one of its key challenges in the next two years.


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

MH17 wreckage convoy reaches Poland

A convoy of trucks carrying the wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, passed through the Ukrainian-Polish border on Friday morning.

The lorries passed through the border checkpoint in Korczowa, south-east Poland, with the convoy being given priority entry into the country, a spokesperson for the Border Guard, Agnieszka Golias told the PAP news agency.

“On both sides of the border a separate lane was marked out, with both Polish and Ukrainian border guards treating the convoy as a priority matter with the aim of providing a smooth and swift clearance to the convoy,” spokesperson for the regional Border Guard office in Przemysl, Elzbieta Pikor also told the agency.

Police are to accompany the convoy along the Polish section of the route, which follows the A4-E40 motorway through Poland towards the German border crossing in Jedrzychowice near the town of Zgorzelec/Gorlitz.

“We will take care so that the convoy will pass through smoothly, especially at major junctions, so that it won’t cause any major disruption to traffic,” police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said.

The comment comes as the motorway passes through a number of dense urban areas, including Krakow, the Upper Silesian conurbation, as well as Wroclaw.

The Polish Interior Ministry has also underlined that the authorities are prepared to secure the convoy while it travels through Poland.

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed in the area of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, in mid-July during heavy fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatist rebels.

While the exact cause of the catastrophe still remains unknown, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke, who is heading up investigations into the crash, told the German Spiegel magazine that while he has no hard evidence which proves that the plane was shot down by rebels, this version of events seems to be the most likely.

Ukraine officially stands by the view that the aircraft was shot down by a Russian built Buk ground-to-air missile launched by the separatists, although they have denied the allegations.

In total, 298 people died in the air catastrophe, including 193 Dutch citizens, 43 Malaysians and 38 Australians.

- See more at: http://www.thenews.pl

Breath-test Flybe pilot will not be charged

A pilot removed from a busy passenger plane on suspicion of being over the alcohol limit will not face charges, the BBC has learned. 

The Flybe pilot was due to fly from Newquay to London Gatwick on an early morning service at the end of October.

He was taken from the flight deck for a breath test, arrested, and held at Newquay police station.
 
He will not face criminal charges but a Flybe investigation into what happened will continue.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed no further action was being taken against the man, who has not been named, but is 48 years old and from Crediton in Devon. 

A police source told the BBC that officers were alerted after a fellow crew member became concerned.

The flight was cancelled and passengers faced delays of almost five hours.

In a statement, Flybe said: "We continue to investigate this matter, and therefore it is not appropriate for us to make any further comment at this stage."

For pilots, air crew and air traffic controllers the blood/alcohol limit is 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

For context, the drink-drive limit for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml, although Scotland has just lowered its limit to 50mg per 100ml.

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

Tropic Air Expands Fleet To 15 Aircraft

Tropic Air: The Airline of Belize 



Tropic Air announced the addition into scheduled service of another Cessna Grand Caravan turbo prop aircraft. This latest addition to the fleet features air conditioning and the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics suite with radar. This brings the number of Cessna Caravans in its fleet to ten, and overall number of aircraft to 15.

The latest aircraft arrived November 20, 2014, at the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) after completing its journey from the USA.

The latest fleet expansion is to support the growing number of tourist arrivals, the increase in international airlift and bed capacity of expanding resorts, its own route and service expansion, and a general growth in economic activity in Belize.

Additional support aircraft are also to be brought-in this December for the high season to meet the demand for the growing customer base.

Tropic operated over 50,000 flights last year, serving over more than 300,000 passengers. It operates to 16 destinations in Belize, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. With over 290 employees, Tropic Air launched flights to its newest destination, Merida, Mexico in March of this year.


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