Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thorp T-18, N25VP: Accident occurred December 20, 2014 at San Rafael Airport (CA35), Marin County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR15CA066
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 20, 2014 in San Rafael, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/11/2015
Aircraft: FERDON THORP T 18, registration: N25VP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that prior to the flight in the experimental airplane, he unbolted and rebolted the pilot's seat from its middle position to the forward position. He did not check to see if the flight control stick movement would be restricted in this new configuration. 

During the takeoff roll, the airplane would not rotate when he moved the flight control stick aft. Not realizing the seat prevented the flight control stick movement to the full aft position, the pilot adjusted the elevator trim and the airplane subsequently lifted off, however, it would not climb. The pilot then aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane did not have sufficient distance to stop. It departed the runway surface and traversed through a field, impacted trees, and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, rudder, and vertical stabilator. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's delayed decision to abort the takeoff. Contributing to the accident are an inadequate modification to the seat position, and the pilot's failure to check flight controls for freedom and correct movement.

The unidentified pilot of this plane was able to walk away from the crash from the end of the runway at the San Rafael Airport on Saturday. 
(Courtesy San Rafael Fire Department)

A small plane flipped upside-down, crashing into the ground near a San Rafael Airport runway after a failed takeoff Saturday afternoon. 

The pilot, who was the only person in the plane, had minor injuries but refused treatment, said Jeff Rowan, battalion chief at the San Rafael Fire Department.

There was no fuel leaking or fire, but “I would say it looked like major damage to the plane,” Rowan said. “It looked like, taking off from the airport, he didn’t get enough lift and flipped over his plane just off the edge of the runway.”

The plane was a Thorp T-18, which Rowan described as a small experimental plane. The department got a call about the crash at the airport on Smith Ranch Road at 12:43 p.m.

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — A small-engine plane crashed as it was taking off from the San Rafael Airport Saturday afternoon, a fire chief said.

The crash happened around 12:45 p.m. at the private airport located at 400 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael fire Chief Chris Gray said.

The red single-engine plane flipped over but the pilot was not injured in the accident, Gray said.

Besides the pilot, no one else was inside the plane, he said.

The accident did not spark a fire and no fuel leaked from the plane, according to Gray.

As of about 1:10 p.m., paramedics were assessing the at the scene, the fire chief said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the crash, Gray said.

Gray did not know where the plane was heading to or any other additional information on the pilot.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and Marinwood Fire Department also responded to the scene, Gray said.

High Cost of In-House Attorneys Questioned at Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

Ongoing internal clashes at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport are now focusing on an often unseen, but costly presence at the regular meetings of the airport commission: legal counsel.

Attorneys have regularly participated in the monthly meetings of the public body since last winter, when a former employee brought a lawsuit against the airport for what she claimed was a wrongful discharge.

When two lawyers are present, as was the case at Friday’s meeting, with David Mackey and Susan Whalen both participating by speaker phone, it costs the airport $525 an hour.

The airport incurred approximately $271,191 in legal expenses during fiscal year 2014, nearly 11 times what had been budgeted.

“It seems like we have two attorneys on the phone at just about every commission meeting and that that is racking up quite an expense,” said commissioner Christine Todd, an outspoken critic of the way her board has been conducting its business.

Both attorneys are based in the Boston area, and more than often they participate via conference call.

On Friday, their presence was unannounced.

“Do we have an attorney on the phone now?” asked airport commissioner Denys Wortman nearly an hour into the meeting.

At meetings, the attorneys offer counsel with respect to open meeting and public records laws, and the development of written policies.

They also attend the regular meetings of the litigation subcommittee, a group charged with making decisions that pertain to two ongoing lawsuits involving the public airport. In one case, the airport is suing its appointing authority, Dukes County, for interfering in its affairs. In the other, a former employee claims she was unfairly discharged from her job at the airport.

Nearly all of the meetings of the litigation subcommittee are held in executive session.

But at the open meetings of the commission, legal counsel is not always required, airport commissioners said Friday.

“In looking at today’s agenda, nothing really jumps off the page at me for needing attorneys,” said Mr. Wortman.

When questioned, airport chairman Constance Teixeira said the litigation subcommittee “has [the lawyers] on the line.”

She also said she had anticipated Ms. Todd would raise a topic that warrants legal advice.

Ms. Todd said she didn’t understand why the litigation committee, which was formed to handle the two lawsuits, was making decisions about legal counsel at general meetings, where lawsuits were not discussed.

“I would not approve that kind of an expense as a commissioner,” she said. Ms. Todd has been barred from the litigation committee due to a conflict of interest. She also serves as a member of the Dukes County Commission, the defendant in one of the lawsuits. The county commission appoints the airport commission.

The commission has formed a legal services committee to address the rising costs of legal counsel at the airport, but the committee has not yet met.

Mr. Wortman suggested that items requiring legal counsel be scheduled for certain meetings and not others, and that they be scheduled for the first part of the meeting.

The airport commission did not meet for the months of September and October, while they waited for the superior court to issue a decision about whether the county could vote to expand the size of the board. The decision came this month, when a superior court judge ruled in favor of the airport, blocking the county from appointing new commissioners.

Airport manager Sean Flynn said the presence of counsel allowed the commission to consult them right away, instead of postponing decisions.

“Although it’s a $525 expense for an hour’s meeting, sometimes it is money well spent to get that good opinion quickly so that we don’t bog everything down,” he said.

The lawyers also defended the practice.

“Having represented airport authorities extensively over the course of my career, it would be an unusual board meeting that doesn’t have an attorney in the room,” said attorney David Mackey, former chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Mr. Mackey said he thought he charged $275 per hour, though he said he couldn’t be sure.

“Don’t hold me to that,” he said.

Attorney Susan Whalen, who is based in Charlestown, charges $250 per hour.

Meetings vary in length, though they usually last between one and two hours. The lawyers charge in ten minute intervals, Mr. Flynn said after the meeting.

He said before the litigation began last winter, the lawyers attended meetings with less regularity.

- Source:

Mooney M20J 201, N4512H, Air America Flying LLC: Incident occurred December 20, 2014 in the Congaree River, near Gaston, South Carolina

CAYCE, SC (WIS) -  A single-engine plane that crashed into the Congaree River December 20 has been pulled from the water.

The plane crashed into the river near the Carolina Eastman Facility in Calhoun County. Local salvage diver Steve Franklin tells WIS he and John Baker were hired by Atlanta Air Recovery of Griffin, GA, to pull the plane out of the water. 

Franklin says the Mooney M20J plane drifted about 1/2 mile downriver from its original crash site because of high river flows from recent rains.

Monday afternoon, Franklin and Baker used airbags to float the plane and tow it about eight miles upstream where it was pulled from the water at the Thomas Newman Public Landing in Cayce.

The pilot was rescued from the wreckage by a group of Boy Scouts who were canoeing on the river. Brad Vaught of Irmo was taken to the hospital and released.

The FAA continues to investigate the crash. 

Story and Photo Gallery:

Event Type: Incident 

Highest Injury: None

Damage: Unknown


Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)

FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA West Columbia FSDO-13

CALHOUN COUNTY, SC — A  small plane crashed in the Congaree River in Calhoun County on Saturday afternoon.

The pilot was able to bring the Mooney plane down and escape without injury, according to Capt. Robert McCullough of the Department of Natural Resources. The plane went down sometime around 1 p.m. near the Richland-Calhoun County line, he said.

The plane’s location has been marked, but the craft is is completely submerged, McCullough said.

The FAA is investigating the incident. McCullough said he was not aware of what caused the plane to go down.

The Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport in Columbia would neither confirm nor deny the plane had taken off or had planned to land at the field.


CALHOUN COUNTY, SC (WIS) -  A single engine aircraft crashed into the Congaree River Saturday afternoon. 

According to Lt. Rob McCullough with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource, the aircraft crashed in the river in Calhoun County.

The accident was near the Carolina Eastman Facility.

The plane was totally submerged in the water.

The pilot is okay but was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. 

Paul McNeil with Boy Scout Troop 597 from Dacula, Georgia said the troop was paddling down the Conagree and was able to help the pilot. 

McNeil says the troop was on their annual Christmas paddle.

The FAA has taken control of the investigation.

Man pleads guilty in airplane groping case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A California man accused of groping and sexually propositioning a teenage girl on a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Friday.

Hans Loudermilk, 66, of Oceanside, California acknowledged touching the 15-year-old's chin and rubbing her leg on the March flight. Loudermilk was sitting next the girl when he told her he could teach her things sexually that boys her age could not and said she was old enough to marry him in Utah, according to charging documents.

The girl reported the incident to security shortly after the plane landed. When Loudermilk saw her talking to officers, he entered an airport gift shop, removed his button-up shirt and replaced it with a jacket, possibly to duck police, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, or offensive touching, in an agreement with prosecutors. Prosecutors dropped two felony counts of sexual abuse on an aircraft.

Defense lawyer Robert Steele says Loudermilk didn't realize he was in the beginning stages of bipolar disorder at the time and wasn't in full control of his actions.

"That led to overly gregarious and inappropriate behavior," Steele said. Loudermilk has since started treatment for the disorder.

The California man appeared in court Friday in a tan jacket, jeans and sneakers, responding affirmatively to questions from Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells about the plea agreement.

Loudermilk faces up to a year in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 4.


This image provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office shows Hans Loudermilk. Loudermilk, a California man accused of groping and sexually propositioning a teenage girl on a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge. At a hearing Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, Loudermilk of Oceanside, Calif., acknowledged touching the 15-year-old's chin and rubbing her leg in March. (AP Photo/Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, File)

Cop booted from Caribbean Airlines flight for refusing to turn off phone

(Trinidad Express) A senior police officer was thrown off a Caribbean Airlines flight to Tobago on Thursday night when he refused to switch off his cellular telephone and became hostile when the flight attendant asked him several times.

The Express was told that the cop was heading to Tobago (a 15-minute trip) to assume duties there but as the flight was about to depart the flight attendant was making her final checks of the passengers when she noticed that the man was still on his phone. She reminded him of the protocols and that he needed to comply with the international rules. He reportedly asked her if she knew who he was but she said she did not. She continued to stand her ground and insisted that the man switch off the mobile device or the airplane would not leave Piarco International Airport. He continued to refuse. Security protocols were triggered and security officials were forced to board the plane and remove the cop. The flight was able to take off a short time later.

The police officer later told security officials that he was not arguing with the flight attendant and tried to switch off his cellular telephone but a malfunction with the device caused it to not switch off even when he tried. The cop was not detained and a National Security helicopter was used to transport him to Tobago. Sources told the Express that he was allowed to use his cellphone during the helicopter flight.


Raven, N79ZR: Fatal accident occurred July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA330 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/05/2016
Aircraft: ZUBAIR S KHAN RAVEN, registration: N79ZR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The airplane departed its home airport for a local flight. Radar data indicated that, about 9 minutes after departure, the airplane was at 7,400 ft mean sea level (msl) and had begun a left 270-degree turn. The last radar return, which was recorded about 1 minute later, showed the airplane about 1,100 ft msl, which correlates to an approximate 6,000 ft-per-minute descent. The airplane was found the following day floating on top of the water in a sound and was subsequently recovered. The pilot’s parachute pack was found deployed and partially wrapped around the propeller. The airplane’s canopy was not present; however, it was located several weeks later floating in the water. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any mechanical failure or anomaly that would have precluded normal operation. 

The airplane’s calculated center of gravity (CG) was about 3 inches beyond the aft CG limit, which likely induced longitudinal instability and led to a subsequent deep, unrecoverable stall. The canopy examination and the as-found condition of the parachute pack indicated that the canopy was likely opened in flight. Therefore, the pilot likely recognized that the stall was unrecoverable and attempted to bail out of the airplane but was unsuccessful.

Although toxicology testing showed that the pilot had used marijuana at some time before the accident, the low levels detected in the pilot’s specimens indicated that he was not likely significantly impaired by its use at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to ensure that the airplane was loaded within its calculated center of gravity limits, which resulted in longitudinal instability and a subsequent unrecoverable stall.

On July 6, 2014, about 1905 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Raven, N79ZR, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water in the vicinity of Mattituck, New York. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight originated at Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York, about 1855.

The airplane was located floating on top of the water of Long Island Sound, the following morning by a private individual.

According to radar data, the airplane was first observed at 1,200 feet above mean sea level (msl) south of HWV. The airplane turned left towards the north and continued to climb to about 8,500 feet msl as it went over the north shoreline and continued flight over Long Island Sound. The airplane subsequently began to descend. At 1904:18, radar data indicated that the airplane was at 7,400 feet msl and began a left 270° turn towards the east. At 1904:33, radar data indicated that the airplane was traveling in an east direction and was at 5,800 feet msl. The last radar return was recorded at 1905:19, and indicated an altitude of about 1,100 feet msl.


The pilot, age 41, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued June 21, 2005, and a third-class airman medical certificate issued June 11, 2013, with no limitations. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination. On the pilot's June 11, 2013, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical application, he reported 220 total flight hours. According to a statement provided by a flight instructor, the pilot had satisfactorily completed a flight review on April 6, 2014; however, at the time of the flight review, the pilot's total flight time was not recorded.


The four-seat, composite canard airplane, with retractable landing gear was manufactured in 2014 and issued an airworthiness certificate on February 7, 2014. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-C1A engine driving a Catto Glass Carbon Composite 3-Blade propeller. Review of the aircraft maintenance logbook records showed that a condition inspection was completed on February 7, 2014 at a recorded time of 20.1 hours. The Hobbs meter was not located at the accident site and airframe operating time could not be conclusively determined.

The airplane was equipped with a front-hinged canopy which functioned as the front windshield, side windows, and cabin roof. The canopy was the only access to and from the cockpit. A primary latch lever mounted in the cockpit operated four latch pins.

Weight and balance information, computed on January 30, 2013, indicated that the airplane's maximum gross takeoff weight was 2,200 pounds and the designed center of gravity (CG) range was 95 to 99.5 inches aft of datum. Utilizing the computed information, the airplane's weight at the time of takeoff was about 1,818 pounds and the CG was 102.2 inches aft of datum. The investigation was not able to determine if the pilot had performed a weight and balance or why he elected to operate the airplane out of CG.


The 1853 recorded weather observation at Westhampton Beach, The Gabreski Airport (KFOK), Westhampton Beach, New York, located about 10 miles to the south of the last recorded radar return, included wind from 220 degrees at 9 knots with gusts of 17 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 17 degrees C, and barometric altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was located at 41°3'53.7" N and 072°41.418" W, about 4 miles north of the north shore of Long Island and about 20 miles northeast of the departure airport.
Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer revealed damage to fuselage, left wingtip leading edge, and the right canard trailing edge. The damage was consistent with a left wing low attitude when it impacted the water. The pilot had a personal parachute pack, and when recovered, photographic evidence revealed that the parachute had been deployed, remained attached to the pilot, trailing behind the airplane, and wrapped around the propeller. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, neither the bolts nor the canopy were present.

Flight control continuity was confirmed to all flight control surfaces from the cockpit control, except for the rudders. Rudder continuity was confirmed from the cable fracture point in the vicinity of the rudder pedals to the rudder control surfaces; however, the rudder pedals were absent.

The left wing and left canard remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing exhibited leading edge damage which extended from the wingtip inward approximately 4 feet.

The nose section exhibited impact damage and was partially fractured on the right side circumferentially around the bottom of the nose but remained partially attached on the left side. The nose wheel remained attached and was partially extended. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the forward section of the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, no bolts nor the canopy were present.

The canopy was subsequently located July 9, 2014, floating on top of the water, about 39 miles northeast of the last recorded radar return. The canopy remained intact and the windscreen was not damaged. A video camera remained attached to the canopy; however, no recording of the accident flight was able to be extracted from the camera memory. The canopy quick release mechanism remained attached to the canopy and was found in the released position. The four locking pins and associated locking pin holes exhibited no distortion and were unremarkable. The four pins were reinstalled into the locking pin holes and appeared to lock into place. The quick release line was pulled by an FAA inspector and all four pins released and operated normally.

The instrument panel exhibited impact damage but remained attached to the forward portion of the cockpit. The throttle lever handle was impact separated; however, the lower portion of the throttle lever arm remained attached and was in the full forward or "OPEN" position. The mixture lever was in the full forward or full "rich" position. The fuel selector valve was in the "BOTH" position. The landing gear position indicator located aft of the fuel selector valve indicated three "UP" positions. Both ignition switches were found guarded and in the "ON" position. The glareshield included circuit breakers and several switches. The following switches were found in the on position: Master, Radio Master, Landing Light, Strobe Lights, Pitot Heat, Spare Circuit, and Fuel Pump. The left side control stick remained attached to the control column.

The left and right cockpit molded seats remained attached and had various fractures located along the back. Both seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained attached to the associated attach point; however, the right seat belt and should harness had been cut by first responders to facilitate recovery of the occupant.

The right wing and right canard remained attached to the airplane. The right rudder remained attached to the winglet at all hinge points. The right aileron remained attached at all hinge points.

Both fuel caps remained secured and in place. Each fuel tank indicated a 30 gallon capacity.

The aft pusher engine compartment remained attached to the fuselage and the firewall was not damaged. The lower and upper engine cowlings exhibited impact damage but remained attached to the fuselage. The engine assembly remained attached to all engine mounts. The composite three-blade propeller remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. The propeller blades were not damaged, and the personal parachute canopy and associated cords were found wrapped around the blades and hub.

Examination of the engine assembly revealed that the left and right engine exhaust pipes exhibited impact crush damage at the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinders. All induction tubes were attached to their respective attached points.

The throttle cable remained attached to the throttle control arm on the fuel injector servo and was at mid-range. The mixture control remained attached to the mixture control arm and was in the full rich position. The fuel injector servo was removed and contained fuel. The fuel injector servo fuel inlet screen was removed and free of contaminants. The fuel injector servo regulator section was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel flow divider was removed, disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel injector nozzles were removed from all cylinders and no anomalies were noted.

The engine was subsequently partially disassembled. The engine was rotated by hand using the propeller. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was observed through all cylinder rocker arms. The accessory drive gears were observed rotating. Crankshaft and valve train continuity was verified. A detailed "Memorandum of Record - Engine Examination Report" with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this investigation.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 7, 2014, by Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office, Hauppauge, New York. The autopsy reported the cause of death as "multiple blunt impact injuries," and the report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no carbon monoxide detected in the blood (Cavity) and no ethanol was detected in the urine. The report listed the following drug being detected:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana) detected in the blood (Heart)
- 0.005 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Urine
- 0.0015 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Blood (Heart)

According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research website, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana and has effects at levels as low as 0.001 ug/ml. THC has mood altering effects causing euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, sense of well-being, disorientation, image distortion, and psychosis. The ability to concentrate and maintain attention are decreased during marijuana use. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid is the inactive metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol.


A fuel receipt was located revealing that the airplane had been fueled at HWV, at 1837 on the day of the accident, with 53 gallons of fuel.

The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) Chapter 15, which states in part, "…once the stall has developed and a large amount of lift has been lost, the airplane will begin to sink rapidly and this will be accompanied by a corresponding rapid increase in angle of attack. This is the beginning of what is termed a deep stall. As an airplane enters a deep stall, increasing drag reduces forward speed to well below normal stall speed. The sink rate may increase to many thousands of feet per minute. The airplane eventually stabilizes in a vertical descent…it must be emphasized that this situation can occur without an excessively nose-high pitch attitude…Deep stalls are virtually unrecoverable."

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

Section 4 "Aerodynamics of Flight" states "The CG range is very important when it comes to stall recovery characteristics. If an aircraft is allowed to be operated outside of the CG, the pilot may have difficulty recovering from a stall. The most critical CG violation would occur when operating with a CG which exceeds the rear limit. In this situation, a pilot may not be able to generate sufficient force with the elevator to counteract the excess weight aft of the CG. With the ability to decrease the AOA [angle of attack], the aircraft continues in a stalled condition until it contacts the ground."

The section further goes on and states the following: "Longitudinal stability is the quality that makes an aircraft stable about its lateral axis. It involves the pitching motion as the aircraft's nose moves up and down in flight. A longitudinally unstable aircraft has a tendency to dive or climb progressively into a very steep dive or climb, or even a stall. Thus, an aircraft with longitudinal instability becomes difficult and sometimes dangerous to fly.

Static longitudinal stability or instability in an aircraft, is dependent upon three factors:
1. Location of the wing with respect to the CG
2. Location of the horizontal tail surfaces with respect to the CG
3. Area or size of the tail surfaces"

The "Glossary" defines CG as "the point at which an airplane would balance if it were possible to suspend it at that point. It is the mass center of the airplane, or the theoretical point at which the entire weight of the airplane is assume to be concentrated. It may expressed in inches from the reference datum, or in percentage of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC). The location depends on the distribution of weight in the airplane."

Deep Stall

According to a book titled "The Light Airplane Pilot's Guide to Stall/Spin Awareness" a deep stall is "…when the horizontal tail of a conventional airplane becomes buried in the main wing's tail wake and loses its power to push the nose down, or with a canard design when the main wing stalls before the canard does. In both cases, the airplane seeks a higher angle of attack, usually above 40 degrees, and stabilizes there. There may not be enough elevator authority to reduce the angle of attack for recovery."

According to Advisory Circular AC90-109 Section 5c(6) "It's also possible, even for a seemingly carefree handling airplane, to achieve what some have called a deep stall, where there is not sufficient nose-down pitch authority to break the stall, possibly creating an unrecoverable situation. Some airplanes can pitch nose-up before the stall, resulting in a rapid stall entry unless the pilot counters with a conscious forward yoke/stick motion."

Raven, N79ZR: Fatal accident occurred July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, New York 

Challenger, N31686: July 2014 in East Moriches, New York

Experimental amateur-built aircraft -- a class of planes that includes the single-engine Fargnoli Vincent Challenger that was twice forced to land on Sunrise Highway last summer -- are more likely to be involved in accidents compared to non-amateur-built aircraft, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

When it comes to deadly crashes, the rate per 1,000 aircraft is 2½ to 3 times higher.

"E-ABs [experimental amateur built] have experienced a disproportionate number of accidents relative both to their proportion of the general aviation fleet, and their share of general aviation flight activity," according to the NTSB report.

Experimental amateur-built aircraft represent nearly 10 percent of the general aviation fleet in the United States but accounted for about 15 percent of the total accidents in 2011, said the NTSB, which conducted a safety study and issued a report in 2012. When it comes to deadly crashes, they accounted for 21 percent of the accidents.

"Accident analyses indicate that power plant failures and loss of control in flight are the most common accident occurrences by a large margin, and that accident occurrences are similar for both new and used aircraft," the study said.

There have been 1,277 accidents involving home-built aircraft this year in the United States, six of them in New York, according to the NTSB database. Half of accidents that occurred in New York were fatal, including the crash that killed Zubair S. Khan, 41, of Manhattan, a vice president of derivatives trading technology at Barclays Capital.

Khan's fixed-wing Raven plunged into Long Island Sound on July 6 at 7:05 p.m., about 10 minutes after the pilot left Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, according to the NTSB accident report.

The figure did not include the two times in July when Frank Fierro, 75, of Lake Ronkonkoma, was forced to put down his yellow Fargnoli Vincent Challenger on Sunrise Highway in East Moriches after experiencing engine trouble shortly after takeoff.

An experimental amateur-built aircraft is one in which the majority of the plane has been fabricated and assembled by an individual or a group of people who are doing it for their own education or recreation. The planes are built by aviation enthusiasts, often at home, either from original designs or from kits. They include airplanes and light-sport aircraft such as fixed-wing, gyroplane, rotorcraft, weight-shift-control and powered parachute. A pilot's license is required to operate amateur-built aircraft, which are subject to annual inspections.

Nationwide, there are about 33,000 of these planes in service, said Dick Knapinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association, which has more than 170,000 members worldwide, 3,756 in New York.

A large percentage of the accidents happened during the early stages of operating these aircraft, when pilots were learning how to maneuver unfamiliar planes, the study found. Accidents were also common shortly after an owner bought a used aircraft.

Knapinski said his group has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration to provide training to aviators, many of whom are experienced pilots, but may have little or no skill flying a particular type of aircraft.

That's what happened to Fierro, who said he bought the yellow Fargnoli Vincent Challenger from someone else and was attempting to fly the plane when it experienced engine failure both times.

On July 10, Fierro, who said he has been flying since 1956, was forced to put the plane on the median of Sunrise Highway as alarmed motorists called police to report a downed plane. Eight days later, Fierro took the plane out for another spin when, he believed, a blown fuse caused the engine trouble. This time Fierro landed the bright yellow aircraft on the busy highway. After the midair crises, Fierro said he donated the single-engine plane to an out-of-state group that may use it for parts.

Khan, too, was a longtime pilot who had recently built his own plane and had been taking it on flight tests, according to his friends.

Three weeks before the fatal crash, a YouTube video posted under an account bearing Khan's name showed he had trouble with the nose gear during landing. The video showed the Mastic Fire Department met the plane on the runway when it landed.

Operators of ultralights -- such as Erwin S. Rodger, 71, who was forced to land his Mosquito helicopter on a sod farm in Aquebogue last month -- don't need a pilot's license or an inspection to fly them. The FAA doesn't consider an ultralight an aircraft, but a vehicle.

Rodger was practicing a drill in which he tried to land the helicopter without power; when he tried to turn the power back on, however, the engine wouldn't start, according to a copy of the police report. It was the second time in three years that Rodger, who police said built the ultralight, was forced to make an emergency landing.

"The assumption is made that a person who elects to operate an uncertificated vehicle alone is aware of the risks involved," according to the FAA.

Since the FAA does not investigate incidents involving ultralights, their safety records were not part of the study.

The FAA began regulating ultralights in the 1980s, putting limits on the aircraft's weight, speed and flying conditions -- restrictions that remain in effect today. Under FAA guidelines, an ultralight can carry one person and no more than five gallons of fuel, which allows a pilot to fly for 1½ to 2 hours, said Rob Heymach, president of Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft Chapter 528 in Suffolk. The aircraft's maximum weight is 254 pounds and the top speed is 55 knots or 63 mph.

Heymach said six to eight of his members operate ultralights.

"The slow speed and weight make the risk factor so low," Heymach said. "If an ultralight gets into a head-on collision with a car or boat, the ultralight would bounce off without damaging the car or the boat."

Article and Comments:

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA330

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, NY
Aircraft: ZUBAIR S KHAN RAVEN, registration: N79ZR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On July 6, 2014, about 1905 eastern daylight time, an experimental-amateur built Raven, N79ZR, impacted the water in the vicinity of Mattituck, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was located the following day floating in the Long Island Sound and sustained substantial damage to fuselage and nose section. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York, about 1855.

According to radar data, the airplane was first observed at 1200 feet above mean sea level (msl) south of HWV. Then, about 1856, the airplane turned north and continued to climb to about 8500 feet msl as it went over the shoreline. About 1904, the airplane was at 7000 feet msl and began a left 270 degree turn to the east and descended during the turn to about 5800 feet msl. The last radar return was recorded about 1905 and indicated an altitude of about 1100 feet msl.

A fuel receipt was located revealing that the airplane had been fueled at HWV, at 1837 on the day of the accident, with 53 gallons of fuel.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer revealed damage to fuselage, left wingtip leading edge, and the right canard trailing edge. The pilot had a personal parachute pack, and when recovered, the parachute had been deployed, remained attached, and was found trailing behind the airplane. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, no bolts nor the canopy were present. The canopy was subsequently located July 9, 2014, floating in the water, about 39 miles northeast of the last recorded radar return.

Zubair S. Khan, N79ZR:


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11 

Investigators: Plane had crashed 14 hours before it was found

An initial federal investigation has revealed the home-built plane that crashed in Long Island Sound last week went down Sunday night, roughly 14 hours before it was first discovered floating off Mattituck.

The cause of the fatal crash that killed 41-year-old pilot Zubair Khan has not yet been determined, investigators said.

The preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday found that Mr. Khan took off in his experimental single-engine aircraft from Brookhaven Callabro Airport about 6:55 p.m. last Sunday.

The plane turned north from the airport and climbed to about 8,500 feet as it flew over the shoreline, according to the report. About 7:04 p.m., radar spotted the plane making a hard left turn and descending to about 5,800 feet.

About a minute later, according to the report, the plane was picked up on radar just 1,100 feet above sea level. That was the last sign of the craft on radar, the report found.

Investigators found that the plane left in good conditions for visual flying and did not file a flight plan.

Mr. Khan’s family said last week that it was concerned the crash was not reported until Monday even though Mr. Khan had departed the airport the day before. His brother-in-law, Umar Niazi, questioned why a search and rescue effort wasn’t conducted Sunday evening. 

 “This all seems very strange,” Mr. Niazi wrote in an email.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said Brookhaven’s airport is “non-towered,” meaning there is no control tower coordinating flights.

It’s common for smaller planes to take off and land at these airports without notifying authorities, the spokesman said.

“As long as you can fly and see what’s ahead of you … those flights take place all the time,” he said. “There’s really no way of knowing how many of those aircraft are flying at any one time.”

NTSB investigators said Mr. Khan was fatally injured in the crash and was found inside the plane Monday morning, with a personal parachute pack deployed and still attached.

The plane suffered “substantial damage” to its fuselage and nose, the report states. Edges of the plane’s left wingtip and right canard were also damaged. The canopy was missing from the craft, and investigators found no sign of “tearing or shearing” of the bolts; however, the report notes that the bolts were missing from the craft.

NTSB investigator Shawn Etcher said the canopy was found three days after the crash floating about 39 miles northeast near Westerly, R.I.

Mr. Etcher said a mount for a video camera was found on the recovered canopy, but there was no sign of a camera on the recovered hatch.

On Monday, a boater discovered a video camera which may be related to the crash, he said.

“It is currently being prepared to be sent to our laboratory for examination and possible download to determine if it was part of the airplane,” Mr. Etcher said.

The victim’s brother-in-law had said Mr. Khan recorded “every moment of his flying” with a camera installed in the cockpit of his plane. Mr. Khan had posted videos of some of his initial flights on YouTube.

The full investigation into the cause of the accident is expected to take between three and 12 months to complete, Mr. Etcher said.

Story and Photos:

  Zubair Khan
Photo: LinkedIn 

A Manhattan pilot known for his daredevil loop-de-loops died when his single-engine, self-built aircraft crashed Monday morning in Long Island Sound, authorities said.

 Zubair Khan, 41, of Leroy Street in the West Village was flying the one-passenger Raven about 8:50 a.m. seven miles northwest of the Mattituck Inlet on the North Fork when he went down, the US Coast Guard said.

A vice president of derivatives trading technology for Barclay’s Capital, Khan built airplanes and was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, according to his LinkedIn page.

“Zubair has had his flight license for ages. I’ve flown with him before. I’ve done loop-de-loops with him in stunt planes. He was a pretty experienced pilot. He built that plane himself. It was a crazy, insane, beautiful thing actually,” said Eli Slyder, 38, a business owner and neighbor who came to Khan’s home after hearing the news.

“I can’t believe this. Zubair was one of the most wildly far out, interesting and dynamic people I’ve ever met. This is a horrible thing that’s happened,” said Slyder, adding that Khan had about 40 hours flight time in his homemade craft.

The call came in from another small plane nearby that had spotted a “small, white experimental aircraft,” bobbing on the surface about midway between the New York and Connecticut coasts, the Coast Guard said.

Read more here:

Zubair Khan during the first taxiing of his plane at Brookhaven Calabro Airport in February. 

When Zubair Khan first set out in February 2012 to convert a twin-engine CoZy aircraft into one with a larger single engine, he was met with skepticism from like-minded individuals on an online aviation message board.

“Zubair, my friend, there is going to be a lot there that is harder than you think,” one man wrote the day after Mr. Khan purchased his plane from a pilot who had abandoned a similar project in Oregon.

Mr. Khan responded with the same enthusiasm he often displayed on the message board while documenting his 25-month journey from purchasing the plane and converting into an amateur-built fixed-wing Raven powered by a Lycoming engine to taking it on its first test flight in March.

“I am glad you brought this up,” the West Village resident wrote. “I did ask a lot of canard builders and experts before jumping into this, and pretty much everyone told me to stay away from it. But I couldn’t.”

He concluded his response by writing: “I am so new to all of this that I am pretty much depending on these comments to save my life.”

Mr. Khan, 41, was identified Monday afternoon as the pilot killed when he crashed his experimental aircraft into the Long Island Sound off the Mattituck shoreline during a test flight from Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley. His first test flight with the aircraft was on March 15, according to his message board posts.

Mr. Khan was an unmarried native of Afghanistan who came to New York City along with one of his brothers while the rest of his family stayed behind, according to a fellow pilot who had advised him on his project over the past two years. He was the vice president of a financial software company who had worked on projects for several major international banks in recent years, according to his online resumé on LinkedIn. He earned his master’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1999.

Several phone calls to Mr. Khan’s home in New York City went unanswered Monday.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said they received an 8:50 a.m. notification from a seaplane pilot in the vicinity of the crash that a “small, white, experimental aircraft with a parachute deployed” had gone down in the Sound. The Coast Guard soon found the aircraft submerged in water north of Mattituck, an FAA spokesman said.

While a parachute was deployed from the plane, Mr. Khan was found inside the aircraft, according to Southold police Detective Sergeant John Sinning. Southold Police and Mattituck Fire Department divers recovered the body, officials said, and Sea Tow brought the downed airplane back to Mattituck Inlet Marina, where it was hoisted from the water about 4 p.m. Monday.

An FAA spokesperson said the next of kin was identified at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency in the investigation into the crash.

Mr. Khan began his project at the Sullivan County Airport in Bethel, N.Y. in February 2012, but airport superintendent Mike Mullen said airport records show he moved his plane to Shirley six months later.

Marc Zeitlin of Tehachapi, Calif., an aircraft engineer who had advised Mr. Khan, said he made the transition to Long Island so he could be at an airport with more aviators working on similar projects.

Mr. Zeitlin, an MIT graduate who consults on projects around the globe, estimates there are fewer than 4,000 CoZy planes flying in the United States today. He said there are probably about 300 to 400 of the type of four-seat CoZy plane Mr. Khan was flying.

NTSB records show there have been only seven other fatal CoZy crashes in the U.S. in the past 20 years. The most recent was recorded two years ago this week in Winslow, Ariz.

Mr. Zeitlin admits he was one of the aviators who was initially skeptical of a man with Mr. Khan’s limited experience taking on an aircraft project of this magnitude. But over the past two years he grew to respect Mr. Khan as someone who was “diligent about [working] safely and doing it right.”

“He did a tremendous amount of work over the past two years,” said Mr. Zeitlin, who visits New York on a regular basis and had inspected Mr. Khan’s plane in its hangar in Shirley. “I gave him a lot of credit.”

Mr. Zeitlin said he spoke with Mr. Khan last month and while he reported several hiccups during his test flights over the past four months, their was nothing unusual about the flights.

“He had some minor issues, nothing big,” he said. “That’s always the case.”

Onlookers watch as Mr. Khan’s plane is towed to shore in Mattituck Inlet.
 (Credit: Paul Squire)

More than a dozen media outlets swarmed the Mattituck shore after the crash.
(Credit: Paul Squire) 

A Mattituck Inlet Marina employee operates the crane to lift Mr. Khan’s plane from the water. 
(Credit: Paul Squire) 

A Mattituck Inlet Marina employee helps guide the crashed experimental plane out of the water Monday afternoon. 
(Credit: Paul Squire)

 A Sea Tow worker helps pull the downed plane from the water at Mattituck Inlet Marina Monday afternoon.
 (Credit: Paul Squire)

 Update (12:15 p.m.): A Southold police marine unit has transported the body of a pilot involved in Monday’s fatal plane crash in the Long Island Sound to the state boat ramp at Mattituck Inlet. 

The body was then transferred to a Suffolk County Medical Examiner van that was waiting on the scene.

Southold police Detective Sergeant John Sinning described the plane as a “single seater,” saying the male pilot was the lone occupant.

He was pronounced dead about noon Monday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said. Mattituck Fire Department divers recovered the body from the aircraft, according to the Coast Guard. The victim’s identity is pending notification of next of kin, Sgt. Sinning said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be the lead agency investigating the crash, officials said.

Update (11:45 a.m.): The Federal Aviation Administration has identified the plane in Monday morning’s fatal crash in the Long Island Sound as a single-engine, fixed wing Raven — an amateur built aircraft.

 The U.S. Coast Guard found the aircraft submerged in water north of Mattituck, an FAA spokesman said.

The plane is registered to an address in lower Manhattan. Its engine was manufactured by Lycoming and the plane is classified as “experimental,” according to registry information.

Update (11 a.m.): Local authorities are saying an aircraft and at least one body have been recovered from Long Island Sound waters off the coast of Mattituck Inlet Monday morning.

Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley confirmed at 10:45 a.m. that the pilot had died in the crash.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said they received an 8:50 a.m. notification from another aircraft in the vicinity that a “small, white, experimental aircraft with a parachute deployed” had gone down in the Sound.

The Coast Guard and local police are investigating.

A Southold Police marine unit recovered the aircraft, which was being secured in the water.

Original story: Police, firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating a report that an “experimental” aircraft had gone down in the Long Island Sound about seven miles off Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport Monday morning, officials said.

Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard speculated that the aircraft that crashed might have been a drone.

The report came in from a seaplane pilot about 9:30 a.m., who reportedly saw the aircraft go down off the shore, according to an Riverhead ambulance volunteer at the scene.

Jamesport Fire Department and Riverhead police both responded to the Sound beach and launched boats to search the area.

The Coast Guard is currently investigating the report, though a spokesman declined to comment further.

 Aircraft Found Submerged in Long Island Sound: FAA

Authorities are investigating after a small aircraft was found submerged in the Long Island Sound about four miles off the coast Monday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Coast Guard said it received a call shortly before 9 a.m. from another aircraft reporting that what appeared to be a small plane went down about eight miles north of Mattituck Inlet.

The FAA says it found the aircraft in the water four miles north of Mattituck. It wasn't clear if anyone was on board; the agency said it also wasn't clear what kind of aircraft it was.

Rescue crews from the Coast Guard's New Haven station are on scene, as are Southold EMTs, the Suffolk County police marine unit and representatives from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

Source Article:

 U.S. Coast Guard reports small plane has crashed north of Mattituck Inlet  
A small plane crashed into Long Island Sound on Monday morning, about seven nautical miles -- or, about eight miles -- north of Mattituck Inlet, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said rescue personnel from Coast Guard Station New Haven is on scene, as are a Suffolk County police marine unit and Southold EMTs.

The aircraft crashed at about 8:50 a.m., according.

Story and Comments:

Small plane crashes into Long Island Sound; rescuers searching for survivors 

The Coast Guard believes the aircraft went down about eight miles north of Mattituck Inlet around 8:50 a.m. Monday.

 A small experimental plane crashed into the Long Island Sound on Monday morning and rescuers were searching for survivors, authorities said.

The plane is believed to have gone down about eight miles north of Mattituck Inlet around 8:50 a.m., according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

Another aircraft in the area alerted the Coast Guard that a "small, white, experimental aircraft with a parachute deployed" had gone down, the statement reads.

A Coast Guard rescue boat crew from New Haven, Conn., was searching along with Suffolk County Marine as well as Riverhead and Southold Emergency Medical Services.

Source Article:

MATTITUCK, N.Y. - (AP) -- The Coast Guard says it is investigating a possible plane crash in Long Island Sound.

Spokeswoman Jetta Disco says the small plane was reported down about 8 miles north of Mattituck Inlet.

A pilot from another plane in the area reported seeing the light aircraft crash into the water.

There was a report that someone had escaped via parachute.

The Coast Guard says it is working with local police agencies to investigate further.

The area is about 85 miles east of Manhattan.

Source Article:

Southold Town police sergeants confer with marine unit officers after they arrived in Mattituck about noon Monday with the crash victim’s body on board.

Riverhead ambulance volunteers wait as police and firefighters investigate reports that a plane crashed in Long Island Sound Monday morning. 
(Credit: Carrie Miller)

Challenger, N31686: Incident occurred July 10, 2014 near Spadaro Airport (1N2), East Moriches, New York 


Plane Makes Emergency Landing On Sunrise Highway Median In East Moriches  

 EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – No one was hurt when a single-engine plane made an emergency landing on the grassy median of a Long Island highway Thursday.

The ultralight Challenger plane experienced engine trouble about a minute after taking off from Lufker/Spadaro Airport in East Moriches around 1:30 p.m., police said.

Pilot Frank Fierro realized the plane wouldn’t make it back to the airport and decided to land it on the median between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Sunrise Highway near exit 61, police said.

The bright yellow plane was not damaged and was towed to nearby Spadaro Airport.

“No time were any motorists in danger,” Suffolk County Police Sgt. George Hodge told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall. “The pilot was never over actually a travel lane of Sunrise Highway.”

Police told Hall the pilot, who is in his mid 70s, has been licensed since 1956 and his wealth of experience likely helped him land safely.

Authorities said that because of a quick response, there were only limited traffic delays on the highway.

Story, video and photo:

SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. (WABC) --   A small plane made an emergency landing on the median of the Sunrise Highway near Exit 61 Thursday afternoon.

The single-engine ultralight Challenger plane took off from Lufker/Spadaro Airport around 1:30 p.m. One minute later, it had engine trouble, according to Suffolk County Police.

Frank Fierro, the pilot, attempted to return to the airport but could not so he landed on the median. No one was injured in the plane and no one was injured on the ground. The plane was not damaged.

It has been removed from the roadway and trucked over to Lufker Airfield in East Moriches. It is unclear where the aircraft originated from and who was on board.

Brian Forsyth, of Merrick, witnessed the landing. He said the plane landed in the grassy median facing east and that the pilot got out of the plane without help. Forsyth said the pilot appeared to be alone in the plane.

Lou Lurker, the owner of Lufker Airfield, said Fierro who he describes as a friend is a seasoned pilot who worked as a flight instructor for 45 years. Lurker said shortly after takeoff, the engine on Fierro's plane failed.

Story and Photo:

Deja Phew: Challenger, N31686 - East Moriches, New York

For the second time in eight days, New York pilot makes emergency landing on Long Island highway 

Frank Fierro of Suffolk County makes another unexpected touchdown on the Sunrise Highway. In pretty much the same place.

Read more:

Challenger, N31686: Incident occurred July 10, 2014 near Spadaro Airport (1N2), East Moriches, New York 


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11


EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (AP) -- A New York pilot has experienced deja phew.    The same pilot who made an emergency landing last week in the median of a Long Island highway did the exact same thing Friday. In the nearly the exact same place.

Suffolk County police say a single-engine Challenger ultralight plane landed on the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway because of engine trouble just before 1 p.m. Pilot Frank Fierro landed the same plane in almost the same place on July 10.

Police say Fierro had taken the plane for the first time since last week's incident. It was taken back to nearby Spadaro Airport in East Moriches.