Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Penn Township, Snyder County, Pennsylvania: Beer-drinking college students arrested for 'exploring' Federal Aviation Administration air traffic navigation tower, troopers say



SELINSGROVE — State police say four young men who broke into a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic navigation tower in Snyder County on Sunday morning and shut down an aviation aid weren’t trying to disrupt air traffic. 

“I didn’t see any attempt to bring a plane out of the sky,” trooper Brent Bobb responded when District Judge John H. Reed asked him Monday whether the incident was reckless or intentional.

The four men each charged with felony causing a catastrophe, burglary, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and summary underage drinking are Michael J. Ede, 20, and Kevin C. Herman, 19, both of Winfield, and Brett H. Eyster, 20, and Alex T. Moyer, 20, both of Selinsgrove.

According to the criminal complaint, they told police they were “exploring” at 1:30 a.m. Sunday when they entered the FAA navigation tower off Air Tower Road in Penn Township through an unlocked door. It triggered an intruder alarm that shut down the Very High Frequency Omni Directional Range signal that is “crucial for aircraft flying” since it enables pilots to follow an assigned flight path.

An alarm was sent to the FAA in Georgia, and state police at Selinsgrove responded. At the scene, according to court records, the four were spotted walking away from the tower carrying an open container of beer.

The tower is in a cornfield on a hill surrounded by a fence. There are several “no trespassing” and other signs indicating any person who interferes with air traffic control will be prosecuted under federal law. One highly visible sign on a door to the tower clearly marks the FAA facility, warning “Loss of human life may result from service interruption.”

Reed told the four men that they also could face federal charges.

“This is a serious matter,” he added before noting that none of them has a prior criminal history and they are not considered flight risks. Reed set bail at $25,000 each.

All four appeared voluntarily at Monday’s arraignment accompanied by relatives.

Ede is a West Point Academy cadet; Herman and Moyer are sophomores at Susquehanna University; and Eyster is a York College sophomore.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters confirmed Monday that the FAA is investigating an “unauthorized entry” to a building near Selinsgrove.

“The entrants did not damage the building or equipment and did not pose a safety risk to any aircraft,” he said.

Peters did not respond to questions about the building’s security or how it could have been breached.

Heritage Aviation General Manager Jon Trainor, who also is a flight instructor at Penn Valley Airport in Penn Township, said he’s surprised the men were able to gain entry to the tower.

“They must have been pretty intent on getting in,” he said. “Every time I’ve been there, it’s been locked and I’ve had to have a representative from the FAA let me in.”

- Original article can be found at: http://www.dailyitem.com


Wichita State Shockers: Plane makes emergency landing; no one hurt

WICHITA, Kan. - A plane carrying the Wichita State Men's Basketball team was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday evening.

According to airport dispatchers, the Embraer 145 took off from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport at 6:18 p.m. The airplane encountered a minor sensor malfunction with its landing gear shortly after takeoff and was rerouted back to Mid Continent Airport.

The plane was forced to turn around and land back at the airport. The plane landed safely and no one on board was hurt.

The plane was set to arrive in Des Moines, Iowa shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

According to the Wichita State Athletics Department, an alternate plane will be flown in. The team plans to fly out Wednesday morning. 

The Shockers are scheduled to take on Drake Bulldogs at the Knapp Center in Des Moines on Wednesday. Tipoff is set at 5 p.m.

- Original article can be found at: http://www.kwch.com

Zenith Zodiac CH 650, N419PE, MDS Flying LLC: Incident occurred December 30, 2014 at St. Lucie County International Airport (KFPR), Fort Pierce, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA087
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 30, 2014 in Fort Pierce, FL
Aircraft: MDS FYING LLC ZENITH ZODIAC CH 650, registration: N419PE
Injuries: 1 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 30, 2014, about 1320 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Zenith Zodiac CH 650, N419PE, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on approach to landing to St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Following an uneventful local flight, the pilot returned to the departure airport and entered the traffic pattern with the intention of performing several touch-and-go landings. After setting the flaps to the 10-degree position and trimming the airplane, the pilot eventually turned the airplane onto final approach to runway 28, at an airspeed of 75 knots. At a height of about 50 feet, the cockpit canopy opened, and the airplane suddenly pitched nose down. The pilot responded by "pulling on the stick" and increasing engine power, but found the elevator control to be ineffective. He also noted that the canopy had opened about 3 inches. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground in a nose down attitude.

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors examined the airplane following the accident and found that the forward portion of the fuselage and the firewall had been substantially damaged during the impact. A detailed examination of the canopy latching mechanism was scheduled for a later date.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

http://registry.faa.gov/N419PE


http://www.zenithair.com/zodiac/ch650



ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - A man in his 60s had a couple of scrapes but largely escaped injury Tuesday after an experimental plane crashed, according to rescue and law enforcement officials.

St. Lucie County Fire District crews were called about 1:21 p.m. to the incident at the St. Lucie County International Airport, said Catherine Chaney, Fire District spokeswoman.


Fire District Capt. David French said the pilot indicated the incident happened after he’d been flying for a couple of hours. It happened on a runway typically used for “touch and go” landings.


“He said he was about 50 feet off the ground and his hatch flew open, the hatch that comes over his head,” French said. “When it flew open … the nose kind of went down and he tried to pull back up on it to keep the aircraft up and he hit in the grass and then skidded on the runway a little ways.”


French said the pilot sustained a couple of scrapes.


“He was OK, thank God,” French said.


Lt. Mike Sheelar of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said the plane was a Zenith 650.


Story, Comments and Photos:  http://www.wptv.com



FORT PIERCE, Fla. —A pilot escaped serious injury when his experimental airplane came in for a hard landing at the St. Lucie County International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.


The plane experienced a mechanical failure and came down at the edge of the runway, according to a spokesperson for the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.


An eyewitness on the tarmac said the plane landed propeller-first and slid about 10 yards before coming to a stop. The eyewitness said the pilot immediately jumped out of the cockpit, and only suffered scratches on his arm and did not have to go to the hospital.


Story and Video:  http://www.wpbf.com









Robinson R22 BETA, N7041X: Incident occurred December 29, 2014 near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (KIWA), Phoenix, Arizona

MESA, AZ - A small helicopter was forced to make a "hard landing" in a desert area near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Monday evening.

Mesa fire crews say the chopper landed in an upright position when it touched down.

The pilot was the only person on board and he was not injured.

There is no word at this time what caused the incident.

Story, Video and Photos:  http://www.abc15.com

Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

N7041X ROBINSON R22 ROTORCRAFT FORCE LANDED NEAR THE TAXIWAY, PHOENIX, AZ

FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

http://registry.faa.gov/N7041X







Airport director John Kinney meeting with Federal Aviation Administration about air traffic congestion: Aspen-Pitkin County Airport/Sardy Field ( KASE), Aspen, Colorado

Sardy Field sees more than 300 flights on Saturday 


New airport director John Kinney will be meeting with Federal Aviation Administration forecasters and control tower staff today to discuss ideas for how to best regulate traffic at Sardy Field after 312 planes flew into or out of Aspen on Saturday, causing headaches for travelers.

Of those flights, 268 were general aviation planes, while 44 were classified as commercial.

The large amount of air traffic coupled with winter weather over the weekend, led to a perfect storm of delays, cancellations and refueling diversions for travelers bound for the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport over the weekend.

“It was an exceptionally busy day and all of the stars were aligned for the wrong reasons,” Kinney said Monday. “We had a lot of pent up demand [following the storm on Friday]. It was a clear day, with another storm forecast for the next day, so you get some ‘get-homeitus.’”

He said when those factors are added to the regular traffic during the holidays, it becomes a “trifecta of congestion.”

There were a combined total of 34 American Airlines, United and Delta flights scheduled to land in Aspen on Saturday, the most since the 1997-’98 season, according to Bill Tomcich, president of the central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass who is the local liaison to the airline industry.

But due to delays and a high amount of private planes at the airport, only 28 landed at Sardy Field while the rest were rerouted or canceled on Saturday.

Kinney noted that smaller, corporate and private jets that hold 10 to 15 passengers have more options of airports to be rerouted to such as Rifle, while larger commercial carriers holding 70 to 80 people have to travel to Grand Junction or back to Denver. Private aircraft often times drop their passengers and then take off for another nearby airport to park the plane because of a lack of parking on the tarmac at Sardy Field.

Kinney said he’s worked with the National Football League in the past on ways to mitigate heavy air traffic congestion during Super Bowls XXIX and XXX, and believes there can be a better way to handle demand at Sardy Field.

He said they came up with a “slot-reservation program” that helped the flow of traffic during the events, and it could possibly work in Aspen, too.

But before making any decisions, he wants to “talk with the pros at the FAA.”

“It’s really 20 to 24 weeks a year that [it gets very busy],” he said. “We need to be more prepared … there’s room for operational improvement. … We can make this more predictable.”

Should commercial planes
 have priority?

When asked if commercial aircraft should get precedence over private ones, Tomcich said it would be a good idea since the problem really snowballs when commercial flights are held up.

“Absolutely, I think it needs to be revisited,” he said. “[Especially during times] of airspace saturation.”

Allen Kenitzer, public affairs manager for the northwest region at the FAA, said private planes do not have priority over any commercial aircraft, and that all planes are on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“There’s no truth that priority goes to private over commercial [aircraft]. … It just doesn’t happen that way,” Kenitzer said. “They all file flight plans … and it goes into a queue.”

Multiple calls to the local fixed-base operator, Atlantic Aviation, seeking the numbers of private planes that landed in Aspen over the weekend, were not returned.

Sardy Field capacity limited

Kenitzer said Sardy Field’s delays and cancellations over the weekend were mainly because of the airport’s size.

“It’s really a matter of capacity. … It’s Aspen, you’re going to have volume issues,” Kenitzer said. “There’s one runway. It is what it is.”

Kinney also noted the limitations of having a single runway, where planes land and depart from different directions, with a 10- to 15-mile separation between each.

“It slows our capacity, but it’s done for the right reason and is good for the community,” Kinney added. 

According to the FAA’s traffic flow management plan, planes in distress get priority over all other traffic. “Lifeguard” flights carrying patients, organs for transplant, or doctors needed for emergencies, also may take precedent, as well as some diversions and other flights requesting special assistance.

Most flights landed in Aspen, 
but many were delayed

Tomcich said the dense traffic was the result of travelers eager to be in town for the  holidays and winter weather that came in on Friday and Sunday, sandwiching Saturday and increasing the demand. 

“It makes sense. There were a combination of factors and with the holidays, there was a compounded impact,” he said. “It was a perfect storm of being in between two storms.”

Tomcich said there were 28 flights scheduled for Friday and 22 landed at Sardy Field. Four were diverted to Grand Junction Regional Airport and two were canceled.

He said 32 flights were scheduled for Sunday, with 23 landing, three rerouted to Grand Junction and six were canceled.

Marissa Snow, director of corporate communications at SkyWest Airlines, which partners with Delta, American and United airlines, said two United flights had to refuel in Grand Junction on Saturday and one was sent back to Denver.

She said the reason for the delay and subsequent refueling, was listed as heavy traffic, saying some could be due to “[general aviation traffic] issues.”

Nose wheel damaged on plane

On Saturday, a plane was being towed out to the runway when the “tug” slid off the runway, damaging the aircraft and forcing the flight’s cancellation

“Flight 5212 from Aspen to Chicago, operating as United Express, was canceled Saturday after an aircraft tug lost traction and caused damage to the nose wheel,” Snow wrote in an email. “We provided overnight accommodations to the 70 passengers and seats on an extra flight segment Sunday.”

She added that three flights were diverted to Grand Junction on Sunday as well, but that buses brought those passengers to Aspen.

Overall, Tomcich was impressed by the efforts put forth from the airlines to get travelers to Aspen despite the operational and weather-related challenges.

“The airlines are busting their tails,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can to move people to and from our little airport.”

Source:   http://www.aspendailynews.com

Safe Landings Depend On Extensive Snow Removal At Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (KASE), Aspen, Colorado

Workers stand by an Oshkosh broom truck on a frosty morning. It's one of several big machines that clear snow from the runway at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport.
 CREDIT MARCI KRIVONEN




The Aspen Airport is in the middle of one of its busiest and snowiest stretches. A fleet of huge snow blowers and plow trucks clear snow from the runway long before the sun comes up. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen discovered, it’s a job that requires attention to detail and patience.

The temperatures are in the single digits as light snow falls onto the runway at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport. A fleet of large trucks zip back and forth, clearing snow and leaving a cloud of it behind.

Dustin Havel is Assistant Aviation Director of Operations and Facilities. He doubles as a truck driver when a snowstorm hits. Today he’s behind the wheel of a high speed runway broom.

"This Oshkosh broom has a 20-foot broom on the front that has steel bristles and it spins at high RPMs to cut through the compacted or dry snow," he says.

The broom cleans up residual snow left by the plows, so airplanes can land on bare pavement.

"The brooms stay out the majority of the day when it’s snowing so we can continue to sweep up the snow that’s fallen. We continue to go back to the center of the runway and work back out to the edges."

On a snowy day, this fleet of massive machines start work around 3 o’clock in the morning. Snow plows, brooms, snow blowers and loaders work to make the runway safe.

"So, basically, this machine is one of our newer blowers here at Aspen Pitkin County Airport," says David Cerise, as he moves his snow blower over piles of snow more than four feet high. He's a seasonal snow removal operator.

Krivonen: "So this is a super powerful snowblower?"

Cerise: "It is. It’s a real large one. It has two diesel Cat engines. One drives the blower and one drives the machine."

The snow is blown off the runway and taxiways onto a nearby area that’s not used by planes. In especially snowy years, the snow piles are sometimes sculpted so the wings of airplanes don’t touch them on takeoff.

The goal of clearing the snow is to make the runway safe for the commercial and private jets that take off and land. Once the machines have removed snow, a special truck does a “friction test.” It emulates the kind of braking action a plane might have on landing.

"Aircraft touch down at a substantially higher miles per hour than a normal car drives on the highway," says Dustin Havel.  "So, there’s a lot of sensitivity in braking, so we want to make sure we have the surface as good as we can for airplanes to land and touch down."

Havel says the airport’s lucky to have this equipment. Many other airports operate with older machines that break down. The winter operations at the Aspen airport cost about one million dollars a year.

"Our airport, from the County’s point of view and from my point of view, is one of the county’s most important economic assets," says George Newman.

He's a Pitkin County Commissioner. He helps approve annual budgets for the airport. He says keeping the snow cleared and the runway safe is an important priority.

"We think it’s critical. If you just look at this past holiday period where we’ve had so much snow and so many flights were canceled on and off.  Anything we can do to ensure that we’re able to keep our runways, taxiways and aprons clear as quick as possible, we want to do that."

Back on the runway, the snow is picking up so the broom continues to move up and down the runway, clearing it.

"It gets kind of repetitive, basically driving around in circles," says Havel. "It’s basically just a race track for the brooms to keep the runway open and looking good."

It’s an important job given how busy it is. This time of year typically sees more than 4300 passengers move through the airport each day.

Story, Photos and Audio:   http://aspenpublicradio.org 

The airport uses a special truck to test friction on the runway during a snow storm. A small wheel drops down from the bed of a truck and a computer comes up with a number. It's indicative of how the braking action might be for an airplane. 
CREDIT MARCI KRIVONEN

Learning to Fly: Part 2

By: Stephanie Goetz

The journey to achieving a private pilot

Have you ever thought about getting your private pilot's license? No matter your age, it's actually much more attainable than you think. In part 2 of our "Learning to Fly" series, we take you up in the air to show you what it takes once you're in flight.

We start our day in the skies, on the ground, getting a Piper aircraft out of the hangar for a pre-flight check.

"You can grab on the inside of the prop - we're going to turn it towards the north so when you start the engine you don't blow the hanger full of leaves. And when you start the aircraft you want to be away from the rocks."

Here in Fargo, Flight Instructor Victor Gelking is one the best to learn from: with more than 30,000 hours of flying, he knows how to train beginners into expert pilots.

"When I got out of the Marine Corps. in the second world war, I took flying in the G.I. training. That was in 1946."

And he knows the world of aviation very well.

"People travel a lot by air, a lot more than people realize. I can take off at 6:00 in the morning from Fargo and be in San Diego by early afternoon." he says.

One of the first things you hear as you taxi out is all the radio chatter - talking to air traffic control to make sure you're in the right area, that you have clearance to fly, and continuous connection as you take off and land.

"Here we go!" Vic say. "Put your hands on top of the throttle and let's do this together. Clear. We're in the air! And you did that yourself!"

Once we're in the air, we have to establish cruising altitude -- which is about 5,000 feet for our single engine plane. We must stay out of clouds and I have to keep my altitude as I do 10, 20 & 30 degree banks at 90 degrees, 180 and 360 degree turns!

As I nail a 30 degree turn, Vic says "I'm going to have to give you an a for that one!" Gladly I exclaim, "Oh yay!"

It's vital to look at your instruments as you fly. But for VFR flying - which is what we're doing - it's essentially operating an aircraft with instruments, but also relying heavily on sight. So we have to continue looking out the window to make sure there aren't any planes in your path of flight.

"I find that women become pretty good pilots," Vic says. "They're very cautious by nature. They try real hard. And they won't take quite the chances that sometimes that men will do."

Safety - in the skies and on the ground - is the most important part of mastering this craft & enjoying your time in the air.

To get your private pilot's license, you must have at least 40 hours, pass various solo flight tests, a written knowledge test and practical test. Through more hours in the sky, you work your way up getting different aircraft-type ratings. The bare minimum number of hours for a commercial license is 250, but major airline pilots have many more hours than that.

You can get your license through Vic's Aviation and Flight Instruction -- which is located at 1631 19th Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102 - it's the building to the west of the Fargo Air Museum. You can call Vic to schedule a lesson at (701) 293-8362.

Story and Video:  http://www.valleynewslive.com


Orlando International Airport offering free rides to stranded travelers

Orlando International Airport officials and a private parking operation are offering free rides to travelers stranded because they left their cars at a lot that closed without warning this weekend.

Airport Quick Parking on Jetport Drive shut down with an estimated 450 cars in its spaces. People returning to Orlando from holiday trips had no shuttle to pick them up and take them to the lot about 4 miles to the north.

Some ended up paying for a taxi or calling friends.

After learning of the lot's demise, Orlando International managers Monday posted signs on the second-level luggage returns of the main terminal saying the airport would provide rides. Travelers should call 407-825-2980 to arrange a ride.

So far, Orlando International spokesman Rod Johnson said Tuesday, about two dozen people have taken an airport van or truck to the lot.

"We're looking at this as one of our customer service benefits," said Johnson, who said an estimated 400 cars remain to be retrieved.

Also providing a ride is The Parking Spot, 5500 Hazeltine National Drive.

A manager with The Parking Spot said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel that Quick Airport travelers should go to the Orlando International's level 1 ground transportation section, spaces 11, 12 or 13, and tell the driver of the closed lot.

"You will be dropped off there after the shuttle drops off guests at The Parking Spot," said Mark Ligas, guest satisfaction coordinator at The Parking Spot.

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office are watching over the shuttered lot.

Story and Video:   http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Bombardier sells 24 CRJ900 aircraft to undisclosed customer: CRJ900 aircraft intended for medium-range trips

Bombardier has sold 24 regional jets to an unidentified customer for $1.14 billion US.

The sale of CRJ900 NextGen aircraft brings total orders for Bombardier’s CRJ series to 1,858. The jets are intended for medium-range trips and can seat up to 90 passengers.

Shares in Bombardier on the Toronto Stock Exchange were up 1.6 percent at mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Bombardier says the CRJ900 NextGen model is up to 5.5 percent more fuel efficient than the original CRJ900. The company describes the jet as “the most cost-efficient jet aircraft in its class.” CRJ series jets are used by more than 60 airlines around the world, according to Bombardier.

Although the CRJ series of aircraft is far from new, it’s still being ordered by customers.  

American Airlines placed a firm order for 30 CRJ900 NextGen jets in December of 2013, with options to order 40 additional aircraft. Earlier this year, an undisclosed customer ordered 16 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, with options for eight more.

Bombardier delivered 45 CRJ series jets in the nine-month period ending Sept, 30, 2014, including 35 CRJ900 NextGen models.

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

Mooney M20J 201 (N4512H) recovered from Congaree River, 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:   http://www.wistv.com

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

Event Type: Incident 

Highest Injury: None

Damage: Unknown


AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED IN THE CONGAREE RIVER, NEAR GASTON, SC


Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N4512H

















Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT) positions itself to add coveted nonstop flights

It's a moment of opportunity and high pressure for Christina Cassotis, the incoming CEO for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

People in Pittsburgh — notably business travelers and her bosses — want more nonstop flights from Pittsburgh International Airport to more destinations. The airlines, in the midst of consolidation and cuts, want planes packed with passengers to maximize profits.

Unlike any Airport Authority manager in the past decade, Cassotis enters with blue skies visible ahead.

Finances appear to be stable. Average per-passenger costs for the airlines, although still above the national average, are decreasing.

Through October, more people flew from Pittsburgh than in 2013, meaning a decade-long nosedive might have bottomed out.

The CEO's task, critics say, will be converting financial progress — that is, decreased debt and more revenue from Marcellus shale gas drilling — into nonstop flights, a key to growth.

“They're doing the right thing. I have to recognize that,” said Satish Jindel, a transportation and logistics consultant in Franklin Park and critic of past airport spending. “The lower (per-passenger) fees may not be as far as some airlines would like to see, but it gives airlines some comfort to see (fees) are headed in the right direction.”

Jindel said the authority needs “to set a goal and say, ‘This is the target,' and give it to the airlines. They're not going to create a hub; that's not going to happen, but they need more nonstops to the West Coast.”

In December, the airport offered nonstop service on 149 average daily departures to 37 destinations — down from 600 daily flights to 110 destinations in the early 2000s.

Passenger numbers have declined since 20 million people, mostly on connections, passed through the airport in 2001. The 9/11 terror attacks hobbled air travel. US Airways ditched Pittsburgh as a hub three years later, cutting many coveted non-stop destinations.

The drop continued through 2013, when fewer than 7.9 million passengers used the airport, the lowest level since 1975.

That may be changing. Acting Executive Director Jim Gill this month announced the sixth consecutive month of increased passenger traffic, gains not recorded since 2010. Year-to-date traffic through October was up 1.6 percent from 2013.

“Our financial picture hasn't been better,” Gill said. “Passenger flights aren't where they were, but with (gas) drilling there's opportunity for more air service.”

Cecil-based Consol Energy Inc. agreed to pay the airport $46.3 million in advance payments and an estimated $450 million in royalties over 20 years for the right to drill for natural gas under the airport's nearly 9,000 acres. Drilling began in July. Analysts have said the deal might exceed expectations.

GATE FEES HIGH BUT FALLING

The airport, owned by the county and operated by the authority, opened in 1992, designed largely to accommodate US Airways' needs.

Having the airport built originally as a hub is an advantage, Gill said.

“If we built it today, would we have 75 gates? Probably not. But the fact that it's not full is a gigantic competitive advantage. As our costs go down, many other airports will be facing capital expansion projects where their costs will be going up.”

Airport revenue is generated from fees charged to airlines, rental space, and parking and concession payments.

The authority's 2015 budget projects that, on average, airlines will spend $12.90 in fees per passenger to operate, compared with the $14.66 airlines paid at the start of 2013.

The average for all U.S. airports is $8.34, and for mid-sized airports similar to Pittsburgh the average is $7.60, according to Moody's.

That number falls as more passengers choose to fly and the airport cuts rates.

The Airport Authority will spend at least $24 million of Consol's upfront money during the next five years to lower airline fees.

“They need to get it down to $10,” Jindel said.

Jindel has criticized the airport for employing about the same number of people — about 460 — as it did during its heyday as a US Airways hub, and for spending money on amenities such as restroom renovations. The airport could cut up to 10 percent in employment costs to save money, he contends.

Gill defends employment levels, saying employees assumed duties in the past decade that airlines once handled, such as maintenance and repair of the baggage system and jet bridges that carry passengers between planes and the terminal.

MARKET DICTATES GROWTH

The authority will factor Consol's upfront payment into budgets over five years. Royalty payments could start in late 2015 or 2016.

On the other side of the balance sheet, the airport's debt is dwindling.

By May 2018, a major chunk of debt incurred to build the airport will be retired, freeing up about $40 million a year.

Frank Gamrat, a senior research associate with Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Castle Shannon, praised the Airport Authority for retiring debt and lowering costs. But he cautioned against celebrating the minor uptick in passengers in 2014.

“The thing that surprised me the most is that they've managed to bring down the debt,” said Gamrat. “It will still be a low year (for passengers).”

Although costs are a key component to attracting flights, demand is the largest factor. If an airline decides to add a route in Pittsburgh, it has to make more money than it did on the previous route the planes were flying elsewhere, airline officials said.

“We appreciate the efforts to lower costs. As the market dictates and the demand for flights grows, we'll grow,” said Southwest spokeswoman Thais Conway. “We really like what (airport) leadership has done to manage the debt and spending.

“If (Pittsburgh) wants more West Coast flights, and we see we can fill the planes, then yeah, we're there.”

American Airlines and US Airways, still Pittsburgh's busiest carrier, are scheduled to complete their merger next year.

“Airport costs are a factor in determining flights,” said American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller.

BUSINESS TRAVELERS' NEEDS

Airport officials point to new service announced in recent months — including Allegiant, which will fly to three cities in Florida, and Sun Air, which will fly to five regional destinations as part of the federally subsidized program to offer air service to small cities.

“This is good progress for the leisure traveler, but what about the business traveler?” asked Jindel, who flies often for his consulting firm. “We need more. When I have to take connections, it hurts my business.”

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said adding flights is a priority. He supported the ouster of former CEO Brad Penrod in March and announced Cassotis' hiring this month at a salary of $295,000. She will start in mid-January.

Cassotis has not run an airport but is a longtime airport consultant. She was careful not to promise specific nonstop destinations during her introductory news conference but said she thinks Pittsburgh is underserved.

“We've got to demonstrate that there is a commitment to having the airlines that are already here continue to be successful, and those we're trying to attract that they will be successful. The airport can't promise that on its own,” she said.

That resonates with Sean McCurdy, president of Pittsburgh Business Travel Association.

“Flights — that's what we care about. Overall financial stability at the airport is good, but at the end of the day an increase in nonstop flights is helpful for the business community.”

Source: http://triblive.com

Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL) wall work stalled to address erosion, permit

ASHEVILLE – State environmental employees have ordered construction on a failing retaining wall at the Asheville Regional Airport to stop, while Buncombe County officials on Tuesday said that a building permit application was never submitted.

Obtaining the permit would have likely triggered inspections as the work progressed, said Matt Stone, director of the county's permits and inspections office.

"I have no document on file that I can find," Stone said. "They (contractors) have not been able to find a permit at their location."

The airport will still be required to stop erosion from the site and continue the cleanup of sediment that has reached nearby wetlands, state officials said.

Stone met with contractors at the site on Ferncliff Park Drive Tuesday morning, passing by a retaining wall three times the length of a football field and taller than a standard utility pole at its crest.

Blocks of the nearly completed wall — up to four stories tall — began collapsing on the northern end and buckling on the southern end a week ago following rains.

The wall is part of a years-long airport project that includes using coal ash as structural fill to create flat land suitable for construction.

Several coal ash basins are complete, created by wrapping the waste in liners and capping it with six feet of soil.

One of the basins sits about 70 feet behind the wall, and officials said the coal ash was not disturbed. An airport spokeswoman had earlier said coal ash is 400 feet behind the wall, an error she attributed to miscommunication.

Before starting work on the wall, airport officials sought variances from the county and submitted documentation to the Department of Natural Resources as required for erosion and sediment control.

But a standard building permit required for commercial construction projects does not appear to have been filed, Stone said.

Airport spokeswoman Tina Kinsey said officials only learned on Tuesday after a conversation with Stone that they had not applied for the needed document. The Buncombe County Planning Department in March issued a Development Permit in an Area of Special Flood Hazard, Kinsey wrote in a statement, and were told no further steps were required.

Contractors working at the site, including a project engineer with Thalle Construction Co., declined to comment, directing questions to Kinsey.

"Additional information/details will be available when the corrective action plan is completed, expected later this week," she wrote. "The wall is stabilized and additional temporary drainage channels have been created to provide the necessary storm water management."

Stone said construction supervisors must now file for a permit retroactively. The airport has begun that process, Kinsey said. Some disassembly of damaged areas has begun, she said, and certified engineers have inspected the wall throughout the process.

Had Buncombe County inspectors been made aware of the project, they likely would have visited the site before work started and performed periodic inspections, Stone said.

Projects of that scale require an onsite, third-party inspector and his office will review those reports as well as structural and design documents before granting any permit, he said.

Permit cost for the retaining wall would have been based on the value of the project. Fines for unpermitted projects are generally twice the cost of the original permit.

Stone said he did not know the cost of the retaining wall, but as an example said a permit for a project valued at $850,000 to $1 million would cost $8,000.

Kinsey said the cost of the retaining wall is nearly $2.8 million.

No determination has been made about any state regulatory action against the airport, said Crystal Feldmen, a DENR spokeswoman.

But the agency did order all construction work to stop except what was needed to address safety and runoff concerns.

The airport must submit a revised plan to address erosion within 30 days, to be approved by the agency, before work can continue.

"The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority will be required to address the sediment in the wetlands area and take all necessary measures to stabilize the site and prevent any future erosion," Feldmen said.

Before construction, officials did submit required documents to DENR to comply with sedimentation and stormwater standards.

Though no permit was filed, in October 2013, Michael Reisman, deputy director of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority, applied for a variance on the wall with the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment.

County ordinance dictates that retaining walls greater than 20 feet tall must be terraced and landscaped.

A terraced wall would infringe on safety requirements spelled out by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, Reisman wrote.

"The retaining wall must act as the primary security barrier for the Airport in this location in lieu of security fencing," he wrote in the document. "The Airport is concerned that the terracing requirement for retaining walls above 20 feet tall would aid a person trying to climb the wall for any reason.

Reisman also wrote that slope limitations would require Ferncliff Park Drive to be relocated if the airport has to terrace the wall.

http://www.citizen-times.com




ASHEVILLE – Sediment has washed out of a failing retaining wall at the Asheville Regional Airport and pushed into nearby wetlands, state officials found after inspecting the property Monday.

Airport officials and project engineers also met at the Ferncliff Park Drive site to determine the best approach for making repairs to the wall — about 1/4 mile long and four stories tall at its peak. The wall collapsed at one end and buckled on the other, airport spokeswoman Tina Kinsey wrote in a statement.

"The wall was nearing completion, and the last step in the construction was to replace a temporary storm water system with a permanent system," she wrote. "Before this permanent system was constructed, the heavy rains caused damage to each end of the wall."

"The wall is stable, and the work to fix the damage will begin this week after the detailed corrective plan is finalized," she added. "Most work is expected to take place behind the wall, and the road will not be impacted."

Kinsey released the statement Monday afternoon and said no further information would be immediately available. Buncombe County officials would be responsible for ensuring the wall is safe after repairs are done.

Over the past several years, coal ash from the Duke Energy's nearby Lake Julian plant has been trucked in as structural fill to create flat land suitable for possible future construction or other projects.

A completed coal ash basin behind the wall contains about 2.3 million tons of ash over 45 acres, said Landon Davidson, regional director of water resources for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The industrial waste is wrapped in liners and is under a six-foot cap of soil.

Coal ash was not breached, and several monitoring wells are in the area to gauge any seeping, Davidson said. On the northern end, the coal ash liner is about 70 feet away from the wall, and about 90 feet away on the southern end, he said.

Kinsey previously told the Citizen-Times coal ash was 400 feet away from the wall. She said Monday she would not be able to immediately address the discrepancy.

State environmental officials determined sediment had washed over Ferncliff Park Drive and into wetlands, Davidson said. Contractors told the state they would clean the area.

Officials could not immediately determine how much sediment reached the wetlands.

Davidson said DENR officials would later determine what, if any, kind of regulatory action might be issued.

"Clearly there is some sediment in the wetland area and there's some minor amount of turbid water that's in a conveyance to the (French Broad) River that was put in as an emergency measure to relieve water pressure off the back of the wall," Davidson said.

Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper for the WNC Alliance, said sedimentation did not appear to infiltrate the entire wetland area.

"On one hand you don't want to pollute wetland," he said. "It's a critical habitat for a lot of different things. It doesn't seem very sexy as a polluter, but sediment is the biggest pollution source of the French Broad River."

Carson, who has championed the airport project for getting coal ash into liners and away from the river, said he was concerned about the wall's failure, but also glad to know the coal ash had not been penetrated.

"It's much better than storing it in a hole in the ground at the coal plant where it pollutes groundwater and pollutes the river every day," he said. "It's far and beyond a better option than where it was, where it gets into the river every day."

Story and Photo Gallery:    http://www.citizen-times.com



GE Aviation begins hiring for Lafayette, Indiana, plant



LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – In March, GE Aviation announced plans for a jet engine assembly plant in Lafayette. With it comes 200 jobs. A bulk of the staff that will open the plant in September of 2015 will be hired about a year to the date of the GE announcement.

In an email, Plant Manager Eric Matteson said five people have been hired. Three more will be hired in January. Then 10 technicians will be hired on in March. Come September, 27 people will open up the new plant.

“As this facility moves forward in its construction phases, you want to have people trained when they have to get ready to set the machinery and bring in the equipment and those things,” Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said. “So, it’s great to see that hiring process start.”

GE released a video advertising the job openings.

Roswarski said some of the high-skilled jobs will require some certifications in aircraft mechanics. He hopes those certifications give people something to work toward.

“They can really see light at the end of the tunnel,” Roswarski said. “If they work to get that education and get those certifications, there will be opportunities here in the community.”

Matteson says 75 percent of the more than 200 applicants have been from Indiana.

Roswarski hopes the openings can help local people and bring new people to town.

“We’ll have some local people that will get those jobs, and we’ll have people who will relocate,” Roswarski said. “But when people relocate for those kinds of jobs, they buy houses, they buy cars, they become part of the community.”

Matteson said the majority of the 200 jobs will be filled between 2016 and 2018.

Story, Video and Comments:  http://wlfi.com

Key Lime Air: Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, N66906 • Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III, N31171 • Cessna 404 Titan, N404MG

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA090 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 30, 2014 in Englewood, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 404, registration: N404MG
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was conducting an early morning repositioning flight of the cargo airplane. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported to air traffic control that he had “lost an engine” and would return to the airport. Several witnesses reported that the engines were running rough and one witness reported that he did not hear any engine sounds just before the impact. The airplane impacted trees, a wooden enclosure, a chain-linked fence, and shrubs in a residential area and was damaged by the impact and postimpact fire. 

The airplane had been parked outside for 5 days before the accident flight and had been plugged in to engine heaters the night before the flight. It was dark and snowing lightly at the time of the accident. The operator reported that no deicing services were provided before the flight and that the pilot mechanically removed all of the snow and ice accumulation. The wreckage and witness statements were consistent with the airplane being in a right-wing-low descent but the airplane did not appear to be out of control. Neither of the propellers were at or near the feathered position. The emergency procedures published by the manufacturer for a loss of engine power stated that pilots should first secure the engine and feather the propeller following a loss of engine power and then turn the fuel selector for that engine to “off.” The procedures also cautioned that continued flight might not be possible if the propeller was not feathered. The right fuel selector valve and panel were found in the off position. Investigators were not able to determine why an experienced pilot did not follow the emergency procedures and immediately secure the engine following the loss of engine power. It is not known how much snow and ice had accumulated on the airplane leading up to the accident flight or if the pilot was successful in removing all of the snow and ice with only mechanical means. The on-scene examination of the wreckage and the teardown of both engines did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. While possible, it could not be determined if water or ice ingestion lead to the loss of engine power at takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of power to the right engine for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination and teardown and the pilot’s failure to properly configure the airplane for single-engine flight.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 30, 2014, about 0429 mountain standard time a Cessna 404, N404MG, was substantially damaged when it impacted a residential area north of Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado. A post impact fire ensued. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by Key Lime Air under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Denver International Airport (KDEN), Denver, Colorado

According to representatives from Key Lime Air, the pilot was positioning the airplane from KAPA to KDEN for a potential 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 freight flight. The airplane was parked outside and uphill from their facility at KAPA since December 25, 2014. The night before the accident the airplane was towed to a parking space outside of their hangar so that the engine heaters could be plugged in.

On the morning of the accident, the pilot was observed removing the blankets from the engine and the snow and ice on the airframe. The pilot used mechanical means to deice the airplane and was not assisted with a chemical deice or deicing services. Key Lime Air estimated that the airplane had 800 pounds of fuel on board. There were no services requested or received by the pilot on the morning of the accident.

A Key Lime Air employee estimated that the pilot started his number 1 engine about 0408. The engine started immediately and ran for 5 to 10 minutes before the pilot started the number two engine. This engine also started immediately and ran for several minutes. The airplane taxied from its parking spot several minutes later.

According to air traffic control (ATC) recordings the pilot requested clearance from ATC and was cleared to the Denver Airport at an altitude of 8,000 feet. At 0419:11 the pilot announced his taxi and was cleared to runway 35 right via the alpha taxiway. At 0425 the pilot was cleared for takeoff.

At 0427:22 the pilot reported to the tower controller that he had "lost an engine" and needed to return to the airport. The controller responded that any runway was available and provided a wind of 030 degrees at 3 knots. At 0427:38 the controller asked the pilot if he would be able to make "that left turn." At 0427:42 the pilot responded by saying "standby".

Radar data indicated the accident airplane departed from runway 17L/35R to the north – the field elevation at KAPA was 5,885 feet mean sea level (msl). The radar track was consistent with a slight right turn to the northeast. Radar data indicated an altitude of 6,125 feet msl when the turn to the right was initiated. The highest altitude indicated was 6,225 feet msl. The last recorded radar return indicated an altitude of 5,975 feet msl, and was coincident with ATC's loss of radar and voice communications.

One witness observed the airplane in a right turn. Several other witnesses heard the airplane and described a rough-running engine. One witness stated that he did not hear either engine running just prior to the accident.

The airplane impacted several trees, a wooden trash enclosure, a fence, and hedges in a residential area. The trees, hedges, and grass were all damaged during the impact and the post impact fire. The driveway was damaged during the impact and the siding and roof of one house was damaged by flying debris and the post impact fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 55, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating and a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held type ratings for the Dornier 328 and the Fairchild SA227. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a special issuance second class airman medical certificate on May 23, 2014. The certificate contained the limitation "Not valid for any class after 05/31/2015."

According to Key Lime Air records, the pilot had flown 89 hours in the last 90 days; 4 hours of which were logged in the make and model of the accident airplane. The pilot had flown 24 hours in the past 30 days; 3 hours of which were at night, 5 hours in actual instrument conditions, and 24 hours were logged in a twin-engine Piper. Key Lime Air estimated the pilot's total flight time as 2,566 hours; 676 hours of which were at night.

Neither Key Lime Air nor the family had the pilot's flight logbook. On an insurance form dated June 22, 2014, the pilot reported 4,280 hours total time. About 3,760 hours were logged in multiengine airplanes and 800 hours at night.

A company flight log, dated from July 1, 2014, through December 30, 2014, indicated the last time the pilot flew the accident airplane was September 2, 2014, on a flight between Alamosa and KAPA. The flight duration was one hour at night. Key Lime records showed that the pilot was first assigned to the Cessna 404 on August 16, 2004, as pilot in command. He was assigned as a flight instructor for the Cessna 404 on October 18, 2004, and a check airman on March 7, 2005.

The pilot's airman competency/proficiency check for CFR 135.293 (Initial and recurrent pilot testing), CFR 135.299 (Pilot in command: Line checks: Routes and Airports), and CFR 135.297 (Instrument Proficiency) was completed with a satisfactory rating in all tested areas on December 22, 2014. A company check-airman conducted the flight check in a Piper PA31-350 in daylight conditions. The flight lasted for 1.7 hours. During this check, he received simulation in instrument meteorological conditions and emergencies including engine failures. The check-airman reported no concerns with the pilot or his performance during the flight check.

The pilot was the Director of Safety at Key Lime Air. According to his family, he had been flying and working since Thanksgiving. Depending on the day and the need for an additional aircraft and activities in the office he would fly in the morning and then return to the office to work in the afternoon. He usually returned from flying around 1030. Workload permitting, he would nap until 1300 and then return to the office and work until 1600 or 1700. On the Monday prior to the accident, he flew in the morning and then went into the office. He had dinner around 1800 and fell asleep in his chair in the living room. He went to bed around 1930 and slept well through the night. On the morning of the accident he likely got up between 0300 and 0305 and left the house about 0330.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Cessna 404 (serial number 404-0813), was manufactured in 1980. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. Two Teledyne Continental Motors GTSIO-520-M engines rated at 375 horsepower at 3,350 rpm each powered the airplane. The engines were equipped with McCauley 3-blade, controllable pitch propellers.

The airplane was registered to EDB Air, Inc., operated by Key Lime Air Corporation, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. An annual inspection had been completed on December 15, 2014, at an airframe total time of 16,681.7 hours.

A review of the maintenance records indicated the number 1, or left engine, was overhauled by RAM Aircraft and was installed on August 14, 2012. The number 2, or right engine, was overhauled by RAM Aircraft and was installed on March 20, 2014.

In the Aircraft Flight/Maintenance Log for N404MG, two discrepancies were reported by the accident pilot on the right engine. The first discrepancy (not dated) stated that the right engine "Floods when aux pump turned on. Appears to be in high position. Fuel flow touchy @ 1500." The corrective action was completed on December 18, 2014. The log contained the following entry "adjusted … fuel hi and low pressure on fuel pump, adjusted fuel mixture and adjusted turbo controller linkage, ground run ops check good." The second discrepancy (not dated, same page) stated that the right engine "prop feathers way before detent." The corrective action was completed on December 18, 2014. The log contained the following entry: "adjust … governor control cable, ground run ops check good."

The airplane was flown on December 19, 2014, from KAPA, to KDEN, to KCOD, and then back to KAPA. The pilot for that day did not report any issues or anomalies with the airplane or specifically the right engine. The last pilot to fly the airplane, 4 or 5 days prior to the accident, reported that there were no anomalies or concerns with the airplane. He parked the airplane on the hill, to the south of the Key Lime Air hangar. The airplane remained in that location until the night prior to the accident when it was towed to the Key Lime Air Hangar and parked just outside of the hangar until the morning of the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado, located 1.8 nautical miles (nm) southwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 5,885 feet msl. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KAPA issued at 0353 reported wind 050 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 6 miles in light snow and mist, ceiling of broken clouds at 3,100 feet, temperature minus 19 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.36 inches.

The special METAR for KAPA issued at 0406 reported wind calm, visibility 7 miles in light snow, ceiling of broken clouds at 2,900 feet, temperature minus 19 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.37 inches.

The special METAR for KAPA issued at 0451 reported wind 040 at 4 knots, visibility 9 miles, few clouds at 1,300 feet, scattered clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature minus 20 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.37 inches. The snow had ended at 45 minutes after the hour.

Snow totals for the 60 hours prior to the accident ranged between 1.9 and 4.2 inches of snow – the liquid equivalent of between 0.10 and 0.30 inches.

Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMETs) for mountain obscuration, instrument flight rules conditions, moderate icing conditions, and moderate turbulence were all valid at the time of the accident for the accident location.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department Sun and Moon Data, sunrise was at 0720 on the morning of the accident. The moon rose at 1258.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Centennial Airport (KAPA), is a public, tower- controlled airport (Class D airspace), at a surveyed elevation of 5,885 feet. Class B, E, and G airspace surround the area immediately outside of the Class D airspace at KAPA. The airport had 3 open runways, runway 17L/35R (10,001 feet by 100 feet, asphalt), runway 17R/35L (7,001 feet by 75 feet, asphalt), and runway 10/28 (4,800 feet by 75 feet, asphalt).

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in a residential area. The airplane impacted several trees, a wooden enclosure, a fence, and shrubs, and came to rest oriented on a northeast heading. The accident site was at an elevation of 5,680 feet msl and the airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 160 degrees.

The initial impact point was located at the tops of two pine trees, approximately 30 feet high, to the north of the main wreckage. Broken tree branches were located directly beneath the trees. The outboard tip of the right wing, paint chips, torn metal, and a light panel with green lens fragments were located between the two trees in the snow.

Debris continued for 23 feet from the trees to the start of the ground impact scar. Dirt and snow was pushed in the direction of the main wreckage to the south. A propeller blade was located to the west of the first ground scar. The blade had penetrated a wooden fence. The chain linked fence surrounding the back yard, to the south of the initial impact point, was impact damaged.

The ground scar continued 12 feet to the propeller hub. The face of the propeller hub assembly, including two propeller blades, was embedded in the ground.

Impact damage and witness marks continued along the ground, chain linked fence and through the bushes (located along the east edge of the fence) 56 feet to the main wreckage. Torn metal, Plexiglas, fiberglass, radios, instruments, and propeller blades were all located throughout the debris field. The right engine cowling and one propeller blade were located in the back yard, to the west of the debris field. The rear face of the house exhibited damage consistent with impact from the propeller blade.

The debris along this path and the bushes exhibited exposure to heat and fire.

The main wreckage came to rest oriented on an approximate heading of east. The wreckage included the left wing, the right wing, the fuselage, and the empennage. The forward fuselage, including the cabin and instrument panel, and the cargo area exhibited impact damage and was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

The left wing included the left engine, left main landing gear assembly, the left aileron, and the left flap. The left engine had partially separated and exhibited impact and fire damage. The left main landing gear was located within the wheel well. The leading edge of the wing exhibited impact damage and the entire upper surface of the wing exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The left aileron cable was continuous from the aileron inboard to the forward cabin.

The right wing included the right main landing gear assembly and the right flap. The right main landing gear was located within the wheel well. The wing was bent and torn and exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The right engine separated from the right wing and was located to the south of the main wreckage, adjacent a tree.

The empennage remained partially attached to the fuselage and included the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, elevator, and rudder. The right horizontal stabilizer exhibited leading edge impact damage. The left horizontal stabilizer was buckled. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were unremarkable. The flight control cables were continuous from the empennage forward to the forward cabin.

No preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsy was performed by the Arapahoe County – Office of the Coroner on December 30, 2014, as authorized by the Arapahoe County Coroner's office. The autopsy concluded that the manner of death was accident and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201500004001). Results were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Tests for cyanide were not performed. Tests of the blood and liver tissue were positive for loratadine. The FAA Forensic Toxicology Website indicates that loratadine is a non-sedating tricyclic antihistamine.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The flight control cables for ailerons, the elevator, and rudder were examined. Breaks or points of separation through these cables were consistent with impact damage or wreckage recovery efforts. The impact damage on the right stabilizer was consistent with an impact with the chain link fence post. A film of yellow colored engine oil was located along the entire right side of the empennage including the horizontal and vertical stabilizer.

Shop air was applied to the deice air lines. The left horizontal stabilizer boot inflated. The right stabilizer boot was impact damaged and could not be tested. The vertical stabilizer boot inflated. The boots along both wings were impact damaged and could not be tested.

The rudder trim was measured at 1.3 inches. When compared to the Cessna Charts, this measurement is considered unreliable/beyond limits. The elevator trim was measured at 1.2 inches on the right and 1.3 inches on the left. The aileron trim was measured at 0.8 inches. When compared to the Cessna Charts, this measurement is considered unreliable/beyond limits.

Engine control quadrant - were not restricted or bound in movement. The following measurements were taken:
Throttles - L 1 3/4 " up from closed R 2 9/16" up from closed
Propellers - L 2 7/16" up from detent R 1 13/16" up from detent
Mixture - L 2 3/4 R 1 3/4 rich

The fuel selector panel exhibited the following positions:
Right engine – "off"
Left engine – "left main"

Fuel selector valves within the wing assemblies exhibited the following positions:
Right engine - "off"
Left engine - "left main"

Field Engine Examination

All 3 blades from the right propeller separated from the propeller hub. The hub was fragmented.
The propeller blades were labeled R1, R2, and R3 for identification purposes. Blade R1 exhibited leading edge scoring along the first 2.5" of the blade, and face scoring along the entire span of the blade. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade R2 exhibited scoring along the outboard trailing edge of the blade. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade R3 exhibited scoring on the face of the blade leading edge nicks and was bowed aft and twisted.

One blade separated from the left propeller assembly. The propeller hub was impact damaged.
The propeller blades were labeled L1, L2, and L3 for identification purposes. Blade L1 exhibited leading edge gouges and nicks. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. BladeL2 was bowed forward. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade L3 separated from the propeller hub and exhibited leading edge gouges and nicks. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable.

The left engine exhibited exposure to heat and fire and impact damage. The top bank of spark plugs and the valve covers were removed. The spark plugs exhibited worn out normal signatures when compared to Champion spark plug chart. The p-leads were damaged by fire and could not be functionally tested. A lighted bore scope was used to examine the engine through the upper spark plug orifice at each cylinder. The examination revealed no anomalies. The engine was rotated through at the accessory housing. Air movement was noted on all cylinders at the upper spark plug orifice. Valve train continuity was observed on all cylinders.

The right engine forward gear case was impact damaged. The intake and exhaust valve arms on the No. 5 cylinder separated. The oil sump was impact damaged. The top bank of spark plugs and valve covers were removed. The spark plugs exhibited worn out normal signatures when compared to Champion spark plug chart. A lighted bore scope was used to examine the engine through the upper spark plug orifice at each cylinder. The examination revealed no anomalies.
The engine could not be rotated through by hand.

Lab Engine Examination

Left engine
The vacuum pump was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel pump spline was intact and the fuel pump rotated without hesitation. Disassembly of the pump revealed no preimpact anomalies.

A slave harness was placed on the right magneto and it was operated on a test bench. No spark was noted on any of the leads. Internal heat damage to the capacitor terminals and the points prevented normal operation. Examination of the left magneto revealed similar internal heat damage to the capacitor terminals and the points.

Examination of the cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, crankcase, sparkplugs, valves, and other components revealed signatures of exposure to heat and fire and impact damage. No mechanical anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

Right Engine
The left and right magnetos were equipped with a slave harness and ran on a test bench. A blue spark was observed on each lead at varying rpm. The vacuum pump was disassembled and no anomalies were noted.

The fuel pump spline was intact and the fuel pump rotated. The fuel pump was impact damaged and epoxy was applied at a fitting for bench testing purposes. An additional fitting in the vapor tower was impact damaged and replaced for testing purposes. The fuel pump was installed on a test stand and ran at rpms between 700 and 3,200 for five minutes. The pressure was high and the unit test results were out of limits.

Scoring was noted on the rear propeller reduction gear bolt and the aft propeller gear reduction journal. This scoring was consistent with rotation at the time of impact. The intake and exhaust valve rockers were impact damage and separated.

Examination of the cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, crankcase, sparkplugs, valves, crank case halves, and other components revealed signatures of impact damage. No mechanical anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

The FAA issued Key Lime Air a Part 135 operating certificate in 1997 to conduct on demand cargo and passenger flights. They also hold a Part 121 certificate for scheduled operations between KAPA, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC) Broomfield, Colorado, and Grand Junction (KGJT), Colorado. At the time of the accident, Key Lime Air conducted cargo operations in six states. The corporate headquarters, including training, the Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, and Director of Safety were located in Englewood, Colorado. The FAA Flight Standards District Office in Denver, Colorado managed the operating certificate.

The company operated six different make and models of airplane and employed about 35 pilots. Prior to employment, each pilot was required to meet the minimum flight time and experience requirements per the Federal Aviation Regulations for Part 135 operations.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

De-Icing Procedures

According to Key Lime Air, the method for deicing airplanes is dependent on the extent and thickness of the ice and is left to pilot's discretion for requesting deicing services. Generally pilots will physically remove frost, ice, snow, and surface contaminations. If the contamination is thicker or a jet is being operated the pilot can use chemicals for deicing.

The Cessna Pilot Safety And Warning Supplement – Airframe Icing – discusses that the "inflight ice protection equipment is not designed to remove ice, snow or frost accumulation on a parked airplane… Other means … must be employed to ensure that all wing, tail, control, propeller, windshield, static port surfaces and fuel vents are free of ice, snow, and frost accumulations, and that there are no internal accumulations of ice or debris in the control surfaces, engine intakes, brakes, pitot-static system ports, and fuel vents prior to takeoff."

Engine Inoperative Procedures

The Cessna Model 404 single-engine airspeeds for safe operation were as follows:

VX – 98 knots (takeoff and approach flaps) 105 knots (flaps up)
VY - 102 knots (takeoff and approach flaps) 109 knots (flaps up)

The Engine Inoperative Procedures for an engine failure after takeoff were as follows:

Mixture – Full Rich
Propellers – Full Forward
Throttles – Full Forward
Landing gear – up
Inoperative Engine – Throttle closed, mixture idle cutoff, propeller feather.
The pilot is then guided to establish a 5 degree bank into the operative engine, establish climb airspeed, raise the flaps, and then secure the inoperative engine.

The amplified procedures stated in part that "…climb or continued level flight at moderate altitude is improbable with the landing gear extended and the propeller windmilling…" The procedures warn that "The propeller on the inoperative engine must be feathered, landing gear retracted, and wing flaps up or continued flight may be impossible."

The Rate-of-Climb chart estimated that the airplane would have been able to sustain a 540 foot-per-minute climb with the airplane properly configured for single-engine operations. The chart subtracts 350 feet per minute for a windmilling propeller, 300 feet-per-minute with the landing gear down, and 100 feet-per-minute with the flaps in a takeoff or approach configuration.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA090 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 30, 2014 in Englewood, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 404, registration: N404MG
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was conducting an early morning repositioning flight of the cargo airplane. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported to air traffic control that he had “lost an engine” and would return to the airport. Several witnesses reported that the engines were running rough and one witness reported that he did not hear any engine sounds just before the impact. The airplane impacted trees, a wooden enclosure, a chain-linked fence, and shrubs in a residential area and was damaged by the impact and postimpact fire. 

The airplane had been parked outside for 5 days before the accident flight and had been plugged in to engine heaters the night before the flight. It was dark and snowing lightly at the time of the accident. The operator reported that no deicing services were provided before the flight and that the pilot mechanically removed all of the snow and ice accumulation. The wreckage and witness statements were consistent with the airplane being in a right-wing-low descent but the airplane did not appear to be out of control. Neither of the propellers were at or near the feathered position. The emergency procedures published by the manufacturer for a loss of engine power stated that pilots should first secure the engine and feather the propeller following a loss of engine power and then turn the fuel selector for that engine to “off.” The procedures also cautioned that continued flight might not be possible if the propeller was not feathered. The right fuel selector valve and panel were found in the off position. Investigators were not able to determine why an experienced pilot did not follow the emergency procedures and immediately secure the engine following the loss of engine power. It is not known how much snow and ice had accumulated on the airplane leading up to the accident flight or if the pilot was successful in removing all of the snow and ice with only mechanical means. The on-scene examination of the wreckage and the teardown of both engines did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. While possible, it could not be determined if water or ice ingestion lead to the loss of engine power at takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of power to the right engine for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examination and teardown and the pilot’s failure to properly configure the airplane for single-engine flight.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 30, 2014, about 0429 mountain standard time a Cessna 404, N404MG, was substantially damaged when it impacted a residential area north of Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado. A post impact fire ensued. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by Key Lime Air under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Denver International Airport (KDEN), Denver, Colorado

According to representatives from Key Lime Air, the pilot was positioning the airplane from KAPA to KDEN for a potential 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 freight flight. The airplane was parked outside and uphill from their facility at KAPA since December 25, 2014. The night before the accident the airplane was towed to a parking space outside of their hangar so that the engine heaters could be plugged in.

On the morning of the accident, the pilot was observed removing the blankets from the engine and the snow and ice on the airframe. The pilot used mechanical means to deice the airplane and was not assisted with a chemical deice or deicing services. Key Lime Air estimated that the airplane had 800 pounds of fuel on board. There were no services requested or received by the pilot on the morning of the accident.

A Key Lime Air employee estimated that the pilot started his number 1 engine about 0408. The engine started immediately and ran for 5 to 10 minutes before the pilot started the number two engine. This engine also started immediately and ran for several minutes. The airplane taxied from its parking spot several minutes later.

According to air traffic control (ATC) recordings the pilot requested clearance from ATC and was cleared to the Denver Airport at an altitude of 8,000 feet. At 0419:11 the pilot announced his taxi and was cleared to runway 35 right via the alpha taxiway. At 0425 the pilot was cleared for takeoff.

At 0427:22 the pilot reported to the tower controller that he had "lost an engine" and needed to return to the airport. The controller responded that any runway was available and provided a wind of 030 degrees at 3 knots. At 0427:38 the controller asked the pilot if he would be able to make "that left turn." At 0427:42 the pilot responded by saying "standby".

Radar data indicated the accident airplane departed from runway 17L/35R to the north – the field elevation at KAPA was 5,885 feet mean sea level (msl). The radar track was consistent with a slight right turn to the northeast. Radar data indicated an altitude of 6,125 feet msl when the turn to the right was initiated. The highest altitude indicated was 6,225 feet msl. The last recorded radar return indicated an altitude of 5,975 feet msl, and was coincident with ATC's loss of radar and voice communications.

One witness observed the airplane in a right turn. Several other witnesses heard the airplane and described a rough-running engine. One witness stated that he did not hear either engine running just prior to the accident.

The airplane impacted several trees, a wooden trash enclosure, a fence, and hedges in a residential area. The trees, hedges, and grass were all damaged during the impact and the post impact fire. The driveway was damaged during the impact and the siding and roof of one house was damaged by flying debris and the post impact fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 55, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating and a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held type ratings for the Dornier 328 and the Fairchild SA227. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a special issuance second class airman medical certificate on May 23, 2014. The certificate contained the limitation "Not valid for any class after 05/31/2015."

According to Key Lime Air records, the pilot had flown 89 hours in the last 90 days; 4 hours of which were logged in the make and model of the accident airplane. The pilot had flown 24 hours in the past 30 days; 3 hours of which were at night, 5 hours in actual instrument conditions, and 24 hours were logged in a twin-engine Piper. Key Lime Air estimated the pilot's total flight time as 2,566 hours; 676 hours of which were at night.

Neither Key Lime Air nor the family had the pilot's flight logbook. On an insurance form dated June 22, 2014, the pilot reported 4,280 hours total time. About 3,760 hours were logged in multiengine airplanes and 800 hours at night.

A company flight log, dated from July 1, 2014, through December 30, 2014, indicated the last time the pilot flew the accident airplane was September 2, 2014, on a flight between Alamosa and KAPA. The flight duration was one hour at night. Key Lime records showed that the pilot was first assigned to the Cessna 404 on August 16, 2004, as pilot in command. He was assigned as a flight instructor for the Cessna 404 on October 18, 2004, and a check airman on March 7, 2005.

The pilot's airman competency/proficiency check for CFR 135.293 (Initial and recurrent pilot testing), CFR 135.299 (Pilot in command: Line checks: Routes and Airports), and CFR 135.297 (Instrument Proficiency) was completed with a satisfactory rating in all tested areas on December 22, 2014. A company check-airman conducted the flight check in a Piper PA31-350 in daylight conditions. The flight lasted for 1.7 hours. During this check, he received simulation in instrument meteorological conditions and emergencies including engine failures. The check-airman reported no concerns with the pilot or his performance during the flight check.

The pilot was the Director of Safety at Key Lime Air. According to his family, he had been flying and working since Thanksgiving. Depending on the day and the need for an additional aircraft and activities in the office he would fly in the morning and then return to the office to work in the afternoon. He usually returned from flying around 1030. Workload permitting, he would nap until 1300 and then return to the office and work until 1600 or 1700. On the Monday prior to the accident, he flew in the morning and then went into the office. He had dinner around 1800 and fell asleep in his chair in the living room. He went to bed around 1930 and slept well through the night. On the morning of the accident he likely got up between 0300 and 0305 and left the house about 0330.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Cessna 404 (serial number 404-0813), was manufactured in 1980. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. Two Teledyne Continental Motors GTSIO-520-M engines rated at 375 horsepower at 3,350 rpm each powered the airplane. The engines were equipped with McCauley 3-blade, controllable pitch propellers.

The airplane was registered to EDB Air, Inc., operated by Key Lime Air Corporation, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. An annual inspection had been completed on December 15, 2014, at an airframe total time of 16,681.7 hours.

A review of the maintenance records indicated the number 1, or left engine, was overhauled by RAM Aircraft and was installed on August 14, 2012. The number 2, or right engine, was overhauled by RAM Aircraft and was installed on March 20, 2014.

In the Aircraft Flight/Maintenance Log for N404MG, two discrepancies were reported by the accident pilot on the right engine. The first discrepancy (not dated) stated that the right engine "Floods when aux pump turned on. Appears to be in high position. Fuel flow touchy @ 1500." The corrective action was completed on December 18, 2014. The log contained the following entry "adjusted … fuel hi and low pressure on fuel pump, adjusted fuel mixture and adjusted turbo controller linkage, ground run ops check good." The second discrepancy (not dated, same page) stated that the right engine "prop feathers way before detent." The corrective action was completed on December 18, 2014. The log contained the following entry: "adjust … governor control cable, ground run ops check good."

The airplane was flown on December 19, 2014, from KAPA, to KDEN, to KCOD, and then back to KAPA. The pilot for that day did not report any issues or anomalies with the airplane or specifically the right engine. The last pilot to fly the airplane, 4 or 5 days prior to the accident, reported that there were no anomalies or concerns with the airplane. He parked the airplane on the hill, to the south of the Key Lime Air hangar. The airplane remained in that location until the night prior to the accident when it was towed to the Key Lime Air Hangar and parked just outside of the hangar until the morning of the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado, located 1.8 nautical miles (nm) southwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 5,885 feet msl. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KAPA issued at 0353 reported wind 050 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 6 miles in light snow and mist, ceiling of broken clouds at 3,100 feet, temperature minus 19 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.36 inches.

The special METAR for KAPA issued at 0406 reported wind calm, visibility 7 miles in light snow, ceiling of broken clouds at 2,900 feet, temperature minus 19 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.37 inches.

The special METAR for KAPA issued at 0451 reported wind 040 at 4 knots, visibility 9 miles, few clouds at 1,300 feet, scattered clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature minus 20 degrees C, dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.37 inches. The snow had ended at 45 minutes after the hour.

Snow totals for the 60 hours prior to the accident ranged between 1.9 and 4.2 inches of snow – the liquid equivalent of between 0.10 and 0.30 inches.

Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMETs) for mountain obscuration, instrument flight rules conditions, moderate icing conditions, and moderate turbulence were all valid at the time of the accident for the accident location.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department Sun and Moon Data, sunrise was at 0720 on the morning of the accident. The moon rose at 1258.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Centennial Airport (KAPA), is a public, tower- controlled airport (Class D airspace), at a surveyed elevation of 5,885 feet. Class B, E, and G airspace surround the area immediately outside of the Class D airspace at KAPA. The airport had 3 open runways, runway 17L/35R (10,001 feet by 100 feet, asphalt), runway 17R/35L (7,001 feet by 75 feet, asphalt), and runway 10/28 (4,800 feet by 75 feet, asphalt).

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in a residential area. The airplane impacted several trees, a wooden enclosure, a fence, and shrubs, and came to rest oriented on a northeast heading. The accident site was at an elevation of 5,680 feet msl and the airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 160 degrees.

The initial impact point was located at the tops of two pine trees, approximately 30 feet high, to the north of the main wreckage. Broken tree branches were located directly beneath the trees. The outboard tip of the right wing, paint chips, torn metal, and a light panel with green lens fragments were located between the two trees in the snow.

Debris continued for 23 feet from the trees to the start of the ground impact scar. Dirt and snow was pushed in the direction of the main wreckage to the south. A propeller blade was located to the west of the first ground scar. The blade had penetrated a wooden fence. The chain linked fence surrounding the back yard, to the south of the initial impact point, was impact damaged.

The ground scar continued 12 feet to the propeller hub. The face of the propeller hub assembly, including two propeller blades, was embedded in the ground.

Impact damage and witness marks continued along the ground, chain linked fence and through the bushes (located along the east edge of the fence) 56 feet to the main wreckage. Torn metal, Plexiglas, fiberglass, radios, instruments, and propeller blades were all located throughout the debris field. The right engine cowling and one propeller blade were located in the back yard, to the west of the debris field. The rear face of the house exhibited damage consistent with impact from the propeller blade.

The debris along this path and the bushes exhibited exposure to heat and fire.

The main wreckage came to rest oriented on an approximate heading of east. The wreckage included the left wing, the right wing, the fuselage, and the empennage. The forward fuselage, including the cabin and instrument panel, and the cargo area exhibited impact damage and was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

The left wing included the left engine, left main landing gear assembly, the left aileron, and the left flap. The left engine had partially separated and exhibited impact and fire damage. The left main landing gear was located within the wheel well. The leading edge of the wing exhibited impact damage and the entire upper surface of the wing exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The left aileron cable was continuous from the aileron inboard to the forward cabin.

The right wing included the right main landing gear assembly and the right flap. The right main landing gear was located within the wheel well. The wing was bent and torn and exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The right engine separated from the right wing and was located to the south of the main wreckage, adjacent a tree.

The empennage remained partially attached to the fuselage and included the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, elevator, and rudder. The right horizontal stabilizer exhibited leading edge impact damage. The left horizontal stabilizer was buckled. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were unremarkable. The flight control cables were continuous from the empennage forward to the forward cabin.

No preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsy was performed by the Arapahoe County – Office of the Coroner on December 30, 2014, as authorized by the Arapahoe County Coroner's office. The autopsy concluded that the manner of death was accident and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy (CAMI Reference #201500004001). Results were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Tests for cyanide were not performed. Tests of the blood and liver tissue were positive for loratadine. The FAA Forensic Toxicology Website indicates that loratadine is a non-sedating tricyclic antihistamine.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The flight control cables for ailerons, the elevator, and rudder were examined. Breaks or points of separation through these cables were consistent with impact damage or wreckage recovery efforts. The impact damage on the right stabilizer was consistent with an impact with the chain link fence post. A film of yellow colored engine oil was located along the entire right side of the empennage including the horizontal and vertical stabilizer.

Shop air was applied to the deice air lines. The left horizontal stabilizer boot inflated. The right stabilizer boot was impact damaged and could not be tested. The vertical stabilizer boot inflated. The boots along both wings were impact damaged and could not be tested.

The rudder trim was measured at 1.3 inches. When compared to the Cessna Charts, this measurement is considered unreliable/beyond limits. The elevator trim was measured at 1.2 inches on the right and 1.3 inches on the left. The aileron trim was measured at 0.8 inches. When compared to the Cessna Charts, this measurement is considered unreliable/beyond limits.

Engine control quadrant - were not restricted or bound in movement. The following measurements were taken:
Throttles - L 1 3/4 " up from closed R 2 9/16" up from closed
Propellers - L 2 7/16" up from detent R 1 13/16" up from detent
Mixture - L 2 3/4 R 1 3/4 rich

The fuel selector panel exhibited the following positions:
Right engine – "off"
Left engine – "left main"

Fuel selector valves within the wing assemblies exhibited the following positions:
Right engine - "off"
Left engine - "left main"

Field Engine Examination

All 3 blades from the right propeller separated from the propeller hub. The hub was fragmented.
The propeller blades were labeled R1, R2, and R3 for identification purposes. Blade R1 exhibited leading edge scoring along the first 2.5" of the blade, and face scoring along the entire span of the blade. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade R2 exhibited scoring along the outboard trailing edge of the blade. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade R3 exhibited scoring on the face of the blade leading edge nicks and was bowed aft and twisted.

One blade separated from the left propeller assembly. The propeller hub was impact damaged.
The propeller blades were labeled L1, L2, and L3 for identification purposes. Blade L1 exhibited leading edge gouges and nicks. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. BladeL2 was bowed forward. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable. Blade L3 separated from the propeller hub and exhibited leading edge gouges and nicks. Otherwise the blade was visually unremarkable.

The left engine exhibited exposure to heat and fire and impact damage. The top bank of spark plugs and the valve covers were removed. The spark plugs exhibited worn out normal signatures when compared to Champion spark plug chart. The p-leads were damaged by fire and could not be functionally tested. A lighted bore scope was used to examine the engine through the upper spark plug orifice at each cylinder. The examination revealed no anomalies. The engine was rotated through at the accessory housing. Air movement was noted on all cylinders at the upper spark plug orifice. Valve train continuity was observed on all cylinders.

The right engine forward gear case was impact damaged. The intake and exhaust valve arms on the No. 5 cylinder separated. The oil sump was impact damaged. The top bank of spark plugs and valve covers were removed. The spark plugs exhibited worn out normal signatures when compared to Champion spark plug chart. A lighted bore scope was used to examine the engine through the upper spark plug orifice at each cylinder. The examination revealed no anomalies.
The engine could not be rotated through by hand.

Lab Engine Examination

Left engine
The vacuum pump was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel pump spline was intact and the fuel pump rotated without hesitation. Disassembly of the pump revealed no preimpact anomalies.

A slave harness was placed on the right magneto and it was operated on a test bench. No spark was noted on any of the leads. Internal heat damage to the capacitor terminals and the points prevented normal operation. Examination of the left magneto revealed similar internal heat damage to the capacitor terminals and the points.

Examination of the cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, crankcase, sparkplugs, valves, and other components revealed signatures of exposure to heat and fire and impact damage. No mechanical anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

Right Engine
The left and right magnetos were equipped with a slave harness and ran on a test bench. A blue spark was observed on each lead at varying rpm. The vacuum pump was disassembled and no anomalies were noted.

The fuel pump spline was intact and the fuel pump rotated. The fuel pump was impact damaged and epoxy was applied at a fitting for bench testing purposes. An additional fitting in the vapor tower was impact damaged and replaced for testing purposes. The fuel pump was installed on a test stand and ran at rpms between 700 and 3,200 for five minutes. The pressure was high and the unit test results were out of limits.

Scoring was noted on the rear propeller reduction gear bolt and the aft propeller gear reduction journal. This scoring was consistent with rotation at the time of impact. The intake and exhaust valve rockers were impact damage and separated.

Examination of the cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, crankcase, sparkplugs, valves, crank case halves, and other components revealed signatures of impact damage. No mechanical anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

The FAA issued Key Lime Air a Part 135 operating certificate in 1997 to conduct on demand cargo and passenger flights. They also hold a Part 121 certificate for scheduled operations between KAPA, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC) Broomfield, Colorado, and Grand Junction (KGJT), Colorado. At the time of the accident, Key Lime Air conducted cargo operations in six states. The corporate headquarters, including training, the Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, and Director of Safety were located in Englewood, Colorado. The FAA Flight Standards District Office in Denver, Colorado managed the operating certificate.

The company operated six different make and models of airplane and employed about 35 pilots. Prior to employment, each pilot was required to meet the minimum flight time and experience requirements per the Federal Aviation Regulations for Part 135 operations.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

De-Icing Procedures

According to Key Lime Air, the method for deicing airplanes is dependent on the extent and thickness of the ice and is left to pilot's discretion for requesting deicing services. Generally pilots will physically remove frost, ice, snow, and surface contaminations. If the contamination is thicker or a jet is being operated the pilot can use chemicals for deicing.

The Cessna Pilot Safety And Warning Supplement – Airframe Icing – discusses that the "inflight ice protection equipment is not designed to remove ice, snow or frost accumulation on a parked airplane… Other means … must be employed to ensure that all wing, tail, control, propeller, windshield, static port surfaces and fuel vents are free of ice, snow, and frost accumulations, and that there are no internal accumulations of ice or debris in the control surfaces, engine intakes, brakes, pitot-static system ports, and fuel vents prior to takeoff."

Engine Inoperative Procedures

The Cessna Model 404 single-engine airspeeds for safe operation were as follows:

VX – 98 knots (takeoff and approach flaps) 105 knots (flaps up)
VY - 102 knots (takeoff and approach flaps) 109 knots (flaps up)

The Engine Inoperative Procedures for an engine failure after takeoff were as follows:

Mixture – Full Rich
Propellers – Full Forward
Throttles – Full Forward
Landing gear – up
Inoperative Engine – Throttle closed, mixture idle cutoff, propeller feather.
The pilot is then guided to establish a 5 degree bank into the operative engine, establish climb airspeed, raise the flaps, and then secure the inoperative engine.

The amplified procedures stated in part that "…climb or continued level flight at moderate altitude is improbable with the landing gear extended and the propeller windmilling…" The procedures warn that "The propeller on the inoperative engine must be feathered, landing gear retracted, and wing flaps up or continued flight may be impossible."

The Rate-of-Climb chart estimated that the airplane would have been able to sustain a 540 foot-per-minute climb with the airplane properly configured for single-engine operations. The chart subtracts 350 feet per minute for a windmilling propeller, 300 feet-per-minute with the landing gear down, and 100 feet-per-minute with the flaps in a takeoff or approach configuration.


NTSB Identification: CEN15LA117 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 21, 2015 in Goodland, KS
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-350, registration: N66906
Injuries: 1 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 21, 2015, about 0754 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-31-350, N66906, experienced a total loss of engine power of both engines during cruise flight. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field where the airplane impacted terrain about 10 miles west of Goodland, Kansas. The pilot was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Key Lime Air as LYM169 under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a cargo flight and was operating on an instrument rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated from Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, and was destined to Shalz Field Airport, Colby, Kansas.


Key Lime Air mishaps don't define us, says company president: http://www.denverpost.com


Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain, N66906, Key Lime Air: Accident occurred January 21, 2015 in Goodland, Sherman County, Kansas

Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III,  N31171,    Key Lime Air:    Incident occurred January 08, 2015 at   Centennial Airport   (KAPA),  Denver, Colorado  


Cessna 404 Titan, N404MG, Key Lime Air: Fatal accident occurred December 30, 2014 near Centennial Airport (KAPA), Arapahoe County, Colorado 


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Wichita FSDO-64

CBG LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N66906

GOODLAND, Kan. — Emergency crews are on scene of a plane crash that happened Wednesday morning in northwest Kansas.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman said a twin engine plane crashed in Sherman County just before 9 a.m. The scene is near the intersection of County Roads 10 and 71.

Trooper Hileman said the pilot is okay.

He said the plane was carrying UPS cargo and was registered to Key Lime Air out of Englewood, Colorado.

The company released the following statement:

Key Lime Air received confirmation that one of our twin engine cargo aircraft experienced an unexpected engine anomaly in flight. The flight was operated with a single pilot and no passengers. The aircraft landed safely at an off-airport location close to Goodland, KS, without incident. There are no injuries to the pilot. Key Lime Air will be conducting a thorough examination of the aircraft in order to determine the cause of the anomaly.




One week after fatal crash, Key Lime Air plane lands with only one engine

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Key Lime Air, the air cargo company that lost a pilot in a fatal crash last week, had another plane make an emergency landing Thursday morning.

Dispatchers with the South Metro Fire Department confirmed to 7NEWS that their teams were alerted to an in-flight emergency. Specifically, they said the plane was landing without one engine.

AIRTRACKER7 was overhead at 7:43 a.m. when the green plane touched down safely at the Centennial Airport. As the plane taxied from left to right across the screen, it was clear to see that the engine propellers on the near side were not turning.

After originally telling 7NEWS to expect a press release, a spokesperson said Key Lime Air decided not to comment. They reversed their decision again, after 7NEWS published our original version of this story. 

"Key Lime Air confirms that a leased aircraft conducting a cargo flight experienced an engine malfunction in flight. The flight was operated with a single pilot and no passengers. The aircraft safely returned to the Key Lime Air maintenance facility at Centennial Airport in Colorado and landed without incident. There were no injuries to the pilot and no damage to the aircraft. Key Lime Air is conducting a thorough examination of the engine to determine the cause of the malfunction," Key Lime Air wrote in a statement issued via email at 1:27 p.m.

Key Lime Air pilot and retired police officer Daniel Steitz lost his life in the crash last week on December 30, after departing the Centennial Airport. According to the NTSB's preliminary report, he had also lost engine power.

"According to air traffic control recordings at KAPA, the pilot reported that he had lost an engine and needed to return to the airport," the preliminary report said. "Several witnesses observed the airplane in a right turn as it descended towards terrain. Several other witnesses heard the airplane and described a rough-running engine. One witness stated that he did not hear either engine running just prior to the accident."

Steve Cowell, a former commercial pilot and FAA accident prevention counselor, said Key Lime Air began flying cargo routes, and now also flies commercial passengers.

He says it is not uncommon for companies to have reported incidents.

"Is it alarming to have two engine failures from one company in a couple of weeks?" asked 7NEWS Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

"It's very alarming, it's alarming to the public … the FAA issues a certificate that basically says that we're going to put the public trust in your ability to fly safely and now you've had these two incidents, why? We don't know yet," he said.

Cowell said the FAA will look at whether or not there's a pattern or link between the two incidents.

"They're going to undergo a white glove inspection most likely from the FAA because we have a series of incidents so closely together," he said. "The FAA's going to be looking at is whether there's a pattern, is something wrong with maintenance procedures, is something wrong with the training."

Cowell said the FAA requires these types of plane engines to undergo thorough inspections every 50 to 100 hours of flight. However,until the investigation is complete, he says it's too early to conclude anything.

"Whether those incidents are coincidental or whether they are linked remains to be seen," he said.

7NEWS checked FAA and NTSB records and found Key Lime Air has three dozen reported incidents since 2000. FAA records list several minor issues, like pilot errors. Two reported in 2010 detail engine failures on two different planes. 

Story, Videos and Photo:   http://www.thedenverchannel.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N31171



Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III, N31171, Key Lime Air: Incident occurred January 08, 2015 at Centennial Airport (KAPA), Denver, Colorado




http://registry.faa.gov/N404MG

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA090

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 30, 2014 in Englewood, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 404, registration: N404MG
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 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 December 30, 2014, about 0429 mountain standard time a Cessna 404, N404MG, was substantially damaged when it impacted a residential area north of the Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado. A post impact fire ensued. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by Key Lime Air under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as positioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Denver International Airport (KDEN), Denver, Colorado

According to air traffic control recordings at KAPA, the pilot reported that he had lost an engine and needed to return to the airport. Several witnesses observed the airplane in a right turn as it descended towards terrain. Several other witnesses heard the airplane and described a rough-running engine. One witness stated that he did not hear either engine running just prior to the accident. 

The airplane impacted several trees, a fence, and hedges in a residential area and came to rest oriented on a northeast heading. Portions of the right wing, right engine, and the propellers from both engine assemblies were located within the debris field. Both engines separated partially from the airplane during the impact sequence and were located immediately adjacent the main wreckage. 

The routine aviation weather report for KAPA, issued at 0406, reported, wind calm, visibility 7 miles in light snow, sky condition, ceiling broken clouds at 2,900 feet, temperature minus 19 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature minus 22 degrees C, altimeter 30.37 inches.













CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The coroner has identified the pilot who died when his small plane went down after taking off from Centennial Airport early Tuesday morning. 

Daniel Lee Steitz, 55, from Aurora, worked for Key Lime Air. The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane he was flying cartwheeled after crashing and then came to stop on a homeowner’s lawn.

CBS4’s Howard Nathan spoke with a veteran pilot who says it may have been both skill and luck that kept the plane from crashing into homes.

The Cessna 404 cargo plane was ripped open by the time it stopped tumbling on Jim Siffring’s front lawn before dawn.

“Big crash and then the room just lit up like daylight … our bedroom is facing right there at the crash scene,” Siffring said.

Flames were so intense the siding melted on his house.

Bob Doubek has been flying small planes for 68 years and knows what a pilot is thinking when a problem erupts during the flight.

“Fly the aircraft, fly it all the way to the scene of the accident,” he said.

In this case the accident scene was just several feet from Siffring’s house in a residential neighborhood. A neighbor explained what an eyewitness saw.

“He said the plane just dropped like a rock, it was kind of sitting at an angle … and just dropped like a rock,” the neighbor said.


No matter what a pilot will try, they’ll sometimes crash into property. Earlier this month six people died when a plane crashed into a home in Maryland. Three of the victims, a mother and two children, were inside their house.

Last May in Northglenn a small plane crashed into a home, but luckily nobody died.

“(It’s a) matter of self-preservation. You’re looking for the best spot to put it down. It may be a highway, it may be a golf course, if you’re lucky,” Doubek said.

The plane was removed Tuesday night. The NTSB says the engine lost power, but they also say they will not know the cause behind the crash for another 10 months.

Story, video and photos:  http://denver.cbslocal.com

Daniel Lee Steitz 
(credit: Facebook)


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

Event Type:  Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Damage: Destroyed
Activity: Other
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Aircraft Operator: LYM-Key Lime Air

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

N404MG KEY LIME AIR FLIGHT LYM182 CESSNA 404 AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES INTO A RESIDENTIAL AREA, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, NEAR CENTENNIAL AIRPORT, ENGLEWOOD, CO





Daniel Steitz
Aurora Police Department



ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - A plane belonging to a charter and cargo company crashed Tuesday morning in Centennial after the pilot reported a loss of engine power. 

 The pilot, later identified by the Coroner's Office as Daniel Steitz, was killed by blunt force injuries during the crash. He was a former detective sergeant with the Aurora Police Department, working for the department between 1987 and his retirement in 2011.

"It is with sincere sorrow that we have confirmed a Key Lime Air aircraft, a Cessna 404 has been involved in an accident," company president Cliff Honeycutt said in a statement sent to 7NEWS. "The flight was a cargo flight repositioning empty from Centennial airport to Denver International. (Sic)"

The plane crashed minutes after take-off in the 6600 block of South Billings Way. That's near Arapahoe Road, between Potomac Drive and Jordan Road, about 1.5 miles from the airport.

"He had just taken off and reported to air traffic control he had suffered a loss of engine power," NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Jennifer Rodi said, who added that the NTSB's team was still arriving to the crash scene.

The plane hit a trash structure outside of Jim Siffring's home. It did not directly hit the house, but the NTSB said there was some fire damage to one side of the structure. 

Siffring said the flames "just lit up like daylight."

"We rolled up the curtain and there's an airplane on fire outside of our house," said Siffring, who said he and his wife ran outside and emptied their fire extinguishers onto the wreckage. 

Siffring also extended his family's regrets about the loss of the pilot. 

South Metro Fire dispatchers told 7NEWS that only one person was on board the twin-prop Cessna when the plane crashed and that pilot died.

A man driving in the area said he saw the plane pass over Centennial Airport, heading east, and flying extremely low.

"He veered right and went straight down," Steven R. told 7NEWS. "I knew something was not right."

Rodi said the pilot reported a perceived loss of engine power. 

"The airplane came in in a somewhat nose low, wing low, sort of a banked angle if you will, but not completely nose low, not in a stalled position," said Rodi. "It cartwheeled for a couple of feet."

The plane slid through two yards and came close to two homes, but did not hit the homes. No one on the ground was injured.

"We will be documenting the wreckage, the debris field and we will be recovering the airplane and the engines to a location up in Greeley Colorado for the furtherance of our investigation," Rodi said. 

Story and Video: http://www.thedenverchannel.com

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator said the pilot reported a loss of engine power shortly before crashing into the neighborhood. There was light snow falling at the time of the crash and whether the engine was preheated before takeoff could have had an effect on the accident, the NTSB said.

A homeowner in the neighborhood called 911 and said the plane did not hit any structures and was fully engulfed. There were no injuries reported on the ground.

“We were asleep and heard a a huge crash,” the homeowner where the plane crashed said. “It was a big crash and just lit up like daylight. We rolled open the curtain and there’s an airplane on fire in front of our house.”

A neighbor who did not want to be identified or interviewed on camera captured cellphone video of the plane fully engulfed moments after it crashed and provided it to FOX31 Denver reporter Chris Jose.

“It was just really loud all of a sudden and then there was a crash,” another homeowner who did not want to be identified said. “It was one of those crashes that you can’t explain really well. And then I looked out the window and you could see the smoke come over the top of the houses.

“It was only a block or so away. And I thought it was the house right behind us, but apparently it was in the yard. And then all of a sudden there was just a loud explosion.”

Authorities said the pilot was the only person on the plane, which took off about 4:27 a.m. from the airport. According to FlightAware, Key Lime Air Flight 182 was flying to Denver International Airport.

Key Lime Air is a Centennial Airport-based aircraft rental service that transports passengers and cargo in North America, the Caribbean and South America.

“Dedication to safety is our highest priority and is paramount in our airplanes, strict pilot training, as well as our stringent operational and maintenance programs,” a statement reads on Key Lime Air’s website.

“It is with sincere sorrow that we have confirmed a Key Lime Air aircraft, a Cessna 404 has been involved in an accident,” Key Lime Air President Cliff Honeycutt said in a statement. “The flight was a cargo flight repositioning empty from Centennial airport to Denver International. There were no passengers, only the pilot on board.  Sadly, we have received confirmation from the Arapahoe County Sheriff Department that there were no survivors in this accident.

“Our focus at this time is on supporting the family of the pilot.”

The identity of the pilot has not been released by Arapahoe County officials or by Key Lime Air.

http://kdvr.com

http://www.keylimeair.com











































































CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A small plane crashed into the front yard of a home moments after taking off from Centennial Airport early Tuesday morning, killing the pilot, South Metro Fire Rescue said. 


The crash happened about 4:50 a.m. in the 6600 block of South Billings Way, near East Arapahoe Road and South Jordan Road, about 2 miles northeast of Centennial Airport.

A homeowner in the neighborhood called authorities and said the plane did not hit any structures and was fully engulfed.

Authorities said the pilot was the only person on the Cessna 404.


Source:   http://kdvr.com