Friday, January 16, 2015

Aero Adventure Aventura II, N511DS: Fatal accident occurred January 16, 2015 in Sebring, Florida

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

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

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

ALBERT D. SCHMIDT:   http://registry.faa.gov/N511DS

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA102 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Sebring, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/17/2015
Aircraft: SCHMIDT ALBERT D AVENTURA II, registration: N511DS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

Several witnesses observed the airplane during engine start and reported that, when the engine started, the airplane tipped forward onto its nose and then fell back and its tail struck the ground. The pilot exited the airplane, walked to the back, returned to the cockpit, and then taxied out. No witnesses reported seeing the pilot examine the underside of the tail or the elevators after the tail strike. A video recording made by one of the witnesses after the tail strike showed that the airplane departed, climbed to about 300 feet above ground level (agl), made a 180-degree left turn, and performed a pass down the runway in the opposite direction of the takeoff. A few seconds later, after executing another 180-degree turn, the airplane performed another low pass down the runway, this time in the direction of the takeoff. The airplane then entered a left turn, the bank angle increased until the wings were almost perpendicular to the ground, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane descended in a nose-down attitude to ground impact. The airplane came to rest on its nose with the fuselage nearly perpendicular to the ground. Postaccident examination revealed that the elevator trim cable was separated from the trim tab. Although it is possible the trim cable disconnected when the tail struck the ground during engine start (and would have been noticeable to the pilot if he had looked), the investigation could not conclusively determine when the trim cable separated or whether the separation contributed to the pilot’s loss of airplane control. No other mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities were noted that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that, during the low altitude flyby, the pilot inadvertently entered an aerodynamic stall while maneuvering and did not have sufficient altitude to recover.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain control while maneuvering at low altitude, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.
  
HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 16, 2015, about 1100 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Aventura II, N511DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at the Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local demonstration flight. The sport pilot and student pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by a private individual and was operated by Aero Adventure for the demonstration flight, conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed at 1055.


According to local authorities, several eyewitness observed the airplane, during startup on the ramp, strike the tail of the aircraft on the concrete ramp area. A witness further reported that the pilot exited the airplane, walked to the back of the aircraft, returned to the cockpit, started the engine, and then taxied out for takeoff. No witnesses reported seeing the pilot look on the underside of the elevator or the tail of the airplane after the tail strike. According to a video taken by an eyewitness, the airplane was observed departing, climbing to about 300 feet above ground level (agl), performing a left turn, and then conducting a pass down the runway in the opposite direction. The video then shows the airplane performing a second pass, about 300 feet agl, down the length of the runway and then performing a left turn. The airplane was then observed continuing the left bank until the wings were nearly perpendicular to the ground, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane was last seen in a nose down attitude descending behind the fuel tanks at the airport.

According to contract air traffic control personnel, the airplane departed, flew the traffic pattern, then flew a "low approach," climbed to about 300 feet agl, made a left turn, and then impacted the ground nose first.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate issued October 8, 2010. He did not hold, nor was he required to hold, any class medical certificate while flying a light sport aircraft. He was medically eligible to fly as a light sport pilot as long as he had a valid driver's license. At the time of this writing no record of flight hours were located.

According to FAA records, the student pilot-rated passenger was issued a second-class medical certificate on February 27, 2008. On the most recent medical application the pilot reported 11 total flight hours. Although the medical certificate had expired he would have been medically eligible to fly as a light sport pilot as long as he had a valid driver's license.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane, serial number AA2A0124, was issued a special airworthiness certificate on September 1, 2005 and was registered to a private individual. According to documentation provided by the previous owner, a letter of agreement and contract for purchase with Aero Adventure, dated November 20, 2014, revealed that Aero Adventure would be in possession of, and held responsible for, the airplane. No bill of sale, dated prior to the accident flight, was provided to the NTSB. The airplane was powered by a Rotax 912 ULS, 100-hp engine. It was driven by an IVO 3B-GA propeller. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was conducted on November 17, 2012 with a recorded hour meter reading of 353.1, the hour meter reading found in the wreckage indicated 362.52 hours.

The fuselage of the airplane consisted of a fiberglass hull with seating provisions for two occupants. Pontoons were located at the outboard portion of each wing, retractable main landing gear were attached to the fuselage, and a steerable tail wheel was attached to the empennage.

The airplane was formerly equipped with a Ballistic Recovery Parachute (BRS) system; however, at some point prior to the accident, the BRS system was removed. Examination of the maintenance records did not reveal any logbook entries of the BRS system being removed nor of any recalculation of the basic operating weight and center of gravity (CG) position. Although an accurate CG could not be determined, utilizing the aircraft empty weight, located in the airframe maintenance record, dated August 30, 2005, the pilot and student pilot-rated passenger weights acquired during the autopsy, and considering a full tank of fuel. The aircraft, at the time of takeoff, would have been below the maximum allowable takeoff weight.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport was a publically-owned airport and at the time of the accident had an operating contract control tower, due to the airshow that was taking place at the time; however, normal operations at this airport would not have utilized an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with two runways designated as runway 1/19 and 14/32. The runways were reported as "in good condition" at the time of the accident. Runway 1/19 was a 5,234-foot-long by 100-foot-wide runway and runway 14/32 was a 4,990-foot-long by 100-foot-wide. The airport was 62 feet above mean sea level.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1059 recorded weather observation at SEF included wind recorded as calm; however, according to personnel associated with the airport the Automatic Weather Observation System was reported out of service due to the wind indicator. It also recorded broken clouds at 10,000 feet agl, 10 miles visibility, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point 13 degrees C, and barometric altimeter 30.14 inches of mercury. According to written statement by contract personnel working in the temporarily-manned tower, the wind was from 360 degrees at 13 knots.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

According to local authorities, eyewitness reports, and an eyewitness video recording, the airplane was performing a "fly-by" when the airplane pitched up, rolled to the left, and nosed down, impacting the ground. The airplane impacted the ground in a near vertical position. An eyewitness, who was also a mechanic, reported audibly observing the engine "cut out or reduced power" just prior to the nose down decent. Another eyewitness reported that the "tail appeared to flutter."

The airplane impacted the ground just prior to the arrival end of runway 14, about 150 yards from the airport's fuel storage farm. The debris path was compact and only a single ground scar was noted where the airplane impacted and another smaller ground scar was located where the engine came to rest. The airplane exhibited various degrees of impact and crush damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control to the respective flight control surface. However, the left side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane, was noted as indicating about 15 degrees trailing edge down and the elevator trim was noted as fully deflected, trailing edge down. The right side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane, was noted as in the neutral position. Examination of the elevator torque bar revealed the left side elevator torque bar exhibited numerous bends in both the positive direction on the forward top channel flange and in the negative direction on the aft bottom channel flange. The trim tab cable was also found separated from the cable eyelet and extensive corrosion was noted on the eyelet and cable. Several support cables exhibited tensile overload.

The engine, mounted above and aft of the cabin, was separated from the airplane by local authorities, to facilitate recovery The propeller remained attached to the engine; however, two of three propeller blades were impact-separated about 5 inches from the propeller hub, and the other propeller blade exhibited some indication of rotation, slight rotational scoring, and exhibited leading edge damage. Fluid was evident throughout the engine that appeared similar in color and smell as automotive gasoline (autogas). Both carburetors were removed and contained various amounts of fluid that were similar in color and smell as autogas. The cylinder No. 1 and 3 carburetor float bowl gasket was pinched; however, the pinch did not appear to impede flow nor was there any evidence of leaking.

The fuel pump was removed and a fuel sample was extracted from the unit. The fuel sample was free of debris and consistent in smell and color as autogas. The pump plunger was actuated by hand, operated normally, and no mechanical abnormalities or malfunctions were noted. Fluid, similar in smell and color as autogas, was noted as exiting through the outlet fitting during manual operation.

The harness leads on one engine coil were impact damaged; however, all spark leads remained attached to their associated spark plugs. One ignition trigger coil was impact damaged and displaced from its mount.

The engine rocker box covers were removed and examined with no abnormalities noted. The engine was rotated by hand utilizing the propeller hub and thumb compression was confirmed on all four cylinders. The intake and exhaust valves all operated smoothly and normally.

The engine was mounted on a pallet and forklift and connected to a battery. The engine started and operated at various power settings with no hesitations noted. Although, due to the one engine coil being damaged, two of the spark plugs would not have been operating; however, the remaining spark plugs appeared to operate as expected.

Both fuel shutoff valves, located between the two seats, were both found in the "ON" position.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on January 19, 2015, by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death was reported as "Blunt Impact to Head and Torso" and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The toxicology report stated no ethanol was detected in urine. The report stated Salicylate and Zolpidem were detected in the urine and Zolpidem was also detected in cavity blood. However, the level of Zolpidem was below the testing calibration curve and below the therapeutic level for the medication. According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research website the therapeutic low for Zolpidem was 0.0250 ug/mL.

An autopsy was performed on the student pilot-rated passenger, on January 19, 2015, by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death was reported as "Blunt Impact" and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the student pilot-rated passenger. The toxicology reported stated no ethanol was detected in urine. The report stated Ibuprofen was detected in the urine.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The elevator horn assembly and a section of elevator trim cable were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The elevator horn was intact and the left elevator attachment channel exhibited deformation in the positive direction on the upper flange of the channel and deformation in the negative direction on the aft portion of the lower flange. The deformations were forward and aft respectively of the elevator attachment bolt. The deformations were consistent with the elevator pivoting rear downward about the attachment bolt.

The elevator trim cable consisted of a solid inner cable encased in a cable sheath; the cable exhibited a forward bend. The cable, when in the extended position, exhibited a longitudinal wear area forward of, and extending into, the bend. The inner diameter of the sheath also exhibited a wear mark similar in shape and dimension of the inner wire. The wear had penetrated the plastic inner sheath liner. The wear on the wire and sheath were consistent with side loading of the cable. For further information on the examination of the elevator horn and elevator trim cable see the "Materials Laboratory Report" located in the docket associated with this accident.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA102 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Sebring, FL
Aircraft: SCHMIDT ALBERT D AVENTURA II, registration: N511DS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On January 16, 2015, about 1100 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built, Aventura II, N511DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at the Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring, Florida. The sport pilot and student pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local airshow demonstration flight which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight had departed at 1055.

According to eyewitness reports, the airplane was performing the fifth "fly-by" when it pitched up, rolled to the left, and descended nose down until it impacted the ground in a near vertical position. An eyewitness reported, audibly observing the engine "cut out or reducing power" just prior to the nose down descent. Another eyewitness reported the "tail appeared to flutter" and that the "flutter" was in the vicinity of the elevator trim.

The airplane impacted the ground on airport property, near the active runways and about 150 yards from the airport's fuel storage farm. The debris path was compact and only a single ground scar was noted where the airplane came to rest and another smaller ground scar was located where the engine came to rest. 

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedals to the rudder and from both cockpit control sticks to the elevator. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from both cockpit control sticks to the ailerons. Examination of the elevator control surface revealed that the right side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane looking forward, was in the neutral position, and the left side elevator was in an approximate 15 degree trailing edge down position. The elevator trim tab surface was in the full trailing edge down position and the trim tab hinge was curved in the positive direction just outboard of the trim tab mid-span. The trim tab also exhibited binding when manually manipulated.

The elevator torque bar and trim tab cable were retained for further examination.


Dennis Gordon Day


DAY, DENNIS GORDON "PORKY" - age 56, of Groveland, Florida, passed away January 16, 2015, as the result of a plane crash in Sebring, Florida. He was preceded death by his parents, Betty Wise Day and Derrell V. Day; brother, Mark Steven Day; grandparents, Eva and Claude Day, Martha and D.W. Wise, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Wanda; daughters, Melissa and Denise; sons, David and Mark; step son, Luke Martineau; nine grandchildren; sisters, Sharon (Pete) Goodwin, Pam (Jack) Williamson; aunts, Margaret Wright, Peggy Reed; uncles, Mike and Dan Wise, Dennis and LeRoy Day; special friend, Buane Hunt of Canada. 

Memorial services Saturday, January 24, 2015, at the Florida Flying Gators Airport, Groveland, Florida. 

- See more at: http://www.legacy.com



Alex Gutierrez, left, and Jason Spinks with Aero Adventure set up one of their company’s amphibious planes last year for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. 



SEBRING — Highlands County Sheriff’s Office has identified the pilot and passenger of the Friday morning plane crash at Sebring Regional Airport. 

The pilot was Dennis Gordon Day, 56, of Groveland. The passenger was Jason Reid Spinks, 44, of Orlando, director of sales and marketing development at Aero Adventure of Rockledge. The company specializes in amphibious aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing their investigation into the cause of the crash.

Highlands County deputies responded to Sebring Regional Airport at 11 a.m. Friday. The plane hit nose first in the grassy area at the northeast corner of the airport runway and remained with its tail in the air.

The pilot and passenger were participating in the annual Manufacturer’s Show Case, hosted by the airport.

Family members were confused and shocked since both Day and Spinks are experienced pilots with thousands of hours of experience. Spinks was recently married.

“They took off and everything seemed to be fine, then they took a right bank. When they took a right bank, the aircraft nose-dived into the end of the runway,” Bill Wilson, Spinks’ uncle, told Fox News.

Family members said Day and Spinks had been looking forward to the expo, and they took great pride in the Aventura II, which mounted a single engine above the pilot.

The U. S. Sport Aviation Expo, a convention for small planes, ultralights, and homebuilt aircraft. The runway has been reopened, and the Expo will continue through Saturday.

“Everybody bragged on them about how they took care of their planes and designed the planes,” Wilson said.

Those with videos or information regarding the incident may contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office at 863-402-7200.

- Source: http://highlandstoday.com


SEBRING, FL (WFLA) - Two people were killed when a plane crashed near the runway of the Sebring Airport in Highlands County on Friday morning. 

The Highlands County Sheriff's Office responded to the airport around 11 a.m. observing the crash site in a grassy area at the northeast corner of the airport runway. The pilot, 56-year-old Dennis Day of Groveland, Florida and passenger, 44-year-old Jason Spinks of Orlando, were both killed in the crash. 

Officials say the pair was flying a small plane at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.

Bill Wilson, a relative of Spinks, said the flight was going smoothly until the aircraft made a right bank. At that point, the plane nose-dived into the runway and the two men were killed.

Wilson said the pair work for Aero Adventure, a company in Deland. The relative said the two men build, design and sell planes with the company.

Wilson said the two men are very experienced pilots.

Aviation enthusiasts from all over the country come to Sebring for the expo every year. It's an opportunity to test and fly new experimental aircraft.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash. 

http://www.wfla.com


Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies investigate a plane crash that left two people dead at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo on Friday morning. 










SEBRING — Two people died Friday morning in a plane crash in a grassy area near the north end of Runway 14/32 at Sebring Regional Airport.

Sebring Airport Authority Executive Director Mike Willingham and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Randy LaBelle have confirmed that two people died in the crash. Names are being withheld pending notification of their families.

The Sheriff’s Office is also awaiting officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate before releasing a cause of the crash.

The two people were participating in the annual Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo manufacturers’ showcase hosted by Sebring Airport.

Organizers expressed sorrow for the loss of one of their participants and sympathy to the families of the victims.

People on the scene said it appeared that the plane simply lost speed, stalled and spun nose-first into the ground.

Roger Dove, 66, of Sebring — who said he practically grew up at the airport — said he was filming the plane on his iPhone just before it crashed and was repositioning his camera when he saw the plane making a left turn over the end of the runway.

“It was slower than the wind speed, it looked like,” Dove said.

It rolled and went straight down, he said.

Dove said he was near the fence for the flight line, set up along Runway 14/32, and saw someone walk back from the wreck, hug two friends and say, “He’s gone.”

Who was gone, he didn’t know. The plane seemed to be nearly identical to an AERO Adventure amphibious plane that was parked near the flight line.

Tom Bliss, publisher of AVweb aviation news, said he didn’t see the wreck happen, but said Dove’s description sounded like a classic “stall spin,” where the plane fails to maintain airspeed and loses lift.

Jamie Beckett, ambassador with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said that in such a situation, a plane slows below the speed it needs to maintain lift, it stalls — meaning it loses lift under the wings — and it rolls over.

“It can happen to anybody,” said Beckett, a flight instructor. “We all train for it.”

Anyone who witnessed the wreck itself, has video or photos of the wreck in progress or other information regarding the incident is urged to contact the sheriff’s office at 863-402-7200.

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