Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beechcraft H35 Bonanza, N375B: Fatal accident occurred January 04, 2013 in Palm Coast, Florida

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Hawker Beechcraft; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors, Inc; Mobile, Alabama 

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


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


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


http://registry.faa.gov/N375B

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA105 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 04, 2013 in Palm Coast, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N375B
Injuries: 3 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 airplane departed under visual flight rules and was at an altitude of about 7,500 feet when the pilot reported vibrations and an “oil pressure problem.” Airports in the area were under instrument meteorological conditions with cloud ceilings of 900 to 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). An air traffic controller provided the pilot with radar vectors for an airport surveillance radar (ASR) approach to a nearby airport that did not have a published ASR procedure. The airplane was about 2.5 miles northwest of the airport, at an altitude of about 5,300 feet agl, when the pilot reported that the engine oil pressure was “zero” with “cool cylinders.” The controller did not obtain nor did the pilot provide any additional information about the engine’s power status. During the next approximately 7 minutes, the airplane continued past the airport to a point about 6.5 miles northeast before the controller vectored the airplane to the south and then west to the final approach course. The airplane subsequently struck trees and a residence about 3/4 mile from the approach end of the runway. A postcrash fire destroyed the airframe and engine. 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the engine sustained a fractured No. 4 connecting rod due to oil starvation. The connecting rod punctured the crankcase, which resulted in a total loss of engine power. The crankshaft oil transfer passage at the No. 4 journal sustained mechanical damage during the accident sequence and contained displaced journal material. All other oil passages were unrestricted. The airplane’s maintenance logbooks were destroyed during the accident. Maintenance performed on the airplane about 1 month before the accident included the replacement of the Nos. 1 and 4 cylinders; however, it could not be determined if this maintenance played a role in the accident. The reason for the oil starvation could not be determined. 
Review of the air traffic control transcripts and interviews with the controllers revealed that they vectored the airplane such that it was unable to reach the airport. This was likely due to the weather conditions and the controllers’ incomplete understanding of the airplane’s mechanical condition (complete loss of power), which the pilot did not provide.

At the time of the accident, the pilot was using medication for hypertension and had well-controlled diabetes. It was unlikely that either condition significantly affected the pilot’s performance at the time of the accident. 

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

A total loss of engine power after the failure of the No. 4 connecting rod due to oil starvation, which resulted in a subsequent forced landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to clearly state that the aircraft had lost all power and the air traffic controllers’ incomplete understanding of the emergency, which resulted in the controllers vectoring the airplane too far from the airport to reach the runway.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 4, 2013, about 1419 eastern standard time, a Beechcraft H35, N375B, owned and operated by a private individual, experienced a loss of engine power while in cruise flight and was destroyed when it impacted a house, while on approach to the Flagler County Airport (XFL), Palm Coast, Florida. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an en route instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance was obtained for the flight, which departed Saint Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, and was destined for Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (DKX), Knoxville, Tennessee. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane arrived at FPR after flying from Stella Maris, Bahamas. The passengers cleared U.S. Customs about 1145. The airplane was subsequently refueled and departed for DKX under visual flight rules.

According to air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot contacted Daytona Approach control about 1407, and reported vibrations and an "oil pressure problem." The controller advised the pilot that the airports in the area were IFR with cloud ceilings of 900 to 1,000 feet above ground level. The pilot received radar vectors for an airport surveillance radar approach to runway 29 at XFL, which was about 8 miles north of the airplane's position. At 1411:06, the pilot reported that the engine oil pressure was "zero" with "cool cylinders." At that time, the airplane was flying at an altitude of 5,300 feet mean seal level (msl), and was located about 2.5 miles from the approach end of runway 11, at XFL. The airplane continued to be vectored to a point about 6.5 miles northeast of the airport and was provided headings to the south and then west, to the final approach course for runway 29. The airplane was subsequently cleared to land about 1416. Radar contact with the airplane was lost when the airplane was about 2 miles from the runway, at an altitude of 200 feet msl. At 1418:27, the pilot transmitted "…we need help; we're coming in with smoke." There were no further communications from the airplane.

The XFL airport director observed the airplane as it approached runway 29. He described the weather conditions as instrument meteorological conditions with a low ceiling and mist. He observed the airplane "break out" of the cloud layer, very low, just above the tree line. The airplane's wings were level as it descended and disappeared in the tree line.

Another witness, who was an airline transport pilot and flight instructor, reported that the airplane looked "slow" as it exited clouds, was in a nose high attitude, and appeared to "stall" prior to descending below the tree line, which was followed by smoke about 10 seconds later.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 58, held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's logbooks were not recovered. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on December 31, 2012. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,300 hours, which included 30 hours during the previous 6 months. The pilot reported 1,100 hours of total flight experience, with 50 hours during the previous 6 months, on an FAA medical certificate application dated February 4, 2010.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, all-metal, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number D-5121, was manufactured in 1957. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-470-C1, 250-horsepower engine and equipped with a Beech 278 propeller assembly. According to Beechcraft, the airplane was originally manufactured with a Continental Motors O-470-G series engine, which could be modified post manufacturer with a fuel injected engine per Beech Kit 35-648, "Engine Conversion to Fuel Injection on the Beech Model H35 Bonanza." No documentation for the engine that was installed on the accident airplane was found.

The airplane was found to have been modified with the addition of 15-gallon fiberglass wingtip fuel tanks, which would have included a wingtip tank fuel transfer pump mounted in each respective wing's wheel-well, to allow fuel to be transferred from each wingtip fuel tank, to its respective wing. There was no record of a supplemental type certificate for the installation of wingtip fuel tanks found in the airplane's FAA airworthiness file.

According to FAA records, the pilot purchased the airplane on May 30, 2008. 

The airplane's maintenance records were not located. According to an FAA inspector, it was reported that the pilot traveled with his personal logbook and the airplane's maintenance records onboard the airplane. Additional information obtained by the FAA inspector revealed that the engine's No. 1 and No. 4 cylinders were replaced due to low compression during early December 2012; however, no work orders or other associated documentation could be located. 

A friend of the pilot reported that he believed that the airplane's last annual inspection was performed around September-October 2012. He stated that he was not aware of any previous engine issues with the airplane, except for a small oil leak.

In a written statement, the lineman who refueled the airplane at FPR reported that he noticed "visible oil leaks" on the airplane's nose gear strut. In addition, after he informed the pilot of a fuel imbalance prior to refueling, the pilot informed the lineman that the airplane's right fuel pump was not working. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather reported at XFL at 1350 was: wind 360 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 3 statute miles, ceiling 900 feet broken, 1,400 feet overcast, temperature 15 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 13 degrees C, and altimeter 30.22 in/hg. 

COMMUNICATIONS

The following information, which contains excerpts of recorded communications, was obtained by an NTSB air traffic control specialist through interviews and review of communications and radar information obtained from the FAA: 

At 1349:34, the pilot contacted Daytona Beach approach control and reported that he was at 4,500 feet. Eight minutes later, the pilot requested a climb to 6,500 feet. The approach controller informed the pilot that they had received a pilot report (PIREP) reporting that the cloud tops were at 7,000 feet. The controller advised the pilot to maintain at or above 7,000 feet, and remain in VFR conditions. The pilot complied and climbed to 7,500 feet. 

At 1407:01, the pilot reported, "…we got a vibration in the prop, I need some help here." The approach controller informed the pilot that the closest airport was at his 12 to 1 o'clock position and 5 miles, and asked him if he was instrument flight rules (IFR) capable and equipped. The pilot stated, "I'm IFR, we're just getting a little vibration. We've got an oil pressure problem; we're going to have to drop quickly here." When asked to clarify the nature of the problem, the pilot stated, "…we got a propeller or something going, I'm backing it up here to see." 

According to the approach controller, Ormond Beach Airport, which was located approximately 6 miles to the southeast of the airplane's position, was considered briefly, however, because runway 8/26 was closed for construction and there had been a strong tailwind for runway 17, that airport was not an option. The approach controller subsequently cleared the flight to XFL, instructed the pilot to descend and maintain 2,000 feet.

About 1408, the approach controller instructed the pilot to continue his present heading, and informed him that he would get him as close as he could to the Flagler airport for a runway 29 approach. He advised the pilot that the weather ceiling at XFL was 900 feet, and that an instrument approach was necessary. The controller subsequently asked the pilot if he could accept an airport surveillance approach (ASR) into XFL and the pilot replied that he was "…lovely with that" (An ASR approach was a type of instrument approach wherein the air traffic controller issued instructions, for pilot compliance, based on an aircraft's position in relation to the final approach course, and the distance from the end of the runway as displayed on the controller's radar scope). 

Flagler County Airport did not have a published ASR approach. The controllers determined that to best handle the emergency it was necessary to offer the pilot an unpublished ASR approach to runway 29 at XFL using area navigation (RNAV) approach minimums. This determination was based on the information obtained from the pilot, and the need for the pilot to conduct an instrument approach into the airport due to the IFR weather conditions. 

At 1409, the pilot checked in with the arrival controller and reported he was at 7,000 feet descending to 2,000 feet. The arrival controller instructed the pilot to descend and maintain 3,000 feet, and to turn right to a heading of 060 degrees. According to the arrival controller, he assigned the airplane 3,000 feet because he wanted to ensure the airplane was high enough to remain clear of an antenna that was located northwest of XFL.

About 1410, the controller advised the pilot to expect an ASR approach to runway 29 at XFL.

At 1411:06, the pilot reported, "…we got zero oil pressure, but we've got cool cylinder head temperature." The controller acknowledged the pilot's transmission and instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 090 degrees and to descend and maintain 2,000 feet.

At 1411:47, the controller informed the pilot that he would provide guidance along the RNAV runway 29 approach and that the straight in minimum descent altitude (MDA) was 560 feet. 

At 1413:46, the controller instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 180 degrees and advised that the airplane was about 6 miles east-northeast of XFL on " a base leg for about a four and one-half to five mile final." The pilot acknowledged the turn and said "…we're starting to see some ground here." 

At 1414:27, the controller instructed the pilot to descend to 1,600 feet and to turn right, to a heading of 200 degrees.

At 1415:01, the controller informed the pilot that the airplane 5 miles southeast of XFL. About 35 seconds later, the controller provided the pilot turns to intercept the final approach course and informed the pilot that he was 4 miles straight in for runway 29, which the pilot acknowledged.

About 1416, the controller informed the pilot that the airplane was three miles from the runway, asked him to advise when he had the airport in sight, and cleared the airplane to land on runway 29.

At 1417:25, the controller told the pilot that the airplane was below radar coverage, instructed him to contact the XFL tower, and provided missed approach instructions, "if you don't have the airport in sight, climb straight ahead to 2,000 [feet]."

At 1417:59, the pilot transmitted, "…do you read me?" The controller immediately responded that he had him loud and clear and asked the pilot if he had the airport in sight at his 12 o'clock and a mile. The pilot did not respond.

At 1418:27, the pilot transmitted, "…we need help; we're coming in with smoke." The arrival controller informed the pilot that Flagler Tower was waiting for him, and that he was cleared to land.

At 1418:55, the XFL tower controller called the arrival controller and informed him that the airplane did not make it to the airport.

Federal Aviation Administration order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," provides guidance and instruction to air traffic controllers when an emergency situation exist or is imminent. Paragraphs 10-1-1, 10-1-2, and 10-2-5 stated in part:

10-1-1: Emergency Determinations...Because of the infinite variety of possible emergency situations, specific procedures cannot be prescribed. However, when you believe an emergency exists or is imminent, select and pursue a course of action which appears to be most appropriate under the circumstances and which most nearly conforms to the instructions in this manual.

10-1-2: Obtaining Information…Obtain enough information to handle the emergency intelligently. Base your decision as to what type of assistance is needed on information and requests received from the pilot because he/she is authorized by 14 CFR Part 91 to determine a course of action.

10-2-5: Emergency Situations…Consider that an aircraft emergency exists…when any of the following exist: 
a. An emergency is declared by either: 
1. The pilot.
2. Facility personnel. 
3. Officials responsible for the operation of the aircraft. 

[For additional information, please see the NTSB Air Traffic Control Group Factual Report located in the Public Docket.]

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane impacted trees and a residence about 3/4 mile from the approach end of runway 29, slightly left of the extended centerline. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified as a pine tree that was about 60 feet tall and contained broken limbs about 30 to 35 feet above ground level. Various components of wreckage extended from the IIP, on a heading of 288 degrees magnetic for 50 feet. The remainder of the airplane impacted the roof of a detached single family home and a large fire ensued, which destroyed most of the airplane and dwelling.

The airplane's left outboard wing, with about one-half of the corresponding aileron attached, displayed evidence of a tree strike and was found at the base of a tree located about 60 feet from the back of the house. The inbound portion of the left aileron was observed near the right wing, which was inverted and located along the back of the house. The empennage came to rest inverted on the backside edge of the roof alongside of a section of the right wing inboard leading edge. Other remains of the fuselage and left wing were found inside the house. Examination of the airplane's flight control cables did not reveal evidence of any preimpact failures. The right flap actuator remained intact and was observed in a flap retracted position. The landing gear actuator was not observed and the preaccident position of the landing gear could not be confirmed.

The engine was found inverted on the floor of the house. It sustained a significant amount of thermal and impact damage, which destroyed all accessories, with the exception of the propeller governor, which was intact, but fired damaged. A large hole was observed in the crankcase, which contained a portion of the No. 4 connecting rod. The engine was forwarded to Continental Motors Inc., Mobile, Alabama, for further examination.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. The spinner was dented and did not display spiral dents. Both propeller blades displayed light chordwise scratches. The outboard section of one propeller blade was missing about 4 to 6 inches of its tip. The propeller blade was cut inboard of the missing section and forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory, Washington, DC, for further examination. 

Subsequent teardown of the engine under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-charge revealed that the crankshaft exhibited lubrication distress, thermal damage, and mechanical damage at the No. 4 connecting rod journal. The crankshaft oil transfer passage at the No. 4 journal sustained mechanical damage and contained displaced journal material. The remaining crankshaft oil transfer passages were unrestricted. Only fragments of the No. 4 connection rod bearing were recovered and they displayed lubrication and thermal distress. In addition, the number No.4 connecting rod was fractured at the base of the I-beam and exhibited extreme thermal and mechanical damage consistent with a loss of lubrication. The oil galleys and passages in the left and right crankcase halves were intact, clear, and unrestricted. 

Subsequent examination of sectioned propeller blade by an NTSB metallurgist revealed that it exhibited extensive evidence of exposure to elevated temperatures that approached the melting point of the blade. This included complete removal of the paint, a thick oxide skin, and internal slumping of the blade material. The blade fracture surface exhibited characteristics consistent with separation while at elevated temperatures. The blade also showed a gradual deformation toward the camber side adjacent to the fracture. The deformation was accompanied by transverse cracking and stretching of the oxide layer on the flat side of the blade indicating deformation after or during high temperature exposure.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Medical Examiner, District 23, St. Augustine, Florida. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injures." 

Toxicological testing performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was positive for the following:

"Atenolol detected in Liver
Atenolol detected in Blood (Heart)
1949 (mg/dl) Glucose detected in Urine
149 (mg/dl) Glucose detected in Vitreous
7 (%) Hemoglobin A1C detected in Blood"

Review of the pilot's most recent FAA medical examination application (dated December 31, 2012) revealed "No" was selected to the question "Do you currently use any medication (Prescription or Nonprescription)."

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA105 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 04, 2013 in Palm Coast, FL
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N375B
Injuries: 3 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 4, 2013 at 1419 eastern standard time, a Beechcraft H35, N375B, was destroyed when it impacted a house during a forced landing in Palm Coast, Florida. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Saint Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, and was destined for Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (DKX), Knoxville, Tennessee. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary air traffic control voice communication information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot contacted Daytona Approach control, and reported vibrations in the propeller and engine. The FAA Daytona Approach controller advised the pilot that the airports in the area were instrument flight rules with cloud ceilings of 900 to 1000 feet above ground level. The pilot received radar vectors for an airport surveillance radar (ASR) approach to guide him to runway 29 at Flagler County Airport (XFL), Palm Coast, Florida. The ASR was not a published approach, however the pilot did hold an instrument rating. Several minutes later, the pilot reported that the engine oil pressure was zero with "cool cylinders." Radar vectors from Daytona Approach continued and the pilot was cleared to land. At 2 miles from runway 29, no further transmissions from the airplane were received.

According to witnesses, the airplane was visually observed on final approach at an unusually low altitude. About 1 mile from the approach end of runway 29, the witnesses lost sight of the airplane behind tall pine trees.

The accident site was located about 4,200 feet southeast of XFL. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified as a tree with broken limbs, with various components of wreckage extending from that point on a heading of 288 degrees magnetic for 50 feet. Following the IIP, the majority of the airplane impacted the roof of a detached single family home and a large fire ensued, which destroyed most of the airplane and dwelling.

The airplane wreckage was moved to a nearby storage facility for examination. An engine examination will be conducted at the manufacturer’s facility at a later date.


Ever since a four-seat Beechcraft airplane crashed into her house Jan. 4, 2013, killing everyone aboard and missing her by a matter of feet, Palm Coast resident Susan Crockett has been dealing with the aftermath: the injuries to her shoulder, which she hurt climbing through a window to escape the burning wreckage, and the less visible but not less harmful psychological aftermath of the trauma.

The handling of all of that, attorney Marc Dwyer said, could have been much easier — if the plane’s owner and pilot, Michael Anders, had had insurance.

He didn’t. Neither federal nor Florida law requires insurance for small private planes.

As a result, Crockett, whose home was declared uninhabitable and was razed after the crash, has had to pay for medical treatment herself.

Now the two are taking action.

“It seems like this is what I have to do to get someone to listen: bring a lawsuit,” Crockett said in a statement. “No one should have to go through what I went through — to have your life destroyed and no one is accountable for that.”

Crockett, Dwyer said, “had to have surgery on a shoulder that she injured climbing out of the window. For a long time, any loud noise would make her jump. She’s been dispossessed and misplaced out of her home. She has had to bear the brunt of all of these things through no fault of her own.” And it could have been worse. “Mrs. Crockett has been very blessed and is very fortunate that she is alive to tell this tale,” he said. “If she’d been 10 feet down her hallway, she wouldn’t be here.”

Dwyer filed a complaint against the Federal Aviation Administration Jan. 2, not long after the publication of a report by the National Transportation Safety Board that listed both Anders and air traffic controllers as partly responsible for the crash.

“We had to take the next step,” Dwyer said. “We were kind of forced by the timing of the statute of limitations to do something, to have an avenue to press the federal government for some change.”

That action, Dwyer said, leaves the government six months to analyze the claim and determine how to proceed before the case moves to court, where Crockett could seek monetary damages from the government.

If that happened, he said, the case would be heard in a federal court, most likely in either Orlando or Jacksonville.

“If it becomes a court case … either a judge or jury will decide what percentage of the blame air traffic control is assigned, and they would be responsible for that share,” he said.

But with the court case, Dwyer said, he’s looking to shine a light on the consequences of the absence of a regulation requiring planes to be insured. He’s contacted U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Bill Nelson about changing the law, he said, and “they offered to do what they could to assist in the effort.”

“You can’t get in a car without insurance, but you can fly over homes and schools without insurance? That’s incredible to me,” he said, later adding: “There is no real mechanism by which I can force the government to pay attention; the only way I can force the government at this point is to bring suit against them. We want to see some change. I think it’s clearly obvious that the pilot played a major role in it, and he will pay no role in covering Mrs. Crockett’s damages.”

Fixing the problem, he said, wouldn’t be terribly complicated: Airports could require pilots to provide proof of insurance when they file a flight plan.

“Every one of these planes has to have a flight plan entered when they take off from an airport. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to require proof of insurance. So if you don’t show proof of insurance, you don’t take off from our runway.”

But getting there, he said, “is going to involve regulation on both the federal level and the state level.”

For now, he said, “We’re hoping to have conversations on the state level as well to see what the state can do to protect our citizens. … I think citizens are concerned and believe that it’s a good idea that we should be protected in this way. But the power always lies with the people. If the people make a stir, and talk to their representatives — the more people who talk to them, the more likely they are to act. I certainly urge anyone who believes this is a just a just cause to contact their elected representatives.”

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

Crash victim: Require pilots of private planes to carry insurance 

PALM COAST — Three people were killed, a single-engine plane was destroyed and a Palm Coast house was ravaged by fire and eventually demolished.

Susan Crockett and her attorney think the Jan. 4, 2013, disaster could have been avoided if federal regulations prohibited pilots of private planes from flying without insurance.

Pilots of private planes are required to have a license from the Federal Aviation Administration, but they are not required to have insurance coverage. Experts say many pilots of small aircraft don’t purchase insurance because of the high costs and the small risk of accidents.

Crockett and her attorney were surprised to learn that the pilot who smashed into her home didn’t have insurance to help pay to replace it. The pilot of the decades-old plane knew before he flew it over Flagler County airspace that it was leaking oil, according to a report released in May by the National Transportation Safety Board.

“How can you, in good conscience, let someone get into an airplane and fly over houses, schools, day cares?” Crockett asked. “What if that crash had been at a day care? There’s no law to say he had to have insurance before he went up in that plane.”

Crockett’s attorney, Marc Dwyer, said he is prepared to take his client’s case to the Federal Aviation Administration or Congress, or even to the highest elected official in the Executive Branch. At the very least, more light should be shed on a dangerous lack of oversight by the government, he said.

“We know it will take a while,” said Dwyer. “We’re prepared for that.”
During one afternoon 16 months ago, Crockett lost her home to the four-seat Beechcraft H35 Bonanza. The pilot, Michael Anders, tried to make an emergency landing but failed to reach the Flagler County Airport. Before losing contact with the nearest control tower, he radioed that he had lost oil pressure. 


 Crockett, 51, said she remains shaken from the experience of having an airplane crash through her roof while she was inside her Utica Path home, although she realizes it could’ve been so much worse.

“Every day, I think about the outcome ... that I wasn’t under the plane,” she said, “but there are still days when I’m driving down the street and I relive what happened. That’ll never go away.”

Anders, 58, of Albany, Kentucky, and his passengers, Duane Shaw, 59, and Charissee Peoples, 42, died in the crash. Crockett escaped her burning home through a bedroom window and suffered minor physical injuries.

But she said the emotional scars have lingered. She now lives a safer distance from the airport — roughly 11 miles. She said she still gets rattled by the sound of a plane flying overhead.

Crockett’s attorney said he brought the issue to the attention of U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. A DeSantis spokeswoman wouldn’t comment, saying all constituent correspondence is confidential.

Dwyer said he heard from DeSantis’ office this week and hopes to meet with the congressman next month to discuss the issue.

Kathleen Bergin, an FAA spokeswoman, confirmed the agency doesn’t require private pilots who fly general aviation aircraft to carry insurance.

Roy Sieger, director of the Flagler County Airport, said he has always wondered why pilots aren’t required to purchase liability insurance.

“That always dumbfounded me,” he said. “If they’re flying and they crash, they think they won’t survive it. ... But then the matter is turned over to the estate and the family is left to clean up the mess.”

No one can base an aircraft at the Flagler County Airport without some insurance, he said.


Most general aviation aircraft require annual inspections, according to the FAA. The NTSB report indicated the last annual inspection for Anders’ plane was in September or October 2012.

Pilots who are 40 or older also are required to renew their medical certificates every two years. Records showed Anders most recent certificate was issued four days prior to the crash.

NUMBERS DRIVE INSURANCE MANDATES

The FAA requires pilots of small, private aircraft to have a license to fly. And there are laws in place to punish those who fly without a license.

According to the U.S. criminal code related to aviation, if someone knowingly and willfully flies with a suspended or revoked license, a person shall be fined and face imprisonment of up to three years or both.

But there are no laws requiring those who fly small, private planes to have insurance. Dwyer compares the situation to a motorist driving without liability insurance. Doing so is a traffic violation in Florida.

“Flying without insurance is seen as a risk-management issue,” said S.V. Dedmon, an aviation law attorney and associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

Dedmon said laws pertaining to motor vehicle insurance can more easily be put into place because of the significant number of casualties related to car crashes.

In 2012, there were 33,561 highway deaths in the U.S., according to the NTSB. By comparison, there were a combined 1,958 deaths in the U.S. from rail, marine and aviation accidents that year. Aviation fatalities alone totaled 449.

“You’re more probable to hurt someone in your car,” Dedmon said.

Based on a risk-management study published by David Ropeik at the Harvard School of Public Health, the annual risk of being killed in a plane crash for the average American is about one in 11 million.

The same study revealed that 1 out of every 5,000 Americans dies annually in motor vehicle crashes.


Because of the possibility of mass casualties on the ground, Dwyer said he thinks a law should be put into place that requires inspectors at airports. Pilots who let their insurance lapse or who fail to obtain it should stay grounded — and that would be best enforced “at the airport level,” Dwyer said.

Dedmon said pilots decide on their own whether to buy insurance. If a crash happens, the pilot is basically telling people who might be affected to sue him or her. If that pilot is killed, then sue his or her estate, Dedmon said.

Dwyer said he learned of Anders’ lack of insurance through “an exhaustive search of records” related to the 2013 crash in Palm Coast.

As for Anders’ estate, Dwyer said it is “insolvent,” therefore his client wasn’t able to claim any compensation.

Dedmon said he is unaware of anyone else locally or nationally who is fighting to have new laws put into place regarding private pilots carrying insurance.

Dedmon said it is common for airports to include provisions about insurance in their leasing agreements. But such “ground insurance” protects only an aircraft owner in the event of damage that happens on the ground, whether by natural disaster, fire, vandalism, or other unforeseen events.

Flight insurance is another matter. An all-inclusive policy often is an expensive purchase, said Dedmon.

“Generally, $1 million is the lowest liability people get,” he said.

Prices on such premiums vary widely. The factors that come into play include, but are not restricted to, the pilot’s age, health, experience and flight hours, as well as the age of the plane and where it is hangared.

Dedmon, who is 59 and has close to 2,000 hours of total flight time, said his insurance for one of his aircrafts costs him about $1,000 per year.

NOT JUST TANGIBLE ITEMS DESTROYED

Crockett was talking on the phone with her eldest daughter when the explosion happened in the next bedroom.

“What was that noise?” her daughter asked.

“A plane just hit my house.”

“What did you say?”

“Call 9-1-1, a plane just hit the house.”

Susan Crockett, wearing trouser socks, wasted no time running to the nearest window to escape out of her burning home. She injured her shoulder when she tumbled out and suffered a few minor scrapes, she said.

Someone later asked her whether she had walked through fire; there were holes in the bottom of her socks. That’s when it hit her just how close she had come to being killed.

“It was just like being in a movie and someone says, ‘Cue the plane,’ ” Crockett said. “Then came the boom and then the fire.”

Dwyer said Crockett did have homeowner’s insurance, which helped her replace some of the material possessions she lost.

Crockett’s daughter Jessica, 21, had lived in the house off Utica for eight years. She said the family lost most of their tangible possessions, but it’s the intangible things she misses most. Her mother’s home today doesn’t feel like home to her.

“You just think of the memories,” she said. “You think about the Christmases, the birthdays, the Thanksgivings and the things we experienced in that house. The home we had is gone.”

Among the items that burned were Crockett’s daughters’ diplomas. That stings her.

“I lost everything,” she said. “We lost everything. Yes, I have my life, but ...

“I think there’s a reason I’m still here to tell my story. If something can be done, if something can come from it ... I’m willing to tell it every day.”


Source: http://www.news-journalonline.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N375B

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA105
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 04, 2013 in Palm Coast, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N375B
Injuries: 3 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 airplane departed under visual flight rules and was at an altitude of about 7,500 feet when the pilot reported vibrations and an “oil pressure problem.” Airports in the area were under instrument meteorological conditions with cloud ceilings of 900 to 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). An air traffic controller provided the pilot with radar vectors for an airport surveillance radar (ASR) approach to a nearby airport that did not have a published ASR procedure. The airplane was about 2.5 miles northwest of the airport, at an altitude of about 5,300 feet agl, when the pilot reported that the engine oil pressure was “zero” with “cool cylinders.” The controller did not obtain nor did the pilot provide any additional information about the engine’s power status. During the next approximately 7 minutes, the airplane continued past the airport to a point about 6.5 miles northeast before the controller vectored the airplane to the south and then west to the final approach course. The airplane subsequently struck trees and a residence about 3/4 mile from the approach end of the runway. A postcrash fire destroyed the airframe and engine.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the engine sustained a fractured No. 4 connecting rod due to oil starvation. The connecting rod punctured the crankcase, which resulted in a total loss of engine power. The crankshaft oil transfer passage at the No. 4 journal sustained mechanical damage during the accident sequence and contained displaced journal material. All other oil passages were unrestricted. The airplane’s maintenance logbooks were destroyed during the accident. Maintenance performed on the airplane about 1 month before the accident included the replacement of the Nos. 1 and 4 cylinders; however, it could not be determined if this maintenance played a role in the accident. The reason for the oil starvation could not be determined.

Review of the air traffic control transcripts and interviews with the controllers revealed that they vectored the airplane such that it was unable to reach the airport. This was likely due to the weather conditions and the controllers’ incomplete understanding of the airplane’s mechanical condition (complete loss of power), which the pilot did not provide.
At the time of the accident, the pilot was using medication for hypertension and had well-controlled diabetes. It was unlikely that either condition significantly affected the pilot’s performance at the time of the accident.

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

 A total loss of engine power after the failure of the No. 4 connecting rod due to oil starvation, which resulted in a subsequent forced landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to clearly state that the aircraft had lost all power and the air traffic controllers’ incomplete understanding of the emergency, which resulted in the controllers vectoring the airplane too far from the airport to reach the runway.

http://www.ntsb.gov


 
 (Clinton County School District, January 4, 2013) 
 Michael R. Anders, a 58-year-old Kentucky high school teacher, was killed when the plane he was piloting crash landed into a Palm Coast home, killing two others.



 NTSB at site of plane crash



 NTSB investigators at the crash site on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.








































 




The house was engulfed in flames almost immediately after the plane crashed into its back side. 






















 



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