Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cessna 310R, N90PS, Gibbs Rentals Inc: Fatal accident occurred August 26, 2015 near Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX), Titusville, Brevard County, 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

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


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in Titusville, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N90PS
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.

About 11 minutes before departing on the personal, cross-country flight between two airports that were about 28 nautical miles (nm) apart, the commercial pilot filed an instrument flight rules flight plan and received a weather briefing. The briefer informed the pilot that the planned route was clear but that thunderstorms were in the areas to the north and to the south of the destination airport. The briefer recommended that the pilot call back before takeoff for an update; however, the pilot did not do so.

When the airplane was about halfway to the destination airport, a terminal radar approach controller informed the pilot that the instrument landing system (ILS) for runway 36 was in use and that the airport was reporting thunderstorms and rain in the vicinity, a visibility of 3 miles, and a broken ceiling at 1,000 ft. The controller also informed the pilot that moderate precipitation extended from the destination airport to 2 nm south of the airport, light precipitation to 8 nm, and heavy to extreme precipitation beyond that; the controller said that he planned to vector the airplane to intercept the ILS 36 approach course about 6 to 7 nm south of the airport in order to keep it clear of the heavy precipitation. However, weather radar information shown on the controller's display indicated that the precipitation directly over the destination airport at that time was of extreme intensity, and it should have been described as such by the controller in accordance with published Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance.

A relief approach controller subsequently provided the pilot with instructions to intercept the ILS 36 approach course. The controller did not provide, nor did the pilot request, any updated weather information. Radar data indicated that the airplane intercepted the approach course about 4.4 nm south of the airport, which was about 1.6 nm inside the final approach fix, and descended along the glideslope. The controller's vectoring of the airplane to intercept the final approach course inside the final approach fix was not in compliance with FAA procedures; however, there is no evidence indicating that the pilot experienced additional difficulty as a result of the abnormal intercept. The pilot subsequently contacted the control tower at the airport and was cleared to land. About 2 minutes later, the pilot advised the tower controller that he did not have the airport in sight and was executing a missed approach.

The tower controller then transferred communications back to the approach controller. Radar data indicated that, while the approach controller was asking the pilot if he wanted to turn to the south to avoid weather north of the airport, the airplane was flying over the airport, and the pilot had begun a right turn. The pilot reported that the airplane was in heavy precipitation, the controller then instructed the pilot to turn right to 210 degrees, and the pilot acknowledged the instruction. No further communication was received from the pilot. 

Radar data indicated that, while operating in precipitation of extreme intensity, the airplane completed a 180-degree climbing right turn and then entered a rapid descent. The airplane subsequently impacted a river, and only about half of the airframe was recovered. Examination of the recovered components revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. The level of fragmentation of the recovered components indicated that the airplane impacted the water with significant energy; however, it could not be determined whether any components separated from the airplane in flight.

During interviews, both approach controllers reported that they were aware of the precipitation depicted on the radar over the destination airport. Although the radar-depicted weather differed from the reported visual flight rules (VFR) conditions at the airport, they did not discuss the weather conditions with the tower controllers. Further, during interviews, the tower controllers reported that they were aware that the airport visibility had decreased below VFR minima, that a thunderstorm was over the airport, and that the control tower had been struck by lightning. Special weather observations should have been issued when the thunderstorm began about 35 minutes before the accident and when the visibility decreased below VFR minima about 23 minutes before the accident. However, the tower controllers did not issue any special weather observations or provide information about the worsening weather conditions to the approach controllers as required by published FAA guidance.

Although the airplane was equipped with devices, including onboard weather radar, capable of providing in-cockpit weather data to assist the pilot's decision-making, it could not be determined what devices, if any, the pilot was using during the flight. It is likely that, given the adverse weather conditions in the area, the airplane encountered turbulence or windshear associated with thunderstorms, which resulted in the pilot's loss of airplane control. Although the pilot was aware of convective activity in the vicinity of the destination airport, the air traffic controllers' did not provide him with timely and accurate weather information for the airport, such as the increased severity of the storm, lightning activity, and the reduced visibility, as required by FAA directives.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's continued flight into known convective weather conditions, which resulted in the airplane's encounter with thunderstorms and the pilot's subsequent loss of airplane control during a missed approach. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the approach controllers and the tower controllers to provide timely and accurate weather information to the pilot.

***This report was modified on December 13, 2016. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.***

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 26, 2015, about 1620 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310R, N90PS, was destroyed when it impacted water during a missed approach at Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Gibbs Rentals Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, and privately operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the planned flight to TIX. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, at 1556.

Review of radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane departed from ORL at 1556. The Orlando Terminal radar departure sector air traffic controller instructed him to climb to 3,000 feet, and the pilot acknowledged the instruction. The controller then advised the pilot of an area of heavy precipitation near TIX. The controller then instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 220 degrees. At 1558, the controller instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 110 degrees and climb to 4,000 ft. One minute later, the controller instructed the pilot to descend to 3,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged and complied with all of the instructions.

At 1603:31, communications with the pilot were transferred to an Orlando terminal radar approach controller, who informed the pilot that there was moderate precipitation from TIX out to 2 miles south of the airport, light precipitation out to 8 miles, and then extreme precipitation beyond that. He also reported that thunderstorms and rain were in the vicinity of TIX and that the visibility was 3 miles. The controller was subsequently relieved for a break and he told the relief controller about the weather near TIX and his plan to intercept the final approach course about 6 to 7 miles south of the end of the runway.

At 1610, the relief controller instructed the pilot to fly a heading of 080 degrees and instructed him to descend to 2,100 ft. At 1613:11, he instructed the pilot to turn left heading 030 degrees and maintain 2,100 feet and to intercept the localizer course for the instrument landing system approach to runway 36 at TIX. The pilot acknowledged the instruction. The airplane intercepted the final approach course at 1614:55 at 1,900 feet and about 1.6 nautical miles inside of the final approach fix.

At 1614, the relief controller instructed the pilot to contact the TIX control tower. The pilot subsequently made two attempts to contact the TIX tower, and on the second attempt, the TIX controller responded that the airport was operating under IFR. The pilot responded that he was on an IFR flight plan, and the TIX controller cleared the flight to land.

At 1617, the pilot advised the TIX controller that the airport was not in sight and that he was executing a missed approach. The TIX controller transferred communications back to the Orlando approach controller, who then asked the pilot if he wanted to fly the full published missed approach or if he was requesting an alternate missed approach to the south to avoid heavy precipitation. The pilot requested a turn to the south because he was in "heavy" precipitation. Radar data indicated that, while the air traffic controller was asking the pilot about the alternate missed approach, the pilot had begun a right turn. The controller then told the pilot to turn right to 210 degrees when able, and the pilot acknowledged the right turn instruction. During a subsequent interview, the controller stated that he issued a right turn because convective weather was less severe to the airplane's right than to its left.

At 1620, radar data indicated that, after the airplane completed a 180-degree climbing right turn to reverse direction, it made a rapid descent and impacted a river. No further voice communications were received by air traffic control.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued August 23, 2013. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 976 total hours of flight experience and 0 hours of flight experience within the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not recovered. Insurance documentation reported that, as of October 24, 2014, the pilot had accumulated 1,000 hours' total flight experience, of which 407 hours were in multiengine airplanes and 300 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot did not report his instrument experience on the insurance application, nor was it required.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and aircraft maintenance records, the airplane was originally issued an airworthiness certificate on February 17, 1975, and registered to the owner on October 24, 2014. It was powered by two Continental IO-550-A2F, 300-horsepower engines and driven by two McCauley propellers, model 3A32C87. According to maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was conducted on October 16, 2014, with a recorded total time in service of 4259.3 hours. At that time, both engines had accumulated 805.4 hours since major overhaul.

The airplane was equipped with a Bendix RDS-82VP weather radar system and a Garmin 496 handheld GPS receiver with onboard satellite-based weather depiction. The pilot also had access to a tablet computer that had an aviation flight planning application, Fore Flight, and a weather application. The extent to which the pilot might have used any of these devices during the flight could not be determined.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1545, the pilot called an automated flight service station and requested a weather briefing. A briefer advised the pilot that the planned route of flight was currently clear but that there were thunderstorms moving up from the south that could affect the flight. He added that thunderstorms were in the area to the north and south of TIX. The briefer advised the pilot to call back right before takeoff for an update on the weather movement. The pilot then filed an IFR flight plan and ended the call. The pilot did not call back before takeoff.

The official observation for conditions near the time of the accident, which was reported from TIX at 1555, included wind from 040° at 16 knots gusting to 26 knots, visibility 2 miles in thunderstorm and moderate rain, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet agl, temperature 29° C, dew point 24° C, altimeter 29.94 inches of Hg. Remarks: thunderstorm began at 1445. None of the observations for TIX surrounding the time of the accident were listed as special observations (SPECI), and the only remarks noted were of the beginning and ending of the thunderstorm and a report of showers in the vicinity after the accident. There was no aircraft mishap report noted, and there were no indications of the type and frequency of lightning over the region during the period or of the location and movement of towering cumulus (TCU) or cumulonimbus (CB) clouds.

Infrared satellite imagery for 1615 depicted several defined cumulonimbus clouds over the Titusville area and central and southern Florida. The radiative cloud top temperature over the accident site corresponded to cloud tops near 45,000 feet based on the upper air sounding.

The National Weather Service radar reflectivity mosaic for 1620 depicted scattered echoes across northern, central, and southeast Florida. The echoes were south of the departure area for Orlando with a large area of intense-to-extreme echoes identified over the Titusville area and extended to the southwest.

A review of lightning activity between 1545 and 1630 depicted over 1,100 lightning strikes, of which over 350 were cloud-to-ground type strikes, within a 15-mile radius of TIX. At 1608, the air traffic control tower at TIX was struck by lightning.

Security camera video was obtained for the investigation; the video began at 1551 and ended at 1701. The security camera recorded numerous airplanes parked on the ramp area at TIX and a self-service fuel tank about 30 feet from the security camera. The camera was motion activated and only captured images when motion was detected. At 1551, the video indicated dark cumulonimbus clouds building. The recording taken at 1609 indicated heavy rain, and visibility was reduced to about 1/4 mile. Most of the parked airplanes on the ramp were not visible, and the fuel tank was noticeable but not clearly visible.

The Federal Meteorological Handbook requires that, at a manual observing station such as TIX, if lightning is observed the frequency, type of lightning, and location shall be reported. The handbook also requires that a special observation be issued when a thunderstorm begins or when visibility deceases to 3 miles or less.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was recovered from a depth of about 6 feet from the Indian River. The debris field was compact, and both engines were located about 40 feet apart from each other. The airplane was fragmented and only a portion of the airplane was recovered due to currents. The recovered pieces were no larger than about 2 feet by 2 feet. Some of the components recovered were sections of the nosecone, seats, left wing spar, empennage, horizontal stabilizer, and both nacelle baggage compartment doors. Flight control continuity could not be verified due to impact damage and the inability to locate the flight controls and associated cables. Measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to an off-scale nose-up trim, consistent with impact damage.

The left engine had separated from the airframe, and the propeller had separated from the engine and was not recovered. Engine powertrain continuity was confirmed from the front of the engine to the rear accessory section by manually rotating the crankshaft and observing movement of the timing gears and valve train. All six cylinders were attached; however, the cooling fins exhibited impact damage. The top sparkplugs were removed, and the electrodes were intact and grey. There was some sea water corrosion present on all of the sparkplugs. Thumb compression was achieved when the crankshaft was manually rotated. The right and left magnetos separated, but were recovered. The magnetos were damaged by corrosion due to sea water immersion. The ignition harness was damaged when the magnetos separated.

The right engine had separated from the airframe, and the propeller separated from the engine and was not recovered. Engine powertrain continuity was confirmed from the front of the engine to the rear accessory section by manually rotating the crankshaft and observing movement of the timing gears; however, rocker arm motion did not occur. The engine case was opened and it was determined that the cam shaft was fractured in two pieces. Subsequent metallurgical examination of the camshaft revealed fracture features consistent with overstress during impact. The top spark plugs were removed and the electrodes were intact and grey in color. There was some sea water corrosion present on all sparkplugs. The magnetos were damaged by corrosion due to sea water immersion. The ignition harness was damaged when the magnetos separated.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot on August 31, 2015, by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Rockledge, Florida. The cause of death was determined to be "multiple blunt force injuries."

Forensic toxicology was conducted on lung and muscle specimens from the pilot by the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the results were negative for ethanol and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAA Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," contains a Pilot/Controller Glossary that addresses how air traffic controllers shall describe levels of precipitation based on dBZ levels and states, in part, the following:

PRECIPITATION RADAR WEATHER DESCRIPTIONS –
a. LIGHT (< 30 dBZ)
b. MODERATE (30 to 40 dBZ)
c. HEAVY (> 40 to 50 dBZ)
d. EXTREME (> 50 dBZ)
(Refer to AC 00-45, Aviation Weather Services.)

FAA 7110.65, Paragraph 2-6-4, "Weather and Chaff Services," states, in part, the following:

b. Inform any tower for which you provide approach control services of observed precipitation on radar which is likely to affect their operations.

FAA Order 7110.65, Paragraph 2-6-3, "PIREP Information," and states, in part, the following:

Significant PIREP information includes reports of strong frontal activity, squall lines, thunderstorms, light to severe icing, wind shear and turbulence (including clear air turbulence) of moderate or greater intensity…and other conditions pertinent to flight safety.

a. Solicit PIREPs when requested or when one of the following conditions exists or is forecast for your area of jurisdiction:
1. Ceilings at or below 5,000 feet. These PIREPs must include cloud base/top reports when feasible.
2. Visibility (surface or aloft) at or less than 5 miles.
3. Thunderstorms and related phenomena.

During a postaccident interview, the Orlando terminal radar approach controller who advised the pilot of the precipitation south of the airport provided the following information. He stated that on initial contact with the airplane, the pilot verified that he had the current automated terminal information service (ATIS) for TIX airport. He advised the pilot of the weather shown on his display and issued the airplane a 115 degree heading for the instrument landing system (ILS) runway 36 approach to TIX. He told the pilot to expect a 6 to 8 mile turn to final to keep him out of the precipitation that was south of TIX along the final approach course. He told the pilot that there was heavy to extreme precipitation in the vicinity of the TIX airport and moderate precipitation over the TIX airport. He said that if he had continued to work the airplane, he would have issued the radar-displayed weather again when the airplane was on final approach. After issuing the 115 degree vector, he issued the pilot a 10 degree left turn because it looked like the wind was pushing the airplane south. Soon after the 10 degree left turn was issued, he was relieved by another controller. During the position relief briefing, he told the oncoming controller that the pilot was aware of the weather and still wanted to shoot the ILS runway 36 approach to TIX. Although he never specifically addressed it in the position relief briefing, he believed the oncoming controller understood the plan to take the airplane out to a 6 to 8 mile final. After completing the position relief briefing, he remained for a 2 minute overlap before departing the position.

During a postaccident interview, the relief Orlando terminal radar approach controller provided the following information. He stated that before taking over the position, he received a position relief briefing from the outgoing controller. His plan was to bring the airplane close to the final approach fix (FAF) because there was weather south of the final approach course. He vectored the airplane to the final approach course, issued a 30 degree right turn to intercept, and issued the approach clearance. He noticed that the airplane was further away from the final approach course than he wanted, and he issued the pilot an additional 10 degree turn to the right to establish the airplane on the final approach course. He advised the pilot that he would join the final approach course at the FAF and asked the pilot if that would be okay; the pilot accepted the plan. He then issued the pilot a frequency change to TIX air traffic control tower. He did not recognize that the airplane intercepted the final approach course inside the FAF. TIX tower called him and advised him that the pilot never got the airport in sight and was going to execute the published missed approach procedure. The pilot returned to his frequency, and he advised the pilot that there was heavier weather to the north of TIX and asked the pilot if he would like a turn to the south to avoid the weather. The pilot asked for the turn south, and he instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 210 degrees. He asked the pilot if he would like to continue further south for another approach with no response from the pilot. He noticed the radar track on the airplane had gone into "coast," and shortly after, he made two or three transmissions trying to reestablish radio communications with no success. Although he had never called the weather to the pilot, he remembered that there was heavy precipitation over TIX. He did not inform the pilot because the previous controller had done so.

During a postaccident interview, the TIX controller who was working the local control (LC) position at the time of the accident provided the following information. He was initially working the ground control (GC) position and took over the LC position about 1600. The field was operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) with thunderstorms building, but he could not recall much movement in the storms. He said "there was one big [thunderstorm] north of us," and there was also a thunderstorm on the ILS final approach course with rain showers building. The airport was landing runway 36, and the ILS approach was being used. Two visual flight rules (VFR) aircraft had just landed before he took over the LC position, and the field had gone from VFR to IFR around the time that the time second aircraft landed. Five minutes after he assumed the LC position, lightning struck the tower and sparks came out of the lighting panel. When the airplane checked in on the tower frequency, he asked the pilot to "say intentions." The pilot responded that he was IFR and on the ILS runway 36 approach. He looked out the tower cab window and saw that there was no rain on the airfield at that moment. After clearing the pilot to land, he turned his attention to recording the ATIS. He remembered the rain starting and said that he could hear the airplane. When he looked outside again, the visibility had dropped to about a half-mile. The pilot reported that he never got the field in sight and was going around, so he issued the published missed approach and coordinated with the approach controller. 

During a postaccident interview, the TIX controller who was working the GC position at the time of the accident provided the following information. He assumed LC position duties about 1400, and, at that time, the weather was VFR, but around 1500 to 1530, the clouds started to build. The TIX ATIS broadcast during the accident sequence had been recorded at about 1547 and broadcast at 1550. At 1555, the weather deteriorated to instrument meteorological conditions however the ATIS was not updated to reflect the change. As the weather approached and began to impact TIX, he did not make any weather observations. He said that perhaps complacency was the reason the SPECI weather observations were not made. He thought that if an airplane was inbound, he could provide the pilot with a real-time update. He knew that a SPECI should have been issued when the weather conditions changed from VFR to IFR. He said he would put lightning in the remarks section of a weather observation, but he did not on the date of the accident. He took over the GC position about 1600. He was not immediately aware that the tower had been struck by lightning but became aware there was a problem when various pieces of equipment failed. He worked through the issues, trying to determine which pieces had failed and which ones were returning to service. He said it began to rain around 1615. He heard the airplane check in with the LC over the loud speaker in the TIX cab. He was surprised that an airplane was attempting to land with the bad weather in the area. He described the precipitation during that time as moderate to heavy.



TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The National Transportation Safety Administration this week released the final report on a fatal 2015 plane crash near Titusville.

The cause of the crash was determined to be partly lack of control and poor judgment by the pilot, David Gibbs, 59, of Orlando, the report said.

Part of the blame also fell on air traffic controllers, with the report citing a “lack of action” as a contributing factor in the crash.

The main issue on the day of the crash, Aug. 26, 2015, was severe weather, which caused turbulence and reduced visibility, the report said.

Body pulled from Indian River identified as pilot in plane crash

Gibbs had taken off from Orlando Executive Airport in a twin-engine Cessna and was flying to Titusville when, at about 4 p.m., flight controllers reported losing contact with him.

He tried to land once, missed the approach and was circling back for a second attempt when the plane crashed into the Indian River, officials said.

Gibbs knew about weather issues at Space Coast Regional Airport but continued toward the facility, which proved to be a mistake, crash investigators found.

“It is likely that, given the adverse weather conditions in the area, the airplane encountered turbulence or windshear associated with thunderstorms, which resulted in the pilot’s loss of airplane control,” the report said.

Flight controllers had a responsibility to provide Gibbs with timely and accurate information about the severity of the weather, which they did not do, investigators said.

GIBBS RENTALS INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N90PS

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in Titusville, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N90PS
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 August 26, 2015, about 1619 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310R, N90PS, was destroyed when it impacted water during a missed approach at Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Gibbs Rentals Inc. and operated by a private individual as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to TIX. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, about 1540.

According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight was in radio and radar contact with air traffic control (ATC) as the pilot was performing an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 36 at TIX. The pilot subsequently reported to ATC that he was performing a missed approach and ATC advised the pilot to fly the published missed approach procedure and switch radio frequency to Orlando departure frequency. The pilot started to make a right turn; however, the published missed approach for the ILS runway 36 was to climb to 500 feet and then start a climbing left turn to 2,000 feet. The Orlando departure controller asked the pilot if he wanted the published missed approach or to fly south and get out of the storm. The pilot stated he wanted to turn south and the controller then advised the pilot to turn right when able to a heading of 210 degrees. No further communications were received from the accident airplane. During the missed approach, the airplane climbed to approximately 1100 feet mean sea level (msl), then dropped rapidly to 300 feet msl, before radar contact was lost.

The wreckage was subsequently located about 2 miles east of TIX, submerged in the Indian River in about 6 feet of water. The debris field was compact and both engines were located about 40 feet apart. About 50 percent of the airplane was recovered and most pieces were 2 feet by 2 feet or smaller. Components recovered included sections of the nosecone, seats, left wing spar, empennage and horizontal stabilizer, and both wing baggage compartment doors. Due to the lack of cables and controls recovered, flight control continuity could not be verified. Measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to an off-scale nose-up trim, consistent with impact damage.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on August 23, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 976 hours.

The recorded weather at TIX, at 1650, included winds from 070 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 22 knots, visibility 3 miles with thunderstorms and rain showers, temperature 23 degrees C, dew point 22 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Orlando FSDO-15


A pilot and his plane are missing after authorities believe it crashed near Titusville Wednesday.

WFTV reporter Roy Ramos watched as crews pulled a body out of the Indian River Thursday, but it is not confirmed whether it is the body of the pilot.

Controllers at Space Coast Regional Airport in Brevard County lost contact with the small plane at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Brevard County Sheriff's Office teams, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife searched for hours in and near the Indian River.

"We know the plane was flying at about 300 feet, had radioed in and then they lost contact," said Brevard County spokesman Don Walker.

Strong storms may have been a factor in the incident.

Deputies said debris was found that is consistent with the material from the airplane. Sheriff's homicide agents and investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are assisting with the investigation.

The last known location of the plane was about one mile east of the TICO Airport in the Indian River and approximately 400 yards off the shoreline.

Echoes from the U.S. Coast Guard's search helicopter pierced the sky and flashing blue lights from rescue agencies across Brevard County lit up the Indian River where the plane is believed to have crashed while attempting to land at Space Coast Regional Airport.

The flight manifest had the plane originating from Orlando Executive Airport with only the pilot on board the twin-engine Cessna.

"I quickly looked to see if I would happen to know who was flying the plane," witness Roger Molitor said.

Just before controllers lost contact with the plane, a bad thunderstorm pounded the area around the airport.

Molitor is also a pilot.

"It takes a good pilot to fly through something like this," Molitor said. "Very few people can survive a storm like the one that went through."




Officials have narrowed their search for a twin-engine Cessna aircraft that disappeared this afternoon to a section of the Indian River near the NASA Causeway.

Contact with the aircraft was lost at 4:26 p.m. during the height of harsh weather at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue Spokesman Don Walker.

The pilot did attempt a “low approach” landing, but had to abort and contact was lost about a mile east of the airport at an altitude of 300 feet.

Just after 7 p.m., the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit spotted some debris about a quarter of a mile east of the airport near the NASA Causeway in the Indian River, according to Walker.

“It has not yet been 100 percent confirmed that it is the aircraft, but all eyes are focused on that area at this time,” Walker said.

Space Coast Regional Airport Fire Chief Terry Wooldridge said the pilot is based out of Orlando Executive Airport.

A sheriff’s office dive team will examine the debris to determine if it is the missing aircraft. Agencies will be investigating through the night.

Story and video:   http://www.floridatoday.com

A helicopter searches the Indian River for a plane that disappeared near Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville Wednesday. 


Update, 8:05 p.m.:    The search appears to be settling in an area just south of the State Road 405 causeway near Kennedy Space Center.

Update, 6:41 p.m.:   Fire officials tell FLORIDA TODAY that contact with a twin-engine Cessna was lost at 4:26 p.m. about a mile east of Space Coast Regional Airport.

The pilot departed from Orlando Executive Airport and appears to be based out of there, according to Space Coast Regional Airport Fire Chief Terry Wooldridge. They did attempt a "low approach" landing, but had to abort and contact was lost at an altitude of 300 feet about a mile east of the airport.

The plane may have crashed into the Indian River, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Don Walker.

"This incident occurred at the height of the storm we had this afternoon," Walker said.

Officials also said the only person on board was the pilot.

Brevard County Fire Rescue, Titusville Fire Department, Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the U.S. Coast Guard and Kennedy Space Center Fire Department are all on the scene.

Original story:   Titusville police have confirmed with FLORIDA TODAY that they are on their way to reports of a plane crash around the area of Space Coast Regional Airport.

A visual journalist and reporter are on their way to the scene.

Story and video: http://www.floridatoday.com



Officials say they lost contact with a small plane that took off from Orlando Executive Airport and aborted a landing at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville on Wednesday afternoon.

The pilot was trying to land around 4:30 p.m., which was when heavy storms hit the area, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue officials.

He couldn't land, so he took back off. Then they lost contact.

The plane was about 300 feet off the ground and one mile east of the airport when it lost radio contact, fire rescue said.

Emergency personnel found some debris in the Indian River but have not confirmed if it is the plane. A Brevard County Sheriff dive team is en route.

The search area included Indian River and Banana River.

The pilot was the only one aboard. The pilot was not identified.

Brevard County Sheriff, Fire Rescue, U.S. Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife participated in the search, officials said.

The twin-engine Cessna had the tail number N90PS.

Orlando Executive Airport is operated by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and is located off East Colonial Drive near Maguire Boulevard.

Source:   http://www.orlandosentinel.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace