Friday, August 21, 2015

North American T-28A Trojan, N14124: Fatal accident occurred August 14, 2015 near Las Cruces International Airport (KLRU), New Mexico

Docket and docket items: http://dms.ntsb.gov

DAVID TOKOPH DBA: http://registry.faa.gov/N14124

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA360 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Las Cruces, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T 28A, registration: N14124
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor.

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

About 5 minutes after takeoff, the engine lost power and the pilot turned back toward the departure airport to make a forced landing. The airplane touched down about ½ mile short of the runway on uneven terrain, seriously injuring the pilot. The pilot was transported to a hospital via helicopter, but died four days later.   
Examination of the engine revealed failure of the No. 6 cylinder connecting rod. The connecting rod was most likely initially damaged during ground operations when the propeller was improperly rotated when a cylinder was hydraulically locked. The investigation was not able to determine when the initial damage occurred.      

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Failure of the No. 6 cylinder connecting rod, due to improper rotation of the propeller during a previous hydraulic lock.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 14, 2015, about 1050 mountain daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N14124, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, with no flight plan filed. The flight departed from LRU about 1040 and was destined for El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas. 

After refueling at LRU, the pilot had difficulty starting the radial engine and requested a ground power unit (GPU) from line personnel. The engine started on two occasions with the GPU connected, but stopped after the GPU was disconnected. On the third start with the GPU, the engine continued to run and the pilot taxied out and departed from runway 8. 

The passenger stated that about 5 minutes after departure, the engine lost power and the pilot initiated a turn back to LRU. The pilot subsequently executed a forced landing into uneven terrain, touching down about one-half mile prior to the threshold of runway 30, which damaged both wings and the fuselage. The pilot was airlifted to a regional hospital, but died on August 18, 2015.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 64, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. He reported 6,185 total flight hours and 60 hours in the preceding six months on his application for a medical certificate dated February 26, 2015. On his most recent insurance application dated October 8, 2014, the pilot reported 322 flight hours in the T-28A. His last biennial flight review was accomplished on January 31, 2014. Pilot logbooks were not available for the investigation.

The pilot had a medical history of hypertension, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease, with a myocardial infarction (heart attack) in 2000. Since 2000, the pilot had been issued special issuance medical certificates, with regular stress testing and cardiology evaluations required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was issued a special issuance first class medical certificate limited by a requirement for corrective lenses for near and distant vision and marked "Not valid for any class after August 31, 2015."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1951 by North American as model T-28A, and was designated serial number 51-3693. At the time of the accident, it was powered by a Wright R1820-F56 9-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,200 horsepower and equipped with a Hamilton Standard 3-bladed constant speed propeller. Review of the maintenance records revealed the engine was installed onto the airplane January 17, 1998, at a total airframe time of 5,507 hours. The last recorded annual inspection was reported on July 1, 2015, at a total airframe time of 5,772 hours. 

WEATHER INFORMATION

At 1055, the weather observation station at LRU reported wind from 080 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.26 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane touched down on uneven terrain and came to rest upright, with no post impact fire. The flaps and gear were in the up position. All three propeller blades had minimal bending, twisting, and abrasions. 

The engine and airframe were examined at a recovery facility. The engine oil screen and forward engine oil sump were significantly contaminated with metallic debris, both ferrous and non-ferrous. The carburetor fuel inlet screen contained no contaminants, residue, or corrosion. The oil reservoir was nearly empty, with oil residue in the vicinity of the nose case. The oil shutoff valve was in the open position. No anomalies were noted with the spark plugs. 

The No. 9 cylinder was removed to assess damage inside the engine and was pried off, due to damage to the cylinder skirt and piston. Viewing inside the engine revealed that metal fragments had damaged the other cylinder skirts, connecting rods, and piston bottoms. The No. 6 cylinder connecting rod was fractured in half, with a section of the rod located in the metal fragments. 

All flight control cables from the cockpit (pitch, roll, and yaw) remained attached to their respective cockpit controls. The flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective airframe surfaces. No anomalies were noted with the flight control system. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On August 19, 2015, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by the County of El Paso Office of the Medical Examiner and Forensic Laboratory in El Paso, Texas. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed toxicology tests on the pilot's specimens obtained during the pilot's hospitalization. Trace amounts of diphenhydramine, as well as lidocaine and lorazepam, were identified. Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine found in many over the counter products intended to treat cold or allergy symptoms and insomnia. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and is also used to prevent serious heart rhythm problems. Lorazepam is a sedating benzodiazepine. Hospital records indicated the administration of lidocaine and lorazepam during medical treatment. 

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

During the forced landing, the pilot sustained serious head injuries when he impacted the instrument panel of his cockpit. The airplane's restraint system did not have an inertial reel to lock the shoulder harness. Instead, the restraint system utilized a manual lever to lock the shoulder harness in place. During airframe examination, no anomalies were noted with the restraint system.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook (FAA-H-8083-30), Chapter 11: Safety, Ground Operations and Servicing:

Before starting a radial engine that has been shut down for more than 30 minutes, check the ignition switch for off; turn the propeller three or four complete revolutions by hand to detect a hydraulic lock, if one is present. Any liquid present in a cylinder is indicated by the abnormal effort required to rotate the propeller, or by the propeller stopping abruptly during rotation. Never use force to turn the propeller when a hydraulic lock is detected. Sufficient force can be exerted on the crankshaft to bend or break a connecting rod if a lock is present.

AVweb, an aviation news resource, published an article on October 9, 2000 describing the potential hazard of a hydraulic lock: 

Hydraulic lock affects radial engines because the cylinders stick out around the central crankshaft in a star-like arrangement. When the engine is mounted so that the crankshaft is more or less horizontal, there are cylinders that point downwards. Radial engines use a great deal of oil for lubrication; you measure the amount in gallons, not quarts as we do in opposed engines. After shutdown, there is significant oil in the engine. By various routes some of this oil can and does find its way to the combustion chambers of the cylinders that are pointed downward.

A hydraulic lock is simply too much liquid in the combustion chamber. It leads to a bent connecting rod. Once the connecting rod is bent the engine is going to fail. That's a basic fact. It may run for a few months, or it may quit within minutes. It depends on the nature and degree of the damage to the rod.

If you detect a hydraulic lock on a radial engine the only certain way to cure it is to remove the lower cylinder spark plugs and let the oil drain out. Pulling the prop through forward WILL result in a bent connecting rod and/or expensive damage to the engine if it does not cause a catastrophic failure. Pulling the propeller through backwards only reduces the chance of a bent connecting rod; it does not eliminate the risk.

The full AVweb article is located in the docket for this investigation.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA360
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Las Cruces, NM
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T 28A, registration: N14124
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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

On August 14, 2015, about 1050 mountain daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N14124, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Las Cruces International Airport (LRU), Las Cruces, New Mexico. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, with no flight plan filed. The flight departed from LRU about 1040 and was destined for El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas. 

About 5 minutes after departing from LRU, the passenger stated the engine lost partial power and the pilot initiated a return back to LRU. The pilot subsequently executed a forced landing into uneven terrain about one-half mile prior to the Runway 30 threshold at LRU, which damaged both wings and fuselage. The pilot was airlifted to a regional hospital, but passed away on August 17, 2015. 

At 1055, the weather observation station at LRU reported the following conditions: wind 080 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 30 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.26 inches of mercury.


LAS CRUCES >> A plane crash last Friday near Las Cruces International Airport is now the city's third fatal plane crash in a year. 

David Tokoph, the pilot of the North American T-28A Trojan which crashed shortly after takeoff just south of the airport, died Tuesday night at an El Paso hospital, according to Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo of the New Mexico State Police. Tokoph was 64.

Tokoph's passenger, who was transported by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, has been identified as Angelo Edgard Cossi Sedjiro of France, but his condition is unknown.


Tokoph, a resident of El Paso, was the registered owner of the vintage Navy plane, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Tokoph was also the registered owner of 15 other planes, including a Gulfstream G-IV and several Boeing 737s, and was well-known in the world of aviation. In 2009, Tokoph and a crew set a record for "speed over a recognized course" when they flew a Gulfstream GIIB from Anadyr, Russia, to El Paso, nonstop, in 8 hours and 15 minutes.

The flight speed record was sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association and was certified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, according to the pilot's personal website.
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A web search indicates Tokoph at one time owned and operated several African airlines — including Aero Africa, Aero Zambia and Interair South Africa — however, his current position or affiliation with those airlines could not be verified. A 1990 Associated Press story identified him as managing director of GrecoAir.

On March 10, 2009, then El Paso Mayor John Cook proclaimed it to be "Captain David Tokoph Day" in El Paso.

Friday's crash is the third flight in less than year to go down after taking off from the Las Cruces International Airport. On Aug. 24, 2014, four people died when a twin-engine Cessna 421C air ambulance crashed a half-mile west of the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. That crash took the lives of pilot Juan A. "Freddy" Martinez of Santa Teresa, along with Frederick Green, a Las Cruces man being transported for cancer treatment; flight paramedic Taurean Summers, 28, of El Paso; and flight nurse Monica Chavez, 38, of Las Cruces.

On Nov. 24, 2014, 29-year-old pilot Tyler Francis was killed when his experimental aircraft's wings wobbled, eventually spinning it toward asphalt at the Las Cruces International Airport. Francis, the owner of Francis Aviation, had departed Las Cruces in the home-built Ross Vans Aircraft RV-3 he had purchased two days before the crash. He was headed toward the Doña Ana County International Jetport at Santa Teresa, where his company had opened before recently expanding to Las Cruces airport.

The National Traffic Safety Board is investigating the crash, and is expected to release a preliminary report in the coming week. 

Source: http://www.elpasotimes.com



LAS CRUCES, N.M. -  The pilot of North American T-28A Trojan plane that crashed last week near the Las Cruces International Airport has died.

New Mexico State Police say 64-year-old David Tokoph of El Paso, Texas died Tuesday night of injuries suffered in last Friday morning's crash.

Tokoph had been hospitalized at University Medical Center in El Paso.

Police say the passenger has been identified as Angelo Edgard Cossi Sedjiro, from France.

They say he was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces for treatment after the crash and his condition wasn't immediately available Wednesday.

The plane went down near Interstate 10 about one quarter mile east of the Las Cruces airport.

Police say the cause of the crash remains unknown and is being investigated by Federal Aviation Administration.

ABC-7 interviewed Tokoph back in 2009 when he broke a flying record.

He was part of a group of El Pasoans who traveled non-stop between Russia and El Paso - a journey of more than 5,400 miles.

"It is good for El Paso because as El Pasoans we naturally want to come to our hometown and we brought the only airplane to come non-stop from Russia - to our knowledge - in the history of aviation," Tokoph told ABC-7 in 2009 after landing in El Paso.

Source:  http://www.kvia.com







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