Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Purple Pumpkin house party grew from tragic events: Socata TBM-700, N425KJ, fatal accident occurred July 29, 2015 at Timmerman Airport (KMWC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A.J. Trustey died due to complications from epilepsy.

Joseph and Anna Trustey, together on the day of her school prom in April, were killed in a plane crash on July 29, 2015. 

From left to right: A. J. Trustey, his sister Anna and their father attended the Kevin O'Boyle Memorial 5K Road Race in Salem, Massachusetts in August 2014 to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

ANDOVER — In July, Jeannie Sullivan lost her brother, Joseph Trustey, and her niece, Trustey's daughter Anna, in a plane crash. Nine months earlier, Trustey's son, A.J., died due to complications from epilepsy.

In the wake of tragedy, Sullivan, of Andover, and her family wanted to honor their loved ones with an event filled with love, laughter and a little bit of color.

On Friday, Sullivan will host a party in support of the Purple Pumpkin Project, a national campaign by the Epilepsy Foundation to raise awareness about the neurological disorder. The party will be held at Sullivan's home, 5 Blueberry Hill Road, from 4 to 7 p.m.

What started as a small gathering for family and friends has transformed into a large-scale event with more than 350 people, according to Sullivan, who called the community response "truly moving."

"We really had no idea (the event) would get to be this big," Sullivan said. "We got hundreds of comments and likes on our Facebook event page, and I've had people reach out to me who I haven't heard from in a long time. It's really overwhelming."

Sullivan said the idea for the party arose just several days after Joseph and Anna's deaths. On July 29, Joseph Trustey, 53, of Wenham, was traveling with Anna, an 18-year-old student at Brooks School in North Andover, when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed at Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee, Wis. The two were traveling to Marquette University for a college visit.

A.J. Trustey was a student at the University of Utah when he died on Oct. 13, 2014 at age 22. Prior to his death, A.J. had begun planning an epilepsy awareness event centered around the Purple Pumpkin Project, which began in 2012.

During the Halloween season, project participants are asked to paint their pumpkins purple and place them on their doorsteps. The pumpkins, according to Sullivan, prompt friends and neighbors to ask why the pumpkin is purple, giving the participant the opportunity to tell them about epilepsy.

While A.J. was unable to carry out his plan, Sullivan said hundreds of friends across the country painted their pumpkins in her nephew's memory. The action had a big impact on Sullivan's three children, who approached their mom with an idea after Joseph and Anna's funeral.

"They said, 'We want to host a party for A.J., Anna and Uncle Joe,'" Sullivan said. "They wanted to paint the pumpkins again, but they wanted to invite all their friends."

Invitations were sent out and word spread quickly. Soon, Sullivan had hundreds of people wanting to attend and offering their help with the planning. Sullivan's sister, Anne Marie Guggenberger,  of North Andover, also reached out to friends in her town and received positive response.

Downer Brothers Landscaping in North Andover will donate all the pumpkins for the party, and Cakes For Occasion in Danvers, where A.J. worked while in high school, will be provide cupcakes, according to Sullivan.

Sullivan said the party has helped teach her own children the importance of helping others, something her brother did in many ways during his life. Joseph Trustey served on the board of trustees for both Brooks and Shore Country Day School in Beverly, and he constantly made donations to his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to provide opportunities for students.

Friday's party will serve as a fitting tribute to three loved ones who touched so many people during their lifetimes, Sullivan said.

"I think when everything slowed down and we got back into our regular routine, the impression we took away from it all was their reach and scope to so many people," Sullivan said. "They shined so bright; they were almost bigger than life. The story is so incredibly tragic. The only thing you can really do is make something good out of it, and this event is a great example of that."

Story and photos:


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA328
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in Milwaukee, WI
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N425KJ
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On July 29, 2015, about 1810 central daylight time, a Socata model TBM 700 single-engine turboprop airplane, N425KJ, was destroyed during a postimpact fire after it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an aborted landing at Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (MWC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Trustey Management Corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Beverly Municipal Airport (BVY), Beverly, Massachusetts, at 1552 eastern daylight time.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, the flight had been cleared for a visual approach to runway 33R (4,103 feet by 75 feet, asphalt). At 1808:12 (hhmm:ss), while on a 2.5 mile final approach, the pilot asked the tower controller for the current wind conditions. At 1808:18, the tower controller told the pilot that the prevailing wind was from 230 degrees at 10 knots. At 1808:21, the pilot replied "Three zero one zero, thanks, or two three zero?" At 1808:24, the tower controller stated "Two three, two thirty."

In a postaccident interview, the tower controller reported that he established visual contact with the accident airplane when it was on a 3 mile final approach to runway 33R. The tower controller stated that the airplane's landing gear appeared to be extended during final approach and that the airplane landed within the runway's marked touchdown zone. The tower controller stated that the airplane did not appear to bounce upon landing; however, he heard a squealing noise that was longer in duration than typical. Shortly after the landing the pilot transmitted "Go-Around." (According to an ATC audio recording, the pilot transmitted "Go-Around" at 1809:56) The tower controller stated that he acknowledged the aborted landing and cleared the pilot to enter a left traffic pattern. The tower controller stated that he heard the engine speed accelerate and observed the airplane maintain a level attitude over the runway until it passed the taxiway charley intersection. He then observed the airplane pitch-up and enter a climbing left turn. The tower controller stated that the airplane appeared to "stall" during the climbing left turn and subsequently descended into terrain while in a left wing low attitude.

A postaccident examination of the runway revealed numerous slash marks that were consistent with propeller blades striking the asphalt surface. The first propeller strike was identified about 1,384 feet from the runway 33R threshold. There were 22 propeller strike marks identified over a distance of about 25 feet 7 inches. The propeller strike marks were located slightly to the right of the runway centerline. There were numerous small asphalt pieces found adjacent to the slash markings.

The main wreckage was located in an open field located on the west side of the airport property. The initial impact was identified by a small ground depression that contained pieces of red lens material that were consistent with the left wing navigational light. A large area of burnt ground and vegetation preceded the main wreckage. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a 180-degree heading and measured about 141 feet long. The propeller, nose landing gear, right flap, and left aileron were located along the wreckage debris path. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, both wings, and the engine. The main wreckage was oriented on a north heading. A majority of the fuselage, including the cockpit and cabin, and the left wing were consumed by the postimpact fire. The cockpit Garmin G1000 avionic components, including the nonvolatile memory cards, were destroyed by the postimpact fire. Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact and fire damage; however, all observed separations were consistent with overstress or were consumed during the postimpact fire. The landing gear selector switch was found in the GEAR DOWN position. Measurements of the landing gear actuators were consistent with all three landing gear being fully extended at the time of impact. Examination of the nose wheel tire and right main tire did not reveal any flat spots. The right main and nose wheel assemblies rotated freely and no anomalies were noted with the right brake components. A majority of the left main tire had been consumed during the postimpact fire. The four fuselage skid plates, installed on the lower wing spar carry-through structure, did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The lower VHF antenna had separated from the fuselage and was located along the wreckage debris path. The lower VHF antenna did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The trailing edge of the right flap and the corresponding flap track fairings did not exhibit any evidence of scraping damage. The left flap was partially consumed during the postimpact fire. Measurements of the flap actuator jack screws were consistent with the flaps in the landing configuration (34-degrees).

The propeller assembly and the forward section of the reduction gearbox had separated from the engine and were found along the wreckage debris path. All four propeller blades remained attached to the hub assembly and exhibited S-shape bends, tip curls, chordwise scratching, and leading edge damage. The fractured propeller shaft exhibited features consistent with torsional overload. The engine exhaust exhibited evidence of torsional bending associated with impact. The downstream face of the compressor turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the adjacent static components. The upstream face of the compressor turbine disc and blades were unremarkable. The first-stage power turbine vane and baffle exhibited rub marks on both sides from contact with the power turbine and compressor turbine discs and blades. The first-stage power turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring on the upstream face. Examination of the engine oil filter and magnetic chip detectors did not reveal any significant particulate contamination. The observed damage to the propeller and engine components were consistent with the engine operating at a medium-to-high power output at the time of impact.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

Anna Trustey

Joseph Trustey 

Joseph Trustey and his daughter Anna

Anna Trustey

Joe Trustey


Joe Trustey 

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