Friday, January 2, 2015

JetBlue pays to fly more than 1,000 cops to NYPD funeral

(CNN) – JetBlue says it will pay for the flights of more than 1,100 police officers attending Sunday's funeral of a New York officer killed in the line of duty.

A JetBlue spokeswoman says officers will be flown in from 50 cities for Wenjian Liu's funeral.

Liu was one of two officers gunned down December 20th as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.

The gunman later killed himself at a subway station.

The second officer, Rafael Ramos, was buried last weekend.

Source:   http://www.wbtv.com

Federal Aviation Administration authorizes drone use for mosquito control in Florida Keys: Drones to fly between Sugarloaf Key, Key Largo

KEY WEST, Fla. -  The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District plans to use two drones to search for standing water in remote spots.

It's the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized drones for mosquito control in the U.S.

The district's executive director, Michael Doyle, said the drones will only fly between Sugarloaf Key and Key Largo to avoid coming within five miles of the airports in Key West and Miami.

Doyle said the district is concerned about a proposed Key West ordinance that would ban all drones within city limits unless an owner has permission from the FAA to fly a drone. Doyle said that ordinance doesn't address the potential risk of drones colliding with district helicopters that can fly low over the ground.

Story and Comments:  http://www.local10.com

Caribbean Airlines pilot killed in road accident

A Caribbean Airlines pilot is the country’s first road fatality.

He has been identified as 38-year-old Santa Cruz resident Nicolas Hospedales.

Maracas/St Joseph police said around 12.05 p.m. yesterday, Hospedales was riding his black-and-red Honda CVR 600 motorcycle along the North Coast Road, close to Maracas Bay, when he lost control and collided with a black Honda Civic heading in the opposite direction.

Police said Hospedales was riding with several friends but at the time of the accident the other bikers had gone ahead of him.

The accident reportedly occurred in an area where road repair works were being done. 

It is unclear if this contributed to accident.

Hospedales was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots Association, Gerard Pinnard, confirmed that Hospedales was a first officer or co-pilot with Caribbean Airlines. He could not say how long he was employed with the airline.

Story and Comments: http://www.trinidadexpress.com

Emergency Medical Helicopter to Base at Rexburg-Madison County Airport (KRXE), Rexburg, Idaho

AURORA, Ore, Jan. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Life Flight Network (LFN), the largest not-for-profit air medical transport service in the United States, announced it will be opening a base at the Rexburg-Madison County Airport (Rexburg, Idaho). The base is scheduled to begin 24/7 operation February 20th, 2015.

Basing an aircraft in Rexburg will reduce the time it takes to transfer critical patients from Idaho facilities such as Madison Memorial Hospital, Teton Valley Hospital, Steele Memorial Medical Center; and St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. With recent legislation in Idaho addressing Time Sensitive Emergencies, LFN is working to improve its ability to provide rapid critical care transportation throughout the state. The Agusta helicopter will also provide benefit to sick or injured tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park.

"We're fortunate so many hospitals and EMS agencies are supportive of this expansion. These partnerships are extremely important to our success," states Mike Weimer, Regional Director for LFN. Ann Loyola, Director of Public Relations & Marketing with Teton Valley Health Care, Inc. said, "A Rexburg-based Life Flight Network helicopter is positive news for our region. Communities benefit whenever there's an opportunity to reduce the response time for a medical emergency." 

"The Madison Fire Department is excited to have a medical helicopter located at the airport in Rexburg," said Corey Child, Fire Chief of the Madison Fire Department. He adds, "Having such a resource in close proximity to the public we serve will certainly be an appreciated asset. We believe its close proximity will be a great contributor to patient care due to timeliness of hospital access."

The Rexburg helicopter will add $1.2 million into the local economy. The base will be staffed with highly trained flight nurses, flight paramedics, pilots, and mechanics.

For a nominal annual fee, LFN offers a membership. Members incur no out-of-pocket expense if flown for medically necessary emergent conditions. Membership also helps support operations in locations where there is a need for air medical transportation, such as Rexburg. To request more information about the membership program, or if organizations would like an in-person presentation, please contact the LFN membership office at 800-982-9299.

About Life Flight Network:

Life Flight Network, a not-for-profit air medical service, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). Life Flight Network has administrative offices in Aurora, Oregon and is owned by a consortium of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and Providence Health System-Oregon. Rotor-wing services are provided by TriState CareFlight and Life Flight Network. Fixed-wing services are provided by Life Flight Network, AvCenter, and Conyan Aviation. For more information about Life Flight Network or to become a member, visit www.lifeflight.org.

- Source: http://globenewswire.com

Sir Richard Branson: Why I continued with Virgin Galactic after fatal crash • Billionaire Sir Richard Branson reveals he considered abandoning Virgin Galactic space tourism project after crash

Sir Richard Branson has set out the thinking behind his decision to continue with the Virgin Galactic space program in the wake of the crash that killed one of the project’s pilots.

In a message to the company’s staff which the entrepreneur has now made public, Sir Richard revealed that he considered abandoning the scheme after the accident in October that killed test pilot Mike Alsbury and seriously injured fellow pilot Peter Siebold.

The British billionaire recalled his doubts about continuing with the plan to offer $250,000 flights into space as he traveled to the crash site in California’s Mojave Desert to speak to staff.

“I found myself questioning seriously for the first time, whether in fact it was right to be backing the development of something that could result in such tragic circumstances,” he wrote.

“In short – was Virgin Galactic and everything it has stood for and dreamt of achieving, really worth it?”

However, he said the support from employees convinced him work should continue despite the “disbelief and shock” following the “fateful moment” when the prototype SpaceShipTwo space tourism vehicle tore itself apart and then crashed in the Mojave desert.

“I got a very firm answer to that question immediately when I landed in Mojave,” Sir Richard wrote. “From the designers, the builders, the engineers, the pilots and the whole community who passionately believed – and still believe – that truly opening space and making it accessible and safe is of vital importance to all our futures.

“Surrounded by our wonderful and talented team in Mojave, I said that humanity’s greatest achievements often come out of our greatest pain,” he wrote, describing the death of Mr Alsbury after SpaceShipTwo broke up at 50,000ft, shortly after being released by its launch vehicle.

Adding that having had time to think since the crash, he continued: “I believe that now, more than ever.

“Part of the reason I do, is that an event such as we have just experienced, brings out the best of so many people in so many ways.”

The Virgin Group founder said he had experienced some “hairy moments in previous adventures” with the sinking of powerboat trying to set the fastest Atlantic crossing and a ballooning “that didn’t quite go to plan” but that he had never experienced “anything quite as intense as the destruction of our spaceship and the heart-breaking loss of its pilot”.

And he added that the names of Mr Alsbury and Mr Siebold will be recalled in the future.

“When this story is told in years to come, I believe alongside the bravery of Mike and the incredible tale of Pete’s survival, will stand the story of the commitment, loyalty and passion of the world’s first private astronauts,” Sir Richard wrote.

“And so Virgin Galactic goes on, with an unwavering commitment to safety and a renewed sense of purpose.”

The investigation by America’s National Transportation Safety Board into the cause of the supersonic break-up of SpaceShipTwo could take up to a year, according to the authority's officials.

They are reported to be focusing on whether the vehicle’s movable tail section was unlocked early, before aerodynamic forces were right to keep the structure held in place as designed.

About two seconds after the tail was unlocked, it began to swivel outward, likely triggering the vehicle’s break-up.

Since the crash 24 of the around 800 passengers who have signed up to become space tourists are understood to have asked for refunds.

Story, Comments and Photos:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk


Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo, N339SS, Scaled Composites: Accident occurred October 31, 2014 in Mojave, California  

AIRCRAFT EXPERIMENTAL SCALED COMPOSITES 339 CRASHED ONTO THE KOEHN DRY LAKE BED SHORLY AFTER SEPARATION FROM MOTHERSHIP WHITEKNIGHT 2 N348MS, THERE WERE TWO PERSONS ON BOARD, 1 WAS FATALLY INJURED 1 SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, MOJAVE, CA FAA 

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Van Nuys FSDO-01 

http://registry.faa.gov/N339SS 

Nigeria: Accident-Free Year in Aviation

OPINION 
Chinedu Eze 
 

For the Aviation sector, the most remarkable achievement in 2014, aside the renewal of the US Category One Safety status, was the attainment of an accident free-year.

The year 2014 will go down in history as one of the few years that Nigeria did not record any air crash. A casual observer will attribute this to mother luck, but it is much more than luck. The tragic accidents of 2012 and 2013 seemed to have roused the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) from lethargy and early in the year it introduced stringent measures to check the excesses of airlines and also to ensure that the operators abide by the rules.

By March, the NCAA had given directive to its inspectors to start the inspection of aircraft at the ramp (tarmac) before allowing each aircraft to go into service. It made airlines to strictly abide by the aircraft maintenance calendar, so there was not even 24 hours deferment to maintenance checks when the aircraft was due; the same with the simulator training of pilots and the retraining of the cabin crew. The regulatory body was also stringent with pilots and cabin crew medicals.

It is also interesting to note that NCAA now study the maintenance personnel of airlines, the idiosyncrasies of aircraft engines in the fleet of domestic carriers to know their performance and maintenance status. So the agency now recommends to airlines engineers that should be relieved of their duties because they cannot maintain aircraft engines effectively; and those that should be retained because of their good performances. All these contributed to the accident free year of 2014.

Kudos should also be given to airlines, which spend huge resources to go to renowned Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) organizations overseas to carry out maintenance of their aircraft. In the past, airlines were known to take their aircraft to unknown maintenance facilities and when they get there for C-check, for example, they tell the company the level of maintenance it should carry on the aircraft. This is in order to cut cost. It might be one of the reasons why Nigeria has recorded too many crashes in the past, considering the limited air traffic in the country.

But it has to be noted; however, that many airlines are tempted to cut corners every day, when they consider the huge resources they have to spend on major maintenance carried out on aircraft overseas. They are also embittered by the huge charges they pay to aviation agencies and government seeming indifference to their plight of operating in an environment devoid of local maintenance facility, high cost and sometimes scarcity of aviation fuel, poor airport infrastructure and underdeveloped air transport market despite Nigeria's huge population. So NCAA as a watchdog has to monitor the airlines acutely to ensure that they do not succumb to the temptation of cutting corners, which consequence may lead to tragic air accidents. So the regulatory body has succeeded in doing this in 2014.

Season of Sacks

On February 12 the federal government announced the sack of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah and three others. The news sent mixed reactions to the industry. It was an excitement for those who were clamoring for her removal but sadness for those who had hoped she stayed to complete the aiport remodeling program she started, which led to the rehabilitation of the nation's 22 airports owned by the federal government; the acquisition and deployment of weather equipment to the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the procurement of accident investigation equipment to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and other developmental projects she had embarked upon. Oduah, no doubt brought positive radical change to the industry and inevitably stepped on toes of those who established themselves as institutions in the industry. Her removal was sequel to the sandal occasioned by the alleged procurement of armored vehicles at outrageous prices at the NCAA.

Exactly a month later there was an announcement of the sack of the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu and that of the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), George Uriesi, the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Captain Chinyere Kalu and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nnamdi Udo. Among the four persons removed, the one that ruffled feathers was the sack of Akinkuotu who by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act had five years tenure. This reality gave rise to mild protests as the Director-General had just spent six months after his confirmation by the Senate.

New Aviation Minister Dr Samuel Ortom was appointed as the acting Minister of Aviation for months while Benedict Adeyileka was appointed acting Director-General of NCAA pending the confirmation of Captain Usman Muktar who was named by the Presidency to replace Akinkuotu by the Senate. Ortom's period as the acting Minister of Aviation was uneventful. He spent his time dousing the worry of Nigerians that the remodeling project of the airport facilities would be abandoned. It was at the same period that the Senate Committee on Aviation exposed the over N174 billion debts incurred in the remodeling program that was later put at N148.

In July Osita Chidoka was appointed Minister of Aviation. The industry expected so much from the young man who came in after his appointment as Corps Marshall and Chief Executive Director of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), where many Nigerians affirmed that he performed creditably well. Since his appointment he has kept the industry in suspense; yet to meet these expectations, but talks well to continue to keep hope and further expectations alive.

Adeyileka, as the acting Director-General was very ferocious in carrying out his duties. While he kept his workers on their toes, he might have incurred the wrath of many by his over-zealousness, as the news began to make the rounds that he was campaigning for a permanent stay. Though his tenure was brief, he was efficient in his management of the regulatory agency. There were also reports that due to the manner in which he was removed that Akinkuotu might be recalled, but later it dawned on all that government cannot retract itself, so six months after, Captain Muktar was confirmed by the Senate and he resumed duties as the substantive Director-General of NCAA.

The Ebola Virus Disease

In June Nigerians were jolted and petrified by the fear of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). It came from Liberia through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the courier was the late Patrick Sawyer who escaped quarantine in Liberia and came to Nigeria to attend a seminar organized by ECOWAS in Calabar. He died in Lagos.

The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria changed the lifestyle of Nigerians and prompted government to introduce preventive measures at the airport. People became scared of traveling. This affected passenger movement, especially on local travel. The fear of contracting the disease was palpable.

To prevent the spread of the dreaded Ebola virus, officials of the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Port Health Services started the screening of inbound and outbound passengers at the Lagos and other airports in the country that operate international and domestic services.

Passengers arriving from different parts of the world and from different flights were screened with infrared equipment which is operated without the health officer touching the passenger and if negative, the passenger was allowed to go through Immigration and into the country for international passengers.

"Screening of passengers was set up and the screening was being done by the Federal Ministry of Health under the Port Health Services. At the airport their were three stages of screening on inbound airlines. " We have given instructions that airlines should carry out their own screening and make sure that people, anybody that has virus should not be allowed to travel.

"The second stage is that passengers are given forms in the aircraft to fill their health status; then thirdly is on arrival. We also have Port Health officials that are there to carry out preliminary checks which they do with infrared facilities, which does not involve contact and that is done even before Immigration counter," said the General Manager, Corporate Communication, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) Yakubu Dati.

The Minister of Aviation, Chidoka who was appointed at that time said, "I assumed office at a time the Ebola virus is ravishing some parts of West Africa, so part of the visit to Lagos is to review the medical procedures that have been put in place at the airports, the screening of passengers coming and leaving the Lagos airport. And to reassure all Nigerians that we are doing all that is within our ability to make our airport safe from the virus.

"You will also agree with me that the proactive manner Mister President has reacted to the issue of the Ebola virus, highlighting it, and making its curtailment paramount. I am coming out to make sure that the country does not go back in the fight against that virus. That is why we decided to go to the airport ... to interact at the airport and to reassure Nigerians of the government's commitment to keep our airport safe and to make sure that it is not a transit point for the transmission of the Ebola virus." Nigeria earned a pass mark from the world for curtailing and eliminating the disease from the country. Nigeria is always a case study wherever the Ebola disease is discussed.

Category One Safety Status


 
Despite the skepticism expressed by some Nigerians, the country was able to retain the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category One Status, which it achieved in September 2010 after a rigorous audit by the US body. Retention of Category One status gives Nigeria carriers like Arik Air and others the right to continue to fly directly into the United States. Reacting to the initial doubts and the country's retention of Category One, industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe said, "The FAA when they come, even the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in all their safety audit, they are looking at the system, they are looking at the individuals manning the system, they are looking at the processes.

"The good thing is that we have document, the act is a very, very good document. The NCAA Act has been looked at; it has been certified and well put together to be able to sustain safety and safety regulations in the industry. So these are the things that they look at, they don't look at one accident that happened. Yes, they also want to know why that accident happened. If it is question of laxity from the system then they can say, look, with this we cannot guarantee safety. But if it is something that happens that you cannot blame it on the system that has been put in place; then you cannot come to the conclusion that we don't merit the Category One. And there is nothing like political Category One."

Having Category One Safety status has attracted so much to Nigeria from the number of foreign airlines that now operate from the country to the inclination of foreign investors to do business in the country's aviation sector. Above all, Nigeria is seen as having safety level that dovetails with international standard.

Closure of Lagos Cargo Terminal Nigeria is still reeling from the awful effect of the closure of its busiest and biggest cargo port at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by the Nigeria Customs Service. The closure which lasted two weeks stopped the clearing of cargo at the airport. This disrupted cargo movement and gave rise to congestion and loss of revenue that is but at over N4 billion as it affected importers, handling companies, clearing agents and the federal government.

That action is still affecting the sector because volumes of cargo, including aircraft parts are yet to be cleared, prompting FAAN to direct cargo airlines to stop flying to Lagos but to divert their flights to other international airports in the country. Also, many countries that have goods destined to Nigeria have put their freighting on hold until the cargo apron in Lagos which is congested has been cleared. Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Limited (SAHCOL), Olu Owolabi urged the federal government to expand the cargo apron at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos so that it would accommodate more freighters and cargo, remarking that Nigeria is a very big country with high volume of imports.

Also the Managing Director, Prime Port Logistics, Port Harcourt, Femi Adewunmi said that the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa has started serving as an alternative airport to Lagos in cargo delivery, disclosing that before the present congestion, no freighter flies to Port Harcourt directly; rather, they land in Lagos, discharge some cargo and bring the rest to Port Harcourt, but now they fly directly and in one week his company handled over 500 tons of cargo in Port Harcourt.

New Airlines

Three airlines Discovery Air, Azman and Air Peace joined the domestic service in 2014. Their entry heightened competition in the domestic market and helped lower the fares for domestic destinations. But the market is volatile and there is not much hope that many airlines in the domestic market will thrive for a long time. For now, the average age of Nigerian airlines is 10 years.

Setbacks


 
The major failure of the aviation industry in 2014 was the inability of the federal government to continue and complete the rehabilitation of airport facilities. Tremendous work was started by the former Minister of Aviation, Oduah but this was not continued by the acting Minister, Ortom or Chidoka.

Besides the terminals she fully completed before she was removed, like the terminals of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at Lagos airport; the VIP and hajj terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Aminu Kano International Airport terminal in Kano as well as the terminals in Owerri and Enugu, Yola and Ilorin; others at different stage of completion have been abandoned. Whatever the new Minister may be saying, the truth remains that work is abandoned on the projects, so it will hasten their decay which would take them back to worse deplorable situation. The hardest hit is the terminals at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, where terminal operation is still conducted in tent. The sector recorded tremendous achievements in 2014. Nigerians who commended the sector for attaining accident free year are now praying it should continue to be so.

Tragic year for foreign airlines However, while the airlines in Nigeria had a good year in 2014, it was not so for in the international scene. The 2014 could be described as one of the most tragic years for the international aviation industry in recent times. The disappearance of Malaysia Flight MH370 was an unprecedented tragic incident. For many years in the history of aviation such had not happened.

The disappearance of the flight on March 8, 2014 was shocking because it is believed that the advancement in airspace communication technology between the pilot and the air traffic control, the advancement in satellite development and the precision of radar in capturing flights in the air have pushed behind the possibility of the disappearance of a large aircraft of the size of Boeing 777. But for nine months now, the aircraft and its passengers and crew are still missing.

Another seeming impossibility is that the army of any nation, whether an organized army or rebels could gun down a civil jet airliner. But this happened at the Russia-Ukraine border on July 17, 2014 and until today no one has been brought to justice. Then the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 on December 28, 2014 and the later discovery of the bodies and the debris of the aircraft showed that although air travel remains the safest means of transport, it still has its limitations in terms of safety.

These tragic accidents cast a dark cloud on the aviation industry last year and made the world realize that more needs to be done to make air travel safer. As the vehicle for economic development and the means to move the movers and shakers of the society, being the fastest means of transportation, scientists, aircraft manufacturers and others must have gone back to work to find how an aircraft that falls into the sea could send enough signals to expose its whereabouts; how aircraft with total electrical shut down could still emit signals and how aircraft could still communicate even below the coverage of a radar.

It has always been said in the aviation industry that the aircraft as a machine has become a perfect piece of work; that most of the accidents that happen in the recent time were caused by human error. It is a human error when a pilot that is facing bad weather demands for a high or lower altitude to get out of the dangerous area the aircraft is flying and he was denied, as projections to the cause of the AirAsia flight are conjecturing. It is also human error when an aircraft that has shown enough snags is still taken to the air despite the signs of deficiency in the aircraft.

Coming to Nigeria, the Dana Air flight crash on June 3, 2012 and the Association Aviation flight crash on October 3, 2013 were all attributed to human error because if the equipment has shortcomings it should have been fixed before taking it up. Malaysia was a signpost of the air tragedies that struck the aviation sector in 2014. The MH370 and the MH 17 are owned by Malaysia Airlines, while a Malaysian low-cost carrier has 49 per cent stake in AirAsia. These three crashes have led to the death of 684 people. And when added to the death toll of 110 in the Air Algeria Flight 5017, which crashed in Mali on July 24, 2014, it will be 800 deaths in major air disasters of 2014.

Weather and human error are the major causes of air accidents in modern times. It is believed that the disappearance of MH370 may have something to do with weather and the Air Algeria flight 5017 crash was weather related and so was the AirAsia QZ8501 flight. Many in the industry believe that government intervention and determination to sustain its national carrier is what would help Malaysia Airlines not to go under because the two tragic accidents would lead to the collapse of any airline.

The industry was shocked and confused about the missing MH370. Many industry experts cannot reconcile themselves to the tragic disappearance of that flight. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) after the accident started searching for solutions to prevent future occurrence of such incident.

The then Director-General and CEO of IATA, Tony Tyler, said the airline industry needs to improve the way it tracks aircraft and manages passenger data following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370. "Speculation will not make flying any safer. We should not jump to any conclusions on probable cause before the investigation into MH370 closes.

"There are, however, at least two areas of process - aircraft tracking and passenger data - where there are clearly challenges that need to be overcome." Tyler said IATA would "facilitate a unified industry position" on the tracking of aircraft and called for governments to make better use of passenger data.

"Accidents are rare, but the current search for MH370 is a reminder that we can never be complacent on safety. It may well be a long time before we know exactly what happened on that flight. But it is already clear that we must never let another aircraft go missing in this way, and it is equally clear that governments must make better use of the passenger data that they mandate airlines to provide," Tyler said. The tragic accident has sent waves of fear on air travellers but not many may have the choice of alternative means for quick travel, so the charge should be on how to make airlines operate safer flights, how to tame the weather with accurate reports and precise observation since there are no better alternatives to air travel for now.


Original article can be found at: http://allafrica.com

North Sea helicopter struck by lightning while on its way to oil platform

A helicopter had to return to land after it was hit by lightning while on its way to a North Sea oil platform.

The Bond-operated EC225 was carrying 11 passengers and two crew when the incident happened off the coast of Aberdeen.

A spokesman for the company yesterday confirmed the helicopter returned to the city’s airport after being struck on Saturday morning.

They didn’t release details of which rig the chopper was travelling to.

The helicopter has been taken out of service to allow engineers to examine it for any damage.

A helicopter travelling to the Brae Alpha oil rig ditched in the North Sea on January 19, 1995, after it was struck by lightning that caused severe damage to the tail rotor.

Everyone on board the Bristow flight, which was carrying 16 oil workers from Aberdeen, was rescued.

Air accident investigators also ruled that a lightning strike was a factor in a North Sea helicopter tragedy off the coast of Norwich on July 16, 2002.

All nine people on board the Bristow-operated Sikorsky S-76A died.

Research carried out by the Met Office last year revealed that helicopters could trigger lightning strikes.

Experts believe this happens when the aircraft acquire a negative charge during flight and fly close to a positively charged cloud.

The study showed these incidents are usually reported over the North Sea between October and the end of March.

Pilots involved in past incidents told researchers they had no prior weather warnings for the area where their helicopters got hit.

This led them to believe that choppers themselves trigger lightning.

Improvements in aircraft design mean all helicopters are expected to survive lightning strikes these days, according to experts.

- Original article can be found at: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Pilots' New Year revelry grounds passengers

Three pilots are under investigation for reporting to work drunk on January 1 and two flights were delayed by several hours allegedly due to the pilots arriving late after New Year revelry. 

While a lone Indigo pilot was the only one to fail the breath-analyzer check conducted by the DGCA at the Mumbai airport on Thursday, two Air India pilots are under the scanner for skipping the mandatory post-flight checks. A special team of the DGCA carried out the breath analyzer checks through Wednesday night and Thursday morning. 

Also on Thursday, passengers of a Jet Airways flight to Bhavnagar that was delayed by three hours claimed airline staff blamed it on the pilot partying till late and arriving late. 

While Jet spokesperson maintained that the delay was due to adverse weather conditions, the official Twitter handle responded to an angry passenger in a contradictory manner, saying the delay was due to operational reasons. Officials said this flight's delay will also be investigated. 

"The Indigo pilot does not have a previous record of failing the breath analyzer tests," said Lalit Gupta, joint-DG, DGCA. "He is a first time offender. Two other Air India pilots who landed in Mumbai from London were also found to have to left the airport without undergoing tests, raising suspicion." 

An Indigo spokesperson said the airline removed the pilot from duty after he failed its mandatory breathalyzer test."The First Officer operating the Mumbai-Delhi flight 6E-176 this afternoon tested positive during his pre-flight medical test, which was conducted under DGCA supervision by an IndiGo doctor. He was immediately removed from the flight and a replacement first officer was sought for. As per laid down rules by DGCA, the first officer will be immediately suspended, and a report to this effect will be submitted to the DGCA office along with his license. The period of suspension as per the regulator is for three months and this violation also gets endorsed in his license." 

As per civil aviation rules, pilots, cabin crew and engineers should stop consumption of alcohol, sedatives or narcotics at least 12 hours before their flights. A DGCA Civil Aviation Requirement says that all pilots and cabin crew of flights originating in India must be subjected to pre-flight breath analyzer tests. Crew of flights originating outside India and culminating here have been asked to undergo postflight BA tests here. An Air India spokesperson sought more time to get details of the incident involving its pilots failing to turn up for post-flight checks. 

"We have expanded the scope of these tests massively," a DGCA official said. "In case a flight is diverted to an airport that does not have BA tests facilities, the crew has now been asked to undergo the same at first landing. Operators flying VVIPs have been asked to ensure that 100% pre-flight testing is done of all crew members," the official said. 

The modified rules that came into effect last month mandates pilots and cabin crew to undergo breathalyzer test before flying each chartered or non-scheduled aircraft as well.Earlier, the norms allowed tests to be carried out for only 60 per cent of non-scheduled flights. "Senior pilots who hold the ranks of instructors, examiners and check pilots and cabin crew in charges will lose these positions when caught high for the first and second times," said Gupta. 

Following amendments, the punishment for reporting drunk on duty more stringent and a pilot's licence will be cancelled for a third offence. Foreign pilots will lose the authorization or permit to fly in India for the first offence. DGCA issues foreign pilots work permits on the basis of their licence. 

Event manager Jignesh Bhutta who was flying to Bhavnagar by a Jet Airways flight that was delayed by three hours said, "The flight time was changed on four occasions. When agitated passengers gathered at the counter the staff told us that there was a shortage of pilots to operate the flight as they were partying last night." 

Jet's official response, however, blamed the weather."Following adverse weather conditions, some Jet Airways flights, like other domestic carriers, in and out of Mumbai have been subject to delay because of late arrival of aircraft and crew being subject to flight and duty time limitations.Guests have been apologized for the delay and compensation is being offered as per DGCA guidelines. Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways and we regret the inconvenience caused to our guests," said a Jet Airways spokesperson. 

But in a tweet regarding the same flight, the airline told an angry passenger: "Regret the inconvenience. 9W374 Mumbai-Bhavagar is delayed due to operational reasons."

Original article can be found at: http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Lost ATVers Found By Air Search

A twin engine aircraft from Kelowna was crucial in a long search to rescue three ATVers lost near Summerland.

Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) was informed at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday night of three people, two females and one male, who were lost on ATVs. The trio had been in the Garnet Valley area north of Summerland.

PENSAR set up near Garnet Lake and called in the Civil Air SAR Patrol (CASARA) in Kelowna for help. Central Okanagan SAR was also on standby.

When PENSAR teams sent all-terrain vehicles in the area to find the lost trio, the three were able to keep in contact by texting on their cell phone. The lost ATVers told searchers that they'd started a fire and would wait to be found.

Civil Air SAR Patrol sent a twin engine aircraft to help, and with three crew member, the team found the signal fire by 9:30 p.m. They radioed the ground search teams, who then hiked into the area and found the lost subjects at midnight. All three were in good health, and they were completely evacuated out two hours later.

Search Manager Terry Richard noted that with the temperatures around -11 degrees Celsius, the lost three made a good decision in staying put and lighting a signal fire.

Original article can be found at: http://www.kelownanow.com

John Klatt: Owatonna-based air show pilot wins top national award




By JEFFREY JACKSON

OWATONNA — I would think that every year for John Klatt is exciting.

To be more precise — and rather blunt — I would think that every year for John Klatt would be downright terrifying. But that’s just me. Then again, I’m not one who really enjoys doing twists and turns in airplanes like Mr. Klatt does.

But to hear him tell it, 2014 was an exciting year, a fantastic year, for him and his Owatonna-based company John Klatt Airshows.

“And Owatonna played a big part,” Mr. Klatt told me on Friday.

The culmination of the successful year came last month at the 47th annual International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas, when Mr. Klatt — though actually, we should say Lt. Col. Klatt because he is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard — was awarded the Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award, which recognizes commitment to the ideals of air show entertainment.

And he certainly had a lot of opportunities this past year to show off that commitment. In 2014, he performed in 27 airshows — 15 Air National Guard shows and 12 flying his Jack Link’s Beef Jerky planes, a business relationship that he established just this past year.

If you do the math, that’s just over one show every two weeks. And, of course, he has to travel from his base at Owatonna Degner Regional Airport to wherever the show is, plus find time to practice.

More about that practice in a minute.

Col. Klatt, who started competitive flying back in the late 1990s and began performing in airshows in 1999, said he was humbled to receive the award, which he said was the “highest honor for an air show performer.”

The award is named for Art Scholl, an aerobatic pilot who died 30 years ago this year during the filming of the movie “Top Gun” — something that speaks to the danger associated with flying stunt planes.

“It’s an inherently dangerous business,” Col. Scholl told me. “But when you’re surrounded by professionals, it mitigates the risks.”

That’s why, he said, even though his name is on the award, he regards it as a team award. And he was quick to name his team — Tim Jarvis, Jeff Boerboon, Del Coller, Mike Ganor, Ben Anderson and Scott Russell.

“It’s a great team of guys,” he said.

Col. Klatt has been training at the Owatonna airport since 2008, after he met Dave Beaver, the airport manager, during the last air show here.

The airport received a waiver from the FAA to create what is known as a “practice box” — an area in the sky that aerobats, as they are called, practice their stunts. Col. Klatt practices in very high altitudes above the Owatonna airport.

Why so high?

That way, if something starts to go wrong, he has plenty of time to correct it and pull out.

A dangerous business, indeed.

Story and Photo:  http://www.southernminn.com

Travelers pay higher prices at Spokane International Airport (KGEG), Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. - As many make travel plans for the new year, they may be paying higher ticket prices out of the Spokane International Airport.

KREM's 2 On Your Side learned that flights out of Spokane are some of the highest average priced flights in the country and prices continue to increase.

Passengers traveling through Spokane are paying an average of $30 more per ticket than other cities in the Northwest.

As 2015 gets underway, the savings you reap at the gas pump, may now go toward your next plane ticket out of the Inland Northwest.

"It's kind of lame," said Sam Stotts who was flying out of the Spokane International Airport. "It's like maybe I should boycott flying and drive because gas prices are cheaper."

For Sam Stotts, higher ticket prices are not just inconvenient, they are the things that keep her separated from her younger sister. Sam's sister lives in Boston and anytime ticket prices go up, there is less of a chance for them to visit.

"It's sad saying goodbye to her today, because I don't know when I'm going to see her again," Sam explained.

If recent trends hold true, it might be a while before Sam sits next to her sister again. That is because Spokane has some of the highest average fares in the Northwest and the price is going up.

According to the most recent data provided by transportation officials, you are likely to pay an average of $396 for a round trip ticket out of Spokane. Not only is that more expensive than the average ticket prices out of Seattle and Portland, but it is the biggest fare increase for all major airports in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, only Boise has higher fares than Spokane. Even then, both Spokane and Boise are more expensive than the national average.

"It's at least a month of working to get her down here and not even have the money to do stuff with her," Sam said.

Like many smaller airports, there are fewer direct flights out of Spokane, which has always driven up prices.

On top of that, airlines grew accustomed to charging higher fees when fuel prices were high. Even though fuel prices have dropped, transportation experts say airlines have left their fares the same. Officials also said that recent holiday supply and demand caused airlines to raise their prices again.

As we start the new year, there could be some relief on the horizon. Delta has added flights from Spokane to Seattle. Many hope the increased competition will help reduce ticket prices, but that could take a while.


Story and Video:   http://www.krem.com

Elvis Presley's private planes up for sale



(USA TODAY) Elvis Presley's luxury planes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II, are up for sale in a sealed bid auction at Julien's Auctions

The planes have been on display at Graceland for the past 30 years, according to the tourist attraction's website.

Elvis bought the Lisa Marie, a Convair 880 jet, from Delta Airlines on April 17, 1975, for $250,000. After refurbishing, it was valued at $600,000.

The jet named after the late rock 'n' roll legend's only child included a penthouse bedroom with a custom queen-sized bed, and a bathroom with gold faucets and gold washbasin.

"It gives us an insight into how he lived and how Elvis, the King, traveled onboard the Lisa Marie," said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, in a video posted to YouTube.

It can hold 29 people, and typically eight-10 people traveled with Elvis at any one time, Nolan added.

The Hound Dog II is a Lockheed JetStar that Elvis bought in 1975 while waiting for the Lisa Marie to complete its renovation. It cost nearly $900,000, according to the auction house.

The two planes will be auctioned off through the sealed bid Friday through Feb. 2.

Story, photo and video:  http://www.wtsp.com


 
(Photo: Adrian Sainz, AP)

Jet Airways job ad for pilots sets industry abuzz

It is looking to hire pilots familiar with a type of aircraft that only SpiceJet owns and operates in the country.

Jet Airways is seeking pilots with experience in flying Bombardier Q400, a type of turboprop aircraft it currently does not own but which features prominently in SpiceJet's fleet.

The move has sparked speculation that Jet Airways may be considering to buy the planes from loss-making SpiceJet, which was forced to briefly ground its fleet last month after suppliers refused to refuel its planes.

SpiceJet is the only Indian airline that owns and operates Bombardier Q400s. It has 15 such planes.

The recruitment ad does not mention the number of positions Jet Airways is looking to fill. But it clearly states that the carrier wants chief pilots with at least 1,000 hours of experience in flying the Q400. The candidates' overall flying experience should be at least 3,000 hours.

The eligibility criterion for first officers is 500 hours of flying time on Q400s.

The ad has set the industry abuzz. "Everyone wants to know whether Jet intends to buy SpiceJet's fleet of Q400," said a SpiceJet pilot who operates one such plane. "SpiceJet is the only airline in the country that operates the Q400. And unlike its Boeing fleet, the Q400s have not been leased; they are owned by the airline."

SpiceJet refused to comment.

An auditor, who has worked with the two airlines, expressed surprise over Jet Airways' recruitment plan. "Jet is getting out of tier II sectors and it is shutting down JetLite as brand dilution had affected the airline. The move to hire pilots familiar with the Q400 does not seem to fit in Jet's overall strategy," said the auditor, who didn't want to be named as he had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the airline.

Aviation analyst Vasuki Prasad said that Jet might be looking to hire SpiceJet pilots. "Earlier, Jet tried to train first officers, who had experience in operating Boeing aircraft, to switch to ATR turboprops. However, the transition did not happen smoothly. It's cheaper to hire a pilot familiar the turboprop engine and make him/her switch to ATR planes," Prasad said.

A senior Jet Airways official: "By insisting on Q400 requirement, we are looking at a near seamless transition."

Currently, Jet has 18 ATR planes and 200 pilots with experience in operating the aircraft. Of the 200 pilots, several are expats who are paid much more than Indian pilots. One of the eligible criteria for the new openings at Jet is that the candidates must be Indian nationals.

On why Kingfisher pilots, who were familiar with turboprop planes, were not considered for previous openings, the Jet official said: "We gave Kingfisher pilots three opportunities, but they failed each time. It was acultural mismatch."

Jet Airways did not respond to an email sent by Mirror regarding the new openings.


Original article can be found at: http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, N81291: Fatal accident occurred January 02, 2015 in Kuttawa, Kentucky




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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA088
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 02, 2015 in Kuttawa, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA34, registration: N81291
Injuries: 4 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 commercial pilot departed on a cross-country flight in night instrument meteorological conditions with the airplane’s fuel tanks full, providing an estimated fuel endurance of 4 hours 50 minutes. Two hours 50 minutes into the flight, the pilot reported a loss of engine power on the right engine, which was followed by a loss of engine power on the left engine. The pilot attempted to land at a nearby airport; however, the airplane impacted trees about 8 miles short of the airport. A review of weather information revealed no evidence of in-flight icing or other weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engines revealed no preimpact failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. All fuel tanks were compromised; however, an undetermined amount of fuel spilled from the left fuel tank during recovery of the wreckage. The left engine fuel selector valve was found in the “X-FEED” (crossfeed) position, and the corresponding cockpit fuel selector switch was found in an intermediate position, which was likely the result of impact damage. The right engine fuel selector valve and the corresponding cockpit fuel selector switch were found in the “ON” position. With the valves in these positions, both the left and right engines would have consumed fuel from the right fuel tank. Review of performance charts and fueling records indicated that if the flight was conducted with the valves in the as-found positions, exhaustion of the fuel in the airplane’s right fuel tank would have occurred about the time the pilot reported the dual engine failure. In addition, the yaw trim was found in the full nose-right position. It is possible that the pilot used nose-right yaw trim to counteract an increasing left-turning tendency during the flight as fuel was burned from only the right wing’s fuel tank making it relatively lighter than the left wing. According to the expanded checklist in the pilot’s operating handbook for the airplane, during taxi, the pilot was to move each fuel selector to “X-FEED” for a short time, while the other selector was in the “ON” position, before returning both fuel selectors to the “ON” position before takeoff. According to a checklist found in the airplane, the fuel selectors were to be set to “X-FEED” during taxi and then to “ON” during engine run up. GPS data recovered from onboard devices indicated that the pilot taxied from the ramp and onto the active runway without stopping in about 3 minutes, indicating that it is unlikely he performed a complete run up of both engines before takeoff. He likely failed to return the left engine fuel selector from the “X-FEED” to the “ON” position, where it remained throughout the flight and resulted in fuel starvation and a loss of engine power on both engines. Toxicological testing revealed that the pilot was taking citalopram (an antidepressant) and rosuvastatin (a statin); however, it is unlikely these drugs contributed to the accident. Review of medical and pathological information revealed no evidence of any medical condition that may have contributed to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to properly set the left engine fuel selector before takeoff and to recognize the incorrect setting during the flight, which resulted in fuel starvation and a loss of engine power on both engines.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 2, 2015, about 1755 central standard time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N81291, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing near Kuttawa, Kentucky. The commercial pilot, and three passengers were fatally injured, and another passenger was seriously injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida, around 1500, with the intended destination of Mount Vernon Airport (MVN), Mount Vernon, Illinois.

According to the flight plan filed by the pilot, the proposed departure time was 1500, the estimated time en route was 3 hours and 12 minutes, and the airplane's estimated fuel endurance was 4 hours and 50 minutes.

According to global positioning system (GPS) data, earlier in the day, the pilot performed a flight in the accident airplane that originated from Key West International Airport (EYW), Key West, Florida, around 1145 and terminated at TLH at 1425. According to a fuel receipt from EYW, the pilot had the airport linemen "top all tanks," prior to the departure at 1145. Then, according to a fuel receipt from TLH, the airplane received 67.7 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel prior to departing on the accident flight. In addition, an airport lineman stated that the airplane fuel tanks were "top[ped] off" at that time.

According to air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was about 6,000 feet mean sea level (msl) when the pilot contacted air traffic control at 1750, and requested vectors to the nearest airport reporting visual flight rules (VFR) weather conditions due to "problems" with both engines. The controller advised him that Kentucky Dam State Park Airport (M34) was 11 miles west of his position, at 349 feet elevation. The pilot announced he had the airport in sight, and that the airplane's right engine had stopped producing power. The controller then cleared the airplane for a visual approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance, advised that he had lost sight of the airport, asked for the airport common traffic advisory frequency, and then stated both engines were malfunctioning. There were no further radio communications from the airplane.

At 1755, after several attempts to contact the airplane, the controller advised that radar contact was lost. The airplane was last observed descending through 2,700 feet msl approximately 10 miles east of M34.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on February 4, 2014. At that time, the pilot reported 2,300 hours of total flight experience, which included 50 hours during the previous 6 months. His personal flight logbook was not located.

According to a flight log found at the accident scene, the pilot recorded approximately 14.5 total hours of flight time in the accident airplane since April 10, 2014, which did not include the flights on the day of the accident.

In an interview with local law enforcement, the surviving passenger mentioned that the airplane she customarily rode in with the pilot was in maintenance, and that the accident airplane was not the airplane typically flown by the pilot. The pilot owned and operated a PA-31-350, which was the airplane he "primarily flew." In addition, a local mechanic stated that the pilot only flew the accident airplane a "handful of times" prior to the accident flight.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979 and was registered to a corporation on October 29, 2012. It was powered by two Continental Motors Inc. TSIO-360-series, 210- horsepower engines, that were each equipped with a two-bladed Hartzell controllable pitch propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on March 16, 2014, at 7573.4 total aircraft hours.

According to the airplane pilot operating handbook (POH), the airplane was equipped with a total fuel capacity of 128 gallons, of which 5 gallons were unusable. Each wing had two fuel tanks that were interconnected and functioned as a single tank. The fuel tanks on each side were filled through a single filler port in the outboard wing tank. As fuel was consumed from the inboard tank, it was replenished by fuel from the outboard tank.

Fuel management controls were located on the console between the front seats. There was a control lever for each engine that was placarded "ON"-"OFF"-"X FEED." During normal operation, the levers were placed in the "ON" position, and each engine drew fuel from the tanks on the same side as the engine. The two fuel systems were interconnected by crossfeed lines. When the "X FEED" (crossfeed) position was selected, the engine would draw fuel from the tanks on the opposite side in order to extend range and keep fuel weight balanced during single-engine operation. The "OFF" position shut off the fuel flow from the selected side.

Section 4 "Normal Procedures" of the POH stated that during taxi, the pilot was to "check the operation of the fuel management controls by moving each fuel selector to CROSSFEED for a short time, while the other selector is in the ON position. Return the selectors to the ON position. DO NOT attempt a takeoff with the fuel selector on CROSSFEED."

A note in the fuel system description section of the POH stated, "Do not take off with a selector in 'X FEED.'"

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to Lockheed-Martin Flight Service, no services were provided to the airplane on the day of the accident. The pilot filed his IFR flight plan with an online commercial vendor prior to departure, but there was no evidence that he obtained a weather briefing at that time.

Review of weather data revealed IFR conditions were forecast along the entire route of flight. In addition, airman's meteorological information (AIRMET) advisories for IFR, icing, and mountain obscuration conditions were in effect around the time of the accident. There were several pilot reports of in-flight icing conditions above 14,500 feet with no significant reports of turbulence or icing conditions below that level.

At 1753, the weather conditions reported at Barkley Regional Airport (PAH), 29 miles west of the accident site, at 410 feet elevation included an overcast ceiling at 600 feet and 6 statute miles visibility in mist. The wind was from 060 degrees at 6 knots, the temperature and dew point were 3 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.22 inches of mercury. Rain began at 1725 and ended at 1747.

At 1755, the weather reported at Kyle-Oakley Field Airport (CEY), Murray, Kentucky, 21 nautical miles south of the accident site, at 576 feet elevation included broken ceilings at 600 feet, 5,000 feet and 10,000 feet with 7statute miles visibility. The temperature was 3 degrees C, the dew point was 3 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.21 inches of mercury.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot contacted Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center at 1747:10, and reported descending to 6,000 feet msl, from 6,700 feet msl. At 1750:48, the pilot reported "…I've got problems" and requested vectors to the nearest VFR airport. At 1752:01, the pilot transmitted "I don't know what's wrong…both engines are malfunctioning – everything's forward it was running perfect I have fuel I just don't know the right engine is out."

At 1754:14, the pilot stated the "engines are not producing power I don't know what's up." At 1754:43, the pilot asked if there were any nearby suitable landing areas, and at 1755:06, radar contact was lost. There were no further communications with the airplane.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on January 4, 2015. The airplane impacted trees in a wooded area, about 8 miles east of M34. There was a strong odor of fuel, and all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 228 degrees, was approximately 300 feet in length, and at an elevation of 480 feet.

The airplane came to rest inverted with the landing gear retracted. The fuselage and empennage were largely intact, but heavily damaged by impact. All fuel tanks were compromised during the accident and evidence of a small postcrash fire was observed at the right wing outboard fuel tank. As the airplane was being moved for recovery, an undetermined amount of fuel was noted flowing out of the inboard section of the left wing. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit through tensile overload breaks and cuts to control cables made by recovery personnel. Examination of the cockpit and cabin areas revealed that both control yokes were attached to their respective columns and that the throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were intact in the throttle quadrant, and in the full forward position. The yaw trim actuator was observed in the full nose-right position, and the stabilator trim actuator was observed in the neutral position. The airplane was not equipped with aileron trim. The cockpit fuel selectors indicated that the left engine was in the "X-FEED" position and the right engine was in-between the "ON" and "OFF" position. The fuel selector valve positions in the wings were examined and indicated that the left engine was in the "X-FEED" position and the right engine was in the "ON" position.

The seats were anchored in their mounts, the seatbelts were buckled, and all were cut by rescue personnel with the exception of the forward-facing right aft seat belt, which was intact and unbuckled.

The left engine was separated from its engine mounts but remained attached to the left wing through wires and cables. The left engine turbocharger was removed from the engine and examined. Rotational scoring was noted on the interior of the turbocharger near the turbine vanes. The left propeller was separated from the left engine and was in the vicinity of the main wreckage. One propeller blade exhibited a slight s-bend, and the other propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching. The spinner was impact damaged.

The right engine remained attached to its engine mounts and was attached to the right wing. The engine cowl was removed to facilitate further examination. All major engine components remained attached to the engine. The right propeller was separated from the right engine and was located forward of and in the vicinity of the right engine. The right propeller spinner exhibited impact damage and both propeller blades were bent in the aft direction.

A detailed examination of the airplane was conducted at a recovery facility in Springfield, Tennessee. In addition, each engine was retained for further examination at Continental Motors Inc., Mobile, Alabama, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator.

Compressed air was applied into the fuel system from the base of each wing toward to outboard section of the wing, and there were no blockages noted in either wing. In addition, the fuel selectors, crossfeed functions, and fuel lines in the fuselage were tested with compressed air and no blockages were noted. There were no blockages or anomalies identified in the fuel system that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

Subsequent examination of the left engine revealed impact damage to the exhaust system, engine driven fuel pump, turbocharger, and the No. 5 cylinder, which precluded functional testing of the engine in a test cell. Both magnetos were rotated and produced spark on all towers. The fuel pump was disassembled with no anomalies noted. The fuel manifold valve was examined with no anomalies noted. The vacuum pump was disassembled and all vanes were intact. Overall, examination and testing of the engine and its components revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the engine prior to the accident.

The right engine was functionally checked in a test cell where it started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption.

Additional examination of both propellers revealed that neither propeller was in the feathered position, and that both exhibited similar impact damage. Disassembly of both propeller systems revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Kentucky performed an autopsy on the pilot in Louisville, Kentucky. The pilot's autopsy report indicated the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. Fluid and tissue specimens from the pilot tested negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. However, the testing detected citalopram and its metabolite, n-desmethylcitalopram, in the urine and blood. Also, rosuvastatin was detected in the urine.

Citalopram was an antidepressant with selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting action. Rosuvastatin was a member of the drug class of statins, used to treat high cholesterol and related conditions, and to prevent cardiovascular disease.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Non-Volatile Memory Devices

A Garmin 696 GPS, a Garmin 496 GPS, and an Apple iPhone 5s were retained from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data download. No data pertinent to the accident was obtained from the Apple iPhone 5s. Both the Garmin 696 GPS and Garmin 496 GPS recorded data from the accident flight.

According to GPS data, the units began recording, and then about 5 minutes later, the airplane departed TLH at 1500. It was noted that about 3 minutes elapsed between the time the airplane began to taxi and when the takeoff roll began. In addition, in that 3-minute timeframe the airplane was in constant motion. At 1750:16, at a recorded altitude of about 5,000 feet msl, the airplane slowed from about 160 knots to 142 knots groundspeed and began a descent. The descent continued, and the airplane slowed to about 100 knots for the remainder of the flight.

At 1751:25, the airplane turned to a westerly heading and continued to descend. Both GPS receivers stopped recording data at 1754 and approximately 700 feet GPS altitude.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Normal Procedures Checklist

According to a checklist found at the accident site, the checklist items associated with the fuel system included:

After Engine Start, item number 12, "Fuel Selectors – Crossfeed." Then, during the engine run up, item number 1 stated "Fuel Selectors – ON." Finally, the Top of Climb/Cruise Checklist indicated that item number 2 stated "Mixtures – Lean."

Fuel Performance Calculations

According to the POH, fuel usage for engine start, taxi, and takeoff was 4.2 gallons of fuel. Interpolation of performance charts revealed that the engines burned approximately 20 gallons per hour. Furthermore, the fuel consumption calculated on the previous flight was about 20 gallons per hour. An estimate of the airplane's fuel consumption during the accident flight revealed that the 2 hours and 55 minutes that had elapsed from the time of departure to the time of the accident would have consumed about 60 gallons of fuel, which included the fuel needed for engine start, taxi, and takeoff.


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

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA088 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 02, 2015 in Kuttawa, KY
Aircraft: PIPER PA 34-200T, registration: N81291
Injuries: 4 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 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 2, 2015, about 1800 central standard time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N81291, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing near Kuttawa, Tennessee. The commercial pilot, and three passengers were fatally injured, and another passenger was seriously injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida, around 1600 eastern standard time, with the intended destination of Mount Vernon Airport (MVN), Mount Vernon, Illinois.

Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that at 1750, the pilot contacted air traffic control and requested vectors to the nearest airport in visual flight rules (VFR) weather conditions due to "problems" with both engines. The controller advised him that Kentucky Dam State (M34) was 11 miles west of his position. The pilot announced he had the airport in sight, and that the airplane's right engine had stopped producing power. The controller then cleared the airplane for a visual approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance, advised that he had lost sight of the airport, and asked for the airport common traffic advisory frequency. There were no further radio communications from the airplane. 

At 1755, after several attempts to contact the airplane, the controller advised that radar contact was lost. The airplane was last observed descending through 2,700 feet approximately 10 miles west of M34.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on February 4, 2014. On that date, the pilot reported 2,300 hours of total flight experience, of which, 50 hours were in the previous six months. 

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979 and was registered to a corporation on October 29, 2012. It was equipped with two Continental Motors Inc. TSIO-360-series, 210- horsepower engines, with two 2-bladed Hartzell controllable pitch propellers. The most recent annual inspection was performed on March 16, 2014, and at 7573.4 total aircraft hours. 

The airplane came to rest inverted with the landing gear retracted, and was examined at the accident site on January 4, 2015. There was a strong odor of fuel, and all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 228 degrees, was approximately 300 feet in length, at 480 feet elevation. 

The fuselage and empennage were largely intact, but heavily damaged by impact. The right outboard fuel tank was destroyed by impact and displayed evidence of a small post-crash fire. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit through tensile overload breaks and cuts made by recovery personnel. Examination of the cockpit and cabin areas revealed that both control yokes were attached to their respective columns and that the throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were intact in the throttle quadrant, and in the full forward position. 

The seats were anchored in their mounts, the seatbelts were buckled, and all were cut by rescue personnel with one exception. The forward-facing right aft seat belt was intact and unbuckled.

The left engine was separated from all engine mounts but remained attached to the left wing through wires and cables. The left engine turbocharger was removed from the engine and examined. Rotational scoring was noted on the interior of the turbocharger near the turbine vanes. The left propeller was separated from the left engine and was in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The propeller blades exhibited a slight s-bend on one blade and the other exhibited chordwise scratching. The spinner was impact damaged. 

The right engine remained attached to all engine mounts and was attached to the right wing. The engine cowl was removed to facilitate further examination. All major engine components remained attached to the engine. The right propeller was separated from the right engine and was located forward of and in the vicinity of the right engine. The right propeller spinner exhibited impact damage and both propeller blades were bent in the aft direction. 

The airplane was recovered from the site, and fuel was noted draining from the ruptured fuel tanks. A detailed examination of the airplane was conducted in Springfield, Tennessee, on January 5, 2015. The right engine was removed from its nacelle, and prepared for shipment and examination at a later date. 

A Garmin 696 GPS, a Garmin 496 GPS, and an iPhone were also retained for examination at a later date. 

According to Lockheed-Martin Flight Service, they did not provide any type of services to the pilot on the day of the accident. However, the pilot filed his IFR flight plan around 1540 eastern standard time with an online commercial vendor prior to departure, but there was no evidence that a weather briefing was obtained at that time.

A preliminary examination of weather data by an NTSB Senior meteorologist revealed a forecast of IFR conditions along the entire route of flight. In addition, Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisories for IFR, icing, and mountain obscuration conditions were in effect around the time of the accident. 

At 1753, the weather conditions reported at Barkley Regional Airport (PAH), an airport approximately 29 miles west of the accident location, indicated wind from 060 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 6 statute miles in mist, ceiling overcast at 600 feet above ground level (agl), temperature and dew point 3 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.22 inches of mercury. Remarks indicated that the automated observation system noted rain began at 1725 and ended at 1747.

FRO-GUTZ AIR LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N81291 

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.





Sierra Wilder


Life Legacy

Miss. Sierra Lynn Wilder of Nashville, IL departed this life on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 6:15 P.M. due to an aviation accident near Eddyville, KY. She had attained the age of 14 years, 9 months and 18 days.


Sierra was born on March 15, 2000 in Nashville, IL the daughter of Randy Wilder and Jami (Smith) Lane.


Sierra was a freshman at the Nashville Community High School in Nashville, IL, where she was involved with the Drama Club. She liked the finer things in life. She enjoyed music, dancing, art and spending time with family and friends. Sierra loved going on vacations with her family.


Left with her memory are her mother, Jami Lane and her husband Jon of Nashville, IL; four brothers, Josh and Tristan Wilder and Landen and Max Lane all of Nashville, IL; grandparents, Jimmie Smith and friend Terry Smith of Paducah, KY, Shirley Smith and husband Jim of Centralia, IL, Jack and Janet Lane of Nashville, IL; five aunts and uncles, Terri Smith of Centralia, IL, Jesse Smith and friend Jessica of Paducah, KY, DeeDee Peper and husband Ken of Richview, IL, Kristy Brink and husband Jason of Nashville, IL and Kara Lane and friend Dan Paszkiewicz of Nashville, IL; cousins, other relatives and numerous friends.


Also left to mourn her passing are her father Randy Wilder of Nashville, IL; grandfather, Craig Wilder of Nashville, IL; grandmother, Patty Smith of Centralia, IL; many aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives and numerous friends.


Funeral services will be held at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 10 A.M. After the service, cremation will be performed and interment of ashes will be held at a later date.


Friends may call at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL on Tuesday from 4 P.M. until 8 P.M. and on Wednesday from 7:30 A.M. until the service hour.


Should friends desire memorials can be made to the family of Sierra Wilder, Washington County Animal Shelter or the Nashville High School Drama Club and will be accepted by the Campagna Funeral Home.


Source:   http://www.campagnafuneralhomes.com




Sierra Lynn Wilder



Piper Jennifer Gutzler


Life Legacy


Miss. Piper Jennifer Gutzler of Nashville, IL along with her parents Marty and Kimberly, departed this life on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 6:15 P.M. due to an aviation accident near Eddyville, KY. She had attained the age of 9 years, 8 months and 22 days.


Piper was born on April 11, 2005 in Belleville, IL, the daughter of Marty and Kimberly (Lane) Gutzler.


Piper was a 4th grade student at Nashville District 49 Primary School in Nashville, IL. She loved all sports, especially soccer, basketball and softball. Piper enjoyed going to the beach and being with family.


Left to mourn her passing are her brother, Nicholas Brink and his wife Jentry of Key West, FL; two sisters, Sailor Gutzler and Kasie Dlubala and her husband Danny all of Nashville, IL; paternal grandfather, Jerry Gutzler and his wife Nora of Swansea, IL; maternal grandparents, Jack and Janet Lane of Nashville; paternal aunt, Jackie Anderson and her husband Paul of Alameda, CA; two maternal aunts, Kristy Brink and her husband Jason and Kara Lane and friend Dan Paszkiewicz all of Nashville, IL; great grandmothers, Laura Haake of Hoyleton, IL and Marie Kaufman of Nashville, IL; eight cousins, Ella and Adam Hoepker, Jake and Jackson Brink, Landen and Max Lane and Josh and Tristan Wilder; other relatives and numerous friends.


In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her paternal grandmother, Betty Gutzler; aunt, Jennifer Gutzler and her cousin, Sierra Wilder.


Private funeral services for family and close friends will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, IL on Friday, January 9, 2014 at 11 A.M. with Pastor Matthew Wietfeldt officiating. After the services cremation will be performed and interment of ashes will be at a later date.


Friends may call at the Nashville District 49 Middle School gymnasium in Nashville, IL on Thursday from 4 P.M. until 8 P.M.


In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Sailor Gutzler fund at www.sailorgutzlerfund.com or will be accepted at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL, in charge of arrangements.


Source:   http://www.campagnafuneralhomes.com





Kim and Marty Gutzler



Kimberly (Lane) Gutzler

August 15, 1968 - January 2, 2015

Mrs. Kimberly Gutzler of Nashville, IL, along with her husband Marty and her daughter Piper, departed this life on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 6:15 P.M. due to an aviation accident near Eddyville, KY. She had attained the age of 46 years, 4 months and 18 days.

Mrs. Gutzler was born on August 15, 1968 at Pinckneyville, IL, the daughter of Jack and Janet (Kaufman) Lane. She was united in marriage to Marty Gutzler on July 10, 2004 in Nashville, IL.

Kim was a 1986 graduate of Nashville Commmunity High School. She loved her animals, traveling, painting and spending time with her family.

Left to mourn her passing are her three children, Kasie Dlubala and her husband Danny of Nashville, IL, Nicholas Brink and his wife Jentry of Key West, FL and Sailor Gutzler of Nashville, IL; parents, Jack and Janet Lane of Nashville, IL; 2 sisters, Kristy Brink and her husband Jason and Kara Lane and friend Dan Pasczkiewicz all of Nashville; brother, Jon Lane and his wife Jami of Nashville; grandmother, Marie Kaufman of Nashville; uncle, Tom Lane and his wife Carol of Nashville; nieces, nephews, other relatives and numerous friends.

In addition to her husband and daughter, she was preceded in death by her grandparents, Jack and Sally Lane and grandfather, Joe Kaufman.

Private funeral services for family and close friends will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, IL on Friday, January 9, 2014 at 11 A.M. with Pastor Matthew Wietfeldt officiating. After the service cremation will be performed and interment of ashes will be at a later date.

Friends may call at the Nashville District 49 Middle School gymnasium in Nashville, IL on Thursday from 4 P.M. until 8 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Sailor Gutzler fund at www.sailorgutzlerfund.com or will be accepted at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL, in charge of arrangements.

Source:  http://www.campagnafuneralhomes.com


Marty Gutzler

November 13, 1966 - January 2, 2015
Mr. Marty Gutzler of Nashville, IL, along with his wife Kimberly and daughter Piper, departed this life on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 6:15 P.M. due to an aviation accident near Eddyville, KY. He had attained the age of 48 years, 1 month and 20 days.

Mr. Gutzler was born on November 13, 1966 at Nashville, IL, the son of Jerry and Betty (Haake) Gutzler. He was united in marriage to Kim Lane on July 10, 2004 in Nashville, IL.

Marty was a 1984 graduate of Nashville Community High School and a 1988 graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. He owned and operated the Gutzler Furniture Store in Nashville and was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church. Marty loved flying, boating and spending time with his family.

Left to mourn his passing are his three children, Sailor Gutzler of Nashville, IL, Kasie Dlubala and husband Danny of Nashville, IL and Nicholas Brink and his wife Jentry of Key West, FL; father, Jerry Gutzler and wife Nora of Swansea, IL; grandmother, Laura Haake of Hoyleton, IL; sister, Jackie Anderson and husband Paul of Alameda, CA; step-sister, Kimberly Perry of New York, NY; step-brother, Matthew Perry of Swansea, IL; niece and nephew, Ella and Adam Hoepker; aunts, uncles, other relatives and numerous friends.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he was preceded in death by his mother, Betty Gutzler; grandparents, Budsie and Lavita Gutzler and Eldor Haake; and his sister, Jennifer Gutzler.

Private funeral services for family and close friends will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, IL on Friday, January 9, 2015 at 11 A.M. with Pastor Matthew Wietfeldt officiating. After the service cremation will be performed and interment of ashes will be at a later date.

Friends may call at the Nashville District 49 Middle School gymnasium in Nashville, IL on Thursday from 4 P.M. until 8 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Sailor Gutzler fund at www.sailorgutzlerfund.com or will be accepted at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL, in charge of arrangements.

Source:  http://www.campagnafuneralhomes.com







The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating a Western Kentucky plane crash that killed four family members, leaving a sole 7-year-old survivor.

A distress call was made by pilot Marty Gutzler from the Piper-Seneca twin engine aircraft just after 5:30 p.m. Friday to the Memphis Traffic Control Center according to Officer Brent White with the Kentucky State Police. 

The plane was told to deviate from it's original flight path from Key West, Florida to Mt. Vernon, Illinois. 

The plane crashed shortly after in a forest near the Kentucky Dam State Airport. 

“I think the primary thing they would be concerned with at this point is the condition of the aircraft," Dr. Jose Ruiz with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) Flight School said. 

Ruiz has more than 20 years experience in flight safety. He's now the chair of the department of  Aviation Management and Flight at SIUC. 

He explains that there are many factors the NTSB will consider during their investigation.

“I believe the weather, perhaps in concert with engine problems, perhaps the pilot was feeling overwhelmed, could have led to some poor decision making," Ruiz said. 

Weather conditions, visibility, mechanical failure, and split second decisions all could have played a role in this tragic crash. 

“We have such sophisticated aircraft that we typically don't suffer catastrophic mechanical failure, however, if we do have issues with the aircraft coupled with poor decision making, it could result in this sort of tragedy," Ruiz said. 

The NTSB announced that it will release preliminary results of the investigation in the next 10 days, but said it may take up to a year for the full investigation results. 

http://www.kfvs12.com






















Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, N81291













KEY WEST, Fla. (KMOX) - KMOX has learned the Nashville, Illinois family killed in Friday’s plane crash in western Kentucky may have been the victim of a scam in Florida a few days prior to the crash.

A Key West Police Department report filed December 27th, says Gerald Martin Gutzler Jr. and Kim Gutzler arrived in Florida to find a home they had rented for their stay was occupied and not a rental property.

The Gutzlers showed police documentation to prove they had prepaid with Vacation Homes LLC of Key West.

The occupants of the home said this is not the first time they’ve had to turn away unsuspecting renters.

Key West Police say the address given for Vacation Homes LLC is actually a doctor’s office.

Marty & Kim Gutzler died when their plane crashed January 2nd east of Paducah, Kentucky. So did their nine-year-old daughter Piper and 14-year-old relative Sierra Wilder. Their other daughter, 7-year-old Sailor, survived.

Story and Comments:      http://stlouis.cbslocal.com






















KFVS12 News 


Kentucky State Police Lt. Brent White, NTSB investigator Heidi Moats and another NTSB official at Sunday's news conference




The Gutzler Family 



LYON COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are on the site of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County, Ky. Sunday morning. A fund has been set up by the family of the 7-year-old survivor. 

The crash killed two adults and two children Friday night. A 7-year-old girl survived.

A web fund has been set up for Sailor Gutzler according to the family's attorney.

"Your generous donation will help Sailor obtain the emotional, physical and educational support she will need in the years to come. Thank you in advance for your cooperation," according to the website.

Kentucky State Police say NTSB crews expect to begin extricating the plane in pieces.
The NTSB did not arrive at the scene of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County until Sunday morning due to flight delays and other logistical concerns.

The NTSB says it will have preliminary report in 10 days. The full report and findings could take over a year.

NTSB investigator Heidi Moats says salvage crews have arrived.

Once the scene is clear, the plane will be taken to site in Tennessee for examination of engine and frame.

When asked how remarkable it is that the 7-year-old girl survived, Moats says "she's one remarkable young lady."

Kentucky State Police says investigators on the scene of a plane crash confirm four people are dead at the crash site. A 7-year-old girl walked away from the crash site to find help.

Members of the FAA were at the site of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County on Saturday. 

Kentucky State Police say they are remaining at the scene in a security capacity.

Officials have indicated a minimum of two days to conduct an investigation at the scene. Inclement weather hampered progress on Saturday. 

Police have released the  names of the victims.

Marty Gutzler, 48, the father; Kimberly Gutzler, 45, the mother; Piper Gutzler, 9, daughter; and Sierra Wilder, 14, cousin of Piper Gutzler.

The Gutzler family and Wilder were all from Nashville, Illinois.

The 7-year-old survivor of the crash was released from Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky. just after 1 a.m. 

Attorney Kent L. Plotner, released this statement on Saturday on behalf of the family:

"The Gutzler family mourns the loss of Marty, Kim and Piper Gutzler and Sierra Wilder. We are devastated by this loss, but are confident that they rest in God's loving arms. We ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time. Please pray for us, especially for Sailor Gutzler."The bodies of those killed were taken to Louisville for autopsies. 

Police say the wreckage of a small plane was found in a wooded area off of Buckberry Trail, which runs off of KY 810 South in the Suwanee community of Lyon County.

Suwanee is located along U.S. 62, about five miles west of Eddyville.

According to police, the deaths account for the pilot and remaining passengers.

Kentucky EMA Regional Manager Mark Garland said there was one survivor, a young girl who managed to get out of the plane and find her way out of the wooded area to a house where she asked for help. He said the homeowner then alerted local officials to the crash site.

KSP says a caller reported they saw a plane go down around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 2.

KSP says a caller told them that a 7-year-old girl had walked to his home saying that she had been involved in a plane crash.

Police say the child was in distress and was taken to a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Police say the FAA Memphis Center confirmed a distress call from a private aircraft near the area of the reported crash.

The FAA says a Piper PA-34-200T aircraft crashed 7 miles east of the Kentucky Dam State Airport, about 30 miles east of Paducah.

The plane is described as a fixed wing, multiple engine aircraft.

The FAA says air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft as it was flying over Marshall County around 6:55 p.m. on Friday.

They say they lost contact shortly after the pilot reported engine problems.

According to police, the plane had left Key West, Florida earlier on Friday with a destination of Mt. Vernon, Ill.

Lyon County officials have set up a staging area for emergency equipment along KY 810, about one mile north of U.S. 62 at Suwanee to help their response to the crash site.

The public is asked to avoid the area so as not to impede emergency equipment and personnel.

Traffic along KY 810 was down to one lane in the area to allow nearby residents access to their homes.

This is a similar picture of what the plane looks like from the Piper website.

“I've got an 8-year-old child myself, that just turned 8-years-old. And when I saw this [what] appeared to be a 7-year-old child that walked through this dense Forrest," Lieutenant Brent White with the Kentucky State Police said. "Through some really tough terrain. Awful poor weather conditions – and survive this, it's just really a miracle."

Kentucky State Police Lt. White says that first responders " worked tirelessly to find this wreckage and hopefully salvage the lives of those that were on board. But, ultimately, it just wasn't meant to be."

According to CNN, Even with the plane upside down, the 7-year-old made it out, trekked three-quarters of a mile in the dark through what Wilkins described as "very, very rough territory" mired with fallen trees, creeks, ditches and blackberry briars.

Larry Wilkins went to his door. He opened it to see a young girl - her lips quivering, her nose bloodied, her arms and legs scratched up.

CNN reports the girl was barefoot except for one sock and was dressed for Florida -shorts, no coat - not for slogging through the January cold of Kentucky. Wilkins got her on his couch and called 911, alerting authorities that a plane had gone down and there was at least one survivor.

The Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt, from Nashville's Trinity Lutheran Church, said those killed, who he's known for four years "will be deeply missed."

"The Gutzlers were a wonderful family and wonderful members of our congregation and community," Wietfeldt said, according to CNN.

Heartland News talked to Troy Dunbar, a Gutzler employee and friend of family for more than 20 years. He said that Marty had been flying since he was 16 years old. He says Gutzler loved everything about aviation. He said Gutzler had flown the route to Key West in that very plane several times, and was a good pilot.

Dunbar says Marty and Kim Gutzler had two daughters together. 

The employee says Kim's son was in the military and stationed in Key West. The family was coming back from visiting for the holidays.

Marty Gutzler and his Dad, Jerry, owned the furniture store together.

Marty was described as being very involved in daughters lives. He coached youth softball and soccer.

KSP would like to thank all the agencies and personnel who assisted with the plane crash incident in Lyons County. 

Campagna Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for those killed.

Agencies taking part in this incident include: Kentucky State Police, Lyon County Sheriff's Office, Eddyville Police Department, Kuttawa Fire Department, Eddyville Fire Department, Aurora-Ross Fire Department, Lyon County Rescue, Marshall County Rescue, Lyon County EMS, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Lyon County Emergency Management, Marshall County Emergency Management and Lyon County Coroner's Office.


Marty (49), Kim (45) & Piper (9) Gutzler

January 2, 2015

Marty Gutzler age 49, his wife Kimberly age 45 and their daughter Piper age 9 all of Nashville, IL, departed this life on Friday, January 2, 2015 due to an aviation accident near Eddyville, KY.

Arrangements are pending at the Campagna Funeral Home in Nashville, IL.

Source:   http://www.campagnafuneralhomes.com

LYON COUNTY, KY (KFVS) -  Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are on the site of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County, Ky. Sunday morning. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

The crash killed two adults and two children Friday night. A 7-year-old girl survived.

Kentucky State Police say NTSB crews expect to begin extricating the plane in pieces.

An 11 a.m. news conference is set to release more details.

The NTSB did not arrive at the scene of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County until Sunday morning due to flight delays and other logistical concerns.

The press conference will be held at 309 Lee S. Jones Park Road in Eddyville. Lee S. Jones Park is located off of 93 South near Eddyville, Ky. NTSB and Lyon Co Emergency Management will be present along with FAA Officials.

Kentucky State Police says investigators on the scene of a plane crash confirm four people are dead at the crash site. A 7-year-old girl walked away from the crash site to find help.

Members of the FAA were at the site of the deadly plane crash in Lyon County on Saturday. 

Kentucky State Police say they are remaining at the scene in a security capacity.

Officials have indicated a minimum of two days to conduct an investigation at the scene. Inclement weather hampered progress on Saturday. 

Police have released the  names of the victims.

Marty Gutzler, 48, the father; Kimberly Gutzler, 45, the mother; Piper Gutzler, 9, daughter; and Sierra Wilder, 14, cousin of Piper Gutzler.

The Gutzler family and Wilder were all from Nashville, Illinois.

The 7-year-old survivor of the crash was released from Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky. just after 1 a.m. 

Attorney Kent L. Plotner, released this statement on Saturday on behalf of the family:

"The Gutzler family mourns the loss of Marty, Kim and Piper Gutzler and Sierra Wilder. We are devastated by this loss, but are confident that they rest in God's loving arms. We ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time. Please pray for us, especially for Sailor Gutzler."

The bodies will be taken to Louisville for autopsies. 

Police say the wreckage of a small plane was found in a wooded area off of Buckberry Trail, which runs off of KY 810 South in the Suwanee community of Lyon County.

Suwanee is located along U.S. 62, about five miles west of Eddyville.

According to police, the deaths account for the pilot and remaining passengers.

Kentucky EMA Regional Manager Mark Garland said there was one survivor, a young girl who managed to get out of the plane and find her way out of the wooded area to a house where she asked for help. He said the homeowner then alerted local officials to the crash site.

KSP says a caller reported they saw a plane go down around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 2.

KSP says a caller told them that a 7-year-old girl had walked to his home saying that she had been involved in a plane crash.

Police say the child was in distress and was taken to a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Police say the FAA Memphis Center confirmed a distress call from a private aircraft near the area of the reported crash.

The FAA says a Piper PA-34-200T aircraft crashed 7 miles east of the Kentucky Dam State Airport, about 30 miles east of Paducah.

The plane is described as a fixed wing, multiple engine aircraft.

The FAA says air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft as it was flying over Marshall County around 6:55 p.m. on Friday.

They say they lost contact shortly after the pilot reported engine problems.

According to police, the plane had left Key West, Florida earlier on Friday with a destination of Mt. Vernon, Ill.

Lyon County officials have set up a staging area for emergency equipment along KY 810, about one mile north of U.S. 62 at Suwanee to help their response to the crash site.

The public is asked to avoid the area so as not to impede emergency equipment and personnel.

Traffic along KY 810 was down to one lane in the area to allow nearby residents access to their homes.

This is a similar picture of what the plane looks like from the Piper website.

“I've got an 8-year-old child myself, that just turned 8-years-old. And when I saw this [what] appeared to be a 7-year-old child that walked through this dense Forrest," Lieutenant Brent White with the Kentucky State Police said. "Through some really tough terrain. Awful poor weather conditions – and survive this, it's just really a miracle."

Kentucky State Police Lt. White says that first responders " worked tirelessly to find this wreckage and hopefully salvage the lives of those that were on board. But, ultimately, it just wasn't meant to be."

According to CNN, Even with the plane upside down, the 7-year-old made it out, trekked three-quarters of a mile in the dark through what Wilkins described as "very, very rough territory" mired with fallen trees, creeks, ditches and blackberry briars.

Larry Wilkins went to his door. He opened it to see a young girl - her lips quivering, her nose bloodied, her arms and legs scratched up.

CNN reports the girl was barefoot except for one sock and was dressed for Florida -shorts, no coat - not for slogging through the January cold of Kentucky. Wilkins got her on his couch and called 911, alerting authorities that a plane had gone down and there was at least one survivor.

The Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt, from Nashville's Trinity Lutheran Church, said those killed, who he's known for four years "will be deeply missed."

"The Gutzlers were a wonderful family and wonderful members of our congregation and community," Wietfeldt said, according to CNN.

Heartland News talked to Troy Dunbar, a Gutzler employee and friend of family for more than 20 years. He said that Marty had been flying since he was 16 years old. He says Gutzler loved everything about aviation. He said Gutzler had flown the route to Key West in that very plane several times, and was a good pilot.

Dunbar says Marty and Kim Gutzler had two daughters together. 

The employee says Kim's son was in the military and stationed in Key West. The family was coming back from visiting for the holidays.

Marty Gutzler and his Dad, Jerry, owned the furniture store together.

Marty was described as being very involved in daughters lives. He coached youth softball and soccer.

KSP would like to thank all the agencies and personnel who assisted with the plane crash incident in Lyons County. 

Agencies taking part in this incident include: Kentucky State Police, Lyon County Sheriff's Office, Eddyville Police Department, Kuttawa Fire Department, Eddyville Fire Department, Aurora-Ross Fire Department, Lyon County Rescue, Marshall County Rescue, Lyon County EMS, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Lyon County Emergency Management, Marshall County Emergency Management and Lyon County Coroner's Office.

http://www.kfvs12.com









Larry Wilkins retells the story of how his dogs, Bonnie and Pete (left), alerted him to a noise on his front porch, where he would meet the seven-year-old sole survivor of a airplane crash. 







































Marty and Kim Gutzler with their two daughters, Piper and Sailor, at the family's furniture store in Nashville. The couple and their older daughter, Piper, were victims of a fatal plane crash Friday night which left their 7-year-old as the lone survivor.


NASHVILLE — An attorney serving as a spokesman for the Gutzler family of Nashville has released a statement the family is devastated by the loss of three family members during a plane crash in Kuttawa, Kentucky.

Attorney Kent Plotner, who was serving as family spokesman, said the Gutzler family was devastated by the loss.

"We ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time," the information from attorney Kent Plotner states. "Please pray for us, especially for Sailor Gutzler," the family said in a statement.

Seven-year-old Sailor Gutzler is the only survivor of the crash, which killed her parents, 48-year-old Marty Gutzler and 46-year-old Kimberly Gutzler as well as her sister, 9-year-old Piper Gutzler and her cousin, Sierra Wilder, 14. Bodies of the victims are in Louisville, Ky., for autopsy.

Sailor Gutzler has been released to family after being treated at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky., according to the Kentucky State Police.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane took off from Tallahassee Regional Airport in Florida, bound for Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. 

The family had been celebrating the new year in Key West, Fla., and were returning to their home in Nashville. The plane reported engine trouble just before 6 p.m. on Friday, and air traffic controllers attempted to direct the Piper PA-34 to a nearby airport. About 40 minutes later, emergency personnel received the call the plane had crashed and there was a single survivor.

According to the Associated Press, Sailor Gutzler walked through woods and thick briar patches, wearing only a short-sleeve shirt, shorts and no shoes in near-freezing temperatures when she saw a light in the distance.

The beacon led her to Larry Wilkins' home, police said, and she knocked on the door. Wilkins answered to find a thin, black-haired girl, whimpering and trembling.

"I come to the door and there's a little girl, 7 years old, bloody nose, bloody arms, bloody legs, one sock, no shoes, crying," Wilkins, 71, told The Associated Press on Saturday. "She told me that her mom and dad were dead, and she had been in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down."

Wilkins told the AP he brought the girl inside, got a washcloth and "washed her little face off and her legs."

"Brave little girl, outstanding little girl," he said. "I feel real bad for her."

The girl had a broken wrist, but was coherent and calm when interviewed by authorities, Kentucky State Police Sgt. Brent White said.

White and Wilkins both described the terrain she walked through as heavily wooded with thick brush. White said the girl traversed two embankments, a hill and a creek bed. Wilkins said the temperatures were below 40 degrees when the girl showed up at his door.

"She literally fell out of the sky into a dark hole and didn't have anybody but her own will to live and get help for her family," White said. "Absolutely amazing."

In Nashville, a man stepped outside the family's white, split-level home on Saturday and politely waved off a reporter.

"Not now," he said, his head lowered, before he stepped back inside.

Marty ran the furniture store that his father started, and the couple was well-known and well-liked, said neighbor Carla Povolish.

With two basketball hoops in the driveway, the Gutzlers' home was the center of neighborhood fun on a block full of children.

"All the kids in the neighborhood are just so upset about this," she said.

Povolish said the two sisters — Sailor and Piper — were together constantly.

"That's what's going to be so devastating for the little one," she said.

- Original article can be found at: http://www.register-news.com




Larry Wilkins made the 911 call after the girl made it to his home