Friday, January 16, 2015

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N5660E, Hawaiian Night Lights LLC: Accident occurred January 16, 2015 in Ualapue, Hawaii

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Ualapue, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/11/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5660E
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor.

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

The flight instructor reported that he was performing an introductory flight lesson for a student with her parents on board as passengers. Rather than fly in the normal practice area, the flight instructor and student decided to fly across a channel toward an adjacent island to avoid unfavorable weather conditions. The student flew the majority of the flight following the shoreline until the flight instructor took the flight controls and turned the airplane inland to return to the airport. As the flight instructor flew the airplane over mountainous terrain, the engine lost partial power, and the airplane then began to descend. The flight instructor subsequently performed a forced landing into densely forested terrain. The airplane was not recovered from the accident site, and it could not be examined on site due to the inhospitable and remote terrain; therefore, the reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power during cruise flight for reasons that could not be determined because the airplane was not recovered. 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 16, 2015, about 1400 Hawaiian standard time, a Cessna 172N, N5660E, collided with terrain near Ualapue, on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii. The airplane was registered to Hawaiian Night Lights LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI), student pilot undergoing instruction, and one passenger sustained minor injuries; a second passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings during the accident sequence. The instructional flight departed Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, at 1304. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The CFI reported that the flight was an introductory lesson for the student, who was a Japanese citizen, and that the student's parents were the passengers. The CFI was the owner of Hawaiian Night Lights, and utilized the airplane for flight instruction.

The CFI stated that they planned to flying for 2 hours, and prior to departure, decided to fly east towards Molokai due to unfavorable weather conditions around the Island of Oahu. The departure was uneventful and they flew east, following the northern coastline towards the end of Molokai. Having reached a waterfall as they approached the eastern shore, the CFI took the controls and initiated a circling climb inland over the mountainous terrain. During the climb he noticed that the engine was not producing full power, even though the throttle control was fully forward. He estimated the engine speed to be about 200 rpm lower than normal, and he applied carburetor heat. The flight progressed over the mountains at an altitude of about 3,500 ft mean sea level (500 to 1,000 ft above ground level) while he maintained best rate of climb airspeed. As they passed over a ridge the airplane began to descend at 400 ft per minute, and they became trapped below the peaks of surrounding terrain. The pilot turned off carburetor heat and began performing tight turns and chandelle maneuvers in an effort to clear terrain while now flying at best angle of climb airspeed. He warned the passengers of the impending crash, however, as they did not speak English, they could not fully understand. As they approached the valley floor he extended the flaps and told the passengers to brace for impact.

The airplane came to rest at the 3,000 ft level, on the eastern side of the island, 73 miles from the departure airport. Video of the accident site taken by search and rescue personnel revealed that the airplane was situated in densely wooded terrain within a crevasse just below a ridgeline.

Due to the inhospitable nature of the terrain, the airplane could not be examined at the accident site. Additionally, the airplane was not insured, and at the time of completion of this report it had not been recovered from the accident site; therefore, no examination was performed.

The most recent maintenance action performed on the airplane was an annual inspection, which was completed on August 1, 2014. According to maintenance logbooks, at that time the airframe had accrued 5,517.3 total flight hours, with the engine accumulating 1,362.7 hours since overhaul. The pilot reported that the airplane had flown an additional 95.6 hours since the inspection.

Radar data provided by the FAA recorded the majority of the flight leading up to the turn towards terrain. The data revealed a target departing eastbound following the southeastern shoreline of Oahu. The target then made the 26-mile crossing over the Kaiwi Channel where it performed a series of turning maneuvers. It then continued to track along the northern shoreline of Molokai. The final segment of the flight was not recorded as the airplane descended behind terrain and out of the radar coverage area.

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA086 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Ualapue, HI
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5660E
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor.

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

On January 16, 2015, about 1400 Hawaiian standard time, a Cessna 172N, N5660E, collided with terrain near Ualapue, on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii. The airplane was registered to Hawaiian Night Lights LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI), student pilot undergoing instruction, and one passenger sustained minor injuries; a second passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings during the accident sequence. The instructional flight departed Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, at 1304. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The CFI reported that the accident flight was an introductory flight lesson for the student, who was a Japanese citizen, and that the student's parents were the passengers. They departed Honolulu and headed east towards Kalaupapa where they performed basic flight maneuvers. They then followed the coastline towards the eastern end of Molokai. Having reached the eastern shore, they turned back, flying a direct route to the Koko Head VOR (very high frequency omni-directional radio range). Shortly thereafter, at an altitude of about 3,300 feet mean sea level, the engine lost power. The airplane began to descend, and as they approached a ridgeline the airplane encountered downdrafts. The pilot reported that the airplane was by now in a valley, and they had no route to escape, so he elected to force land the airplane into trees.

HAWAIIAN NIGHT LIGHTS LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N660E 


A Maui pilot, who performed an emergency landing himself on Piilani Highway two years ago, helped locate a Cessna single-engine aircraft that made a forced landing Friday afternoon at the 3,000-foot elevation on the eastern end of Molokai.

"It's amazing that they were able to land," Capt. Ryan Fields said in a phone interview with The Maui News on Friday afternoon. "It's a miracle that they did what they could because it's 3,000 feet up, and I guess they landed in some trees. I don't know how they landed a airplane up there. It's pretty crazy, and it's a bad place to go down, I'll tell you that."

The fixed wing, single-engine Cessna 172 reportedly lost its engine power and was forced to make an emergency landing near Halawa Falls, Federal Aviation Administration and fire officials said.

A survivor of a plane that made a forced landing Friday afternoon on the eastern end of Molokai is assisted by hospital security guards and nurses at Maui Memorial Medical Center. The victim, who was in serious condition, was among three other passengers aboard a privately-owned Cessna that reportedly lost engine power near Halawa Falls. The other three passengers sustained minor injuries.

The four people aboard the plane were airlifted to a landing zone at Pu'u o Hoku Ranch by a Maui fire rescue crew aboard the Air One helicopter, said Capt. Rylan Yatsushiro, spokesman for the Maui Fire Department.

He said one person was in serious condition and was flown by Maui Medevac to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Three others suffered minor injuries and were transported by medics to Molokai General Hospital for further evaluation and treatment, Yatsushiro said.

The person in serious condition had a neck brace and was seen being helped out of the medevac helicopter by Maui Memorial Medical Center security and nurses around 4:30 p.m. The victim, who was on a stretcher, was placed on a cart and driven up a hill from the helipad to the emergency room.

Hawaiian Night Lights LLC is listed as the registered owner of the plane. A phone number listed for the Honolulu-based company was disconnected.

The plane was manufactured in 1978 and was certified on June 12, 2014.

The aviation company has a Hauula, Oahu, address and was registered in 2006, according to state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs records.

Fields, a pilot for Mokulele Airlines, said the Cessna went down around 2 p.m. He did not see the Cessna go down but was aware that a plane in east Molokai had issued a mayday call.

He said his aircraft, which was traveling from Molokai to Maui, was the only plane in the area at that time. He was able to confirm and locate the downed Cessna from a vantage point two to three miles away from the air.

"All I could tell was that there was a plane where I wasn't expecting it to be," he said. "We knew they were there, and we were picking it up on the radar and radioed in their coordinates."

Field said he did not see any smoke or flames from the aircraft and does not know what caused the plane to lose engine power. He said winds weren't too strong in Halawa Valley on Friday, though the area is known for being difficult to navigate due to its mountains, which reach almost 5,000 feet, and limited visibility.

"It's when it gets kind of cloudy that makes it hard, and lately the vog has been kind of bad so the visibility is kind of bad," he said. "It's not a place you want to be in."

The valley is a popular area for tourists and residents and boasts towering waterfalls and lush mountainsides. Maui resident Bobby Hill, a private pilot, said Friday that he usually takes a route through the Halawa Falls area on flights between Maui and Oahu.

"That's a very common route for sightseeing because it's beautiful on that side," he said. "It's less bumpy on trade-wind days."

Seeing the crashed Cessna on Molokai brought back memories for Fields, who dealt with his own miraculous landing after his plane experienced engine trouble off Wailea on a flight to the Big Island two years ago.

In October 2013, Fields helped maneuver a Cessna Grand Caravan carrying nine others onto Piilani Highway - avoiding cars and telephone poles. Everyone aboard walked away unscathed.

Fields confirmed that he was one of the two pilots aboard the Cessna Grand Caravan but said he could not comment on the incident until the National Transportation Safety Board issues its final report.

As one who could relate to the pilot of the downed plane, Fields said he was glad to be part of rescue operations Friday.

"It was cool being in the area and to help," he said. "I was pretty excited to be a part of that."

While all passengers survived Friday's landing, Halawa Valley has been the site of some of the worst air disasters in Hawaii's history.

On Nov. 1, 1996, a small plane carrying Maui Democratic Chairman Robert McCarthy, Maui County Councilman Tom Morrow and four others slammed into a ridge above the valley on a trip back to Maui following a campaign event. The crash killed everyone aboard.

On Oct. 28, 1989, an Aloha Island Air flight slammed into the valley walls killing 20 people. Thirteen of the victims were from Molokai, including eight Molokai High School volleyball players and two faculty members. It is reportedly the worst interisland air disaster in state history.

http://www.mauinews.com

EAST MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A hard landing in a remote area on Molokai has sent four to the hospital.

Pilot Michael Richards and three passengers were flying at 3,000 feet over Halawa Valley when their Cessna Skyhawk lost its only engine,.

"It could have been much worse. It's a miracle that they had a place where they could put that plane down without killing themselves," said Valerie Richards, the pilot's mother.

"That poor baby didn't have a place to land. It was steep terrain, heavily wooded and there was no smooth place to go."

Richards and two of the passengers -- a father and daughter from Japan-- were treated at Molokai General for minor injuries. A third -- the mother -- suffered more serious injuries and was sent to Maui Memorial.

It's not Richard's first hard landing. He and a student were forced to land in a field near the Waipio Costco when the engine gave out. He also had a hard landing on Lanai in 2007. No one was injured in either instance.

"I do have experience with this ... I'm not a foreigner to this scenario," the pilot told Hawaii News Now in June.

FAA officials will now investigate this hard landing. And Richards plans to be back up and flying again soon.


http://www.k5thehometeam.com










Safari 400, N416JB: Fatal accident occurred January 16, 2015 in The Woodlands, Texas

Photo By St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church 
 Michael Gene Mims, a 51-year-old Catholic Church deacon, was piloting a helicopter when it crashed in the Woodlands on January 16, 2015.


The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Safari Helicopter; Marianna, Florida 

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


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

http://registry.faa.govN416JB

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in The Woodlands, TX
Aircraft: BAKER BOBBY J SAFARI, registration: N416JB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 16, 2015, about 1230 central standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Safari 400 helicopter, N416JB, impacted terrain following a loss of control in The Woodlands, Texas. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan was filed. 

Witnesses reported that the helicopter was flying in a south-west direction over the property of Woodland Church. The helicopter appeared normal as it neared the church, then the helicopter "turned sideways," banked to the left, and descended to the ground. One witness stated that he heard a breaking sound and saw the "back rotor" hanging. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 51, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument ratings. He held a second-class airman medical certificate that was issued on April 23, 2014, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. On the application for this medical certification, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 2,300 total flight hours of which 150 hours were in the previous 6 months.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated a total of 48.5 hours total helicopter time at the time of the accident. The pilot began his helicopter training in a Schweizer 269C on September 28, 2014. He accumulated a total of 24.0 hours (including 2.5 hours of solo time) in the Schweizer before transitioning to the accident helicopter on December 18, 2014. He had accumulated 25.7 hours total time (including 11 hours of solo time) in the Safari at the time of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The helicopter was constructed from a kit produced by Safari Helicopter. It was a two-seat, skid-equipped helicopter with two composite main rotor blades that rotated clockwise and a tail rotor for anti-torque control. The helicopter was equipped with an Aero Sport O-360 engine. Components such as the main rotor head and the tail rotor would typically be delivered to the customer fully assembled.

The accident helicopter, serial number CH2181, was built by the owner of Safari Helicopters on March 1, 2010. A special airworthiness certificate for the helicopter was issued by the FAA on March 6, 2010. The helicopter was sold about 5 days later to a private individual who owned the helicopter until the accident pilot purchased it on November 6, 2014.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1153, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH) automated surface reporting system, located 17 miles southeast of the accident site, reported the following weather conditions: calm winds, 10 miles visibility, ceiling broken at 2,500 ft, temperature 8ºC, dew point 3ºC, and altimeter 30.93 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) did not travel to the accident scene. According to photographs taken by the FAA on-site, the main wreckage consisting of the fuselage, main rotor, tail and tail rotor came to rest at the fenceline of a treed area. The horizontal stabilizer had separated from the tail boom and was found about 65 feet northeast of the fuselage. The right door frame was found about 85 feet northeast of the fuselage.

The helicopter wreckage was examined at the facilities of Air Salvage of Dallas on February 24-25, 2015, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC. The examination revealed that the horizontal stabilizer's spar (a steel tube) had separated at the weld area just outboard of a round steel plate (the stabilizer mounting flange) that was welded to the spar. The fracture exhibited signatures of corrosion and fatigue at the weld line. The inboard portion of the spar remained bolted to the tail boom at the mounting flange. Paint transfers were observed on one tail rotor blade. These transfers were located on the side of the blade where the horizontal stabilizer would be mounted. Additionally, both tail rotor blades exhibited impact damage on the leading and trailing edges of the blades. 

Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls through the tail rotor system. The control pedal cable leading from the tail rotor assembly to the right control pedal was found in the full right control pedal position. (In this helicopter, the right pedal is used to counter the torque of the main rotor.) The stationary swash plate (controlling right/left, fore, and aft cyclic) was fractured and separated at all three push-pull tubes. The right door upper and lower hinges were intact, and the upper and lower latching points appeared normal.

The governor friction clutch was found loose. The friction clutch was found to rotate freely and was characterized by a Safari Helicopter representative as slightly loose. According to the Safari Helicopter representative, an excessively loose friction clutch could prevent effective throttle manipulation by the governor, and an overly tight friction clutch could prevent the pilot from over-riding the governor. An instructor pilot for Safari who had recently flown with the accident pilot in the accident helicopter stated that the governor appeared to operate properly.

Engine continuity was confirmed by turning the crankshaft to establish compression at all four cylinders. The four top and four bottom spark plugs were removed from the engine. All eight spark plugs appeared unremarkable. The magneto was turned by hand and sparked at all four connection wires.

The carburetor was in the full throttle position. Blue colored fuel (consistent in appearance with 100 low-lead aviation fuel) was found in the carburetor. The gascolator and carburetor fuel filter screens were void of contaminants. The air filter was examined and appeared unremarkable.

Main Rotor System

The main transmission pinion, tail rotor output shaft, and clutch assembly were separated from the main transmission and free of their mountings. The bottom of the clutch assembly showed evidence of a rotational impact of the clutch drive plate on one of the six clutch drum mount bolts consistent with rotation at the time of impact.

Both composite main rotor blades were deformed upward. One main rotor blade was broken through the laminate and spar about 2 feet outboard of the grip; however, the brass rod along the leading edge was intact but severely deformed. Both main rotor blades exhibited impact marks along the outboard 3 to 4 feet of the leading edges. The main rotor blades rotated normally about the feathering axis when rotated by hand at the grips.

The shear line from the transmission to the main rotor shaft was intact consistent with movement of the gears of the main shaft. The drive gear was still coupled to the shaft.

Tail Section

Impact marks on the tail structure and tail rotor drive shaft were observed. The damage was consistent with a right to left main rotor strike, when looking forward.

The tail rotor drive shaft was impacted at 14.5 inches aft of the forward edge of the fifth bearing frame. The fractured end of the tail was near the forward end of the tail boom. The sixth bearing, along with the tail rotor input coupling and the aft end of the drive shaft (about 24 inches) were missing.

The tail rotor output from the main transmission spun freely; however, the bearings did not rotate smoothly. The tail rotor pitch arms were fastened in their grips. The tail rotor pitch links were deformed and still attached. 

Flight Deck Observations

The ignition switch was found in the right ("R") position. A test of the magneto switch and the ignition module pin (#1) indicted the electronic ignition was open, and the magneto was grounded. Only the electronic ignition would have been operating at this switch setting.

The helicopter had warning indicator bulbs for the main rotor, tail rotor, governor, fuel low, and low oil pressure; examination of all five bulbs revealed that none exhibited the typical filament stretching found when a bulb is lit at impact. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted under the authority of Montgomery County Forensic Services, Conroe, Texas. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to "multiple blunt injuries."

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing for the pilot. The pilot's toxicology results were negative for carbon monoxide and alcohol. The medications colchicine, doxazosin, and valsartan were detected.

The pilot reported use of doxasozin and valsartan on his most recent FAA medical examination. Both of these prescription medications are used to treat high blood pressure and are not considered to pose a hazard to flight safety. The prescription medication colchicine, which is used to prevent and/or relieve the pain from gout attacks in adults, was not reported previously to the FAA. Some possible side effects of colchicine include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and weakness.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Horizontal Stabilizer

The horizontal stabilizer and the tail rotor cross and sleeve assembly were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC, for further examination. The phenolic sleeve on the tail rotor cross was fractured at the end flange. Examination of the flange fracture revealed a brittle overstress separation with no indications of discontinuities.

The spar tube of the horizontal stabilizer was fractured just outboard of the mounting flange and adjacent to the inboard edge of the airfoil section. The forward side of the end plate was bent slightly outboard but no impact damage was apparent on either the end plate or the airfoil skin of the stabilizer. 

As manufactured, the mounting flange of the spar is welded (on the outboard side) to the spar tube and positioned immediately adjacent to the inboard edge of the airfoil skin. As assembled, the fracture location and weld are partially hidden by the airfoil skin and not directly visible.

Most of the fracture followed the outboard edge of the mounting flange weld. As initially received, large areas of both fracture faces were obscured by red and brown corrosion products. These surfaces were cleaned for a more detailed examination. Magnified optical examinations of the fracture surfaces identified features consistent with fatigue cracking. Three fatigue origins were found on the outer surface of the spar tube at the outboard toe (edge) of the assembly weld. The fatigue propagated generally radially through the wall thickness with some circumferential spreading. The fatigue cracking progressed through about half of the total spar cross section. The fatigue origins and propagation were all on the aft portion of the spar. No corrosion or other obvious damage was apparent at any of the origins.

Examinations also uncovered a rust-covered crack slightly inboard of and undercutting the main fracture plain. The undercutting crack intersected the outboard fatigue and formed part of the overall fracture. Magnified examinations of the crack faces without opening revealed fatigue features with at least one fatigue origin on the outer surface of the spar. The crack morphology was consistent with additional fatigue origins in the unopened portion of the crack.

The remaining fracture surface displayed separation features and deformation patterns consistent with overstress separation. The deformation pattern was consistent with forces associated with the stabilizer tip moving forward and outboard.

Visually, the weld exhibited good workmanship with no apparent undercutting, weld cracking, or surface discontinuities. A small pore and a single area of lack of fusion were uncovered by the weld fracturing in the overstress regions.

The inboard fracture face was viewed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) after it was cleaned and the corrosion removed. The fracture area near one fatigue origin point displayed a corrosion-damaged surface, while fracture two other surfaces were much less damaged by corrosion and displayed features consistent with fatigue cracking in alloy steels.

Energy dispersive x-ray spectra of the spar material acquired during SEM examinations were typical of an AISI2 4100 series alloy steel as indicated on the stabilizer engineering drawing.

Ignition System

Examinations of the LSE Plasma III CD Ignition Module (S/N: 43546), the Hall Effect Module (S/N: 1440), and the ignition coils (P/N: 356120) were conducted on March 31, 2015, at the facilities of Light Speed Engineering in Santa Paula, California, with NTSB oversight. No evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction was noted during the examinations.

Handheld GPS Device

A Garmin GPSMAP 296 hand-held GPS device was retrieved from the accident site and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for examination. No tracklog information was present on the device after download using the manufacturer procedures. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As a result of the fatigue cracking of the horizontal stabilizer spar found during this investigation, Safari Helicopter issued a mandatory inspection and modification bulletin titled, "Horizontal Stabilizer Mandatory Inspection and Modification," on April 6, 2015. The bulletin specified a liquid penetrant inspection (LPI) of the horizontal stabilizer as follows:

"On helicopters in operation less than 24 months, this inspection should be accomplished at the next annual condition or 100-hour inspection. On helicopters older than 24 months, the inspection should be accomplished before next flight. This inspection should be added to the annual condition inspection for your particular aircraft."

The bulletin stated that, if cracking was found on the horizontal stabilizer spar, it must be replaced with a new spar. If no cracking was found during LPI inspection, Safari indicated that a steel tube insert must be installed into the end of the stabilizer to extend the "full length of the tail boom mount."

The bulletin also noted that the loss of the horizontal stabilizer "would change the attitude of the helicopter." Given that the stabilizer provides a downward-acting force on the tail section of the helicopter, this attitude change would be experienced by the pilot as an abrupt, uncommanded nose-down pitch.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA104
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in The Woodlands, TX
Aircraft: BAKER BOBBY J SAFARI, registration: N416JB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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


On January 16, 2015 about 1230 central standard time (CST), a Safari Helicopter, N416JB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in The Woodlands, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot as a personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight which operated without a flight plan. 


Witnesses reported seeing the helicopter flying overhead when it began to "turn" and descended into the trees, followed by the sound of impact. 



At 1153, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH) automated surface reporting system reported the following weather conditions: calm winds, 10 statute miles visibility, ceiling broken at 2,500 feet, temperature 8 degrees Celsius, dew point 3 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.93 inches of mercury.

====================

A Montgomery County businessman died Friday when a two-seat helicopter he was piloting came crashing down in a quiet neighborhood in The Woodlands, state troopers said.   


Troopers identified the man as 51-year-old Michael Gene Mims of Conroe, a deacon at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in The Woodlands.


An FAA spokesman said investigators are trying to determine what happened when the orange Safari Aero Sport Helicopter that Mims was piloting crashed on top of a wooden backyard fence.


Emergency responders still surrounded the wreckage hours after the crash, which the state Department of Public Safety says happened at around 12:30 p.m. near Texas 242 and Gosling Road.


Mims was the sole victim.


David Snow, who lives two blocks away, said he saw the two-seat helicopter fall from about 300 feet. He said he heard the sound of metal scraping and then looked up and saw the helicopter losing control.


"When it fell, it fell fast," he said. "The tail rotor started to disintegrate."


Snow ran over to the man after the crash but could tell he was dead.


"And he was strapped in, there was no way I could've gotten him out." Snow said. "It's very sad."


Parishioners took to Twitter on Friday to praise Mims' faith and homilies.


An article in the Texas Catholic Herald News identified him in 2011 as a president of Imagi-Motive, a Magnolia-based company that designed tailgating features and other accessories for cars and trucks. The article said he worked with his son Kevin, who was listed at the time as a vice president, and credited them with helping to transform a bus into a "mobile pregnancy crisis center."


Mims spoke in a 2013 homily posted on the church's website of being called "to become more missionary" in his ministry and of a planned trip to northeastern Honduras to begin planning a mission trip.


"This is a time to be bold in our faith; to stand up and be recognized as people of God," he said, according to the text.


http://www.chron.com


THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Investigators are on scene after a pilot was killed in a helicopter crash in The Woodlands. 

The crash happened in a field on College Park and Gossling around 1 p.m. Friday.


The pilot has been confirmed dead. He has been identified as 51-year-old Michael Gene Mims, of Conroe, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.


Eyewitness accounts could help determine the cause of this crash.


"I was in my back yard and I just looked over there," eyewitness David Snow said. "I heard everything starting to fall apart on it. It was disintegrating. The tail rudder was just coming off the thing."


Both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Authority are on scene investigating.


Mims was a deacon at the St. Anthony Padua Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released the following statement:


"Deacon Mike Mims was a beloved member of the St. Anthony of Padua parish community in The Woodlands and a faithful servant in the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family of Deacon Mims and the St. Anthony community."




UPDATE:   The pilot of an experimental helicopter that crashed just after noon today, has been identified as Gene "Mike" Mims, a deacon at St. Anthony of Padua Church, who resided on Pine Acres Drive off Peoples Road, east of W.G. Jones State Forest.

The helicopter went down behind the Woodlands Church in the vicinity of Gosling Rd. and SH 242. Mims did not survive the crash. There were no passengers on board.


Both the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) are investigating the accident.


ORIGINAL STORY:


THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Investigators are on the scene of a helicopter crash in Montgomery County in the vicinity of Gosling Road and SH 242, near the Woodlands Church at approximately 1:00 p.m. Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies, the Department of Public Safety, MCHD , and The Woodlands Fire Department responded to the scene.


Royce Brooks of Woodlands Online was traveling on Gosling near the intersection of SH 242, and witnessed the helicopter overhead, and then saw patrol cars making U-turns and activating emergency lights and sirens.


"I saw the helicopter overhead and it appeared to be in distress. Then I saw the patrol cars make U-turns and accelerate."


Woodlands Online Sales and Marketing representative, Lisa Olinger, also witnessed the aftermath of the crash.


"I saw the smoke from the crash," said Olinger.


One confirmed fatality.


Stay tune to Woodlands Online for more information.



THE WOODLANDS, Texas – One person is dead after a helicopter crashed early Friday afternoon near State Highway 242 in Montgomery County, according to DPS Troopers.

The DPS said only person in the aircraft at the time of the crash, who was later identified by the FAA as 51-year-old Gene Mims of Conroe. DPS officials said the crash happened east of Gosling at around 12:20 p.m. Aerial views from Air 11 show the aircraft had crashed into a wood fence near an open area.


According to witnesses, it looked as if Mims was attempted to steer the helicopter away from nearby homes.


The chopper is described as a two-seater Safari.


Source:  http://www.khou.com

DPS trooper Howard Sonnier, left, walks away from a helicopter crash scene with justice of the peace Edie Connelly near Highway 242 and Gosling Rd., Friday, January 16, 2015, in The Woodlands.

DPS trooper Erik Burse speaks with the media after a helicopter crashed in a residential neighborhood near Highway 242 and Gosling Rd., Friday, January 16, 2015, in The Woodlands. 






























UltraStar ultralight: Accident occurred January 16, 2015 at Bagdad Airport (E51), Arizona

Regis#: UNREGISTERED 

Aircraft Model: ULTRASTAR

Event Type: Accident

Highest Injury: Serious

Damage: Substantial

UNREGISTERED ULTRASTAR ULTRALIGHT ON TAKE OFF FLIPPED OVER, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, BAGDAD, AZ

Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07


BAGDAD, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities in north-central Arizona say a home-built aircraft has crashed near the Bagdad airstrip but the pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Yavapai County Sheriff's officials say deputies were dispatched to the airstrip around noon Friday.

They say 79-year-old Donald Low of Bagdad was the only person aboard. He suffered injuries mainly to his right leg and was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment.

The plane was a home-built light-weight aircraft with a 35-horsepower engine and single seat.

Low told deputies he was taking off for a test flight when a wind gust hit one of the struts causing the wing to bend. He was unable to control the plane at that point and crashed.

National Transportation Safety Board officials have been notified of the incident and are investigating.

Source:   http://www.azfamily.com








Cubcrafters CC11-160 (Carbon Cub SS), N232LT: Accident occurred January 16, 2015 in San Luis Obispo, California

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in San Luis Obispo, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2015
Aircraft: CUBCRAFTERS INC CC11-160, registration: N232LT
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, about 40 minutes after takeoff for the local sightseeing flight, he noticed that the engine oil gauge wasn’t indicating properly and that, about 1 minute later, the engine started to “skip.” Shortly later, the engine lost all power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field. The experimental light-sport airplane nosed over and sustained substantial damage. Neither occupant was injured.

Examination revealed considerable oil streaking along the airplane’s entire belly in an area obscured from the pilot’s view while in flight. Further examination revealed that the oil pressure transducer supply line, which was made of copper tubing, had separated from its fitting on the engine accessory case. Data from the airplane’s engine monitoring system (EMS) showed that, about 9 minutes after takeoff, the engine oil pressure dropped out of range, indicating that the supply line failed at that time; the data also showed that a flashing visual oil pressure alert occurred. For the remaining 28 minutes of flight, the oil pressure remained the same, and the alert remained active as all of the engine’s oil was expelled out of the separated oil pressure transducer supply line and overboard. The failed copper tubing oil pressure transducer supply line was the subject of a service bulletin (SB), which recommended either periodic inspection of the copper tubing for leaks or replacement of it with a flexible hose. Despite being inspected in accordance with the SB, the supply line still failed. Following the accident, the airplane manufacturer issued a mandatory service alert, which required the replacement of the copper tubing with a flexible hose. As noted, the EMS data indicated that a flashing visual oil pressure alert was issued to the pilot as soon as the oil pressure transducer supply line failed; however, he did not notice the alert and continued the flight. He eventually observed the alert just before the engine seized. If he had noticed when the supply line failed, he would have had ample time to return to the departure airport before the oil was exhausted. Given that this was a sightseeing flight and that the majority of it was flown toward the sun, it is likely that the pilot was distracted during the flight and possibly encountered sun glare that obscured a clear view of the airplane’s instrument panel.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate instrument scan during cruise flight, which resulted in his failure to notice a loss of engine oil pressure. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the oil pressure transducer supply line, which resulted in oil exhaustion and a total loss of engine power.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 16, 2015, about 1034 Pacific standard time, a Cubcrafters CC11-160 (Carbon Cub SS), N232LT, nosed over following a forced landing near San Luis Obispo, California. The experimental light-sport airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings during the accident sequence. The local sightseeing flight departed San Luis County Regional Airport, San Luis Obispo, at 0956. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported departing with the intention of performing a local sightseeing flight with a relative. The preflight checks were uneventful, and the engine contained 3.5 quarts of oil. About 40 minutes after takeoff he noticed the engine oil gauge was indicating "---" instead of oil pressure, and about 1 minute later, the engine started to, "skip." He made a radio call to the San Luis Obispo tower, declaring an emergency. A short time later the engine lost all power, and he guided it towards a highway. As he approached the highway he observed traffic, so configured the airplane for landing on an adjacent riverbed. During the landing roll the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The airplane was examined following recovery by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, along with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Cubcrafters, and Danbury Aerospace. Examination revealed considerable oil streaking along the fuselage, covering the lower right side and entire belly. The oil residue was in an area that was obscured from the view of the pilot and passenger while in flight.

The engine oil level was checked, and the sump was empty. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller, and excessive force was required to rotate the crankshaft. The engine cowling was removed, and the entire right side of the engine and firewall was coated in a film of oil. Further examination revealed that the oil pressure supply line, which connected the engine to the oil pressure transducer, had separated from its fitting on the engine accessory case.

The pressure line was made of copper tubing, and was connected to the transducer and accessory case with compression fittings, which utilized brass ferrules. The line exhibited necking at the separation surface adjacent to the ferrule edge. Removal of the line at the transducer revealed similar necking, but no separation.

Oil Pressure Line Service Bulletin

At the time of the accident, Cubcrafters Service Bulletin SB00025 Rev A, "Oil Pressure Line Inspection" was in effect. The purpose of the bulletin was to, "inspect the oil pressure line for leaks, and to provide the option to upgrade to a flexible hose."

The service bulletin called for mandatory compliance on or before the next 100-hour or annual condition inspection, with a subsequent recurrent inspection at 50-hour intervals, unless the line was upgraded to the flexible hose.

The last annual condition inspection occurred 130 flight hours prior to the accident. The mechanic who performed the inspection stated that he examined the oil lines in accordance with the Cubcrafters service manual. He was aware of Service Bulletin SB00025, (and had in fact ordered a set of flexible hoses for inventory) and although it was not specifically documented in the maintenance logbooks, he complied with it utilizing the inspection method both during the annual, and the two subsequent oil changes.

Engine Monitoring System

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon Avionics FlightDEK-D180 combination electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) and engine monitoring system (EMS). The unit was installed on the left side of the instrument panel, directly in front of the pilot. The unit was capable of storing over 180 engine and flight parameters in non-volatile memory. Parameters included GPS location, engine oil pressure, and alert status.

Data for the flight was downloaded from the unit during the examination. The data indicated that shortly after takeoff the airplane initiated a climb to the southwest towards San Luis Obispo Bay. The engine oil pressure remained about 68 pounds per square inch (psi), and about 7 minutes later, having reached the bay, the airplane changed course to the east. Two minutes later the oil pressure reading dropped to -106 psi, and the unit logged an oil alert indicating the oil pressure was out of range. The flight continued for an additional 28 minutes on a meandering east-southeast track along the coast, and then inland to the accident location. Throughout the rest of the flight, the oil pressure remained at -106 psi, with the alert still active.

Documentation provided by Dynon indicated that the alert would have resulted in both the digital readout and oil pressure needle "tick" flashing. The airplane was not equipped with an audible alert system, or the optional external alert annunciator light.

In a subsequent exchange, the pilot stated that he noticed the oil pressure alert just before the loss of engine power occurred, conceding that it was possible that it came on earlier in the flight, and that he did not notice it.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department, during the period of flight the altitude of the Sun when viewed from San Luis Obispo would have been about 26 degrees, with an Azimuth (E of N) of 147 degrees. This would have placed the suns position within the pilot's field of vision for the majority of the flight.

Weather at San Luis Obispo included clear skies, and visibilities of 10 miles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On January 28, 2015, Cubcrafters issued Safety Alert SA 0010, which superseded Service Bulletin SB00025. The alert removed the inspection compliance requirements, and instead required replacement of the oil pressure line with the flexible hose. The alert required mandatory compliance, and was due within the next 10 flight hours, or at the next annual condition inspection, whichever occurred first.

FAA records indicated that in March 2013, the airplane was converted by Cubcrafters from the Special Light-Sport to Experimental Light-Sport category, and was issued a new set of operating limitations. According to a representative from Cubcrafters, the conversion is often requested by owners so that they can modify aircraft without the manufacturer's intervention.


  NTSB Identification: WPR15LA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in San Luis Obispo, CA
Aircraft: CUBCRAFTERS INC CC11-160, registration: N232LT
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On July 16, 2015, about 1035 Pacific standard time, a Cubcrafters CC11-160 (Carbon Cub SS), N232LT, nosed over following a forced landing near San Luis Obispo, California. The light sport airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings during the accident sequence. The local flight departed San Luis County Regional Airport, San Luis Obispo, about 0950. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported departing with the intention of performing a local sightseeing flight. The preflight checks were uneventful, and the engine contained 3.5 quarts of oil. About 45 minutes after takeoff the pilot noticed the engine oil gauge was indicating zero pressure, and the engine started to "skip." He made a radio call to the San Luis Obispo tower, declaring an emergency. Shortly thereafter the engine lost all power, and he guided it towards a highway. As he approached the highway he observed traffic, so configured the airplane for landing on an adjacent riverbed. During the landing roll the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Van Nuys FSDO-01

232 LIMA TANGO AIR LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N232LT


A plane landed upside-down in a riverbed east of Highways 101 and 166 near the San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara county line on Friday. 

A small plane crash-landed and overturned in a remote riverbed in south San Luis Obispo County on Friday morning, but both occupants were able to walk away from the incident.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said Friday that 76-year-old pilot John Charles Butler, of Phoenix, Ariz., reported engine trouble and told authorities he was going to attempt to land on Highway 166.

Sheriff’s Office officials and the CHP blocked a stretch of the highway for the landing, but the plane continued for about 40 miles before landing in a riverbed east of Highway 101 and Highway 166, flipping upside-down with both people inside.

Butler and his passenger, 67-year-old Pamela Butler Zirion, of San Luis Obispo, were able to get out of the plane on their own and declined medical treatment, Cipolla said.

The Sheriff's Office, Cal Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, the CHP, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service are all assisting in the investigation into the crash.

Cipolla said local authorities have notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, both of which will also investigate the matter.

Source:   http://www.sanluisobispo.com

SLO Press Release

Friday 01/16/2015 3:30 PM - Plane Crash

Type of Incident: Plane Crash

Date and Time of Incident: 1-16-15, Approximately 10:36 AM

Place of Occurrence: Highway 166 at mile marker 40, San Luis Obispo County

Victim Information: John Charles Butler, 76, Phoenix, AZ Pamela Butler Zirion, 67, San Luis Obispo

Suspect Information: N/A

Details of News Release: On 1-16-15, Sheriff's Deputies responded to a plane that was reporting problems with its engine and was attempting to land on Highway 166. A portion of that road was closed to allow the plane to land. The aircraft landed in a riverbed adjacent to Highway 166 and flipped upside down. Two occupants were on board on the plane. The pilot is 76-year-old John Charles Butler of Phoenix, AZ. The passenger is 67-year old Pamela Butler Zirion of San Luis Obispo. Both occupants are fine and were able to extricate themselves from the plane without any assistance. Both declined medical assistance at the scene. Cal Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, CHP, State Fish & Wildlife, and U.S. Forest Rangers assisted with the investigation. The Sheriff's Office conducted the initial investigation and will turn over its findings to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for further investigation.

Prepared By: tcipolla

Released: Friday 01/16/2015 3:31 PM

Source:   http://www.slosheriff.org