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 Aero Sport, N416JB: Fatal accident occurred January 16, 2015 in The Woodlands, Texas

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.


FAA Flight Standards District Office:    FAA Houston FSDO-09

JIM   BENSON:    http://registry.faa.govN416JB



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 Friday.


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
















Aero Adventure Aventura II, N511DS: Fatal accident occurred January 16, 2015 in Sebring, Florida

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

Docket And Docket Items  -   National Transportation Safety Board:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

ALBERT D. SCHMIDT:   http://registry.faa.gov/N511DS

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA102 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Sebring, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/17/2015
Aircraft: SCHMIDT ALBERT D AVENTURA II, registration: N511DS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Several witnesses observed the airplane during engine start and reported that, when the engine started, the airplane tipped forward onto its nose and then fell back and its tail struck the ground. The pilot exited the airplane, walked to the back, returned to the cockpit, and then taxied out. No witnesses reported seeing the pilot examine the underside of the tail or the elevators after the tail strike. A video recording made by one of the witnesses after the tail strike showed that the airplane departed, climbed to about 300 feet above ground level (agl), made a 180-degree left turn, and performed a pass down the runway in the opposite direction of the takeoff. A few seconds later, after executing another 180-degree turn, the airplane performed another low pass down the runway, this time in the direction of the takeoff. The airplane then entered a left turn, the bank angle increased until the wings were almost perpendicular to the ground, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane descended in a nose-down attitude to ground impact. The airplane came to rest on its nose with the fuselage nearly perpendicular to the ground. Postaccident examination revealed that the elevator trim cable was separated from the trim tab. Although it is possible the trim cable disconnected when the tail struck the ground during engine start (and would have been noticeable to the pilot if he had looked), the investigation could not conclusively determine when the trim cable separated or whether the separation contributed to the pilot’s loss of airplane control. No other mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities were noted that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that, during the low altitude flyby, the pilot inadvertently entered an aerodynamic stall while maneuvering and did not have sufficient altitude to recover.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain control while maneuvering at low altitude, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.
  
HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 16, 2015, about 1100 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Aventura II, N511DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at the Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local demonstration flight. The sport pilot and student pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by a private individual and was operated by Aero Adventure for the demonstration flight, conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed at 1055.


According to local authorities, several eyewitness observed the airplane, during startup on the ramp, strike the tail of the aircraft on the concrete ramp area. A witness further reported that the pilot exited the airplane, walked to the back of the aircraft, returned to the cockpit, started the engine, and then taxied out for takeoff. No witnesses reported seeing the pilot look on the underside of the elevator or the tail of the airplane after the tail strike. According to a video taken by an eyewitness, the airplane was observed departing, climbing to about 300 feet above ground level (agl), performing a left turn, and then conducting a pass down the runway in the opposite direction. The video then shows the airplane performing a second pass, about 300 feet agl, down the length of the runway and then performing a left turn. The airplane was then observed continuing the left bank until the wings were nearly perpendicular to the ground, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane was last seen in a nose down attitude descending behind the fuel tanks at the airport.

According to contract air traffic control personnel, the airplane departed, flew the traffic pattern, then flew a "low approach," climbed to about 300 feet agl, made a left turn, and then impacted the ground nose first.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate issued October 8, 2010. He did not hold, nor was he required to hold, any class medical certificate while flying a light sport aircraft. He was medically eligible to fly as a light sport pilot as long as he had a valid driver's license. At the time of this writing no record of flight hours were located.

According to FAA records, the student pilot-rated passenger was issued a second-class medical certificate on February 27, 2008. On the most recent medical application the pilot reported 11 total flight hours. Although the medical certificate had expired he would have been medically eligible to fly as a light sport pilot as long as he had a valid driver's license.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane, serial number AA2A0124, was issued a special airworthiness certificate on September 1, 2005 and was registered to a private individual. According to documentation provided by the previous owner, a letter of agreement and contract for purchase with Aero Adventure, dated November 20, 2014, revealed that Aero Adventure would be in possession of, and held responsible for, the airplane. No bill of sale, dated prior to the accident flight, was provided to the NTSB. The airplane was powered by a Rotax 912 ULS, 100-hp engine. It was driven by an IVO 3B-GA propeller. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was conducted on November 17, 2012 with a recorded hour meter reading of 353.1, the hour meter reading found in the wreckage indicated 362.52 hours.

The fuselage of the airplane consisted of a fiberglass hull with seating provisions for two occupants. Pontoons were located at the outboard portion of each wing, retractable main landing gear were attached to the fuselage, and a steerable tail wheel was attached to the empennage.

The airplane was formerly equipped with a Ballistic Recovery Parachute (BRS) system; however, at some point prior to the accident, the BRS system was removed. Examination of the maintenance records did not reveal any logbook entries of the BRS system being removed nor of any recalculation of the basic operating weight and center of gravity (CG) position. Although an accurate CG could not be determined, utilizing the aircraft empty weight, located in the airframe maintenance record, dated August 30, 2005, the pilot and student pilot-rated passenger weights acquired during the autopsy, and considering a full tank of fuel. The aircraft, at the time of takeoff, would have been below the maximum allowable takeoff weight.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport was a publically-owned airport and at the time of the accident had an operating contract control tower, due to the airshow that was taking place at the time; however, normal operations at this airport would not have utilized an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with two runways designated as runway 1/19 and 14/32. The runways were reported as "in good condition" at the time of the accident. Runway 1/19 was a 5,234-foot-long by 100-foot-wide runway and runway 14/32 was a 4,990-foot-long by 100-foot-wide. The airport was 62 feet above mean sea level.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1059 recorded weather observation at SEF included wind recorded as calm; however, according to personnel associated with the airport the Automatic Weather Observation System was reported out of service due to the wind indicator. It also recorded broken clouds at 10,000 feet agl, 10 miles visibility, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point 13 degrees C, and barometric altimeter 30.14 inches of mercury. According to written statement by contract personnel working in the temporarily-manned tower, the wind was from 360 degrees at 13 knots.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

According to local authorities, eyewitness reports, and an eyewitness video recording, the airplane was performing a "fly-by" when the airplane pitched up, rolled to the left, and nosed down, impacting the ground. The airplane impacted the ground in a near vertical position. An eyewitness, who was also a mechanic, reported audibly observing the engine "cut out or reduced power" just prior to the nose down decent. Another eyewitness reported that the "tail appeared to flutter."

The airplane impacted the ground just prior to the arrival end of runway 14, about 150 yards from the airport's fuel storage farm. The debris path was compact and only a single ground scar was noted where the airplane impacted and another smaller ground scar was located where the engine came to rest. The airplane exhibited various degrees of impact and crush damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control to the respective flight control surface. However, the left side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane, was noted as indicating about 15 degrees trailing edge down and the elevator trim was noted as fully deflected, trailing edge down. The right side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane, was noted as in the neutral position. Examination of the elevator torque bar revealed the left side elevator torque bar exhibited numerous bends in both the positive direction on the forward top channel flange and in the negative direction on the aft bottom channel flange. The trim tab cable was also found separated from the cable eyelet and extensive corrosion was noted on the eyelet and cable. Several support cables exhibited tensile overload.

The engine, mounted above and aft of the cabin, was separated from the airplane by local authorities, to facilitate recovery The propeller remained attached to the engine; however, two of three propeller blades were impact-separated about 5 inches from the propeller hub, and the other propeller blade exhibited some indication of rotation, slight rotational scoring, and exhibited leading edge damage. Fluid was evident throughout the engine that appeared similar in color and smell as automotive gasoline (autogas). Both carburetors were removed and contained various amounts of fluid that were similar in color and smell as autogas. The cylinder No. 1 and 3 carburetor float bowl gasket was pinched; however, the pinch did not appear to impede flow nor was there any evidence of leaking.

The fuel pump was removed and a fuel sample was extracted from the unit. The fuel sample was free of debris and consistent in smell and color as autogas. The pump plunger was actuated by hand, operated normally, and no mechanical abnormalities or malfunctions were noted. Fluid, similar in smell and color as autogas, was noted as exiting through the outlet fitting during manual operation.

The harness leads on one engine coil were impact damaged; however, all spark leads remained attached to their associated spark plugs. One ignition trigger coil was impact damaged and displaced from its mount.

The engine rocker box covers were removed and examined with no abnormalities noted. The engine was rotated by hand utilizing the propeller hub and thumb compression was confirmed on all four cylinders. The intake and exhaust valves all operated smoothly and normally.

The engine was mounted on a pallet and forklift and connected to a battery. The engine started and operated at various power settings with no hesitations noted. Although, due to the one engine coil being damaged, two of the spark plugs would not have been operating; however, the remaining spark plugs appeared to operate as expected.

Both fuel shutoff valves, located between the two seats, were both found in the "ON" position.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on January 19, 2015, by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death was reported as "Blunt Impact to Head and Torso" and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The toxicology report stated no ethanol was detected in urine. The report stated Salicylate and Zolpidem were detected in the urine and Zolpidem was also detected in cavity blood. However, the level of Zolpidem was below the testing calibration curve and below the therapeutic level for the medication. According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research website the therapeutic low for Zolpidem was 0.0250 ug/mL.

An autopsy was performed on the student pilot-rated passenger, on January 19, 2015, by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death was reported as "Blunt Impact" and the report listed the specific injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the student pilot-rated passenger. The toxicology reported stated no ethanol was detected in urine. The report stated Ibuprofen was detected in the urine.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The elevator horn assembly and a section of elevator trim cable were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The elevator horn was intact and the left elevator attachment channel exhibited deformation in the positive direction on the upper flange of the channel and deformation in the negative direction on the aft portion of the lower flange. The deformations were forward and aft respectively of the elevator attachment bolt. The deformations were consistent with the elevator pivoting rear downward about the attachment bolt.

The elevator trim cable consisted of a solid inner cable encased in a cable sheath; the cable exhibited a forward bend. The cable, when in the extended position, exhibited a longitudinal wear area forward of, and extending into, the bend. The inner diameter of the sheath also exhibited a wear mark similar in shape and dimension of the inner wire. The wear had penetrated the plastic inner sheath liner. The wear on the wire and sheath were consistent with side loading of the cable. For further information on the examination of the elevator horn and elevator trim cable see the "Materials Laboratory Report" located in the docket associated with this accident.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA102 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 16, 2015 in Sebring, FL
Aircraft: SCHMIDT ALBERT D AVENTURA II, registration: N511DS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On January 16, 2015, about 1100 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built, Aventura II, N511DS, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at the Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring, Florida. The sport pilot and student pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local airshow demonstration flight which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight had departed at 1055.

According to eyewitness reports, the airplane was performing the fifth "fly-by" when it pitched up, rolled to the left, and descended nose down until it impacted the ground in a near vertical position. An eyewitness reported, audibly observing the engine "cut out or reducing power" just prior to the nose down descent. Another eyewitness reported the "tail appeared to flutter" and that the "flutter" was in the vicinity of the elevator trim.

The airplane impacted the ground on airport property, near the active runways and about 150 yards from the airport's fuel storage farm. The debris path was compact and only a single ground scar was noted where the airplane came to rest and another smaller ground scar was located where the engine came to rest. 

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedals to the rudder and from both cockpit control sticks to the elevator. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from both cockpit control sticks to the ailerons. Examination of the elevator control surface revealed that the right side elevator, as viewed from behind the airplane looking forward, was in the neutral position, and the left side elevator was in an approximate 15 degree trailing edge down position. The elevator trim tab surface was in the full trailing edge down position and the trim tab hinge was curved in the positive direction just outboard of the trim tab mid-span. The trim tab also exhibited binding when manually manipulated.

The elevator torque bar and trim tab cable were retained for further examination.


Dennis Gordon Day


DAY, DENNIS GORDON "PORKY" - age 56, of Groveland, Florida, passed away January 16, 2015, as the result of a plane crash in Sebring, Florida. He was preceded death by his parents, Betty Wise Day and Derrell V. Day; brother, Mark Steven Day; grandparents, Eva and Claude Day, Martha and D.W. Wise, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Wanda; daughters, Melissa and Denise; sons, David and Mark; step son, Luke Martineau; nine grandchildren; sisters, Sharon (Pete) Goodwin, Pam (Jack) Williamson; aunts, Margaret Wright, Peggy Reed; uncles, Mike and Dan Wise, Dennis and LeRoy Day; special friend, Buane Hunt of Canada. 

Memorial services Saturday, January 24, 2015, at the Florida Flying Gators Airport, Groveland, Florida. 

- See more at: http://www.legacy.com



Alex Gutierrez, left, and Jason Spinks with Aero Adventure set up one of their company’s amphibious planes last year for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. 



SEBRING — Highlands County Sheriff’s Office has identified the pilot and passenger of the Friday morning plane crash at Sebring Regional Airport. 

The pilot was Dennis Gordon Day, 56, of Groveland. The passenger was Jason Reid Spinks, 44, of Orlando, director of sales and marketing development at Aero Adventure of Rockledge. The company specializes in amphibious aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing their investigation into the cause of the crash.

Highlands County deputies responded to Sebring Regional Airport at 11 a.m. Friday. The plane hit nose first in the grassy area at the northeast corner of the airport runway and remained with its tail in the air.

The pilot and passenger were participating in the annual Manufacturer’s Show Case, hosted by the airport.

Family members were confused and shocked since both Day and Spinks are experienced pilots with thousands of hours of experience. Spinks was recently married.

“They took off and everything seemed to be fine, then they took a right bank. When they took a right bank, the aircraft nose-dived into the end of the runway,” Bill Wilson, Spinks’ uncle, told Fox News.

Family members said Day and Spinks had been looking forward to the expo, and they took great pride in the Aventura II, which mounted a single engine above the pilot.

The U. S. Sport Aviation Expo, a convention for small planes, ultralights, and homebuilt aircraft. The runway has been reopened, and the Expo will continue through Saturday.

“Everybody bragged on them about how they took care of their planes and designed the planes,” Wilson said.

Those with videos or information regarding the incident may contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office at 863-402-7200.

- Source: http://highlandstoday.com


SEBRING, FL (WFLA) - Two people were killed when a plane crashed near the runway of the Sebring Airport in Highlands County on Friday morning. 

The Highlands County Sheriff's Office responded to the airport around 11 a.m. observing the crash site in a grassy area at the northeast corner of the airport runway. The pilot, 56-year-old Dennis Day of Groveland, Florida and passenger, 44-year-old Jason Spinks of Orlando, were both killed in the crash. 

Officials say the pair was flying a small plane at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.

Bill Wilson, a relative of Spinks, said the flight was going smoothly until the aircraft made a right bank. At that point, the plane nose-dived into the runway and the two men were killed.

Wilson said the pair work for Aero Adventure, a company in Deland. The relative said the two men build, design and sell planes with the company.

Wilson said the two men are very experienced pilots.

Aviation enthusiasts from all over the country come to Sebring for the expo every year. It's an opportunity to test and fly new experimental aircraft.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash. 

http://www.wfla.com


Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies investigate a plane crash that left two people dead at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo on Friday morning. 










SEBRING — Two people died Friday morning in a plane crash in a grassy area near the north end of Runway 14/32 at Sebring Regional Airport.

Sebring Airport Authority Executive Director Mike Willingham and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Randy LaBelle have confirmed that two people died in the crash. Names are being withheld pending notification of their families.

The Sheriff’s Office is also awaiting officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate before releasing a cause of the crash.

The two people were participating in the annual Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo manufacturers’ showcase hosted by Sebring Airport.

Organizers expressed sorrow for the loss of one of their participants and sympathy to the families of the victims.

People on the scene said it appeared that the plane simply lost speed, stalled and spun nose-first into the ground.

Roger Dove, 66, of Sebring — who said he practically grew up at the airport — said he was filming the plane on his iPhone just before it crashed and was repositioning his camera when he saw the plane making a left turn over the end of the runway.

“It was slower than the wind speed, it looked like,” Dove said.

It rolled and went straight down, he said.

Dove said he was near the fence for the flight line, set up along Runway 14/32, and saw someone walk back from the wreck, hug two friends and say, “He’s gone.”

Who was gone, he didn’t know. The plane seemed to be nearly identical to an AERO Adventure amphibious plane that was parked near the flight line.

Tom Bliss, publisher of AVweb aviation news, said he didn’t see the wreck happen, but said Dove’s description sounded like a classic “stall spin,” where the plane fails to maintain airspeed and loses lift.

Jamie Beckett, ambassador with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said that in such a situation, a plane slows below the speed it needs to maintain lift, it stalls — meaning it loses lift under the wings — and it rolls over.

“It can happen to anybody,” said Beckett, a flight instructor. “We all train for it.”

Anyone who witnessed the wreck itself, has video or photos of the wreck in progress or other information regarding the incident is urged to contact the sheriff’s office at 863-402-7200.