Monday, March 23, 2015

Hawker Sea Fury FB.10, N13HP Fatal accident occurred February 18, 2014 in Breckenridge, Texas

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA143
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 18, 2014 in Breckenridge, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/29/2016
Aircraft: HAWKER SEA FURY ISS 25, registration: N13HP
Injuries: 1 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.

After several hours of ground instruction and one solo flight, the private pilot was making only his second takeoff in a single-seat Hawker Sea Fury airplane. Two witnesses standing at midfield reported hearing abnormal engine and propeller sounds during takeoff, and the airplane’s speed seemed to be slower than normal. 

Another witness, who had pilot experience in the Hawker Sea Fury, did not see the takeoff but reported that he could clearly hear the engine “screaming,” and he knew at that moment that the accident pilot was experiencing a propeller overspeed. A flight instructor was conducting a formation takeoff in trail behind the accident airplane to observe the flight. 

After his takeoff, he joined in on the right side of the accident airplane and he heard the accident pilot make a radio transmission that he had an overspeed and the airplane’s rpm was at 3,500. The instructor reported that the maximum takeoff power was about 2,900 rpm. No further transmissions from the accident pilot were heard. The instructor kept repeating for the pilot to pull the power back and keep the nose down. 

Both airplanes climbed to about 1,000 ft above ground level, and the accident airplane began a slow turn to the left. The flight instructor continued to fly in formation with the accident airplane and continued to transmit instructions to the accident pilot to lower the nose and reduce the throttle.

However, the accident airplane continued to slow and fly in a nose-up attitude until it stalled and rolled to the right. It then entered a vertical nose-down dive and impacted terrain. The flight instructor and witnesses reported that there was an immediate explosion and postimpact fire.

The witnesses’ description of abnormal engine and propeller sounds and the accident pilot’s report of 3,500 rpm are indicative of a runaway propeller. The Hawker Sea Fury emergency checklist indicated that recovery from a runaway propeller was possible when following the procedures listed in the checklist, which include reducing the throttle, decreasing the propeller angle, and maintaining an airspeed of 140 knots.

A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A laboratory examination of the impact- and thermally damaged propeller regulator did not show any obvious evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction or abnormalities. The cause of the runaway propeller could not be undetermined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s inadequate emergency response to a runaway propeller and his failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and stalling. The cause of the runaway propeller was undetermined.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 18, 2014, about 1638 central standard time, a Hawker Sea Fury ISS-25 single-engine, single-seat airplane, N13HP, was destroyed after impacting terrain during climb at Stephens County Airport (BKD), Breckenridge, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Breckenridge Aviation Museum; Breckenridge, Texas, and at the time of the accident was in the process of changing registration to J R Consulting NV, LLC; Midland, Texas. It was operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan had not been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The accident pilot had one previous flight earlier that morning, which had lasted about 20 minutes, and he was making only his second takeoff in a Hawker Sea Fury. Several witnesses near the runway at mid-field were actively watching as the southbound accident airplane took off. They reported hearing abnormal engine and propeller sounds and the airplane's vertical climb speed seemed to be slower than normal. One witness, who had pilot experience in the Hawker Sea Fury, reported that he could clearly hear the engine "screaming", and he knew at that moment that the accident pilot was experiencing a propeller overspeed.

The flight instructor was flying in a second single-seat Hawker Sea Fury airplane and was conducting a formation takeoff in trail behind the accident airplane. He reported that maximum takeoff power for the Hawker Sea Fury was about 2,900 rpm at about 50 inches of manifold pressure. After his takeoff in the second airplane he joined in on the right side of the accident airplane and he heard the accident pilot make one radio transmission that his "rpm was at 3,500". No further transmissions from the accident pilot were heard. Both airplanes climbed to about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl) and about one mile from the runway the accident airplane began a slow turn to the left. During this time the flight instructor was flying formation on the accident airplane and continued to transmit instructions to the accident pilot to lower the nose and reduce the throttle.

The accident airplane had almost completed a left turn to the downwind, had descended to about 500 feet above the ground, was slowing, and was flying in a nose-up attitude. The flight instructor reported that he saw the accident airplane stall and suddenly roll to the right. It then entered a vertical nose-down dive and impacted terrain. The flight instructor and witnesses reported that there was an immediate explosion and postimpact fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 38, held an FAA private pilot certificate issued on December 4, 2012, with a rating in only airplane single engine land. He also held an unrestricted FAA third-class medical certificate, which was issued on August 6, 2012.

The pilot's personal logbooks were not available for examination by the NTSB during the course of the investigation. Based on a review of copies of partial pilot logbook entries, FAA documents, and statements from witnesses and other persons, the pilot's total flight experience on February 1, 2014, was estimated as a total of 527 hours in all aircraft, which included about 100 hours of pilot experience in a P-51 Mustang, and no previous experience in a Hawker Sea Fury airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low-wing, retractable conventional landing gear, single seat, single-engine airplane, manufacturer's serial number (s/n) 37536, was built in 1956 by Hawker Aircraft Limited.
It was originally powered by a 2,480 horsepower Bristol Centaurus 18-cylinder radial engine, and then had a maximum takeoff weight of 14,650 pounds and a listed maximum speed of 400 knots, which made it one of the fastest production single engine piston fighters ever built.

After being imported to the United States in 1976 the airplane had been extensively modified. In 1989, it was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate in the experimental exhibition category.

At the time of the accident the airplane was powered by a 2,800 horsepower Wright R-3350-26WD "Duplex Cyclone" 18-cylinder engine, with a displacement of 3,350 cubic inches. The geared nose case of the R-3350-26WD engine had an output gear ratio of 0.4375:1 which provided a propeller rpm of 1,225 at an engine rpm of 2,800.

The engine drove a 13 foot 6 inch diameter Aero Products A642 –G805 four-blade propeller which had a blade angle range of 40 degrees, from 27.5 degrees at low angle to 67.5 degrees at high angle. The hollow steel propeller blades were controlled by a doughnut-shaped hydraulic propeller regulator unit mounted on the propeller aft of the propeller hub and forward of the engine nose case.

Aircraft maintenance logbooks could not be located during the course of the investigation. Based on interviews with persons at the scene the accident pilot was probably carrying the maintenance logbooks inside the cockpit of the accident airplane and the maintenance logbooks were most likely consumed in the postimpact fire.

Based on FAA records and records from the Inspection Authority mechanic, the accident airplane had completed a satisfactory annual condition inspection on February 7, 2014. The flight times on that date were estimated as an aircraft total time of 2,102.2 hours, and estimated engine and propeller total times of 902.2 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1630 the Automated Surface Observation System at BKD reported wind from 260 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 18 knots, visibility 7 miles, clear of clouds, temperature 30 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 7 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.83 inches of mercury.

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that, at the accident location, at 1638, the altitude of the sun was about 20 degrees above the horizon and the azimuth of the sun was about 241 degrees. Apparent sunset occurred at 1824.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Unicom radio frequency at BKD was not recorded.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The FAA Airport/ Facility Directory, South Central U. S., indicated that BKD was a non-towered airport with a field elevation of 1,284 feet mean sea level (msl). The longest runway was 17-35, which was an asphalt runway 4,997 feet long by 100 feet wide. Runway 17 was oriented to 180 degrees true and 173 degrees magnetic. Records show that runway 17 had a 0.5 percent upslope gradient to the south. Other shorter runways at BKD were also listed.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located on dirt and rocky terrain in a remote wooded area at an estimated elevation of about 1,250 feet msl about 1 mile southeast from BKD. Evidence at the scene showed the airplane impacted in a nearly vertical nose-down attitude. There was evidence of a postimpact fire which thermally damaged most of the vegetation within a diameter of more than 100 feet.

The initial impact crater was about 1 foot deep and about 5 feet in diameter. The completely separated front section of the engine was found upright on the southeast edge of the impact crater. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine's propeller shaft and two blades of the propeller remained attached to the propeller hub. The other two blades were completely impact separated from the hub, but were found adjacent to the engine and impact crater. The propeller blades showed evidence of leading edge impact damage and showed evidence of chordwise smearing on the blade faces. Broken tree limbs almost directly above the separated engine had impact damage which corresponded to the damage to several of the propeller blades. Broken tree branches from those overhead limbs littered the area. Dirt and rock ejecta from the crater was found mostly to the east and within about 30 feet from the crater.

The engine was examined on-scene and the engine oil filter was removed from the wreckage and disassembled. The examination of the engine oil filter showed no evidence of preaccident contamination.

The completely separated outer portion of the right wing was located about 20 feet to the north-northwest from the impact crater. The upright right wing had impact damage which corresponded to damage on adjacent trees. The right aileron remained attached to its attach points.

The completely separated wing, including the spars, right flap, both flap actuators, both main landing gear, and the left aileron were located upright about 45 feet east from the initial impact crater and were oriented with the leading edge of the wing to the south, and with the long dimension of the wing spars oriented east-west. The flap actuators were in the up position and both main landing gear legs were observed in the up or retracted position. The fuel caps were impact damaged and thermally damaged, but were intact and remained latched and closed.

Almost all portions of magnesium structure in the separated wing section had been completely consumed by fire and had left a fine white ash which had a distinctive smell. The same fine white ash covered much of the entire accident scene for a distance of more than 50 feet in all directions. All aluminum and steel portions of the separated wing spar were thermally damaged with evidence of puddled aluminum in some areas.

The empennage was located about 70 feet east-northeast from the initial impact crater and was completely separated from the fuselage, oriented to 210 degrees, and was resting upright about 20 degrees left side down. The horizontal stabilizer, elevator, vertical stabilizer, and rudder remained attached and did not show signs of significant impact damage. The tail wheel was retracted into its wheel well. The empennage and tail section had thermal damage which consumed or damaged most of the exterior paint, and partially consumed part of the aluminum skin on the empennage and tail surfaces. The completely separated left flap was located under the left side of the empennage. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the elevator and rudder to the separations at the front of the empennage.

The upper section of the cockpit fuselage was mostly consumed by fire and almost unrecognizable. Portions of the instrument panel had completely separated and were located mostly within about 30 feet to the south and southeast from the empennage. The completely separated cockpit canopy frame was located about 20 feet west from the empennage. Portions of the completely separated canopy rail were located about 30 feet east from the empennage. The cockpit seat frame was completely separated and located about 10 feet east from the front end of the empennage.

The portion of the wreckage most distant from the initial impact crater was the completely separated rear section of the engine, which included the supercharger section and accessory gearbox. It was located 95 feet to the east on a bearing of 085 degrees from the initial impact crater.

All portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident scene. Impact and thermal damage to the wreckage prevented an examination of the ignition system or the induction system components and prevented a complete assessment of flight control continuity.

The on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Tarrant County Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Fort Worth, Texas.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that tests for carbon monoxide and for cyanide were not performed, ethanol was not detected in vitreous, and no listed drugs were detected in blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The propeller regulator, including the control input rod ends, mechanical controller, internal hydraulic gear pump assembly, and the drive gear were removed from the wreckage and were examined at the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D. C.

Examination of the broken control input connecting rod showed the fracture surfaces were consistent with fracture from bending overstress.

The drive gear had deformation which was consistent with twisting and bending. Four of the gear teeth contained smear marks on their aft faces which was consistent with teeth-shaped witness marks on the forward face of the hydraulic gear pump housing. A 0.5 inch long radial tear exhibited characteristics consistent with overstress fracture. A key inside the circumferential face of the gear bore was still in place in the gear slot and exhibited smearing and deformation consistent with impact with an adjacent part and corresponded with similar marks on the inner face of the drive gear bore.

The hydraulic gear pump was still attached to the surrounding propeller housing that had fractured and separated from the rest of the airplane. The fracture surfaces were consistent with overstress fracture.

The pump assembly was removed from the fractured housing. Two of the three bolts were still fixed with safety wire attached. The inboard faces of the pump exhibited darkening and soot consistent with fire exposure. The right inboard side of the forward face of the pump exhibited four teeth-shaped impressions. Those witness marks corresponded with the smear marks on the drive gear teeth. The shape of the gear marks was consistent with the drive gear rotating clockwise (forward looking aft).

The rear and sides of the housing exhibited a few indications of damage. The most notable area was one of the side flanges with a bolt hole that had been worn away. The four bolts in the aft of the pump were still in place, with the safety wire affixed.

The hydraulic pump was disassembled and examined. The surfaces were covered in a gelatinous substance consistent with dried hydraulic fluid which left gear teeth impressions on the surfaces, consistent with the position of the gears at the time of the accident. The cylindrical surfaces exhibited longitudinal marks consistent with the positions of the internal gear teeth crests. Ferrous corrosion product was present in the housing interior. However, this corrosion product was confined to the corners of each gear recess. The pattern of corrosion was consistent with pooled water after the accident. There were no indications of excessive wear or smearing on the interior housing surfaces. None of the channels for hydraulic fluid flow contained any indications of blockage.

An examination of the hydraulic pump gears after removal from the pump showed that they were relatively undamaged and were able to be rotated about their shafts. The exterior faces of the gear teeth exhibited some rotational wear marks, consistent with typical service wear. The teeth exhibited some ferrous corrosion product, which was limited to four of the forward teeth faces and two gear teeth valleys on each gear. This corrosion was consistent with pooled water incurred after the accident.

The laboratory examination of the impact damaged and thermally damaged propeller regulator and other parts revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the Checklist for the Hawker Sea Fury: the Emergency Checklist procedure for "Runaway Propeller" on page 36 states:

"Failure of the governor to operate properly may result in a runaway propeller. A runaway propeller goes to full low pitch and may result in an engine rpm of 3600 or more. When such a failure occurs, the only method of reducing rpm is to pull the throttle back and decrease airspeed. In doing this, it is highly important to reduce airspeed in order to maintain the maximum horsepower available. The following procedure is recommended:

Throttle . . . . . . . . . . .REDUCED (2900 RPM)
Propeller . . . . . . . . . .DECREASE

Note: In case of an overspeed, moving the propeller control lever toward DECREASE may bring the propeller under control.

Airspeed . . . . . . . . . .140 KNOTS

Raise the nose to lose speed and then return to level flight attitude keeping IAS at approximately 140 knots.

When over a landing area, lower the gear and make an approach at normal landing speed.

Caution: If engine rpm cannot be kept within limits, expect the engine to quit or seize at any time".

Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ASAP"

According to the Department of Energy Handbook DOE-HDBK-1081-94, December 1994
Magnesium Properties – on pages 20 through 22, and page 34 states:

"The ignition temperature of massive magnesium is very close to its melting point of 1,202 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Solid metal ignition of magnesium can occur at 1,153 degrees F. Metal marketed under different trade names and commonly referred to as magnesium may be one of a large number of different alloys containing magnesium, but also significant percentages of aluminum, manganese, and zinc. Some of these alloys have ignition temperatures considerably lower than pure magnesium, and certain magnesium alloys will ignite at temperatures as low as (800 degrees F). Flame temperatures of magnesium and magnesium alloys can reach (2,500 degrees F)."

"The more massive a piece of magnesium, the more difficult it is to ignite, but once
ignited, magnesium burns intensely and is difficult to extinguish".


According to "Civil Pilot Accident Experience With High Performance Military Surplus Type Aircraft" (1967); R. G. Snyder: The study of one particular type of military type aircraft during a 26 month period showed that, of the 80 operational airplanes of that type, 25 of the airplanes were involved in aircraft accidents which resulted in 12 fatalities and 4 serious injuries. The conclusions on page 32 noted that the "major cause of these accidents was overwhelmingly pilot experience".

http://registry.faa.gov/N13HP

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA143
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 18, 2014 in Breckenridge, TX
Aircraft: HAWKER SEA FURY ISS 25, registration: N13HP
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 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 February 18, 2014, about 1638 central standard time, a Hawker Sea Fury ISS-25 single-engine airplane, N13HP, was destroyed after impacting terrain during initial climb at Stephens County Airport (BKD), Breckenridge, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Breckenridge Aviation Museum, Breckenridge, Texas, and was reportedly in the process of changing registration at the time of the accident; it was operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan had not been filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.


The flight instructor was flying in a second airplane and was conducting a formation takeoff in trail behind the accident airplane. He reported that normal takeoff power was about 2,900 revolutions per minute (rpm) at about 45 inches of manifold pressure. Several witnesses near the runway were actively watching both airplanes and reported hearing abnormal sounds as the accident airplane passed them at mid-field. One witness described the noise as obviously being a propeller overspeed and the airplane's vertical climb speed seemed to be slower than normal.


The flight instructor reported that after takeoff he joined in on the right side of the accident airplane and heard the accident pilot make one radio transmission that his "rpm was at 3,500". No further transmissions were heard. Both airplanes climbed to about 800 feet above ground level (agl) and about two miles from the runway the accident airplane began a slow turn to the left. The flight instructor continued to transmit instructions to the accident pilot to lower the nose and reduce the throttle. 


The accident airplane completed a turn to the downwind and had descended to about 500 feet above the ground and was flying in a nose-up attitude. The flight instructor reported that he saw the accident airplane suddenly roll to the right and enter a vertical nose down dive. Evidence at the accident scene showed a near vertical impact and much of the airplane was consumed by the postimpact fire. 





Ray Hofman


A civil lawsuit claims late-Midland businessman Ray Hofman took millions of dollars from Peak Completion Technologies to “live it up like rock stars,” using that money to pay for expensive cars, private airplanes, and for his own personal use.

Filed Feb. 20 in Midland County’s 142nd District Court, the lawsuit states officials with the company learned of Hofman’s supposed siphoning of funds after his Feb. 18, 2014, death.

Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety reported Hofman, the founder and then-president and CEO of Peak Completion, was flying four miles north of Breckenridge in a Hawker Sea Fury ISS-25, a fixed-wing, single-engine plane, when he “experienced a problem with handling causing the plane to nose dive and crash into a heavily wooded area.”

According to the lawsuit, Hofman owned 28 percent of the company.

Harper Estes, the attorney with Lynch, Chappell and Alsup who filed the lawsuit, did not return a call for comment Monday.

According to the lawsuit, Hofman submitted false invoices to Peak to pay for work done by SP Engineering — which builds and modifies custom automobile upgrades — and for an airplane.

Hofman was a well-known car collector locally and throughout the car community. 

According to the lawsuit, Hofman had numerous vehicles that included Mercedes-Benz, Ferraris, Bentleys and Porsches.

Hofman was also accused in the lawsuit of filing false expense reports for other employees of the company and then taking those checks and depositing them in his personal bank account.

Among the many other accusations, Hofman supposedly used the company’s money to pay for personal expenses such as utilities and the hiring of four full-time employees for his residence, according to the lawsuit.

Hofman’s wife, Janna Fulfer Hofman, is named in the suit as the independent executor of Hofman’s estate and did not respond for comment through phone call or social media.

Midland County District Clerk Ross Bush said Janna Hofman did not have an attorney on record. She is also accused of having knowledge of Ray Hofman’s supposed actions, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit went on to detail a number of stories showing the various ways Ray Hofman was accused of stealing money and how he reportedly spent the millions.

During the weekend of Nov. 15, 2013, Ray Hofman supposedly had the company pay for seven tickets to the Formula 1 race in Austin in which he said he would be entertaining clients for the business, according to the lawsuit.

None of the people in attendance were customers and Ray Hofman supposedly sent an email to a friend stating they would “live it up like rock stars,” according to the lawsuit.

Ray Hofman also supposedly asked for and received money for the Formula One tickets from three of his friends at about $5,000 a piece, according to the lawsuit.

While there, the group was also flown by helicopter to the race track at the cost of about $1,200 a day, which Ray Hofman supposedly had the company cover. During that trip, he also withdrew about $1,000 from the company’s account, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also claims Ray Hofman used the company to purchase several vehicles.

One purchase was reported as a 2006 Ford GT in November 2011 which cost $182,768.63, according to the lawsuit.

Emails between Ray Hofman and the seller of the vehicle stated the two worked out the purchase of the Ford and once the money was wired, an invoice was sent to him claiming he had purchased parts for the company, according to the lawsuit.

A similar setup was used to purchase a 2012 Audi R8 GT worth $235,293.75 and a 2001 Lamborghini Pearl White 6.0 worth $145,000, according to the lawsuit.

In August 2011, Ray Hofman began the process of purchasing a Zero airplane replica from the film “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and sent an email to Peak’s accounting firm telling them to wire money to an account in Australia, according to the lawsuit. The reported total cost for the airplane was quoted at $168,000.

The plane was registered to JR Consulting NV, which Janna Hofman supposedly oversaw, and emails between Janna Hofman, Ray Hofman, and the broker of the airplane deal supposedly joked about how the couple would need more “hangar space,” according to the lawsuit.

The plane was later transferred to the Hofman Family Foundation, a nonprofit foundation created by the Hofmans, and received a tax deduction for the donation of the plane, according to the lawsuit.

To move the planes to air shows, Ray Hofman would hire a pilot friend and would send an invoice to Peak’s accounting department for paying a “hot shot” contractor, according to the lawsuit. “Hot shot” work is used for transporting tools to a well site.

The move supposedly cost the company about $2,785.30.

The Hofmans also used the money for personal use, which included Christmas toys for their children, a pirate ship playground in their backyard, and for remodeling done to their residence, according to the lawsuit.

The couple also hired a full-time housekeeper and nanny, where she was supposedly making about $60,000 while on Peak’s payroll, according to the lawsuit. They also supposedly hired a grounds keeper, a mechanic and a detailer on Peak’s payroll, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the financial matters were kept hidden by Bob Dutton, of Dutton Harris and Company and also a defendant in the suit, because the company handled financial information for both Peak and the Hofmans, according to the lawsuit.

Instead of reporting discrepancies in the Hofman’s tax filings, different “tax strategies” were used to hide the assets, according to the lawsuit.

Dutton also supposedly helped hide the information when a sister company of Peak wanted to get a loan to obtain an airplane for company use, according to the lawsuit. A representative at Dutton’s office said he was not in the office Monday and attempts to reach him through social media were not successful.

When the bank requested monetary information about Ray Hofman to help secure the loan, Ray Hofman and Dutton supposedly drafted a way to keep much of the information hidden, and also joked to blame Janna for the delay in response, according to the lawsuit.

“We may just give them the w2s also for a quick response and blame jannas record keeping for delay on returns lol” Ray Hofman’s email was quoted in the lawsuit.

“You suck,” was the only response she had to the email, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit asks the defendants to pay Peak back the money, the attorney’s fees, and court costs.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.oaoa.com





On Tuesday, February 18, 2014 around 4 p.m., the life of father and business owner, Ray Hofman, was cut short when his plane crashed four miles north of Breckenridge, which is located northeast of Abilene. DPS officers working the scene said Hofman was flying a “Hawker Sea Fury Plane” he recently purchased when he experienced problems with the handling causing the plane to nose dive in a wooded area nearby.

A blog post by the CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, dedicated to the life of Ray Hofman, said Ray had a love for these planes since he was a boy.

He says Ray told him, “…His story about growing up in Canada and his childhood room covered with pictures of the CAF’s airplanes on the walls.”

Ray always got, “…The best instructors, bought the best aircraft and had them maintained by the best mechanics.”

The Hawker Sea Fury he was flying at the time of the crash is a British fighter aircraft known as the one of the fastest single piston engine aircrafts ever built.

He was also a lover of cars. His receptionist at Peak says, “Ray was an awesome, giving person! For the short time that I knew him, if he pulled up in his Ferrari, that meant he was in a good mood that day. Ray will be missed by a lot of people. I pray for his wife and kids, can’t imagine how hard this is right now. I pray that they find peace and comfort. It will never be the same around here. You will be missed, Ray!”

Steven Johnston shared on our Facebook, “I started working for Peak two weeks ago and was introduced to Ray my first day. He introduced himself and already new and called me by my first name. He welcomed me to the Peak family. To some this my not seem like a big deal but that showed me what kind of a man and boss he was. I only wish I could have known him better. R.I.P. Mr. Hofman.”

Before his death, Ray wanted to build a hangar across the street from the CAF to display his planes for the public to enjoy.

“He wanted to be close to the CAF so that he could help improve our museum with his collection of airplanes on display in our hangar – such generosity!” The CAF Blog, said.

Raymond Alan Hoffman was the President and CEO of Peak Completion Technologies.







Midland businessman dead: Plane crash claims car, plane enthusiast’s life

A Midland businessman died Tuesday afternoon after a plane crash in Breckenridge, according to several news outlets.

Ray Hofman, the president and CEO of Peak Completions, was flying a restored WWII fighter plane when it crashed at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Abilene Reporter-News and CBS 7 News.

Hofman was a vintage plane collector and car enthusiast, and many people in the car community posted their feelings about the man on Internet forums Tuesday and Wednesday.

John Hennessey, founder and president of Hennessey Performance out of Sealy, said he and Hofman got to know each other about 15 years ago, when Hennessey built a Dodge Viper for Hofman.

Hennessey said he hasn’t built a car for Hofman in seven to eight years, but was still saddened by the man’s death.

 “My experience was he was a gentleman and all-around good guy,” Hennessey said. “He liked fun, fast cars and eventually he got into fun, fast airplanes.”

Hennessey said while the two were busy and didn’t see each other often, he followed Hofman on Facebook and noted his new-found affinity for airplanes.

“It’s just a huge, huge loss for everybody that knew Ray,” Hennessey said. “My heart goes out to his wife and his boys. He’s one of those guys that will be missed by a lot of people.”

According to the Abilene Reporter-News, Hofman just bought the Hawker Sea Fury ISS-25 and was on a solo training flight when it crashed. The Reporter-News did not confirm Hoffman’s identity in its story.

Law enforcement later discovered the crash of the British Navy fighter plane, according to the Reporter-News.

According to a 2010 Midland Reporter-Telegram story about Hofman, he moved to Midland when he founded Peak Completions, an oilfield services company, in 2003, specializing in multi-lateral completion technologies.

Cessna 182Q Skylane, N735KF: Accident occurred March 17, 2015 in El Paso, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA174 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in El Paso, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N735KF
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot was conducting a visual flight rules aerial observation flight and returning to his home base. Radar and weather data showed the airplane maneuvering in instrument flight rules conditions before radar contact was lost. Examination of the accident site indicated that the airplane impacted rocky, mountainous terrain in a slight left-wing-low attitude at high airspeed, consistent with controlled flight into terrain. It is likely that the mountainous terrain was obscured by clouds and low ceilings at the time of the accident, which prevented the pilot from seeing the terrain. Although the wreckage was significantly fragmented and damaged by fire, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airframe or engine were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to continue a visual flight rules flight into known instrument flight rules conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On March 17, 2015, about 1240 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182Q single-engine airplane, N735KF, was destroyed after impacting mountainous terrain while maneuvering near El Paso, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Brentco Aerial Patrols, Inc, Canton, Ohio. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight. The airplane departed from a private airstrip near Hobbs, New Mexico, at an unknown time, and was destined for the El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas.

According to company representatives, the airplane departed Snyder, Texas, approximately 0755, to perform a pipeline patrol aerial observation flight with a final destination of ELP. At 1056, the company dispatcher received a telephone call from the pilot who requested weather information for the southeast New Mexico and El Paso areas. The dispatcher informed the pilot that El Paso was reporting light rain. The pilot told the dispatcher he was going to depart, and "if he was going to make it, he had better get into the air."

Radar data showed the accident airplane about 30 miles northeast of ELP and traveling southwest at an altitude of approximately 6,000 feet mean sea level (msl). About 25 miles northeast of ELP at an altitude of 5,850 feet msl, the airplane was observed to make a left turn towards the south and then execute a right turn back toward the north. After maneuvering to the north for approximately 2 miles, the airplane made a left turn at an altitude of 6,150 feet msl toward the west and radar contact was lost. 

After company personnel determined the airplane had not arrived at ELP, a search ensued with local authorities. The airplane wreckage was located by local authorities in mountainous terrain near the last radar contact about 0900 on March 18, 2015.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 70, held a commercial pilot certificate, with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on February 4, 2015, with a time limitation of "Not valid for any class after 11/30/2015" and "Must have available glasses for near vision."

According to the company, the pilot had accumulated 13,274 total flight hours, and 4,800 hours in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot successfully completed a company flight review on November 7, 2014.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 1977 Cessna 182Q, serial number 18265479. The airplane was powered by a Continental O-470-U reciprocating engine and a McCauley controllable pitch propeller. The airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on March 10, 1977.

According to the company, the airplane underwent its most recent annual inspection on December 2, 2014, at a total airframe time of 15,742 hours and a total engine time of 837 hours since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot did not receive an official weather briefing from Lockheed Martin Flight Service or any other official source. Prior to the flight, the pilot had a conversation about weather with the company dispatcher.

McGregor Range Base Camp (M63) was the closest official weather station to the accident site and had an automated weather observing system (AWOS) whose reports were not supplemented. M63 was located 11 miles west-northwest of the accident site at an elevation of 4,209 feet. 

M63 weather at 1230 was reported as wind from 010 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 20 knots, 6 miles visibility, light rain, few clouds at 1,300 feet above ground level (agl), scattered clouds at 2,000 feet agl, a broken ceiling at 2,900 feet agl, broken skies at 3,700 feet agl, temperature of 13 degrees C, dew point temperature of 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury. 

M63 weather at 1256 was reported as wind from 010 degrees at 10 knots, 10 miles visibility, light rain, few clouds at 1,400 feet agl, a broken ceiling at 2,400 feet agl, broken skies at 2,900 feet agl, temperature of 13 degrees C, dew point temperature of 10 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury. 

El Paso International Airport (ELP) was located 4 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas, and had an automated surface observing system (ASOS), whose reports were supplemented by a human observer. ELP was located approximately 22 miles west-southwest of the accident site, at an elevation of 3,962 feet. 

ELP weather at 1151 was reported as wind from 140 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, light rain, few clouds at 2,700 feet agl, broken ceiling at 4,000 feet agl, overcast skies at 5,500 feet agl, temperature of 16 degrees C, dew point temperature of 10 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury. Remarks: automated station with a precipitation discriminator, rain ended at 1114, rain began at 1147, sea level pressure 1015.8 hPa, occasional clouds topping mountains west through northwest, one-hourly precipitation of a trace, 6 hourly precipitation of 0.01 inches, temperature 16.1 degrees C, dew point temperature 10.0 degrees C, 6-hourly maximum temperature of 16.7 degrees C, 6-hourly minimum temperature of 15.6 degrees C, 3-hourly pressure increase of 0.3 hPa. 

ELP weather at 1251 reported the wind from 090 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 7 miles, light rain, few clouds at 2,700 feet agl, broken clouds at 3,000 feet agl, sky overcast at 3,800 feet agl, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

The observations from M63 and ELP indicated ceilings were likely between 6,000 and 8,000 feet msl around the time of the accident with light rain moving across the area and a gusty north to east surface wind. This was consistent with a cold front moving southward across the area at the accident time. In addition, the ELP observations indicated clouds topping and obscuring the mountainous terrain to the southwest through northwest of ELP. The mountains to the east of ELP were too far away to be included in the ELP observations, however, with clouds obscuring mountains and topping mountains to the west of ELP it was likely that the mountains and terrain near the accident site were also obscured due to clouds and precipitation at the accident time.

Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMETs) Sierra and Zulu were issued at 0845, with an update to AIRMET Sierra at 1215, and valid at the accident time for the accident site for below 15,000 feet msl. They forecasted mountains obscured by clouds and precipitation, ceiling below 1,000 feet agl with visibility below 3 miles in precipitation and mist, moderate icing between 12,000 feet and flight level 260, and moderate icing between 10,000 feet and flight level 210.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located in rocky, mountainous terrain at a measured elevation of about 6,195 feet msl. The airplane was fragmented and debris was scattered in a diameter of about 300 feet. The main wreckage consisted of the empennage, aft fuselage, left wing and engine. A postaccident fire consumed a majority of the fuselage, left and right wings, and empennage. Several small trees and vegetation displayed cut limbs in a pattern consistent with the airplane impacting in a slightly left wing low attitude.

The left wing, destroyed by thermal and impact damage, was separated from the fuselage. The flap and aileron were destroyed and remained partially attached to the wing. The right wing was separated from the fuselage and found fragmented and embedded within large rocks in the mountainous terrain. The flap and aileron were destroyed and remained partially attached to the wing.

The forward fuselage was fragmented and located within the debris field and displayed multiple areas of thermal damage. The cockpit and instrument panel were destroyed. The tachometer faceplate displayed a tachometer reading of 0711.0 hours, and the RPM indicating needle was captured at 2,400 RPM, which was at the end of the green arc and red line. The left and right cabin doors were separated and crushed with their respective locking pins engaged. One seat frame was located in the debris field and displayed thermal damage to the frame and seat cushion material. The three landing gear assemblies and tires were separated and located in the debris field.

The empennage remained attached to the aft fuselage. The left and right horizontal stabilizers were crushed and displayed thermal damage. The elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal stabilizers. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the empennage and displayed minor crush damage. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. 

Flight control continuity was partially established to all flight control surfaces. Several of the flight control system components were destroyed by thermal and impact damage. The flap position could not be determined due to thermal damage. 

The engine came to rest near the main wreckage. The number 1, 3, and 5 cylinders were separated from the engine. The number 6 cylinder head was separated from the remaining cylinder. The forward portion of the crankcase was fragmented. Both magnetos were separated from the engine and located within the debris field. The carburetor was separated from the engine, and the mixture, throttle, and fuel lines remained attached. The engine and its accessories displayed thermal and impact damage.

The propeller separated from the engine crankshaft at the propeller flange. The propeller flange was bent, twisted, and thermally damaged. The propeller hub was fragmented and portions of the hub were located within the debris field. Both propeller blades were separated from the hub. One propeller blade was bent, twisted, and the outboard 8 inches of the blade tip was missing. One propeller blade outboard section was located within the debris field. The inboard portion of the blade and blade hub were not located. The outboard portion of the propeller blade was bent, twisted, and contained leading edge gouges.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Medical Examiner of El Paso, Texas. The listed cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries as a result of a single airplane accident.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The tests were negative for all screened drugs and alcohol.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA174
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in El Paso, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N735KF
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 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 March 17, 2015, about 1240 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182Q single-engine airplane, N735KF, was destroyed after impacting mountainous terrain while maneuvering near El Paso, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Brentco Aerial Patrols, Inc, Canton, Ohio. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident and a company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight. The airplane departed from a private airstrip near Hobbs, New Mexico, and was destined for the El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas.

According to company representatives, the airplane departed Snyder, Texas, approximately 0855 central daylight time, to perform a pipeline patrol aerial observation flight with a final destination of ELP. At 1156 central daylight time, the company dispatcher received a telephone call from the pilot who requested weather information for the southeast New Mexico and El Paso areas. The dispatcher informed the pilot that El Paso was reporting light rain. The pilot told the dispatcher he was going to depart, and "if he was going to make it, he had better get into the air."

Preliminary radar data showed the accident airplane about 30 miles northeast of ELP and traveling southwest at an altitude of approximately 6,000 feet mean sea level. Approximately 25 miles northeast of ELP, the airplane was observed to make a left turn towards the south and then execute a right turn back toward the north. After heading north for approximately 2 miles, the airplane made a left turn toward the west and radar contact was lost. 

After company personnel determined the airplane had not arrived at ELP, a search ensued with local authorities. The airplane wreckage was located by local authorities in mountainous terrain near the last radar contact location approximately 0900 on March 18, 2015.

At 1251, the ELP automated surface observing system, located approximately 22 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 090 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 7 miles, light rain, few clouds at 2,700 feet, broken clouds at 3,000 feet, sky overcast at 3,800 feet, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

BRENTCO AERIAL PATROLS INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N735KF


From 2009 War Eagles Museum newsletter: The Museum’s latest acquisition is a 1942 Stinson L-5 Sentinel, one of the most important observation aircraft of World War II and the Korean War. El Pasoan “Doc” Nelson (left) was its former owner and restorer.  Waldo Cavender (r.) delivered it to the Museum from El Paso International Airport.



EL PASO, Texas -

A source in the aviation community and law enforcement tells ABC-7 the name of the pilot killed in a plane crash March 18 near Hueco Tanks is Waldo Emerson Cavender of El Paso.

Cavender was piloting the Cessna 182 that is registered to Brentco Aerial Patrols in Durango, Colorado.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. 

The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.

Story and photo:  http://www.kvia.com

Robinson R44, HQ Aviation LLC, N30242: Fatal accident occurred March 22, 2015 in Orlando, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 22, 2015 in Orlando, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/16/2016
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N30242
Injuries: 3 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.

Approximately 5 minutes after the pilot departed he told air traffic control that he wanted to return to the airport, but did not specify a reason. The pilot was unable to make it back to the airport and collided with trees, powerlines, and a residence. Post-accident examination of the helicopter found that the lower swashplate left forward attachment ear had no rod end hardware present. A review of the helicopter's maintenance logbook revealed there were no entries regarding the repairs to the main rotor system; however, the helicopter's journey log revealed that several flight tests had been conducted due to a track and balance issue with the main rotor blades. According the mechanic who performed the most recent maintenance to the swashplate, he did utilize the manufacturer's maintenance manual; however, he did not complete the work and the chief mechanic later completed the job. The chief mechanic did not make any entries into the logbook because he "forgot."

The inflight loss of control was most likely caused by the detachment of the left front push-pull tube from the lower swashplate due to the liberation of the attachment bolt. The cause of the bolt liberation could not be conclusively determined because the attachment hardware could not be recovered.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
An inflight loss of control due to the likely detachment of the forward left servo control tube upper rod end attachment bolt.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 22, 2015, about 1430 eastern daylight time, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 II, N30242, impacted a two-story residence while maneuvering near Orlando, Florida. The private pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to a private individual and operated by HQ Aviation. The local flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed from Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, shortly before the accident.

A review of voice transcriptions obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the pilot contacted the ORL air traffic control tower to request his takeoff clearance. The pilot received a clearance, for a downtown departure leaving from the operator's helipad. Approximately 5 minutes later the pilot contacted the control tower and stated that he wanted to return to the operator's ramp. There were no other transmissions made by the pilot.

Multiple witnesses reported hearing a loud helicopter flying low, which caught their attention. As they looked in the direction of the sound they observed the helicopter descending into a tree. One witness watched the helicopter's main rotor blades break apart as it descended through the trees. The helicopter subsequently impacted a power line transformer before colliding with the residence and erupted in flames. The witnesses called the local authorities and attempted to extinguish the fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 48, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for rotorcraft-helicopter. A review of his logbook revealed he had a total flight experience of 124 hours, including 13 hours during the last 6 months. The pilot possessed a third-class medical certificate dated September 6, 2013, with no limitations or restrictions. Further examination of the pilot's logbook revealed he was signed off on August 9, 2014 for the special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) No. 73, which required him to have special training to operate the Robinson R-44.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The helicopter was a Robinson Helicopter Company model R44 II that was manufactured in 2007. It was powered by a Continental IO-540-AE1A5 engine, rated at 235 horsepower. The Hobbs meter was destroyed and per the journey log the last known recorded airframe total time was 1,267.5 hours on the day of the accident flight. The last annual inspection of the airframe and engine occurred on October 31, 2014, at an airframe total time of 1,092.1. The last recorded 100 hour inspection noted under discrepancies "rotated TR pitch links" on December 28, 2014, at an airframe total time of 1,186.1 hours. This was also the last maintenance entry made in the airframe logbook.

Though no recent maintenance entries were noted in the helicopter maintenance logbook, there were entries in its journey log (flight log of every flight) that several maintenance flights were conducted in support of attempts to track and balance the main rotor blades. The maintenance flights were identified by (MX or MTX) in the journey log. The first flight was conducted by another pilot on March 1, 2015, and the pilot stated that the MX flight was conducted for a track and balance of the main rotor blades. The next MX flight was conducted on March 6, 2015 and March 11, 2015, by another pilot who stated the flight was conducted for a track and balance of the main rotor blades. The last MX flight was conducted on March 15, 2015, and was signed off by the operator to show that the work was completed.

In a telephone interview, the mechanic who performed the most recent track and balance of the rotor blades stated he performed the job in accordance with the R44 Maintenance Manual section 10.230, the tail rotor in accordance with section 10.240 and the fan in accordance with section 6.240. He said that he did not complete the work and the chief mechanic later completed the job. The chief mechanic stated that he was not clear where the previous mechanic had finished the previous day. Further interviews with the chief mechanic, revealed that he performed the last check and reading of the track and balance of the main rotor blades. He also mentioned that he replaced the belt tensioning actuator gear motor on March 10, 2015, but "forgot" to make all of the entries in the helicopter's maintenance logbooks.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at ORL, at 1453, included winds from 240 degrees at 10 knots; 10 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 4,900, temperature 30 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 18 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter came to rest on the top floor of a two-story residence, about 3 miles northwest of ORL, and on a 360 degree magnetic heading. The wreckage debris field was about 50 yards in circumference. All flight control surfaces were located at the accident site. Examination of the wreckage revealed that a post-impact fire was concentrated within the second story of the building where the helicopter came to rest. A postcrash fire had consumed a majority of the wreckage. The main rotor mast, head, and gearbox were found separated from the main wreckage and within the debris field.

Examination of the cockpit and cabin section revealed that the instrument console was destroyed by impact forces and fire. The collective and anti-torque pedals were found within the wreckage. The mixture was found within the wreckage in the full rich position and impact damaged. Examination of the flight control system revealed that is was fire and impact damaged. At the lower swashplate, the left forward attachment ear had no rod end hardware present, and could not be located. The rod end was present at the top of the left push pull tube, which was found within the wreckage.

The swashplate and push pull tube with the attached rod end were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The examination of the lower swashplate attachment lug bolt holes were examined for indications of damage or deformation. The side of the lug that butted up against the rod end was referred to as the "rod end-side" of the lug and the other side was referred to as the "opposite side." The rod end-side of the front left push-pull tube attachment lug exhibited an outward deformation along the outer lower portion of the bolt hole. There were no other notable features on the front left lug nor were there any signs of deformation on any of the other lugs.

Examination of the hydraulic control servos revealed that they were intact and the two forward servos had bends in their shafts and could not be moved. The aft servo piston was free to move when force was applied. The tail rotor pitch change slider was free to slide along the tail rotor gearbox output shaft.

Examination of the driveline revealed that the drive belts were completely burned away but displayed belt residue in the grooves of the upper and lower sheaves. The belt tension actuator was fractured between the anti-rotation scissors. The upper and lower actuator bearing were fire damaged. The lower bearing did not rotate when force was applied. The upper bearing rotated but dragged when force was applied. The sprag clutch was fire damaged and did not rotate. The forward flex coupling, main rotor gearbox input arm and main rotor gearbox was fractured. Further examination of the main rotor gearbox revealed that it was fire damaged. The main rotor gear box did not rotate and the mast tube was fractured. The main rotor shaft was bent and fractured. The droop stops and droop stop tusk were intact and in place. There was scoring on the main rotor hub just inboard of the pitch change housings.

Both main rotor blades were accounted for at the crash site. One main rotor blade was intact and impact damaged. The rotor blade was bent downward and approximately 33 inches from the coning bolt and the spar was fractured. The blade was distorted over the span of the blade and scored on the lower surface.

The opposite main rotor blade was fractured and scored on the lower surface. Examination revealed it was bent upward from the coning bolt and approximately 12 inches further outboard bent downward. The spar was fractured in two areas on the rotor blade; 70 and 104 inches from the coning bolt. The blade spar had a forward bend at the outboard separation. A section of the skin and honeycomb separated from the spar at the bend. The main rotor blade was sent to the NTSB Material Laboratory for further examination, and examined for indications of fatigue failure. The pieces consisted of an approximately 95-inch long section of blade from the outboard tip to a fracture through the spar at the inboard end and a smaller piece of the blade consisting of the trailing edge, upper and lower skins, and honeycomb core. The small piece was separated from the rest of the blade by a chordwise fracture approximately 80 inch from the blade tip and a longitudinal fracture that proceeded inboard just aft of the spar. The deformation and fracture features on the blade were visually examined. The blade exhibited an aft bend that extended from the blade tip to the approximate position of the chordwise fracture, buckling of the upper and lower skins, and a comparatively severe forward bend at the inboard end. The fracture at the inboard end of the spar was located at a circular hole in the spar and exhibited 45° inclined fracture surfaces, consistent with an overstress fracture. No evidence of fatigue was observed.

The intermediate flex coupling was intact but impact damaged. The tail rotor driveshaft was separated a few inches forward of the tail rotor driveshaft damper. The tail rotor driveshaft damper bearing was fire and impact damaged and was not free to rotate. The friction linkage was intact, but separated from the tail cone and the linkage pivots were fire damaged.

The tail boom was separated from the main fuselage, and displayed fire damage. The tail rotor control tube was fractured at the fuselage, and remained attached to the tail rotor gearbox. The vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer were impact damaged and remained attached to the tail boom. The tail rotor blades were undamaged and remained intact to the gearbox. The aft flex coupling was intact. The tail rotor gearbox was intact and free to rotate, and contained blue oil.

Examination of the fuel system revealed that it was fire and impact damaged. The main fuel tank was not recovered. The auxiliary tank was distorted and the fuel cap was not recovered. The fuel tanks were not bladder-style tanks and were ruptured. The main fuel tank flexible outlet line was breached, but intact on the fuel valve. The fuel valve was in place and in the partially closed position. The gascolator was intact and was removed for examination and no debris was found in the fuel screen. The remaining fuel lines were fire damaged, but the fittings remained.

Examination of the engine revealed that when rotated by the cooling fan, continuity to the rear gears and valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were observed on all four cylinders. Further examination of the engine revealed that the bottom of the sump was fire damaged and the fuel servo was not observed or recovered. The flow divider was intact and the fuel injector nozzles were removed and examined. The fuel injector nozzles were unobstructed. The engine driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and was impact damaged. Examination of the magnetos revealed that they both remained attach to the engine. The left magneto was impact damaged, but when rotated by hand it sparked on all towers. The right magneto was fire damage and did not rotate. The top spark plugs were removed and top spark plugs and the electrodes were undamaged. The bottom spark plugs were not removed and examined using a borescope. The bottom spark plug electrodes were undamaged an oil soaked. Examination of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of Florida District Nine Medical Examiner, Orlando, Florida.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot, with negative results for drugs and alcohol.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 22, 2015 in Orlando, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N30242
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and ma
y 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 March 22, 2015, about 1430 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N30242, impacted a two-story building while maneuvering near Orlando, Florida. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to a private individual and operated by HQ Aviation, Orlando, Florida. The local flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed from Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, shortly before the accident.


Multiple witnesses reported hearing a loud helicopter flying low which caught their attention. As they looked in the direction of the sound they observed the helicopter descending into a tree canopy. One witness watched the helicopter's main rotor blades break apart as the helicopter descended through the trees. The helicopter subsequently impacted a power line transformer before it collided with a building and exploded into fire. The witnesses called 911 and attempted to extinguish the fire.


Preliminary review of air traffic control radar data and voice transcription revealed that the pilot requested a downtown departure. The helicopter departed ORL on a westerly heading and approximately 5 minutes into the flight the pilot requested to return to the airport. This was the last recorded transmission from the pilot.


Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in charge revealed that the helicopter impacted the top of a two-story building about 3 nautical miles northwest of ORL on a 360 degree magnetic heading. The wreckage debris field was about 50 yards in circumference. All flight control surfaces were located at the accident site. Examination of the wreckage revealed that a post-impact fire was concentrated within the second story of the building where the helicopter came to rest.


The cockpit section of the helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire. The main rotor mast, head and gearbox were found within the wreckage debris field.


FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

http://registry.faa.gov/N30242



In this undated photo of Bruce Titlebaum and Marsha Khan, Titlebaum (left) is wearing a T-shirt with a statement that was surely intended as whimsical, but after the couple's death in a helicopter crash in Orlando, seems almost macabre. 
(PHOTO/Bruce Turtlebaum, via Facebook)



ORLANDO, Fla. —The National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Orlando Monday morning to determine what caused a helicopter to crash into a home, killing three people.

The Robinson R44 went down Sunday afternoon along Alameda Street near Edgewater Drive, hitting a guest house and killing the pilot and two passengers, according to the Orlando Fire Department.

Bruce Teitelbaum was identified as the pilot, according to NTSB officials. His wife, Marsha Khan, and friend, Harry Anderson, also died in the crash.

Investigators said they were on a sightseeing flight when the chopper crashed.

Police closed off several streets in the area immediately after the crash and the roads remained closed early Monday morning.

“This was a very slow ‘whop, whop, whop’ followed by three or four seconds later with a ‘boom’ and then everything went dark,” said Donn Carr, a neighbor, who was one of many in the area who lost power following the crash.

There was no one inside the guest house at the time of the crash, but investigators are looking into the possibility that there were others on board the helicopter.

“We don't know what caused the accident,” Orlando police Sgt. Wanda Ford said. “We just know the helicopter did go inside the guest house and thankfully there were no residents inside.”

Authorities said the helicopter took off from Orlando Executive Airport before crashing just two miles away.

"We can dig a little deeper into the aircraft itself.  We'll look at the engine, we'll look at the flight controls and we'll look at those various items," said NTSB investigator Eric Alleyne.

WESH 2 checked radio transmissions with the Orlando Executive Airport’s tower, which indicate a distress call around the time of the crash was never radioed in.

The transcript shows that there was a request from Teitelbaum to return to the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also expected to investigate the fiery crash on Monday.


Story, comments, video and photo gallery: http://www.wesh.com