Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N9679H, Western New York Flying Club Inc (and) Progressive Aerodyne Searey, N89KD, Fly Away Inc: Accident occurred September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9679H
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: KEVIN D'ANGELO SEAREY, registration: N89KD
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Uninjured.

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 accident airplanes, a Cessna and an experimental amateur-built Searey, were two of several airplanes participating in a volunteer event designed to provide the opportunity for young people to fly in a general aviation airplane. A route of flight for the event was established and briefed, and the pilots were instructed to make position reports over the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency at certain landmarks along the route of flight; however, no procedures were in place to account for the disparate operating characteristics and speeds of the aircraft participating in the event. Radar and GPS data showed that the Cessna overtook and descended to the altitude of the Searey as the Searey climbed slowly. During the last moments before impact, both airplanes were depicted at the same altitude and in close lateral proximity. The Searey pilot was unaware that his airplane had collided with the Cessna, but upon experiencing control difficulty, performed a forced landing to an area of thick vegetation. The Searey was substantially damaged during the landing. Immediately after the collision, the Cessna entered a descending spiral to ground contact.
A performance radar and cockpit visibility study determined that the Searey would have remained a relatively small and stationary object in the Cessna’s windscreen, appearing below the horizon and just above the engine cowling, for several minutes before the impact. The study also determined that the Searey may have been difficult to distinguish against the background of terrain. Additionally, since the airplanes were on a converging course, the Searey would have presented little relative motion to the other pilot, making detection more difficult. The Cessna would not have been visible to the Searey pilot because it approached from an area that was obstructed by the airplane’s structure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The other airplane pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate visual lookout for known traffic in the fly-in event traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 27, 2014, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N9679H, and an experimental amateur-built Searey XLS, N89KD, collided in midair approximately 2 miles southeast of the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport (BQR), Lancaster, New York. The commercial pilot and passenger on board the Cessna were fatally injured. The pilot of the Searey performed a forced landing to a thicket of low brush, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The private pilot and passenger in the Searey were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for either airplane, each on local personal flights which departed BQR at 1009 (Searey) and 1012 (Cessna). Both airplanes were participating in an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles event, and the flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses provided statements, and their accounts were consistent throughout. They each said their attention was drawn to the sound of the airplanes and/or the sound of collision. The airplanes were both traveling westbound as one airplane overtook the other, or was on top of the other, before one airplane (Cessna) was seen to "tip" or "roll" inverted before it descended vertically in a spiral. The second airplane (Searey) descended in a 180-degree turn and the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, "revving" or "sputtering" throughout the descent.

Radar information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted both airplanes traveling westbound on roughly the same ground track; the Cessna at 1,774 feet and 90 knots groundspeed, and the Searey ahead of the Cessna, at 1,575 feet and 70 knots groundspeed. As the Cessna approached the Searey from the east, it descended slowly to 1,625 feet. At the same time, the Searey climbed slowly to 1,625 feet. During the last moments prior to impact, both airplanes were depicted at 1,625 feet, and in close lateral proximity. Radar contact with the Cessna was lost in the vicinity of its accident site, while the Searey was depicted in a descending right turn.

The pilot of the Searey, who was flying from the left seat, said he was in cruise flight and nearing the point when he was to begin the turn north toward the airport, when he felt a sudden "bang" and heard a "snapping" sound. He said he wasn't sure if the airplane had struck something, or if something in the airplane had broken. The pilot said the airplane was unresponsive to control inputs in the pitch axis, and that he used engine power to control pitch. Due to limited controllability and trees further along on his flight path, he elected to land the airplane in the thicket to avoid greater hazards and for crash attenuation.

The passenger in the right seat of the Searey was interviewed by police in the company of her parents the day following the accident. According to the passenger, she looked out the right window and "…saw a white airplane coming at us from above and I knew it was going to hit us. I tried to warn the pilot but there wasn't enough time and the microphone was too far away." The passenger went on to describe the collision, the descent, the landing in the thicket, and her egress from the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The Cessna pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued September 16, 2014 at which time he reported 2,115 total hours of flight experience.
The Searey pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued July 10, 2014. The pilot reported 4,270 total hours of flight experience.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the Cessna was manufactured in 1975. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed April 25, 2014 at 8,069 total aircraft hours.
According to FAA records, the Searey was manufactured in 2014. Its most recent condition inspection was completed January 13, 2014, and the airplane had accrued 160 hours since that date.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1054 weather observation at Buffalo International Airport (BUF), Buffalo, New York, located 5 miles west of the accident site included clear skies, calm winds, and 10 statute miles visibility.

AERODROME INFORMATION

BQR was situated beneath the outer ring of the Class C airspace that surrounded BUF, at a field elevation of 752 feet mean sea level (msl). The single runway, oriented 8/26, was 3,199 feet long at 75 feet wide. The traffic pattern altitude was 1,552 feet msl, and the airport was not tower-controlled.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The Cessna came to rest on flat, wooded terrain and was examined at the accident site. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude, with the engine buried beneath the instrument panel in the initial impact crater, and was severely deformed by impact forces. The leading edges of both wings were uniformly crushed aft in compression. The airframe was cut by rescue personnel, and further sectioned for removal from the woods. Control continuity was established from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces. The propeller blades displayed twisting, bending, leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. Both blades displayed spiral striations about 5 inches inboard of the tips consistent with a wire strike.

The Searey came to rest upright in a dense thicket. The trailing edge of the right wing flap displayed a series of parallel slash marks, the structural tubing was severed, and the fracture surfaces were smeared. The structural cable between the wing strut and the empennage was still attached at each end, but missing an approximate 5-foot section of its middle. The two severed ends displayed features consistent with overload. The empennage displayed a vertical opening and parallel slash marks.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office the Chief Medical Examiner for the County of Erie, Buffalo, New York, performed the autopsy on the Cessna pilot. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the Cessna pilot. The testing was negative for the presence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Amlodipine was detected in the blood and urine. Amlodipine was in a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers and was used to treat high blood pressure or angina. Salicylate, a metabolite of aspirin, was detected in the urine.

The NTSB Chief Medical Officer performed a medical review of the pilot's records and the reports cited above. The review revealed no evidence of any medical condition or substance that may have contributed to the accident.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Young Eagles Event

The purpose of the EAA Young Eagles Program was to provide the opportunity for young people to fly in a general aviation airplane. The district coordinator for the event was interviewed by an FAA inspector about the conduct of the event.

The coordinator had organized the event using the instructions provided by EAA, which included an informational webinar for organizers. The volunteer pilots were required to be EAA members, and were also required to attend a briefing prior to the event. The items briefed included the current and forecast weather, the runway in use, the route of flight, and the various landmarks that defined the route.

The flight route consisted of a straight-out departure to the east, climbing to an altitude of 1,800 feet. About 10 nautical miles from the airport, the airplanes were to turn right and return to the airport on a track parallel to and about 2 miles south of the outbound track. The course terminated abeam the midpoint of runway 08/26. At or about that point, the airplanes were to descend to traffic pattern altitude, turn north to cross the runway south to north, then enter a left downwind for landing on runway 08. Traffic pattern altitude at BQR was 1,552 feet.

Pilots were instructed to use the BQR common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for all communications, which included position reports when making turns and at several designated landmarks along the route of flight. Airspeeds were neither set nor restricted while established on the route.

According to the vice president of the local EAA Chapter, each airplane participating in the event was assigned a discrete transponder code in coordination with the control tower at BUF; however, none of the airplanes were in contact with, or receiving any services from, the control tower.

Radar Study

A radar study was performed by an NTSB Airplane Performance Specialist. The radar data used in the study were secondary returns from the short-range Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9) located at Buffalo Niagara International airport (BUF), Buffalo, NY (transponder codes 0433 and 0416 for the Searey and the Cessna, respectively).

In addition to the radar data, a Garmin 496 portable GPS receiver was recovered from the Searey and successfully downloaded. The radar and GPS track data was used to establish a timeline of the flights, ground and flight tracks for each airplane and to create a simulation of the flight as viewed from the cockpit of the Cessna.

According to the simulations and graphs produced by the study, as seen from the Cessna, the Searey would have been located below the horizon and just above the Cessna's engine cowling for most of the westbound leg of the flight. While the Searey may have been within the Cessna's field of view, the Searey would have been difficult to see against the background of the terrain. Further, based on the distance between the Cessna and the Searey throughout the flight, the Searey would have been a small dot in the terrain background until the final seconds before impact.

Because of the high-wing structure of the Searey, and its relative position and altitude, the Cessna was blocked from the Searey pilot's view by the right wing, roof, and aft cabin structure, as the Cessna was above and behind the Searey during the latter portion of the flight prior to collision.
Although the pilot of the Searey stated that he was reporting his position on the CTAF along the route of flight as prescribed in the pre-event briefing, this could not be confirmed, as radio communications made over the CTAF were not recorded.

FAA Advisory Circular 90-48D, "Pilots' Role in Collision Avoidance," stated, "Pilots should also be familiar with, and exercise caution in, those operational environments where they may expect to find a high volume of traffic or special types of aircraft operation. These areas include airport traffic patterns, particularly at airports without a control tower…"

FAA Pamphlet P-8740-51, "How to Avoid a Midair Collision," stated, "…an aircraft on a collision course with you will appear to be motionless. It will remain in a seemingly stationary position, without appearing to move or to grow in size for a relatively long time, and then suddenly bloom into a huge mass filling one of your windows. This is known as "blossom effect." Since we need motion or contrast to attract our eyes' attention, this effect becomes a frightening factor when you realize that a large bug smear or dirty spot on the windshield can hide a converging plane until it is too close to be avoided."


James Metz



James Metz lived by a simple motto: Show up.

Show up and take part.

Show up and do the right thing.

Show up and do your best – whether it’s in school or sports or everyday life.

Now, a Lancaster student who exhibits that same attitude will be recognized with the inaugural James Metz Memorial Scholarship in honor of the high school freshman who died in a plane crash last fall.

James’ parents, Steve and Sue Metz, are humbled by the gesture.

“I’m very proud of it – very proud,” his mother said of the scholarship.

James died Sept. 27 on a sun-splashed autumn day while taking part in a free event at the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport designed to introduce youngsters to recreational flying. Soon after James and his pilot took flight in a small, single-engine aircraft, their plane collided in midair with another participating in the event. Their Cessna crashed to the ground, killing James and the 78-year-old pilot, Anthony Mercurio.

The scholarship is sponsored by the Lancaster Central School District’s Parent-Teacher Organization Council, which traditionally offers two community scholarships at graduation, said Patricia Burgio, a district spokeswoman.

But following his death, the organization decided to rename one of the scholarships after James, whose mother had been active in the group since he was in kindergarten.

The $1,000 will be awarded to a student who has shown integrity, selflessness and community awareness.

In James, his parents tried to instill those same principles using the simple message, “Show up.”

“It’s a saying from an old family friend,” explained his mother. “ ‘You don’t have to do a lot, but you should show up.’ We would tell James and his brother, Donovan, that from a young age and apply it to any situation whether it was academics or playing tee-ball. We just gave him that as a guideline.”

And James learned it.

His mother recalled how hard James worked to make the varsity swim team as an eighth-grader. His third-grade teacher once told his parents that she never met a kid with such a fully developed sense of integrity as James.

“James wasn’t perfect – he was a 14-year-old boy,” Sue Metz said, “but if I could say one thing about him is he had a very strong moral compass from a very young age and he did not waver – ever.”

James played trumpet in the high school band and enjoyed basketball. His younger brother, Donovan, has been raising money to refurbish the run-down basketball courts at Keysa Park in the Village of Lancaster as another tribute to James.

“He wasn’t a super athlete or a super scholar,” his mother said, “but he just did the right things and always worked as hard as he could.”

Lancaster students interested in the James Metz Memorial Scholarship can find the application on the counseling center section of the Lancaster High School website at lancasterschools.org/naviance.

To be considered, students must have an academic average of at least 75 and have plans to continue their education. Applicants must also write an essay of at least 250 words describing how they have demonstrated community awareness, self-awareness and integrity and how they “show up.” The deadline is May 1.

Source:  http://www.buffalonews.com

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA459A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Lancaster, NY
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N9679H
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 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 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 September 27, 2014, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N9679H, and an experimental amateur-built D'Angelo Searey XLS, N89KD, collided in midair approximately 2 mile southeast of the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport (BQR), Lancaster, New York. The Cessna departed controlled flight after the collision, descended vertically in a spiral, and was destroyed by impact forces at ground contact. The Searey entered a descending right turn, and performed a forced landing to a thicket of low brush, and was substantially damaged. The commercial pilot and passenger on board the Cessna were fatally injured. The private pilot and passenger in the Searey were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for either airplane, each on local personal flights which departed BQR at 1009 (Seareay) and 1012 (Cessna), respectively. Both airplanes were participating in an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles event, and the flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses provided statements, and their accounts were consistent throughout. They each said their attention was drawn to the sound of the airplanes and/or the sound of collision. The airplanes were both traveling westbound as one airplane overtook the other, or was on top of the other, before one airplane (Cessna) was seen to "tip" or "roll" inverted before it descended vertically in a spiral. The second airplane (Seareay) descended in a 180-degree turn and the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, "revving" or "sputtering" throughout the descent.

Preliminary radar information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that both airplanes were assigned discrete transponder codes. The data depicted both airplanes traveling westbound on roughly the same ground track. The Cessna was at 1,774 feet and 90 knots groundspeed and the Searey was further west, at 1,575 feet and 70 knots groundspeed. As the Cessna approached the Searey from the east, it descended slowly to 1,625 feet. At the same time, the Searey climbed slowly to 1,625 feet. For the last few seconds of the Cessna's flight, both airplanes were depicted at 1,625 feet, and in close lateral proximity. Radar contact with the Cessna was suddenly lost in the vicinity of its accident site, while a descending right turn was depicted for the Searey.

The 1054 weather observation at Buffalo International Airport (BUF), 5 miles west of the accident site included clear skies, calm winds, and 10 miles visibility.

The Cessna came to rest on flat, wooded terrain and all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest nose down with the engine buried beneath the instrument panel in the initial impact crater, and was severely deformed by impact forces. The leading edges of both wings were uniformly crushed aft in compression. Control continuity was established from the cockpit area to all flight control surfaces. Both propeller blades displayed similar twisting, bending, leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. 

The Searey came to rest upright in a dense thicket. Examination of the airplane revealed that the trailing edge of the right wing flap displayed a series of parallel slash marks, and the structural tubing was severed, and the fracture surfaces were smeared. The structural cable between the wing strut and the empennage was still attached at each end, but missing a section about 5 feet in length in the middle. The two severed ends displayed features consistent with overload separation. The empennage displayed a vertical opening and parallel slash marks.

At Boeing, Innovation Means Small Steps, Not Giant Leaps • Company’s shift reflects how the industry has changed

The Wall Street Journal
By Jon Ostrower
April 2, 2015 7:21 p.m. ET


RENTON, Wash.—After a turbulent decade, Boeing Co. is rethinking its formula for innovation.

The 99-year-old aerospace giant long has focused on developing new technologies that it reserved for big projects every 15 years or so to craft the fastest—and farthest-flying jetliners—such as its 787 Dreamliner.

Today, Boeing is centering innovation on incremental improvements that it can deliver more quickly to airlines with greater reliability and at a lower price, said Ray Conner, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane unit, in an interview.

Mr. Conner is overseeing the development of seven models to upgrade Boeing’s portfolio of jets with capacities from 125 seats to just over 400 seats, plus a new military refueling tanker. The updated products are adapting some of the technologically advanced features of the Dreamliner to models that have long been in production.

“It’s not to say you don’t innovate,” said Mr. Conner. He wants engineers “innovating more on how to [design jets] more simplistically, as opposed to driving more complexity,” he said. “How do you innovate to make it more producible? How do you innovate to make it more reliable?”

The shift reflects how sharply the industry has changed. Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney last year declared its era of technological boundary-pushing “moon shots” over. Airlines, he concluded, don’t want to pay more for advanced technology.

Saving up a host of advanced technologies for a single new project has proved too expensive and disruptive.

Mr. Conner likened the current landscape for selling jetliners to Apple Inc.’s iPhone. The smartphone’s starting retail price of $199 with a cellular contract has remained relatively consistent since its second model in 2008, even as each iteration is more capable.

Boeing’s formula is aimed in part at reversing market-share losses to rival Airbus Group NV. Both companies have experienced a boom, as fast-growing airlines in Asia, the Middle East and South America and carriers with aging fleets in the U.S. and Europe have driven orders for some 5,800 jets worth $440 billion at contract prices. However, Airbus, which has generally had a more incremental approach to new planes, has eroded Boeing’s share of the high-volume market for single-aisle jets.

Few are more familiar with Boeing’s approach to jet making than Mr. Conner, 59 years old. He started as a unionized machinist in 1977 not far from his current corner office here and held a range of jobs before taking over the commercial airplanes operation in 2012.

With the Dreamliner, Boeing revamped not only the design of a modern jetliner, but how it’s built. The plane boasted a mostly carbon-fiber structure and advanced electrical system that replaced many pneumatic and mechanical functions.

Design problems and an unprepared supply chain caused huge cost overruns and a 3½-year delay before delivery of the Dreamliner in September 2011. Boeing’s investment in the 787 program is now approaching $50 billion, estimates Barclays Capital analyst Carter Copeland, including research-and-development costs, new facilities as well as acquisitions of struggling suppliers. Boeing isn’t expected to start making money on a per-unit basis until next year, though the aerospace company reports the program as profitable based on its accounting method, which spreads the high early costs over many years.

“Don’t judge our future by what’s happened on the 787,” said Mr. Conner.

Boeing’s new approach extends to every corner of its operations. It is aggressively trying to renegotiate contracts with suppliers, which account for about 65% of its jets’ costs. Its push toward faster, better and cheaper production led Boeing in 2013 to tap Walter Odisho, a former head of Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. auto production to run manufacturing. The company has long looked to the Japanese auto maker for improving its processes, which are becoming increasingly automated. Both efforts helped the company save $1 billion last year, Boeing said.

Research-and-development spending by Boeing’s commercial unit ticked up slightly last year to $1.88 billion, or about 3.1% of the unit’s revenue—below the nearly 16% in 2009 when R&D spending increased as it struggled with the Dreamliner and a revamp of its 747-8 jumbo jet.

Boeing’s more pragmatic approach also comes as it ramps up jetliner production to unprecedented levels. It expects to deliver 750 to 755 jets in 2015, topping last year’s record, and that number could climb to more than 900 late in the decade if demand holds. A decade ago, by comparison, it delivered 290 planes a year.

Mr. Conner said Boeing’s priority now is completing its current slate of projects on time and on budget. The seven projects include a new version of its 777 with composite wings, and upgrades of its single-aisle 737s with new engines.

That doesn’t mean the company has given up on the idea of creating an all-new model.

Mr. Conner said Boeing is polling customers to help conceive a new jet that seats more people than its single-aisle 737s, but doesn’t have the long range—and resulting extra weight to carry fuel—of the Dreamliner.

Mr. Conner said the company isn’t likely to repeat the business model that created the Dreamliner, but is open to a large strategic partner to share the development costs.

“These are things I think about all the time,” he said.

One goal, he said, would be to design any new jetliner so its technology and production system could be scaled to eventually create a second family of planes, like its 737, which has been in continuous production for nearly a half century.

“I think our job is make sure we totally understand what the customers are looking for and working on our ability to go execute” on a viable business case, said Mr. Conner. “And we will do that. We will flip the switch when it needs to happen.”

Story and comments:  http://www.wsj.com

Prevailance Aerospace: Former Navy fliers teaching Top Gun tactics to civilian pilots

Chesapeake, Va. – A group of former Naval aviators in Chesapeake is teaching Top Gun tactics to civilian pilots, to help them survive mid-air emergencies.

“A lot of times they make the wrong decisions,” said Vanessa Christie, a vice president at Prevailance Aerospace, a new company partnering with Epix Aviation at the Chesapeake Regional Airport. “That’s why there has been a tremendous loss of life.”

This year, the National Transportation Safety Board included “Loss of Control” accidents in general-aviation airplanes as one of its “Most Wanted Safety Improvements.” Federal investigators said nearly half of all plane crashes involve pilots or flight crews simply losing control of their airplanes. Airline pilots and corporate pilots have become too dependent on computerized cockpits, said Christie, a former F-14 aviator. When something goes awry with the computers, many pilots struggle to save their planes and passengers.

“People have grown so accustomed to flying straight and level with autopilot that they don’t know what to do when they are in an unusual attitude,” Christie said.

The company’s pilots will put civilian fliers in a high-performance Extra 330LX and intentionally toss them into stalls and spins. Those are emergencies that, according to Prevailance pilot Dean Castillo, can be quickly solved. But often pilots get startled and make the emergency worse. This training helps the pilots learn to regain control, so they will make better choices in real trouble, he said.

“When pilots are faced with emergencies, they will be able to slow everything down and make good decisions,” said Castillo, who has flown in F-14s and F-18s.

Christie says “about 80 percent” of the company’s employees are former Naval aviators. Prevailance Aerospace’s safety academy was born when a group of former F-14 and F-18 pilots thought about how they could turn their military careers into a civilian company, according to CEO John Owens. The pilots soon recognized that civilian emergency training didn’t match what they’d experienced in the Navy. That was a business opportunity, Owens said.

Castillo says anyone with a pilot certificate should have this advanced training. But the company’s primary target customers are East Coast corporate pilots from New York to Miami. Christie said the business selected Chesapeake as a home base because the airport is big enough to land corporate jets, but rural enough to do the training in uncongested airspace. Plus, she said, the pilots wanted to stay in the area.

“We have all grown to love Hampton Roads,” she said. “Everyone has decided to stay here. And that’s been a great opportunity for us.”

Castillo agreed.

“My kids are in school here,” he said. “My wife has a job here. So it was a great opportunity.”

Although the company is focused on training experienced pilots, the company will also offer “thrill rides” to customers with no flying experience.

You can visit them online at http://www.prevailance.com.

Story and video:   http://wtkr.com

Flying program to offer college credits through Lackawanna College, Pennsylvania

Mike Gallagher of Aviation Technologies, Inc. closes up the cockpit of a new trainer aircraft at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Avoca on Thursday.



AVOCA — Aviation Technologies received certification Thursday from the Federal Aviation  Administration to begin offering college credits to students at Lackawanna College.

Jim and Mike Gallagher, co-owners of the business, said they hope to begin enrolling student this summer and to eventually offer it to students at other regional colleges.

Gene McCoy, an FAA aviation safety manager, presented the certificate to the Gallaghers. He said a similar program in Allentown has been successful, offering students the opportunity to get a better understanding of aviation.

“This program will help students learn all aspects of the aviation system,” McCoy said. “And they will learn about the national airspace system.”

McCoy said the FAA certification comes with a lot of responsibilities. He said with the program located at an international airport, students will learn all aspects of the aviation industry and the career opportunities that are possible.

Jim Gallagher said he and his brother saw a need for offering quality educational training in the aviation business. He said the airport and his business offer a safe environment at an economical cost.

McCoy said students who go through the program tend to go on to a career in aviation.

Jill Murray, PH.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer at Lackawanna College in Scranton, said the school will begin offering a 2-year aviation management degree in fall 2015 semester. She said students will begin serving internships this summer.

“We helped the Gallaghers design the program specifically to train aviators,” Murray said. “The internships will be specifically related to the aviation industry — logistics, business operations, basically all aspects of operating an airport.”

Murray said the program will help develop employees in aviation, an industry she said is facing a shortage of trained aviators.

“This is not not necessarily about training pilots, although that is the next phase of the degree,” Murray said. “The industry right now is basically looking for airport operations personnel.”

Gallagher and Murray said they hope to enroll 25 students per year in the program.

“We have a tremendous amount of interest from students interested in the program,” Murray said. “And we are welcoming more. Students will serve internships while in school and in the summer.”

Murray said students that complete the 2-year program will earn an aviation management degree. She said the students can then go on to a 4-year program at another college.

Mike Gallagher said Aviation technologies has been at the airport since 1995. In December, the airport board approved an airport office lease agreement with Aviation Technologies, the airport’s fixed base operator.

Aviation Technologies runs day-to-day operations at the airport, offering fueling services, aircraft repair and rental, flying lessons and charter flights. Under the one-year lease, which went into effect Jan. 1, Aviation Technologies will pay the airport $1,004 per month.

Story and photos:  http://www.timesleader.com


Aviation Technologies, Inc. at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Avoca received certification Thursday from the Federal Aviation Administration for flight training of college students. From left: Robert A. Ference, FAA aviation safety inspector; Idalo Masi, chief flight instructor; Gene McCoy, FAA aviation safety manager; Joe Brown, FAA safety inspector; Jim and Mike Gallagher, owners of Aviation Technologies; Robert Jenkins, assistant flight instructor.

Injured Sea-Tac ramp worker awarded $40 million



SEATAC, Wash. -- A ground crew member severely injured at Sea-Tac Airport in 2007 was awarded $40 million by a King County jury on Tuesday.

Brandon Afoa of Puyallup is a paraplegic because of the incident. His daily life has drastically changed from his days of operating heavy vehicles at Sea-Tac -- such as the tugs that push back the planes.

"Not only through life, but going through medical stuff. It's a huge change in my life," he said.

Back in 2007 Afoa got into a life-changing collision when the brakes and steering on his tug failed. His legal team put together animation of the incident since the port didn't preserve the actual video. Afoa says he managed to keep the rig from smashing into the jumbo jet and other ground workers.

But he crashed into a broken luggage lift, which crushed his spine.

"Everything went numb. My eyes were open, but everything was feeling numb," he said. 

The crash left Afoa a triplegic with no use of his legs or his dominant right arm. He needs daily help from caregivers just to survive.

The case has been locked in the courts because the Port of Seattle contended it wasn't liable for what happened. Afoa actually worked for a private company, but the state supreme court ruled the airport had a "duty to provide a safe working environment."

On Tuesday a King County jury awarded Afoa $40 million because of what the incident has done to his life.

"It was a relief and I'm very thankful for the jury for making an awesome decision," Afoa said.

Sea-Tac airport issued a statement following the judgement, saying, "The Port of Seattle expresses our deepest sympathies to Mr. Afoa and his family for this unfortunate accident. The port is currently reviewing the decision of the court." 

There's no word yet on whether the port will appeal the verdict which could delay payment of the award.

Afoa says it's his faith that keeps him going.

"I believe that we serve a big God. He's brought me throughout these whole 7 years. If it wasn't for Him, I wouldn't be here," he said.

Story and video:  http://www.komonews.com

Beech A36 Bonanza 36, N427BB: Incident occurred April 02, 2015 in Halcott, Greene County, New York

Regis#: N427BB
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 36
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
City: Delancy

AIRCRAFT MADE A FORCED LANDING IN A FIELD NEAR DELANCY NY DUE TO UNKNOWN REASONS. 


JOFFE FINANCE CORP: http://registry.faa.gov/N427BB


A Vermont couple flying a small fixed-wing single-engine airplane crashed into a farmer's field in South Kortright on Thursday, April 2, and walked away from the wreck unscathed. 

Julian Joffe, the pilot, and his wife, Kerry Joffe, were the two occupants of the airplane, according to Bob Cavanaugh, the chief financial officer of Pad Print Machinery of Vermont. Julian Joffe is the CEO of the company. 

"They landed in a farmer's field," Cavanaugh said. "They skidded for about a quarter mile. The farmer has been in the process of helping them get out of the field and closer to town where they can work with the authorities and get holed up for the night."

Cavanaugh said that both Joffes were unharmed, and contacted him soon after the crash to say they were OK.

The cause of the crash was unclear, Cavanaugh said. But when the aircraft began to fail, Joffe knew what to do, he said.

"He's an excellent pilot," Cavanaugh said.

Joffe has a private pilot license, issued in 2007, that permits him to fly single engine airplanes and instrument aircraft. 

The airplane, a Beech A36, is registered to a company owned by Joffe based in Manchester Center, Vermont, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. It was currently certified to fly. 

The couple was on their way south to celebrate Easter, Cavanaugh said. They flew out of Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport this morning. 

Delaware County Emergency Coordinator Steve Hood confirmed that the pilot of the airplane survived the crash unharmed, and landed it skillfully in a muddy field. 

"He did a really job of landing the plane," Hood said. "It doesn’t appear to be very highly damaged."

Wild goose chase

For hours, confusion reigned among first responders on the ground about the location of the crash.

This was because of faulty coordinates provided to first responders by air traffic controllers in New Hampshire, Hood said.

One set of coordinates led to a remote hollow, Turk Hollow Road, in the Greene County town of Halcott. A second set of coordinates led to a mountainside down the road, near Elk Creek Road. The closest populated center near both locations is the village of Fleischmanns, over the county line in Delaware County. 

A large number of vehicles from the Arkville Fire Department, Fleischmanns Fire Department, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the New York State Police were seen heading up County Road 3 towards Turk Hollow Road. The Fleischmanns Fire Department blocked off access to Turk Hollow Road, preventing reporters from getting near the supposed crash site.

A helicopter hovered above County Road 3 in the Vly Creek Valley in Halcott early on Thursday afternoon. Several first responders said that they were involved in a search for the survivors of the crash.

But the crash actually happened 25 miles away in the Delaware County town of South Kortright, off County Road 18 behind the Hanselmann Farm, Hood said.

The New York State Police were on the scene of the crash at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, Hood said. It is unclear whether they'd actually made contact with the Joffes yet, he said. 

This story has been updated as new information about the location of the crash has been released by the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services. - Ed. 

Story, comments and photos: http://www.watershedpost.com




Incident occurred April 02, 2015 at Sloulin Field International Airport (KISN), Williston, North Dakota

WILLISTON, N.D. — Two people onboard a small airplane escaped injury when their landing gear failed at the Williston airport.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says pilot Edward Routon and passenger Tammy Heimbuch were flying from Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Thursday when the landing gear on their Beechcraft Baron plane failed to lower on descent to Sloulin Field International Airport.

The patrol says Routon landed the plane on its undercarriage.

The plane suffered about $15,000 in damage.  

Source:  http://trib.com

Incident occurred April 02, 2015 on the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada



VANCOUVER – A Harbour Air seaplane had to make an emergency landing in the Strait of Georgia on Thursday morning due to the pilot feeling faint.

The plane, which was travelling into Vancouver from Victoria Harbour, landed safely, and without incident, on the water.


All six passengers and crew are safe and were transported back to their original destination by another Harbour aircraft shortly after landing. The pilot was examined and has been released.


BC Ambulance confirmed they were called at 9:57 a.m. due to a medical issue on the aircraft.


Clark Harrop, a passenger on the plane, says it was a beautiful morning for the flight.


“The pilot complained of feeling a little bit faint, and said he was going to do an emergency landing and put the plane down safely on the Georgia Strait,” says Harrop. “From there it seemed like a lot of commotion and all kinds of emergency and Search and Rescue vehicles there, but all through the whole thing everyone was calm and it was an odd experience.”


BC Ferries vessel, the Coastal Celebration, assisted the Coast Guard and Search and Rescue. Many people were tweeting about what they were seeing.


Abbotsford councillor Sandy Blue says BC Ferries made an announcement there was a medical emergency.


“We were at the dock still, ready to leave on the Coastal Celebration at 10, and there was a call for the life rafts to be launched and we saw them heading out in front of the boat,” says Blue. “There was a spotter aircraft and then shortly after there was Coast Guard, other Search and Rescue, go through there and as we approached we could see it was a Harbour Air that was down safely, it was on its floats on the water.”


She says staff on BC Ferries were excellent and quick to respond to the emergency.


The second Harbour Air plane arrived shortly after.


Story, comments, video and photos: http://globalnews.ca

Editorial: Off ramp at Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY), Massachusetts

In this file photo, county commissioners Lenny Jason and John Alley chat prior to airport commission interviews.



As if this winter hasn’t been dulling enough, here’s a dark suggestion for a conversation starter to try out at your next community gathering: Ask your fellow revelers if they can explain the interests and conflicts involved in the decades-old airport/county commission fracas, and then ask this follow-up question — Why should we citizens really care? It’s unlikely you’ll get answers beyond “Beats me,” but this is a costly and avoidable political fiasco of our own making.

The airport drama was probably foreordained when the federal government gifted Dukes County with the Island’s wartime Naval Air Training Station. The county’s government has floundered over the years, and has little to do and a track record of indifferent performance. More than half of the counties in Massachusetts have given up a government function altogether, and Dukes is the only county in the state to own an airport.

The Times has published more than a dozen articles centered on airport commission/county litigation in just the past 15 months, most recently last week (“State aviation official scalds Dukes County commissioners”), chronicling the struggle for political control between the county commission and its quasi-autonomous airport commission, along with occasional instances of personnel strife and expensive management salary negotiations. To be sure, nothing productive comes of the squabble.

A competent airport matters greatly to us. It’s every bit as much a lifeline as is the ferry, if with smaller numbers. Islanders needing access to specialized health care services, time-sensitive cargo, general aviation traffic, and almost 60,000 commercial passengers a year pass through the airport. Importantly, if less visibly, our business park is operated by the airport commission. Given how little commercial space is available on the Island, available supply there is every bit as important to development as is the capacity of the airport to support — or not — additional visitor traffic.

Having the airport we want and the accountability we require should be simple. Our goal is to have a safe and properly functioning air-travel facility serving the needs of Islanders and visitors. It should achieve efficient and cost-effective operations; fair dealings with employees, business park tenants, and customers; responsiveness to the needs and wants of our community of year-round and seasonal residents and business owners; informed consideration of future requirements; and conformance to federal and state regulations and requirements (airports are heavily regulated and part of larger transportation systems). And to support oversight on our behalf, we want transparency in decision-making and clear public accountability.

These seem modest enough objectives, and shouldn’t be hard to achieve. After all, the basics of airport management are well understood: There are about 14,000 airports in the U.S., and more than 200 in Massachusetts, and there is a professional trade and accreditation association with about 5,000 airport executive members. For most of us, this appears pretty straightforward, and operating a successful airport along with our only business park on its 600-plus acres would seem to require diligence and trustworthiness but not extraordinary gifts.

The governance structure we need to support our airport objectives is familiar and should work well, as long as the basic components — specialized knowledge of airport operations on one hand and necessary public accountability on the other — are in reasonable balance. We are the owners, but we understand that we need to delegate the representation of our interests to a smaller group with specialized knowledge and a bent for selfless public service. So we establish committees or boards, and set them to work for us, and we keep a watchful eye out. It’s how we achieve effective policing and fire and EMT services, and it’s how we successfully operate schools.

In the airport’s case, though, the principals charged with this task are an outdated, functionally unnecessary county government clinging to political life, an airport commission with a significant portfolio of operational and real estate responsibilities but with an accountability chasm owing to county government’s dysfunction, and a faceless bureaucratic state agency with regulatory jurisdiction but no local political accountability. Given these players, a thoughtful, functional approach to airport management and governance is not in the cards.

At the heart of the endless squabble is the highly ambiguous nature of airport control. To county government it’s a project and a revenue stream to latch onto; to state bureaucrats it’s a highly regulated small cog which must fit within a much larger air-system wheel; to the airport commission it’s a specialized oversight board accountable to the state for technical performance while meeting with the public on its own terms. In the end, the state gets what it needs, the county commissioners get nothing but legal bills and further marginalization, the airport commission gets to operate as a management fiefdom free of meaningful local oversight, and we the people get the residue, simply hoping that nothing bad happens.

Since an acceptable solution won’t come from the status quo, how do we get out of this bind? Ultimately, by taking the county commissioners out of the equation. They won’t go quietly, of course, and the state can’t easily help. And the opportunity to reconsider the fate of county government altogether isn’t on the horizon.

Our best recourse lies, as it usually does, with the political power we have at hand: continued pressure from the towns to proscribe county government activities and expenses, a concerted effort at town and community participation in airport commission meetings to keep airport business visible, and support for county commission candidates committed to ending the county’s airport fantasy. Vain, wasteful, and ineffective governance isn’t a biblical affliction, it’s a choice; we get what we deserve.

Opinion/Editorial:    http://www.mvtimes.com

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

University of Wyoming Aims to Replace King Air Research Aircraft

April 1, 2015 — For more than 38 years, the Beechcraft King Air 200T, the University of Wyoming’s research aircraft, has flown into weather most pilots would rather avoid. For the sake of science, the plane has breached heavy snow and thunderstorms to learn more about how these precipitations occur and act in the atmosphere.

But the atmospheric research aircraft is approaching its limits, say UW researchers who use and manage the research facility. Limited to 10,000 flight hours under Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, the plane is quickly approaching the 8,000 flight-hour threshold.

While the plane is still safe for more research missions, now is the time to begin plans to replace the twin-engine turboprop, says Al Rodi, professor in UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

“The aircraft is nearing the end of its life,” says Rodi, who serves as facility manager for the research King Air and director of UW’s Flight Center. “We’re getting to the point of being nervously close. It’s time to look forward to a new airplane.”

Earlier this month, as part of UW’s supplemental budget request, the state Legislature provided $250,000 in one-time funding for UW to begin planning for acquisition and equipping of a new research aircraft.

UW has owned the King Air since 1977, when it was purchased for $1 million. Over the ensuing years, additional millions have been spent for instrumentation and airframe modification, such as for radar and LIDAR.

But, as the years go on, such new installations, as well as maintenance, become increasingly difficult, says Jeff French, project manager of King Air and a UW assistant professor of atmospheric science. In 1977, no one envisioned you would want to have a computer inside the aircraft with instruments on the wing communicating via fiber-optic cable, he says.

“We’re constantly coming up with new instruments. Every time you come up with a new instrument, you have to find a way to bolt it onto the airframe,” French explains. “With a new aircraft, you can start with a clean slate. With an old plane, you have to work with the modifications you have. It becomes harder as you add new instruments.”

While numerous parts of the aircraft, such as the engine and avionics, can be maintained or replaced, it is the airframe or body that is limited to 10,000 flight hours, French says. The airframe eventually suffers from what French termed “metal fatigue,” which can result in cracks or micro-cracks to the aircraft’s structural integrity.

Either French or Larry Oolman, another project manager, flies on every King Air flight for safety and mission purposes. The project manager’s primary job is to ensure the scientist(s) and the pilot communicate in such a way that it leads to a successful mission, French says.

“The reason we think it’s a good idea to replace it (King Air) is because we don’t know how flying in turbulent conditions, such as thunderstorms, has affected it,” French says of the precipitation pounding the plane has taken over the years. “We don’t know how well the airframe has withstood the motions.”

Read more here:   http://www.uwyo.edu

Judge blocks Allegiant Air pilots from striking

A federal judge issued an order Wednesday temporarily blocking Allegiant Air pilots from striking after they announced a Thursday walkout.

Chief Judge Gloria Navarro of U.S. District Court in Las Vegas said in the ruling, "The court finds that Allegiant is entitled to an ex parte temporary restraining order that enjoins (the union) and the other defendants from engaging in, encouraging, or calling an unlawful strike against Allegiant by its pilots in violation of the defendants' duties under the (Railway Labor Act)."

The strike potentially would have grounded more than 250 flights across the country and affecting more than 33,000 customers, the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 said Wednesday before the judge's ruling.

Among Allegiant's scheduled flights on Thursday are runs from Duluth to Las Vegas, and from Las Vegas back to Duluth. The airline announced last month that it will end its twice-weekly flights from Duluth to Las Vegas on May 18, after nine years in the Duluth market.

The strike would have followed more than two years of unsuccessful contract talks and a slew of allegations made by the union and management alike.

"This irresponsible and illegal action by the Teamsters has been timed to coincide with the busy holiday travel period, and unfortunately, will likely disrupt flights and passengers in and out of all of our destinations," the company said in a statement.

Allegiant sued the pilots union in federal court on Monday, saying it had violated the Railway Labor Act by moving to strike before the parties had exerted every effort to settle their disputes.

The National Mediation Board, which oversees collective bargaining for U.S. airlines, had told the parties on March 23 to continue negotiations, the lawsuit said.

"Allegiant is taking immediate legal action to put an end to the strike and restore normal service as quickly as possible," the company said in its Wednesday statement. "Instead of addressing their issues at the bargaining table, the Teamsters have resorted to heavy-handed and disruptive tactics rather than working toward a resolution."

The union had alleged that Allegiant didn't abide by a July 2014 federal court injunction that directed the airline to restore the pilots' benefits and work rule protections to levels negotiated previously. More than 98 percent of 473 participating pilots voted in January to authorize a strike.

"Striking is a last resort, but we cannot continue to stand by a company that flaunts the law by robbing the pilots of legally protected rights and benefits," Allegiant pilot Tom Pozdro said in the union's statement.

Source:  http://www.duluthnewstribune.com

Allegiant Air responds to union's safety accusations

Allegiant Air, the budget airline making its Raleigh-Durham International Airport debut in May, is “just barely meeting acceptable safety standards,” according to a letter published Monday on the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' website, the union representing Allegiant's pilots.

“The fact is we are uncomfortable remaining silent about company practices that negatively impact our customers’ travel and vacation, including your comfort, and – most importantly – your safety,” the letter reads.

Allegiant has about 500 pilots and, according to a union spokesperson, 498 are members.

The letter goes on to call out the fleet for “persistent mechanical problems” and “poor equipment,” as well as “the company’s unwillingness to invest in its operation or its workforce.”

The situation could soon come to a head, as the union sent out a news release Wednesday warning of a pilots' strike April 2. The strike, according to the release, would impact the airline's major hubs across the country, including Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa and Las Vegas. As Allegiant has yet to take off from RDU, it's not something that would impact Triangle flights.

Allegiant accused the union of engaging in “scare tactics” and “manipulating facts” instead of addressing the issues at the bargaining table.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is, above all, our number on priority,” says Steve Harfst, chief operating officer of Allegiant. “Allegiant has one of the best safety records among passenger airlines in the world and complies with all FAA regulations.”

A search for incidents involving Allegiant planes on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Accident and Incident Data System showed 19 reports between 2005 and 2014, all resulting in minor or no damage to the aircraft.

The airline and the union are currently negotiating a contract. The National Mediation Board, the agency that oversees the collective bargaining process, directed both the union and the airline to return to the bargaining table April 29 in Washington, D.C.

In March, an Allegiant executive told Triangle Business Journal that Allegiant was making investments, buying newer planes for its western fleet. Jude Bricker, senior vice president of planning for the airline, said that while newer planes weren’t being purchased specifically for the RDU expansion, RDU flights would benefit from the newer technology, as the planes the new aircraft will be replacing will shift east.

The airline has been making moves to increase its coffer. According to securities filings, the airline borrowed $7.5 million from Nevada State Bank via a subsidiary. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. Additionally, the company closed on a loan agreement, borrowing $30 million, secured by two aircraft, also to be used for general corporate purposes.

As for its expansion into RDU, the company is not planning to hire additional personnel, instead relying on an outside ground crew contractor.

Allegiant focuses on the leisure market, offering budget flights to vacation destinations such as Orlando and Punta Gorda, Florida. To keep prices low, the airline charges extra for many things that are standard on other airlines, such as carry-on luggage.

Source:  http://www.bizjournals.com

Bede BD-22, N224BD: Fatal accident occurred April 01, 2015 in St. Lucie County, Florida

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

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

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

BEDECORP LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N224BD

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA175
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 01, 2015 in Fort Pierce, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: BEDECORP LLC BD-22, registration: N224BD
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 commercial pilot was tasked with performing high-speed taxi tests and familiarization with the experimental airplane. After performing two high-speed taxis, the pilot requested taxi clearance to the active runway, received a takeoff clearance, and departed from the runway. Witnesses reported that, after departure and while in the traffic pattern, the airplane’s pitch oscillated and that, when it turned onto the final leg of the traffic pattern, it continued to pitch up and down. The airplane subsequently descended and impacted terrain about 1 mile from the approach end of the runway.

Images captured by an onboard video recorder provided information about where the pilot’s attention was directed, his interaction with the flight controls, and the status of cockpit instruments and engine indicators. The information indicated that the pilot did not pin his left arm to the armrest and that he used his entire forearm to move the airplane’s sidestick flight control. In addition, the pilot released and re-gripped the sidestick several times, which exacerbated the negative g maneuvers. These control inputs were indicative of the pilot overcontrolling the airplane. As the pilot flew the right-hand traffic pattern, he repeatedly turned his head right and/or reached right. These movements and distractions resulted in the airplane beginning to oscillate. In each of the pitch excursions, except for one that occurred during the takeoff, the pilot’s left arm moved fore and aft, and negative gs were present. During the flight, as the speed increased, each pitch oscillation increased; the final adjustment of the flight control by the pilot resulted in an overstress of the airframe and its subsequent in-flight breakup. A postaccident examination of the airframe, flight controls, and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Although the pilot reported a high level of total flight experience, he had accumulated less than 1/2 hour of total flight experience in the accident airplane make and model at the time of the accident. The airplane manufacturer’s flight test policy indicated that, to gain experience, pilots should first taxi the airplane, then perform high-speed taxis, then perform high-speed taxis with the nose gear off the ground, and finally, after the pilot was comfortable with the airplane, to perform a takeoff. The pilot decided to perform the takeoff without the requisite experience; therefore, he was operating contrary to the manufacturer’s flight test policy.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's excessive pitch control inputs to the airplane’s sidestick control, which resulted in an overstress of the airframe and its subsequent in-flight breakup. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to operate the airplane contrary to the manufacturer's flight test policy.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 1, 2015, about 1100 eastern daylight time, an experimental Bedecorp BD-22, N224BD, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while attempting to land at St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida. The airplane was owned and operated by Bedecorp, LLC. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local test flight. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and originated at 1046 from FPR.

According to air traffic control data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot completed a total of two high speed taxi operations on runway 32 at FPR and then taxied to the ramp. One of the high speed taxis was recorded by an on-board video camera. Approximately 30 minutes later, the pilot requested taxi clearance to the active runway, received a take-off clearance, and departed runway 28L. After turning onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the airplane overtook another airplane. The tower controller attempted to contact the pilot three times while the airplane was on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern and never received a response. Then, the pilot reported that the airplane was on the left base leg of the traffic pattern turning onto the final leg of the traffic pattern. The tower controller communicated that the pilot had not answered his calls and he was cleared to land on Runway 28L. The pilot read-back the landing clearance and the tower controller advised the pilot to call the tower after landing. The pilot responded that he "had a little unusual stuff" during the flight and apologized. Soon after, another pilot in the traffic pattern observed the accident airplane impact the ground.

The airplane manufacturer stated that the airplane was in the first stage of flight testing and the pilot was to only perform high speed taxi maneuvers so that he could become familiar with the airplane.

According to eyewitnesses, the airplane performed two taxi tests. Then, the airplane departed runway 28L, appeared to have "issues" because its pitch oscillated while in the traffic pattern. When the airplane turned on to the final leg of the traffic pattern, it continued to pitch up and down. Subsequently, the airplane descended and impacted terrain approximately one mile from the approach end of runway 28L.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, single-engine land, single-engine sea, instrument airplane, and a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine. The pilot reported, on his most recent second-class medial certificate application, dated December 11, 2013, a total flight experience of 4,500 flight hours and 50 hours in preceding six months. Furthermore, according to video evidence, the pilot had approximately 0.4 hours of experience in the accident airplane make and model, of which, 0.3 hours was taxiing. The pilot was employed by the operator as a test pilot, and the accident flight was the pilot's first in the airplane make and model.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate on February 11, 2015, and registered to Bedecorp, LLC. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-L2C, 115-hp engine. At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated about one hour of total time in service.

According to the manufacturer, the airplane was a prototype, and the flight testing had recently begun. In addition, during the previous flight, another test pilot had mentioned that the flight control "was too heavy" and it was not sensitive enough. Subsequently, the stabilator trim tab connecting rod ends were adjusted from the original position in order to provide more control authority. The airplane utilized a side-stick flight control, similar to other Bedecorp designed airplanes.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1053 recorded weather observation at FPR included wind from 280 at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C, and barometric altimeter of 30.18 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

St. Lucie County International Airport was located 3 miles northwest of Fort Pierce, Florida. It had three runways designated 10R/28L, 14/32, and 10L/28R. The runway designated as 10R/28L was 6,492 feet-long and 150 feet-wide, constructed of asphalt and noted in "good condition." At the time of the accident the airport had an operating air traffic control tower.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted terrain in a nose down attitude and came to rest inverted, on a 092 degree magnetic heading. There was an impact crater approximately 18 inches deep. The on-board camera, canopy, and seats separated from the airframe.

The leading edge of the right wing exhibited impact crush damage along the entire span of the wing. The wing tip was separated but located in the vicinity of the right wing. The right aileron was separated and located approximately 12 feet aft of the right wing. The inboard 6-foot forward section of the right wing was consumed by post impact fire. The inboard right wing flap remained attached to the right wing and the outboard section was impact separated.

The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right stabilator remained attached to the empennage and was bent in the positive direction. The right stabilator tip remained attached to the stabilator. The right stabilator exhibited crush damage on the outboard leading edge. The left stabilator was separated from the empennage and located about one foot aft of the main wreckage. The left stabilator tip remained attached at all attach points. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer at all attach points and exhibited crush damage at the top section of the rudder. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the empennage and exhibited crush damage on the approximate top 12 inches of the vertical stabilizer.

The inboard 6 foot section of the left wing was consumed by post impact fire. The entire span of the left wing leading edge exhibited crush damage. The left flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron remained attached to the wing at all attach points. The left wing tip was separated and located in the vicinity of the main wreckage.

The fuselage remained intact and the cabin area was consumed by post impact fire. The main landing gear remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited fire damage. The nose landing gear was separated from the fuselage and located approximately 6 feet forward of the main wreckage. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the ailerons, rudder, and stabilators to the respective flight controls. There were no malfunctions or abnormalities of the airplane noted that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The engine was located in the initial impact crater and remained attached to the fuselage through engine control cables. The oil pan, carburetor, oil filter, and a section of the engine driven fuel pump were impact separated from the engine and located in the initial impact crater. Cylinders Nos. 1 and 2 were impact damaged and bent aft. The push rod tubes for cylinders Nos. 1 and 2 were partially separated. Both magnetos and the starter remained attached to the engine. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear when compared to the Champion Check-a-Plug chart. The left and right magnetos were removed, but no spark was observed on any towers. Both magnetos were disassembled and the left magneto exhibited fire damage and there were no anomalies noted in the right magneto. A borescope was used to examine the cylinders and no anomalies were noted. The propeller hub remained attached to the propeller flange; however, both wooden propeller blades were impact separated from the propeller hub. Several wooden propeller blade sections were located within the impact crater.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Medical Examiner Department, District 19, of Florida, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot died as a result of "multiple blunt trauma injuries" and the report listed those injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. Fluid and tissue specimens from the pilot tested negative for cyanide, ethanol, and other drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A GoPro camera was shipped to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data download. The camera and the memory card were undamaged. The memory card was read out normally.

A Recorder Laboratory Specialist reviewed the video and prepared a transcript of the events from the video camera. The video revealed that the camera was mounted on a suction mount hanging from the top of the sliding canopy looking forward. It captured the taxi, takeoff, and the accident flight in the traffic pattern of FPR. Immediately after liftoff, the airplane began large pitch oscillations up and down. Loose objects would rise into view and fall, coincident with the observed pitch oscillations. This pattern continued throughout the flight. The pilot's left forearm was moving fore and aft to control the airplane. The forearm was not resting on and stationary to the metallic armrest area of the airplane, which indicated that the pilot was moving the sidestick control primarily through forearm motion rather than wrist action. Throughout the initial climb, there were several other pitch oscillations. Then, the pilot turned the airplane onto the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern and his attention was diverted to the right, and immediately the airplane again began pitch oscillations. Next, the pilot turned onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, and again, diverted his attention, and adjusted his grip on the sidestick. While his hand was not on the sidestick, the airplane began another pitch oscillation.

When the pilot maneuvered the airplane onto the final leg of the traffic pattern, he readjusted his grip on the sidestick and moved his right hand to the throttle, at which time the airplane began pitch oscillations and the pilot's right hand was noted moving upward, off the throttle. The pilot re-gripped the throttle and continued to line the airplane up with the intended runway for landing. A few seconds later, the airplane experienced a large pitch up, the pilot's hand moved downward and off the throttle, and the airplane had a positive pitch attitude. Immediately, the airplane experienced a large downward pitch oscillation and the canopy glass broke, the camera exited the airplane, and it rotated in the airstream behind the airplane. As the camera rotated, it captured the airplane until it impacted the ground, and soon after the camera came to rest in the vicinity of the airplane.

Throughout the accident flight, the airspeed of the airplane continuously increased to a maximum of about 160 mph while the airplane was on final approach to the runway. The pitch control inputs, pitch excursions, and energy of the objects rising into and falling from the camera view were increasing throughout the flight. The propeller was rotating, and the engine sound was smooth and continuous without interruption until the camera exited the airplane. In addition, during the video, the pilot was not observed utilizing any type of checklist.

Video Study

The GoPro video camera was mounted to the canopy of the airplane, aft and slightly to the right of the pilot. The instrument panel and both side stick controllers were in camera's recorded view. The pilot was using his left hand to control the left side stick.

Large fore/aft stick movements and corresponding pitch oscillations were observed from just after the takeoff to the end of the flight. There were periods where the stick movement and airplane pitch were relatively stable. The final pitch down culminated in a structural breakup where the seats separated from the airframe and the pilot was ejected through the airplane's canopy.

Overall, the pitch oscillations were consistent with the stick movements and both sticks moved in unison. Throughout the flight, the pilot did not rest his left arm to the armrest, rather the entire forearm was used to move the stick. In addition, the pilot released and re-gripped the stick several times. Repeatedly, the pilot would turn his head to the right and/or reach right, which resulted in the beginning of an oscillation. In each case, his left arm would move fore and aft and negative Gs were present in each of the pitch excursions except for the initial takeoff excursion. The speed of the airplane was steadily increasing throughout the flight, and on short final, the airspeed indicator indicated about160 mph. The recording included the final excursion, which was similar to a negative G excursion, although no G-meter was observed it appeared to be a greater force than the previous excursions.

The airplane manufacturer stated that the purpose of the taxi tests was for the pilot to become familiar with the control feel and characteristics of the airplane and the side-stick control. A representative of the company said that the pilot was expected to be able to carefully lift the nose gear off the runway without taking off and repeat this maneuver several times prior to being considered eligible to fly the airplane. This type of maneuver was not observed on the video of the accident flight.

Stabilator Spar and Bracket Examination

The stabilator spar and bracket were examined by the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC. Magnified optical examinations of the fracture revealed features and deformation patterns consistent with an overstress separation with no indications of preexisting cracking such as fatigue. The stabilator brackets left bearing loop was fractured with features indicative of an overstress separation. Fracture deformation was to the left. The right hand bracket loop was intact. Deformation and contact marks were present at the bearing loop area consistent with leftward deflection of an attached clevis like structure. Both brackets showed shadow marks consistent with the presence of mounting hardware attaching the brackets to the common plate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bedecorp – Flight Handbook


The manufacturer's flight handbook contained "…information and guidelines for learning to fly a BD aircraft. These procedures required for test flying an aircraft, as well as new pilots checking themselves out in an aircraft." In addition, "as a general rule, it takes three days before the pilot is cleared for their initial take off and flight around the pattern. It is recommended that a majority of the flight testing be done in the early morning hours while the wind is calm. It is also important to give the pilot time to absorb and digest the information from each of the following steps. The list below is a minimum amount that the company requires a new pilot to perform in order to be checked out in the aircraft." The flight procedures checklist indicated that the pilot was to start learning the specifics of that make and model of airplane by first taxiing, then performing high speed taxies, performing high speed taxies with the nose gear off the ground, and finally, after he or she was comfortable with the airplane, to perform a takeoff.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA175
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 01, 2015 in Fort Pierce, FL
Aircraft: BEDECORP LLC BD-22, registration: N224BD
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 April 1, 2015, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Bedecorp BD-22L, N224BD, was destroyed when it impacted the ground near Fort Pierce, Florida, after departing St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida. The airplane was owned and operated by Bedecorp, LLC. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight. The test flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and originated from FPR, about 1055.

According to the manufacturer, this was the pilot's first time operating the airplane. In addition, the pilot was to only perform high speed taxi tests in order to familiarize himself with the airplane.

According to a witness, the airplane performed two high speed taxi tests. Then, the airplane departed runway 28L, appeared to have "issues" because it was flying "unstable and …fast." According to another witness, when the airplane turned on to the final leg of the traffic pattern, it "violently pitch[ed] up and down" and then began a nose down descent. Subsequently, the airplane impacted terrain approximately one mile from the approach end of runway 28L.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate on February 11, 2015, and registered to Bedecorp, LLC. The special airworthiness certificate was issued for the purpose of research and development and market survey. The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-L2C engine. At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated about one hour of total time.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that it impacted terrain in a nose down position and came to rest inverted on a 092 degree heading. There was an impact crater approximately 18 inches deep and all major components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage. The airplane, forward of the aft bulkhead to the nose section, was consumed by postimpact fire. The engine was located in the impact crater and remained attached to the fuselage through control cables. The top spark plugs were removed, each cylinder was boroscoped, and no anomalies were noted.

A GoPro Video Camera was obtained from the accident site and shipped to the NTSB recorders laboratory for data download. A preliminary review of the camera revealed that the engine was operating during the accident sequence. The airframe was retained for further investigation.



ST. LUCIE VILLAGE — A fatal single-engine airplane crash into a quiet backyard along the Indian River Lagoon realized residents’ fears of such an event happening.

The airplane was returning to the St. Lucie County International Airport — on a path over the 300-home St. Lucie Village — when it crashed, burst into flames and threw the pilot 100 yards away, according to a witness.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office identified the pilot as 67-year-old Joseph Loney of Port St. Lucie.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash of the Bedecorp BD-22 airplane and its cause, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. Bedecorp is an Ohio-based manufacturer of kit-built aircraft, and it has a hangar at the St. Lucie County International Airport. The FAA has not released any information on what may have preceded the crash and when the pilot took off from the airport.

Calls to the company weren’t returned on Wednesday afternoon.

Off-duty Sheriff Capt. Charlie Scavuzzo was heading home on the Indian River Lagoon after a fishing trip when at about 11 a.m. he saw “an airplane fading and having obvious engine problems. Then it dramatically did a downturn, falling 1,000 feet at about 70 to 100 mph.

“It hit the shore and exploded in flames,” as the pilot was tossed 100 yards away, he said.

Flames shot up 50 to 100 feet, he said.

Scavuzzo rushed ashore with his son and retired sheriff Master Deputy Neil Spector. They used the boat’s fire extinguisher and a hose from the nearby house and put out the burning grass” until St. Lucie County Fire District arrived.

“I just wished we could have been there to assist the pilot,” Scavuzzo said.

Remains of the airplane were left sitting nearby on the sandy shoreline Wednesday afternoon.

The crash was less than a mile from the airport that the aircraft was returning to, said Bergen. It was on a flight path over the historical village, a quiet enclave of homes along the Indian River Lagoon retaining thickets of natural forests.

Being on the flight path “has been a concern of homeowners,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara. “Only by the grace of God did it (the airplane) not hit the house.”

Airplanes “fly right over my house,” said homeowner Sharon Schorner, a 23-year resident of the village. “We all share those concerns that things could happen.”

Village Mayor Bill Thiess agreed, although he said the problems of aircraft and noise is low compared to five years ago. And the crash in the village is the only one in the memory of Thiess and Airport Director John Wiatrak.

In the last few years, the airport has worked to reduce noise and urges student pilots to turn before going over the village, Wiatrak said.

“We try to keep airplanes away from that neighborhood,” Wiatrak said.

Theiss credits a new airport runway with diverting airplanes.

“For the most part,” said Thiess, the problem “is under control. Obviously, there will always be an airport and we will always be here. We have learned to coexist.”

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