Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hughes 369D, N555JC, Haverfield International Inc: Accident occurred April 06, 2015 in Cherokee, Alabama

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA178
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 06, 2015 in Cherokee, AL
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N555JC
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 6, 2015, about 1300 central daylight time, a Hughes 369D, N555JC, was substantially damaged when it impacted the Tennessee River adjacent the Natchez Trace Bridge, near Cherokee, Alabama. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Low ceilings and fog prevailed. A company flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated at Roscoe Turner Airport (CRX), Corinth, Mississippi, destined for Scottsboro Municipal Airport-Word Field (4A6), Scottsboro, Alabama. The positioning flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a witness, a former private pilot, he heard the helicopter land in a National Park Service field contiguous to his property, about 3,900 feet from the 1-mile-long, north-south Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge. He couldn't see the bridge at the time due to fog and light mist.

The helicopter remained on the ground for about 45 seconds, still powered with rotors turning; then power increased and it took off smoothly, clearing trees by about 30 feet. The helicopter subsequently headed toward the bridge, and after about 10 to 15 seconds, the witness lost sight of it in the fog. As the helicopter flew, the witness heard no anomalies, and the engine sounded "healthy." He subsequently heard the helicopter hit the water with no change in sound until impact.

According to another witness, he was fishing under the south end of the bridge when the accident occurred. The weather was foggy with low visibility and rain.

The witness heard the helicopter for about 10 to 15 minutes before seeing it coming toward him, paralleling the west side of the bridge. When he first saw the helicopter through the fog, it was level with the top of the bridge. It began a gradual descent, then about 10 seconds before water impact, dropped (nose-dived) to about 25 feet above the water. It subsequently descended at a 10- to 15-degree angle, and impacted the water near the center of the river, about 50 to 100 feet east of a green buoy (about 100 yards west of the bridge.)

There was no change in sound before the helicopter hit the water, with the same "whining" noise until impact. At impact, the witness saw the helicopter's tail "kick over" the top of the main rotor blades and snap off. The helicopter did not hit the bridge.

The helicopter was recovered from the river on April 9, 2015. It was missing the aft part of the tail boom, including the tail rotor and gear box, from about 33 inches (fuselage station 230) aft of the tail boom mount, and only remnants of one main rotor blade were subsequently recovered; the other blades remained missing. The left skid was also missing.

Damage began at the helicopter's front, lower left side, and extended upwards. There was no hydraulic crushing (water impact damage) to the bottom of the fuselage.

Control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the rotor head, both vertically through the collective, and laterally and longitudinally through the cyclic. Yaw control through the rudder pedals was confirmed from the cockpit to the remnants of the "long tail rotor control rod" in the severed tail boom.

Rotor system drive continuity was confirmed from the engine to the transmission, the transmission to the rotor hub, and from the transmission aft to where the tail rotor drive shaft was severed along with the tail boom.

Three of the five rotor blades were separated just outboard of the doubler at the main rotor root fitting, and two blades were separated through the strap assemblies and blade pitch housings, consistent with full power on the rotor system at water impact. Extensive damage was also found on the hub upper shoe in the vicinity of all five pitch change housings, consistent with a medium-to-high collective setting at the time of impact.

http://registry.faa.gov/N555JC

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The search for the pilot of a helicopter that crashed into the Tennessee River continues on Wednesday.

Crews searching for the helicopter in Lauderdale County pinpointed the aircraft on Tuesday night and determined that the pilot was not inside.

Officials brought in K9 units on Wednesday to help with recovery efforts as they search for the pilot. FAA, ENSP, Army and state helicopters were also brought in to help with the search. Crews will take turns searching the banks of the river, while the dogs on the ground will lead the search.

On Monday night, crews discovered what they believed was debris from the helicopter, which is thought to have crashed about three-quarters of a mile west of the Natchez Trace bridge in Lauderdale County. Officials say the aircraft, a Hughes 500, was en route from Corinth, MS to Scottsboro. The cause of the crash is unknown.

Emergency crews brought a dive team in to search for the helicopter and two boats searched the area on Monday afternoon. The Colbert County dive team and Cherokee search and rescue boats went back out just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, although divers have not been in the water. 

Officials were trying to positively identify the aircraft underwater using sonar image and cameras and secure the area before sending divers down. They worked to decipher the difference between river debris and actual wreckage.

"The currents are going to be hard for the divers first and foremost, second the speed is going to move the debris and possibly move the aircraft so we've got a moving target," said Chuck Landsdell with Cherokee Fire & Rescue.

A witness said he was fishing under the bridge when the helicopter hit the water. The helicopter reportedly went down in the barge channel, which is the deepest part of the river. By the time emergency crews got to the scene, all the debris had already sunk.

River traffic is moving as normal, although that may change once crews locate the exact site of the wreckage.

The NTSB said they would not come to the scene until the aircraft is pinpointed and the area secured.

Haverfield Aviation, an aviation company, reported a missing aircraft that had last been reported on GPS near the scene of Monday's search. They believe only one person was on board during the crash.

The company said the pilot was traveling from one job to the next, but wasn't currently working.

Haverfield Aviation, based out of Pennsylvania, has three bases in Denton, TX; Fort Wayne, IN and Valdosta, GA. According to its website, the company provides aerial power line inspection and construction support services in the US and abroad.

http://www.waff.com













Villa Rica professional skydiver dies in Florida jump

A professional skydiver from Villa Rica was killed Wednesday apparently when her parachute collided with another jumper’s canopy in Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.

Jessica Edgeington, 33, was a professional skydiver with more than 6,500 jumps, according to Flight-1, a skydiving school that offers canopy piloting instruction in DeLand, Fla. where the accident occurred.

Flight-1’s website listed Edgeington as an instructor and carried a brief description of her professional background.

“I have been skydiving since February 2000,” Edgeington said on the site. “I worked in the skydiving industry shooting tandem videos for several years, which is how I initially got interested in canopy piloting. I began competing in canopy piloting in 2006 and that quickly became my focus in the sport. I joined the PD Factory Team in January 2009 and have been competing with the team as well as teaching Flight-1 canopy courses since that time.

Police said accident was likely caused by the mid-air collision of two parachute canopies. It was unclear if Edgeington was working as instructor or practicing with her team when the accident occurred.

Edgeington attended Kennesaw State University and Montana State University, according to her profile on the website of the PD Factory Team, which comprises elite skydivers.

The website said she was a professional Flight-1 instructor, PD Factory Team pilot, skydiving photographer and videographer. Her hobbies included snowboarding, yoga, reading, hiking, camping, travel and “playing my ukulele.”

The PD Factory team described its mission on its website as working together to achieve their dream of expanding the “possibilities beyond the known boundaries of human flight.”

It said the team of “highly experienced canopy pilots has set out to bring high-speed precision canopy flight to the masses, in a way never before seen”

The website noted that by using the latest high-performance parachutes “team pilots can perform high-G spiraling maneuvers capable of achieving speeds in excess of 80 mph, then pull out of the dive into level flight mere inches above the surface for distances of several hundred feet, and still deliver a soft, stand-up landing at the end of it all.”

Skydive DeLand did not return calls seeking information, the newspaper reported.

It is the second death to occur at the facility this year, the newspaper reported. In January, a Navy SEAL, William “Blake” Marston of New Hampshire, died after an accident during a training exercise.


http://www.ajc.com


DELAND — A skydiver known for her abilities in a high-speed subset of the sport known as “swooping” was killed after her parachute’s canopy hit another canopy midair, authorities said Thursday.

Jessica Edgeington, 33, of Villa Rica, Georgia, died Wednesday afternoon after flying out of Skydive DeLand, said DeLand police Lt. Bruce Morehouse. Detectives were still investigating.

Edgeington made more than 6,000 jumps and competed in canopy piloting, whose participants are known as “swoopers.” Competitors typically jump from a plane at 5,000 feet and then must maneuver the parachute, sometimes with twists and turns, to skim the surface of a pond between a series of buoys. Then they must perform either a 75-degree turn, a precision landing inside a 2-by-2-meter area, or a distance glide.

The swoopers reach speeds of up to 90 miles an hour as they descend. It’s all designed to test the parachutist’s ability to control the chute — also known as a canopy — and how accurately they can land. The sport canopy parachutes are more rectangular and look different from a rounded-top parachute.

“It’s not necessarily scary to jump out of the plane anymore,” Edgeington said in May 2014, when she was interviewed by The Associated Press while competing in Florida for a spot on the U.S. Parachute Team.

“I get competition nerves when I’m at something like this. So that’s probably the most nerve wracking thing, is getting ready to compete. Trying to perform and do your best. Hopefully not mess up.”

Story and video:   http://tbo.com   




  












Passenger en route to Paris arrested at Miami International Airport (KMIA) after cocaine found in baggage

A Brazilian-French businessman who lives in France was arrested at Miami International Airport after customs officers found 1.2 kilos of cocaine concealed in his checked baggage.

Benvindo Mendes da Silva, 55, was arrested at MIA on March 11 after his flight from Lima landed at MIA.

Transporting drugs in personal luggage is just one of the many smuggling modes that U.S. officials have identified at international airports. They have also stopped passengers who have swallowed plastic bags containing drugs or who have concealed narcotics on their bodies or clothing. Authorities have also seized drug shipments within aircraft. In September 2013, for example, French authorities discovered 1.1 tons of cocaine aboard an Air France plane that had arrived from Caracas at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

At MIA, Mendes was listed as an in-transit passenger scheduled to board a flight for Paris, but like all travelers first arriving at a U.S. airport from abroad they are required to go through immigration and customs before boarding another international flight.

Officials from Customs and Border Protection CBP targeted Mendes for increased scrutiny because a random check of his baggage indicated the presence of drugs, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

The case began March 11 when Mendes arrived at MIA aboard an American Airlines flight from Lima, Peru, in transit to Paris, the complaint says.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) team checking baggage being unloaded from the flight discovered an intriguing item inside one of Mendes’s checked bags.

“Officers discovered an object within the defendant’s luggage that appeared to be a bag with another pouch inside, according to a criminal complaint filed in Miami Federal Court by a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent.

A dog trained to locate narcotics was brought to smell the bag. The dog “alerted to the bag,” the complaint says.

CBO officers then released the luggage to the regular baggage claim area, but kept under surveillance.

When Mendes retrieved his luggage, he was stopped by CBP officers. They questioned him and searched his luggage.

At one point, the officers found what appeared to be a pouch with a plastic cap on top and some kind of liquid inside. The complaint says Mendes described the liquid to officers as a liquor that he had bought in Peru.

But when officers tested the liquid, they found traces of cocaine. At that point, the complaint indicates, Mendes changed his story about the liquid.

Mendes claimed the pouch with the liquid came from a box of liquor that a man in Peru named Pierre had given him two days earlier, according to the criminal complaint. It also quoted Mendes as saying he had no idea it contained cocaine.

Officers then cut open the first pouch and found another pouch containing a “white powdery substance” that later turned out to be cocaine, the complaint says.

Nine days after his arrest at MIA, Mendes was denied bond as a flight risk and within days he was indicted and arraigned. Court papers do not show whether he pled not guilty, but he was listed as awaiting trial in May.

His attorney could not be reached for comment because he did not return a call to his office. Federal officials declined comment.

Source:  http://www.miamiherald.com

Aspiring pilots at Palo Alto College to receive helicopter training

Students pursuing an associate’s degree in Palo Alto College’s professional pilot program can now learn to fly helicopters in addition to fixed wing aircraft.

The community college will announce Thursday that it is partnering with Sky Safety and Alamo Helicopters to offer helicopter training. Students will be able to earn a rotor wing pilot’s license and an associate of applied science degree at the same time, according to a college release.

Eligible veterans can use their military benefits for the program.

“Many Vietnam-era pilots will soon be retiring, opening up job opportunities in an array of industries — oil fields, tour companies, firefighting, and others — around the world,” said Stacy Riggs, owner of Alamo Helicopters, in the release.

PAC’s aviation technology program is based at the historic Stinson Municipal Airport.

Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com

US body restores India’s top aviation safety rank

NEW DELHI: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wednesday restored Indian aviation's top safety ranking, paving the way for desi airlines to start more flights to America and improving connectivity between the two countries. The upgrade comes almost 15 months after the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) was downgraded following major concerns over its inadequate safety oversight capabilities and lack of technical personnel to do the job. TOI had reported on April 1 that the upgrade was on its way. 

The move means that Indian carriers that fly to the US -- Air India and Jet -- will now be able to add frequencies as well as go to more cities in America. Jet plans to launch flights to the US both from India as well as via Abu Dhabi. AI is looking at inducting long range Dreamliners to augment its network in North America. AI will now be able to have code share flights with the US carriers of Star Alliance, of which it is also a member. Tata-Singapore Airlines JV Vistara will be able to fly there when India relaxes the rules for new desi carriers to go abroad. Improved connectivity will lead to competitive fares for Indian travelers. 

"I am pleased to advise you that the hard work undertaken and completed by your government on its safety oversight system resulted in positive findings during our recent discussions. We therefore determine that India now meets the requirements under the international oversight standards of the Chicago Convention.... India shall be immediately upgraded to category I," FAA wrote to DGCA chief M Sathiyavathy on Wednesday. "The DGCA has demonstrated a commitment to developing effective safety oversight of India's airline industry," it added. 

According to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) data for 2013, Emirates had 18.5% share of the India-US market. Air India was second at 13.3% and Jet had just 2.3%. Now Indian carriers can push up their share in this critically important market. 

During a visit here in January, a FAA team had informed Sathiyavathy that the DGCA was yet to resolve 12 major shortcomings. "There were three major findings -- having sufficient number of flight operation inspectors (FOI) for maintaining adequate safety oversight on growing fleet of aircraft with Indian carriers; improper certification of schedule and charter airlines and similarly improper licensing of flight training schools," said a senior official. 

Then Sathiyavathy speeded up the process of hiring FOIs. "DGCA needs 75 FOIs. We have hired 51 so far. The remaining will be taken on board at the earliest without compromising on their quality," said the official. FOIs are senior airline commanders who are hired by DGCA at the salary they used to get in airlines to do surveillance and checks. While chief FOI gets over Rs 10 lakh a month, others get in the range of Rs 4-8 lakh monthly. Four FOIs have been hired exclusively for checking standard of training in flying schools. 

Apart from the groundwork, improved India-US ties in the Modi administration meant that DGCA got its top ranking back on Wednesday. US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx conveyed the news to aviation minister A G Raju and Sathiyavathy when he met them on Wednesday. 

The DGCA was downgraded as both UPA I and II failed to strengthen the agency so that it could effectively oversee the burgeoning air traffic in India, which has increased dramatically from 2005 when low cost carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir took wings. The downgrade had meant that Indian carriers flying to the US were not able to add any more flight there or have a new destination city in America. Also, US authorities could hold up their aircraft for checks and delay them their flights. What's worse, other countries can also express doubts at Indian carriers' safety record and insist on coming here for checks. 

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Gulfstream G-IV, N121JM, SK Travel LLC: Fatal accident occurred May 31, 2014 in Bedford, Massachusetts

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: ERA14MA271
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Bedford, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/2015
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE G IV, registration: N121JM
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/AccidentReports.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-15/03.

On May 31, 2014, about 2140 eastern daylight time, a Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation G-IV, N121JM, registered to SK Travel, LLC, and operated by Arizin Ventures, LLC, crashed after it overran the end of runway 11 during a rejected takeoff at Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Massachusetts. The airplane rolled through the paved overrun area and across a grassy area, collided with approach lights and a localizer antenna, passed through the airport's perimeter fence, and came to a stop in a ravine. The two pilots, a flight attendant, and four passengers died. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The corporate flight, which was destined for Atlantic City International Airport, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
the flight crewmembers' failure to perform the flight control check before takeoff, their attempt to take off with the gust lock system engaged, and their delayed execution of a rejected takeoff after they became aware that the controls were locked. Contributing to the accident were the flight crew's habitual noncompliance with checklists, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation's failure to ensure that the G-IV gust lock/throttle lever interlock system would prevent an attempted takeoff with the gust lock engaged, and the Federal Aviation Administration's failure to detect this inadequacy during the G-IV's certification.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/AccidentReports.aspx. The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-15/03.




SEPTEMBER 09, 2015 

NTSB: No preflight checks by Katz crew in 98 percent of flights

'Plain and simple, [this is] a case of pilots intentionally disregarding procedures,' NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said.


The National Transportation Safety Board said pilot error – especially "intentional, habitual" failure to perform safety checklists – caused the crash that killed philanthropist and former Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six others.

The crew had a "long-term pattern" of failing to complete flight control checklists, Vice Chairwoman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr said in an opening statement of an accident review meeting.

She said with the Gulfstream's "gust lock" engaged as it hurtled down the runway, the plane "cannot take off safely." The gust lock prevents various flight controls, like the rudder and aileron, from moving and being damaged by winds while the plane is on the ground.

The NTSB also faulted the manufacturer, Gulfstream, and the Federal Aviation Administration for not assuring that the gust lock's locked position would have prevented any attempt at a takeoff by the flight crew.

The gust lock was engaged after the plane had landed in the Boston area, according to an NTSB investigator. The crew, he said, failed to do complete flight checks "98 percent of the time" in its previous 175 takeoffs.

The pilot repeatedly cried out, "The lock is on," before shouting, "I can't stop it."

Another NTSB investigator said the routine failure to perform preflight checks is a "procedural drift" that crews who routinely fly together over long periods of time are prone to fall into. The crew did just two full checks out of 175 examined by the NTSB. Partial checks were done sometimes.

"It appears that this, from my perspective, was plain and simple a case of pilots intentionally disregarding procedures," said NTSB member and pilot Robert L. Sumwalt III.

"There are so many things about this accident that bother me," added Sumwalt, who has operated a corporate flight service in his career.

He pointed out that the equipment and the crew were rated as among the best in the industry, but the failure to do flight checks changed that equation.

Sumwalt also said if the pilots had immediately shut off power when they noticed an issue, the plane could have safely stopped. Instead, the crew used precious seconds trying to troubleshoot the issue before pulling the power shutoff too late to save the aircraft.

Sumwalt introduced a new finding that the FAA had "missed an opportunity to detect insufficiencies" in the gust-lock system because it relied solely on engineering drawings and not field testing. He and two additional board members approved that finding.

The crash occurred on the night of May 31, 2014, after the jet accelerated down the runway at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts. The plane never lifted off the runway and all aboard died.

Katz, who was 72, died just four days after winning an auction for ownership of The Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com.

Also killed in the crash were Katz friends Susan K. Asbell, 68; Marcella M. Dalsey, 59, who ran a Katz-funded charter school in Camden; and Anne B. Leeds, 74; along with three flight crew members, Bauke de Vries, 45; James McDowell, 51; and Teresa Anne Benhoff, 48. 

Katz had flown with Asbell, Dalsey and Leeds from Cherry Hill earlier that Saturday to attend a social event in the Boston area. 

The jet was scheduled to fly to Atlantic City International Airport – Katz owned radio stations at the shore and had a house there – when it crashed.

The NTSB found that the accident itself was survivable, but the resulting fire blocking an exit made it impossible for those aboard to escape the plane.

The preliminary NTSB report in June 2014 suggested pilot error likely was a critical factor in the crash. The experienced crew did not appear to have performed a preflight check that would have alerted them to an issue with the jet's gust-lock system. 

A further review showed the crew was routinely lax about doing checks before takeoff.

In April 2015, the NTSB released a cockpit voice recorder transcript that revealed one of the pilots had repeated the phrase, "The lock is on," followed by, "I can't stop it" and "Oh no no" just prior to the crash.

Katz, who rose to prominence in business and law, was a former owner of the New Jersey Devils and Nets. 

In recent years, he became increasingly dedicated to charity, donating millions of dollars to educational institutions, including Temple University, the Dickinson School of Law and Katz Academy, a charter school in the Parkside section of Camden, where Katz lived as a child.

http://www.phillyvoice.com



WASHINGTON – A fiery business-jet crash that killed a co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer happened because pilots mistakenly left the Gulfstream IV’s wing flaps locked in place, as if the plane were parked, which prevented the aircraft from lifting into the air, federal investigators ruled Wednesday. 

The National Transportation Safety Board found that the plane's red-handled "gust-lock system" was engaged, which kept ailerons, elevators and rudder locked in place, even though it was supposed to be turned off before starting the engines. The board found that the gust lock prevented the plane from taking off on May 31, 2014, in Bedford, Mass.

Gulfstream designed a limit on its throttle so that a plane couldn't reach takeoff speed if the gust lock was engaged, according to investigators. But investigators discovered after the crash that the throttle could and did reach takeoff speed, despite the limitation.

The Federal Aviation Administration missed the design flaw in certifying Gulfstream's plane based solely on drawings, the board found.

As the plane hurtled down the runway and into a ravine, the experienced pilots can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder repeatedly saying the “lock is on," according to the transcript. “I can’t stop it,” a pilot said before the crash.

Bella Dinh-Zarr, the board's vice chairman, said the pilots had flown together for years and had thousands of hours of experience but habitually neglected steps in preflight routines. The crew skipped steps during 98% of their previous 175 flights, according to investigators.

“An airplane cannot take off safely with the gust lock engaged," Dinh-Zarr said. “The flight crew routinely neglected performing complete flight checks."

Robert Sumwalt, a board member and 32-year commercial pilot, said preflight checks aren't just for Gulfstream planes, but for the safety of all flights.

"If you’re acting that way, you are just fooling yourself," Sumwalt said. “You don’t have a good operation if you’re not following those procedures."

As Gulfstream modifies its gust lock to prevent a takeoff while it is engaged, the board recommended that the FAA should require the company to retrofit existing planes with the new equipment.

The flight was planned from Hanscom Field, about 20 miles northeast of Boston, to Atlantic City International Airport.

The crash killed seven people, including Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz, three other passengers, two pilots and a flight attendant.

Katz, 72, was killed four days after putting together an $88-million deal to gain control of the media company that owns the Inquirer with an eye toward restoring the newspaper's stature.

The plane traveled 2,000 feet along the ground after rolling about 850 feet off the end of a runway without ever becoming airborne, a witness told NTSB.

The plane hit an antenna and smashed through a chain-link fence before going down an embankment into a gully filled partially with stream water. Witnesses said they heard an explosion and saw a fireball 60 feet in the air.

The 44-year-old pilot in command had 11,250 hours of flying experience, according to investigators. The other pilot, who was 61 years old, had 18,530 hours of flying, investigators said.

http://www.usatoday.com


NTSB Documents: http://dms.ntsb.gov

NTSB Identification: ERA14MA271
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Bedford, MA
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE G IV, registration: N121JM
Injuries: 7 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 31, 2014, about 2140 eastern daylight time, a Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation G-IV, N121JM, operated by SK Travel LLC., was destroyed after a rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Laurence G. Hanscom Field (BED), Bedford, Massachusetts. The two pilots, a flight attendant, and four passengers were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey. The business flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane was based at New Castle Airport (ILG), Wilmington, Delaware, and co-owned by one of the passengers, through a limited liability company. According to preliminary information, the airplane departed ILG earlier in the day, flew to ACY, and then to BED. The airplane landed at BED about 1545 and remained parked on the ramp at one of the fixed base operators. The crew remained with the airplane until the passengers returned. No maintenance or fuel services were requested by the crew.

The airplane was subsequently cleared for takeoff from runway 11, a 7,011-foot-long, 150-foot wide, grooved, asphalt runway. A witness observed the airplane on the takeoff roll at a "high speed" with "little to no altitude gained." The airplane subsequently rolled off the end of the runway, on to a runway safety area, and then on to grass. The airplane continued on the grass, where it struck approach lighting and a localizer antenna assembly, before coming to rest in a gully, on about runway heading, about 1,850 feet from the end of the runway. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the airplane aft of the cockpit; however; all major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The nose gear and left main landing gear separated during the accident sequence and were located on the grass area between the safety area and the gully.

Tire marks consistent with braking were observed to begin about 1,300 feet from the end of runway 11. The tire marks continued for about another 1,000 feet through the paved runway safety area.

The airplane was equipped with an L-3 Communications FA-2100 cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and an L-3 Communications F1000 flight data recorder (FDR), which were recovered and forwarded to the Safety Board's Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC for readout.

Initial review of CVR and FDR data revealed that the airplane's ground roll began about 49 seconds before the end of the CVR recording. The CVR captured callouts of 80 knots, V1, and rotate. After the rotate callout, the CVR captured comments concerning aircraft control. FDR data indicated the airplane reached a maximum speed of 165 knots during the takeoff roll and did not lift off the runway. FDR data further indicated thrust reversers were deployed and wheel brake pressures increased as the airplane decelerated. The FDR data ended about 7 seconds after thrust reverser deployment, with the airplane at about 100 knots. The FDR data did not reveal evidence of any catastrophic engine failures and revealed thrust lever angles consistent with observed engine performance. Review of FDR data parameters associated with the flight control surface positions did not reveal any movement consistent with a flight control check prior to the commencement of the takeoff roll. The flap handle in the cockpit was observed in the 10 degree detent. FDR data indicated a flap setting of 20 degrees during the takeoff attempt.

The airplane was equipped with a mechanical gust lock system, which could be utilized to lock the ailerons and rudder in the neutral position, and the elevator in the down position to protect the control surfaces from wind gusts while parked. A mechanical interlock was incorporated in the gust lock handle mechanism to restrict the movement of the throttle levers to a minimal amount (6-percent) when the gust lock handle was engaged.

The FDR data revealed the elevator control surface position during the taxi and takeoff was consistent with its position if the gust lock was engaged. The gust lock handle, located on the right side of the control pedestal, was found in the forward (OFF) position, and the elevator gust lock latch was found not engaged.

The wreckage was retained for further examination to be performed at a later date. The airplane was also equipped with a quick-access-recorder (QAR), which was retained for download.

The certificated airplane transport pilot, who was seated in the right seat, reported 18,500 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate, which was issued on February 4, 2014.

The certificated airline transport copilot, who was seated in the left seat, reported 11,250 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA first-class medical certificate, which was issued on April 15, 2014.

Both pilots completed a Gulfstream IV recurrent pilot-in-command course and proficiency check during September 2013. At that time, the pilot and copilot reported 2,800 and 1,400 hours of total flight experience in G-IV series airplanes; respectively.

Initial review of maintenance records revealed that at the time of the accident, the airplane had been operated for about 4,950 total hours and 2,745 landings.

The reported weather at BED, at 2156, included calm winds, visibility 10 miles; clear skies; temperature 8 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 30.28 inches of mercury.

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


Cockpit transcripts of the last moments before a Gulfstream jet crashed last year in Massachusetts, killing Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six others, show the pilots suddenly realizing they had tried to take off with their elevators and rudder locked. 

"Lock is on," the pilot says seven times as the plane accelerated down the runway at Hanscom Field, outside Boston.

His next words were "I can't stop it," then "oh no no."

The plane crashed and burst into flames at 9:40 p.m. on May 31 as it sought to take off for Atlantic City after Katz and his friends had attended a Saturday fund-raiser at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday made public 800 pages of analytical reports on the crash but stopped short of providing an official cause. That will come in the fall in a final NTSB report on the fiery crash everyone aboard Katz's $30 million jet.

Still, the NTSB experts returned repeatedly to a theme of pilot error first suggested when the agency released its initial preliminary report shortly after the accident.

The new documents again state there was no evidence that the pilots performed preflight checks before the fatal takeoff - and disclosed for the first that the experienced crew routinely took off without doing checks.

This meant the pilots tried to take off without realizing that they had failed to unlock the elevators and rudder on the plane's tail, the NTSB documents suggest. But a plane cannot go aloft if the elevators are locked.

Upon landing, pilots routinely lock them down so when planes are parked on open fields such as Hanscom, aircraft are not blown around by the wind.

In a seeming paradox, the preliminary NTSB report noted that while the elevators were locked, the gust lock was in a "off" position.

Some analysts have said that the pilots, in hopes of continuing with a takeoff, may have flipped the gust locks off even as the plane was rolling down the runway - a violation of procedure. Even so, the analysts say, their action failed for some reason to free up the elevators, setting the scene for the fatal crash.

The accident killed Katz, 72, just four days after he had won an auction for ownership of The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. After making his fortune in business and law, Katz had become a major charitable giver, pledging millions of dollars to Temple University, the Dickinson School of Law and others.

Others killed in the crash included three Katz friends - Susan K. Asbell, 68, Marcella M. Dalsey, 59, and Anne B. Leeds, 74 - and three crew members - pilots Bauke De Vries, 45, and James McDowell, 61, and flight attendant Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48.

Tuesday's report stated that McDowell served as pilot for the fatal flight and De Vries was his copilot.

Victims of plane crashes or their relatives have up to two years from an accident to file lawsuits. So far, relatives of two victims have brought suits.

The family members of Leeds and Dalsey have filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia courts against Gulfstream; other makers of parts and controls for the plane; and the company owned by Katz and a Katz friend who owned the jet.

Arthur Wolk, the lawyer representing those families, said he found the report released Thursday incomplete and "raised more questions that it answered."

"If you want to blame dead pilots," he said, "it's a great report."

He said the report's investigation of the plane's gust locks showed that the system is "clearly an inconsistent and problematic component of an extremely expensive airplane."

Earlier on May 31, the Gulfstream left its Hanger No. 9 at New Castle County Airport near Wilmington and flew to Atlantic City, an eight-minute hop. After Katz and South Jersey passengers boarded there, the plane took off again and landed at Hanscom Field, in Bedford, Mass., at 3:44 p.m., waiting there for its passengers to return.

Lightly loaded, with only about half its maximum number of passengers, on a long runway, and helmed by two highly experienced pilots, the Gulfstream was making a routine takeoff when it crashed.

The plane had flown for 4,950 hours over its 14-year life. In all, Gulfstream, a subsidiary of General Dynamic, built about 500 Gulfstream IV's between 1987 and 2003. More are still aloft. Accidents involving the Gulfstream are extremely rare.

The crash in Massachusetts was only the 18th accident involving a Gulfstream IV - out of a total fleet time aloft that is the equivalent of almost 500 years.

It was only the fourth time a crash resulted in death and the second time a Gulfstream IV has crashed on takeoff.

The plane's relative safety is also borne out by statistics. Over the last five years, Gulfstream G-IV jets have had about one accident for every 600,000 hours flown. In contrast, the industry wide rate for all such business jets is 2.6 accidents per 600,000 hours aloft.

Source: http://www.philly.com
















Pilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries with the plane that crash at Hanscom Field. 











 NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Luke Schiada speaks during a news conference at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass.,  June 2, 2014, regarding the investigation into  Gulfstream G-IV (N121JM) plane which plunged down an embankment and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt there on May 31. Lewis Katz, co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, and six other people died in the crash. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pilot, now Tulane University student, who wore uniform to cut security line sues airline

 In this Jan. 26, 2013 file image from video of FBI undercover footage provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Honolulu, Joshu Osmanski, center, wears his former employer's uniform and badge to attempt to pass through a flight crew security line at the Honolulu International Airport in Honolulu. Osmanski, who on April 2, 2015 was sentenced to three years' probation for wearing his Cathay Pacific Airways uniform to bypass security at Honolulu International Airport, is now suing his former employer. 
(AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office, file)





HONOLULU -- A pilot sentenced to probation for wearing his Cathay Pacific Airways uniform to bypass security at Honolulu International Airport is suing his former employer.

Joshu Osmanski, who now lives in New Orleans, said he wore the uniform and badge months after he was fired so that he could cut the security line. He was sentenced to three years' probation last week in federal court in Honolulu.

He filed a civil suit in federal court in San Francisco, saying the airline discriminated against him and fired him because of his obligations as a Navy Reserve fighter pilot. The Hong Kong-based airline which conducts its U.S. business in San Francisco, is subject to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, said the lawsuit filed last month.

The federal law protects service members' reemployment rights when returning from military service, including the reserves or National Guard. It prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation.

The lawsuit says the airline criticized him for participating in reserve training, forced him to take unpaid leave and then fired him without explanation.

A manager told Osmanski that the airline has a "business to run and no government or any other entity is part of any agreement that will provide an impediment to our business," the lawsuit said.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said Tuesday the airline can't comment on an active legal case.

During reserve training while on unpaid leave from work in 2011, Osmanski ejected from a malfunctioning jet moments before it crashed and exploded, the lawsuit said.

Birney Bervar, his Honolulu defense attorney in the criminal case, attributed a possible head injury from that crash as a reason for his actions at the airport. Osmanski, now a student at Tulane University, said in court he can't explain what he did.

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

Citing 'obstacles,' Federal Aviation Administration declines to allow Thunderbirds to send six jets to Thunder Over Louisville

WDRB 41 Louisville News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Disappointing news for this year's Thunder Over Louisville Air show.

The Kentucky Derby Festival says the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will only be able to have two jets in the show. They will not be performing an hour-long aerobatic demonstration with six jets as scheduled.

That's because the FAA re-evaluated approval due to "obstacles" in the area.

KDF CEO Mike Berry says it's a disappointment, but added: "We appreciate the commitment that they made because I guess if they wanted to they could have said, 'hey we're not coming at all ... but that's not the case. 

The Thunderbirds 15-person crew will still make public appearances.

The Golden Knights Parachuters, the Kentucky Air National Guard's C-130, and the U.S. Marines Harrier demonstration will still be a part of the show.

The FAA released this statement:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that an aerobatic box that is 4,000 feet long by 1,800 feet wide, up to an altitude of 16,000 feet will provide a safe environment for Thunder Over Louisville spectators and airshow performers.   Aerobatic pilots will remain in the airbox, and avoid the new bridge construction that is about ½ nautical mile east of the eastern end of the aerobatic box, the K&I Railroad bridge,  which is west of the box,  and the 2nd Street/Clark Memorial Bridge, which is east of the box. Also, aerobatic aircraft maneuvers will directed away from spectators, who will be a minimum of 1,000 feet from the edges of the aerobatic box.   
  
Category I aerobatic aircraft, which includes high performance jets, require aerobatic boxes that generally are 3,000 feet wide. The Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Canadian Snowbirds require a length of 12,000 feet (2 nautical miles.)

The FAA closely reviews all airshow applications to ensure that the proposed operation can be conducted safely. 

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


Cessna 414A Chancellor, Make It Happen Aviation LLC, N789UP: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Springfield, Illinois
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio
RAM Aircraft; Waco, Texas
Garmin; Olathe, Kansas
Sandel Avionics; Vista, California 
Spoilers, Inc.; Gig Harbor, Washington 

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

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

MAKE IT HAPPEN AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N789UP

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA190
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, IL
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N789UP
Injuries: 7 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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

The is an INTERIM FACTUAL SUMMARY of this accident investigation. A final report that includes all pertinent facts, conditions, and circumstances of the accident will be issued upon completion, along with the Safety Board's analysis and probable cause of the accident.

On April 7, 2015, about 0006 central daylight time (all referenced times will reflect central daylight time), a Cessna model 414A twin-engine airplane, N789UP, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an instrument approach to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI), Bloomington, Illinois. The airline transport pilot and six passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by and registered to Make It Happen Aviation, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Indianapolis, Indiana, at 2307 central daylight time.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, after departure the flight proceeded direct to BMI and climbed to a final cruise altitude of 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). At 2344:38 (hhmm:ss), about 42 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of BMI, the flight entered a cruise descent to 4,000 feet msl. At 2352:06, the pilot established contact with Peoria Terminal Radar Approach Control, reported being level at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl), and requested the Instrument Landing System (ILS) Runway 20 instrument approach to BMI. According to radar data, the flight was located about 21 nm south-southeast of BMI and was established on a direct course to BMI at 4,000 feet msl. The controller told the pilot to expect radar vectors for the ILS Runway 20 approach. At 2354:18, the controller told the pilot to make a right turn to a 330 degree heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 2359:16, the controller cleared the flight to descend to maintain 2,500 feet msl. At 2359:20, the pilot acknowledged the descent clearance.

At 0000:01, the controller told the pilot to turn left to a 290 heading and the pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 0000:39, the controller told the pilot that the flight was 5 nm from EGROW intersection, cleared the flight for the ILS Runway 20 instrument approach, issued a heading change to 230 degrees to intercept the final approach course, and told the pilot to maintain 2,500 feet until established on the inbound course. The pilot correctly read-back the instrument approach clearance, the heading to intercept the localizer, and the altitude restriction.

At 0001:26, the flight crossed through the final approach course while on the assigned 230 degree heading before turning to a southerly heading. The plotted radar data showed the flight made course corrections on both sides of the localizer centerline as it proceeded inbound toward EGROW. At 0001:47, the controller told the pilot to cancel his IFR flight plan on the approach control radio frequency, that radar services were terminated, and authorized a change to the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). According to radar data, the flight was 3.4 nm outside of EGROW, established inbound on the localizer, at 2,400 feet msl. At 0002:00, the pilot transmitted over the unmonitored airport CTAF, "twin Cessna seven eight nine uniform pop is coming up on EGROW, ILS Runway 20, full stop." No additional transmissions from the pilot were recorded on the airport CTAF or by Peoria Approach Control.

At 0003:12, the flight crossed the locator outer marker (EGROW) at 2,100 feet msl and continued to descend while right of the localizer centerline. At 0003:46, the airplane descended below available radar coverage at 1,500 feet msl. The flight was about 3.5 nm from the end of the runway when it descended below radar coverage. Subsequently, at 0004:34, radar coverage was reestablished with the flight about 1.7 nm north of the runway threshold at 1,400 feet msl. The plotted radar data showed that, between 0004:34 and 0005:08, the flight climbed from 1,400 feet msl to 2,000 feet msl while maintaining a southerly course. At 0005:08, the flight began a descending left turn to an easterly course. The airplane continued to descend on the easterly course until reaching 1,500 feet msl at 0005:27. The airplane then began a climb while maintaining an easterly course. At 0005:42, the airplane had flown 0.75 nm east of the localizer centerline and had climbed to 2,000 feet msl. At 0005:47, the flight descended below available radar coverage at 1,800 feet msl. Subsequently, at 0006:11, radar coverage was reestablished at 1,600 feet msl about 0.7 nm southeast of the previous radar return. The next two radar returns, recorded at 0006:16 and 0006:20, were at 1,900 feet msl and were consistent with the airplane on an easterly course. The final radar return was recorded at 0006:25 at 1,600 feet msl about 2 nm east-northeast of the runway 20 threshold, and was approximately coincident with the accident site location.

There were numerous individuals who reported being awoken shortly after midnight by the sound of a low-flying airplane over their respective residences. Additionally, several of these witnesses observed dense fog and/or rain after the airplane had overflew their position.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the 51-year-old pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The single engine land rating was limited to commercial privileges. The pilot was type-rated for the Cessna Citation, Learjet 35, Rockwell Sabreliner, Dassault Falcon 10, and Embraer Phenom business jets. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's last aviation medical examination was on February 2, 2015, when he was issued a second-class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the application for his current medical certificate, the pilot reported having accumulated 12,000 hours of total flight experience, of which 500 hours were flown within the previous 6 months. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings.

A current pilot logbook was not located during the investigation; the pilot's most recent logbook entry was dated February 15, 2005. A portfolio was found in the airplane wreckage that contained numerous pilot training certificates, fleet management documents, and airplane insurance applications. According to an insurance application that was submitted for the operation of the accident airplane, dated May 12, 2014, the pilot reported having a total flight experience of 12,100 hours, 9,850 hours in multiengine airplanes, 8,575 hours in turbine-powered airplanes, and 1,150 hours in Cessna 414A airplanes. The portfolio also contained documentation for simulator-based proficiency training in the Cessna 414A that was completed on August 14, 2013, at Recurrent Training Center, Inc., located in Savoy, Illinois. According to available information, the pilot's last flight review and instrument proficiency check was completed on March 11, 2015, in conjunction with simulator-based recurrent training for a Dassault Falcon 10 business jet at FlightSafety International, located in Dallas, Texas.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 1980 Cessna model 414A (Chancellor), serial number 414A0495. Two turbo-charged Continental model TSIO-520-NB reciprocating engines provided thrust through constant-speed, full-feathering, three blade, Hartzell model PHC-C3YF-2UF/FC7663DB-2Q propellers. The low-wing airplane was of conventional aluminum construction, equipped with a retractable tricycle landing gear, and a pressurized cabin that was configured to seat seven individuals. The airplane was equipped for night operations in instrument meteorological conditions. The airplane had been modified by supplemental type certificates (STC) to include winglets, vortex generators, and wing spoilers. Additionally, the maximum continuous horsepower of each engine had been increased to 325-horsepower after a STC modification. The airplane had a total fuel capacity of 213.4 gallons (206 gallons usable) distributed between two wing fuel tanks. A review of prior flights, fueling records, and fuel consumption calculations established that the airplane departed on the accident flight with about 133.4 gallons of usable fuel.

According to the current weight-and-balance record, dated November 27, 2013, the airplane had an empty weight of 5,226.6 lbs and a useful load of 1,860.4 lbs. The empty weight center-of-gravity (CG) was 156.52 inches aft of the datum. At maximum takeoff weight, 7,087 lbs, the forward and aft CG limits were 152.2 inches and 159.04 inches, respectively. At maximum landing weight, 6,750 lbs, the forward and aft CG limits were 151.2 inches and 160.04 inches, respectively.

The airplane was originally issued an export certificate of airworthiness on May 22, 1980. The airplane was issued a Canadian registration number, C-GFJT, and was based in Canada until September 1986 when it was imported back into the United States of America and issued a standard airworthiness certificate and a new registration number (N144PC) on October 1, 1986. On April 12, 1993, the registration number was changed to N789UP.

According to an airplane utilization log found in the wreckage, the airplane's hour meter indicated 2,109.7 hours before the previous flight leg (BMI to IND). The airplane's hour meter was not located during the accident investigation; however, postaccident calculations indicated that the airplane had accumulated about 1.9 hours during the final two flights (BMI to IND and IND to BMI).

According to available maintenance documentation, the airframe had accumulated a total service time of 8,390.2 hours since new. The last annual inspection of the airplane was completed on October 1, 2014, at 8,346.9 total airframe hours. The airplane had accumulated 43.3 hours since the annual inspection. The static system, altimeter system, automatic pressure altitude reporting system, and transponder were last tested on December 2, 2013. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues.

The left engine, serial number 503140, had accumulated a total service time of 4,881.5 hours since new and 556.7 hours since being overhauled on March 20, 2008. The left propeller, serial number EB1994, had accumulated a total service time of 6,936.4 hours since new and 165.3 hours since being overhauled on November 23, 2010.

The right engine, serial number 519303, had accumulated a total service time of 5,591 hours since new and 1,699.9 hours since being overhauled on June 13, 2000. The right propeller, serial number EB1993, had accumulated a total service time of 6,936.4 hours since new and 691.3 hours since being overhauled on February 10, 2006.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart, issued at 0100 central daylight time (CDT) depicted a stationary front extending across central Iowa, northern Illinois and Indiana, and immediately north of Bloomington, Illinois. A second stationary front was depicted extending over Kansas, into Missouri, and turning southeastward into Tennessee and Alabama. The station models on the chart indicated northeasterly winds at 10 to 15 knots north of the stationary front located across Illinois, and from the east-southeast at 5 knots or less south of the frontal boundary. The station models also depicted an extensive area of overcast clouds over the region, and with most stations along and south of the front reporting light continuous rain, drizzle, and/or mist. The station model for Bloomington indicated wind from the east-southeast at about 5 knots, surface visibility restricted in mist, overcast cloud cover, temperature and dew point at 13 degrees Celsius, and a sea level pressure of 29.98 inches of mercury. The station models surrounding Bloomington indicated similar conditions with overcast clouds, light continuous rain and/or mist.

A review of weather radar data recorded at 0004 CDT revealed no significant radar echoes greater than 15 dBZ over the greater Bloomington-Normal area. The observed radar echoes were consistent with light rain. The observed radar echoes along the recorded flight track were consistent with the accident airplane operating in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) during the approach and at the time of the accident.

At 2156 CDT, about an hour before the accident flight departed, the BMI automated surface observing system (ASOS) reported: wind 150 degrees at 4 knots, an overcast ceiling at 1,200 feet above ground level (agl), 10 mile surface visibility, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point 12 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

At 2303 CDT, about four minutes before the accident flight departed, the BMI ASOS reported: wind 140 degrees at 6 knots, scattered clouds at 100 feet agl and an overcast ceiling at 800 feet agl, 2 mile surface visibility with light rain and mist, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.

At 0005 CDT, about a minute before the accident, the BMI ASOS reported: wind 060 degrees at 6 knots, an overcast ceiling at 200 feet above ground level (agl), 1/2 mile surface visibility with light rain and fog, the runway visibility range (RVR) for runway 29 was variable 4,000-6,000 feet, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

The terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) issued at 1826 CDT for BMI expected marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions to prevail during the forecast period with a surface visibility greater than 6 miles, an overcast ceiling at 2,500 feet agl, and with rain showers in the vicinity after 0100 CDT. The terminal forecast was amended at 2048 CDT, lowering the overcast ceiling to 1,200 feet agl. At 0038 CDT, an updated terminal forecast indicated that low instrument meteorological (LIFR) conditions were expected, including an overcast ceiling at 200 feet agl, and a 1/2 mile surface visibility with light drizzle and fog.

According to available information, the pilot utilized a commercial weather vendor (FlightPlan.com) to obtain his preflight weather briefing. The vendor logged weather briefings at 1614, 1957, 2117, and 2228 CDT. The briefings included weather reports, forecast, and notice to airmen for the departure, destination, alternate, and selected nearby airports and pilot reports. The final weather briefing, obtained at 2228 CDT, included the TAF for Bloomington that had been issued at 2048 CDT, which forecasted MVFR conditions. The 2228 CDT briefing also provided weather conditions for nearby airports that were reporting LIFR conditions with overcast ceilings ranging between 200 and 300 feet agl. The 2228 CDT briefing did not include the Area Forecast or any in-flight weather advisories. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan from IND to BMI and designated Lambert-St Louis International Airport (STL) as his alternate airport.

AIDS TO NAVIGATION

The published inbound course for ILS runway 20 approach was 198 degrees magnetic, the crossing altitude for the final approach fix (EGROW) was 2,459 feet msl, and the distance between EGROW and the runway threshold was 4.8 nautical miles. The touchdown zone elevation was 871 feet msl. The published decision altitude was 1,071 feet msl (200 feet agl) and required 1,800 feet runway visibility range (RVR). The published missed approach procedure was to climb on runway heading to 1,500 feet msl, then make a right turn to a 270 degree magnetic heading and climb to 3,000 feet msl, then join the 214 degree radial from the Pontiac VOR and hold at MCLEN intersection.

In the event of a loss of vertical guidance from the glideslope during an approach, or if a pilot was cleared for the non-precision localizer approach, the missed approach point (MAP) was located 4.8 nm from the final approach fix (EGROW) while established on the localizer. The non-precision localizer approach minimum descent altitude (MDA) was 1,260 feet msl (389 feet agl) and required 2,400 feet RVR. The MDA for a circling approach was 1,340 feet msl (468 feet agl) and required 1 mile surface visibility.

According to air traffic control documentation, at the time of the accident, all components of the ILS were functional, with no recorded errors, and the localizer was radiating a front-course to runway 20. Additionally, a postaccident flight check further confirmed that there were no anomalies with the instrument approach.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI), a public airport located about 3 miles east of Bloomington, Illinois, was owned and operated by the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority. The airport field elevation was 871 feet msl. The airport had two runways: runway 2/20 (8,000 feet by 150 feet, concrete) and runway 11/29 (6,525 feet by 150 feet, asphalt/concrete). Although airport was equipped with an air traffic control tower, the control tower was closed at the time of the accident.

Runway 20 incorporated a dual-mode Approach Lighting System II (ALSF-2) and Simplified Short Approach Lighting System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights (SSALR). The SSALR system was active when the control tower was closed. The runway was also equipped with runway touchdown zone and centerline lighting, and high intensity runway edge lighting.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The accident airplane was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped, with a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in an open harvested corn field, about 2.2 miles east-northeast of the runway 20 threshold and about 1.75 miles east of the localizer centerline. The GPS altitude of the accident site was 854 feet. The main wreckage consisted of the entire airplane, which was orientated on a 074-degree magnetic heading. The wreckage was in an upright position and there was no appreciable wreckage debris path. All observed airframe structural separations were consistent with impact-related damage. The forward fuselage and cockpit were crushed upward and displaced aft. Flight control cable continuity was traced from the cockpit to the individual flight control surfaces. All observed flight control cable separations were consistent with overstress or were cut to facilitate recovery of the wreckage. There was no evidence of fire damage inside the cockpit, main cabin, aft fuselage, or empennage. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited postimpact fire damage of their respective engine nacelle/locker. Both ailerons were found partially separated from their respective hinge attachments. The aileron trim actuator extension measured 11/16 inch, which corresponded to the trailing-edge of the aileron trim tab being deflected up about 15-degrees. The aileron trim indicator was damaged during impact. The right wing leading edge outboard of the engine nacelle was crushed upward and displaced aft. The right wing deice boot and winglet were damaged by the postimpact fire. The left wing aft structural attachment exhibited features consistent with an overstress separation. The left winglet had separated and was found laying adjacent to the wing. The left wing leading edge outboard of the engine nacelle was crushed upward and displaced aft. The tail section was found separated immediately aft of the aft pressure bulkhead and remained attached through control cables. Both elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal stabilizer. The elevator trim actuator extension measured 1-11/16 inch, which corresponded to the trailing-edge of the elevator trim tab being deflected up about 5-degrees. The elevator trim indicator was damaged during impact. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The rudder trim actuator extension measured 2-1/4 inch, which was consistent with a neutral rudder trim position. The rudder trim indicator was damaged during impact. The nose and main landing gear were found fully retracted and the cockpit selector handle was found in the GEAR UP position. A measurement of the wing flap control chain corresponded with a fully-retracted flap position. The flap selector handle and indicator were damaged during impact. An operational test of the wing spoiler actuators did not reveal any anomalies. The cockpit instrument panel sustained considerable damage during impact. The throttle quadrant was buckled and displaced to the right. Both throttles levers were found in the idle position and bent to the right. Both propeller levers were found full forward and bent to the right. Both mixture levers were found in an intermediate position and bent to the right. The cockpit altimeters had a Kollsman window setting between 29.98 and 29.99 inches of mercury. The stall warning horn and landing gear warning horn were extracted from the cockpit and both horns produced an aural tone when electrical power was applied. Switch continuity for the wing-mounted lift sensor was confirmed. Both engine-mounted vacuum pumps exhibited impact and thermal damage. Disassembly of both vacuum pumps did not reveal any anomalies attributable to a preimpact malfunction.

Both integral wing fuel tanks were breached at their respective wingtips. Fuel was observed to drain from the left wing during wreckage recovery. Both fuel tank caps were found in the secured position. The airplane was equipped with cable-operated fuel selector valves, one for each engine, that were installed inboard of each engine nacelle. Both fuel selector valves were found in the OFF position; however, a reliable determination of the preimpact position was not possible due to impact-related damage to the selector handles. The structure supporting the selector handles, located between the cockpit seats, had been displaced forward into a vertical position during impact. Both auxiliary fuel pumps exhibited thermal damage from the postimpact fire that precluded further testing.

Both engines remained partially attached to their respective nacelles and exhibited impact and postimpact fire damage. The observed thermal damage was concentrated between the airframe firewalls and the rear accessory section of each engine. Both propellers had separated from their respective engine and were found in front of each engine, buried at a depth of about 18 inches. Both propellers retained their respective propeller flange and a fractured portion of their respective engine crankshaft. Both crankshafts displayed a bend in one direction with circumferential cracks observed on the tension side of the bend, a 45-degree sheer lip fracture on the tension side, and an irregular/jagged fracture on the compression side. Mechanical continuity from the engine components to their respective cockpit controls could not be determined due to impact and fire damage. Internal engine and valve train continuity was confirmed when each engine was rotated through the accessory section. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. Teardown examinations of both engines and their respective turbochargers did not reveal any anomalies attributable to a preimpact malfunction. Additional documentation for each engine and turbocharger examination is included with the docket materials associated with the investigation.

Each propeller had one blade that was bent aft, one blade that appeared straight, and one blade that exhibited forward bending near the tip. Both propellers had their spinner domes formed around the propeller hub and counterweights. The spinner domes also exhibited a spiral/twisting deformation pattern. The observed blade and spinner dome damage was consistent with both propellers rotating at impact. Neither propeller was found in a feathered position. Both propellers were found on their respective start locks. According to the propeller manufacturer, for the propellers to be found on the start locks, the propeller blade angle at impact was either at or below the start lock angle when engine speed decreased below 700-900 RPM, or the blade forces during impact had moved the blade angle into a start lock position after engine speed decreased below 700-900 RPM. A teardown examination of each propeller did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Additional documentation for each propeller examination is included with the docket materials associated with the investigation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On April 7, 2015, the McLean County Coroner Office, located in Bloomington, Illinois, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt-force injuries sustained during the accident. The autopsy also identified an enlarged heart with wall thickening and dilation of the chambers, 60-75 percent stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending artery, extensive interstitial myocardial fibrosis within the left ventricle, and severe atherosclerosis of the basal septum nodal artery. The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on samples obtained during the autopsy. The testing identified 0.010 gm/dl of ethanol in cavity blood; however, no ethanol was detected in liver or brain samples. Ethanol can be produced by microbial activity after death. Additional toxicology testing did not identify any drugs and medications in cavity blood.

The pilot's wife reported that the pilot had not experienced any major life events or stressors in the days or weeks preceding the accident. She stated that the pilot would typically sleep about 8 hours each night and that he never mentioned having any sleep-related issues. Additionally, she could not recall him being fatigued in the days preceding the accident. She reported that he had no serious health related issues and that he regularly exercised by running. She indicated that the pilot had recently seen a chiropractor for back pain and that he would take Aleve for pain management.

An acquaintance of the pilot reported that he and the pilot had a lengthy conversation during the hours before the accident flight as they waited for their respective passengers to return to the fixed based operator. According to the acquaintance, the pilot appeared very relaxed throughout their conversation and did not appear to be fatigued or ill.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Glideslope Validity

A laboratory examination of the Garmin GNS 530W NAV/COM/GPS receiver, serial number 78410737, established that the active communication (COM) frequency was set to the BMI control tower frequency (124.6 MHz), which also served as the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when the control tower was closed. The standby COM frequency was set to Peoria Approach Control (128.725 MHz). The active navigation (NAV) frequency was for the BMI ILS Runway 20 instrument approach (111.9 MHz). The standby NAV frequency was set to the BMI VOR/DME frequency (108.2 MHz). The course deviation indicator (CDI) mode was selected to VOR/Localizer (VLOC). The Garmin GNS 530W did not record any historical flight parameter or navigational data.

A laboratory examination of the Garmin GNS 430W NAV/COM/GPS receiver, serial number 97103703, established that the active COM frequency was set to the BMI control tower frequency (124.6 MHz). The standby COM frequency was set to the BMI automatic terminal information service (ATIS) frequency (135.35 MHz). The active NAV frequency was for the BMI ILS Runway 20 approach (111.9 MHz). The standby NAV frequency was set to the BMI VOR/DME frequency (108.2 MHz). The CDI mode was selected to VLOC. The Garmin GNS 430W did not record any historical flight parameter or navigational data.

The airplane was equipped with a Sandel Avionics SN3500 electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI), serial number 1058. The device performed the basic functions of a traditional horizontal situation indicator (HSI) and radio magnetic indicator (RMI). Additionally, depending on installation, the device can provide RMI navigation to GPS waypoints, weather information, and traffic information. The device was configured to receive navigational data from the Garmin 530W and Garmin 430W as NAV Channel 1 and 2, respectively. The device recorded the incoming navigation data once per second to a 24-megabyte circular buffer. The intended purpose of the recorded data was for diagnostic purposes by the manufacturer. The device was sent to the manufacturer to be downloaded and decoded. The recovered dataset included, but was not limited to, the following historic flight parameters: latitude, longitude, ground speed, magnetic heading, ground track, VOR/ILS mode status, localizer and glideslope validity, and localizer and glideslope deviation. The device did not record an altitude data parameter.

A review of the data recorded by the Sandel Avionics SN3500 during the previous flight leg (BMI to IND) established that despite being in ILS mode during the approach phase and having achieved a valid localizer state on both NAV channels, the device did not achieve a valid glideslope state until about 0.6 nm from the approach end of runway 23L at IND. A postaccident review of available weather documentation established that the airplane had landed at IND in day visual meteorological conditions, which consisted of a 10 sm surface visibility and an overcast cloud ceiling at 2,400 feet agl (about 3,200 feet msl).

A review of the recovered data for the accident flight revealed that the Sandel Avionics SN3500 was in the ILS mode during the instrument approach phase and that it had achieved a valid localizer state on both NAV channels; however, the device never achieved a valid glideslope state on either NAV channel during the accident flight.

With the assistance of the manufacturer, the recorded data for the accident flight was replayed back through the Sandel Avionics SN3500 to document the navigational information that was displayed by the device. The replay confirmed that the glideslope did not achieve a valid state on either NAV channel during the accident flight. The device displayed a large "X" through the glideslope scale and did not display a glideslope deviation pointer. According to the Sandel Avionics SN3500 pilot's guide, an "X" through the glideslope scale and the absence of a glideslope pointer indicated a lack of a valid glideslope. According to the manufacturer, the glideslope deviation and validity state are independently determined by the NAV/COM/GPS devices (Garmin 530W and Garmin 430W) before being transmitted, along with other navigational data, to the SN3500 device as NAV Channel 1 and NAV Channel 2 data via a standard avionics data transfer protocol (ARINC 429).

According to the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook, a glideslope signal consists of two intersecting radio signals that are modulated at 90 Hz and 150 Hz. According to Garmin, the operating conditions that would result in an invalid glideslope state include any of the following conditions:

(a) In the absence of a glideslope radio frequency signal.
(b) In the absence of 150 Hz modulation.
(c) In the absence of 90 Hz modulation.
(d) In the absence of both 90 Hz and 150 Hz modulation.
(e) When the level of a standard deviation test signal, as generated during ground maintenance/testing, produces 50-percent or less of standard deflection of the deviation indicator.

A follow-up examination of the airplane wreckage located the glideslope antenna on a small portion of radome structure. The radome had fragmented during the impact sequence. One of the solid wire antennas had separated from the antenna body and was not located during the investigation. The other solid wire antenna remained attached to the antenna body and exhibited minor damage. As found, the glideslope antenna was not connected to the coaxial cable that provided signal to the glideslope signal diplexer. Additionally, the coaxial cable was found crimped around a fuselage bulkhead stiffener. The observed crimp was consistent with damage sustained during the accident. The glideslope signal diplexer remained attached to the fuselage bulkhead and its single coaxial input connector and two coaxial output connectors were found intact and properly secured. The remaining coaxial cable paths were continuous to the cockpit where the Garmin 530W and Garmin 430W had been previously removed during the investigation.

The glideslope antenna design incorporated a quarter-turn twist-lock BNC-type connector with the female portion of the connector installed on the glideslope antenna body. The male portion of the connector was attached to the coaxial cable that connected to the glideslope signal diplexer. A laboratory examination of the female portion of the connector revealed that it was intact with some minor deformation and light debris found on the interior and exterior surfaces. The locking pins of the female connector were intact and no corrosion was observed. The male portion of the connector was intact and undamaged except for one of the six shielding/ground fingers. The damaged finger was folded and bent into the connector. The central conductor pin was undamaged and no corrosion was apparent. Although initially found disconnected from the glideslope antenna, the coaxial cable could be reconnected and twist locked with minimal difficulty.

The electrical properties of the glideslope signal diplexer were subsequently evaluated at an avionics repair station. No repairs were made to the crimped portion of the coaxial cable that normally connected the glideslope antenna to the glideslope signal diplexer. A glideslope source signal of 92 decibels (dbm) was transmitted by the test bench through the coaxial cable that was connected to the diplexer. The signal level was measured after it passed through the diplexer at the two output connectors. During the bench test, the diplexer split the original source signal into two signal paths which measured 89.8 dbm and 88.8 dbm for glideslope 1 and 2, respectively. According to the bench technician, the observed differences between the source and output signals was normal and would not have affected glideslope signal transmission to the Garmin 530W and Garmin 430W that were located downstream of the diplexer. The operational bench test revealed no anomalies with the glideslope signal diplexer and, although damaged during impact, the coaxial cable remained capable of transmitting a strong glideslope signal to the diplexer.

Weight and Balance

The airplane weight and balance for the accident flight and the preceding flight (BMI to IND) were calculated using the reported weights and seat position for the pilot and the six passengers, maintenance records that established the airplane basic empty weight and moment, fueling receipts/invoices, and recent flight tracking data.

The average fuel consumption rate was estimated to be 47.36 gallons per hour based on the accumulated flight time between known fuel tank top-offs. Based on this estimated fuel consumption rate and fuel receipts/invoices, the accident airplane departed BMI for IND with about 114.5 gallons of usable fuel. After landing at IND, the airplane was fueled with 60 gallons of fuel, and subsequently departed on the accident flight with 133.4 gallons of usable fuel.

Postaccident weight and balance calculations estimated that the preceding flight (BMI to IND) departed 160 lbs over the maximum takeoff weight (7,087 lbs) and aft of the permitted weight and balance envelope. The same calculations estimated that airplane landed 287 lbs over the maximum landing weight (6,750 lbs) and remained aft of the permitted weight and balance envelope.

The weight and balance calculations estimated that the accident flight departed 271 lbs over the maximum takeoff weight and about 4.37 inches aft of the permitted weight and balance envelope. The calculations estimated that at the time of the accident the airplane was 366 lbs over the maximum landing weight and about 3.71 inches aft of the permitted weight and balance envelope.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

During an ILS approach, the localizer provides lateral guidance for the final approach course and the glideslope provides vertical guidance as the aircraft descends towards the runway. For a precision approach, such as an ILS approach, the missed approach point (MAP) is where the aircraft reaches the decision altitude while on the glideslope. If a pilot observes an invalid glideslope indication, such as an "X" displayed through the glideslope scale of an electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI) or a warning flag on an analog course deviation indicator (CDI), they may continue the instrument approach using the lateral guidance of the localizer; however, without the vertical guidance of a glideslope, a higher minimum descent altitude (MDA) is stipulated for the non-precision localizer instrument approach. Further, the location of the MAP for a non-precision approach will be a DME distance from a navigational aid, or a fixed distance (from the final approach fix to the MAP) with an associated elapsed time that is based on the groundspeed of the aircraft, or a specific intersection/waypoint.

According to the FAA Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook, if the center of gravity (CG) is maintained within the allowable limits for its weight, an airplane has adequate longitudinal stability and control. However, if the loaded airplane results in a CG that is aft of the allowable limits, the airplane can become unstable and difficult to recover from an aerodynamic stall. Additionally, if the unstable airplane should enter an aerodynamic spin, the spin could become flat making recovery difficult or impossible.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA190
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, IL
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N789UP
Injuries: 7 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 7, 2015, about 0006 central daylight time (all referenced times will reflect central daylight time), a Cessna model 414A twin-engine airplane, N789UP, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an instrument approach to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI), Bloomington, Illinois. The airline transport pilot and six passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by and registered to Make It Happen Aviation, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Indianapolis, Indiana, at 2307 central daylight time.

According to preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, after departure the flight proceeded direct to BMI and climbed to a final cruise altitude of 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). According to radar data, at 2344:38 (hhmm:ss), about 42 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of BMI, the flight began a cruise descent to 4,000 feet msl. At 2352:06, the pilot established contact with Peoria Terminal Radar Approach Control, reported being level at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl), and requested the Instrument Landing System (ILS) Runway 20 instrument approach into BMI. According to radar data, the flight was located about 21 nm south-southeast of BMI and was established on a direct course to BMI at 4,000 feet msl. The approach controller told the pilot to expect radar vectors for the ILS Runway 20 approach. At 2354:18, the approach controller told the pilot to make a right turn to a 330 degree heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 2359:16, the approach controller cleared the flight to descend to maintain 2,500 feet msl. At 2359:20, the pilot acknowledged the descent clearance.

At 0000:01, the approach controller told the pilot to turn left to a 290 heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 0000:39, the approach controller told the pilot that the flight was 5 nm from EGROW intersection, cleared the flight for the ILS Runway 20 instrument approach, issued a heading change to 230 degrees to intercept the final approach course, and told the pilot to maintain 2,500 feet until established on the inbound course. The pilot correctly read-back the instrument approach clearance, the heading to intercept the localizer, and the altitude restriction.

According to radar data, at 0001:26, the flight crossed through the final approach course while on the assigned 230 degree heading before it turned to a southerly heading. The plotted radar data showed the flight made course corrections on both sides of the localizer centerline as it proceeded inbound toward EGROW. At 0001:47, the approach controller told the pilot to cancel his IFR flight plan on the approach control radio frequency, that radar services were terminated, and authorized a change to the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). According to radar data, the flight was 3.4 nm outside of EGROW, established inbound on the localizer, at 2,400 feet msl. At 0002:00, the pilot transmitted over the unmonitored CTAF, "twin Cessna seven eight nine uniform pop is coming up on EGROW, ILS Runway 20, full stop." No additional transmissions from the pilot were recorded on the CTAF or by Peoria Approach Control.

According to radar data, at 0003:12, the flight crossed over the locator outer marker (EGROW) at 2,100 feet msl. The flight continued to descend while tracking the localizer toward the runway. At 0003:46, the airplane descended below available radar coverage at 1,500 feet msl. The flight was about 3.5 nm from the end of the runway when it descended below radar coverage. Subsequently, at 0004:34, radar coverage was reestablished with the flight about 1.7 nm north of the runway threshold at 1,400 feet msl. The plotted radar data showed that, between 0004:34 and 0005:08, the flight climbed from 1,400 feet msl to 2,000 feet msl while maintaining a southerly course. At 0005:08, the flight began a descending left turn to an easterly course. The airplane continued to descend on the easterly course until reaching 1,500 feet msl at 0005:27. The airplane then began a climb while maintaining an easterly course. At 0005:42, the airplane had flown 0.75 nm east of the localizer centerline and had climbed to 2,000 feet. At 0005:47, the flight descended below available radar coverage at 1,800 feet msl. Subsequently, at 0006:11, radar coverage was reestablished at 1,600 feet msl about 0.7 nm southeast of the previous radar return. The next two radar returns, recorded at 0006:16 and 0006:20, were at 1,900 feet msl and were consistent with the airplane continuing on an easterly course. The final radar return was recorded at 0006:25 at 1,600 feet msl about 2 nm east-northeast of the runway 20 threshold.

At 0005, the BMI automated surface observing system reported: wind 060 degrees at 6 knots, an overcast ceiling at 200 feet above ground level (agl), 1/2 mile surface visibility with light rain and fog, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.















BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Memorial services have been scheduled for two of the Bloomington plane crash victims.

A memorial service for pilot Thomas Weldon Hileman will be held at Saturday, April 11 at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, beginning at 10 a.m.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church.

Hileman served in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, and later attended Southern Illinois University. He is survived by his wife, Ami, their five children and his four siblings. Hileman was 51 years old.

Condolences for Hileman may be made at www.carmodyflynn.com.

Services for Terry Stralow will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 11 at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington. The burial will be in East Lawn Memorial Gardens, also in Bloomington.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal. Memorials may be directed to ISU Athletics or OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation.

Stralow graduated from Illinois State University in 1974 and later co-owned and operated Pub II in Normal. He is survived by his wive of 38 years, Joan, his two children and brothers and sisters-in-law. He was 64 years old. Condolences for Stralow may be left at www.calvertmemorial.com

Visitation for Andy Butler will be held Sunday, April 12, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Carmody Flynn Funeral Home in Bloomington.

The funeral service will be Monday, April 13, 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church of Merna. Memorials can be sent to the Illinois State Athletics Weisbecker Scholarship Fund, or by showing your support for Redbird Athletics by attending an event.

Visitation for Jason Jones will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at Carmody Flynn Funeral Home.

The funeral service is scheduled for Sunday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington.

Visitation for Aaron Leetch will be held Friday, April 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Redbird Arena. The funeral will be Saturday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at Eastview Christian Church.

Services for Torrey Ward and Scott Bittner are pending.





Sometimes, words are not enough

By  Randy Kindred


As journalists, we’re supposed to have the right words. It’s easy when a shot goes in at the buzzer or a ball leaves the park in the bottom of the ninth. Words become apples in an orchard … plentiful, everywhere.

Just take your pick.

It was not as simple Tuesday.

Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons said in an afternoon statement: “There is no play in the playbook for times like these.”

No apples either.

Words get lost amid shock and sorrow, pain and more pain. Losing seven of our own to an early-morning plane crash was crippling emotionally, collectively. It is difficult to convey how much.

These were successful people who built businesses, teams, programs. They were building legacies. We knew them or knew of them, knew they made a difference.

You cross paths with a lot of people as a sportswriter … players, coaches, administrators, fans. You don’t always meet their parents, spouses, children. The heart aches for all of them today.

Sports mean little in light of what they face. Yet, sports are part of this. To a man, they meant a lot to the people on board.

Andy Butler was a former high school golfer, an Illinois State grad and an avid fan of ISU athletics. A devastated Rick Percy Jr. said Tuesday, “He might have been the only person I knew who loved ISU more than me.”

Scott Bittner was a former football and basketball player at Chenoa High School. Pilot Tom Hileman played football at Bloomington High School, earning all-Big 12 Conference honors.

Terry Stralow owned a restaurant/bar, Pub II, in the heart of Illinois State country. A passionate supporter of ISU’s teams, his smile always seemed a little wider at a Redbird game.

It stretched from ear to ear on a Saturday afternoon in December at Pub II. A large crowd was gathering for a “watch party” for ISU’s national semifinal football game at New Hampshire.

Business was booming. The bottom line would get a boost. Still, Stralow’s grin was not motivated by dollars and cents, rather ISU red and white.

He told me shortly before kickoff he’d already looked into flights to Dallas for the national title game, with plans to rent a car and drive to Springfield, Mo., for a Redbird basketball game the following day. His eyes danced just talking about it.

Jason Jones was of special interest for a sportswriter from Atlanta. He grew up 10 miles down the road in Lincoln, our Logan County seat.

His father, Woody, was a former Illinois State baseball player. We knew such things in Atlanta. Jason carved his own niche as a fine baseball and basketball player, first at Lincoln High School and later Illinois Wesleyan.

He was a joy to watch, an all-out type of guy who relished every game. Afterward, he was cordial, respectful, even to a reporter from little old Atlanta.

Aaron Leetch was a warm handshake and a pat on the back. ISU’s Deputy Director of Athletics/External Operations, he cared deeply about Redbird sports. When ISU’s basketball team lost to Northern Iowa in last month’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game, Leetch’s eyes were red and moist as he slumped against a wall outside the locker room.

He was destined to be a Division I athletic director one day.

Torrey Ward was an up and coming coach who could connect with players without chastising them. He was a positive, upbeat guy who knew the game and would have been an outstanding head coach. It was not if, but when.

There is no play in the playbook for this.

Words don’t seem enough, either.

Source:  http://www.pantagraph.com












BLOOMINGTON — Federal authorities could eliminate some possible causes of Tuesday's plane crash as early as Wednesday, but the full report could take up to 18 months.

Five businessmen and two members of the Illinois State University athletics department died from blunt force trauma when their small plane crashed in a farm field east of Bloomington. They were on their way home from the NCAA basketball championship game in Indianapolis.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis identified the victims as pilot Thomas Hileman, 51, of Bloomington; Normal residents Aaron Leetch, 37, Andy Butler, 40, and Torrey Ward, 36; Jason Jones, 45, and Terry Stralow, 64, both of Bloomington; and Scott Bittner, 42, of Towanda.

"The wreckage had all aircraft components in a limited debris field," said Todd Fox, an air safety investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board's Chicago office. "We found it within one wingspan of the plane."

News of the crash rippled through Bloomington-Normal because the victims had close ties to ISU and the business community. The men included Leetch and Ward, both of the Illinois State University athletics department; Butler, a regional manager for Sprint; Jones, a financial manager; Stralow, co-owner of Pub II; and Bittner, owner of Eureka Locker Co.

The Cessna 414A belonged to Bittner's father, who was not aboard.

Hileman owned Hileman Aviation LLC, based at Central Illinois Regional Airport, and had 12,000 hours of flight time. Fox said Hileman had an airline transport pilot's license and had undergone a medical exam in February.

Davis said Hileman, Leetch, Stralow and Jones had to be identified by dental records. All seven victims were found fastened in their seats.

The wreckage has been moved to a secure hangar at CIRA, where it will be evaluated. The Cessna model does not contain a "black box," or instrument data recorder.

Fox said there was a post-impact fire near the engines, which is common.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said the plane was located in a soybean field near Illinois 9 and McLean County Road 2100 East.

The aircraft was last in contact with air traffic controllers in Peoria and had left Indianapolis around midnight. The flight usually takes about an hour.

Fox said Peoria controllers cleared the Cessna for an instrument approach at CIRA, which does not have controllers after 10 p.m.

For an unknown reason, "they made a turn from the course to the runway," Fox said. Peoria contacted CIRA after the pilot did not acknowledge the end of the flight, as required.

CIRA workers searched the airport for the plane before calling local authorities to help look for it. A Bloomington police officer found the wreckage around 3 a.m.

CIRA Executive Director Carl Olsen said all CIRA operations were functioning at the time of crash.

Fox said there were low clouds, fog and maybe some light rain at the time.

The NTSB investigative team includes members of the air-frame and engine manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration. The multi-engine Cessna typically carries six to eight passengers. 

The twin-engine Cessna 414 was first manufactured in 1968; the modified 414A, with a longer wingspan and simpler fuel system, began production 10 years later, according to the Aircraft Owners And Pilots website.

The Cessna 414A has a maximum speed of about 270 mph and was manufactured until 1985, when Cessna ceased production, according to the website Cessna.us.

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












McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage joined by Coroner Kathleen Davis as he reads a statement to reporters Tuesday.
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