Thursday, April 09, 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.

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A recovery barge on the scene at Colbert Ferry Park and teams has pulled the wreckage of the helicopter from the Tennessee River. Crews got most of the aircraft above the water shortly after 12 p.m. Thursday.

The search continues for the pilot, who has not been publicly identified. 

Searchers have been using cadaver dogs and specially equipped helicopters in their efforts.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board is focusing on the wreckage of the aircraft, which was 27 feet below the surface of the Tennessee River.

The helicopter went down Monday just near the park, at Natchez Trace Parkway.


Sheriff: Pike County 'plane crash' a false alarm


Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas says a reported plane crash Thursday night turned out to be a false alarm.

Thomas said residents in the Spring Hill community south of Troy saw smoke after seeing a low-flying aircraft.

The plane was reportedly taking pictures in the area.

Authorities determined who was flying the plane and confirmed it didn't crash.

The plane matched the description that residents gave.

The smoke in the area of L&L Lake Road was from a controlled burn.

Original article can be found here:

Bombardier Shakes Up Executive Ranks Again • Maker of planes and trains says CFO Pierre Alary will retire and also names Fred Cromer president of its commercial aircraft unit

The Wall Street Journal 
By Paul Vieira And Doug Cameron
Updated April 9, 2015 2:40 p.m. ET

Bombardier Inc. ’s newly minted chief executive signaled Thursday that he was moving swiftly to shake up the family-controlled firm and its troubled aerospace division.

The Montreal-based plane and train maker announced fresh changes to its executive ranks, just two months after Pierre Beaudoin, a member of the family that controls Bombardier, stepped away from the chief executive post to make way for former United Technologies Corp. executive Alain Bellemare. Mr. Beaudoin is now executive chairman.

The latest changes include the retirement of longtime Chief Financial Officer Pierre Alary and the departure of Mike Arcamone, who headed Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division, where delays in getting the new CSeries jet off the ground have weighed on company performance. Bombardier said Mr. Alary would remain with the company until a successor is named, while Mr. Arcamone had left to pursue other interests. The departures follow the retirement of Senior Vice President Steven Ridolfi shortly after Mr. Bellemare’s arrival.

To reignite sales of the delay-plagued CSeries program, which is aimed at challenging the dominance of Boeing Co. and Airbus Group NV in the 100-seat-plus passenger jet category, Mr. Bellemare tapped Fred Cromer to head its commercial aircraft unit. Mr. Cromer was president at International Lease Finance Corp., the world’s second-largest aircraft leasing company until it was sold last year to AerCap Holdings NV, and before that ran that ran a U.S. regional airline and headed fleet planning at two other carriers. Henri Courpron, a longtime Airbus executive who worked alongside Mr. Cromer as chief executive of ILFC before its sale, will serve as an adviser, Bombardier added.

Mr. Bellemare is “definitely beginning to put his stamp on the company and looking to change the culture,” said Anthony Scilipoti, president of Toronto-based Veritas Investment Research.

The changes “will instill a fresh perspective at Bombardier, driving execution, alignment and intensity across the entire company,” the company said in a statement.

A Bombardier spokeswoman said Mr. Cromer and Mr. Alary weren’t available for comment. Attempts to reach Mr. Arcamone were unsuccessful.

Analysts said Mr. Bellemare isn’t wasting time in trying to revamp Bombardier, whose CSeries program has weighed on margins and eaten away at its cash pile. To bolster the balance sheet and address market concerns about liquidity, the company recently raised roughly $3 billion through an equity and debt issue.

The appointment of two aircraft-leasing veterans addresses Bombardier’s need to find new customers for the CSeries, analysts added.

Regional airlines are key customers for the planned CSeries, whose CS100 and CS300 models can seat up to 125 and 160 passengers, respectively. U.S.-based Republic Airways Holding Inc. is among the largest customers for the jet, but like other buyers has had to revise plans as the jet’s entry into service was pushed back by technical and design problems. Mr. Cromer was formerly CFO of ExpressJet Airlines, a U.S. regional that is now part of rival SkyWest Inc.

The CSeries, originally scheduled to begin delivery in 2013, won’t begin flying until early 2016, the company said last month. Meanwhile, development costs have mushroomed to $5.4 billion from an original $3.4 billion price tag.

Another Bombardier spokeswoman said the company was working with Russia’s Ilyushin Finance Corp., which has pledged to acquire 32 of the CS300 planes, to secure financing from a third-party. The spokeswoman said Ilyushin’s order remains part of the company’s backlog, but during meetings last week the Moscow company said it was having trouble obtaining financing given the economic downturn in Russia. A representative for the Russian aircraft lessor wasn’t immediately available for comment.

There remains time to identify a new financing source, given delivery of the larger CS300 isn’t expected to happen until mid-2016, or six months after delivery of the CS100, the spokeswoman said. Financing on such aircraft deals are generally finalized several months before delivery.

—Jon Ostrower contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here:

Incident occurred April 09, 2015 at Jack Brooks Regional Airport (KBPT), Jefferson County, Texas

JEFFERSON COUNTY -  Scary moments Thursday afternoon at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Jefferson County.

Airport manager Alex Rupp confirms to 12News that a private aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing there.

Rupp says the Aerostar twin-turbo engine plane had to land without a working left-side turbo.

The airport rescue firefighters responded to the scene. 

Rupp said two people were on board. 

Neither was injured.  

The plane was taken to a hangar immediately after the emergency landing.

Original article can be found here:

Businsess growth rules out Tecumseh parachuting, manager says • Al Meyers Airport (3TE), Tecumseh, Michigan

TECUMSEH, MICHIGAN --   Al Meyers Airport Corp. is moving ahead with a business realignment without Skydive Tecumseh, according to a statement released Wednesday by airport president and manager, Andy Aalto.

The parachuting service was given notice in January it would no longer be allowed to operate from Al Meyers Airport. Skydive Tecumseh filed a lawsuit in March. A hearing on its motion for a temporary order to allow it to use the airport is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, in Lenawee County Circuit Court.

Aalto has plans for expanding airport business in other directions that would be in conflict with parachuting activity. He stated in a response to the lawsuit the parachute operation was ended due to Skydive Tecumseh’s “lack of compliance with necessary operational and safety measures.”

Steep takeoffs and landing descents and drop planes operating in zones where parachutes were in the air are among the safety violations cited by Aalto.

The airport’s attorney, Charles Gross of Tecumseh, said he does not believe an agreement can be made to accommodate Skydive Tecumseh.

The airport already has a net increase of four airplanes based at the field, according to Aalto’s statement. And Heinen Avionics has located a new aircraft instrumentation repair center at the airport.

“The facility is also undergoing renovations to bring biotechnology businesses to the city of Tecumseh,” he said in the statement. Biomaterialize LLC, a medical device development and consulting firm, plans to initiate operations at the airport facility in May 2015, he said.

“As there are waiting lists for small aircraft hangars at several nearby airports, the airport expects that several more planes will be based here in Tecumseh soon,” the statement said.

Residential and business growth near the airport has made it “extremely difficult” to sustain a safe parachute zone for pilots, passengers, parachutists and the public, according to Aalto.

“Moving forward, we will see a more vibrant airport, business base and community asset that will also result in quieter skies over the city of Tecumseh,” Aalto stated. “The newly arrived airplanes produce lower decibel sound than the prior skydiving airplane. These new additions also fly less often than the Skydive airplane and bring with them a diverse set of talented pilots and owners that are often helping one another at the airport and in the surrounding community.”

The airport’s name has been changed from Meyers-Diver’s Airport back to the original Al Meyers Airport in honor of the founder of the Meyers Aircraft Co., Aalto stated. Former airport president and manager Keith Diver and members of his family will continue being recognized in exhibits and plaques, he stated.

Aalto stated he “spoke at length” with Keith Diver before his death in 2014 about his wishes for the airport.