Wednesday, April 22, 2015

National Transportation Safety Board: Pilot suicide cause of January airplane crash near Denver • Piper PA-28RT-201T Turbo Arrow IV, N82828

Wade H. Tefft



A pilot who died when his single-engine plane crashed near Brighton intentionally flew into the ground to commit suicide, a National Transportation Safety Board report released earlier this month says. 

Investigators learned that 41-year-old Wade Howard Tefft's wife had told him she wanted a divorce and was buying another home.

"About five years earlier, (Tefft) had told her that if she ever left him he would fly his airplane into the ground and kill himself," the report said.

Tefft was killed in the Jan. 11 crash of a Piper PA-28RT-201T Turbo Arrow IV northeast of Denver International Airport and north of Front Range Airport. He was the only one aboard when the aircraft went down in a wheat field.

Read more here:  http://www.denverpost.com







http://registry.faa.gov/N82828


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA101
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 11, 2015 in Brighton, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/06/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28RT-201T, registration: N82828
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

Witnesses reported observing the pilot taxi the airplane from inside his hangar and depart. For several minutes, the airplane maneuvered at a low altitude and high airspeed. Witnesses then observed the airplane make a steep bank turn, descend, and impact terrain about 5 miles east of the departure airport. The pilot’s wife had reported to local law enforcement that she believed he had committed suicide. The pilot’s wife reported that she had recently informed him that she wanted a divorce and was purchasing another home. She added that, about 5 years earlier, the pilot had told her that, if she ever left him, he would fly his airplane into the ground and kill himself. Although the wreckage was significantly fragmented, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airframe or engine were noted that would have precluded normal operation. The medical examiner determined that the pilot’s manner of death was “suicide.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s intentional descent into the terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 


On January 11, 2015, at 1246 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28RT-201T single-engine airplane, N82828, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Brighton, Colorado. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from Van Aire Airport (CO12), Brighton, Colorado, about 1220.

According to witnesses who spoke with local authorities, the pilot taxied the airplane from inside his hangar and departed CO12. A witness described this as unusual because the pilot would typically tug the airplane out of the hangar and then start the engine for a flight. For several minutes, witnesses observed the airplane at a low altitude and maneuvering at high airspeeds. Witnesses last observed the airplane make a steep bank turn, descend, and impact terrain approximately 5 miles east of the Van Aire Airport.

Local law enforcement, who spoke with the pilot's wife, had been advised that she believed he committed suicide. Recently, the pilot's wife had informed him that she wanted a divorce and was purchasing a home nearby the pilot's residence. She stated that approximately five years ago, the pilot told her that if she ever left him, he would fly his airplane into the ground and kill himself.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 41, held an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. In addition, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument ratings. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on November 20, 2014, with no limitations or restrictions.

According to the pilot's most recent airman medical certificate application, the pilot had accumulated 10,600 total flight hours and 200 flight hours in the previous six months. The pilot's logbooks were not located during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number 28R-8131015, was manufactured in 1980. The airplane was powered by a Continental Motors TSIO-360-FB1B, 200-horsepower engine, equipped with a Hartzell constant-speed propeller. The airplane was registered to the pilot on September 2, 2008.

A review of the airplane logbooks revealed the most recent annual inspection was completed on September 6, 2014. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 4,105.9 total hours. The engine had accumulated 88.3 hours since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1253, the Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, automated surface observing system, located approximately 11 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 360 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 5,000 feet, ceiling overcast at 11,000 feet, temperature 4 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches of Mercury. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage came to rest in a dormant wheat field, and airplane debris was distributed for approximately 200 feet along a bearing of 308 degrees. The initial impact point, consistent with the left wing, was a continuous ground scar that extended 24 feet to a ground crater that measured 2.5 feet in depth. The propeller assembly, engine, and a portion of the forward fuselage were located within the ground crater. The wings, fuselage cabin, and empennage were fragmented and located within the debris field. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

The cockpit and cockpit instrumentation were fragmented and destroyed. All four seats and seat assemblies were separated from their attach points. The left wing and fuel tank were fragmented. The left aileron and flap remained partially attached to the wing structure. The right wing and fuel tank were fragmented. The right aileron and flap remained partially attached to the wing structure. Both the left and right main landing gear assemblies were found in the retracted position.

Partial control cable continuity was established due to fragmentation of the wreckage. The aileron cables remained attached to the chain assembly, and the chain was separated in several sections. The fractured aileron cable ends were broomstrawed, consistent with an overload failure. Both the left and right aileron bellcranks were separated and pulled from their attach points in the wings. The aileron cables were attached to their bellcranks and separated at the wing root. The rudder cables were attached to their respective cockpit attach points. The cables were fractured and broomstrawed, consistent with an overload failure. The rudder cable assembly was detached from the rudder pulley. The horizontal stabilator cables were separated from the lower T-bar, and the cables were attached to the aft turnbuckle.

The engine sustained significant impact-related damage. The engine remained partially attached to the firewall. The spark plugs were impact damaged and exhibited normal color and wear signatures. Due to damage, the crankshaft was partially rotated by a hand tool, and mechanical continuity was noted throughout the engine. The engine crankshaft was fractured at the propeller flange; the fracture surface displayed 45 degree shear lips consistent with an overload failure.

The propeller assembly remained attached to the fractured crankshaft propeller flange. One propeller blade was bent aft, tip curled, and contained chordwise blade polishing. One propeller blade displayed s-type bending and contained chordwise blade polishing.

MEDICAL AND PATHEOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Coroner for Adams and Broomfield Counties, Colorado. The listed cause of death was "multiple blunt trauma injuries to the body due to airplane crash." The manner of death was determined to be suicide.


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

 
Full narrative: http://www.ntsb.gov




Wade Howard Tefft, 41, of Brighton, died Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Wade was a beloved husband, brother and friend and passionate pilot who will be missed by all who knew him and experienced his love of life, family and flying.

Wade was born Nov. 11, 1973, in Jamestown, New York, to Thomas and Laura (Craw) Tefft. By the time he graduated Cassadaga Valley Central High School (Sinclairville, New York) in 1991, Wade already had earned his pilot’s license, having inherited a love of airplanes from his maternal grandfather.

After high school Wade would go on to log thousands of hours in many airplanes at a variety of jobs for cargo carriers, commuter airlines and private jet charters. In 2005 he moved to Denver and most recently served as Director of Operations for Mountain Aviation.

Wade married Nicole Muller in Garden City, Kan., in September 2001. They had two children, Tristan, 10, and Ashley, 7, who joined Benjamin, 18, from Wade’s previous marriage. Wade and Nicole most recently made their home in the Van Aire airpark in Brighton, where Wade recently served on the board of directors and the whole family enjoyed being a part of a close-knit community who shared their love of flying.

Wade enjoyed meeting people through his flying career and also enjoyed all the places it took him, he was proud to have seen all but just a few of the United States. He loved being able to fly his family on short day trips and vacations and also enjoyed being a flight instructor, recently he had been teaching his son Ben to fly. In his spare time Wade enjoyed restoring airplanes and rooting for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies.

Wade was preceded in death by his father and mother. He is survived by his wife and children and a sister, Lynn (Robert) Hoff of Aurora, Illinois, nephews Max and Tom.

Mass of Christian Burial was held Jan. 19, at St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wade Tefft Memorial Fund in care of Edward Jones 12995 Sheridan Blvd. Suite #100, Broomfield, CO 80020.

Source:  http://www.ftluptonpress.com

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N7598R: Accident occurred April 15, 2015 in Lancaster, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA187
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Lancaster, NY
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N7598R
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 15, 2015, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N7598R, experienced a total loss of engine power during takeoff from Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport, Lancaster, New York. The private pilot, the sole occupant was not injured during the forced landing on airport property, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence.

The pilot stated that she did an "extremely thorough preflight inspection of the airplane" while in the hangar because the airplane had not been flown since January 2015. She checked the fuel, oil, and then pulled the aircraft from the hangar. She indicated the total fuel on board was 39 gallons, of which 20 gallons were in the left tank and 19 gallons were in the right tank; she believed the fuel selector was on the left tank position.

After engine start she performed an engine run-up and reported, "everything was fine." She indicated the rpm dropped 50 during a check of each magneto. She checked the automated terminal information service (ATIS) and noted the wind favored runway 08. She taxied to runway 08, and did the pre-takeoff checklist items. She taxied onto the runway, applied full power and reported the tachometer indicated full red-line rpm. She rotated at 60 miles-per-hour, and when at the end of the runway at an estimated altitude of 200 feet, the engine coughed and the airplane began losing altitude. The engine power was restored, and she thought about turning to land on runway 26, but the engine quit again. She knew she had to land straight ahead, and touched down first on the main landing gear in an abandoned field with high grass. The nose landing gear hit rising terrain causing it to collapse. The airplane came to rest in a nose-low/tail-high attitude, and after coming to rest she could hear the electric fuel pump operating. She secured the airplane, and found her cell found and called the mechanic/airport manager to notify him of the accident.

 Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N7598R: http://registry.faa.gov/N7598R

A small aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at the Buffalo Lancaster Regional Airport on April 15, just after it took off.

According to Lancaster police, the pilot was forced to make the emergency landing due to an engine failure but was not injured.

The landing took place on a grassy area, as the pilot was not able to make it back to the runway.

While no one was injured in the crash, some residents who live in the vicinity of the airport were not feeling secure following the accident.

David Hangauer, who resides on Nichter Road near the airport, spoke of his concerns to the Lancaster Town Board during its meeting on Monday night.

According to Hangauer, planes at the regional airport typically take off toward the west. Hangauer said an engine failure for a plane heading in that direction could put the residents of Nichter Road in serious danger.

In last week’s incident, Hangauer said, a shift in the wind caused the plane to instead take off toward the east.

“What I want you to think about, is had that wind not changed, we would have been ground zero,” Hangauer said.

According to Hangauer, pilot training is a relatively frequent occurrence at the small regional airport and includes “touch-and go” or “stop-and-go” procedures, meaning a pilot practices taking off and touching down repeatedly.

Hangauer argued that this practice puts residents in the area at a statistically higher risk because of the issues that can arise during takeoff and landing around those residential areas.

“The more times an aircraft takes off and comes over you, the greater the risk,” he said.

There are voluntary procedures, which Hangauer said could be implemented at the airport, that would cause pilots to reach greater altitudes before making turns that put them directly above residential areas such as Nichter Road. The Federal Aviation Administration cannot force an airport to implement such voluntary procedures, however.

“It’s a little less convenient, and they just won’t do it,” he said.

Following his presentation to the Town Board, Hangauer said he is looking into the legality of the Town of Lancaster enforcing stricter safety precautions regarding flight paths, and if instituting any such policies would be legal on the town’s part. Supervisor Dino Fudoli indicated that he would like to see the results of that inquiry.

Hangauer also suggested that those who are doing touch-and-gos could easily fly to the Genesee County Airport located in Batavia in roughly 10 minutes, which has a longer runway and fewer residential areas in its direct vicinity.

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

Regis#: N7598R
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Rochester FSDO-23
City: LANCASTER
State: New York

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED OFF THE RUNWAY INTO THE GRASS, BUFFALO-LANCASTER REGIONAL AIRPORT, LANCASTER, NY






Search for missing Vancouver plane yields wreckage • Body among the wreckage on an Oregon mountainside

Searchers looking for a missing Vancouver plane found wreckage and a dead body this afternoon on a mountain in Linn County, Ore.

An Oregon Army National Guard helicopter was sent out this morning to help search for Vancouver pilot Lee C. Leslie, 41, and his Piper PA-28. Around 1 p.m. searchers spotted a crashed plane on Mount Tom, a heavily forested area where they had concentrated the search, the Oregon Civil Air Patrol said.

The Federal Aviation Administration had tracked the plane’s flight path until the plane went off radar in the Mount Tom area, which is about nine miles east of Harrisburg, Ore., the air patrol said.

Searchers with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office went out to the crash site and found a dead body among the wreckage. The body and the plane haven’t been positively identified yet, the sheriff’s office said.

“Everything indicates that this was more than likely the plane that was missing, but we can’t confirm that at this point,” Sheriff Bruce Riley said.

The Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office will confirm the body’s identity and determine cause of death.

Plane crashes are not uncommon in Linn County, which is mountainous in some areas and has several small airports and airstrips, Riley said.

Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Leslie took off from Hobby Field in Creswell, Ore., which is about 120 miles from Vancouver. After the plane was reported overdue Tuesday night, airport managers at airports along the flight path were called and asked to do a ramp search to look for the tail number of the plane in question, said air patrol Vice Commander Ted Tanory.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office filed a missing person report and began working with Oregon Civil Air Patrol to find the pilot and his plane. Three aircraft search crews were looking for damaged or burned foliage, indicating where a plane might have crashed.

Leslie is believed to be the only person who was on board the silver and red aircraft that was bound for Vancouver’s Pearson Field. The pilot didn’t file a flight plan, the FAA said, nor was he required to do so.

Willy Williamson, manager at Pearson Field, said Leslie never made contact with him, anyone else at the airport or Aero Maintenance, which holds a flight school at the airport. He met Leslie a few months ago and said Leslie was relatively new to the airport.

Leslie’s Piper PA-28 is one of the most common private planes in the world, designed to be safe and easy to fly, Williamson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.




PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Linn County sheriff's office says searchers looking for a missing small plane have found wreckage and a body in the foothills of the Cascade Range.


The sheriff's office says in a statement that it hasn't been able yet to make positive identifications at the site in the Coburg Hills just east of Interstate 5 in southern Linn County.


The site is on Mount Tom, a 3,170-foot peak.


The wreckage was pinpointed Friday morning by an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter.


The missing pilot is 41-year-old Lee Leslie of Vancouver, Washington. He took off from Hobby Field south of Eugene in a single-engine plane Tuesday evening.


It disappeared from radar about 15 minutes later.


The airfield is at Cresswell. The crash site is about 20 miles northeast.



PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — It has been more than 48 hours since a Vancouver father’s plane went missing somewhere over Oregon or Washington, and Thursday night KOIN 6 News found out it appears the man doesn’t have a current license to fly.

The Oregon Civil Air Patrol continued its search efforts to find 41-year-old Lee Leslie’s plane on Thursday. The man is described as 5-feet-10, 180 pounds and was last seen wearing a red polo shirt and light colored pants. He is the only confirmed person on board the plane.

After extensive searching, KOIN 6 News could not find a current pilot license registered to Leslie’s name. He also had his driver’s license suspended due to a lengthy criminal traffic history.

The plane, a single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee, is not registered with the FAA. CAP officials said they received a weak emergency signal Thursday within the search area, south of the Aurora State Airport and closer to Eugene. They sent a plane and ground searchers to the area, but did not find anything.

“We are looking for broken tree tops, any signs of an airplane or anything that does not belong where we sit,” Richard Richmond said.

Richmond, one of the searchers with CAP, said what makes this case so difficult, is that there is no record of any communication with Leslie during this flight.

“It’s hard to understand why we are not seeing anything in the valley here,” Richmond said.

The single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee left Hobby Field in Creswell around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oregon CAP said. It was supposed to land at the Pearson Air Park in Vancouver, Washington but was reported missing Tuesday evening.

Oregon CAP has three aircraft and 15 people involved in the search.

“The FAA radar had him on track for a period of time and then he dropped off radar,” Lt. Col.Ted Tanory said. KOIN 6 News learned the last known spot was over a heavily forested area that was on the original flight path.

“We will continue searching as long as we possibly can as long, as we can safely keep our planes in the air,” he said.

http://koin.com


Lee Leslie, seen in an undated photo, was last seen leaving the Creswell airport on his way to Vancouver on April 21, 2015 
(Courtesy photo)





AURORA, Ore. (KOIN) — The missing single-engine aircraft that left Creswell for Vancouver is a plane that is often used for training, said aviation expert Tom Young.

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is “a very common trainer,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s probably been around for 50 years. It’s a safe design, depends on the maintenance how well it was kept up, possibly.”

Young, an airline pilot for 27 years who also served nine years in the Air Force Reserve, said many people “own them as their own personal airplanes and fly them for years, kind of like a second car.”

“It’s rare,” he said, “that you get to a spot where somebody just disappears.”

The Piper Cherokee left Hobby Field in Creswell around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Oregon Civil Air Patrol said. It was supposed to land at the Pearson Air Park in Vancouver, Washington but was reported missing Tuesday evening.

Three aircraft and 15 people from the Oregon CAP are searching for the plane, whose only known passenger was the pilot.

The pilot was identified as Lee Cheshire Leslie, 41, from Vancouver. The 5-feet-10, 180 pound white man was last seen wearing a red polo shirt and light colored pants.

Lt. Col. Ted Tanory said that they had no new leads as to what happened to the plane.

“The FAA radar had him on track for a period of time and then he dropped off radar,” he said. KOIN 6 News learned the last known spot was over a heavily forested area that was on the original flight path.

“We are of course concentrating the search in that area,” said Tanory.

Late Thursday afternoon, CAP officials told KOIN 6 News they received a weak emergency signal within the search area, south of the Aurora State Airport and closer to Eugene.

However, officials cautioned they often get false alarms from these signals. They sent a plane to investigate that area.

At a press conference earlier Thursday, Tanory said there are two types of emergency signals – digital and analog. A digital burst would tell who it belongs to and provide a registration number. The older style sends an audible signal on an emergency frequency.

The signals – ELTs – must be maintained by the pilot or the plane owner. An ELT should have a battery life of about seven days, he said.

Searcher Richard Weichman said, “If we’re flying over woods, we’re looking for broken treetops or any sign of an airplane or anything that does not belong where we see it.”

There are many unknowns in the case.

Young said it’s possible “there was a medical issue, possibly a situation where they wanted to vanish. Possibly they had a mechanical (issue) and didn’t get a distress call off.”

If the plane was a rental, he said an inspection by a licensed mechanic is required every 100 flight hours. He added a pilot flying their own plane must have an annual inspection.

“Typically you get an initial license as a private pilot, and that’s 40 hours minimum mandatory. It’s usually a lot more than that,” he said. “Then every two years you take a refresher flight with a flight instructor.”

Original article can be found here:  http://koin.com



Aviation expert Tom Young, April 23, 2015 


Airplanes at the Aurora Airport, April 23, 2015

Pitts Model 12, N488WT: Accident occurred April 22, 2015 in LaGrange, Georgia

GARY M.  COONAN:  http://registry.faa.gov/N488WT

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA197
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 22, 2015 in LaGrange, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2016
Aircraft: JAMES KILROY PITTS MODEL 12, registration: N488WT
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the private pilot, shortly after takeoff for a cross-country flight in the experimental, amateur-built airplane, the engine rpm "quickly dropped to idle." He verified that the electric fuel boost pump was on and switched to the auxiliary fuel tank, but the engine performance did not improve. The airplane was unable to reach the airport, so the pilot performed a forced landing in a field. During the landing, the airplane nosed down and then came to a stop, which resulted in structural damage to the airplane and serious injuries to the pilot. 

An examination of the fuel system revealed no evidence of fuel interruption, blockage, or contamination. Internal engine continuity was established, and the spark plug electrodes appeared normal. Continuity from the cockpit engine controls to the engine was confirmed. The throttle body, engine-driven fuel pump, and electric boost pump showed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure. Although data from the electronic engine monitor confirmed that the engine rpm decreased to near idle and continued to decrease throughout the accident sequence, the reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

On April 22, 2015, about 1350 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Kilroy Pitts Model 12, N488WT, was force landed following a partial loss of engine power after departure from LaGrange-Calloway Airport (LGC), LaGrange, Georgia. The private pilot received serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight to Lakeland, Florida (LAL) was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he had completed an uneventful flight from Tullahoma, Tennessee (THA) to LGC and stopped at LGC for fuel. He started the engine and taxied to the active runway, which took about 15 minutes. Engine run-up was normal. Shortly after takeoff, while transitioning to climb mode, "the engine RPM quickly dropped to idle." He checked the electric boost pump on and selected the auxiliary fuel tank with no change in performance. He then moved the throttle forward and aft; the throttle felt normal and engine speed remained at idle. He was unable to return to the airport, so he elected to perform a forced landing in a field. He did not recall any events after setting up for the forced landing. 

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration FAA responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The wreckage site consisted of a grass field, about 500 yards southeast of the approach end of runway 31. The forward fuselage and lower wing exhibited structural damage from impact forces. The main landing gear were crushed upward, into the lower wing structure. The wooden propeller blades were broken off and splintered at the blade shanks.


On June 24, 2015, the NTSB investigator-in-charge examined the wreckage at the owner's facility. The fuselage fuel tanks were removed; both were clean inside with no evidence of blockage or contamination. Both tanks were breached due to impact damage and contained no visible fuel. The main tank filler cap was secure. All fuel tank vents were clear. All fuel lines to the engine were clear. The firewall-mounted gascolator was removed and opened. It contained about two ounces of blue-colored fuel and there were no water or contaminants observed. There was an in-line fuel filter installed at the firewall; it was opened for examination and was clean and there were no contaminants inside. 

The engine controls were checked for continuity. All controls to the engine were intact. The throttle cable was broken at the fuel control attachment with signatures consistent with overstress.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and disassembled. Initially, it was difficult to turn by hand; however, there was impact damage evident. Internally, it was unremarkable. The pump vanes showed no visible wear. There was no visible contamination inside the pump. The electric fuel boost pump was energized with a battery and it operated in a normal manner. The pump was then removed and disassembled; other than a small amount of thread sealant visible at the ports, it was clean inside. All internal parts were undamaged and showed no visible wear.

The throttle body was removed and disassembled. Due to impact damage, an operational test of the unit was not attempted. No contamination was observed inside the unit, and there were no obstructions to air flow. The rubber diaphragm was undamaged and was in a like-new condition.

Five representative spark plugs were removed and examined. The electrodes showed minimal wear and normal combustion signatures when compared to a spark plug inspection chart. The ignition harness was in an undamaged condition. The magnetos were not removed.

The engine was turned through by manually by rotating the propeller hub. Continuity was confirmed through the engine to the accessory drive pads. There was no evidence of an internal failure.

The airplane was equipped with an Electronics International Inc. CGR-30P primary engine monitor. The monitor recorded engine performance data that included the accident flight. The data fields recorded were cylinder head temperature (CHT), exhaust gas temperature (EGT), engine fuel flow, engine fuel pressure, engine RPM, and manifold pressure.

The entire accident flight was recorded on the engine monitor. Prior to the loss of engine power, engine fuel flow and fuel pressure drop, immediately followed by engine RPM. Prior to the initiation of the forced landing, fuel flow drops from about 31 gallons per hour (gph) to 2-3 gph, fuel pressure drops from about 38 pounds per square inch (psi) to 5-6 psi, and engine RPM drops from about 2,700 to about 1,400. The last data points prior to the interruption of electrical power to the unit were 1 gph fuel flow, 3 psi fuel pressure, and 1,390 RPM.


The number 4 cylinder EGT and CHT parameters appeared to drop off prior to takeoff; however, they recovered during the application of takeoff power and remain aligned with the other cylinders for the remainder of the flight.

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA197 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 22, 2015 in LaGrange, GA
Aircraft: JAMES KILROY PITTS MODEL 12, registration: N488WT
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 22, 2015, about 1350 eastern standard time (EST), an experimental, amateur-built Kilroy Pitts Model 12, N488WT, force landed following a reported loss of engine power after departure from LaGrange-Calloway Airport (LGC), LaGrange, Georgia. The private pilot received serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to an inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was departing to Lakeland, Florida to participate in the annual Sun 'n Fun fly-in. Shortly after departure, he reported that the engine was running rough. He turned back toward the airport; however, he was unable to maintain altitude and the airplane was force landed in a farm field about one mile from the airport.

The FAA inspector responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The forward fuselage and lower wing exhibited structural damage from impact forces. The main landing gear were crushed upward, into the lower wing structure. The propeller blades were broken off at the blade shanks.

The airplane was equipped with an Electronics International Inc. CGR-30P primary engine monitor. The monitor recorded engine performance data that included the accident flight. The data will be forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for examination and analysis.

FAA FSDO:   FAA Atlanta FSDO-11
The 51-year-old pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed at the LaGrange-Callaway Airport on April 22 has been released from the hospital and the National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the crash investigation, according to Chad Traylor, the airport’s manager.

Gary Coonan of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, had just taken off from the airport around 1:45 p.m. when he made a radio distress call about an engine malfunction and he was returning to the runway to land. He suffered a head injury and was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center.

In the days after the crash, the airport’s management has been evaluating their response, looking to highlight what went right and what could be improved, Traylor said.

“Everyone was acting within the procedures we have established here,” Traylor said. “The response, by everyone involved, was great. We’re blessed to have a good team.”

Traylor explained that both the city and county fire department hold periodic trainings at the airport, learning its terrain so they know where their trucks can — and can’t — go during an emergency in which seconds count.

“The fire department does training here, they survey the areas and see where they can and can’t get to,” he said. “They’ll go off the beaten path so they’re ready if a rescue needs to be a foot operation. The city and the county (fire departments) know how to move here.”

Traylor said the airport’s staff is planning to host another training in the coming weeks to keep emergency responders up to speed on the easiest ways to move around the airfield.

“Some places you can drive to, but some places you have to walk to,” he said. “Being on foot is slower, but it’s a lot faster than having a stuck truck.”

The airport is in the city limits of LaGrange, and there’s a LaGrange Fire Department station right outside its fence, but the Troup County Fire Department also responds to calls at the airport, Traylor said.

“The county is just as crucial,” he said. “They have the tanker trucks that can hold more water, so they really rely on each other.”

Traylor said he also is evaluating the possibility of training all airport staff in basic emergency response methods, like CPR. He also works to keep his employees on their toes, even when there’s down time at the airport.

“If it’s slow, sometimes I’ll ask them ‘what would you do’ questions,” he said. “And when it’s busy, I’ll make sure that we’re checking the traffic around the airport and keeping an eye on things.”

Traylor noted that during regular operation hours at the airport, there’s always a staff member with a radio on, even if they’re outside. They’re required to bring the radios along if they go outside or have to leave the building, he said.

In all, he said the response to last week’s crash went well, considering the circumstances.

“Everyone worked well together,” he said. “Things just clicked. All the training really paid off, and that was pretty uplifting.”





A-51-year-old pilot was injured Wednesday when his single-engine plane crashed at LaGrange-Callaway airport.

The pilot, identified by LaGrange police as Gary Coonan, was injured and taken to an Atlanta-area hospital after the crash. 

He had just taken off from the airport around 1:45 p.m. when he made a radio distress call about an engine malfunction and he was returning to the runway to land, according to Chad Traylor, the airport’s director.

The pilot and his Pitts Model 12 airplane didn’t make it.

“I heard one radio call stating that an aircraft had lost his engine,” Traylor said. “At the time, there were no other aircraft outside, so it was pretty easy to (spot him). He was just south of the runway when I noticed that the plane was starting to descend pretty quickly.”

William Wileman was working inside a nearby hanger when he heard the plane take off.

“The plane sounded good and the engine sounded good,” he said. “Then I heard he declared an emergency and tried to make it back around, but he didn’t make it … people came flying out of the terminal and jumped in some vehicles and took off towards the end of the runway.”

The aircraft crashed on an embankment at the southeast end of one of runways, Traylor said. He rushed to the scene.

“It took a few minutes to locate him,” Traylor said. “While I was en route, I got in contact with 911 and kept them updated. After a few minutes I located the plane and noticed that the pilot was still inside the aircraft.”

State trooper Jimmy Jones arrived with Traylor moments later and the two pulled the injured pilot from the wreckage.

“We had to force into the canopy and take him out of his harness,” he said. “He was very dazed and we pulled him from the wreckage to get him away just for safety.”

LaGrange police and fire, along with Troup County Sheriff’s deputies arrived a short time later. The pilot was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center by helicopter.

The plane was full of fuel at takeoff, which leaked out after the crash, according to Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the LaGrange Fire Department. There was no fire, he added.

“He had a laceration on his forehead, bleeding moderately,” airport director Traylor said of the pilot. “He had a pretty good cut.”

The out-of-town pilot had stopped at the airport to refuel while he was on his way to the Sun ‘n Fun airshow in Lakeland, Florida, Traylor said.

The airport was closed to all traffic Wednesday after the accident, but re-opened today.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. The aircraft is likely not equipped with a flight-data recorder, or “black box,” Traylor said.

The quick work and coordination between first responders was key in aiding the injured pilot, he added.

“Everyone worked seamlessly, exactly within the protocol,” Traylor said.


http://www.lagrangenews.com


One person was injured after his plane crashed at LaGrange-Callaway airport this afternoon.

Emergency personnel responded to the airport after a call at 1:43 p.m. of the crash, according to Lt. Chris Taylor of LaGrange Fire Department. The plane crashed near the end of the runway on the southeastern area of the airport, near Pegasus Parkway.

Georgia State Patrol was first on the scene and trooper Jimmy Jones pulled the 51-year-old pilot from the wreckage, Taylor said. The pilot suffered some facial injuries and was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment.

Officials did not release the pilot’s name, but Taylor said the pilot was the owner of the plane, a single-engine Pitts Model 12. The plane was full of fuel at takeoff, which leaked out after the crash, Taylor said, but there was no fire. LaGrange fire personnel secured the area and determined there was no immediate hazard at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified and were expected to begin an investigation.


Super Dave grounded due to noise complaints



The roar of Super Dave Mathieson's aerobatic aircraft has been grounded over noise complaints.

The full-time air show pilot, who made Chilliwack his home base a few years ago, received notification from Transport Canada earlier this month that he could no longer perform the aerobatics under 2000 feet at Chilliwack Airport, citing proximity to "noise sensitive or livestock" areas.

"I am now stopped in my tracks," Mathieson said. "As an air show pilot, if I can't do these manoeuvres that take me almost to the surface, I can't prepare for the air shows."

The pilot said he was told by federal officials that the complaints were the reason for the decision.

He characterized the effort to ground him as a "witch hunt" and said the complaints started when he moved here and started practicing the aerobatics. He might have to move.

The decision will also likely cost him a spot on the Great Pacific Media show Air Show on Discovery, which was gearing up to shoot a brand-new season of documentary episodes.

"They just took everything away from me," Mathieson said. "Now there's nothing to film."

Super Dave has to regularly practice the dangerous aerobatic manoeuvres for safety reasons, said crew chief Michelle Nieforth, who is also the Super Dave team safety observer, and Mathieson's partner.

"The whole town loves it," she said about Super Dave's presence in town. Kids enjoy being able to watch him fly, or get an autograph. They've given out thousands of hats, and visited schools.

The practice runs are just 12 minutes twice a day, before he heads out to various North American air shows for the summer season. Super Dave is a regular air show featured performer at the free Chilliwack Flight Fest and many others, and now has to use other communities to practice his stunts over airport runways.

Some of the moves have him zooming toward the ground in his tiny one-seater, only to pull the nose up at the last minute away from the surface. It's all about that critical split-second timing that must be continually choreographed and rehearsed to get the cues timed absolutely perfectly.

Team Super Dave had to get permission from the land owner, which is the Chilliwack Airport and Mathieson was again issued a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada for 2015, the special permit that allows him to practice the aerobatics below 2000 feet.

Everything was a go — or so they thought.

In a letter dated April 8, from the Civil Aviation department of Transport Canada, a federal official reminded Mathieson of his "responsibility" to ensure compliance with the conditions of the SFOC permit.

"We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Chilliwack Airport (CYCW) does not support the use of this SFOC as per the following standard condition:

c) the site of operation is not located in the vicinity of noise sensitive areas, such as residential areas, livestock areas, etc.

"Please be advised that use of your SFOC at Chilliwack airport for aerobatics below 2000 feet AGL is inappropriate and will be considered a violation" under the new certificate.

Those assertions did not sit well with Mathieson, nor an airport official.

The wording of the letter from Transport Canada is "ambiguous," said Garry Atkins, manager of the Chilliwack Airport.

Chilliwack Airport does in fact support the Super Dave Team since they are a sponsor this year, with the name 'Chilliwack Airport' clearly printed on the side of Mathieson's plane.

The letter infers that the airport does not support the use of the SFOC permit for aerobatics at the Chilliwack Airport, but it definitely has.

Ownership of the managing company at the airport decided some time ago to support Super Dave by sponsoring his aircraft, Atkins added, and that is why it is "emblazoned" on the side of the plane right now.

Federal officials had to deal with the noise complaints, and this was the upshot.

"We wish we had been invited to be a part of those discussions, but we weren't," said Atkins.

"We fully understand the needs of people to have quiet, peaceful enjoyment of their lands. On the other hand we have to balance the fact that Mathieson needs to practice at an airport. It's hard to balance."

This decision will likely have some economic impact, since the curtailed documentary filming used to bring crews from Great Pacific to Chilliwack, who spent money locally in hotels and restaurants. When Great Pacific shot Highway Through Hell in Hope, they pumped more than $6 million into the local economy in recent years.

"I don't see that occurring anymore in Chilliwack," said Atkins. "This could affect the ongoing expansion of the airport, but everything does. Generally speaking, we have a wonderful airport with great potential. We want to keep it as such and continue to see it grow."

Mathieson said he does not know if the decision can be reversed. He moved his family and his business here more than three years ago, and invested at least a million dollars over the past decade.

All of Super Dave's special flight operating certificates from Transportation Canada and insurance papers were up to date, said officials, but a handful of complaint calls have come in nonetheless.

"That's why I really need some positive letters," he said.

Mathieson said he knows there's actually a huge amount of support out there for him, more than those opposed, and is asking now for letters to confirm this, sent to: comments@superdaveairshows.com.

Transport Canada officials were unable to respond to requests for comment before deadline.

Mathieson flies one of the most advanced aerobatic aircraft made anywhere, called an MX-2. It's designed for plus-or-minus 16Gs, which refers to G-force, or the impact of acceleration or gravity. The MX-2 has a roll rate of 500 degrees per second, powered by a 380-horsepower motor. That gives the stunt plane a top speed of 300 miles per hour, and he flies within a foot or two of the ground in some moves.

"We have to time that down to the second.

"They have just made a difficult job, which is extremely dangerous, impossible. It's unsafe to practice this high in the sky.

"I need to be over an airport with runways — for safety. Otherwise if the engine quits, I'm going to land in the trees."

Petitioning Transport Canada: Allow Super Dave to continue his routines below 2000 feet at Chilliwacks Airport 


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

Old Buckenham Airfield crash: Champion aerobatics pilot David Jenkins dies • Zivko Edge 360, G-EDGJ

A friend said: "He was the best bloke I knew"




A “highly skilled” champion aerobatics pilot has died after crashing an aircraft in Norfolk.

The man, named locally as David Jenkins, is believed to have been flying an Edge 360 plane as part of a display to launch the Old Buckenham Airshow for members of the media.

Police attended Old Buckenham Airfield near Attleborough, after a member of the public raised the alarm about the Edge 360 plane flying in the area, at around 2:40pm.

An area of the airfield was cordoned off to allow officers to deal with the incident. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been informed.

Mr. Jenkins, who was in his 50s, was a member of the Wildcat Aerobatic Team based at Old Buckenham Airfield.

His profile on the club’s website said that he had started flying as a teenager, when he lived near Panshangar airfield near Welwyn Garden City.

Following a career in fibre optics, Mr. Jenkins trained as a private pilot, but did not start performing aerobatics for another 15 years.

In 2009, he bought the Edge aircraft and went on to become a  two-time British advanced  aerobatics champion.

Mr. Jenkins joined the Wildcat team in 2013, providing “an exciting dynamic solo display”, the website said.

A friend, who did not want to be identified, paid a heart-felt tribute to Mr. Jenkins, and told the Press Association: "He was the best bloke I knew. He was highly skilled and knew exactly what he was doing."

Simon Garrett, a pilot who flew out of the airfield this morning, said: "We were due to land back here but were diverted because of this emergency.

"We didn't know anybody had died until now.

"It is a terrible tragedy and very unusual because the teams involved are highly skilled.

"I knew the gentleman involved and he was very experienced."

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: "Officers attended, along with colleagues from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the East of England Ambulance Service, to find wreckage near to the airfield.

"Police believe one person has died as a result of the crash and officers are currently trying to identify and inform next of kin."

Original article can be found here:  http://www.independent.co.uk




The Edge 360 aircraft just as it begins to spiral out of control 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pilot to go to trial over death of child in plane crash: Maule M5-235C, VH-HOG

A Goonengerry pilot who crashed his ultra light into the Clarence River at Ewingar last April, killing an 11-year-old girl, will stand trial in the District Court.

John Patrick Crumpton appeared in Lismore Local Court yesterday supported by family members and he was represented by his solicitor, Ms O'Shannessy.

The then 54-year-old stands accused of hitting a powerline then crashing his Maule M-5 light plane into the Clarence River on April 12, 2014.

Kayla Whitten was killed in the crash.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report on the incident released in January found that after hitting powerlines, the plane flipped and came to rest with the cabin upside down and underwater.

Both Mr. Crumpton and Kayla's father, 36, escaped through a forward door, but they could not free Kayla from the back of the flooded cabin.

Mr. Crumpton was charged with manslaughter, causing reckless grievous bodily harm, flying an aircraft below 500 feet, reckless wounding and operating an aircraft recklessly endangering a person or property.

On March 20, an additional charge of operating an aircraft recklessly to endanger the life of a person was laid under Section 20 A1 of Civil Aviation Act.

Mr.  Heffernan also asked Magistrate David Heilpern to amend the wording of two charges.

The manslaughter charge was amended to include the words "did unlawfully kill Kayla Whitton" by Mr. Heilpern.

The operating an aircraft recklessly charge was amended to include "did operate VH-HOG being reckless as to whether the manner of operation could endanger a person, namely David Whitton".

Ms.. O'Shannessy told the court charges of flying an aircraft below 500 feet and operating an aircraft recklessly endangering the life of a person would be listed as backup charges to be considered during sentencing.

Mr. Crumpton waived his right to a committal hearing in the District Court.

Mr. Heilpern adjourned Mr Crumpton's matters until a date in May at Lismore District Court.

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

What happened


On 12 April 2014, a Maule M-5 aircraft, registered VH-HOG, collided with a powerline spanning the Clarence River, approximately 50 km west-south-west of Casino, New South Wales. The pilot was accompanied on the private category flight by two passengers, an adult and a child. The aircraft departed controlled flight after the wirestrike and impacted the water, coming to rest inverted with the cabin submerged.

The pilot and front-seat adult passenger escaped the cockpit through one of the forward doors and attempted to free the rear-seat child passenger from the flooded cabin. After repeated attempts by the pilot to open the rear-right cabin door, the rear-seat passenger was recovered through a cockpit door. Sustained attempts to resuscitate the rear-seat passenger were unsuccessful.

What the ATSB found

The aircraft was capable of normal operation prior to the wirestrike. The weather conditions in the vicinity were suitable for visual flight.

The wirestrike and resulting loss of aircraft control was an unintended consequence of the pilot’s spur of the moment decision to fly at very low level along the river, in an unfamiliar environment and below the minimum stipulated height for flights over unpopulated areas. The pilot reported seeing the powerline cables just before the collision, but with insufficient time to avoid a wirestrike. The pilot did not hold an approval to conduct low-flying operations and had not completed any training to identify the hazards associated with such operations. The powerline was not fitted with visual warning markers, nor was there any requirement for such markers in this case.

The submerged, flooded and inverted cabin increased the difficulty experienced by the occupants in exiting the aircraft. Furthermore, impact damage sustained by the right wing likely rendered the rear-right cabin door unusable as an emergency exit, delaying the recovery of the rear-seat passenger.

Safety message

This accident reaffirms the risk of unnecessary and unauthorized low flying.

Operations at low altitude expose an aircraft and its occupants to a number of environment‑specific hazards and result in significantly reduced safety margins. Powerline cables and other wires, which can be encountered even in relatively remote locations, are typically very difficult to see and present a critical hazard to any low-flying aircraft. In recognition of these and the other specific risks and hazards of low-level flying, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority requires pilots to receive special training and endorsements before conducting low-level operations.

The operation of an aircraft in close proximity to terrain or water limits the opportunity to recover from any loss of control or respond to any in-flight emergency when compared to flight at higher altitudes.

http://www.atsb.gov.au