Monday, April 27, 2015

No formal tracking of pilot crashes found among authorities

WFSB 3 Connecticut


There have been high profile plane crashes that have made headlines in the last two years.

The Eyewitness News I-Team started looking into general aviation pilots who had crashed more than once in their flying career.

There were dozens of repeat offenders found during the investigation into pilots who fly Cessnas, Pipers and sometimes even bigger planes.

In November, Dan Hall of Torrington, was flying his Cessna when his engine stalled.

He said, in a previous interview with Eyewitness News, he knew he was headed down, and made one last call to air traffic control.

"I said, 'Tell my kids I love them if I don't make it.' He said, 'OK. Good luck',” Hall said.

Whether it was luck or skill, Hall managed to set his Cessna down on the completed, but still not used, Hartford to New Britain Busway.

"I'm a little sore, my back, but other than that it feels really good to survive," Hall said.

The November crash wasn't Hall's first.

In 2008, an engine failure two miles from Westerly Airport brought down another Cessna with Hall at the controls.

Two crashes, and both times Hall survived.

Another pilot's 2013 crash in East Haven had a much worse outcome.

Joann Mitchell, of East Haven, lost her two daughters in that crash.

"I'm thinking 'it just went over the top of the house, let me go check on the girls, make sure they're OK. I know Sade is freaking out'," Mitchell said in a previous interview with Eyewitness News. "When I opened up her bedroom door, there was a plane in the middle of her room."

Also killed in that crash was pilot Bill Henningsgaard and his 17-year-old son who was on the plane.

Like Hall, the incident was Henningsgaard's second crash.

Four years earlier, the former Microsoft executive crashed into the Columbia River in Washington State, and he and his mother survived.

The Eyewitness News I-Team started digging to see how many pilots have crashed more than once.

The National Transportation Safety Board in Washington and the Federal Aviation Association said they don't track crashes by pilots' names.

Public information officers at the two agencies charged with regulating pilots and investigating crashes both said they look at individual crashes but don't track crashes per pilot.

It doesn't matter if it is the first, second or tenth crash; they don't know.

The I-Team dug through hundreds of incident reports looking for the name of the pilot involved in each incident, in Connecticut, between 1982 and 2014.

There were seven pilots who appeared on the list twice or more, and 18 reports where the only operator listed was a company name, but some of those companies made the list as many as seven times.

The government agencies that the I-Team reached out to said they don't track crashes by pilot names.

While the government is not tracking those statistics, a safety expert said it may not be as bad as someone might think.

Dr. Michael Teiger, a West Hartford pulmonologist, is an FAA-certified aviation medical examiner.

He has been a general aviation pilot for 28 years and performs dozens of required physicals every year.

He said even if the names aren't entered into a database, every incident triggers an investigation and that investigation will look into any prior crashes for that pilot to see if it is just bad luck, or a pattern, or something worse.

“Once somebody is identified as an offender, your one, two, three-time accidents, then that raises the flags, and I think the process is in place to investigate,” Teiger said. “I've seen that happen.”

What could happen is more training or even a “check ride” where a government official actually flies along to make sure a pilot is competent to fly.

“So I am comfortable with the process, but I think it's almost impossible to police everybody and make sure they make the right decisions all the time,” Teiger said.

The I-Team reached out to many of the pilots on the list, but none wanted to talk on camera.

Hall, who crash-landed on the Busway, said he is expecting an FAA check ride in the next couple of weeks.

He has been grounded since the November crash.

He called his two crashes just “freak bad luck” and he is hopeful that they will give him the approval to get back in the air.

Original article can be found here:

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA063 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 29, 2014 in Hartford, CT
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N759VG
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 November 29, 2014, at 1500 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182Q, N759VG, was substantially damaged when it collided with a fence during an forced landing in West Hartford, Connecticut. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from Robertson Field Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut at 1450.

According to the pilot, during the climbout he noticed that the engine began to run rough and lose power. He assumed that the carburetor was collecting ice and engaged the carburetor heat control to eliminate the presence of any ice. The pilot verified that the fuel selector was in the on position and all engine instruments were operating in the green; but the engine continued to run rough and lose power. After determining that the airplane could not maintain altitude and the engine would not regain power, the pilot attempted a forced landing on a road. During the forced landing the right wing collided with a barrier fence and came to rest on the road. The airplane was recovered for further examination.

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA358
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 09, 2013 in East Haven, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL 690B, registration: N13622
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

The pilot was attempting a circling approach with a strong gusty tailwind. Radar data and an air traffic controller confirmed that the airplane was circling at or below the minimum descent altitude of 720 feet (708 feet above ground level [agl]) while flying in and out of an overcast ceiling that was varying between 600 feet and 1,100 feet agl. The airplane was flying at 100 knots and was close to the runway threshold on the left downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern, which would have required a 180-degree turn with a 45-degree or greater bank to align with the runway. Assuming a consistent bank of 45 degrees, and a stall speed of 88 to 94 knots, the airplane would have been near stall during that bank. If the bank was increased due to the tailwind, the stall speed would have increased above 100 knots. Additionally, witnesses saw the airplane descend out of the clouds in a nose-down attitude. Thus, it was likely the pilot encountered an aerodynamic stall as he was banking sharply, while flying in and out of clouds, trying to align the airplane with the runway.

Toxicological testing revealed the presence of zolpidem, which is a sleep aid marketed under the brand name Ambien; however, the levels were well below the therapeutic range and consistent with the pilot taking the medication the evening before the accident. Therefore, the pilot was not impaired due to the zolpidem. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while banking aggressively in and out of clouds for landing in gusty tailwind conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and uncontrolled descent.


On August 9, 2013, about 1121 eastern daylight time, a Rockwell International 690B, N13622, was destroyed after impacting two homes while maneuvering for landing in East Haven, Connecticut. The airplane was registered to Ellumax, LLC, and was operated by a private individual. The commercial pilot, one passenger, and two people on the ground were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Teterboro Airport (TEB), Teterboro, New Jersey, about 1049 and was destined for Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut.

Review of data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that at 1104, the pilot was advised by a New York Approach controller to expect an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 2, with a circle to land runway 20 at HVN, which he acknowledged. At 1115, the flight was cleared for that approach and the pilot was instructed to contact the HVN tower, which he did. At 1116, the pilot reported to the tower controller that the airplane was 7.5 miles from the final approach fix and the controller instructed the pilot to report a left downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 20. The pilot then asked if anybody had landed straight in and the controller replied no, the winds were 190 degrees at 17 knots, which the pilot acknowledged. At 1119 the pilot reported that the airplane was on a left downwind and the controller cleared the flight to land.

At 1120:42, the controller stated, "November one two two are you going to be able to maintain visual contact with the airport?" The pilot replied "are you talking to six two two" and the controller replied "six two two affirmative." At 1520:51, the pilot replied, "six two two is in visual contact now." No further communications were received from the accident airplane. The last recorded radar target was at 1120:53, about .7 miles north of the runway 20 threshold indicating an altitude of 800 feet mean seal level.

After the accident, the HVN tower controller stated that he observed the airplane on a midfield left downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern for runway 20 and it was "skimming" the cloud bases. He asked the pilot if he could maintain visual contact with the runway and the pilot replied yes. The controller then lost visual contact with the airplane and about 2 to 3 seconds later, it re-appeared nose-down, rotating counter-clockwise and descending from the clouds to the ground. Several other witnesses near the accident site reported seeing the airplane descend in an unusual attitude and/or the sound of loud engine noise just before impact.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 13, 2011. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,952 hours.

Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 2,067 hours; of which, about 1,407 hours were in multiengine airplanes and 574 hours of that were in turbine aircraft. The pilot had flown about 394 hours in actual instrument meteorological conditions. Additionally, the pilot completed a flight review and instrument proficiency check on March 2 and March 18, 2013, respectively. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was dated March 19, 2013. There was no record of flight time between that date and the accident. A determination could not be made of how many circling approaches the pilot had performed in actual conditions.


The 11-seat, high wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number 11469, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by two Honeywell TPE331 engines, serial numbers P79297C, and P79001C respectively. According to FAA records, the airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on March 8, 1982. Review of copies of maintenance logbook records revealed an annual inspection was completed February 13, 2013 at a recorded tachometer reading of 1250.1 hours, airframe total time of 8827.1 hours, and engine time since major overhaul of 1249.5 hours. The tachometer and the Hobbs hour-meter were not located at the accident site.


The recorded weather at HVN, at 1126, was: wind from 170 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 19 knots; visibility 9 miles in light rain, overcast ceiling at 900 feet; temperature 24 degrees C; dew point 23 degrees C; altimeter 29.88 inches Hg. Remarks: Rain began at 18 minutes after the hour, and the ceiling height was variable between 600 feet and 1,100 feet.

Prior to the accident flight, the pilot contacted flight service and received an abbreviated weather briefing for the accident flight. For more information, see Meteorology Factual Report in the public docket.


The airplane was located inverted, with about one-half of the cockpit and fuselage inside a house and basement. The wreckage came to rest on a magnetic heading about 185 degrees. The total circumference of the wreckage debris field was approximately 90 feet. The distance and direction from the wreckage to the approach end of runway 20 at HVN was 180 degrees magnetic and about .6 mile.

The cockpit section rearward to the crew entrance door was separated from the fuselage, crushed, thermally damaged, and located inside the basement of the house. The instrument panel exhibited crushing and thermal damage. The cockpit windscreens were fragmented. The nose landing gear remained attached and in the down and locked position and corresponded with the landing gear selection handle on the instrument panel.

The right wing impacted an adjacent house and separated from the fuselage. The wing was destroyed by thermal damage, and came to rest against the adjacent house. The right main landing gear separated from the attachment point to the wing. The left wing impacted the ground and was separated from the fuselage. There was thermal damage the entire length of the wing. The wing was lying inverted in the back of the main wreckage. The left aileron was present and attached to two connecting rods. The flap had separated and the preimpact flap setting could not be determined. The left main landing gear remained attached to the wing, was thermal damaged, and in the extended position.

The left engine was detached from the wing and lying in the basement of the primary house. The engine exhibited crushing and thermal damage. The right engine was detached from the wing and lying in a 12-inch crater between both houses. The engine exhibited crushing and thermal damage. A teardown examination of both engines was performed at the manufacturer facility under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. The examination did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

The left propeller remained connected to the gearbox and exhibited thermal damage and chordwise scratching of all three propeller blades. The right propeller remained also connected to its gearbox. All three propeller blades exhibited s-bending and chordwise scratching. A detailed examination of both propellers did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

About 12 feet of fuselage was resting on the ground in between both houses, connected to the empennage section, and exhibited thermal damage. The vertical and horizontal surfaces remained connected to their respective connecting rods, and also exhibited thermal damage. Control cable continuity was confirmed from the elevator and rudder to the cockpit area. Due to impact and thermal damage, aileron control cable continuity could not be confirmed.

An enhanced ground proximity warning system and cockpit display were recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C.; however, due to thermal and impact damage, data could not be recovered from either unit.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 10, 2013, by the State of Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Farmington, Connecticut. Review of the autopsy report revealed that the cause of death was "blunt impact injuries of head, trunk, and extremities."

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Review of the toxicology report revealed:

"0.029 (ug/ml, ug/g) Zolpidem detected in Liver
0.008 (ug/ml, ug/g) Zolpidem detected in Blood"


Review of an approach chart for the instrument landing system approach to runway 2, circle to land runway 20, revealed that the minimum descent altitude was 720 feet.

Further review of radar data by an NTSB performance engineer revealed that during the circling approach, the airplane flew as close as 1,800 feet east of the approach end of runway 20 (abeam the numbers) on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern, which would require an approximate 180-degree turn within a radius of 900 feet to align with the runway. At the last airspeed approximation from the radar trajectory of 100 knots, the airplane would have had to bank about 45 degrees to complete the turn (assuming a consistent bank throughout the turn and not accounting for the tailwind); however, the airplane's stall speed at that bank would increase to 88 knots in the landing configuration or 94 knots with flaps retracted. The stall speed would increase beyond 100 knots as the bank increased beyond 45 degrees.

Additionally, at that time, the airplane was at 600 feet and the controller queried the pilot if he could maintain visual contact with the runway. The airplane then climbed to 800 feet into the clouds, before reappearing in a nose-down descent.

For more information, see Aircraft Performance Study in the public docket.

Federal Agency Say ‘No’ to Reinvestigating Plane Crash That Killed Buddy Holly

LUBBOCK, TX -- There will not be a new federal investigation at this time into the February 3, 1959 small plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson. A pilot and dispatcher by the name of L.J. Coon petitioned the National Transportation Safety Board for a new investigation. 

Among Coon’s claims was the distribution of weight on the plane. He basically contended that the pilot, Roger Peterson, got a bad wrap in the 1959 investigation in Clear Lake, Iowa. 

The original investigation performed by the Civil Aeronautics Board said Peterson was flying in low visibility and he was not qualified for those conditions. 

The NTSB told Coon in March, “You have gotten our attention. Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer.”

But now the answer has been received, and basically it was “no.” 

“We find that the criteria for a petition for reconsideration were not met,” the NTSB wrote. 

“Your letters contend that the weight and balance calculations were performed with the originally planned passengers. However, you do not provide new factual evidence to support your concern,” the NTSB said. 

Holly, a Lubbock native, was an icon of early Rock and Roll music. Below is the full text of the NTSB letter to Coon. 

April 21, 2015

Dear Mr. Coon:

Thank you for your January 15, 2015, and February 10, 2015, letters regarding the Mason City, Iowa, airplane crash. As stated in our previous letter to you, in order for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to consider a petition for reconsideration, it must meet the requirements specified in 49 Code of Federal Regulations 845.41: it must either present new information or show that the original report's findings were erroneous. Upon review of the accident report issued by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) on September 23, 1959, and your letters, we find that the criteria for a petition for reconsideration were not met. Below is a more detailed discussion of our evaluation of your letters.

While your letters imply facts by stating "(It was reported)," they do not contain the evidence needed to substantiate the information you present as factual. For example, you state that the landing lights were turned on and the airplane maneuvered to avoid two farmhouses. However, without evidence to support these claims as facts, we cannot evaluate the validity of the information you contend to be factual.

You raise a concern that the CAB final report does not mention the quantity of fuel onboard the accident airplane. However, the CAB report states that the engine was producing power at impact (based on the blade damage), which is indicative of fuel being present and powering the engine at the time of the accident.

Your letters contend that the weight and balance calculations were performed with the originally planned passengers. However, you do not provide new factual evidence to support your concern and, therefore, have not met the basis for a reconsideration of the accident flight's weight and balance.

Regarding your contentions about the accident pilot's flight experience, we note that the CAB report states that the pilot had 128 hours in Bonanza aircraft and 52 hours of dual instrument training; several different aircraft were used for the dual training, all of which were equipped with the conventional-type artificial horizon indicator. There is no evidence to substantiate whether the pilot had flown this aircraft in instrument conditions before the accident flight.

You also offer your theories regarding the rudder pedal, magneto switches, and gauge readings on the accident aircraft. However, you do not provide new factual information to support these theories.

You contend that the pilot would have had ground lights and a visual horizon to help with navigation because of the contrast between the snow and the dark sky. However, the report notes, this accident occurred after midnight in a rural area with many farms; thus, there were few, if any, ground lights. Further, no moon was available to illuminate the horizon because of the cloud cover.

You provide extensive calculations regarding the airplane's descent rate. The CAB report does state that Mr. Dwyer saw the airplane in a gradual descent. We note that the CAB report concluded that it is likely that the pilot took off and, once away from the airport environment, in dark, night conditions with light snow falling, entered a descending right turn, rather than a climbing left turn—a common pattern for spatially disoriented pilots.

Finally, your letter contends that carburetor icing may have led to the gradual descent. However, the weather conditions noted and a review of a carburetor icing probability chart indicate no probability of carburetor icing on the night of the accident. You do not put forth any new evidence regarding your contention that the report be reconsidered regarding this point.

In summary, your letter does not supply—and we could not find—any additional information that would be needed for the NTSB to reconsider the findings of the original investigation. Therefore, we have determined that your letter does not meet the requirements of a petition for reconsideration, and no further action is planned.

John DeLisi Director, Office of Aviation Safety 

Original article can be found here:

Editorial: Despite financial support, Stewart International Airport (KSWF) still in fog

Two of Orange County’s most significant institutions - Orange Regional Medical Center and Stewart International Airport - recently received financial news that each says will help improve the services they provide, as well as contribute to the overall well-being of the county.

We’re happy to hear about both developments, although our enthusiasm is tempered in the case of the airport. History has a lot to do with it.

Let’s start with the hospital. Orange Regional has thought big from the beginning, from the choice of its name to the merging of Horton Hospital in Middletown with Arden Hill and Catskill Regional hospitals. It built a state-of-the-art facility that sits on a hill near two major highways in the Town of Wallkill. Since opening in 2011, it has added and upgraded its services.

It also has shown no inclination to rest easy. Last week ORMC received approval from the state Dormitory Authority to issue up to $75 million worth of bonds to finance construction of a cancer center and a five-story medical office building, alongside the existing building. In addition to the cancer center, a welcome addition to the region’s medical services, the project would include a women’s center, an outpatient pharmacy, diagnostic imaging and a primary care walk-in area.

A hospital spokesman says completion of the expansion is expected by December 2016. The Wallkill Planning Board has already approved the project and Supervisor Dan Depew says, ‘’We want them to be successful in everything they do.” So far, that’s been a safe bet.

Stewart is another story. It’s not that it hasn’t functioned as an airport, but rather that, since the military turned it over for civilian use, it has never lived up to the expectations that its sprawling size, long runways and open spaces would make it a bustling commercial airport.

Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that removes state sales and uses taxes on the purchase of general aviation aircraft and any equipment installed on them as of Sept. 1. These are planes owned by individuals or businesses. The tax relief has been sought by the general aviation industry for 10 years and is billed as making New York more competitive in this area, as well as bringing jobs back to state airports.

Stewart, operated by the Port Authority, has two fixed-base operators and is home to GE’s corporate fleet and a Cessna service center. Fritz Kaas, Stewart’s representative to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, sees some owners moving from other states to Stewart because of the tax break and the addition of jobs to build hangars.

He also says, “People don’t see what a huge economic thing (Stewart) is because it doesn’t have a lot of air service.”

Well, yes, that has been the complaint, seemingly forever.

Kass adds, “But that’s going to change in a few years.”

From Kass’ lips to the Port Authority’s ears, we sincerely hope he’s right. Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy for any boost to Stewart’s’ business, although we’re not sure people who own their own planes needed a tax break.

Original article can be found here:

Transportation Safety Board of Canada criticizes Buffalo Airways over 2013 Yellowknife accident: Douglas DC-3C, C-GWIR

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has criticized the “organizational culture” at Buffalo Airways in its report into a crash landing in Yellowknife two years ago.

On August 19, 2013, a Buffalo DC-3 leaving Yellowknife for Hay River suffered a fire in its right engine while taking off.

The aircraft struck tree tops as the pilot made a low-altitude bid to return to the airport. Eventually, the plane landed short of the runway with its landing gear still retracted.

All 21 passengers and three crew escaped unharmed. At the time, Buffalo’s Joe McBryan told the CBC “it was quite smooth other than the very end”, adding: “I think the crew did a marvellous job under the circumstances.”

However, Monday’s TSB report concluded that, while a cylinder had failed on the right engine, the aircraft had also exceeded its maximum certified take-off weight.

The TSB’s investigators felt Buffalo often paid too little attention to the weight and balance of the airline’s aircraft.

“The aircraft departed without a completed weight and balance calculation [and] the investigation found that it was common to operate in this manner,” reads the report.

“Weight and balance forms were normally completed en-route, without the benefit of accurate information and without using standard or actual passenger weights as required.

“There were other indications that the organizational culture at Buffalo Airways was not supportive of a system that required the organization to take a proactive role in identifying hazards and reducing risks.”

Investigators estimate that day’s flight to have been some 1,235 lb above its maximum certified take-off weight of 26,200 lb.

Buffalo and the TSB both say steps have been taken to change the airline’s practices since the 2013 accident.

“Buffalo Airways has begun to enforce the practice of weighing individual passengers and baggage in order to calculate a weight and balance prior to departure,” noted the TSB.

Among other changes, Buffalo has now revised its operations manual and provided “comprehensive re-training” for its operations manager, as well as hiring a consultant “to assist with regulatory compliance”.

In its report, the TSB also criticizes the level of oversight provided by Transport Canada.

“If Transport Canada does not adopt a balanced approach that combines inspections for compliance with audits of safety management processes, unsafe operating practices may not be identified, increasing the risk of accidents,” reads the report.

On the day of the accident, passengers on the flight praised the actions of the pilot after the engine fire developed.

“Had we gone totally into the trees, it would’ve been game over,” passenger David Connelly told the CBC.

In full: TSB’s report on Buffalo “collision with terrain”, August 2013

Original article can be found here:

Aviation Investigation Report A13W0120

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Engine failure after takeoff and collision with terrain
Buffalo Airways Ltd.
Douglas DC-3C, C-GWIR
Yellowknife Airport, Northwest Territories
19 August 2013

Summary:   On 19 August 2013, a Buffalo Airways Ltd. Douglas DC-3C (registration C-GWIR, serial number 9371) was operating as a scheduled passenger flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to Hay River, Northwest Territories. After lift-off from Runway 16 at 1708 Mountain Daylight Time, there was a fire in the right engine. The crew performed an emergency engine shutdown and made a low-altitude right turn towards Runway 10. The aircraft struck a stand of trees southwest of the threshold of Runway 10 and touched down south of the runway with the landing gear retracted. An aircraft evacuation was accomplished and there were no injuries to the 3 crew members or the 21 passengers. There was no post-impact fire and the 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter did not activate.

Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse, N248ME: Accident occurred April 27, 2015 near Sylacauga Municipal Airport (KSCD), Talladega County, Alabama

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Continental Motors Inc.; Mobile, Alabama
Falcon Aviation Academy; Newnan, Georgia

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Sylacauga, AL
Accident Number: ERA15LA200
Date & Time: 04/27/2015, 1525 CDT
Registration: N248ME
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On April 27, 2015, about 1525 central daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA20-C1, N248ME, was substantially damaged during a forced landing while attempting to depart from Sylacauga Municipal Airport (SCD), Sylacauga, Alabama. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which was destined for Newnan Coweta County Airport (CCO), Newnan, Georgia. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The purpose of the flight was for the student pilot to complete a solo cross country flight. On the morning of the flight, the student met with his flight instructor to review his flight plan and perform a preflight inspection of the airplane. They then topped off the airplane's fuel tank with fuel and the student departed the airplane's home base at CCO en route to SCD. The flight instructor subsequently departed CCO in another airplane, and remained in radio contact with the student throughout the uneventful flight.

Prior to departing on the return leg of the flight, the student pilot performed another preflight inspection of the airplane, runup check of the engine, and then departed for CCO. The student initiated a takeoff from runway 9, and upon reaching an altitude of about 300 ft agl, he noted that the engine felt "bumpy" and the airplane's climb performance had degraded. He responded by confirming that the mixture control was set to the fully forward position, the fuel pump was on, and the throttle was fully open. The student then advised his flight instructor via radio of the engine issue. The flight instructor advised the student to again ensure that the mixture was fully rich and that the fuel pump was on. About this time the engine rpm began decreasing from 2,300 rpm to 2,000 rpm. The student again advised the flight instructor of the situation, and the flight instructor then told the student to return to the airport and land.

The student climbed the airplane to an altitude of about 900 ft agl, and while on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern noted that there was a helicopter in the vicinity of the approach end of runway 9. Upon reaching the mid-field point of the downwind leg, the student reduced engine power to 1,800 rpm, and configured the airplane for landing. As the airplane neared the mid-field point of the runway on final approach, it was still "too high," to make a normal landing. The flight instructor advised the student via radio to abort the landing and initiate a go-around. The student then positioned the throttle fully forward, retracted the flaps to the takeoff position, and attempted to climb the airplane. After hearing the stall warning, the student decreased the airplane's pitch attitude, and performed a forced landing to a grassy area ahead. During the landing, the right wing struck a utility line, the pilot stated "my landing was heavy", resulting in a collapsed nose landing gear, and resulting in substantial damage to the firewall and forward portion of the fuselage.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane at the accident site and oversaw a test run of the airplane's engine. During the test run, the engine started normally, and due to damage sustained to the propeller, was run at a low power setting. The test was subsequently discontinued, and the engine and airframe were retained for further examination.

A subsequent test run included running the engine to 1,900 rpm, which resulted in normal fuel flow and pressure. As the throttle was increased, the engine rpm began to drop off and the engine started running rough with no increase in rpm. The throttle body/fuel metering unit was removed and tested on a flow bench, the fuel pump pressure at 2800 rpm was 37.46 pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG). Manufactures specifications at that rpm was 47.80-48.00 PSIG. A test throttle body/fuel metering unit was installed on the accident engine, and a subsequent test run to about 2,800 rpm for 15-20 minutes was achieved and fuel pressures were within manufactures specification. The original throttle body/fuel metering unit was re-installed and a test run to 2,100 rpm was achieved, before the engine began running rough and backfired with no increase in rpm. The original throttle body/fuel metering unit was again removed and tested on a flow bench. This test resulted in the unit again not meeting the manufacturer's specification for fuel pressure throughout all throttle settings. Another test was conducted resulting in the same conclusion, low fuel pressure throughout all throttle settings.

The throttle body/fuel metering unit was forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for detailed examination. Detailed inspection of the unit's individual components revealed that dimensional analysis of the shaft and fuel metering disk cam profile was preformed, and no issues were observed. Additionally, an examination of the tapered knurls on the mixture control lever revealed several "sets" of knurl impression marks, consistent with the lever being repositioned on the shaft several times. The surface finish of the tapered area was patinated brown, with no indication of the metering lever sliding relative to the shaft. The tapered knurls on the shaft exhibited deformed crowns consistent with compressive deformation. Overall, the shaft exhibited nicks, burs, and raised areas along its length. The surfaces also exhibited marks consistent with rework and aggressive cleaning or sanding.

According to FAA records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on April 19, 2004, and was registered to AAF Incorporated in April 2015. It was equipped with a Continental Motors Inc. IO-240-B17B, a 125-hp, engine with a Sensenich W69EK7-63 fixed pitch propeller. According to both the airframe and engine maintenance logbooks, the most recent annual inspection was performed on February 9, 2015, with a total time of 3,866.8 hours. The engine maintenance records also showed that the fuel pump, throttle body/fuel metering unit, and fuel manifold were overhauled on January 9, 2014 and installed on the accident airplane in July 2014.

The pilot held a student pilot certificate. His most recent medical certificate was issued on February 13, 2015, and at that time he reported 54 hours of flight experience, all in the DA20-C1.

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 22
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/13/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  54.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 54.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 6.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 54.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N248ME
Model/Series: DA 20 C1
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: C0267
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/30/2015, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1764 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4060.2 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: CONTINENTAL
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-240-B17B
Rated Power: 125 hp
Operator: Falcon Aviation Academy
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SCD, 569 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2015 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Sylacauga, AL (SCD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Newnan, GA (CCO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1524 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 569 ft 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5390 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.175556, -86.292222 (est)

A small training airplane crashed in Sylacauga this afternoon, but authorities are reporting no injuries.

The crash happened just after 3 p.m. next to the Golden Rule Barbecue and Towne Inn Motel on U.S. 280. The site is about one-eighth of a mile from the Merkel Field Sylacauga Municipal Airport.

Airport mechanic Jacob McGowin said the aircraft was a small training plane with two seats. He said only one person was onboard. The plane is operated by an area flight school, but McGowin said it wasn't immediately clear whether it was an instructional flight at the time.

McGowin said the plane had landed at the airport. "They were leaving out of here when they lost engine power,'' he said.

Authorities remain on the scene.

Original article can be found here:

SYLACAUGA, AL (WBRC) - The Merkel Field Sylacauga Municipal Airport manager confirms a small plane crash off of Highway 280.

Manager Ray Lett says a small training aircraft crashed shortly after taking off. He is not aware of any injuries.

Witnesses say the plane crashed into the parking lot of the Towne Inn Motel at 40860 Highway 280, next to a Golden Rule BBQ.

New Jersey: Did Freehold company sell aviation fuel to motorists?

  • The owner of six gas stations, including two in Monmouth County, pays $85,000 to settle claims it sold aviation fuel
  • Aviation fuel used in cars can damage catalytic converters and oxygen sensors
  • Fuel distributor Zephyr Oil and transporter Lee Transport also paid fines.

A Freehold-based company that owns Lukoil in Manasquan, Delta in Keyport and four other gas stations has agreed to pay $85,000 to the state to settle claims that it sold aviation fuel to motorists, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said Monday.

Pasmel Property Inc.'s settlement includes about $7,500 for consumers who showed that their vehicles were damaged by aviation fuel, called avgas, the division said.

"The sale of leaded aviation fuel to motorists who think they are purchasing unleaded motor fuel, with no awareness of the damage aviation fuel can do to their cars, is unconscionable," Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, said in a statement.

In addition to Pasmel: Lee Transport, the Pittsgrove-based fuel transporter, agreed to pay $32,000; and Zephyr Oil, the Brooklyn-based fuel distributor, agreed to pay $20,000, to settle the charges.

Pasmel also owns Daninka in North Plainfield, Express Fuel in Trenton,and Lukoils in Lawrenceville and Scotch Plains. Messages left for the company and its attorney weren't immediately returned.

The Division of Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit nearly a year ago, saying Pasmel in December 2012 bought about 73,000 gallons of 100 octane avgas from Zephyr Oil at a significant discount compared with premium motor fuel. Lee Transport delivered it to six stations, the state said.

The stations then sold the aviation fuel to motorists, but identified it as regular, plus or premium gasoline, the state said.

Avgas contains tetraethyl lead, which is a toxic substance that can damage cars' catalytic converts and oxygen sensors. It is appropriate for certain aircraft, the state said.

"Some consumers suffered real monetary losses after filling their cars with potentially harmful airplane fuel," Steve C. Lee, acting director for the Division of Consumer Affairs said in a statement.

Original article can be found here:

Beech A23-19, N2371W: Incident occurred April 25, 2015 near Bonfield, Kankakee County, Illinois

A small airplane landed on Illinois Route 17 on Saturday night near Bonfield after running low on fuel while flying from Kansas to Indiana.

The plane landed cleanly around 10:15 p.m. near the intersection at 8000W Road.
"It was a picture-perfect landing," said Herscher Fire Chief Alan Ramsey. "Nobody was injured and there wasn't any damage. A few people just pushed the aircraft off into a grassy area to clear the roadway."

The pilot, Quinn Bowers, a flight instructor from McPhearson, Kan., told The Daily Journal he was on his way to Goshen, Ind. to see his best friend graduate from Goshen College, a Christian liberal arts institution in the northern part of the state. He was piloting a 1979 Beechcraft Musketeer, a single engine prop airplane he had borrowed from a fellow pilot.

He told The Daily Journal he lost the engine after miscalculating fuel and was attempting to reach Greater Kankakee Airport on a glide. But he lost altitude too quickly and was unable to see the airport in the dark. Moonlight eventually revealed the strip of highway below where he could land.

"I don't know the area. I've never flown over it before," Bowers said. "I'm thankful everything turned out as well as it did."

After landing he was assisted by fire and law enforcement personnel. The airplane was towed to Koerner Aviation and given some fuel. He then landed at Greater Kankakee Airport and topped off his fuel tank before departing.

Kankakee County Undersheriff Mike Downey said the miscalculation in fuel appears to be the cause of the premature landing. Illinois State Police troopers initially investigated the landing, and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate further.

"Fortunately nobody was hurt, but it's not every day that you see a plane landing on a highway," Downey said.

Bowers said he didn't make it to Goshen in time for the graduation ceremony, but was able to visit with some friends.

"I got to see some of the friends I wanted to see," Bowers said. "It wasn't a total loss."

Original article can be found here:

Regis#: N2371W
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 23
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA FSDO: FAA W. Chicago-DuPage (NON Part 121) FSDO-03
State: Illinois



Long-EZ: Incident occurred April 27, 2015 near Gardner Municipal Airport (K34), Kansas

GARDNER, Kan. — One person was reportedly briefly trapped inside a small plane that made an emergency landing in Gardner, Kan. Monday morning.

Firefighters tell FOX 4 the person got out without serious injuries.

Emergency crews responded to the field area just west of Gardner Municipal Airport on 175th Street and Four Corners at approximately 9:50 a.m.

They found the 1994 Long EZ aircraft crashed in a field there. The pilot had taken off from New Century Airport, but began experiencing engine trouble shortly after take-off.

The crash is being investigated by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the FAA.

Aircraft force landed about 9:30 a.m. near West 175th Street and Four Corners Road west of the Gardner Municipal Airport.  

GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -  A pilot of an experimental aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning.

The plane landed about 9:30 a.m. near West 175th Street and Four Corners Road west of the Gardner Municipal Airport.

The pilot was not injured but did tell the control tower and the airport that he was having trouble exiting the aircraft.

Original article can be found at:

Spitfire expected to sell for £2.5m

A rare RAF Spitfire which was shot down during World War Two and forgotten about for 40 years is expected to sell for £2.5 MILLION in a landmark sale.

The MK1 Vickers Supermarine Spitfire was flown by Great Escape veteran Peter Cazenove in an air battle over Dunkirk.

Just 55 minutes into a flight, on May 24, 1940, Cazenove's Spitfire was hit by a single bullet fired from a Dornier 17-Z bomber.

The Old Etonian radioed in to say "tell mother I'll be home for tea", before belly-landing onto the sands of Calais beach.

Uninjured, Cazanove walked into Calais where he joined up a with a British regiment. However, he was later captured by German forces and held as a Prisoner of War.

The Spitfire, known as P9374, was left to nature and was consumed by successive tides, sinking deeper into the sands where it remained for the next 40 years.

In September 1980 the Spitfire was discovered after strong tides pushed it back above the surface.

Although it was barnacled and corroded, the aircraft was largely intact but salvagers and trophy hunters caused serious damage as they tried to get a piece of the plane.

The aircraft later underwent a full restoration and is now one of only two Mk1 Spitfires which are restored to original specification and still flying.

Both are owned by Thomas Kaplan, an American philanthropist and art collector, who is now selling P9374.

The Spitfire, which flies "beautifully", is expected to sell for around £2.5 million at Christie's 'Exceptional Sale', which will be held in London on July 19.

Mr Kaplan will be donating the proceeds from the landmark sale to the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panthera, a leading wildlife conservation charity.

He has donated his other Spitfire - N3200 - to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

The kindhearted businessman said: "When my great childhood friend, Simon Marsh, and I embarked upon this project, it was to pay homage to those who Churchill called "the Few", the pilots who were all that stood between Hitler's darkness and what was left of civilization.

"The upcoming events of July 9th are, more than anything else, concrete gestures of gratitude and remembrance for those who prevailed in one of the most pivotal battles in modern history.

"As history tells us all, there comes a time when one simply has to step act with passion, and to remember with gratitude the few that actually do."

The Spitfire was originally built at the Vickers Armstrong factory in Woolston and delivered to 92 Squadron at RAF Croydon in March 1940.

It was powered by a Merlin III engine which was built at Rolls-Royce, Derby, on 27 October 1939.

After it was recovered, the Spitfire first to the Musee d'l'Air at Le Bourget, Paris, and subsequently to further collections until the parts eventually ended up with the Aircraft Restoration Company / Historic Flying Ltd. at Duxford.

A team of 12 engineers spent three years meticulously restoring the Spitfire for Mr Kaplan and Mr Marsh.

The completed aircraft successfully returned to flight for the first time since the Second World War in September 2011, and was flown by John Romain, Pilot and Chief Engineer at the Aircraft Restoration Company.

He later said: "This is a fantastic restoration to be justifiably proud of. Spitfire P9374 is a truly lovely aircraft, and she flies beautifully."

Robert Copley, deputy chairman Christie's UK, added: "Christie's is proud to be entrusted with the sale of this Spitfire - a truly iconic aircraft which is symbol of the bravery 'of the few' in the Battle of Britain.

"We look forward to seeing this extraordinary Mk.1 Spitfire reach new heights at 'The Exceptional Sale', which will be a unique moment in auction house history."

Original article can be found here:

Air India shuts down few foreign, local offices to cut costs

To cut costs, Air India is pruning the number of its foreign and local offices and has already shut down 23 booking offices in different parts of the country, the government said on Monday. The decision to close booking offices has been taken with a view to control costs and reduce expenditure, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

The national carrier has closed down 23 booking offices within the country, including those in Darjeeling, Surat, Allahabad, Agra, Kanpur, Leh, Mysore, Udaipur, Trichur, Amristar and Dehradun.

Booking offices have been closed as most of the sales are done by agents and the number of walk-in passengers at these places is “negligible”. Besides, passengers can make bookings through Air India’s website, Mr. Sharma said. At present, there are 54 local booking offices of the carrier that are functional.

Air India has been grappling with tough financial conditions. In another written reply, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the carrier has closed, decided to close or downsize some of its overseas booking offices. “The booking offices at offline stations at Zurich, Chittagong and Vienna have been shut down in FY 2013-14 with a view to cut down cost. “So as to maximize revenue and promote code share flights, there is now only a small sales or representative set up at the airport at Zurich and the sales representative office at Vienna is operating from a small office space in a business center,” he said.

A decision has been taken to close offices at Cairo and Tehran, he added.

Mr. Raju said that Air India is maintaining booking offices at Washington, Los Angeles and Amsterdam even though it does not operate any flights to these places. These offices are being maintained due to various reasons such as to “tap and cater to the Indian ethnic population, business travellers, tourists and also other segments having affinity between India and the respective countries”.

Original article can be found here: