Saturday, May 23, 2015

Yeager Airport (KCRW) sues 20 companies over landslide



Yeager Airport is suing 20 companies involved with the design and construction of its runway extension project, which collapsed in a massive landslide in March, alleging negligence and breach of contract and seeking to recover millions of dollars in compensation and punitive damages.

The airport filed suit Friday against Triad Engineering, the firm that designed the man-made hillside that supported the runway extension, and Cast & Baker, the contractor that led construction on the project.

The airport also sued a Pennsylvania-based blasting company, a Dunbar-based paving company, the companies that designed and installed the EMAS blocks used on the runway extension, the company that makes the geo-synthetic mesh that held the hillside together and a Pennsylvania-based quality-control company that also were involved in the project.

Also included in the lawsuit are the airport’s two insurance companies, AIG Aerospace and New Hampshire Insurance Co., and the insurers of every company involved with the runway extension project.

The airport alleges that the runway extension and the man-made hillside that supported it were improperly designed, improperly tested, not properly inspected and not properly monitored.

After years of slight shifts, the hillside, which was completed in 2007, collapsed in March, destroying homes and a church on Keystone Drive, in Charleston, and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people.

“The event in question is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of negligence,” Yeager’s attorneys write in the lawsuit, filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court. “The work and services provided by defendants was not performed with ordinary skill, care or diligence.”

The airport hired lawyers from three local firms, Scott Segal, Timothy Bailey and Anthony Majestro, to file the lawsuit jointly on its behalf.

The lawsuit says airport personnel noticed separation in the EMAS blocks on July 28, 2013, although there were related problems going back to at least 2010. The airport says it immediately contacted Triad and Cast after noticing the separation, but the two firms said they did not think there was a problem.

“In fact, defendant Triad informed the [Airport] Authority that settlement of as much as 24 inches was within normal range,” the lawsuit states.

As the blocks continued to separate, the airport and Triad each conducted monitoring and surveying.

The airport held an emergency board meeting on March 11, the day before the slide, at which, the lawsuit alleges, a Triad representative said the chances of a hillside collapse were “very slight.”

“Less than 24 hours after being told the chances of a catastrophic failure were slight, the Runway 5 EMAS . . . catastrophically failed, sending hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of fill and other material cascading down,” the lawsuit states. “The damages suffered by the residents of Keystone Drive and the Authority total in the millions of dollars.”

Majestro said attorneys filed the lawsuit Friday because a law that takes effect Tuesday will make it more difficult for plaintiffs to collect damages when some liable defendants don’t have the ability to pay.

“The airport is anxious to have this dispute resolved because they want the runway fixed and the landowners below them, whose properties were destroyed, taken care of,” Majestro said.

Circuit clerks around the state were sent a letter early Friday warning them about the possibility of an unusually large number of filings throughout the day because of the new law (HB2002).

Matt Arrowood, director of circuit clerk services for the West Virginia Supreme Court, wrote the letter after attorneys raised concerns about possible long lines at the time courthouses are set to close.

“Administrative Director of the Courts Steve Canterbury has advised that all people who wish to file and who are in line at the close of business at your office should be considered as having filed on Friday in a timely manner — even if they have not reached your counter by the end of your business day,” Arrowood wrote.

Majestro, who also is president of the West Virginia Association of Justice, spoke out against changing the law during the legislative session.

“In my opinion, it doesn’t apply to conduct that occurred prior to Tuesday,” he said. “However, if you’ve got a case ready to file, we’ve advised attorneys to go ahead and file it. That way they don’t have to worry about that argument.”

The lawsuit filed by Yeager has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman.

- Source: http://www.wvgazette.com

Deputies locate pilot whose plane cut power lines; sheriff says Jeff Driscoll was not pilot and plane was not crop duster

Bingham County, Idaho 

The Bingham County Sheriff's Office has located the pilot whose plane severed power lines Friday morning in the Aberdeen-Springfield area, causing more than 1,000 Idaho Power customers to lose power in southwestern Bingham County.

The plane did not crash but continued flying and left the area after slicing through the power lines, authorities said.

The Bingham County Sheriff’s Office said the pilot of the plane was not Jeff Driscoll.

The Sheriff's Office said Saturday that its reports to the media Friday that the plane involved was a crop duster were incorrect.

Driscoll said he is the only individual who flies a crop duster in southwestern Bingham County and he was not piloting the aircraft that cut the power lines in the Aberdeen-Springfield area. He also said the plane that did the damage was not a crop duster.

Bingham County deputies located the pilot Friday afternoon whose plane severed the power lines. 

Sheriff Craig Rowland said the pilot has not been charged or taken into custody but his name has been forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident and determine if the pilot should face any penalties for his actions.

Rowland said the name of the pilot is not being released pending the FAA's judgment on the incident.

Reports indicate that power was restored to everyone in southwestern Bingham County by early Friday evening.

Source:  http://www.idahostatejournal.com

Turbine Legend, N42BR, BR Legend LLC: Fatal accident occurred May 23, 2015 near Columbia Metropolitan Airport (KCAE), Columbia, South Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina
GE Aviation; Lynn, Massachusetts
FAA/MIDO; North Olmsted, Ohio
Air Accidents Investigation Institute

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

BR Legend LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N42BR

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA221 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 23, 2015 in West Columbia, SC
Aircraft: BR LEGEND LLC TURBINE LEGEND, registration: N42BR
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 23, 2015, about 0921 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Turbine Legend, N42BR, collided with trees and a pond about 1.2 nautical miles (nm) west of Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), West Columbia, South Carolina. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to BR Legend, LLC and privately operated. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, which originated about 7 minutes earlier from CAE, and was destined for Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Asheville, North Carolina.

Air traffic control (ATC) radar and voice communication information indicated that the pilot was cleared to taxi to runway 11 and was provided a VFR clearance. He subsequently contacted the local controller and advised he was ready to depart. At 0913:27, the controller cleared the flight for takeoff and instructed the pilot to turn left heading 050°, which he acknowledged. Shortly after takeoff, ATC communications were transferred to departure control.

The flight was radar-identified at 0914:56, and the pilot was instructed to turn left on course toward the destination airport. The pilot acknowledged the transmission and proceeded in a north-northwesterly direction until 0917:26, at which time the airplane turned left from its on-course heading and continued to climb. At 0917:56, the pilot declared a mayday, advising the controller that he, "…lost ah my engine." About this time, the airplane was 6.8 nm from the approach end of runway 11 and about 6,500 ft mean sea level (msl). Immediately after the mayday call, the controller asked what aircraft was declaring an emergency, to which pilot replied with the partial call sign and that he was, "trying to make it back to the field." Following the mayday transmission, the pilot turned to a southerly heading.

The controller advised the pilot to enter the left base leg of the airport traffic pattern for runway 11, provided the altimeter setting, and indicated the wind was calm. Coordination between the Radar North controller and the local controller occurred, and at 0918:41, the Radar North controller advised the pilot that CAE was at his 10-to-9 o'clock position and 6 miles, and asked him if the airport was in sight, but the pilot did not reply. About 10 seconds later, the Radar North controller inquired, "and uh 42BR Columbia" to which the pilot replied, "Roger I have it in sight I think I can make it." The controller then instructed the pilot to make a straight-in approach to runway 11, and about 0919:02, the pilot advised the controller that he "…lost my fuel pressure."

The pilot was cleared to land twice; however, he did not reply to either clearance, nor did he establish contact with the local controller. At 0921:06, the Radar North controller asked the local controller if she could see the airplane, to which the local controller responded that the airplane was on short final and she was giving the green light-gun signal to land.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane impact trees and then a pond; they did not hear any sound from the engine. Three witnesses saw the airplane bank left, and one of those said the airplane pitched up just before it struck the tree. None of the witnesses saw any smoke or fire trailing the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 85, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He was issued a second-class medical certificate on February 5, 2015, with a limitation requiring the use of corrective lenses. On the application for his last medical certificate, the pilot reported 10,000 hours total flight experience. Based on maintenance records, it was estimated that the pilot had accumulated about 430 hours in the accident airplane.

Family members reported that the pilot was in excellent health and did not take any medication.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 2003. The special airworthiness certificate was issued by an FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR), who also assisted the pilot with building a portion of the airplane. It was powered by a Walters M601D turbine engine that was equipped with a three-bladed Avia V508E-AG/99B/A constant speed, variable pitch, manual feathering, dual-acting, hydraulically-controlled propeller. Propeller blade angle was controlled from the cockpit by a lever that connected via cable to a dual-acting propeller governor, although the feathering circuit at the propeller governor was blanked off with a plate and not available. The airplane was not equipped with an electrically-actuated feathering pump. Although propeller counterweights helped to increase pitch of the propeller blades in the event of oil system failure, they were ineffective in feathering the blades when the propeller was spinning at low rpm due to insufficient centrifugal force generated.

According to the engine maintenance records, the last condition inspection in accordance with the FAA-Approved Turbine Legend Maintenance and Inspection Program was completed on November 29, 2014 at an airplane total time of 428.2 hours. Further review of the maintenance records revealed no entry related to removal of a feathering pump or installation of a plate on the feathering pump circuit at the propeller governor.

The airplane's fuel system consisted of one integral fuel tank spanning the entire length of the wing, with a fuel filler cap at each wingtip; the standard tank configuration held about 100 gallons. Fuel was gravity-fed from each wing into a sump located on the bottom surface of the wing on the airplane centerline. Attached to the outlet fitting of the sump tank was a manually-activated shutoff valve, which connected via aluminum tubing and a flexible hose to an electrically-controlled auxiliary fuel pump. The outlet of the auxiliary fuel pump connected via a flexible hose to a canister fitted with a pleated paper element and a "T" fitting for reading fuel pressure, then via a flexible hose from the filter to the engine-driven fuel pump.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 0856 surface observation at CAE indicated wind variable at 3 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, and clear skies. The temperature and dew point were 19 and 12° C, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.39 inches of mercury.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The airplane was equipped with digital instruments that recorded engine parameters, including compressor speed (N1), propeller speed (N2), Torque, inter-turbine temperature (ITT), Oil Pressure/Temperature, and Fuel Level. The instruments were retained and submitted to the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Division located in Washington, D.C.

The instruments contained data from the last power cycle, and parameters were shown in relation to elapsed time since the application of power to the instrument. Three recorded values were noted for oil pressure and oil temperature at 236 seconds, 472 seconds, and 708 seconds. The oil pressure values were 17 pounds per square inch (psi), 34 psi, and 31 psi; the oil temperature values were 15° C, 49° C, and 57° C, respectively. Torque values at 218 seconds, 436 seconds, and 654 seconds were 14%, 78%, and 17%, respectively. Three values for ITT were recorded at 217 seconds, 434 seconds, and 651 seconds: 485° C, 620° C, and 410° C, respectively. There was only one recorded value for N1(58.4%) and N2 (1950 rpm), which was logged at 163 seconds.

The pilot's first contact with ground control before taxi occurred at 0909:37, and the airplane was last visually spotted by ATC personnel at 0921:07, resulting in an elapsed time of 690 seconds. However, no correlation to real time could be made, because the time between engine start and the pilot's first contact with ground control could not be determined.

According to the engine manufacturer representative, comparing the recorded data with established limits of the engine revealed that all recorded readings for oil pressure and the last two readings for oil temperature were within specified limits. The last two recorded ITT and torque readings were consistent with an engine at flight idle.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in a pond located adjacent to houses in a residential area. The wreckage was recovered and transferred to a hangar located at Lexington County Airport at Pelion (6J0), Pelion, South Carolina.

According to first responders and FAA personnel, the empennage was partially submerged in the water and was in an inverted position, with the airplane's nose on a magnetic heading of 032°. The wreckage location was about 1.24 nm and 279° from the approach end of runway 11 and about 600 ft south of the runway's final approach path.

Further examination of the accident site area revealed no damage to unmarked powerlines located adjacent to the pond. A strong smell of jet fuel and fuel sheen were noted on the west end of the pond. Damage to the top of a pine tree was noted about 70 ft above ground level; the top of the tree was observed in the water adjacent to the tree. Pieces of curved acrylic material were at the base of the tree, and pieces of composite material were in the water at the west end of the pond. There was no evidence of any tree limbs cut by the propeller blades.

Examination of the wreckage following recovery accounted for all primary and secondary flight controls. The one-piece wing was separated from the impact-damaged fuselage. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers remained attached, and the primary and secondary flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective attach points. With the rudder placed in the neutral position, the rudder trim tab was trailing edge left (tail left); with the elevator in the neutral position, the trim tab was positioned trailing edge up (tail up). Damage to the right horizontal stabilizer was noted on the outboard portion. The engine remained attached to the airframe by the engine mount and the propeller was separated from the engine. There was no evidence of fire.

Examination of the wing revealed extensive impact damage, including fracture of the forward and aft spars of the left wing about 5 ft outboard of the landing gear attachment, and fracture of the aft spar of the right wing. Impact damage was also noted to the left and right ailerons and flaps. The right main landing gear was retracted, and the left main landing gear was extended, although the FAA inspector reported it was retracted when the airplane was recovered. The center section of the wing revealed the flap actuator remained attached to the aft side of the main spar and to the flap torque tube. Continuity was confirmed from the flap torque tube to the control surface for the left flap, but the right flap push/pull rod exhibited bending overload at the rod end. The flaps appeared retracted. The fuel vents of both integral wing tanks were clear of obstructions.

Examination of the flight controls for pitch and yaw revealed both tandem seat controls remained connected and continuity was confirmed from each respective control surface to the cockpit controls. Examination of the aileron flight controls revealed rod ends remained connected for the left and right aileron attachments at the control stick, but both rod ends exhibited bending overload. The left aileron push/pull tube exhibited bending overload outboard of the landing gear location and about 12 inches inboard of the bellcrank near the control surface, but was continuous from the bellcrank to the control surface. The right aileron push/pull tube was continuous from the fracture near the control stick to the aileron control surface.

Examination of the cockpit revealed the lap belt and shoulder harness of the front seat restraint remained latched, but the left side of the lap belt webbing was cut. The fuel shutoff valve was full in, and continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control to the valve. The auxiliary fuel pump switch was in the on position, and the auxiliary fuel boost pump circuit breaker was not tripped. Examination of the throttle quadrant revealed the engine control lever was in the aft position, the propeller control was in the aft position, and the fuel control lever was in the run position. The landing gear selector was in the up position.

Examination of the fuselage fuel system revealed the sump tank was ruptured, and the fuel supply line from the sump tank was separated at the tank attach point. The manually-actuated shutoff valve was fully open at impact based on an impact mark from hardware attached to the lever and adjacent flat of a b-nut. The Facet-type fuel pump at the sump tank was dry, and the sump tank fuel cap was in place. The auxiliary fuel pump and a Facet-type pump associated with the sump fuel tank were connected electrically to a portable, 24-volt power source and both were operational. The auxiliary fuel pump with attached hoses and fittings, part number 2003-B, serial number 103252 was retained for operational testing at the manufacturer's facility.

Examination of the engine revealed the propeller was separated from the propeller shaft. The right side of the firewall was damaged and pushed aft above the right lower engine mount. The fuel supply line from the auxiliary fuel pump to the fuel filter was tight at both ends. The fuel supply line from the filter outlet to the engine-driven fuel pump was tight at the filter and connected at the fuel pump; the B-nut at the fuel pump was safety wired. Approximately 1 ounce of straw-colored fuel consistent with jet fuel was drained from the fuel filter, while a drop of straw-colored fuel was noted in the threads of the inlet of the engine-driven fuel pump. A small amount of metal shavings were noted at the inlet of the engine-driven fuel pump, while a small amount of metal shavings, sludge, and a portion of a plastic tie wrap tip were noted at the inlet area of the fuel filter housing. The engine and ignition exciters were removed for further examination.

Examination of the engine was performed at a facility in the US, while the fuel control unit, engine-driven fuel pump, and propeller governor were examined at the manufacturer's facility in the Czech Republic. There were no pre-existing mechanical anomalies issues found during the engine examination which would have prevented normal operation. Examination of the engine-driven fuel pump revealed evidence of internal cavitation. In addition, one of the two ignitor boxes displayed evidence of internal coil movement, consistent with too long a duty cycle, and the supporting insulation material on one of the ignitor plugs had disintegrated.

Examination of the propeller revealed all bolts that secured the propeller to the propeller shaft were damaged consistent with pull-out. All three blades remained secured inside the propeller hub, and exhibited large radius aft bending about 30°, beginning midspan. Two of the three blades appeared to be in the low-pitch range position with the counterweights trapped by the spinner in the corresponding positions. The third blade was less than the low-pitch position, and the blade tip was torn. The trapping of the propeller spinner and the counterweights was consistent with the blades being in an un-feathered position. Examination of the propeller revealed no anomalies that may have prevented normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by the Newberry Pathology Associates, P.A. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. The autopsy report further indicated that the heart weighed 560 grams.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report indicated the results were negative for carbon monoxide and volatiles, and unquantified amounts of Quinine were detected in the submitted urine and iliac blood specimens.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Examination and operational testing of the auxiliary fuel pump were performed at the manufacturer's facility. According to the report from the manufacturer, examination of the pump revealed that one of the two motor brush caps was red in color, indicating installation of parts by someone other than the manufacturer or factory repair station. For operational testing, the inlet and outlet hoses and their respective fittings remained attached. With a 28-volt electrical supply, the fuel boost pump outlet fuel flow was 55 gallons per hour (gph), which is below the factory requirement of 105 gph. Further examination revealed that the pump outlet adapter fitting was installed deeper than that allowed by the AND10064 specification for this interface, which impeded the maximum open position of the internal no-return poppet valve, thereby restricting the outlet fuel flow. After the incorrectly-installed adapter fitting was removed, the pump performance was 109 gph, an acceptable factory test pressure. During subsequent vacuum testing, the motor had an inconsistent/intermittent laboring sound.

Review of the airplane maintenance records revealed no record of removal, replacement, or repair of the auxiliary fuel pump.

Examination of the annunciator panel was performed by the NTSB Materials Laboratory. The results indicated all bulb filaments were intact, and none exhibited evidence of stretching.

Review of the Pilot Information Handbook revealed an emergency checklist titled, "Engine Flame-out In Flight." The first step specified to move the propeller control lever (PCL) to the feather position. The checklist stated to maintain a minimum airspeed of 130 knots indicated if at a low altitude.

According to FAA Order 8130.2H, Airworthiness Certification of Products and Articles, aircraft inspection guidelines for issuance of a special airworthiness certificate specify, in part, that the flight control system should operate properly and the engine(s), propeller(s), and associated instruments operate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. There was no mention for a Designated Airworthiness Representative to determine compatibility of airframe, engine, and propeller systems related to emergency systems.

A review of FAA Advisory Circulars (AC) AC 20-27G titled, "Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft" issued September 30, 2009, and AC 90-89B titled, "Amateur-Built Aircraft and Ultralight Flight Testing Handbook" issued April 27, 2015, revealed no guidance for experimental aircraft builders regarding turbine engine installation considerations.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

Performance Study

An NTSB Performance Study indicated that the pilot maintained the airplane's best glide speed of 130 knots following the emergency declaration and during the attempted return to the runway. The airplane's angle of attack (AOA) was between 1 and 2° before the pilot reported the loss of fuel pressure and between 5 and 10° after. Based on the radar data, the accident airplane's glide ratio was estimated to be 7.5. The glide ratio with a feathered propeller would have been 12.0, resulting in a power-off glide distance of about 12.8 nm from an initial altitude of 6,500 ft.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA221
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 23, 2015 in West Columbia, SC
Aircraft: BR LEGEND LLC TURBINE LEGEND, registration: N42BR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 23, 2015, about 0921 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur built BR Legend LLC Turbine Legend, N42BR, registered to BR Legend LLC, operated by a private individual, collided with trees and a pond approximately 1.2 nautical miles west of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), West Columbia, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from CAE to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Asheville, North Carolina. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial pilot and a dog were fatally injured. The flight originated from CAE about 0914.

According to preliminary air traffic control information, after takeoff the flight proceeded in a northwesterly direction while climbing, until about 0917:36, at which time a change to a westerly heading occurred. The airplane continued on the westerly heading while climbing until about 0917:57, and about two seconds later while flying about 6,775 feet mean sea level in contact with the Radar North controller, the pilot declared a mayday indicating that he, "…lost ah my engine." The radar depicted the airplane turning to a southerly heading while descending. The controller asked on the frequency what aircraft was declaring an emergency, to which pilot replied with the partial call sign that he was "trying to make it back to the field." The controller advised the pilot to enter left base for runway 11, provided the altimeter setting and indicated the wind was calm. Coordination between the Radar North and local controllers occurred, and about 0918:45, the Radar North controller advised the pilot that CAE was at his ten to nine o'clock position and 6 miles, and asked him if he had the airport in sight, but he did not reply. About 0918:54, the Radar North controller inquired on the frequency, "and uh 42BR Columbia" to which he replied, "Roger I have it in sight I think I can make it." At about 0919:05, the pilot advised the controller that he, "…lost my fuel pressure."

Radar data depicted the airplane continuing in a southerly direction towards CAE while descending, and according to several witnesses immediately adjacent to the accident site, no engine sound was heard. While near Old Barnwell Road, the airplane was observed banking to the left followed by collision with a tree. The airplane then impacted a pond immediately adjacent to the tree coming to rest inverted.


COLUMBIA - Robert "Bob" Rowland Russell Jr., 85, chairman of the board of Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate, of Columbia, passed away on the morning of May 23, 2015. In Bob's true spirit of living life to the fullest, he perished doing what he loved most in the world, flying.


He was born on Feb. 15, 1930, in Florida, to the late Robert Rowland Sr. and Mary Rogers Russell. Raised in Columbia, Bob attended Columbia High School. For Bob, flying was many things: a dream, a pastime, a service to his country, a performance, and a true love. As a teenager in Columbia, he flew gasoline models, dreaming of the day he would fly real planes. His dreams came when he was a sophomore at Clemson University. He organized and served as the first president of the Clemson Aero Club, where he soloed in a Piper Cub and accumulated his first 400 flight hours. In 1952, he graduated from Clemson with a degree in industrial education and his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Immediately after graduation, Russell entered military flight training and received his jet pilot wings in July 1953. During his Air Force service, he attended all-weather fighter school at Moody Air Force Base and served in Labrador during the Korean War. After his discharge, he joined the South Carolina Air National Guard, serving overseas in Spain during an international crisis. He flew F-94s, F-80s, F-86s, F-104s and F102s, which contributed substantially to his total of more than 8,000 flight hours. "Touching the Face of God," which was published in 1992, was a book written by Bob about his love of the sky. Bob performed as stunt pilot in many airshows across the country. Bob's love for his country and people led him to service in many areas of the community. He was the chairman of the Association of U.S. Army in 2002, Executive Committee of the Celebration Freedom Foundation from 2000-2008, chairman of the Salvation Army for Columbia 1999-2002, and Advisory Board for the Salvation Army from 1982 to 2002. Russell had been honored over the years in several ways, including: Aviation Hall of Fame in 2003; Who's Who in American Aviation in 1975; Outstanding Americans in the South in 1970 and 1971; and received the Exceptional Service Medal in 1962.

People often described Bob as a true Renaissance man. He graced the stage as an actor in many local theater productions at the Towne Theater; was an excellent piano player; was a former member of the Palmetto Mastersingers; and an avid golfer who regularly shot in the 70s and made five holes-in-one during his lifetime.

Perhaps more than anything, it was Bob's endeavor into the real estate industry that created a legacy fitting of the true legend that we was. On April 1st, 1965. Bob opened the doors on a great adventure when he started Bob Russell Realty. With only one agent, Bob used his determination to succeed as a businessman, and succeed he did. Six months into his new business, he hired the late Abb Jeffcoat. The two would become great friends and eventually partners, forming Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate. Over the past 50 years of doing business in the Midland's of South Carolina, Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate has grown into the premier company in the area. As the number one real estate company in the Midlands, Russell & Jeffcoat boasts more than 450 agents and 12 offices. As titan in the real estate industry, Bob served as president of the Columbia Realtors Association in 1973; a member of Committee 100; president of the Sales & Marketing Council for the HBA; the president of the CMLS; and recently received a lifetime achievement award form the HBA's Sales and Marketing Council. Bob's way of doing business has been the vision and direction for the company for many years; his way is with integrity in everything that he did, on the golf course, in the sky or in the board room. Caring about people, serving people of the community was the focus of Bob's life. In 1996, Bob, along with Abb, was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in honor of their service to the community.

Bob was joined in passing by his beloved four-legged friend, Rambo, who will also be deeply missed.

He was predeceased by his first wife and mother of his two children, June Rodgers Russell.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia Cooper Russell; children, "Rip" Robert Rowland Russell III and Rebecca Rene Russell; stepchildren, Sloane Ellis, Sarah Cooper, and Tricia Harris. He was known as "Grand Bob" to two step-grandchildren, Cooper Ellis and Riley Ellis.

A private burial service will be held for family members at Greenlawn Memorial Park, followed by a public service for Robert "Bob" Russell to be held at 2:30 p.m. today at Shandon Presbyterian Church, 607 Woodrow St., Columbia, SC 29205.

The family will receive friends immediately following the service.

Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Salvation Army and Clemson University.


Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate founder Bob Russell in his office earlier this month.
~


LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC – Officials with the Lexington County Coroner’s Office have identified the pilot who died in the plane crash early Saturday morning.

Robert “Bob” R. Russell Jr., of Russell & Jeffcoat Realtors in Columbia, was killed in the small private plane that crashed into the pond after taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport toward Asheville Saturday morning.

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher positively identified the pilot as 85-year-old Russell of Columbia.

Earlier, the single-engine plane was in the process of being removed from a pond on private property on Collumwood Circle, off Old Barnwell Road, near West Columbia. Officials have indefinitely blocked off Old Barnwell Road at both ends of Collumwood Circle, which loops off Old Barnwell.

The crash site is near the Pine Grove Softball Complex, which is where emergency officials held a midday press conference.

They said they got their information from officials in the tower at Columbia Metropolitan, not from witnesses.

The plane took off at 9:15 a.m., according to airport spokeswoman Kaela Harmon. At 9:20 a.m., the airport’s public safety department received an alert of the plane’s possible engine failure and was on stand-by.

Shortly afterward, the tower lost contact, Harmon said.

The airport is functioning as usual, officials said.

Lexington County Administrator Joe Mergo was at the press conference. Officials from the county fire, EMS and sheriff departments have been part of the early investigation, Mergo said. State health officials were also there but saw no public health threat, officials said.

Airport officials were joined by the Federal Aviation Administration. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation and is expected to provide more information later.

Lexington County’s Firestation 19 is nearby, and there are many small ponds in the area.

Source:   http://www.thestate.com



















Friday, May 22, 2015

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, N4506W, Dayton Pilots Club Inc: Accident occurred May 07, 2014 in Covington, Tennessee

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA227 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 07, 2014 in Covington, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N4506W
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 instrument flight rules flight plan filed by the pilot, the airplane departed on an estimated 3.1-hour-long flight and had sufficient fuel on board for an estimated 4.8-hour-long flight. A direct 20- to 25-knot headwind existed at the airplane’s cruise altitude. Based on the tachometer reading, about 4.2 hours into the flight, the pilot announced over the destination airport’s common traffic advisory frequency that the airplane was “out of fuel.” The airplane subsequently impacted swampy, wooded terrain 3 miles from the airport. The cockpit and cabin areas were destroyed by impact. There was no evidence of fuel in the wreckage or fuel spillage at the accident site. A detailed examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact mechanical anomaly with the airframe, engine, or fuel system that would have precluded normal operation. 
According to the engine manufacturer, at the minimum allowable fuel flow, the engine had a fuel consumption rate of slightly less than 6 gallons per hour (gph) at 45 percent of rated power to slightly less than 15 gph at 100 percent power. Operators of similarly powered airplanes reported that the engine usually consumes 8.8 to 8.9 gph in a cruise configuration, which did not account for fuel used during taxi, takeoff, and climb. A review of flying club logs and aircraft fueling records revealed that the airplane consumed about 10 gph of fuel during the 12 flights in the month before the accident. According to the airplane manufacturer’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook, the performance charts are unfactored, and the effect of conditions not considered on the charts, including wind aloft on cruise and range performance, must be evaluated by the pilot. The handbook recommends that pilots conduct in-flight fuel flow and quantity checks. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s improper preflight and in-flight fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power over unsuitable terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 7, 2014, at 1107 central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-28-181, N4506W, operated by the Dayton Pilots Club, Inc., was destroyed when it collided with wooded terrain during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power on approach to Covington Municipal Airport (M04), Covington, Tennessee. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport (MGY), Dayton, Ohio, about 0710 CDT. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Air traffic control information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane was at an altitude of 6,000 feet and 8 miles northeast of M04 when the pilot reported the destination airport in sight, and cancelled his IFR clearance. The controller then issued the airplane a frequency change to the M04 common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). There were no further communications from the accident airplane.

In a telephone interview, the airport manager stated he was monitoring the CTAF when the accident pilot announced he was 7.5 miles from the airport, and in-bound for landing. The manager recognized the pilot's voice, as they had spoken by telephone the previous day, and was aware of the pilot's plans upon arrival. He advised the pilot that parking, fueling of his airplane, and ground transportation had been arranged. Approximately 2 minutes later, the pilot announced over the radio that he was "out of fuel, and putting [the airplane] down short of the airport." The manager stated there were no further radio transmissions from the accident airplane.

Due to his injuries, the pilot was not interviewed, but he provided an NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator report through a personal friend; an airline transport pilot (ATP) and flight instructor.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued March 26, 2014. According to a friend who reviewed the pilot's records, the pilot had accrued approximately 272 hours of flight experience, of which 196 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.


The pilot was issued his private pilot certificate on September 8, 2010. His instrument rating was added to his certificate on August 15, 2013. The pilot did not hold a flight engineer certificate or any other FAA certificates


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION


According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979. Its most recent annual inspection was completed December 9, 2013, at 7,945 aircraft hours.


The airplane had a fuel capacity of 50 gallons, of which 48 gallons were usable. According to a line technician at MGY, he serviced the airplane with 13 gallons of aviation gasoline prior to the accident flight, which filled the tanks. Interpolation of flying club logs and aircraft fueling records revealed that the airplane consumed approximately 10 gallons of fuel per hour over the 12 flights in the month previous to the accident. 


The airplane tachometer reading was 321.1 hours at the completion of the flight previous to the accident flight, and the tachometer showed 325.3 hours when examined after the accident.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1050, the weather conditions reported at Millington Regional Jetport (NQA), 20 miles southwest of M04, included few clouds at 2,500 feet, 10 miles of visibility, and winds from 180 degrees at 9 knots. The temperature was 25 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.98 inches of mercury. An NTSB meteorologist observed that the winds aloft at the airplane's cruising altitude of 6,000 were from about 225 degrees at 20 to 25 knots. Throughout the flight, the airplane maintained an approximate ground track of 225 degrees.


WRECKAGE INFORMATION


Examination of photographs revealed the airplane came to rest in standing water among wooded terrain. The cockpit and cabin areas were destroyed by impact, and had also been cut by first responders. The empennage appeared separated from the fuselage, but still attached by cables. The left wing separated before the airplane came to rest, and the left main fuel tank was breached. According to detectives of the Tipton County Sheriff's Office, there was no odor of fuel, no evidence of fuel in the airplane, and no evidence of fuel spillage at the scene. The Chief of Detectives stated she did not order any environmental remediation of the crash site due to fuel spillage because "there was nothing to remediate."

On September 5, 2014, a detailed examination of the wreckage was completed at a recovery facility. Continuity of the fuel system was confirmed from the fuel tanks, through the fuel lines, the fuel selector, and to the fuel pump. Several breaks were noted due to impact damage, and cutting by rescue and recovery personnel.


The fuel tank fuel caps were serviceable and properly vented. Both fuel tank intake finger strainers were intact, and absent of blockage or debris. The drain petcocks were intact, functioned properly, and displayed no evidence of leakage or fuel staining. Both left and right fuel quantity indicating sensors were secure and free to move through their full-travel range. 

The fuel selector valve was free to move, displayed a positive detent in all positions, and the spring-loaded lock-out function for the "off" position functioned as designed. The fuel lines from the left and right tanks were separated at the fuel valve, but the fuel line to the gascolator was intact. There was no evidence of blockage in the fuel selector or the fuel line to the gascolator. The line from the gascolator to the electric fuel pump was intact and secure. There was no evidence of blockage in the line. The line from the electric pump to the engine driven pump was secure at the electric pump, but impact-separated from the engine driven pump.

The engine driven fuel pump was broken and separated by impact. The gascolator and filter element were separated by impact, and not recovered. No evidence of preimpact damage or deterioration of the fuel system was noted. No evidence or staining indicative of static or dynamic fuel leakage was noted anywhere in the fuel system or surrounding aircraft structure.

The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller flange. Continuity was established through the powertrain and valvetrain to the accessory section. Creek water was ejected from the sparkplug holes during rotation. Compression was confirmed on all cylinders using the thumb method. Intake and exhaust valve operation was confirmed. The magnetos were removed, and rotated by electric drill. Neither magneto sparked due to water immersion and corrosion. 

The carburetor was disassembled, and no mechanical anomalies were noted. The carburetor bowl contained several ounces of creek water. The floats were intact and moved freely. The filter screen was clear and absent of debris or blockage.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to the statement prepared by the pilot's friend, the airplane departed with 48 gallons of useable fuel on board. Prior to departure, the pilot told his wife that based on his planned flight time and taking winds "into consideration," he should arrive at his destination with 13 gallons of fuel remaining. The friend calculated that the airplane's engine produced 65 percent power at 6,000 feet while consuming approximately 8.5 gallons per hour. He then calculated the airplane should have landed with "14 gallons of fuel (1.4 hours of flight time)."

At 0538, the pilot filed a flight plan through an online commercial vendor (CSC DUATS). The pilot filed an estimated fuel endurance of 4.8 hours and an estimated time en route of 3.1 hours.

According to the engine manufacturer, at the minimum allowable fuel flow, an O-360 engine had a fuel consumption rate of slightly less than 6 gallons per hour at 45 percent of rated power to slightly less than 15 gallons per hour at 100 percent power. Operators of similar powered airplanes reported that the engine usually consumed 8.8 to 8.9 gallons per hour in a cruise configuration, which did not account for fuel used during taxi, takeoff, and climb.

According to FAA Private Pilot Practical Test Standards, the examiner ensures the pilot applicant "Corrects for and records the differences between preflight groundspeed, fuel consumption, and heading calculations and those determined en route." 

According to the airplane manufacturer's Pilot's Operating Handbook, Section 5, Performance:

The performance charts are unfactored and do not make any allowance for varying degrees of pilot proficiency or mechanical deterioration of the aircraft. This performance, however, can be duplicated by following the stated procedures in a properly maintained airplane.

Effects of conditions not considered on the charts must be evaluated by the pilot, such as the effect of soft or grass runway surface on takeoff and landing performance, or the effect of winds aloft on cruise and range performance. Endurance can be grossly affected by improper leaning procedures, and inflight fuel flow and quantity checks are recommended.In a letter to the Chairman of the NTSB, the Ohio Attorney General stated that the pilot graduated from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS), was a 20-year Air Force veteran, and after retirement spent 11 years as a "professional flight engineer." He suggested that the NTSB had predetermined the probable cause of the accident, that the pilot's experience made an operational cause unlikely, and requested that the NTSB inspect the wreckage for problems that could not be detected through normal maintenance or preflight inspection.

According to the United States Air Force Test Pilot School, the pilot attended Flight Test Engineer (FTE) Class 78B from July 31, 1978 to July 16, 1979, and an official history and curriculum from the class was examined.

When asked to draw a distinction between an Air Force Test Pilot and a Flight Test Engineer, representatives of the school stated, "[The] role as an FTE encompasses data collection, safety of test, technical adequacy, and data analysis. FTEs are not trained to be navigators or fuel planners. They are provided with a basic intro to aviation, which includes performing fuel calculations using flight manuals, but not to the extent of planning fuel or [estimated time en route] calculations for cross-country sorties. Cross-country planning is neither taught nor evaluated at TPS. That type of training would be covered in Undergraduate Pilot/Nav training (UPT or UNT), but FTEs do not obtain any of this training at TPS since they are trained to be flight test engineers, not navigators. Additionally, unlike military pilots, FTEs cannot apply any military flying training/experience to get credit towards an FAA rating." 

According to the head of the FTE Airmanship Program, and a graduate of FTE Class 82A, the current airmanship program began in 2000. Prior to that year, students were not flown in light aircraft as an introduction to the course. Students were instructed on the use of Pilot Operating Handbooks to compute fuel consumption rates; "however, cross-country flight planning was neither taught nor evaluated."




Dayton Pilots Club Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/4506W 


COVINGTON, Tenn. –An emotional reunion in Covington, Tennessee between first responders and a man who nearly died in a plane crash.

Kent Wingate was the pilot of a single engine plane that went down in a heavily wooded area of Lauderdale County near the Hatchie River in May of 2014.

Wingate suffered broken bones and a traumatic head injury that caused him to lose most of his memory.

The Covington, Tennessee native, who now lives in Ohio, was trapped for several hours in the wreckage.

“I recall absolutely nothing about the crash,” said Wingate.

The dozens of first responders, volunteers and “everyday people”  who played a role in saving his life were a mystery to him until Friday.

“It just kind of blows me away. A lot of these folks I’ve never met before. So I have no idea who some of these people are,”he said.

Former Memphis Firefighter Rick Finney was a crop duster who first spotted the “downed” plane from the air.

Finney landed his plane,  swam the Hatchie River to get to Wingate and did what he could to help the unconscious pilot.

He recalled having to cut the pilot’s Mississippi State alumni belt to get him out of the plane.

“It caught on the control yoke in the airplane, so I had to cut it. So that was the sacrifice he had to make to get out of the airplane. He had to sacrifice his college belt,” said Finney.

Rita McCoy was a flight nurse with the Hospital Wing.

The last time she saw Kent Wingate, he was suffering from traumatic head and internal injuries and clinging to life.

“He was unconscious when we received him. So naturally I knew he would not know who I was, as well as the other responders that day. But that’s okay,” she told WREG.

A year later, she said Wingate’s recovery was a true miracle.

And while no one at Friday’s unique reunion wanted to be called a “hero”, Katherine Wingate, Kent’s wife, felt very differently.

“I appreciate you guys saving his life,” she said.

Source:  http://wreg.com


"I think any time you can make a difference, you should," he Rick Finney, who rescued Kent. "It wasn't by accident that I had EMT training and had skills to land that plane there."  

Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee
 




(Photo source: Tipton County Sheriff's Office)



 
Kent Wingate 
~ 


 Kent Wingate.




Wingate lives in Xenia, Ohio, which is a suburb of Dayton. He works at Sinclair Community College.

Rockwell 114 Commander, N4775W, Fuzz Aviation LLC: Fatal accident occurred May 17, 2015 near Laughlin/Bullhead Intl Airport (KIFP), Bullhead City, Arizona

James Dale Walker, USAF Colonel (Retired) 


Diana M. Soto



Greg Torres and Diana Soto


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


Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Las Vegas, Nevada
Lycoming Engines; Mesa, Arizona 

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

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


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


Fuzz Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N4775W


NTSB Identification: WPR15FA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 17, 2015 in Laughlin, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: ROCKWELL COMMANDER 114, registration: N4775W
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 private pilot/owner reported that, during the climb to between about 300 and 400 ft above the ground, the engine started running roughly, and the airplane was not accelerating or climbing. The terrain ahead was rising, so the pilot turned right. Due to the low altitude and reduced engine power, the pilot chose to conduct an off-airport landing, during which he attempted to troubleshoot the engine issue without success. As the airplane continued to descend, the pilot saw houses and bushes ahead; he aimed the airplane away from the houses, and the airplane eventually hit trees and terrain about 4.6 nautical miles from the airport. A postimpact engine fire ensued.

Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the turbocharger was seized and that the exhaust side of the turbowheel was severely eroded, which led to the engine running rough. A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that a turbocharger normalization system had been installed on the airplane under a supplemental type certificate (STC) 13 years before the accident. The STC's instructions for continued airworthiness required that the turbocharger normalization system be inspected every 100 hours. However, a review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the system had only been inspected once since its installation and that the inspection was completed 6 years before the accident. No other abnormalities were noted with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the eroded turbowheel would have been detected if the turbocharger normalization system had been inspected as required.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power due to the turbocharger's seizure as a result of a severely worn turbowheel. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the pilot/owner to have the turbo normalization system inspected every 100 hours as required, which allowed erosion on the exhaust side of the turbowheel to go undetected.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On May 17, 2015, about 1800 Pacific daylight time, a Rockwell Commander 114B airplane, N4775W, crashed shortly after takeoff near Laughlin, Nevada. The private pilot/owner sustained serious injuries, and the three passengers sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The pilot was operating the airplane as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP), Bullhead City, Arizona, at 1756, destined for Goodyear, Arizona.

According to the pilot, he conducted an engine test run with no anomalies noted. At 1756, the tower controller cleared the flight for a straight-out departure to the south. During the climb to between about 300 and 400 ft above the ground, the engine started running roughly, and the airplane was not accelerating or climbing. The terrain ahead was rising, so the pilot turned right. Due to the low altitude and power, the pilot chose to conduct an off-airport landing, during which he attempted to troubleshoot the engine issue without success. As the airplane continued to descend, the pilot saw houses and bushes ahead; he aimed the airplane away from the houses, and the airplane eventually hit trees and terrain. A postimpact engine fire ensued.

Several witnesses near the accident site reported seeing the airplane flying at a very low altitude. One witness reported seeing it descend into trees followed by a fireball. Another witness reported seeing the airplane flying on a southbound track with its wings level and then descending out of his sight; he then saw an explosion followed by a fireball.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was issued a Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate on December 18, 2014, with the limitations that he must wear corrective lenses/glasses for distant vision and possess glasses for near vision.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat airplane, serial number 14105, was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-T4A5D engine, serial number L-15117-48A. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that its last annual inspection was completed on October 28, 2014, at a total airframe time of 3,436.5 hours. A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed a total time since engine overhaul of 1,148.8 hours.

The maintenance records showed that, on May 11, 1995, A McCauley 3-bladed propeller and a Woodward Governor were installed in accordance with STC No. SA4444NM. The original propeller installed on the Rockwell 114 was a 2-bladed Hartzell propeller model HC-C2YR-1BF. 

The maintenance records also showed that, on April 18, 2002, an aftermarket turbo normalization system was installed on the engine under Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) Number SE00357DE. At that time, the total airframe time was 2,758.0 hours, and the time since engine overhaul was 480.3 hours. The STC's instructions for continued airworthiness required that the turbo normalization system be inspected every 100 hours.

On December 9, 2009, the turbo normalization system was removed, inspected, and reinstalled. The logbook entry noted that casting voids were found on the exhaust side of the turbocharger. The entry also noted that photographs had been provided to the turbocharger manufacturer for evaluation and that the manufacturer had deemed it airworthy. The engine logbooks contained no other entries indicating that the turbo normalization system was inspected in the 6 years before the accident.

IFP fueling records indicated that the airplane was last fueled on May 17, 2015, with 20.0 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in Big Bend State Park. The main wreckage was located 4.6 nautical miles southwest of IFP. The airplane initially hit a mesquite tree, then impacted sand, and finally came to rest 120 ft south of the first impact point on a magnetic heading of 273°. The postimpact fire consumed most of the airplane.

Flight control continuity was established with all the flight control surfaces. The structure of all of the flight control surfaces and their corresponding counterweights were found in their correct positions. The landing gear were found in the retracted position. All of the cockpit components and instrumentation were consumed by fire.

The main wing assembly sustained thermal damage consistent with a fuel-fed fire. All of the wing components were found in their respective locations. Both flap assemblies were consumed by fire and found near the attachment point to the wing structure. The right wing was found up against the right side of the fuselage and was consumed by fire.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was transported to Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, for further examination. 

No abnormalities were noted with the airframe that would have precluded normal operation.

The engine was removed and disassembled. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine. The three propeller blades were present and exhibited thermal damage. The turbocharger, magnetos, and oil filter remained attached to the engine. All the other engine components were attached at their respective positions and exhibited thermal damage.

The turbocharger was found to be seized, it was disassembled, and examination of the turbowheel revealed that the blades were eroded. The overall diameter of the turbowheel was 2.451 inches. According to the manufacturer, a new turbowheel diameter is about 2.5 inches. It was also noted that the turbine impeller was significantly eroded and the heat shield was eroded which would allow hot gases to enter the bearing area and coke up the shaft.

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 17, 2015 in Laughlin, NV
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL 114, registration: N4775W
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 17, 2015, about 1800 Pacific daylight time (PDT), a Rockwell Commander 114, N4775W, crashed after takeoff near Laughlin, Nevada. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot sustained serious injuries, and three passengers were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire. The cross-country personal flight departed Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP), Bullhead City, Arizona, at 1756, with a planned destination of Goodyear, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

At 1756 PDT, ATC cleared N4775W for a straight out departure to the south. In a post-accident interview the pilot stated that shortly after takeoff the engine started to run rough and the airplane was not climbing. The pilot realized he was going to make an off airport landing and was trying to stay away from any buildings.

Witnesses in the accident area noted the airplane flying at a very low altitude with some reporting the engine sounds being erratic. Witnesses saw the airplane continue to fly lower in altitude until losing sight of it. They then saw a fireball.

The accident site was located in the Big Bend State Park Recreational Area. The main wreckage was located 4.6 NM southwest of IFP. The airplane first hit a mesquite tree, then impacted the sand, and finally came to rest 120 feet south of the first impact point facing 273 degrees. The post impact fire thermally consumed a majority of the aircraft.

The accident site was documented, and the wreckage was recovered for further examination.
========

James Dale Walker, United States Air Force Colonel (Retired), died suddenly on May 17, 2015 following a tragic private plane crash in Laughlin, Nevada. His cherished wife Evelyn was with him and later lost her life on May 20, 2015.

Our Dad was born on February 16, 1943 to Amalia and Peter Walker. He was the youngest of five children and grew up in his beloved Sheboygan, Wisconsin. During Dad’s 72 years’, he served many roles faithfully. He was a devoted and loving follower of the Lutheran Church, a Son, a Grandson, a Brother, a Patriot, a Husband, a Father, and a Nephew, an Uncle, a Colleague and a Counselor.

During Dad’s service in the Air Force he served with Distinction in defense of his country as a Security Police Officer and Commander, honorably retiring in 1994 after serving more than 24 years’. While active duty he served in Vietnam and in support of Operation Desert Storm, receiving numerous decorations, medals, commendations and ribbons including the Bronze Star.

After retiring from the military he did not stay idle, pursing his life’s passion of being a therapist and counselor, especially for children. He spent the last 9 ½ years’ working tirelessly as a Therapist with Arizona’s Children Association. He was devout in his faith and active in his church, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Goodyear, Arizona. His other passion was education, receiving a B.S. in English, a M.A. in Public Administration and a M.Ed. in Counseling. In addition to being an accomplished scholar, he constantly attended trainings to hone his skills, committed to continuous learning and self- improvement.

He was admired and loved by all who knew his genuine and selfless care for others. He was extraordinary in so many ways, yet very humble giving all the glory to God. He was an effective leader who devoted his life to putting others needs first and serving, whether it be his church, his family, his country, or the countless families he counseled. He was a strong family man with a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh. Dad had a gift for listening and always asking the right questions to provoke self-reflection and ownership.

He is predeceased by his beloved parents, infant sister Corrine and brother, Peter. He is survived by his three sisters Betty Hahn, Gloria Murray and Kathleen Walker; four children: Allen Roth, Samantha Walker Perry, Becky Pickering and Melinda Greene; six grandchildren, six nieces, five nephews and numerous cousins, grand nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind the unnamed, untold number of colleagues and friends for which he cared, helped, prayed and touched in special ways.

Dad’s legacy is the handprints he’s left on the many lives he touched. We will honor his and Evelyn’s lives at a Memorial Service at 2:30 p.m., Saturday June 6, 2015 at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Goodyear. During the service Dad will receive well merited military honors. A reception will follow at the church. Dad will later be interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona joined forever with his adored wife, Evelyn.


In lieu of flowers, please send donations in the memory of Colonel James D. and Evelyn Walker to The Roever Foundation, St. Jude’s Hospital or Children’s Miracle Network.
======

Diana M. Soto went to be with the Lord on May 20, 2015. She was born in New York, NY on June 15, 1957 to the late Laurentino and Carmen Soto. Diana spent almost 20 years with the New York City Police Department. After her retirement in 1999 she and her lifelong love Gregory Torres moved to Arizona. Diana is survived by Gregory as well as her siblings Raymond Soto, Lawrence (Esther) Soto, Carmen (Joseph) Coniglio, Walter (Alma) Soto, and William Soto. Also surviving are her three stepsons, six grandchildren, ten nieces and thirteen nephews. Family and friends are invited to a gathering on Friday, July 3, 2015 from 9:30-10:30AM at Holy Cross Catholic Mortuary, 9925 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ with a prayer service starting at 10:30AM. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Sun Valley Animal Shelter, 7150 N.110th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85307.
========

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - The Clark County Coroner's Office has confirmed two other deaths have been linked to Sunday's Laughlin plane crash.

A small aircraft with four people on board departed Laughlin-Bullhead City airport Sunday and was heading to the Phoenix area before it crashed.

According to the NTSB, the single-engine Rockwell Commander flew for about four minutes before crashing, hitting a tree and erupting in flames.

The Clark County Fire Department first reported the plane crash just before 6 p.m. Sunday near the Big Bend State Recreation Area along Needles Highway.

Firefighters said they found the aircraft ablaze and four people on board when they arrived on scene.

Authorities confirmed one person was pronounced dead on the scene. The Coroner identified him as 72 year-old James Walker of Avondale, Arizona.

Three people on board were transported to UMC, two of whom passed away Wednesday.

The Coroner identified them as 58-year-old Diana Soto of Goodyear, AZ and 64-year-old Evelin Walker of Avondale, AZ.