Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane, N247P: Fatal accident occurred May 24, 2015 in Blackstairs Mountain range on Carlow/Wexford border, Ireland

Tributes have been paid to the two friends killed in a crash involving a light aircraft on Sunday afternoon.

Bryan Keane, 69, and Paul Smith, 58, both from Athboy, Co. Meath, died when the Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane plane they were travelling in ploughed into the Blackstairs Mountains on the Carlow and Wexford border.

Yesterday the family of Mr Keane who was one of the pilots killed in the crash told how they have been devastated by the death of the experienced pilot.

One of Mr Keane’s sons Robert said that the family were ‘incredibly shocked’.

Paying tribute, Nick Murphy, the manager of Athboy Credit Union where Mr Keane was chairman, said: ‘Brian was involved with this credit union for 20 years and was in his second term as chairman.

‘He was a gentleman and knew how to get things done. He quietly organised things in the background. He didn’t slow down too much after he retired; he was always on the go.’ Mr Keane was due to open the Blue Jean Country Queen Festival in Athboy, Co. Meath, this Friday and present the awards on Sunday.

The bodies of Mr Keane, who had moved from Athboy to Kells in recent years after retiring and Mr Smith, were recovered from the mountainside as darkness approached on Sunday night and were brought to Waterford Regional Hospital.

The communities where the two men lived were left grief-stricken and shocked yesterday.

Mr Murphy added: ‘The Blue Jean Country Queen Festival has taken place in Athboy since 1987 but there was talk of it not happening here this year.

‘But Athboy Credit Union sponsored the event and Bryan was going to be opening the festival on Friday and would have been presenting the awards on Sunday.

‘Our part in the festival will be very low key now following Bryan’s death. Ballyboy Airfield is also having an air show for charity at the weekend.

‘Maybe Bryan and Paul had been on a practice flight in preparation for the show when the accident happened, but I don’t know.

‘We are all very shocked by Bryan’s death.’ Mr Keane and Mr Smith had taken off with their two dogs from Ballyboy Airfield, near Athboy, on Sunday morning. The aircraft crashed at around 2pm. A hillwalker raised the alarm and a major rescue operation was launched in the isolated area.

Mr Keane, who had been a metalwork teacher at Athboy Vocational School before he retired, and Mr Smith, who owned his own trophymaking business, were both avid flyers. Mr Keane’s wife Madaline, four sons Bryan, Robert, Colin and Cormac and daughter Andrea were being comforted by friends and relatives last night – as was Mr Smith’s wife Anne and their children, Hazel, Ann and Howard.

One woman who knows both families but did not wish to be named said they were ‘distraught’ last night. ‘The two men went out for a nice day together flying and never came home,’ she said. ‘It is so tragic and terribly sad. Their families are devastated.’

A Department of Transport spokesman said the Air Accident Investigation Unit is still at the evidence-gathering stage trying to determine the cause of the crash.

The AAIU’s website stated: ‘The investigation will, pending favorable weather conditions, endeavor to commence recovery of the aircraft wreckage in the coming days, while continuing to gather information regarding the event.’

Experts said the weather was good for flying but aviation journalist Gerry Byrne has said that despite this, flying a light aircraft in a mountainous region always poses risks.

Athboy credit union manager Mr Murphy said: ‘I heard a bit on the news on Sunday evening and wondered if it could have been Bryan as he was always up flying. Bryan’s passion was flying; he owned his own aircraft and he loved flying.

‘He could take a plane apart and put it back together – his most recent project was stripping and painting an aircraft. One of his sons is a pilot with Aer Lingus, so the love of flying was passed down the generation from Bryan.

Our thoughts are with his family.’ Local Athboy councillor David Gilroy also paid tribute to the two men.

He said: ‘The two men were always associated with flying.

‘They were highly competent pilots and often went up flying together.

‘It must have been something very serious that happened for them to crash.

‘They were both highly regarded in the area and everyone is shocked and terribly saddened by their tragic deaths.’ Fine Gael TD for Meath West Ray Butler said: ‘The two men were very popular around the area.

‘The community is devastated. I knew Paul quite well; he was a lovely man.

‘As far as I know one of his children took over his trophy business.’


Paul Smith

Bryan Keane

Meath men Bryan Keane (69) and Paul Smith (58) died after their plane crashed in the Blackstairs Mountain range on the Carlow/Wexford border. 

The wreckage was discovered by a hillwalker near the peak of Blackstairs Commons shortly after 4.30pm yesterday.

Emergency services scrambled to the scene. However, rescue teams had to rely on helicopters to transport them to the crash site, which is inaccessible by road.

Mr. Keane, who was originally from Athboy but living in Kells, and Mr. Smith, who was from Athboy, took off from Athboy Aerodrome in Ballyboy shortly after 10am.

Mr. Smith, who made trophies for a living, and Mr. Keane, chairperson of Athboy credit union, boarded the plane with two pet dogs, who also died in the crash.

There were no reports of any distress signal being sent out before the accident.

Locals in the village of Kiltealy, Co Wexford, close to where the tragedy occurred, reported seeing a low-flying aircraft circling the area for up to an hour in the early afternoon.

Weather conditions were said to be very good in the area.

Last night, local Councillor David Gilroy said the whole community was in shock after hearing of the crash.

“Both men were pillars of the community here,” he said.

“Bryan was an extreme gentleman and nurtured the credit union back to health after the recession.

“He was an extremely experienced flyer. When we were young lads we always used to look up in the sky and see him flying around in microlites above our heads and from there he moved to planes.

“There was even a rumor going around that he flew solo to America once,” said Mr Gilroy.

“Paul was a gentleman also and everyone in the community knew him. He made trophies and medals for all the sports clubs,” he added.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the crash and the scene was cordoned off last night with tents erected around the wreckage.

It is not the first occasion that a plane has crashed in the mountains.

On the morning of September 7, 1983, four people from Birmingham were tragically killed when their Cessna 182 crashed close to the summit of Mount Leinster.

They were on a flight bound for Kilkenny when the aircraft hit the 2,409ft mountain.

Yesterday’s crash occurred in an area known locally as Blackstairs Commons and is said to be inaccessible by road.

A Coast Guard helicopter and a team from South East Mountain Rescue helped in the search and recovery operation.



Safety, recreation collide at Napa County Airport (KAPC), California

Barry Christian stood on the new levee trail south of Napa one day recently and enjoyed the expansive views. Distant mountains, adjacent tidal wetlands and the Brazos railroad drawbridge crossing the Napa River are part of the scenery.

“I think there’s nothing like it in Napa,” said Christian, an American Canyon resident who is a county Regional Park and Open Space District board member. “I think it’s an attraction in itself.”

But to the east is the Napa County Airport, with an auxiliary runway that ends just 400 feet from the trail. County officials say the danger of a mishap should a plane overshoot the end of the runway is so great that the trail should be closed.

“The area should not be used for a trail either now or at any time in the future,” the county said in a written response to a Napa Valley Register query.

Such disputes make this a trail with a tale and a tangled tale at that.

Two county goals converge in the area west of the Napa County Airport. One is efforts by the county and regional trail advocates to create a Napa River trail extending from American Canyon through the city of Napa.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Cargill project created an opportunity to fill in a key missing link. A decade ago, the state circulated plans to turn former salt ponds with crusty, white shores into wetlands for birds and fish. Trail advocates pushed for public access.

Things went smoothly with the 2.5-mile stretch from Eucalyptus Drive in American Canyon to Green Island Road. This levee trail opened almost four years ago along mudflats, and is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists.

But the proposed trail north of Green Island Road got mired amid various controversies, leading to years of delays.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife didn’t want a public trail north of Green Island Road because of wildlife protection concerns. In 2007, the county, the county Regional Park and Open Space District and the San Francisco Bay Trail successfully lobbied the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to require a trail. Since the Cargill project needed a BCDC permit to move forward, that seemed to settle the issue.

A question remained – where would the trail go? The obvious choice was to use an existing levee.

But this route conflicts with another Napa County priority. Napa County wants to someday create a runway safety area on about 7 acres—including Cargill restoration land—to comply with the latest Federal Aviation Administration standards.

The county doesn’t have money allotted to buy the land from Fish and Wildlife and level the ground to make it suitable for a runway safety area. The presence of the rare salt marsh harvest mouse, with its Endangered Species Act legal protections, is a complicating factor.

As a result, nothing will happen in the immediate future.

“In the meantime, a less-than-ideal situation should not be compounded by creation of a public trail in such close proximity to the end of an active runway,” the county said its statement to The Register.

Napa County did not make airport officials available for a direct interview, but instead insisted that questions be answered in writing via the county’s public information officer.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has its own set of concerns. Obligated by its BCDC permit to open up a trail, it looked at various route options. Creating a trail skirting the runway safety area would mean doing environmental studies and building a new levee or a boardwalk.

After several years of consideration, the department graveled over the existing levee that passes through the proposed runway safety area and opened the yellow, metal gate at the entrance. No signs mark the trail, but it can be used by the public.

“BCDC pushed us to finish the trail, as per our permit conditions, so we did that,” said Larry Wyckoff, a senior environmental scientist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wyckoff said he doesn’t see a safety concern related to the nearby airport runway that would rule out a trail.

“There are roads, trails at the end of runways all across the nation,” Wyckoff said.

The county in its written responses gives another viewpoint. With the end of a runway nearby, the trail “creates an undue risk to the public who may choose to enter the area.”

“Even airport staff only enter (the runway area) after coordinating access with airport management and the Federal Aviation Administration traffic control tower,” the county said.

Jim Lyon sees the airport from a pilot’s point of view. He represents the Napa Airport Pilots’ Association on the county Airport Advisory Commission.

He likes having trails, but not near the end of a runway, Lyon said.

“It’s a distraction,” he said. “You want zero accidents at the airport. Napa has a really good safety record. There are very few incidents out there and you want to keep it that way.”

Runway Six, the one near the trail, isn’t the airport’s main runway and he doesn’t land there often, Lyon said. Still, he can envision a plane landing short of the runway, especially a business jet.

It’s unclear how many planes have ended up crossing into the proposed runway safety area over the years, though this happened on at least one occasion.

On Nov. 10, 2007, a pilot failed to latch a cargo door, hydroplaned his plane on a wet runway while trying to abort the takeoff and came to rest in a canal beyond the runway, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. This canal is next to the levee hiking trail.

The FAA told BCDC that it doesn’t want the levee trail in the potential runway safety area either. A 2014 agency memo says such a trail would be a potential hazard for hikers and for aircraft taking off and landing at the airport.

Christian walked and biked on the trail recently for about an hour. A couple of planes flew over the trail. Christian said he felt safe.

County Regional Park and Open Space General Manager John Woodbury said requirements for runway safety areas have tightened in recent years. He views the levee trail as being caught up amid stricter standards.

“When this all started, it was safe by anyone’s definition,” Woodbury said.

Safety is a matter of proportion, Woodbury said. Driving to work in the morning is probably the most dangerous thing he does, he added.

Whether the newly opened levee trail remains the permanent trail route for this area remains to be seen. The Napa County Park and Open Space District won’t pave it, just in case.

Woodbury said the levee trail issue in this area has been resolved, “at least for the time being.”

County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht represents Napa County on BCDC. He expects the commission to have an update soon on the commission’s public access requirement for this area.

“We haven’t settled on whether this is the final answer to it yet,” Wagenknecht said.

The levee trail ends at a slough. Pushing the trail farther north toward Napa is yet another issue with its own set of complications. An extended trail would have to pass through Fish and Wildlife’s Fagan Marsh preserve, a move Wyckoff opposes because of the presence of the clapper rail and other rare species.

For now, trail advocates will settle for the levee trail. Christian sees that alone as reason to celebrate, given the long push to make the trail a reality.

“I think it’s an accomplishment that trail went through,” Christian said.


NTSB Identification: LAX08CA014
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, November 10, 2007 in Napa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T, registration: N3038P
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated he unloaded his passengers at the FBO and was returning to his home airport. He noted he had been distracted during the unloading and pre takeoff phases, and neglected to latch the front cargo door. During takeoff, the forward nose cargo door opened and the pilot decided to abort the takeoff. He opined that the wet runway caused the airplane to hydroplane, which made stopping difficult. The airplane overran the end of the runway, continued about 200 yards, collided with a fence, and came to rest in a canal. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to latch the cargo door during preflight.

On November 10, 2007, about 1915 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N3038P, overran the runway at Napa County Airport, Napa, California. Atkin Air, LLC, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot was not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The repositioning flight departed Napa about 1915, with a planned destination of Lincoln Regional Airport - Karl Harder Field, Lincoln, California. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed.

In a written report to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot stated he unloaded the passengers at the FBO and was returning to Lincoln. He noted he had been distracted, and neglected to latch the front cargo door. During takeoff, the cargo door opened and the pilot decided to abort the takeoff. He opined that the wet runway caused the airplane to hydroplane, which made stopping difficult. The airplane overran the runway, continued about 200 yards, collided with a fence, and came to rest in a water-filled canal. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine.