Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sheridan County Airport (KSHR) could land air service by November – for $2.8M

SHERIDAN – Great Lakes Aviation left Sheridan County Airport high and dry for commercial air service when it lifted off from the airport for the final time in late March. Months later, a committee fishing for a new commercial carrier at the airport may have finally found a break – with some large dollar-sign-shaped caveats attached.

The Critical Air Service Team, or CAST, is made up mostly of economic developers in the Sheridan area intent on a return to reliable air service. Prior to pulling out, Great Lakes said it had been losing money on every flight to Sheridan because of the expense of operating flights as far north as Sheridan to and from Denver with few seats. The company had modified its jets by yanking out many seats to make its relatively inexperienced pilots compliant with updated federal regulations the company said spurred a pilot shortage.

That accompanying seat shortage for Great Lakes makes it implausible for the company to make profitable flights of any considerable distance even with “full” aircraft that have as few as nine passengers.

“There’s no amount of money that can make those profitable for Great Lakes,” Sheridan County Airport Manager John Stopka said in March, adding that the airline wouldn’t ask for the money anyway. His words hint at revenue guarantee, a standard industry practice wherein a community offers to cover any gap between ticket revenue and a revenue target. In this case, it will likely take $2.8 million in revenue guarantee to get a carrier to return to Sheridan, according to Sheridan Media.

After talks fell apart with United and SkyWest last month on a lack of equipment of personnel, CAST kept searching for a commercial carrier. In an open letter almost a month later, Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Dixie Johnson said the casting about may be working.

“Recent discussions between CAST and Denver Air Connections (a subsidiary of Key Lime Air) have given us a renewed sense of hope, and just this week, we submitted an application to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Aeronautics Division, for an Air Service Enhancement Grant,” Johnson said.

That grant would be worth up to $1.6 million while Sheridan and Johnson County guarantee $700,000 more. The cities of Sheridan and Buffalo have reportedly committed to chipping in as well, though no figures were available as of press time.

“Though we remain optimistic, there are still many details that need discussed and figured out before we can say for certain that we will have air service to and from Denver beginning in November,” Johnson said in her letter. Without the $2.8 million in funding from varied sources, talks will cease, and some of the money will necessarily come from the private sector, though how much is uncertain.

After that, the airport will need to re-federalize – a process that would return Transportation Security Administration employees to the terminal for safety checks. That ball is already in motion with Stopka planning to meet with TSA Thursday.

If everything works out to land Denver Air Connections in Sheridan, one detail remains for Sheridan to keep the service intact.

“Perhaps the most critical detail we need to figure out is how to fill the seats!” Johnson wrote. “It’s fantastic if we get reliable, consistent air service again, and everyone will love the idea that folks can fly in and out of Sheridan, but in order to lessen the revenue guarantee burden and ensure the sustainability of air service in our community, it really will be up to all of us to fill those seats.”

Source:  http://wyomingbusinessreport.com

Incident occurred July 21, 2015 in Sedley, Southampton County, Virginia



SOUTHAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A medical helicopter made an emergency landing in Southampton County Tuesday afternoon.

Around 1:45 p.m., VCU’s LifeEvac air ambulance had to land near 18000 Rosemont Road, near Sedley, according to Major Gene Drewery with the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

One patient, two crew members and the pilot were on the rotorcraft, and none of them were injured, according to Brian McNeill, a spokesman for Virginia Commonwealth University.

Drewery said Southampton County first responders stayed with the crew until the patient was transferred to another helicopter and transported to a nearby hospital.

McNeil said the cause of the emergency landing is still under investigation.

Source:  http://wavy.com

Quilting club makes Ken Berger memorial quilt for Lion’s Club raffle: Progressive Aerodyne Searey LSX, N249PW, fatal accident occurred May 24, 2014 in Electric City, Washington



When Monroe attorney Ken Berger died in a crash in his amphibious airplane May 24 of last year, Rosie Tatel took it hard.

For one thing, her friendship with Ken Berger’s wife Deb had helped Tatel meet her current husband. Deb had met Ken through a Jewish dating service, and had suggested that service to Tatel, who subsequently met her husband Harvey through it.

For another thing, in the weeks before the crash, Tatel had been working on arranging a plane ride with Ken for her husband as a surprise. The thought that she, too, could have lost her husband on that flight was very sobering.

So Tatel decided to honor Berger’s life by contributing to a cause he had held dear; that of the Monroe Lion’s Club, of which he was a highly active member. In order to do so, Tatel mobilized the members of the Busy Bee Quilters Guild, a Snohomish quilting club to which she belongs, to produce a quilt that the Lion’s Club could raffle off to raise funds for their various philanthropic activities.

The club members made 12 quilt blocks with airplane designs, then assembled them into a quilt. Then Harvey, Rosie’s husband, who himself enjoys quilting, machine quilted the final product.

Tickets for the quilt are $2 and can be found by messaging the Lion’s Club through its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Lions.Club.Monroe, or through any Lion’s Club member. The winning ticket will be drawn Nov. 18.

Source:  http://www.monroemonitor.com

Kenneth Berger
The Law Offices of Kenneth A. Berger, PLLC 


Berger, who has been flying for about 10 years, spent the last three years building the plane. 




A SeaRey LSX, an amphibious plane that a Monroe attorney built from a kit, makes one of its first flights above the Sky Valley.




KENNETH A.  BERGER:   http://registry.faa.gov/N249PW

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 24, 2014 in Electric City, WA
Aircraft: KENNETH A BERGER SEAREY LSX, registration: N249PW
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 24, 2014 about 1650 Pacific daylight time, an experimental, amateur built, Searey LSX amphibious airplane, N249PW, sustained substantial damage during takeoff at Banks Lake, about 5 miles southwest of Electric City, Washington. The airplane was owned and being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules personal cross-country flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the solo pilot received fatal injuries. The airplane was departing Banks Lake for Lake Washington, near Seattle, Washington.

A witness told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) that the airplane had arrived at Banks Lake on Thursday, May 22. After landing on the lake, the pilot had lowered the land wheels with the intent to taxi the airplane on to a beach. Approaching the beach the left main landing gear struck a submerged berm damaging the landing gear and its supporting structure. The pilot who was authorized to work on the airplane spent the next several days making repairs to the airplane.

Another witness told the NTSB IIC that he was on the lake fishing from his boat, when he heard and saw the airplane attempt to takeoff. He said the airplane started a high speed run but then the engine throttled back and the airplane turned toward the beach as if returning to the beach. Then the airplane abruptly turned 180 degrees and started another high speed run. He said the water was choppy with the addition of numerous boat wakes. He said he thought the airplane was going 40-50 miles per hour when it encountered boat wake. The airplane may have bounced 4-5 feet in the air and then abruptly nosed down into the lake. The airplane came to an abrupt stop with a 20-30 foot high splash. He headed his boat toward the airplane. When he arrived the airplane's high wings were level with the surface of the water, and the pylon mounted engine was still running. Another boat had arrived prior to his and swimmers were in the water attempting to recover the pilot.

After recovery, the pilot was taken to a boat ramp where an ambulance was waiting.

Shortly thereafter the airplane sank in about 50 feet of water. The only part of the airplane recovered was an approximately 6 foot long section of the cabin hull bottom, from the aft hull-step forward.

Further examination of the airplane is pending, subsequent to its recovery from the lake.

Handgun-firing drone appears legal in video, but FAA, police probe further

Video of a handgun fired from a hovering drone into a wooded area has been posted on YouTube — where it has gone viral — apparently by an 18-year-old Connecticut student whose father says his son created the drone for a college class. 

No one was harmed, nor has the teenager been arrested or charged. Still, the video has stirred fresh debate about the use of, and dangers posed by, drones.

While armed unmanned aircraft have long been in the government’s arsenal in targeting terrorists in distant lands, the idea of someone being able to fire bullets or other dangerous projectiles on a remote controlled flying object over the United States is something else entirely.

The gun drone in Connecticut appears to have been fired on private property and — so far, authorities said — it did not appear any laws were broken. There were no complaints from neighbors until after the “Flying Gun” video went viral with almost 2 million views as of Tuesday, authorities said.

“It appears to be a case of technology surpassing current legislation,” police in Clinton, Connecticut, said.

Nevertheless, authorities said they are investigating whether any laws or regulations could have been broken when the handgun drone fired four shots on the wooded grounds of the 18-year-old student’s residence in Clinton, authorities said.

“We are attempting to determine if any laws have been violated at this point. It would seem to the average person, there should be something prohibiting a person from attaching a weapon to a drone. At this point, we can’t find anything that’s been violated,” Clinton Police Chief Todd Lawrie said.

“The legislature in Connecticut (recently) addressed a number of questions with drones, mostly around how law enforcement was going to use drones. It is a gray area, and it’s caught the legislature flatfooted,” the chief said.

“As luck of the draw goes, Clinton, Connecticut, got to be the test site,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and federal law agencies are also investigating “to determine if there were any violations of criminal statutes,” the FAA said.

Drones with missiles are commonly used in U.S. strikes against terrorists overseas, though some say the program has loose oversight and too many civilian casualties. Up to now, U.S. law enforcement hasn’t had to deal with such armed drones. But there have been issues with unarmed drones flying elsewhere, from over the White House to into the middle of wildfires.

California firefighters recently complained of (unarmed) drones near wildfires that can prevent helicopters from water drops, including at a spectacular wildfire on Friday that struck a Los Angeles freeway, torching cars and sending motorists fleeing on foot.

Presumably, those drones took video of the disaster.

In response, two California lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would allow firefighters to use “jamming” technology to down the drones. The proposal would protect firefighters in cases where they damage drones and impose possible jail time for the drone operators who interfere with firefighting.

A college project

In Connecticut, the handgun drone was used and fired at the residence of Austin Haughwout, 18, of Clinton, police said.

“I don’t believe he was up there flying this thing all the time,” Lawrie said.

Haughwout and his relatives could not be reached for comment by CNN on Tuesday.

But Haughwout’s father told CNN affiliate WFSB that his son made the handgun drone with his professor at Central Connecticut State University as part of a project.

The father, who wasn’t named by the outlet, said his son made sure he wasn’t breaking any laws, the affiliate reported.

A university spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Reckless conduct?

Law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, a former director of the FBI, said he believed the gun drone could be illegal as a form of reckless conduct.

“What if the drone gets beyond the distance of the radio control? We had that drone land on the front lawn of the White House,” Fuentes said. Earlier this year, a U.S. intelligence agency employee lost control of a borrowed personal quadcopter drone, which crashed on the White House lawn.

“Do we want drones out of control that could land who knows here? We could have a child pick up the drone, pick up the gun, and accidentally kill themselves. I see the whole thing as reckless conduct,” Fuentes said.

Legislators should address the placement of any weapon or hazardous material on unmanned aircraft, Fuentes said.

“With a conceal and carry permit, you are responsible for that firearm. With a drone, it’s out of your control and someone could get their hands on it — that’s extremely dangerous,” Fuentes said.

California legislation

California state Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican, and state Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat, introduced legislation this week against rogue drones that interfere with air ambulance, search-and-rescue operations, and firefighting.

“This is maddening and I can’t believe that hobby drones are risking people’s lives to get videos on YouTube,” Gaines said in a statement. “Drone operators are risking lives when they fly over an emergency situation.”

Said Gatto: “This legislation is the equivalent of the ‘no parking in front of a fire hydrant’ rule for the age of democratized aviation.”

The proposed law comes after an incident in which several drones apparently prevented California firefighters from sending helicopters with water buckets for up to 20 minutes over a wildfire that roared Friday onto a Los Angeles area freeway that leads to Las Vegas.

Fire helicopters were grounded out of a concern that a midair collision with a drone could threaten the lives of the pilots and anybody below, authorities said.

In last week’s wildfire, the FAA imposed a temporary flight restriction, which banned any private aircraft or drone in the area, the FAA said.

Under such a restriction, the agency could impose civil fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 if someone operates a drone in a dangerous manner or continues to operate one illegally after being contacted by the FAA, a spokesman said.

The North Fire burned 4,250 acres in and around the Cajon Pass on Interstate 15 and destroyed two semis and 18 vehicles, authorities said. Ten more vehicles on the freeway were damaged. No injuries were reported, authorities said.

In the community of Baldy Mesa the fire destroyed seven homes, 16 outbuildings, and 44 vehicles, authorities said, and damaged a home and four more outbuildings.

Source:  http://fox2now.com



CLINTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The FAA is investigating after a video of a drone shooting a hand gun in Clinton, apparently created by a local teen, was posted to YouTube. You may think military officials are the only people who can legally have a machine like this but Clinton Police tell News 8 what is seen in the video doesn’t appear to violate any state laws.

Bill Piedra is CEO of a Manchester based company called Flying Robots. He is also a drone enthusiast who, as part of his business, constructs drones that deliver flotation devices to people in danger of drowning, but with this video he has concerns it may have ramifications for his entire industry.

“It’s shocking,” said Piedra. “I really hope it doesn’t inhibit the continued development of drones for good purposes.”

The teen behind the video is Austin Haughwout of Clinton. You may remember him from another drone YouTube video that surfaced last year where he claimed to have been attacked by a woman who thought he was using his drone to record her at Hammonasset State Park. Saturday, News 8 spoke to Haughwout’s father about this latest situation and were told it’s his belief his son did nothing wrong.

Connecticut lawyer and drone advocate Peter Sachs disagrees. He thinks Haughwout may have violated federal aviation laws.

“I think they might have something legal to worry about,” said Sachs.

“The FAA will investigate the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in a Connecticut park to determine if any Federal Aviation Regulations were violated,” the FAA said in a statement. “The FAA will also work with its law enforcement partners to determine if there were any violations of criminal statutes.”

Story and video: http://wlns.com

A Looming Pilot Shortage Means a Bumpy Ride for Airlines • Airline pilots’ average age is 50, and newcomers are scarce. No wonder: The starting salary is $23,000.

The Wall Street Journal
By DAN ELWELL
July 21, 2015 7:40 p.m. ET


Where have all the pilots gone? 
That is the question the Defense Department and some regional airlines, such as Republic Airways and Cape Air, are asking as they contemplate what they believe to be a shortage of professionals able to man their cockpits. To keep the pilots they have and attract new recruits, they are offering hefty signing and retention bonuses, or promising a guaranteed interview with a major carrier after a certain amount of service.

Without corrective action or another demand-dampening event such as 9/11 or the Great Recession, the U.S. will likely face a serious pilot shortage in the next two decades. The reason is simple: It takes years to train pilots and the profession is hierarchical, so the supply is relatively inelastic. New government rules have made it even harder to become an airline pilot than it used to be.

Here’s how the pilot ecosystem is supposed to work. At the top of the food chain sit the major carriers. Typically, they hire experienced pilots from the military and regional carriers. The regionals and the Pentagon, in turn, train inexperienced pilots looking to move up the ranks.

But that base of the pyramid has been shrinking for decades. In 1980 there were 610,490 people in the U.S. with private, commercial or airline transport pilot certificates. By 2014 the number had withered to 432,138. In 1980, there were 557,312 student and private pilots; in 2014 there were about 240,000.

Complicating matters, Congress passed a law that went into effect in 2013 changing the certification required to become an airline co-pilot, which raised the required hours to 1,500 from 250. That requirement, known as the 1,500-hour rule, was intended to address concerns over pilot inexperience raised after the 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, which killed 50 people.

But the law dramatically decreased the number of qualified applicants to regional carriers. The new rule adds roughly $100,000 and several years to the process of becoming an airline pilot, which has a chilling effect on young aviators. Particularly since the average starting salary for new regional pilots is an abysmally low $23,000, according to the Air Line Pilots Association.

Over the next 20 years, growth in commercial aviation and an unprecedented wave of pilot retirements—the average age of airline pilots is roughly 50, up from 44 in 1993—will exert huge pressure on the industry. The problem can only be addressed by introducing more young people to aviation and solving the cost-benefit dilemma of high training costs and low salaries. Here’s what could be done:

• Regional carriers are in competition to win feeder contracts with the major airlines, which limits their ability to significantly raise co-pilots’ starting pay. The carrier that moved first would be undercut on price by the others. But the Transportation Department could give regional carriers limited antitrust immunity, allowing them to collaborate to set an industry-standard compensation package.

• The FAA already recognizes that some flight-training programs are better than others. Limited exceptions to the 1,500-hour rule are given to military pilots and graduates of certain FAA-approved college aviation programs. These exceptions should be extended to include all accredited flight-training schools, and additional credit should be given for training in high-fidelity simulators and complex aircraft.

• Students going into medicine and teaching can take advantage of federal and state programs that will forgive student loans in exchange for years of service. The aviation industry and the federal government should develop similar programs for pilots who upon graduation work for law enforcement, the National Park Service, the FAA or the military. Airlines could sponsor participants or promise interviews to those at the end of their terms.

Everyone benefits from a strong and vibrant aviation industry: law enforcement, the military, manufacturers, airlines, shipping companies and, most important, the flying public. The FAA and the airlines will not compromise safety by lowering standards to fill cockpits. Instead, if the pilot supply keeps shrinking, airlines will reduce capacity and cut back flight schedules. Some communities could lose service altogether. Any steps made today to fill the gap will take three to five years to produce results, which makes it imperative that the government and the private sector act now.

Mr. Elwell is president of Elwell & Associates, an aviation consulting firm.

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


A Southwest Airlines pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit in Dallas.

Attorney Says Rapid Growth of Aviation Brings New Litigation Concerns

Miami attorney Steve Marks has represented victims in many of the biggest plane crashes of the past 25 years.

As co-managing partner of Podhurst Orseck, Marks has won hundreds of millions of dollars for those who lost loved ones in crashes such as SilkAir Flight 185 and Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937.

He is now representing 40 families of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

Marks recently sat down with the Daily Business Review to highlight the trends he sees in aviation litigation around the globe.

What are some of the biggest ways that airlines have opened themselves up to litigation in recent years?

Aviation has expanded quickly in an environment where regulations don't exist or are not followed. New pilots are getting hired without the kind of training you get in the United States. You're seeing, particularly in Asia, far more accidents. If you look at the most recent accidents, MH370 [was] Malaysian Air, you had MH17 [from] Malaysian Air, you had Asiana from Korea and then you had AirAsia, which is another Malaysian company.

What you also see is criminalization of aviation accidents. The ValuJet case [arising from a 1996 plane crash in the Everglades] was the first case where criminal charges were ever brought.

[Today,] almost every major crash around the world has resulted in criminal charges. Germanwings [Flight 9525, which crashed in the French Alps in March,] I think is going to be the first one where you're going to see senior management actually be criminally prosecuted.

How does the court's power of forum non convenience affect cases that involve overseas crashes?

[U.S. courts often] move cases for 'convenience purposes' when the only convenience is for the defendant to avoid facing a U.S. jury, or the convenience of the court in not having to deal with the case. Fortunately, the courts have been much more receptive to that argument in the last two years. Boeing has sought to have cases transferred to the Philippines and other foreign jurisdictions, and they've lost. One judge said to Boeing's counsel during an argument, 'How is it inconvenient for you when you're right across the street from the courthouse?' That, fortunately, is one little pocket of law which is going for the victim's way.

What are some of the challenges for plaintiffs in these aviation lawsuits?

Discerning what foreign law is, as well as which foreign law shall apply, is often a challenging exercise. In some of these countries, the law is not developed like it is in our system. You can get opinions from lawyers on both sides as to what normally occurs, but to go through and look for reported decisions or written statutory rules that our courts are comfortable using can sometimes be challenging.

An enjoyable challenge is understanding cultures. You need to be sensitive, because if you're not, you can very quickly offend. They're also very expensive cases to handle. The travel is one expense. [Document] translation is a huge expense.

You've worked on cases involving small craft such as helicopters and balloons. Do you think there will be new waves of litigation as the FAA finalizes its rules for the commercial use of drones?

There's no doubt that there's going to be litigation over the use of drones. I think it's going to be in a few different areas. One, what are the courts going to do with the expectation of privacy when it comes to drones?

Two, the liability of the drones harming people. They're going to malfunction, for sure. Airplanes are heavily maintained, heavily regulated and have redundant safety systems—they still have mechanical problems. Whether it's going to be a car accident where a driver overreacts and kills somebody, or whether it hits somebody in the head, there's going to be liability. That's going to be an interesting area of the law—who's going to pay for that? It's not a homeowner's policy in all probability. It's not an aviation policy, because it's not an airline, so no one's going to have insurance for it. There's not going to be a recourse for the people.

Perhaps the biggest danger is the drones interfering with air travel. I know there's going to be rules on restricting drone use around glide slopes or near airports, but there's going to be a kid who lives in the neighborhood who's going to be flying his drone near an airport. Now, you would think something like that couldn't bring down an aircraft, but birds can bring down airplanes.

So they're not to be taken lightly. I think they're a huge future safety concern and I think the government has been very slow to enact restrictions. Drones are going to be a Wild West of the law.

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

Rand Robinson KR-2, N891JF: Incident occurred July 21, 2015 in Town of Barton, Washington County, Wisconsin




WASHINGTON COUNTY (WKOW) -- Tuesday morning, around 8:15, the Washington County Sheriff's Office was alerted to a plane crash in the Town of Barton. 


Upon arrival, the pilot was located and uninjured. 


 The investigation shows the 58-year-old pilot, of Harvest, Alabama, had taken off from the EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh at 7:00 a.m. and was traveling to DeKalb, Illinois in a home-built KR2 experimental aircraft. 


The pilot has 25 years of flying experience.


Approximately 23 minutes into the flight the engine suffered a mechanical failure which stalled the plane’s engine.  


The pilot glided the aircraft for 15 miles attempting to reach a homemade air field in the Town of Barton which no longer exists. 


 The pilot then landed in a soy bean field, traveled several hundred feet and came to rest in a bordering corn field. 


 The pilot immediately contacted 911 and notified the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch that he was uninjured.


The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating this incident and is being assisted by the FAA Milwaukee office.


At this time it is believed that the engine suffered a mechanical failure while in flight.


Source: http://www.wkow.com

MARK A. LANGFORD: http://registry.faa.gov/N891JF


TOWN OF BARTON, Wis. (WFRV) - Police say the pilot of an experimental home built aircraft is uninjured after his plane crashed in a cornfield in Washington County.

The crash happened at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The 58-year-old Harvest, AL man, who has 25 years of flying experience left EAA Airventure in Oshkosh at 7 a.m. and was in the air for 23 minutes when the engine experienced mechanical failure.

The pilot glided the pane for 15 miles, trying to reach a homemade airfield that no longer exists. He then landed in a soy bean, skidded several hundred feet and came to rest in a cornfield.

The FAA Milwaukee office is assisting the Washington County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

Cessna 140, N72784: Accident occurred July 14, 2015 in Homer, Alaska

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

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

NTSB Identification: ANC15CA051 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Homer, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/11/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N72784
Injuries: 2 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 reported that while on a cross-country flight over an area of mountainous terrain, he noticed a bear that was near the entrance to a mountain pass. He said that while orbiting over the bear, a strong downdraft emanating from the pass entrance caused the airplane to descend toward the saddle of the mountain pass. The pilot said that he applied full engine power in an attempt to arrest the descent, but the airplane's main landing gear wheels ultimately touched down in an area of grass-covered terrain. The airplane's left main wheel subsequently struck a large rock, and the left wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage. The pilot said that just after the accident, he estimated the surface wind to be from 090 to 140 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts from 15 to 20 knots. The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to fly at a low altitude in mountainous terrain and weather conditions conducive to downdrafts.

The pilot reported that while on a cross-country flight over an area of mountainous terrain, he noticed a bear that was near the entrance to a mountain pass. He said that while orbiting over the bear, a strong downdraft emanating from the pass entrance caused the airplane to descend toward the saddle of the mountain pass. The pilot said that he applied full engine power in an attempt to arrest the descent, but the airplane's main landing gear wheels ultimately touched down in an area of grass-covered terrain. The airplane's left main wheel subsequently struck a large rock, and the left wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage. The pilot said that just after the accident, he estimated the surface wind to be from 090 to 140 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts from 15 to 20 knots. The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. 

ANCHORAGE -   A Soldotna pilot crashed his plane near Dinglestadt Glacier in the Kenai Mountains and failed to report the crash for a week, Alaska State Troopers wrote in a dispatch. 

Troopers were notified Monday by the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage that a pilot had seen a crash near Dinglestadt Glacier about 25 miles northeast of Homer. 

The Civil Air Patrol had attempted to locate the wreck Sunday but were unable to land near the site and as a result, were not able to get the tail number of the plane, that was inverted. 

"Due to the limited information, and the absence of a report of the crash from the pilot, AST initiated a search and rescue for the occupants of the plane," troopers wrote in a dispatch. Trooper helicopter, HELO-2 was able to land near the crash site and identify the plane as a yellow Cessna 140.

The plane was registered to 24-year-old Joshua Mastre of Soldotna and there were no occupants in the plane. 

Mastre was contacted by phone and he told troopers that "he was flying on 7/14/15 when he was caught in a strong down draft which cuased the plane to crash into the mountain." Mastre said he was not injured in the crash and hiked down the mountain. 

"He (Mastre) did not report the crash to AST, FAA, or NTSB," troopers wrote.

The discovery of a crashed plane near a glacier in Southcentral Alaska on Sunday prompted responses from at least two government agencies that hadn't been informed of the crash, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Authorities eventually learned the pilot flew into a mountain, survived and hiked out of the wilderness.

Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters said the pilot, 24-year-old Soldotna resident Joshua Mastre, reported the crash to Kenai National Wildlife Refuge officials despite an online troopers dispatch posted Tuesday stating he didn’t report the accident an appropriate agency.

Around 10:20 Monday morning, troopers got a report from the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage about a plane crash. A pilot spotted the site a day earlier in the area of Dinglestadt Glacier, in the Kenai Mountains 25 miles northeast of Homer, RCC told troopers.

RCC initially tasked the Civil Air Patrol with locating the wreckage, and while pilots were able to locate the plane on Sunday they couldn’t land and get its tail number, troopers said.

Troopers were given the coordinates of the site on Monday.

“Due to the limited information, and the absence of a report of the crash of the pilot, AST initiated a search-and-rescue for the occupants of the plane,” trooper said.

Troopers’ Anchorage-based search-and-rescue helicopter Helo 2 flew to the scene and landed. A yellow Cessna 140 was identified by its tail number as registered to Mastre.

At that time, searchers didn’t find any occupants, troopers said. Mastre was called on the phone.

“Mastre reported he was flying on (July 14) when he was caught in a strong down draft which caused the plane to crash into the mountain,” troopers reported. “He was uninjured and hiked out. He did not report the crash to” troopers, the Federal Aviation Administration or the National Transportation Safety Board, troopers said.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge manager Steve Miller said Mastre called the refuge a day after the crash. Mastre reported he had a “mishap” and was arranging for the plane's removal, Miller said.

Mastre walked to a lake in the refuge and was picked up by a float plane, Miller said. The pilot didn’t report having been injured.

Miller said the refuge didn't inform Mastre about needing to contact troopers or other authorities about the crash.

Troopers have notified the FAA, they said.  

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash, said FAA Pacific Division public affairs manager Ian Gregor.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Merrimac, Massachusetts: Monday plane crash report appears unfounded

Chief Eric M. Shears reports that the Merrimac Police Department, in conjunction with the Merrimac Fire Department, Amesbury Police and Fire, and the Massachusetts State Police conducted a thorough search of wooded areas off I-495 Monday after a motorist called 911 to report a small plane had crashed. At this time, the report appears to be unfounded, and officials believe that the motorist actually saw a remote controlled model airplane at the time.

On July 20 around 3:10 p.m., police received a 911 call from a woman who stated that as she was heading south on I-495, between exits 53 and 54, she observed an airplane “fall from the sky into the woods.”

Police responded to the area between Broad Street in Merrimac to Pond Hill Road in Amesbury and Route 110. The Amesbury Police and Fire Departments were notified of the search, and the State Police Air Wing also called in to aid the investigation.

An Amesbury Fire official reported that several days earlier he had observed a remote controlled plane that matched the description of the one called in by the motorist in the same area. After searching all plausible areas on the ground, Chief Shears called off the State Police Air Wing, deeming the incident unfounded pending further information. Merrimac Police also received no reports of any aircraft missing from airports in the area.

“This was a concerted effort between multiple agencies,” Chief Shears said. “The reporting party did the right thing by notifying police. We always encourage residents to call 911 if they feel there’s an emergency.”

Source:   http://northofboston.wickedlocal.com

Albany-Dougherty Aviation Board members verbally clash at meeting • Newspaper article angers aviation commissioner, who challenges fellow board members

Heated words were exchanged among board members at the end of the Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission meeting at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday evening. Shown at the meeting are board members, from left, Dr. William Mayher, Dr. Charles Gillespie, Keith Fletcher and Elizabeth Knowles, the assistant to Transportation Director David Hamilton.



ALBANY — Members of the Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission exchanged heated words Monday evening during the board’s monthly meeting at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport over an article that appeared Sunday in The Albany Herald.

Board member Sanford Hillsman called comments made by Chairman Dr. Bill Mayher and board member Dr. Charles Gillespie “reprehensible,” telling the pair of retired physicians, “I think what you did sucks.”

In a story about the future of the airport, Mayher and Gillespie expressed concern that David Hamilton, who had served as director of the city’s Transit Authority until then-interim City Manager Tom Berry named Hamilton transportation director and placed him in charge of both Transit and the airport, had been given too much responsibility for one person. They called for the hiring of a dedicated airport director.

Berry’s promotion of Hamilton came in the wake of former Airport Director Yvette Aehle’s decision to leave the Albany airport to take another position.

“I want to make this clear: I respect David Hamilton and believe him to be a capable and hard-working individual,” Mayher said in the Herald article. “But I believe (Berry) put him in a no-win situation when he put David in charge of the airport and Transit. That’s just too much for one person to do well.”

Taken aback by Hillsman’s outburst at the end of Monday’s Aviation Commission meeting, Gillespie said, “I’ve worked with David for 11 years now. I have the utmost respect for him.”

Hillsman shot back, “If you had the utmost respect for him, you wouldn’t have put that crap in the newspaper.”

When Hillsman made disparaging remarks about Aehle, saying she had proved incapable of fulfilling her duties as airport director, Gillespie said, “Do you want to go outside? You seem confrontational. Do you want to go outside?”

Hillsman replied, “You don’t want to go outside with me, Gillespie.”

The outburst came after a meeting in which board member Dr. Frank Middleton described a narrowly averted disaster when a “dead spot” in communications at the airport had two airplanes prepared to take off at opposite ends of the same runway. A traffic controller who had arrived at the airport’s tower 30 minutes earlier than his 8 a.m. shift was scheduled to start saw what was about to take place, and managed to contact the pilots of both planes and cancel their takeoff plans.

“Sometimes something like this proves to be pilot error, but recordings show that both pilots radioed traffic control,” Middleton said. “They couldn’t hear each other because of the dead communications spot at the airport.”

Mayher said the Federal Aviation Administration had been advised of the communications issue, but had responded by saying that “the airport is not busy enough to do anything about it.”

“The solution,” the Aviation Commission chairman said, “is to keep our tower open 24 hours a day.”

Board member Bob Langstaff, who is the Albany City Commission’s representative on the Aviation Board, offered motions to, first, create a paper trail to make sure a report of the potential incident reaches proper authorities, and, second, to have Hamilton research cost of keeping the tower open 24 hours a day and present those findings to the City Commission.

Also at the meeting, Ken Holt with Holt Consulting, which has a contract with the Albany airport, presented the outline of a marketing plan to bring industry to 85.4 acres of not-in-use airport land. Holt said the plan calls for a narrow focus on types of industry to court, getting “into the game” as quickly as possible and knowing the airports with which Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is competing for industrial growth.

Jacob Redwine with Holt told the commission the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to have more than $20 million in funding for aviation projects during the current fiscal year. Redwine said that projects funding amount was $2 million two years ago and $11 million last year.

Story and photos:  http://www.albanyherald.com


Ken Holt with Holt Consulting Co. outlines an economic development marketing plan for the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday evening. 


Albany Aviation Commission members Drs. Bill Mayher, left, and Charles Gillespie say the city of Albany must do more to support the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

Cessna U206G Stationair, N734VB: Fatal accident occurred July 19, 2015 in Trapper Creek, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC15FA050
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 19, 2015 in Trapper Creek, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA U206G, registration: N734VB
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.

The pilot was performing a series of low passes over a group of people at an outdoor wedding reception party. Witnesses observed the airplane fly over the party at near tree-top level traveling between 100 and120 knots. The airplane made two successful passes over the group, and, on the third pass, the airplane entered a right turn and initiated a climb just before impacting the top of a spruce tree. The climb continued briefly before the airplane rolled inverted and descended through the trees to ground impact. 

Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology testing identified likely impairing levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low levels of diazepam in the pilot's blood. However, diazepam and THC levels are known to change after death and may be elevated due to movement of the drugs out of storage sites into blood. Therefore, it was not possible to determine if the pilot was impaired from the effects of THC and/or diazepam at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from trees while intentionally maneuvering close to the ground.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 19, 2015, about 1915 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna U206G airplane, N734VB, was destroyed after it impacted tree and tundra-covered terrain, following a loss of control while maneuvering at low altitude near Trapper Creek, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) local flight under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, when the accident occurred. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Curry Ridge, Alaska.

The pilot was performing a series of low passes over an outdoor wedding reception party when the accident occurred.

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on July 20, a witness reported that while attending the outdoor wedding reception party, he observed the accident airplane fly over the wedding reception party at near tree-top level, traveling between 100-120 knots. He said that the airplane made two successful passes over the group of guests, and on the third pass, the airplane entered a right turn prior to impacting the top of a spruce tree with the main landing gear. The witness noted that after the airplane struck the treetop, he was unable see the airplane descend into the tree and tundra-covered terrain.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC on July 22, a second witness reported that he observed the airplane descend over the wedding reception party at near treetop level. He stated that the airplane initiated a climb just before impacting the top of a spruce tree, and the climb continued for about 5 to 6 seconds, before the airplane rolled inverted and subsequently disappeared into the trees.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

The pilot, age 54, held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane mutli-engine land, single-engine land rating and instrument airplane. Additionally, he held a flight engineer certificate for a turbo-propeller powered airplane. His most recent third-class medical was issued on January 3, 2013 with no limitations.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot, and the aeronautical experience listed on page 3 of this report was obtained from a review of the airmen Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City. On the pilot's application for medical certificate, dated January 3, 2013 he indicated that his total aeronautical experience was about 2,100 hours, of which 400 were in the previous 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The six-seat, high-wing, tricycle gear airplane, Cessna U206G, serial number U206048785, was manufactured in 1979. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-520 series.

No airframe or engine logbooks were discovered for examination. Total time for the engine and airframe are unknown. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The closest weather reporting facility is Talkeetna Airport, Talkeetna, AK approximately 6 miles east of the accident site. At 1853, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) at Talkeetna, Alaska, reported in part: wind 310 degrees at 3 knots, visibility, 10 statute miles, clear skies; 71 degrees F; dew point 41 degrees F; altimeter, 30.13 inHG.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The NTSB IIC, along with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspector from Denali Certificate Management Office (CMO), reached the accident site on the morning of July 20. 

All of the airplane's major components were found at the main wreckage site. The wreckage was located in an area of densely populated birch and spruce trees, on its right side at an elevation of about 436 feet mean sea level (MSL). Portions of the fragmented airplane were scattered along a debris path oriented along a magnetic heading of 260 degrees, which measured about 110 feet in length. (All headings/ bearings noted in this report are magnetic).

An area believed to be the initial impact site was marked by a broken treetop, atop an estimated 40-foot tall birch tree. The initial ground scar was discernable by disturbed vegetation. Small wreckage fragments were found near the initial ground scar. The distance between the initial impact point and the initial ground scar was about 65 feet.

The cockpit area separated forward of the main landing gear box and was extensively damaged. The throttle was found in the idle position. The mixture and propeller control were found in the full-forward position. 

The airplane's right wing separated from its forward attach point; remained attached at its rear attach point, but separated about 6 inches inboard of the fuselage structure. A large elliptical impact area was present about ¾ span outboard of the wing with extensive accordion style, leading edge crushing from the elliptical impact area outboard to the tip. The outboard portion of the right wing separated near the elliptical impact area. The wing's flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective attach points but sustained impact damage. 

The airplane's left wing separated from its attach points, and fragmented into three major sections. An elliptical impact area was present approximately ¾ span outboard of the wing with extensive accordion style, leading edge crushing from the elliptical impact area outboard to the tip. The wing's flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective attach points, and were relatively undamaged. 

The aft fuselage and empennage exhibited extensive accordion style crushing. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, and were relatively free of impact damage. 

The left horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the empennage, but exhibited spanwise downward bending about ¾ span outboard to the tip. The left elevator remained attached to its inboard attach point but separated at its outboard attach point, and was fracture about mid-span. 

The right horizontal stabilizer sustained impact damage, but remained attached to the empennage. The right elevator remained attached to its respective attach points, and was relatively free of impact damage.

The engine separated from its engine mounts, came to rest inverted and sustained impact damage to the front and underside. The exhaust tube had malleable bending and folding, producing sharp creases that were not cracked or broken along the creases. 

The propeller and hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft. All three of the propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub assembly and exhibited aft bending. One of the three propeller blades exhibited slight torsional "S" twisting, and the propeller tip separated from the blade. 

All the primary flight controls were identified at the accident site. Elevator control continuity was established from the control column to the aft elevator bellcrank. Rudder control continuity was established from the rudder torque tube to the rudder bellcrank. Aileron control continuity could not be established at the accident site due to numerous fractures in the system, but all fractures exhibited features consistent with tension overload. 

The wreckage was examined at a private residence, Trapper Creek, AK, on July 22, 2015. In attendance for the examination was the NTSB IIC, along with an air safety investigator from Textron Aviation.

After the wreckage was recovered, aileron control continuity was established in the direct cables, from the control column to the point where the cables fractured with features consistent with tension overload, to the left and right aileron bellcranks. The balance cable remained attached to the right aileron bellcrank, but separated from the left aileron bellcrank and fractured with features consistent with tension overload. The length of the balance cable was consistent with the required length to reach the left aileron bellcrank. 

The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A post mortem examination was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on July 20, 2015. The pilot's cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt force injuries. Additionally, the autopsy identified severe coronary artery disease in all vessels with maximal narrowing of 75 to 85% in the distal right coronary artery; there was no gross evidence of any scarring of the heart muscle. However, the investigation was unable to determine if pilot impairment or incapacitation resulting from the symptoms from coronary artery disease contributed to the probable cause of the accident. 

The FAA Bioaeronautical Laboratory identified diazepam (0.057 ug/ml) and its active metabolite nordiazepam (0.04 ug/ml) in the pilot's blood. Nordiazepam and other active diazepam metabolites, oxazepam and temazepam, were detected in urine. Additionally, tetrahydrocannabinol was detected in blood (0.0028 ug/ml) and its inactive metabolite tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid was detected in blood (0.0096 ug/ml) and urine (0.1487 ug/ml). 

Diazepam (marketed under the trade name Valium) is a prescription medication used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam may cause reduced concentration, impaired speech patterns and content, and amnesia; some of its effects may last for days. The drug carries a warning about engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness such as driving a motor vehicle when using diazepam. Therapeutic blood concentrations typically range from 0.1-1.0 ug/ml.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana with therapeutic levels as low as 0.001 ug/ml. THC has mood altering effects including euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, sense of well-being, disorientation, image distortion, and psychosis. The ability to concentrate and maintain attention is decreased during marijuana use, and impairment of hand-eye coordination is dose-related over a wide range of dosages. Impairment in retention time and tracking, subjective sleepiness, distortion of time and distance, vigilance, and loss of coordination in divided attention tasks have all been reported. Users may be able to "pull themselves together" to concentrate on simple tasks for brief periods of time. Significant performance impairments are usually observed for at least one to two hours following marijuana use, and residual effects have been reported up to 24 hours.

Diazepam and THC levels are prone to change after death and may be elevated due to movement of the drug out of storage sites into blood. Therefore, although toxicology testing identified likely impairing levels of THC (0.0028 ug/ml) and low levels of diazepam in the pilot's cavity blood after the accident, the investigation was unable to determine if the pilot was impaired from the effects THC or the combined effects of THC and diazepam at or around the time of the accident.

A copy of the NTSB's Medical Officer's Factual Report is available in the public docket for this accident.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Engine 

On July 22, 2015, an engine examination was performed by the NTSB IIC. No anomalies, contamination, or evidence of malfunction was found in any of the engine accessories. The cylinders, pistons, valve train, crankshaft, and other internal components were all without evidence of anomaly or malfunction. 

Both magnetos were removed from the engine and the coupling was rotated by hand. When the coupling was rotated, blue spark was observed on the top ignition leads.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Federal Aviation Regulations

The accident flight was operated under the provisions of Part 91 as a personal flight, and was subject to the part's applicable rules. Section 91.119, states, in part: No person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, at an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

NTSB Identification: ANC15FA050
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 19, 2015 in Trapper Creek, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA U206G, registration: N734VB
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 July 19, 2015, about 1915 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna U206G airplane, N734VB, was destroyed after it impacted tree and tundra-covered terrain, following a loss of control while maneuvering at low altitude near Trapper Creek, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) local flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Curry Ridge, Alaska.

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on July 20, a witness reported that while attending an outdoor wedding reception party he observed the accident airplane fly over the wedding reception party, at near tree-top level, traveling between 100-120 knots. He said that the airplane made two successful passes over the group of guests, and on the third pass, the airplane entered a right turn prior to impacting the top of a spruce tree with the main landing gear. The witness noted that after the airplane struck the treetop, he was unable see the airplane descend into the tree and tundra-covered terrain.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC on July 22, a second witness reported that he observed the airplane descend over the wedding reception party, at near treetop level. He stated that the airplane initiated a climb just before impacting the top of a spruce tree, and the climb continued for about 5 to 6 seconds, before the airplane rolled inverted and subsequently disappeared into the trees. 

The NTSB IIC along with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspector from Denali Certificate Management Office (CMO) reached the accident site on the morning of July 20. The airplane came to rest in an area of densely populated birch and spruce trees, on its right side at an elevation of about 436 feet MSL, on a heading of about 260 degrees. All the primary flight controls were identified at the accident site; control continuity could not be established due to numerous fractures in the system, but all fractures exhibited features consistent with tension overload. 

The closest weather reporting facility is Talkeetna Airport, Talkeetna, AK approximately 6 miles east of the accident site. At 1853, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) at Talkeetna, Alaska, reported in part: wind 310 degrees at 3 knots, visibility, 10 statute miles, clear skies; 71 degrees F; dew point 41 degrees F; altimeter, 30.13 inHG.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

MICHAEL J. ZAGULA: http://registry.faa.gov/N734VB 

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov .




The woods where Zagula’s plane went down





ANCHORAGE - 

Alaska State Troopers have identified a Trapper Creek man who died Sunday evening after his plane struck a tree.

According to an AST dispatch posted Sunday evening, 54-year-old Michael Zagula died in the crash, which was reported to troopers at about 7:10 p.m.

"Troopers and (emergency medical services) personnel responded to the location and determined (Zagula) was deceased due to the crash," troopers wrote. "Initial investigation by troopers indicated Zagula was flying over the area of his daughter's wedding reception and the landing gear from his aircraft, a Cessna U206G, struck a tree and caused the aircraft to crash."

AST spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said in an email to Channel 2 that the crash occurred in the vicinity of Petersville Road in Trapper Creek.

Clint Johnson, the NTSB's chief Alaska investigator, said investigator Brice Banning has been assigned to the crash and is scheduled to depart for the crash site early Monday.


Troopers said Zagula's next of kin were present at the scene. His body will be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

Story and comments:  http://www.ktuu.com