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
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.