Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beech 35 Bonanza, N988RH: Accident occurred July 26, 2015 near Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL), California

KEITH C. DAVIS:  http://registry.faa.govN988RH

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA222 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 26, 2015 in Riverside, CA
Aircraft: BEECH F35, registration: N988RH
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 26, 2015, about 1704 Pacific daylight time, a Beech F-35, N988RH, was destroyed when it impacted a power pole and ground during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near the Riverside Municipal Airport (RAL), Riverside, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. There were no reported ground injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from Brackett Field Airport (POC), La Verne, California, about 1619.

Information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane was receiving vectors for the instrument landing system (ILS) 26R instrument approach at the Chino Municipal Airport (CNO), by Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SoCal TRACON). Review of the recorded communication between the pilot and SoCal TRACON revealed that the pilot was issued a heading change to 350 degrees by the controller. The pilot responded shortly after that he had lost the engine, and needed to land at Riverside. The controller responded with the location of RAL, and asked if the pilot had the airport in sight, which the pilot acknowledged. The controller advised the pilot to proceed inbound to RAL and that he could land on the runway of his discretion. The pilot responded that he was going to land into the wind, and the controller repeated that the runway was his discretion, and asked how many people were on board. The pilot responded that he was the only person onboard and that he was going to land into the wind.

Shortly after, the controller relayed the current weather conditions at RAL, which included reported wind from 280 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 18 knots, and cleared the pilot to land on runway 27. Subsequently, the pilot responded that he was not going to make it. No further radio communication was received from the pilot.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane struck a power pole and power lines about .50 miles south of the approach end of runway 27. The first identified point of contact was a power pole, which exhibited a downed wire and impact marks about 40 feet above ground level. Portions of the right flap and right ruddervator were located adjacent to the power pole. The right wing was located about 40 feet beyond the power pole, in the middle of a residential street. The main wreckage was located about 89 feet from the power pole, in a residential yard and consisted of the fuselage, left wing, engine, left ruddervator, and a downed street light pole. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a heading of about 045 degrees magnetic. All major structural components were located within the debris path. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Riverside FSDO-21


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 pilot who died Sunday after crashing his plane in a Riverside neighborhood has been identified by his mother as Keith C. Davis of Claremont.

Yvonne Davis said there must have been a malfunction in her son's plane before he tried to make an emergency landing along Adams Street.

The younger Davis, 52, was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 for achieving the highest standard for pilots of air carriers and commercial planes. It's unclear whether Davis was employed by a commercial airline.

On Sunday, Davis' small plane barreled through power lines and hit a light pole before coming to rest upside-down on the fence that borders two houses along Adams Street, just south of Riverside Municipal Airport, according to Joshua Cawthra, aviation investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

"He was trying to either land on the street or in that field," said Riverside Fire Department Capt. Tim Odebralski, motioning to the soccer field at Adams Elementary School across the street from the wreckage.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was built in 1955, according to the FAA registry.

The plane burst into flames upon impact, but the Fire Department quickly extinguished the blaze before it spread. Despite the massive explosion, nearby homes were not damaged; only a fence was destroyed.

Davis was the only occupant of the plane. No one on the ground was injured.

The plane departed at 4:19 p.m. out of Brackett Field Airport in La Verne, about 22 miles northwest of where it crashed.

After experiencing engine problems, the pilot radioed his intentions of landing at the Riverside Municipal Airport.

“I don't think I'm going to make it,” Davis said in his final radio transmission, according to Odebralski.

The crash occurred moments after 5 p.m., about a quarter-mile from the airstrip. Some reported seeing smoke billowing from the engine just before the crash landing, Odebralski said.

"We're not sure yet if some of the fire started in the sky," Odebralski added.

Officials with NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash. It could take up to a week before additional details are released, Cawthra said.

On Monday morning, the airplane was still in the backyard where it crashed, but officials planned to move it later in the day.

Source:  http://www.pe.com










 












A small plane crashed and burst into flames in a residential area of Riverside on Sunday, killing the pilot, a fire official said. 

The air traffic control tower at Riverside Municipal Airport about 5 p.m. received a distress call from a Beech 35 Bonanza, according to Capt. Tim Odebralski of the Riverside Fire Department.

The pilot reported having engine trouble and requested an emergency landing at the airport. Shortly afterward, “the pilot stated that he didn’t think he was going to make it and that’s the last transmission,” Odebralski told KTLA.

The plane then crashed in the 4500 block of Adams Street, coming to a stop on a sidewalk and through a fence in the backyard of a single-story home, the Fire Department said. The location is across from the campus of Adams Elementary School and less than half a mile from the nearest runway at the airport.

“We were coming down the street and I heard my daughter yell at my husband and there was literally a fireball,” said witness Shanene Romero, who was in a vehicle with her family. Her husband then swerved to avoid falling debris, she said.

“It was intense heat and then we heard a terrific crash,” she added.

In an interview, Catherine Burke said her aging parents were inside their home when the plane slammed through the rear fence.

“While they were eating, they looked up and saw a lot of smoke and dirt in the air,” she said, “and then flames.”

The couple called 911, initially unaware of what exactly had happened. Meanwhile, according to Romero, neighbors used a garden hose and fire extinguisher in an attempt to knock down the blaze and help the pilot.

“Another gentleman,” she said, “was yelling in the plane and saying, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?”

Firefighters from the department’s airport station arrived at the scene and quickly extinguished the flames, Odebralski said.

The unidentified pilot, the plane’s only occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene, he said, adding that no one on the ground was injured.

The aircraft’s tail number was indecipherable in the wreckage. It was unclear where the plane had taken off from, but a Fire Department official said the flight had not originated from Riverside Municipal Airport.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were en route to the crash site.

“I’m sure with everyone else, I feel for the pilot and his family and what they’re having to go through,” Burke said.

Source:  http://ktla.com 



A pilot died Sunday during the fiery crash of a single-engine plane near Riverside Municipal Airport, narrowly missing two houses. 

The pilot radioed the airport shortly before the 5:03 p.m. crash, telling of engine trouble and a plane to make an emergency landing at the airport, said Riverside Fire Capt. Tim Odebralski.

“I don’t think I’m going to make it,” the pilot said in his final radio transmission, according to Odebralski.

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane. The body remained inside the wreckage until after dark and had not been identified.

No one on the ground was hurt.

The white and blue Beech 35 Bonanza landed upside-down in the backyard of a house on the southeast corner of Adams Street and San Vicente Avenue, just south of Arlington Avenue.

Richard and Doris Godfrey have lived in that house for more than 55 years.

“They were just sitting down to have dinner,” said son-in-law Keith Burke. “There was a crash, and the backyard was engulfed in flames – lots and lots of smoke.”

Doris immediately called 911.

“Before she even got through ... the Fire Department was here and extinguishing the flames,” Burke said.

The plane landed squarely in the couple’s backyard. Neither their house nor their neighbors’, about 40 feet away, was damaged by the plane or the flames. Only the Godfreys’ backyard fence was destroyed.

The Godfreys were grateful they escaped injury, but uncertain how they avoided it.

“Either skillful flying ... or just luck,” Burke suggested.

“Our heart goes out to the family of the pilot and the loss they suffered this evening,” he said.

While most of the wreckage ended up in the Godfreys‘ yard, small pieces were strewn against the perimeter fence of Adams Elementary School, across the street from the house.

Power lines bordering the elementary school lay coiled on the ground, apparently snapped during the crash.

A one-block stretch of Adams was closed between San Vicente and Brunswick Avenue for several hours after the crash.

Source:  http://www.pe.com



RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A small plane crashed into a yard of a home near the intersection of Arlington Avenue and Adams Street in Riverside Sunday afternoon, killing the aircraft's pilot. 

The pilot of the Beech 35 Bonanza reported a loss of engine power at about 5 p.m. before crashing about a half-mile east of Riverside Municipal Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

"They were requesting an emergency landing at the Riverside [Municipal] Airport. Shortly thereafter, they received an additional distress call saying that he didn't think that he was going to make it to the airport, and then several calls came in right after that for a plane crash," city fire Capt. Tim Odebralski said.

The plane narrowly missed two houses and landed upside down in Dick and Doris Godfrey's backyard.

"They were having dinner, eating their salad, and they looked up, and all of a sudden they saw smoke and a lot of dust, and then the plane burst into flames," their daughter, Catherine Burke, said.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not immediately identified.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, which initially left 350 people in the area without power, according to Riverside Public Utilities.

Power was restored at about 8:50 p.m. Nobody on the ground was injured, Odebralski said.

"Knowing that the person called mayday, he knew something was wrong, he did the best he could. No other life had to be taken," witness Jessica Aviles said.


 Source: http://abc7.com

Beech V35B Bonanza, N252G: Fatal accident occurred July 26, 2015 in Colbert, Bryan County, Oklahoma

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA316 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 26, 2015 in Colbert, OK
Aircraft: BEECH V35B, registration: N252G
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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

On July 26, 2015, about 1500 central daylight time, a Beechcraft V35B airplane, N252G, sustained substantial damage following loss of engine power in flight and subsequent impact with the ground in Colbert, Oklahoma. The instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to Avprop, LLC and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight and an instrument flight plan had been filed. The flight originated at Jackson County-Reynolds Field (JXN), Jackson, Michigan.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oklahoma City FSDO-15


AVPROP LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N252G



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 .


FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Charles S. (Stephen) Fehr, former chief executive officer and current board member of Fehr Foods (now known as AbiMar Foods), died in a plane crash on July 26. His wife, Vicki W. Fehr, 64, was injured in the crash, which occurred after Mr. Fehr reported losing engine power, according to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Mr. Fehr was 64 years old.

Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Mr. and Mrs. Fehr were headed from Springfield, Mo., to Fort Worth’s Spinks Airport when the plane crashed five miles southeast of Colbert, Okla.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was found in a wooded area near a country road, Mr. Lunsford said.

Fehr Foods was founded in Abilene, Texas, in 1992, and was sold to Grupo Nacional de Chocolates S.A. (G.N.C.H.), Medellin, Colombia, for $84 million in 2010. The company subsequently was renamed AbiMar Foods, Inc. The company makes cookies primarily under the Lil’ Dutch Maid, Sun Valley and Tru-Blue brands, and operates production facilities in Texas and Oklahoma. 

Source: http://www.bakingbusiness.com

The pilot of a single-engine plane bound for Fort Worth Spinks Airport was killed when the plane crashed around 3 p.m. Sunday near Winnet Road, approximately five miles southeast of Colbert. 

According to authorities, Charles Fehr, 64, was dead at the scene. His wife, Vicki, also 64, was not wearing a seat belt and suffered head, arm, trunk external and internal injuries. She was flown to a hospital in Plano, Texas. Her condition was unknown.

The Fehrs reportedly were heading home to Westover Hills, Texas, from Michigan. Their last stop had been in Springfield, Mo. The 1979 Beechcraft Bonanza plane had just passed over Colbert when it went down just feet from the county road.

Engine failure is listed as the probable cause of the crash, but officials are expected at the scene today to continue their investigation. At 3:11 p.m. Sunday, Fehr reported that his engine lost power.

Just moments before the plane went down, witnesses heard what they explained as a “boom” and noises unlike what a normal plane flying over would make. A plane manual was found in the debris. It reportedly was opened to the page explaining about engine failure.

The pilot was also reportedly texting his son just seconds before the crash.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol secured the location and crash debris until the National Transportation Safety Board could arrive Monday to begin its investigation. OHP Trooper Steve Nabors was assisted by Trooper Kyle Ince on location.

The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, and Colbert, Achille and Cartwright fire departments worked the crash.

Source: http://durantdemocrat.com






COLBERT, Okla. -- A plane crashed around 3 p.m. Sunday in Colbert, Okla., killing one, and injuring another.

Vicki Fehr, 64, and Charles Fehr's plane went down along Winnett Road, near Colbert. According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokespersons, the couple was traveling from Springfield, Mo. to Fort Worth.

Vicki Fehr was taken by helicopter to the Medical Center of Plano in critical condition. Charles Fehr was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot reported losing engine power shortly before the crash.

"Just heard this loud bang, turned around and saw just this big cloud of smoke," Charles Montgomery, who witnessed the crash, said.

That's when Montgomery said he called 911. "I rushed over to see what had happened and all I could see was the pilot," Montgomery said.

The plane flew right over Jose Oagan's house.

"I was so scared, I never saw anything like that before," Oagan said.

The cause of the crash has not been released. OHP troopers, the Bryan County Sheriff's Office and Colbert agencies all responded.

"We're securing the scene, doing our investigation that we're required to by Oklahoma state law and we have notified the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the FAA, and they will be having representatives sent to our location and we will go from there," Trooper Steve Nabors, said.  The NTSB is expected to start investigating the scene Monday afternoon.





Zenith CH601XL, N9601: Fatal accident occurred July 26, 2015 in Bristol, Wisconsin

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

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary -   National Transportation Safety Board:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

WILLIAM L. LANMAN: http://registry.faa.gov/N9601 

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA315
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 25, 2015 in Bristol, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/2016
Aircraft: SANFORD ZENITH CH 601XL, registration: N9601
Injuries: 2 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 flying his experimental, amateur-built airplane on a cross-country flight. GPS and radar data showed that, about an hour into the flight, the airplane turned left and then turned right. About 1 minute later, the airplane's groundspeed slowed to below its stall speed, and the airplane then entered a steep descent. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane “corkscrew” downward, and one witness reported that the propeller was “not spinning.” Flight control continuity was confirmed, and witness marks on the propeller blades were consistent with the propeller not rotating at impact.

A pilot who shared a hangar with the accident pilot reported that the accident pilot replaced the airplane’s ignition system coils the day before the flight. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the coils were not engine-manufacturer replacement parts. During a postaccident test run, the engine would not start. During subsequent troubleshooting, the right distributor center coil tower socket was found separated; further examination revealed that it failed due to overload. The right ignition coil was then connected to the left distributor cap, and the engine operated normally during the subsequent test run. The broken right distributor cap was then replaced with a new cap, the right ignition coil was connected to the new cap, and the engine again operated normally during a subsequent test run. The left ignition coil did not produce any sparks during the test runs. No other anomalies were observed during the engine runs that would have prevented normal operation. The airplane likely experienced a loss of engine power due to the ignition issues, and the pilot failed to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in a subsequent stall and loss of airplane control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed and airplane control following a loss of engine power during cruise flight. Contributing to the accident was the installation of ignition system coils that were not engine-manufacturer replacement parts, which subsequently failed and resulted in the loss of engine power.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 25, 2015, about 1117 central daylight time, a Sanford Zenith CH 601XL experimental amateur-built airplane, N9601, impacted terrain as it descended near the Binzel Airport (WI95), Bristol, Wisconsin. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Porter County Regional Airport (VPZ), near Valparaiso, Indiana, about 1017 and was destined for Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to fueling records, the airplane was serviced with 16.7 gallons of aviation gasoline (avgas) at VPZ on July 25, 2015.

According to GPS data, the accident airplane took off from VPZ about 1017. According to radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it appeared on radar about two miles northwest of Hobart Sky Ranch Airport, near Hobart, Indiana. Near the end of the flight, about 1115, the airplane turned left, and then about 1116, the airplane turned right. About 1117:20, the airplane's groundspeed began to slow and the airplane began to descend from 1,722 feet MSL to a last recorded GPS data point of 1,152 feet MSL. From 1117:20 until the end of the recording at 1117:32, the airplane's lateral position changed by about 600 feet. The data showed the airplane's groundspeed slowed to 45 knots and slower during the final recorded data points.

A witness driving on a nearby highway said, "My sister and I were looking to the left at the scenery we were passing and saw a small white plane do two corkscrew-type twirls and dropped nose down behind the tree line out of sight. We think it occurred approximately 11:00 a.m. We did not see any explosion or hear any noise during the crash and thought it was a large model plane since it did not seem like the size of a small manned plane to us."

Another witness who was working in the area reported that he saw a "bright shine" and then saw a small airplane. The airplane was "corkscrewing, going around, around, and around, maybe 10 times." He thought the airplane was not coming down to land. The witness said the propeller was "just sitting there, not spinning." He thought the event occurred about 1130, basing this on his completing the job he was working at the time.

When the accident airplane did not reach its destination, a family member reported it missing. The Civil Air Patrol was contacted and asked to assist in locating the airplane. The airplane was found in an open field about 670 feet and 65 degrees from the north end of WI95's runway about 1228 on July 26, 2015.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 69-year-old pilot held a FAA private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also held a second-class medical certificate that was issued on August 27, 1979, with a limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 250 hours of total flight time and accumulated no flight time in six months prior to that application. According to a witness, the pilot received 10 hours of dual time in the airplane with a flight instructor to comply with an insurance requirement.

The passenger did not hold a pilot certificate but had been reported to have taken flight training.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane, a Sanford Zenith CH 601XL, was an all-metal, two-seat side-by-side, fixed tricycle landing gear airplane. According to FAA airworthiness documents, the accident airplane was produced from a kit by a builder and it received an airworthiness certificate in the Experimental, Amateur Built category on July 2, 2008. The airplane was powered by a 120-horsepower, Jabiru 3300A engine with serial number 33A 1380, which drove a Sensenich composite, ground adjustable, two-bladed propeller. According to the kit manufacturer's website, the airplane's stall speed with no flaps extended was 51 mph (about 44.32 knots).

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon FlightDEK-D180 seven-inch wide screen display unit. The unit's primary functions include attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, gyro-stabilized magnetic compass, slip/skid ball, turn rate, clock, timers, g-meter, and horizontal situation indicator. This instrument features ADAHRS (Air Data, Attitude and Heading Reference System), which integrates over a dozen solid-state sensors. The unit can continuously monitor up to 27 available sensor inputs that cover the engine, fuel and other miscellaneous systems and annunciate any abnormality immediately upon detection. The Dynon's internal memory is capable of logging data depending on the firmware version installed in the unit. The data logging must be configured by the operator to enable logging and set the data log interval. The unit can also be configured to start logging data automatically at boot-up. The data logging interval can be set to store at 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60-second intervals. The internal memory can store at least 30 minutes of cumulative data at a 1-second recording interval or at least 30 hours at a 60-second data recording interval. When the recording limit in the internal memory is reached, the oldest record is dropped and a new record is added.

The airplane was also equipped with a Garmin GPSMAP 396 unit. The unit is a battery-powered, portable 12-channel GPS receiver with a 3.8-inch 256-color TFT LCD display screen that can show a color moving-map and it has terrain-alerting features along with satellite datalink graphical weather. The unit includes a built-in Jeppesen database. The unit stores date, route-of-flight, and flight-time information. A flight record is triggered when groundspeed exceeds 30 knots and altitude exceeds 500 feet, and ends when groundspeed drops below 30 knots for 10 minutes or more. A detailed track log including latitude, longitude, date, time, and GPS altitude information is stored within the unit whenever the receiver has a lock on the GPS navigation signal.

A witness, who shared a hangar with the accident pilot, purchased the accident airplane from an individual in Texas. At purchase, the airplane had damage to its propeller, leading edges, and horizontal stabilizer. He indicated that the airplane "got away" from the individual in Texas when he exited the airplane while running to close the hangar door. The airplane upgrade modification had been completed before being damaged and the airplane did not have an engine stoppage during the damaging event. The accident pilot and the witness did all the repairs to the airplane and had an airframe and powerplant mechanic look over the repairs as they progressed. The accident pilot registered the airplane. The mechanic did the annual inspection, and signed off the logbook.

According to this witness, the airplane had known issues. In the year before the accident, on a flight from Louisville, Kentucky, to Phoenix, AZ, 10 minutes into the flight the accident pilot felt a vibration. He returned to the airport, removed the cowling, and troubleshot for the vibration issue. However, he could not find the cause. He subsequently did a run up, a few high-speed taxi tests, and determined it the airplane was okay to fly. He departed again and about an hour into this flight, he noticed the vibration return, so he landed at an airport. The pilot and witness inspected the airplane and found the engine to have a weak spark. The accident pilot bought replacement coils at a "mower shop" as he was told they were the same. They installed the newly purchased coils, the airplane subsequently ran with no issues, and the accident pilot returned without further incident.

The accident pilot flew the airplane for several hours without any further coil issues. The witness indicated the condition inspection was completed on June 11, 2015. The witness stated that two problems were found that needed to be corrected. The nose wheel bushings were too short and needed to be replaced along with the propeller's locking washers. Both items were ordered and replaced. The accident airplane was flown for several hours with no issues. The accident pilot wanted the cold start coils option and he ordered them. The witness reported that the pilot was going to install the cold start coils. The witness got the news of the pilot's missing airplane on Sunday afternoon, the day after the accident. The witness went to the airport and learned the passenger helped the pilot replace the coils on Friday, the day before the accident. The witness found the cold start coil on the workbench and the coil exhibited wear on one side of the pick-up along with a purple spot.

The witness indicated that the proper way to install the coils is by use of two feeler gauges. The flywheel magnets are very strong and without two gauges, it can allow one side to move while tightening the other. The witness thought that the accident pilot and passenger only had one feeler gauge.

The witness reported that he had built three Zenith 601s and had completed 20 upgrade modifications for the kit manufactured. He further indicated that the accident airplane was "solid" and the engine was "strong."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1135, the recorded weather at the Kenosha Regional Airport, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, was: wind 310 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition scattered clouds at 2,000 feet, broken clouds at 4,000 feet; temperature 28 degrees C; dew point 23 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

WI95 was a private, non-towered airport, which was owned by an individual. It was located about four miles east of Paddock Lake, Wisconsin. The airport had an estimated elevation of 705 feet MSL. The airport's runway 18/36 was a 2,000 feet by 40 feet runway with a turf surface. Runway 18 obstruction remarks listed 40-foot trees located 60 feet from the runway.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest upright about one-quarter mile and 110 degrees from the intersection of 60th Street and 172nd Avenue in Bristol. The airplane's resting heading was about 310 degrees. One propeller blade remained intact and attached to the hub and the other blade was broken into three sections. The inboard section remained attached to the hub. The outboard blade section was found embedded in terrain about eight feet north of the hub. The embedded blade section exhibited abrasions perpendicular to the blade's chord. The intact blade exhibited no abrasions. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The top of the rudder was displaced rearward and it exhibited a wrinkle deformation below that displacement. Both wings exhibited chrodwise wrinkle deformations inboard of their approximate midspans. The forward portion of the fuselage was deformed where it met the canopy. The sides of the fuselage above each wing were deformed between the end of the canopy and the firewall. The right wing fuel tank did not contain any fuel and disassembly of its leading edge revealed the right fuel tank was breached. The left fuel tank contained a blue colored liquid that had a smell consistent with Avgas. The fuel tank selector valve was on the left tank. The gascolator contained a liquid consistent with Avgas. The carburetor bowl was removed and it contained a blue colored liquid that had a smell consistent with Avgas. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls to their respective flight control surfaces. Both flaps moved in the same direction when each was manipulated by hand. The flap's actuator control rod separated from its flap linear actuator. No preimpact anomalies were detected that would have prevented normal flight operations.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Kenosha County Medical Examiner's Office arranged for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot along with taking toxicological samples. The pilot's autopsy indicated that his cause of death was due to multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report on the samples taken during the pilot's autopsy. The report, in part, indicated:

182 (mg/dl) Glucose detected in Vitreous
6.6 (%) Hemoglobin A1C detected in Blood

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The accident engine was removed from the airplane, crated, and shipped to a representative of its manufacturer, Jabiru USA, in Shelbyville, Tennessee, for examination. When uncrated under National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) supervision, the representative observed that the exhaust was missing and the carburetor heat shield was damaged. The carburetor had been liberated at the accident site and it was observed subsequently installed at an angle. The representative observed that the ignition coils were not genuine Jabiru ignition coils and that the lead from the right ignition coil was loose in the distributor cap socket. The engine was mounted on the engine run stand, oil was added, and engine controls and sensors were hooked up. The engine was turned over by the starter to build oil pressure and get the engine in condition for operation. Fuel was observed leaking from the carb bowl and the carb throat. The initial attempt at engine start was unsuccessful. An attempt to remove the ignition coil lead from the distributor cap was tried and in doing so, the center tower socket came loose from the cap rendering the cap unusable. Spark from the right ignition coil was observed and there was no evidence of spark from the left coil when the engine was motored over by the starter. The right coil lead was connected to the left distributor center tower socket. The engine was motored over by the starter and the engine started and ran using the right coil connected to the left distributor cap. The broken right distributor cap was replaced with a new cap. The engine then started and ran normally through its normal operating range on the right coil and distributor. It would not run on the left side ignition, reconfirming the diagnosis of an inoperative left ignition coil. No other anomalies were observed during the engine run that would have prevented normal engine operations.

The right distributor was removed from the engine and shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory where the Chief of the Materials Laboratory Division examined the distributor in detail, documented the separation, and produced a Materials Laboratory Factual Report.

According to the Material Laboratory report, images of the top of the distributor cap documented the center socket tower separation features, which showed that the fracture initiated at a step (change in material thickness) created by a boss (protruding feature on a workpiece surface). Scanning electron fractographs of the fracture initiation region also indicated that the fracture initiated on the inside of the distributor cap dome at a step created by a boss molded into the inside dome of the distributor cap. The hackle and fine fibril fracture surface features, as well as the large fibrils at the outer surface of the cap, are consistent with an overstress fracture mode due to bending forces applied to the center coil socket tower. No evidence of progressive cracking, such as fatigue or slow crack growth, was noted. The materials laboratory factual report is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

An NTSB air traffic control specialist acquired radar data from the FAA. The data was examined and the flight's data was extracted and graphically plotted. The plotted radar data is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

The accident airplane's GPS and Dynon FlightDEK D180 were removed from the airplane and shipped to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division where a senior recorder specialist examined the devices, downloaded and documented data from them, and produced a specialist's factual report. The specialist's recorder factual report is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

According to the recorder specialist's report, an exterior examination revealed the GPS unit had sustained minor screen impact damage. The screen was replaced and the unit powered on normally. Screens were photo-documented and information was downloaded using the manufacturer's software. Once powered up, the "Active Goto" screen indicated the flight's input destination was the Fond du Lac County Airport (KFLD), near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The GPS downloaded data included 76 recording sessions from August 23, 2014, through July 25, 2015. The accident flight was the last session, recorded starting at 1011:35 and ending at 1117:32 on July 25, 2015 (381 total data points).

Examination of the Dynon FlightDEK D180 data revealed that the unit had not sustained any damage. Its information was extracted using the manufacturer's software normally, without difficulty. The accident Dynon device was running software version 5.5.0.249 and its configuration was found to be setup to record data every 10 seconds. A total of 2,948 data points were recovered; however, the device was not configured with a GPS input and the Dynon clock periodically reset to "00:00:00," coincident with each new recording. The accident flight was identified as the last recording and it contained 398 datapoints. The flight's data was recorded in elapsed time from the start of the recording. The Dynon's altitude, airspeed, and heading data were graphically aligned with the GPS's altitude, groundspeed, and track data. The offset of each device's recording was adjusted until their best-fit graphical alignment was achieved.

The Dynon's data revealed that during the accident flight the airplane initially climbed to about 3,000 feet pressure altitude after departure and subsequently descended to about 2,000 feet pressure altitude for most of the flight. Other than the middle and end of the recording, engine parameters remained fairly steady throughout the flight. The last two datapoints after 1117:02 (1117:12 and 1117:22) showed a change in altitude, decreasing oil pressure, decreasing RPM, decreasing EGT, increasing CHT, an increase in the airplane's pitch attitude to about 14 degrees, a subsequent decrease in pitch, and decreasing indicated airspeed.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA315
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 25, 2015 in Bristol, WI
Aircraft: SANFORD ZENITH CH 601XL, registration: N9601
Injuries: 2 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 25, 2015, about 1117 central daylight time, a Sanford Zenith CH 601XL experimental amateur-built airplane, N9601, impacted terrain when it descended from cruise near the Binzel Airport (WI95), near Bristol, Wisconsin. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Porter County Regional Airport, near Valparaiso, Indiana, about 1030 and was destined for Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to preliminary radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane appeared on radar about two miles northwest of Hobart Sky Ranch Airport, near Hobart, Indiana, about 1031. The airplane flew along the shore of Lake Michigan until reaching Waukegan, Illinois, and turned inland in a northwest direction about 1106. About 1115, radar data indicated that the airplane turned left and flew west-southwest bound for about 1.5 miles before turning to the right and flew northwest bound again. About 1117, the radar data indicated that the airplane began to turn to the right and its ground speed dropped from 94 to 42 knots in the last 11 seconds of recorded radar data.

A witness who was driving on a nearby highway, in part, stated:

My sister and I were looking to the left at the scenery we were passing
and saw a small white plane do 2 corkscrew type twirls and dropped
nose down behind the tree line out of sight. We think it occurred
approximately 11:00 a.m. based on the time she picked us up and the
time it would take to get to that point in our journey. We did not see
any explosion or hear any noise during the crash and thought it was a
large model plane since it did not seem like the size of a small manned
plane to us.

The accident airplane did not reach its destination and a family member reported that it was missing. Civil Air Patrol members were contacted and were asked to assist in locating the airplane. The airplane was subsequently found in an open field about 670 feet and 65 degrees from the north end of WI95's runway about 1228 on July 26, 2015.

The 69-year-old pilot held a FAA private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held a second-class medical certificate that was issued on August 27, 1979, with a limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 250 hours of total flight time and accumulated no flight time in six months prior to that application.

N9601, registered as a Sanford Zenith CH 601XL airplane, was an all-metal, side-by-side, two-seat, fixed landing gear airplane. According to FAA airworthiness documents, the accident airplane was produced from a kit by a builder and it received an airworthiness certificate in the Experimental – Amateur Built category on July 2, 2008. The airplane was powered by a 120-horsepower, Jabiru 3300A engine with serial number 33A 1380, which drove a Sensenich composite, ground adjustable, two-bladed propeller.

According to the kit manufacturer's records, an individual purchased the 601XL complete kit in December 2006, which included a leading edge fuel system. A second owner purchased the kit from original owner in November 2009. An upgrade package kit was shipped to a party who installed it for the second owner. The accident pilot purchased CH601XL component kits for the wings, fuel with long-range fuel, wing baggage option, and landing lights. In September 2005, he upgraded to the CH650. In May 2010, he purchased the Mod Kit, Fuselage kit, and in June 2010, the Tail, Finishing and Controls.

At 1135, the recorded weather at the Kenosha Regional Airport, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, was: Wind 310 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition scattered clouds at 2,000 feet, broken clouds at 4,000 feet; temperature 28 degrees C; dew point 23 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon FlightDEK-D180 unit. The unit's primary functions include attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, gyro-stabilized magnetic compass, slip/skid ball, turn rate, clock, timers, g-meter, and horizontal situation indicator. This instrument features ADAHRS (Air Data, Attitude and Heading Reference System), which integrates over a dozen solid-state sensors. The unit can continuously monitor up to 27 available sensor inputs that cover the engine, fuel and other miscellaneous systems and annunciate any abnormality immediately upon detection.

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GPSmap 396 unit. The unit has a 3.8-inch display that can show a color moving-map and has terrain alerting features along with satellite datalink graphical weather.

The airplane came to rest upright about one-quarter mile and 110 degrees from the intersection of 60th Street and 172nd Avenue. The airplanes resting heading was about 310 degrees. One propeller blade remained intact and attached to its hub and the other blade was broken into three sections. The inboard section remained attached to its hub. The outboard blade section was found embedded in terrain about eight feet north of its hub. The embedded blade section exhibited abrasions perpendicular to the blade's chord. The intact blade exhibited no abrasions. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The top of the rudder was displaced rearward and it exhibited a wrinkle deformation below that displacement. The upper surfaces of both wings exhibited wrinkle deformations inboard of their approximate midspans. The forward portion of the fuselage, where it met the canopy, was deformed . The sides of the fuselage above each wing were deformed between the end of the canopy and the firewall. The right wing fuel tank did not contain any fuel and disassembly of its leading edge revealed the right fuel tank was breached. The left fuel tank contained a blue colored liquid that had a smell consistent with aviation gasoline (avgas). The fuel tank selector valve was selecting the left tank. The gascolator contained a liquid consistent with avgas. The carburetor bowl was removed and it contained a blue colored liquid that had a smell consistent with avgas. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls to their respective flight control surfaces. Both flaps moved in the same direction when each was manipulated by hand. The flap's actuator control rod separated from its flap linear actuator.

The Kenosha County Medical Examiner was asked to perform an autopsy on the pilot and passenger and also to take toxicological samples for submission to the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.

Relatives of the pilot were asked for copies of the pilot's logbook and the airplane's logbooks.

The Dynon unit and the Garmin GPS unit are being sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Recorder Laboratory for downloading.

The engine is being removed and shipped to Jabiru USA facilities for detailed examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

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 .



LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A trip by two men from WAVE Country to an annual gathering for thousands who love to fly ended with a plane crash in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

Facebook pages for the owner of the plane, Bill Lanman, and the other man aboard, Jim Arnold, show a love of planes. The two men were an active part of the community of people who spend their time around small airplanes. That's what the annual Airventure at Oshkosh, Wisconsin is about. It is where the two men were headed when somehow their plane fell from the sky.

They were 20 hours overdue for landing in Oshkosh, when Lanman's single engine, experimental plane was found in Kenosha County.

Arnold missed a promised call with his wife after they were supposed to land. She called Oldham County police, who helped start a search. The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department located the plane because of a cell phone ping. 

"No one saw it," Sheriff David Beth said of the crash site. "Right now, it's behind a brush pile, it is behind tall weeds, you can barely see the tail of this plane sticking up."

Beth says neighbors heard nothing and because of that, the exact cause of the crash may never be known. He is able to gather some clues from the surrounding area.  

"It appears that it was a pretty vertical crash," he said. "The trees that were around it, they weren't damaged in any way. It doesn't look like the plane was coming in for some sort of landing."

Lanman owned the plane. Social media pictures show him standing proudly in front of his plane, where he described his "need to fly."

Arnold's Facebook profile, identifies him as the owner of Arnold's Heating and Cooling. He was on the Board of Directors of Louisville's Aero Club, a private gathering spot for people who love to fly. Its vice president said in an email, "we will all miss him."

They were two men who shared a passion for flying, killed in a tragic crash.

Arnold had been married to his wife for 25 years. They have two daughters. His family released a statement, which reads in part, "Jim was a dynamic, fun-loving, and charismatic man who was loved by his family and friends ...  Extended family and friends will remember Jim for the love he had for his wife Jennifer and their children. He had a passion for aviation and was an avid gun enthusiast."

The NTSB arrived at the crash site Sunday night. Investigators are expected to take about a week to do their preliminary investigation.


Bill Lanman 

Jim Arnold 

 

BRISTOL — Kenosha County Sheriff’s officials say two men were killed when a Zenith CH601XL airplane, last known to be en route to EAA in Oshkosh crashed in Kenosha County. 

On Sunday morning, July 26th, shortly after 10:00 a.m., the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department regarding an overdue aircraft.

The plane was approximately 20 hours overdue — last known to be en route to EAA in Oshkosh.

Kenosha County Sheriff’s deputies immediately began a search for the missing plane — along with the Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol.

A crash site was located just after 12:30 p.m. in a grassy field — several hundred yards south of a home on 60th Street in Kenosha County.

Two men were found dead inside the plane. We’re told the men were from the Indiana/Kentucky area.

“It looks like an interesting plane to fly in, but unfortunately this one didn’t turn out to be very safe for these two people,” Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said.

It is unclear at this point when, exactly, the plane crashed. However, officials say it appears to have occurred sometime during the past 24 hours.

We’re told the home-built, single-engine aircraft is registered to an owner in Kentucky.

There were no injuries to anyone on the ground and no buildings or property was damaged.

“It was a pretty vertical descent and none of the trees are damaged here. There’s no area where it looks like the landing gear or the plane went through the brush. It appears the plane came pretty much down and landed and stopped right in the location it was,” Sheriff Beth said.

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department is currently assisting the Civil Air Patrol, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) along with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) in securing the scene.

The FAA and NTSB will be conducting a full investigation into this crash.

Details on the plane’s departure and ultimate destination have not been determined.

The identities of the two victims have not been determined.   


The cause of the crash is under investigation.


Two men were found dead in the wreckage of a plane crash found in Bristol Sunday afternoon.

The identities of the two crash victims has not been determined yet, said Sgt. Dan Ruth, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spokesman. The plane, a Zenith CH601XL, was reported missing and was last known to be heading to the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Air Show in Oshkosh.

The Sheriff’s Department released the following statement this afternoon:

On 07/26/2015 at 1014 hours the Winnebago County (WI) Sheriff’s Department contacted the Kenosha County (WI) Sheriff’s Department regarding an overdue aircraft. 

The Aircraft was described as a Zenith CH601XL airplane.  

The plane was last known to be en route to the Annual EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The plane was approximately 20 hours overdue. Kenosha County Deputies immediately began a search for the missing plane along with the Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol. 

Civil Air Patrol personnel located a plane crash site at approximately 1238 hours in a grassy field several hundred yards south of a residence at 16807-60th Street in Kenosha County, WI.

Two men were found in the crashed plane deceased. 

The time of the crash has not yet been determined; however it appears to have occurred sometime in the previous 24 hours. 

There were no injuries to anyone on the ground and no buildings or property was damaged. 

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department along with the Bristol Fire Department responded to this scene. 

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department is currently assisting the Civil Air Patrol, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) along with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) in securing the scene. 

The Kenosha County Medical Examiner’s Office has been dispatched to the site for their investigation.

The FAA and NTSB will be conducting a full investigation into this crash.  The details on the departure and ultimate destination have not been determined.  

The identities of the two victims have not been determined. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department is in full cooperation with the Federal Agencies investigating this crash and Sheriff Beth has allocated resources to assist in their efforts for as long as needed.

Kentucky Police Department Authorized To Use Drones

Captain Shannon Smith displays the Certificate of Authorization issued by the Federal Aviation Administration that gives the Somerset Police Department the authority to operate a small unmanned aircraft for law enforcement purposes. 
Credit: Somerset Police Department




The Somerset Police Department is the first department in Kentucky to be authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones.

In a press release, the Somerset Police Department said it filed for an FAA Certificate of Authorization in February 2014. After an eight-month application process, the final certificate was issued October 20, 2014.

Chief of Police Doug Nelson said, “When we started this program, we followed the same principles we have for launching other new programs. We started with seeking outside funding, then training in the proper operation and application, then developed written policy – all before our first flight. Safety of the public and of our personnel is our primary concern.”

The department said small unmanned aircraft provide a low-cost benefit to law enforcement and public safety. Officers said they are inexpensive to purchase compared to manned aircraft and very inexpensive to operate. Vastly different than the military unmanned aircraft that are equipped with weapons and multiple sensors, the Somerset PD small unmanned aircraft weighs less than 3 pounds and only carries one high-definition, wide angle camera.

The department reported the aircraft’s primary role will be for low-level photography that can’t be safely or easily obtained with manned aircraft. The small UA can be used for a number of public safety missions, including searching in areas that may be too dangerous for officers or personnel to enter, tactical support, and investigation support. It can also be used to support other emergency departments like fire and EMS, as well as the gas, water, and sewer departments within the city.

Combined with mapping software, the images taken by the UAs can be used to create a three dimensional, scaled model of traffic collision and crime scenes. The pilot uses a remote control connected to a tablet device to view flight data and mapping. The tablet also displays a live video feed from the on-board camera system.

“Privacy is also a top concern from the public when they hear about law enforcement aircraft and especially unmanned aircraft,” said Chief of Police Doug Nelson. “We recognize those concerns and have written policy to ensure its proper, legal use. It will not be used as a tool to randomly look at people or locations on the ground. The public will only see the UA in use when there is a specific scene or incident where the UA would be beneficial to the overall mission.”

SPD Captain Shannon Smith, the department’s only pilot, just returned from the Airborne Law Enforcement Association’s Unmanned Aerial Systems training course in Houston, Texas. “The FAA restrictions on government agencies operating unmanned aircraft are strict. We have to notify air traffic controllers at least 30 minutes before any flight, we cannot fly higher than 400 feet above ground level, and we must maintain visual contact with the UA at all times while in flight,” commented Captain Smith.

In addition to those restrictions, all UA pilots must be FAA certificated pilots and all observers must hold a second class medical certificate issued by the FAA.

The certificate allows training flights to be conducted while officers become more familiar with the aircraft’s capabilities and limitations. After the training period is complete, the FAA will conduct a site visit to inspect the department’s progress and training.

The unmanned system will supplement the department’s existing gyro plane that’s been in operation since 2012.

Story, photo and comments:  http://www.lex18.com

Subscription-based aviation start-up takes flight in Midland, Texas

Today, anyone equipped with a smartphone can reserve an AirBnB, call an Uber or stream Netflix, all with the flick of a wrist. And now the app-based entrepreneurial spirit has taken flight in the aviation industry. Dallas-based Rise is connecting the frequent flyers of Houston, Dallas, Austin and now Midland with air travel via private jet.

Skip the long ticket queues, bypass customs screenings and downtime in an airport terminal, along with all the hustle and bustle of commercial air travel. Rise takes you between the economic hot spots of Texas with affordable luxury. The service targets the frequent business travelers’ market, and, in Midland, that means the oil and gas executives often caught in the back-and-forth between Midland and Houston or Dallas.

The aviation company offers a subscription-based, all-you-can-fly service for a monthly fee, starting at $1,650. This might seem like a high price tag on the surface, but could be cost-effective for those traveling at least four times a month.

“For the commercial airlines you pay $500 to $600 to get to Midland, but if you wanted to fly private, you would charter the whole plane,” said Rise co-founder Clynt Taylor. “That cost is going to be $8,000 to $13,000, so there’s a big gap. That gap is what we’re aiming to sell. You don’t need to fly a whole plane, and you don’t want to fly commercial, so we came up with this idea of private flight sharing.”

The business model takes a page from companies such as Uber, Lyft and AirBnB by matching passengers to seats in planes. Rise does not own or operate the aircraft; the service partners with the aviation companies already in the charter business. Yet, each plane — a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine — is emblazoned with the Rise logo on the exterior so that it "feels like a Rise experience,” Taylor said.

“Many thought it was just another rich-man’s service. But no, it’s the frequent-traveler’s service,” he said.

Rise’s operations began two weeks ago, and the first scheduled flight touched down at Midland International Air & Space Port the evening of July 12. Since then, four flights have hit the MIA tarmac.

The company begin servicing a city a fraction the size of Texas’ major metropolitan areas, while larger markets — such as San Antonio and El Paso — have yet to be tapped because Rise realized a demand existed.

“We found out that the need to go to Midland has grown so quickly,” Taylor said. “We had our members in Dallas and Houston — a lot of whom are in the oil business — saying, ‘I need to go to Houston, I need to go to Dallas, but I also need to go to Midland.’ Our members tell us where to go, and we prioritize our routes based on that.”

Still in its early stages, the company has already acquired hundreds of members, about 30 percent of whom are in the oil and gas or related industry, by Taylor’s estimate. And while its Midland-based membership pool is smaller and only able to support weekly flights to Houston and Dallas, the number of members relative to the city’s size is disproportionately large.

Flights to and from Midland will be “minimal at first until we add more members in Midland, and then hopefully it grows quickly, and we’ll start adding more flights,” Taylor said.

One company already riding the trend is Midland-based Tall City Exploration, an oil and gas exploration and development company. CEO Michael Oestermann was among Rise’s first Midland subscribers. He wanted to give his employees an easier time getting to Houston and back.

“We have some employees who work in Houston, and they commute back and forth, so we were looking for an alternative to commercial service that was a little faster and a little easier on them,” Oestermann said in a phone interview from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. “It’s pretty tedious to fly every week through the airports, and it saves them a lot of time.”

Two of Oestermann’s employees were among the eight-passenger maximum on Rise’s maiden Midland voyage to Houston. Travel time from door to door is cut in half, he said.

“It’s useful to us now, but we’re hoping that it will grow and have a lot more routes to choose from,” Oestermann said. “It’s limited right now, but it’s not a bad start.”

The company expects to continue expanding its service to several other cities in the southwest as membership demand directs its future routes. San Antonio, Tulsa and Oklahoma City are next on their list, according to Taylor.

“When you’re on the planes, you find interest in the people you fly with, rather than opening up the laptop,” Taylor said. “The other day, we were flying to Houston, and, by the time we landed, two guys made future appointments to meet, and another two shared a ride home. It was a sense of community that we realized was really cool.”

Source:  http://www.mrt.com