Saturday, August 8, 2015

Judge allows class action suit against Delta, Air Tran to proceed

WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather 

ATLANTA (CBS46) -

It's a lawsuit that now includes every passenger who's ever paid to check their first bag on a Delta or Air Tran flight.

This week, a federal judge gave lawyers the green light to bring their arguments to trial.

The two airlines enacted matching baggage fee policies in December 2008, and anyone who checked at least one bag with them since then will be getting an invitation to join a class action lawsuit.

Assuming Delta doesn't appeal, a claims administrator will start counting the tens of millions of people affected and start contacting them one by one.

According to the judge's order, plaintiff’s lawyers argue the two airlines made a secret agreement to start charging for first bag fees at about the same time.

Lawyers are calling it anti-competitive tactics, giving passengers less choices if they want to fly with an airline that doesn't charge to check the first bag.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Delta has consistently made the most money out of any other airline on baggage fees.

Since 2009, they've brought in over $5 billion and attorneys are asking for hundreds of millions of it to be returned to the passengers.

The actual amount that passengers would receive in the event of a settlement or winning judgment could greatly vary. Individual claimants in similar lawsuits have received everything from full compensation to just a few dollars each. 

Atlanta Attorney Sandy Wallack is not involved in the case but he has been following it closely. He said many unpredictable factors will affect the outcome and it probably won't arrive at an end anytime soon. People expecting a notice in their mailbox should take a break from checking for a little while.

Delta did not wish to respond to the latest developments for this report, citing the pending litigation.

You can click here to read a document signed by the judge that summarizes what’s happening with the lawsuit so far.

Story and video:  http://www.wtoc.com

Report urges crackdown on airline fees

Congress has been hearing about this from the folks back home and a new report released today by the minority staff of the Senate Commerce Committee finds that ancillary fees are increasingly keeping consumers in the dark about the true cost of air travel. In many cases, the cost of changing a flight can be equal to the original cost of the ticket, even if the change is made months in advance. A link in small type to the rules for each segment of a flight from Washington to Orlando with a layover in Chicago spanned 54 printed pages of text. 

Second, airlines should also provide better and earlier disclosure about ancillary fees to help consumers compare costs, and place clear disclosures that “preferred seat” charges are optional. When selecting seats, consumers are sometimes presented only with seats for which they must pay an additional fee.

Moreover, the committee’s report found that travelers are often not provided with clear information regarding airline policy for flight cancellation or changes.

The Senate panel is urging airways to raised disclose charges, promptly refund charges for baggage which are delayed greater than six hours on a home flight and restrict fees for altering tickets, amongst different suggestions. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in a statement.

Nelson said he will seek action from his colleagues when the Senate undertakes legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. “What’s worse is that many flyers do not study concerning the precise value of their journey till it is too late”.

The results? The airline industry collected more than $38 billion in fees above and beyond ticket prices in 2014.

Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an airline industry trade association, rejected the criticisms.

“The fact that a record number of people are traveling this summer further demonstrates that customers always know what they are buying before they purchase”, she added.

United Airlines planes are parked at the terminal at San Francisco global Airport on July 26, 2012 in San Francisco, California.

Seven of eight airlines surveyed by Senate researcher charge fees between $20 and $30 for the first checked bag, with only Southwest Airlines applying such a charge. It says there appears to be no justification for checked bag fees other than increased profit.

The report says it costs airlines next to nothing to carry that extra luggage.

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

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA46-500TP Meridian, N819TB; fatal accident occurred August 07, 2015 near Adirondack Regional Airport (KSLK), Harrietstown, Franklin County, New York

Harvey and Sharon Stoler

Raymond and Sharon Shortino

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N819TB

Location: Saranac Lake, NY
Accident Number: ERA15FA297
Date & Time: 08/07/2015, 1750 EDT
Registration: N819TB
Aircraft: PIPER PA46
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The private pilot, who was experienced flying the accident airplane, was conducting a personal flight with three passengers on board the single-engine turboprop airplane. Earlier that day, the pilot flew uneventfully from his home airport to an airport about 1 hour away. During takeoff for the return flight, the airplane impacted wooded terrain about 0.5 mile northwest of the departure end of the runway. There were no witnesses to the accident, but the pilot’s radio communications with flight service and on the common traffic advisory frequency were routine, and no distress calls were received. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the wreckage, but no preimpact mechanical malfunctions were observed in the remaining wreckage.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the propeller reversing lever guide pin had been installed backward. Without the guide pin installed correctly, the reversing lever and carbon block could dislodge from the beta ring and result in the propeller blades traveling to an uncommanded feathered position. However, examination of the propeller components indicated that the carbon block was in place and that the propeller was in the normal operating range at the time of impact. Additionally, the airplane had been operated for about 9 months and 100 flight hours since the most recent annual inspection had been completed, which was the last time the propeller was removed from and reinstalled on the engine. Therefore, the improper installation of the propeller reversing lever guide pin likely did not cause the accident.

Review of the pilot’s autopsy report revealed that he had severe coronary artery disease with 70 to 80 percent stenosis of the right coronary artery, 80 percent stenosis of the left anterior descending artery, and mitral annular calcification. The severe coronary artery disease combined with the mitral annular calcification placed the pilot at high risk for an acute cardiac event such as angina, a heart attack, or an arrhythmia. Such an event would have caused sudden symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or fainting/loss of consciousness and would not have left any specific evidence to be found during the autopsy. It is likely that the pilot was acutely impaired or incapacitated at the time of the accident due to an acute cardiac event, which resulted in his loss of airplane control.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s loss of airplane control during takeoff, which resulted from his impairment or incapacitation due to an acute cardiac event.

Findings

Aircraft
Lateral/bank control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Cardiovascular - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)


Robert Gretz, Senior air safety investigator with the NTSB.

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 7, 2015, about 1750 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N819TB, registered to Majestic Air LLC and operated by a private individual, was destroyed during collision with terrain, shortly after takeoff from Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK), Saranac Lake, New York. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York.

The airplane was based at ROC and flew uneventfully to SLK earlier during the day of the accident. Prior to the accident flight, the airplane was fueled with 44 gallons of Jet A aviation gasoline. The pilot then radioed flight service at 1734 and received his IFR clearance at 1744, which he read-back correctly. During the return flight, a witness, who was an airport employee, heard the pilot announce on the common traffic advisory frequency that the airplane was departing on runway 5. No further communications were received from the accident airplane and there were no eye witnesses to the accident. The accident airplane was subsequently located about 1830 in a wooded area approximately .5 mile northwest of the departure end of runway 5, by pilots in another airplane who observed smoke from a postcrash fire.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 67, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on March 16, 2015. At that time he reported a total flight experience of 4,620 hours; of which, 60 hours were flown during the previous 6 months. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated approximately 229.8 hours in the accident airplane, dating back to September 7, 2013, which was 9 days after he purchased the airplane. He had flown 21.6 hours during the 90-day period preceding the accident; of which, 3.9 hours were flown during the 30-day period preceding the accident. All of those hours were flown in the accident airplane and did not include the approximate 1-hour flight to SLK earlier during the day of the accident.



AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The six-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle gear airplane, serial number 4697117, was manufactured in 2001. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney of Canada PT6A-42A, 500-horsepower engine, equipped with a four-blade, controllable-pitch, Hartzell propeller. Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 6, 2014. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 1,294.5 hours of operation. The annual inspection included a detailed inspection of the engine as a result of an engine over-temperature event during a previous startup. That inspection would have required removal and reinstallation of the propeller. The airplane was subsequently flown about 100 hours, from the time of the annual inspection, until the accident.

On July 7, 2015, about 6 hours prior to the accident, a 100-hour power recovery and turbine wash was performed on the engine. During that time, a pitch trim servo was replaced as the autopilot only trimmed in one direction and the pilot side trim switch button was replaced as it was broken. A friend of the pilot reported that he subsequently flew with the pilot in the accident airplane on July 29, 2015. The flight included approaches and holds, both with and without the autopilot, and everything on the airplane performed well with no anomalies noted.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at SLK, at 1751, was: wind from 360 degrees at 6 knots; broken ceiling at 6,000 feet; visibility 10 miles; temperature 20 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C, altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.



WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest upright against several trees, oriented about a magnetic heading of 020 degrees. The beginning of a debris path was observed with several freshly cut tree branches. Red lens fragments from the left wing navigation light were embedded in one of the tree branches, consistent with a left-wing-low, nose-down impact. The debris path extended on a course about 195 degrees for 60 feet to the main wreckage, which had been partially consumed by the postcrash fire. The cockpit was consumed by fire and no readable flight instruments were recovered. The right wing remained partially attached to the airframe and exhibited more fire damage near the wingtip. The right flap and aileron remained partially attached to the right wing. The left wing remained partially attached to the airframe and was bent aft, twisted, and partially consumed by fire. A section of flap and aileron remained attached and the left wing. The horizontal and vertical stabilizer remained intact, with the elevator and rudder attached, and exhibiting fire damage.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the respective left and right aileron sectors to the mid cabin area, with the balance cable intact. Elevator and rudder control continuity were confirmed from their respective sectors at the control panel in the cockpit to their sectors in the empennage. Measurement of the flap actuator corresponded to a flaps-retracted setting and the landing gear actuator corresponded to a landing gear retracted position. Measurement of the rudder trim linkage corresponded to an approximate neutral setting. Measurement of the elevator jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 13.5 degree tab down (50 percent nose-up) setting. A representative from the airframe manufacturer stated that the elevator setting was near the upper (nose-up) limit of the takeoff range, but within the takeoff range.

The propeller had separated from the engine and was located in a crater about 20 feet along the debris path. One propeller blade was loose in the hub consistent with impact, while the other three remained attached. The propeller blades exhibited aft bending, chordwise scratching on the camber side, leading edge nicks, and twisting from the leading edge downward. The engine remained attached to the airframe and was separated for examination. Disassembly and examination of the engine revealed rotational scoring on both sides of the compressor turbine disc and blades consistent with contact by its adjacent static components. Rotational scoring was also observed on both sides of the power turbine vane and baffle, as well as the first stage power turbine disc and blades on the upstream face. The accessory gearbox and inlet were consumed by postcrash fire.

A subsequent teardown examination of the propeller was performed at a recovery facility, by a representative of the propeller manufacturer, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. The examination revealed that the propeller reversing lever guide pin had been installed backwards. Without the guide pin installed correctly, the reversing lever (beta arm) and carbon block could dislodge from the beta ring, resulting in the propeller blades traveling to an uncommanded feather position. However, examination of the propeller components indicated the carbon block was in place and the propeller was not in a feather position at time of impact. Specifically, a fork bumper witness mark on preload plate No. 3 and the pitch change rod extension length corresponded to a blade angle range of approximately 27 to 29 degrees, which was in the normal operating range. Additionally, if the beta arm dislodged and moved to a feather position, spring pressure from the propeller governor would have kept it in that position (for more information, see Manufacturer Report of Propeller Teardown Examination in the NTSB Public Docket). Review of maintenance records did not reveal any other occasion subsequent to the annual inspection, in which the propeller would have been removed from and reinstalled in the engine.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Adirondack Medical Center, Saranac Lake, New York. The cause of death was determined to be "multiple blunt force injuries due to aircraft accident." In addition to his injuries, significant heart disease was identified, including 70 to 80 percent stenosis of the right coronary artery and 80 percent stenosis of the left anterior descending artery without evidence of a previous heart attack. The autopsy report also noted an area of calcification of the mitral annular ring, known as mitral annular calcification.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for alcohol and drugs.

History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/16/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 4620 hours (Total, all aircraft), 230 hours (Total, this make and model), 22 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N819TB
Model/Series: PA46 500TP
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4697117
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4850 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: P&W CANADA
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PT6-42A
Registered Owner: MAJESTIC AIR LLC
Rated Power: 500 hp
Operator: Raymond Shortino
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SLK, 1663 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1751 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 185°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Saranac Lake, NY (SLK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Rochester, NY (ROC)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1750 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1633 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 05
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6573 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 44.403333, -74.203611



NTSB Identification: ERA15FA297 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 07, 2015 in Saranac Lake, NY
Aircraft: PIPER PA-46-500TP, registration: N819TB
Injuries: 4 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 August 7, 2015, about 1750 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N819TB, registered to Majestic Air LLC and operated by a private individual, was destroyed during collision with terrain, shortly after takeoff from Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK), Saranac Lake, New York. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York.

The airplane was based at ROC and flew uneventfully to SLK earlier during the day of the accident. During the return flight, a witness, who was an airport employee, heard the pilot announce on the common traffic advisory frequency that the airplane was departing on runway 5. No further communications were received from the accident airplane and there were no eye witnesses to the accident. Due to smoke from a postcrash fire, which was observed by pilots in another airplane, the accident airplane was subsequently located about 1830 in a wooded area approximately .5 mile northwest of the departure end of runway 5. The airplane came to rest upright against several trees, oriented about a magnetic heading of 020 degrees. The beginning of a debris path was observed with several freshly cut tree branches. Red lens fragments from the left wing navigation light were embedded in one of the tree branches, consistent with a left-wing-low, nose-down impact. The debris path extended on a course about 195 degrees for 60 feet to the main wreckage, which had been partially consumed by the postcrash fire.

The cockpit was consumed by fire and no readable flight instruments were recovered. The right wing remained partially attached to the airframe and exhibited more fire damage near the wingtip. The right flap and aileron remained partially attached to the right wing. The left wing remained partially attached to the airframe and was bent aft and twisted. A section of flap and aileron remained attached and the left wing was consumed by fire. The horizontal and vertical stabilizer remained intact, with elevator and rudder attached, and exhibited fire damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the respective left and right aileron sectors to the mid cabin area, with the balance cable intact. Elevator and rudder control continuity were confirmed from their respective sectors at the control panel in the cockpit to their sectors in the empennage. Measurement of the flap actuator corresponded to a flaps-retracted setting and the landing gear actuator corresponded to a landing gear retracted position. Measurement of the rudder trim linkage corresponded to an approximate neutral setting. Measurement of the elevator jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 13.5 degree tab up (50 percent nose down) setting.

The propeller had separated from the engine and was located in a crater about 20 feet along the debris. One propeller blade was loose in the hub consistent with impact, while the other three remained attached. The propeller blades exhibited s-bending, chordwise scratching and leading edge nicks. The engine remained attached to the airframe and was separated for examination. Disassembly and examination of the engine revealed rotational scoring on both sides of the compressor turbine disc and blades. Rotational scoring was also observed on the both sides of the power turbine vane and baffle, and first stage power turbine disc and blades on the upstream face. The accessory gearbox and inlet were consumed by postcrash fire.

The six-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle gear airplane, serial number 4697117, was manufactured in 2001. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-42A, 500-horsepower engine, equipped with a four-blade, controllable-pitch, Hartzell propeller.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration second-class medical certificate was issued on March 16, 2015. At that time he reported a total flight experience of 4,620 hours; of which, 60 hours were flown during the previous 6 months.


The recorded weather at SLK, at 1751, was: wind from 360 degrees at 6 knots; broken ceiling at 6,000 feet; visibility 10 miles; temperature 20 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C, altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.


 The propeller was retained for further teardown examination. 

Budget flight refused permission to take off because airBaltic crew and pilots were over drink-fly limit

An airBaltic flight carrying 109 people from Norway to Crete has been prevented from taking off, due to the entire crew failing alcohol tests.

Police arrived at Oslo Airport after receiving a tip-off that the crew were particularly merry. They met the four workers to administer breathalyzer tests.

They found that the four crew members - including both pilots - had blood alcohol levels beyond 0.2%, making it dangerous for them to be in charge of the plane. The crew were then led into a waiting police car.

The flight was cancelled and the airline is working on re-accommodating the passengers.

Operations chief Torleif Skovereng at Romerike police force told Norwegian magazine VG at the scene, “We received a message of suspicious drinking that made us chose to undergo a control."

airBaltic is the Latvian flagship airline, headquartered in Riga. It is one of the cheapest Europe airlines, especially for flying to the Scandinavian countries and the Baltics.

Sources:  

http://www.mirror.co.uk

http://www.vg.no


Jørund Lægland defends aircrew who were stopped by police at Gardermoen.



Promille-besetningens forsvarer: Ikke en god situasjon å være i
** Fremstilles for varetekt mandag

Den oppnevnte forsvareren for kapteinen, styrmannen og de to flyvertinnene til Air Baltic har forberedt sine klienter på varetektsfengsling.

Advokat Jørund Lægland er oppnevnt som forsvarer for de fire i Air Baltic-besetningen som grytidlig lørdag morgen blåste rødt like før avgangen til et Boeing 737 som skulle til Chania på Kreta.

Tidligere lørdag var han i kontakt med tre av de fire klientene over telefon og forberedte dem på hva som venter når politiet begjærer noen varetektsfengslet.

– Dette er ikke en god situasjon å være i. Det kan få arbeidsmessige og strafferettslige konsekvenser, men det gjenstår å se, sier Lægland til VG.

Norsk Flygerforbund har blant annet gått ut og hevdet at de fire garantert kommer til få sparken, på grunn av flyelskapenes nulltoleranse for alkohol og vektlegging av sikkerhet.

Begjæres varetektsfengslet

Lægland forteller at han foreløpig ikke har mottatt dokumentene i saken foreløpig og derfor ikke har fått seg inn i bevissituasjonen. Det er heller ikke klart hvordan de promillesiktede klientene forholder seg til siktelsen.

Besetningen er siktet etter paragraf 6-11 i Luftfartsloven, som omhandler bruk av alkohol i tjeneste med promillegrense 0,2. De er også siktet for paragraf 6-12 i samme lov. Paragrafen omhandler bruk av alkohol seks timer etter tjenesteslutt og åtte timer før tjenestestart.

– Begjæringen om varetektsfengsling vil være begrunnet med unndragelsesfare, sier jourhavende jurist Charlotte Visdal Benneche i Romerike Politidistrikt til VG.

Etter det VG kjenner til er de pågrepne i Air Baltic-besetningen russisk- og latviskspråklige.

Air Baltic: Beklager

Noen timer etter at skandalen ble kjent i går morges, kom Air Baltic med en unnskyldning til sine passasjerer samtidig som de understreket at de har nulltoleranse for alkohol.

– Jeg beklager til alle kunder som er blitt berørt av denne hendelsen, skriver talsmann Janis Vanags i en epost til VG, og utdyper:

– Sikkerhet er vår høyeste prioritet, og vi er i ferd med å gjennomføre grundige undersøkelser av situasjonen. Air Baltic har flere kontrollmekanismer for å sikre sikkerheten til alle våre opererte flygninger.

Vanags opplyste også at de fire som ble promilletatt av norsk politi er midlertid suspendert av selskapet.

Rundt klokken 11.00 kom passasjerne seg avgårde til Kreta med ny besetning. Opprinnelig avgang var klokken 05.45.

Source: http://www.vg.no

Kitfox Model 1, N428YT: Fatal accident occurred August 07, 2015 in Bridgewater Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

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.

Date: 07-AUG-15 
Time:  23:00:00Z
Regis#: N428YT
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Damage: Destroyed
Activity: Personal
Operation: 91
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allentown FSDO-05
City: MONTROSE
State: Pennsylvania

AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO AN EMBANKMENT UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, MONTROSE, PA.

RODNEY T. HUNSINGER: http://registry.faa.gov/N428YT


Pennsylvania state police are investigating the cause of a fatal plane crash Friday evening in Susquehanna County.

The pilot, Rodney Hunsinger, 66, of Montrose, was pronounced deceased by the Susquehanna County Coroner and was the only occupant of the privately-owned ultralight aircraft, officials said.

State police released few details of the crash on Saturday.

According to police, the crash happened around 7 p.m. Friday and the small plane landed in a field along Spring Valley Road in Bridgewater Township.

The Federal Aviation Administration, along with Pennsylvania state police in Gibson, are conducting the investigation into the accident.

Source:  http://www.pressconnects.com

Bridgewater Twp., Pa. (WBNG Binghamton) One man was killed in a plane crash Friday night in Susquehanna County.

Emergency reports at about 7 p.m. indicated a small plane had crashed in Bridgewater Township and caught fire.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, the pilot and only person in the plane, Rodney Hunsinger, 66, of Montrose, died in the crash.

According to Action News crews on the scene, the plane crashed in a field off of Route 29, next to the Montrose Terrace Park. State police say the field runs along Spring Valley Road.

Witnesses described the moment they saw the plane crash.

"I heard a plane outside, and I just went outside and looked in the yard," said Rosie Shoemaker, of Montrose. "It was really coming down low -- I thought it hit the cement wall. A couple seconds later, all I heard was a crash."

"As soon as I got up through the field -- black smoke. Next minute, you knew it blew up," said Kevin Lee Shoemaker, of Montrose.

State police at Gibson and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Source:  http://www.wbng.com

Friday, August 7, 2015

San Diegan preparing to return from solo-flight circumnavigation






On May 17, local property manager Rob DeLaurentis took off from San Diego International Airport in a single-engine Piper PA-46 350P Malibu Mirage plane. If all goes according to plan, he’ll return in a week or two having completed a ’round-the-world solo flight, the first time the trip will be done in this type of plane.

DeLaurentis, whose property management company, Innorev Enterprises, has 300 units in 20 to 25 buildings in San Diego, has only been piloting aircraft for about five years, and on-boarded a load of new technology to make this solo endeavor possible.

He’s currently in American Samoa, and although he said he’s encountered a few snags, the trip has progressed better than even he imagined. And he imagined it would be pretty great.

“The way I got interested in this trip is I had just completed a three-year graduate degree in spiritual psychology,” DeLaurentis said. “For one of the exercises we were encouraged to dream impossibly big and see what they would look like. For me, a childhood passion had always been flying … so my dream was to locate and purchase an aircraft capable of this trip safely, and outfit it for the trans-Atlantic and Pacific crossings and then learn how to fly the way I needed to and learn things I needed to do for the trip.”

The single-engine plane with two turbochargers was outfitted with a special fuel tank for the trip that can hold an extra 140 gallons of fuel for a total of 290 gallons.

It also has a high-frequency radio that allows DeLaurentis to talk over greater distances to air traffic controllers, an electric oil pump inside that enables the pilot to pump oil to the engine while in the air in emergency situations, and airbags to increase the safety of a worse-case situation.

Other advancements include a four-bladed composite propeller with nickel tips that DeLaurentis said would allow the Spirit of San Diego — the name he gave his mode of transportation — to climb faster and get to a cruising speed faster, which means less fuel used.

The body of the plane is covered with a nanoceramic coating to make it more slippery and, hence, faster.

The engine has an electronic ignition, which is rare, and the Garmin 201 avionics platform that allows DeLaurentis’ iPad to talk directly to his Garmin GPS system.

The circumnavigation was originally scheduled to stop in 22 countries but has been bumped up to 24.

All the while, DeLaurentis has continued to manage pieces of his business, albeit with assistance on the homefront.

“My dream is to come back and lecture for a year or so on my flight and the spiritual principals I used and sort of share the dream with other people,” he said. “Not everyone is going to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world, but I’ve been getting emails from people doing things they’ve always wanted to do but needed a little extra encouragement -- everything from going on great hikes to the top of mountains to losing weight to changing jobs -- it’s really been across the board. Just encouraging people to go a little further.”

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


Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam P2006T, N17055, Heart of Virginia Aviation, Inc: Incident occurred August 07, 2015 at North Perry Airport (KHWO), Pembroke Pines, Florida



Date: 07-AUG-15 
Time: 19:35:00Z
Regis#: N17055
Aircraft Make: TECNAM
Aircraft Model: P2006T
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Personal
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: HOLLYWOOD
State: Florida

AIRCRAFT LANDING GEAR COLLAPSED AFTER LANDING, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA.

HEART OF VIRGINIA AVIATION INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N17055


PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- An airplane made a rough landing at North Perry Airport, in Pembroke Pines, Friday, at around 3:30 p.m.

Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue said a pilot and one passenger were aboard an Italian "TwinTec" plane known as Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam. According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the plane's gear collapsed but gave no other reason for the emergency landing.

The twin engine airplane is currently on a runway awaiting a Federal Aviation Administration inspector to arrive on scene to check out the plane and document the circumstances of the rough landing.

Fire rescue crews remain on scene working with inspectors to examine the plane for damages, Friday evening.

Officials have not released where the pilot was flying from.

One onlooker saw the unexpected landing. "I saw it coming, like with a problem," said witness Domingo Bello, "and it started to shake, shake, shake, and I thought something happened. I took my key, and I tried to go, but I stayed a little bit to see what happened, and I saw the plane having a big problem to get down. It [sounded like] a big scratch on the floor. It looked like it caught fire."

The loud sound that was heard during the landing was most likely the landing gear collapsing, Bello said. He said that the passenger and pilot immediately jumped out of the plane, but he said it looked like they both thought the plane would have caught fire, so they wanted to get away from it as quickly as possible.

Both of those on board are now waiting for an FAA investigator. The plane will then have to be moved by crane.

The pilot and passenger were not injured. The rest of the North Perry Airport continues to function normally.

Source:  http://www.wsvn.com 



PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - A small plane made an emergency landing Friday afternoon at North Perry General Aviation Airport in Pembroke Pines.

Sky 10 was above the scene about 3:30 p.m. as fire-rescue units surrounded the plane.

Broward County Aviation Department spokesman Greg Meyer said the plane's landing gear collapsed upon impact with the runway.

"It made a noise and like a big scratch on the floor. It could have caught fire," Domingo Bello, who witnessed the landing, said.

The pilot and another person were on board at the time.

A Pembroke Pines Fire Department representative said no one was injured in the incident.

The plane was registered to Heart of Virginia Aviation in Ashland, Virginia.

Robbins power plant owner sues companies who left plant unsafe to passing aircraft, people on site

Dangerous alterations to a defunct power plant in Robbins, allegedly including disconnected aircraft warning lights on a tower structure, disabled fire suppression systems, and cut, live wires left easily accessible, have prompted the owner of the property to file suit against two companies he allowed to remove equipment from the site.

The suit was filed July 31 in Cook County Circuit Court. The plaintiff, 134 Kedzie LLC, is suing Robbins Community Power LLC and Crossma Industry S.A. de C.V, a Mexican company.

According to the lawsuit, the power plant was constructed about 20 years ago as a state-of-the-art facility that generated electricity by incinerating household garbage. It closed down when operation became too costly, but it is still supplied with electricity from a nearby ComEd transformer.

134 Kedzie purchased the property in 2014. Though the sale included the industrial buildings on the property, some of the removable equipment inside the buildings was not included, and was sold to Crossma. Around the time of the closing on the property sale, Kedzie granted an easement to allow Robbins Community Power and Crossma access to the buildings to disassemble and remove that equipment. According to the lawsuit, the equipment purchase specifically excluded water and natural gas piping, all building-related structures, and any equipment that is required to keep the property code-compliant.

Court documents say Crossma began removing material from the site before the legal agreements were completed. When he learned of this, Robert Fletcher, the owner of 134 Kedzie, paid a visit to the site and was dismayed to find the company had overstepped the boundaries of the agreement and was disconnecting and removing vital safety equipment. Specifically, the suit states, the electrical supply line powering aircraft warning lights on a 385-foot-tall stack was cut, leaving the lights dark and not visible to aircraft. Water lines had also been cut, leaving the fire suppression systems crippled if not totally inoperable, and electrical systems had been removed from the buildings, leaving exit lights dark and sometimes leaving live wires exposed. Employees of Crossma and its subcontractors often fail to secure high-voltage areas, leaving them accessible and a danger to anyone who might enter the building, including emergency responders, as well as trespassers and vandals, the suit states.

134 Kedzie also claims Robbins and Crossma never obtained the liability insurance or local permits required to perform work on the site. The suit says Crossma has also told 134 Kedzie it intends to cut a hole in the roof of one building to remove a turbine not included in the equipment purchase, and has taken steps to open the roof despite Kedzie’s objections and the fact that the company does not have a municipal permit to perform roof removal.

The suit charges Robbins with breach of contract and breach of easement and with failure to comply with its legal agreements. It charges Crossma with conversion, for assuming control over life safety and electrical systems over which it had no rights, and with negligence.

The suit demands injunctive relief, that all systems be restored and that both companies be forced to comply with their agreements. It seeks reimbursement for court costs and unspecified damages, noting, “no monetary award can remedy the significant harm that will occur if a plane accidentally flies into the airspace over the premises and crashes into the [s]tack or an invitee, or possibly a first responder or trespasser, suffers serious bodily harm or injury or death due to the unsafe conditions” at the property.

134 Kedzie is represented by Jerome F. Buch and Christopher J. Harney of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

- Original article can be found here: http://cookcountyrecord.com

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub N3675P: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2015 near Birchwood Airport (PABV), Chugiak, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC15FA062 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 06, 2015 in Chugiak, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-150, registration: N3675P
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 private pilot and his sole passenger were on a personal cross-country flight between two Alaskan communities. The destination airport was located along the shores of an inlet waterway, and the airplane's intended approach would have been over the water. About 3 hours after the flight departed, the pilot issued a distress call, which was received by state law enforcement. The pilot stated that the airplane had crashed in the water, and he requested immediate rescue, adding that he was too far from shore to swim. The airplane was located the next morning about 1.8 miles from the destination airport almost completely submerged in water. When the airplane was recovered, neither of the occupants were inside. About 2 weeks later, the passenger’s body was recovered. The pilot’s body was not recovered.

Recovered GPS data revealed that, during the last 10 minutes of the flight, the airplane climbed to a peak altitude of 1,549 ft mean sea level (msl) while traveling a distance of about 6 nautical miles (nm) and then began a descent that averaged about 176 ft per minute (fpm). About 3 nm from the destination airport, the airplane’s descent rate increased to an average of about 890 fpm, and the airplane then entered a slight right, southerly turn toward the nearest point of land. The last data point showed the airplane at 29 ft msl and less than 1 mile from the closest point of land. 

A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. An aviation weather reporting station located 2 miles southeast of the accident site reported weather conditions about the time of the accident that were conducive to moderate carburetor icing at cruise power or serious icing at glide power. However, the investigation could not determine whether carburetor icing caused the loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 6, 2015, about 2350 Alaska daylight time, a tailwheel-equipped Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N3675P, presumably sustained substantial damage during impact with the ocean waters of Knik Arm, about 4 miles northwest of Chugiak, Alaska. The private pilot and sole passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed along the route of flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the McGrath Airport, McGrath, Alaska, at 2111, en route to the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak.

According to family members, the pilot resided in McGrath, and the purpose of the flight was to attend a family function scheduled for the following day in Anchorage.

A distress call was received by the Alaska State Troopers at 2354 from the pilot stating that he had just crashed his airplane in the waters of the Knik Arm, it was too far to swim, and he was requesting immediate rescue.

At 0003, the 11th Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center received notification of the accident and immediately diverted two C-17 Globemaster airplanes from a training mission to begin searching for the airplane and occupants. The two airplanes were on-scene and searching the waters of Knik Arm by 0016. 

Search personnel from the Alaska State Troopers, Civil Air Patrol, and U.S. Coast Guard along with several volunteers aided in the search effort. 

On August 7, about 0610, the Alaska Air National Guard located the wreckage about 1.8 miles northwest of the Birchwood Airport. The airplane was inverted and mostly submerged under the salt water with the bottom of the fuselage, wing strut attach points, landing gear, and a portion of the propeller protruding above the water. No survivors were found inside or in the vicinity of the wreckage. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 29, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on June 13, 2015, with no limitations.

No personal logbooks were located for the pilot. According to family members, he had accumulated about 360 total flight hours in airplanes, and had recently completed an emergency maneuvers training course.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Piper PA18-150, manufactured in 1955 and equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The tachometer at the time of the accident displayed 995.08 hours. At the time of the last annual inspection, completed on January 16, 2015, the tachometer read 897.58 hours and the total time in service was 4473.58 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting facility is Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, about 2 miles southeast of the accident site. At 2336, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Birchwood Airport reported, in part: wind from 120 degrees at 3 knots; sky condition, clear; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 63 degrees F; dew point 52 degrees F; altimeter 29.85 inHg.

COMMUNICATIONS

A postaccident review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radio communication recordings revealed that at 2109, the pilot reported taxiing for departure from the McGrath Airport. At 2111, he reporting taking off from runway 16 at the McGrath Airport. No further radio communications were received from the airplane. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On August 8, 2015, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC recovery crews recovered the wreckage from the ocean floor and transported it to Birchwood Airport. 

The airplane's wreckage was subject to several tide cycles, which partially filled the wreckage with organic material adding additional weight. During the extraction the airframe could not support the additional weight. 

Both wings fractured at the forward spar attach points and folded aft. The fuselage fractured about 3 feet forward of the horizontal stabilizer and remained attached by the rudder and elevator control cables. The carburetor heat control was found in the "off" or "cold" position.

The engine remained attached to the airframe by the engine mount. Visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of pre-impact catastrophic mechanical malfunction or fire. Both propeller blades remained attached to the engine crankshaft. There was no conclusive evidence observed on the propeller blades consistent with the absorption of rotational energy sustained at the time of impact.

All the primary flight control surfaces remained connected to their respective attach points, and flight control continuity was verified from all of the primary flight control surfaces to the cockpit.

The wreckage was relocated to Alaska Claims Service's, Wasilla, Alaska. On August 13, 2015, a wreckage examination and layout was performed under the direction of the NTSB IIC. Another NTSB investigator, two FAA aviation safety inspectors, and an air safety investigator from Piper Aircraft and Lycoming Engines assisted the NTSB IIC. 

The fuel selector valve was found in an intermediate position between the right fuel tank and the off position. It could not be determined if the selector valve was in this position prior to the impact sequence or as a result of the occupant's evacuation.

The trim jackscrew was measured and determined to be in a slight nose down trim setting.

The left and right wing fuel tanks, gascolator bowl, and carburetor bowl were drained and found to contain a fluid consistent with a combination of salt water and fuel. All samples emitted an odor consistent with automotive gasoline.

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

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

To date, the remains of the pilot have not been located, therefore, no pathological or toxicology information exists. At the time of his last medical examination, no concerns were reported by the airman and no significant issues were identified by the Aviation Medical Examiner.

On August 29, the remains of the passenger were located and recovered from the shore of the Cook Inlet. A postmortem examination conducted by the Alaska State Medical Examiner's Office attributed the cause of death to be drowning. No lifejacket or other personal flotation device was found with the passenger.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute did not perform toxicology examinations for the passenger. 

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

At 2354, a distress call was received by the Alaska State Troopers from the pilot, stating that he had just crashed in the waters of Knik Arm, and was standing on top of his airplane. He requested rescue and stated that he was too far from shore to swim. At 0003, the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received notification of the accident and air assets were on scene searching at 0016, but due to the rising tide, did not locate the airplane until about 0610 on August 7. When the wreckage was recovered from the water, no occupants were present inside.

The area the airplane was located in was a portion of the Knik Arm consisting of fast moving salt water. Several glacier fed rivers terminate at the inlet and visibility in the water is often less than 1 foot due to turbidity. The Inlet is an area with strong tidal influence, and strong currents.

On August 6, at 2354, a buoy located near the Port of Anchorage recorded the water temperature at 61.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

A February 2008 NATO Research and Technology Organization publication titled Survival at Sea for Mariners, Aviators and Search and Rescue Personnel described the four stages of cold water immersion as:

• Stage 1: Initial immersion responses or cold shock (3-5 min.)

• Stage 2: Short-term immersion or swimming failure (5-30 min.)

• Stage 3: Hypothermia (= 30 min.)

• Stage 4: Post-rescue collapse or circum rescue collapse

In this publication, it is stated that during stage 1, "death from cold shock is not uncommon," and it takes place "within 3-5 minutes of immersion." It further states that swimming in "cold, dense water" is very dangerous (stage 2). As the body becomes exhausted, the person transitions to a more vertical position before total submersion.

A US Coast Guard article from January 6, 2015, titled A Lifejacket Buys You Time, defines "cold" as water temperature less than 70 degrees. It further states that it takes at least an hour for the full effects of hypothermia to set in and another hour after loss of consciousness for the heart to stop. It further states that without a lifejacket or other flotation device, drowning will occur prior to death from hypothermia.

The airplane was equipped with an ACK Technologies, Inc., E-04 406MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT). The ELT is designed to transmit a signal on 406MHz, 243MHz and 121.5MHz frequencies. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AKRCC) reported never receiving a 406MHz signal. Currently, ELT's are not certified, nor required to be certified, for operation during or after submersion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A Garmin 196 handheld GPS was still mounted on the instrument panel and all cables were still attached when the airplane was extricated from the water. The unit sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory in Washington, D.C. for examination. 

A NTSB electrical engineer was able to extract the GPS data for the accident flight, which included, in part, time, latitude, longitude, and GPS altitude. Groundspeed and course information were derived from the extracted parameters.

At 2340 AKD [07:40:50 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)], the airplane began a climb from 1156 feet above mean sea level (msl). At 2345, the airplane achieved a peak recorded altitude of 1549 feet msl and began an immediate descent. Over the next 2:08, the airplane descended 317 feet, averaging about 176 feet per minute. During the climb and descent, the airspeed of the airplane remained within about 5 knots.

At 2347, the rate of descent began to steadily increase to a peak vertical velocity of about 947 feet per minute and averaged about 890 feet per minute until the last data point at 2349 when the airplane was 29 feet msl. During the final 1:17 of recorded data, the heading of the airplane changed from an east-southeast heading to a south-southeasterly heading toward the nearest point of land.

A flight track map overlay, and tabular data corresponding to the accident flight are available in the public docket for this accident.

When the temperature and dew point are entered into a carburetor icing probability chart, the result is in the "moderate icing – cruise power or serious icing – glide power" category.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Engine

On August 13, 2015, an engine examination was performed by Lycoming Engines, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC. No anomalies, contamination or evidence of malfunction was found in any of the engine accessories. The cylinders, pistons, valve train, crankshaft and other internal components were all without evidence of anomaly or malfunction with the exception of the shared camshaft lobe for the number 3 and 4 cylinders. A lighted borescope was used to visualize the subject camlobe. The camshaft lobe was worn at the "lifting" area of the lobe, but an actual measurement of wear could not be ascertained. There was clear burnished camlobe edges and spalled surface visible on the tappet face.

SETH G. FAIRBANKS: http://registry.faa.gov/N3675P 

NTSB Identification: ANC15FA062
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 06, 2015 in Chugiak, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-150, registration: N3675P
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 August 6, 2015, about 2350 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N3675P, sustained substantial damage during impact with the ocean waters of Knik Arm about 4 miles northwest of Chugiak, Alaska. The private pilot and one passenger are presumed to have received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed along the route of flight, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the McGrath Airport, McGrath, Alaska, at 2111, en route to the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak.


A postaccident review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radio communication recordings revealed that at 2109, the pilot reported taxiing for departure from the McGrath Airport. At 2111, he reporting taking off from runway 16 at the McGrath Airport. No further radio communications were received from the airplane. 


At 2354, a 911 call was received by the Alaska State Troopers from the pilot, stating that he had just crashed in the waters of Knik Arm, and was standing on top of his airplane. He requested rescue, and stated that he was too far from shore to swim. At 0003, the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received notification of the accident and air assets were on scene searching at 0016. The search was conducted by personnel from the Alaska Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force, Alaska State Troopers and Civil Air Patrol, with support from the U.S. Coast Guard.


On August 7, about 0610, the airplane was located about 1.8 miles northwest of the Birchwood Airport. The airplane was inverted and mostly submerged under the salt water with the bottom of the fuselage, wing strut attach points, landing gear, and a portion of the propeller protruding above the water. The occupants were not located with the airplane, and the official search continued through August 8 before being suspended. The two occupants are still missing and presumed deceased.


The area the airplane was located in was a portion of the Knik Arm consisting of fast moving salt water. The several rivers that terminate at the inlet are glacier fed, and visibility in the water is often less than 1 foot due to turbidity. The Knik Arm is an area with strong tidal influence, and strong currents.


On August 8, about 1045, the airplane was extracted from the water by helicopter. Due to the amount of water and organic material contained within the airplane after being submerged through several tide cycles, the airframe structure could not support the additional weight. Both wings fractured at the forward spar attach points and folded aft. The fuselage fractured about 3 feet forward of the horizontal stabilizer and remained attached by the rudder and elevator control cables.


A Garmin 196 handheld GPS was still mounted on the instrument panel and all cables were still attached. The unit was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C. for download.


The closest weather reporting facility is Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, about 2 miles southeast of the accident site. At 2336, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Birchwood Airport was reporting in part: wind from 120 degrees at 3 knots; sky condition, clear; visibility, 10 statute miles; temperature 63 degrees F; dewpoint 52 degrees F; altimeter, 29.85 inHg.


A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending. The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine.


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.




Troopers: Pilot Didn’t Call 9-1-1 From Crash

UPDATED: 8/14, 10:20 a.m. – Alaska State Troopers have released more information about their investigation into what happened with an emergency phone they believe came from pilot Seth Fairbanks after his Supercub crashed into Cook Inlet around midnight August 6th. Troopers launched an investigation into the initial call after receiving scrutiny about the timeline of the call and response, says Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters.

“It appears that the phone call was actually made from a satellite phone and instead of it being a 9-1-1 call, it was actually a call to the main number for the Bethel Alaska State Trooper Post, which is a non-emergency line. After hours that line is automatically transferred to Fairbanks dispatch,” said Peters.

Peters says the non-emergency call went into the Bethel post at 11:54 p.m. As of July 1st, after-hour phone calls in the Bethel region are automatically routed to the Alaska State Trooper dispatch center in Fairbanks.

“The call lasted for about 69 seconds after it was rolled over to the Fairbanks post where dispatchers were able to talk to Mr. Fairbanks before the phone died. After that phone call ended at 23:55 the dispatch center in Fairbanks contacted Mat-com and Mat-com was able to get clarifying information from them and then contact RCC which, very fortunately had resources in the air and they were able to divert those,” said Peters.

Seven minutes after the initial call, at two minutes past midnight, the dispatch center in Wasilla called the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) who rerouted C-17 aircraft. Authorities close to the crash site were notified at 12:08. RCC contacted a helicopter crew to prepare for a flight, which launched at approximately 1:18 a.m.

No other calls were made from the satellite phone, according to Troopers. There was no caller identification or number for a call back.

29-year-old Fairbanks, and 23-year-old Anthony Hooper, both of McGrath are still missing and presumed dead. The two men were on their way to a wedding reception in Anchorage from McGrath.

A service for Fairbanks is set for Bethel Friday, August 15.

-Source:  http://kyuk.org/troopers-pilot-didnt-call-9-1-1/

BETHEL -- The pilot of the Bush plane that crashed in Knik Arm near Anchorage on Thursday night made a cellphone call for help while standing on top of the plane, just as darkness fell and the silt-filled, murky waters rushed in for high tide, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday evening. 

The chain of events is still not clear but it appears there was at least a 9-minute delay – maybe longer – before searchers were dispatched that night.


On Tuesday evening, a spokesman for Alaska State Troopers emailed brief answers to questions posed earlier in the day. But troopers have not directly addressed the gap of time between the 911 call and when rescuers were first sent out.


The family and friends of Seth Fairbanks, the 28-year-old pilot of the Piper PA-18 Super Cub, are grieving his possible death as questions swirl about what happened.


Fairbanks was a loving father of young twin girls but also an adventure-seeker who once escaped from armed militants in Sudan before he was believed to be lost in the waters of Knik Arm. Both Fairbanks and his passenger, 23-year-old Anthony Hooper of McGrath, remain missing.


Troopers for the first time on Tuesday revealed that the call to authorities from the crash site in Knik Arm was received at 11:54 p.m. Thursday night by a troopers dispatcher in Fairbanks.


“The caller stated that he had crashed his plane in the inlet west of Birchwood airport. He said they were standing on top of the plane and needed an airplane or boat immediately,” troopers spokesman Timothy DeSpain said in an email Tuesday evening.


The call ended suddenly. The dispatcher didn’t have time to get additional details or give any guidance.


Seth Fairbanks’ sisters listened to the recording of the call to identify who was speaking, said his father, Grant Fairbanks. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board needed the authentication.


The after-hours call from a spot between Anchorage and Palmer had been automatically routed to Fairbanks from the troopers’ Bethel post. But it shouldn’t have gone to Bethel to begin with, according to a municipality of Anchorage technology expert.


“Something didn’t work the way it was supposed to,” said Trygve Erickson, the city’s director of communications and electronics. “It should have gone to Anchorage or Palmer, one or the other. And it didn’t. … We know it was a failure.”


He was basing his comments on initial media reports that a 911 call went to Bethel police, which turned out to be wrong -- though the call was routed through Bethel.


At 12:03 a.m. Friday, troopers alerted the Alaska National Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead of the Guard.


That is nine minutes after the call was received by troopers in Fairbanks.


Dangerous water


  Troopers, in an online post last week about the crash, said troopers in Palmer received a report of a downed aircraft at 12:08 a.m. Friday -- 14 minutes after the initial call. Troopers contacted not only the Rescue Coordination Center but also the Anchorage Fire Department, which has a rescue boat.

Troopers didn’t answer questions Tuesday evening about the different time references, or the initial reference to the Palmer post rather than the Fairbanks post.

When the Air Guard’s rescue center got the call, two C-17s already in the air on a training mission were diverted for the search, Olmstead said in an email. Airmen searched with night vision goggles for two hours that first night, she said.

The Anchorage Fire Department was dispatched at 12:16 a.m. on Friday, said Capt. Blake Lindsoe, who oversees swim and dive rescue crews. The department’s rescue boat and two personal watercraft  -- akin to Jet Skis -- were on their way to the reported crash area by 12:34 a.m., Lindsoe said.

The fire crews never planned to dive, he said.

“That is a very dangerous water,” Lindsoe said. “You could go down there, the water changes – the current – and you could get trapped, get pushed up against something, and you couldn’t get back up out of the water.”

That night, they kept searching until about 5 a.m. and didn’t see any sign of the plane or debris. They don’t have night vision goggles. The mission was risky for the smaller watercraft, which can travel in shallow water but aren’t equipped for late night darkness, Lindsoe said. They only had hand-held lights.

Fairbanks was a strong swimmer, his father said. A friend of Seth, author Don Rearden – his former basketball coach – said he was an excellent athlete.

But even a fit swimmer would have trouble with the darkness, the strong tide and the silt that fills up clothing and weighs a person down, Lindsoe said.

The high tide around Anchorage of 30.6 feet came at 12:54 a.m. Friday, a surge of more than 28 feet in less than six hours.

The Inlet water is cold, but at this time of year it is not frigid. Fire crews wear thermal underwear under dry suits and use life jackets designed to hold up two people. Rescuers figure they have an hour to save someone.

http://www.adn.com




Web extra: Helicopter brings crashed Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub plane to Birchwood Airport.
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The Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub plane that was found on the Knik Arm mud flats Friday morning is loaded onto a trailer and taken away for examination on Saturday, August 8, 2015.
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Aerial search for occupants of crashed Knik Arm plane suspended


The plane that was found on the Knik Arm mud flats Friday morning is loaded onto a trailer and taken away for examination on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. Devin Kelly


The Alaska Air National Guard said late Saturday afternoon that the official aerial search had been suspended for a pilot and passenger believed to be missing from a plane that crashed into Knik Arm nearly two days ago.


Over two days, aircraft scoured the beaches and coastal waters in the area, Alaska Air National Guard spokesperson Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead said in an email. After searching the area Friday evening, the Civil Air Patrol sent out three aircraft at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for a day-long sweep. 


A ground search was ongoing, Olmstead said.


“Friends of the pilot’s family will conduct an aerial search with two aircraft this afternoon and into the evening,” Olmstead wrote. “They also continue to search public access beaches on foot.”


She said that wildlife officers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and security forces personnel would be searching the coastal areas of the base on all-terrain vehicles Saturday afternoon and evening.


Alaska State Troopers did not publicly identify the pilot and passenger on board the plane Saturday, but family members identified the pilot as Seth Fairbanks, a 29-year-old equipment operator who lives in McGrath. Federal Aviation Administration records list Fairbanks as the owner of the plane.


Grant Fairbanks said his son was flying into the area for a family gathering on Friday.


When no word came, family members went to the Birchwood airport to look for him, Grant Fairbanks said. Around the same time, they learned a plane had been found.


"Knowing the color of the plane, the direction, the time, we knew it was him," Grant Fairbanks said Saturday night. 


About 30 people searched the east side of Cook Inlet on Friday, and about the same number searched the west side on Saturday, he said; friends were also out in planes, searching from the air.


Grant Fairbanks said his hopes weren't high. 


"People don't survive in that water for longer than half an hour," he said. 


He said his son has been a pilot for about three years, and attended a special flight training school in California last winter.


"He was a very proficient pilot," Grant Fairbanks said. He said his son frequently flew into Birchwood Airport. 


One of six children, Seth Fairbanks grew up on his family's homestead in Bethel. Grant Fairbanks said his son was athletic, a standout basketball player in high school, and an outdoorsman. He twice visited south Sudan to build water wells as a volunteer.  


"He was a very helpful person," Grant Fairbanks said. "Just a really good person."


He said the family planned to hold a memorial service in Anchorage in the coming days, as well as services in McGrath and Bethel.


Earlier Saturday, a helicopter and boat lifted the wreckage of the Piper PA-18 Super Cub out of the water and took it to Birchwood Airport in Chugiak. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board was present as the plane, its tail severely smashed, was disassembled and placed onto the bed of a truck.


Shaun Williams, the NTSB investigator on the scene, said the wreckage was being taken to a secure facility near Palmer or Wasilla. Early next week, investigators and manufacturers will begin examining the wreckage to figure out the cause of the crash, Williams said.


Troopers said the plane was discovered at 6:10 a.m. Friday about two miles northeast of Birchwood Airport. It was found upside down and partially submerged on the mud flats.


The crash was first reported about midnight Friday. DeSpain said that troopers believe that an occupant of the plane made a 911 call.


Source: https://www.adn.com

ANCHORAGE - Official search efforts were suspended Saturday afternoon for the two people missing from a small plane which crashed into Knik Arm off the Birchwood Airport overnight Thursday, as family and friends continue work to find them.


Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead announced the decision, made by the 11th Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center, in an email message shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday. Three Civil Air Patrol aircraft had been deployed since 9:30 a.m. Saturday to continue search efforts, following air, land and sea efforts also involving the Anchorage Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard on Friday.

"All of the beaches and coastal waters in the area have been combed several times by multiple aircraft at low tide for the past two days," Olmstead wrote. "Friends of the pilot's family will conduct an aerial search with two aircraft this afternoon and into the evening. They also continue to search public access beaches on foot."

Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim Despain said word was still pending Saturday afternoon on the identity of the missing pilot and passenger.

Earlier in the day, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Clint Johnson confirmed that crews were able to recover the PA-18 shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday morning, with a helicopter flying it to the Birchwood Airport. A plan to recover the plane at low tide the previous night, at roughly 8 p.m. Friday, had scrapped when the tide turned out to be higher than anticipated.

“This morning they were able to get a line on this airplane,” Johnson said. “They were able to bring a helicopter in and they’ve got it secured in a hangar and it’s being examined.”

In a video sent to Channel 2 by viewer Mike Skupniewitz, the helicopter approaches the airport with the Super Cub carried as a sling load below it. At least one of the plane’s wings appears to still be attached to the aircraft as it is lowered to the ground.

Despain said neither of the people believed to be on board the plane when it crashed were found inside.

NTSB investigator Shaun Williams said Saturday that investigators have shifted their estimate for the time when the plane crashed -- initially believed to be shortly after midnight Friday -- to late Thursday evening, shortly before midnight. He said the aircraft's time in the water had resulted in significant damage during the recovery process, but that the plane was being taken to the Mat-Su Valley for further assessment.

"The aircraft stayed in the water for so long based on the number of tides that came through,, brought in sediment and other organic materials, that it got so heavy when they went to pick it up the structure couldn't support the additional weight," Williams said. "All the crumpling and everything you're seeing is mostly from the extraction from the water."

According to Williams, the added damage has complicated investigators' work.

"It makes it a little more difficult in the respect that normally when we go up to the scene, we're looking at the damage that happened during the accident sequence," Williams said. "This time we don't see that, so we're kind of having to backtrack on other factors."

The Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center was broadcasting a call Saturday night for mariners to watch for people in the water near the Port of Anchorage. Staff at the center said the call was linked to the crash off Birchwood, with the port indicated to be the likely location where drift patterns would carry the plane's missing occupants.

Source: http://www.ktuu.com







News crews are on the shore of Knik Arm as a trooper helicopter flies overhead, Friday morning. A Piper PA-18 Super Cub crashed into Knik Arm near the Birchwood, AK airport and it was located at low tide on Friday, August 7, 2015. The search continues for the pilot.