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.

Clinton Municipal Airport (KCWI) seeks another staff member • City Council supports Nass hiring decision

Mike Nass, Clinton Municipal Airport manager, attaches a towing arm to a private jet on Thursday as the plane prepares for an afternoon takeoff, one of many responsibilities staff is tasked with at the Clinton Municipal Airport.
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CLINTON, IOWA — Operating the Clinton Municipal Airport relies heavily on the efforts of manager Mike Nass, so what would happen if he were incapacitated and unable to conduct his duties?

That was the question he posed to the Clinton City Council on Tuesday when he informed the group of his intention to hire a second, full-time employee to work opposite himself.

The prospect didn’t go over too well with a portion of the City Council, who felt the city’s struggles with understaffing and maintaining an already tight budget are too much to this point. But City Attorney Pat O’Connell informed the council that hiring personnel at the Clinton airport is not a decision for it to dictate.

“If they’re not subject to a collective bargaining unit, which they’re not, they can make more or less whatever human resources decisions they want, within reason of course,” said O’Connell, referencing to the Airport Commission.

What the council does have control over however, is the budget Nass is able to work with.

“It would be their internal decision as to how to handle the money wants it’s received,” O’Connell added.

Currently the airport is allocated $69,000 from the city’s general budget to maintain daily operations. The remainder of the airport’s budget comes from rental and fuel sales acquired throughout the year.

And though Nass has the necessary funding this year, due in part to a significant increase in fuel sales, he still wanted to inform the council of his options and allow it an opportunity to weigh in.

“My main objective was I know the unknowns that could happen with the commercial property tax rollback and all those things coming up, I know it’s going to be tight,” Nass said. “If we were to decide maybe we should go get this other full-time person can we support that, and the $69,000 allocation to the airport from the general fund which is not that much, or is next year when budget comes and things get tight next thing you know the airport budget gets cut significantly. I don’t want to hire somebody and then have to fire somebody again because it got tight and we were the first ones on the chopping block.”

It was a gesture well received by the council, and agreed cautioning Nass in his decision because of the potential of a reduction in the allocation. It wasn’t a sentiment that the allocation would be reduced, but in the event it is, the council wanted him to be prepared.

With the current state of activity at the airport, and because of its new capability to house private jet liners it once could not, Nass believes he will be able to maintain the cost of a second full-time employee in addition to the two part-time employees who will remain on staff.

Nass also said it is important to have another full-time employee who is educated on daily operations because of the clientele landing and utilizing the services offered there.

“We’re the first place a lot of these businesses come to town. You’ve got the guy coming in for this chemical plant, and we start screwing up his airplane, guess what he may go somewhere else and not even come here anymore,” Nass said. “We’re a lot of times for these businesses the first contact, that’s why we want to present a professional, knowledgeable image that we know what we’re doing. You’ve got people coming in with $40 to $50 million airplanes they don’t want the $10-an-hour, part-time college kid out there handling their airplane.”

That prospect, along with the notion those businessmen and women also are spending their money at local hotels, restaurants and entertainment options within the community eventually led to a nearly unanimous vote of support to Nass and his decision of who to hire.

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

Ryan ST3KR, N48701: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2015 at Frazier Lake Airpark (1C9), Hollister, San Benito County, California

GARY W. NIVA:  http://registry.faa.gov/N48701

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA San Jose FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA233
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 06, 2015 in Hollister, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: RYAN AERONAUTICAL ST3KR, registration: N48701
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Following an uneventful flight in the tailwheel-equipped airplane, the pilot entered the airport traffic pattern for the nontowered airport, which featured a single turf runway. The pilot announced his position on the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The pilot continued to turn onto the base leg and then onto final, announced his position on each segment, and landed in a 3-point attitude. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a stationary, occupied lawnmower and a truck on the right side of the runway. The pilot further reported that he did not see the lawnmower while he was in the traffic pattern or during the landing sequence. The driver of the truck, who was talking to the person operating the lawnmower, reported that they were located on the right side of the runway, just beyond a turnoff to the taxiway, and were discussing an issue with the mower. The driver further reported that the lawnmower operator did have a headset connected to an aircraft transceiver; however, he was not wearing it during the conversation. It is likely that the nose-high attitude of the tailwheel-equipped airplane and the pilot’s position in the rear seat reduced the pilot’s forward visibility during the landing and subsequent landing roll precluded his ability to see objects directly in front of the airplane. However, the pilot would have had adequate visibility to inspect the runway for obstructions while operating in the traffic pattern. In addition, if the lawnmower operator had been using the transceiver to monitor the CTAF, it is likely that he would have heard the approaching airplane and repositioned the lawnmower off the runway before the airplane landed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to observe the runway environment while operating in the traffic pattern and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from a lawnmower on the runway during the landing roll. Contributing to the accident was the lawnmower operator's decision to remain on the runway while troubleshooting the mowing equipment without monitoring the airport's common traffic advisory frequency.

On August 6, 2015, about 1030 Pacific daylight time, a tailwheel equipped Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, N48701, was substantially damaged when it collided with an occupied riding lawn mower during landing at the Frazier Lake Airport (1C9), Hollister, 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 sustained minor injuries and the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries. The pilot rated occupant of the lawn mower sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, California, at 1000, with 1C9 as the intended destination.

In a written statement to, and a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he initially transmitted his intention of landing about 8 miles from the airport on the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The pilot said he then entered the airport traffic pattern on a right downwind for runway 23, reported that he was on right downwind and continued to announce his position on downwind, base, and final for the runway on the CTAF. The pilot stated that he landed slightly longer than normal, and during the landing roll, the airplane struck a lawn mower. The pilot further reported that he did not see the lawnmower while he was in the traffic pattern or during the landing sequence.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector revealed that the fuselage of the airplane was structurally damaged. The lawnmower, yellow in color, remained partially underneath the engine of the airplane, with the front of the lawnmower facing in the direction of travel of the airplane. In addition, the inspector reported that the airplane also struck a parked vehicle, which was white in color that was parked adjacent to the lawnmower.

A witness, who was located in the run up area for runway 23, reported that he saw the lawnmower on the right side of the runway. The witness said that during his taxi to the run up area, and during his run up, he never heard any radio communication from the person on the lawnmower, however, he did hear the pilot of the accident airplane report that they were 5 miles out, followed by a report on downwind. The witness further reported that he saw the accident airplane on final approach, just crossing the runway numbers about 50 to 70 feet above ground level, and that it seemed to be fast, as if he was conducting a long landing. He then observed the airplane land in a 3-point attitude, and shortly after, impact the lawn mower.

The driver of the truck who was located adjacent to the lawnmower, reported that he was having a conversation with the person who was seated on a mower about an issue he was having with it not cutting properly. He stated that they were just past the turn off to the taxiway on the right side of runway 23, and at no time heard or saw the airplane prior to the collision. He further stated that the person on the lawnmower did have a headset connected to an aircraft transceiver; however, he did not have the headset on during their conversation.

1C9 is a non-towered airport, which features a single turf runway (5/23) that is 2,500 feet in length and 100-feet wide. In addition, the airport features a water runway located adjacent to the turf runway that is 3,000 feet in length and 60-feet wide. Review of the FAA Airport Facilities Directory revealed that at the time of the accident, no remarks were present for mowing operations. In addition, at the time of the accident, no Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) were present for mowing operations.


The Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR is a two-place, tandem configured, low wing, tailwheel equipped monoplane, manufactured in 1942. The airplane is commonly flown from the aft seat, which is located just aft of the wing. Visibility from the aft seat is limited in a three-point attitude due to the nose high angle and engine.

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA233
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 06, 2015 in Hollister, CA
Aircraft: RYAN AERONAUTICAL ST3KR, registration: N48701
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 6, 2015, about 1030 Pacific daylight time, a Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, N48701, was substantially damaged when it collided with an occupied lawn mower during landing at the Frazier Lake Airport (1C9), Hollister, 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 sustained minor injuries and the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries. The pilot rated occupant of the lawn mower sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, California, at 1000, with an intended destination to 1C9.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he initially transmitted his intention of landing about 8 miles from the airport. The pilot then entered the airport traffic pattern on a right downwind for runway 23, and continued to announce his position on downwind, base, and final for the runway. The pilot stated that he landed slightly longer than normal, and during the landing roll, the airplane struck a lawn mower.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, revealed the fuselage of the airplane was structurally damaged.












Sheriff's authorities suspect an airplane landed at Frazier Lake Airpark and then struck a riding mower Thursday morning, killing the Hollister man on the grass runway, according to a statement released Thursday evening.

The sheriff's office, which acts as the coroner, released the victim's identity Friday morning. 

The victim was Douglas Ralph Jackson, 75, of Hollister.

The San Benito County Sheriff's Office is investigating the 10:30 a.m. Thursday crash at Frazier Lake Airpark resulting in the death of a 75-year-old Hollister man on a riding mower. 

Investigators believe the single-engine plane on the way from San Jose to the private landing strip in San Benito County touched down on the grass runway and then struck the riding mower, according to a statement.

The pilot of the airplane is from Monte Sereno and sustained minor injuries.

The one passenger was airlifted to a Bay Area trauma center with a large head laceration and his status is unknown, according to authorities.

Federal authorities will determine a cause. San Benito County sheriff's officials plan to release the fatality victim's identity after adequately notifying family.

According to that statement:  

Our preliminary investigation shows the decedent was on a riding mower, on the runway. Frazier Lake Airpark is a private airfield with one grass and one water runway. The decedent was mowing the runway when an older WW2 style “taildragger” plane landed on the runway. The pilot did not see the male on the riding mower and struck him after landing. The FAA and NTSB are investigating as to the cause of the crash. As of this point neither weather nor mechanics seem to be a factor. The plane had completed its landing and struck the male after all wheels had touched down.

The pilot, from Monte Sereno, was en route from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, to Frazier Lake where he has a hangar. He sustained minor injuries to his head and arm and was treated and released at the scene. He was cooperating with FAA and NTSB Officials. His passenger sustained a large head laceration and was airlifted to an area trauma center. His condition is unknown.

The FAA and NTSB will determine the cause of the crash. As of this point, there are no criminal charges pending. The identity of the decedent will be released shortly after next of kin have been notified. 

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