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

Piper PA46-500TP Meridian, N819TB: Fatal accident occurred August 07, 2015 near Adirondack Regional Airport (KSLK), Harrietstown, Franklin County, New York

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albany FSDO-01

MAJESTIC AIR LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N819TB

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA297
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 07, 2015 in Saranac Lake, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA46, registration: N819TB
Injuries: 4 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, 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.

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

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.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA297
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 07, 2015 in Saranac Lake, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA46, registration: N819TB
Injuries: 4 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, 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.

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

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.

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. 








The family of Raymond and Sharon Shortino, two of the four individuals killed in a small plane crash in the Adirondack Mountains, released its first public state on Thursday.


They said, "We wish to thank everyone for their overwhelming sympathy and support during this most difficult time. We take great comfort in knowing that so many people are praying for the Stoler and Shortino families. Ray and Sharon were devoted to their family, their friends, the greater Rochester community and their faith.

"They enriched our lives and the lives of so many, and for that we are grateful. We will forever love and cherish them. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve and come to terms with this profound loss."

Sharon Shortino, 66, and Raymond Shortino, 67, died last Friday after the single-engine plane they were in went down in a wooded area in the Adirondacks just minutes after taking off. The couple's longtime friends, Harvey and Sharon Stoler, both 68, also died in the crash.

The two couples had flown to the Adirondacks Friday morning to watch their sons, who were playing in the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic.

Raymond Shortino was the founder of Radec Corp., an electrical contracting company based in the city.

Calling hours for Sharon and Raymond Shortino will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Jennings, Nulton & Mattle Funeral Home, 1704 Penfield Road, Penfield.

A memorial service for the Shortinos will be held at a yet to be determined time on Saturday at Faith Lutheran Church, 2576 Browncroft Blvd., Rochester.

Harvey and Sharon Stoler
~

Sharon And Harvey Stoler 
Obituary

Penfield: August 7, 2015. Predeceased by their parents. They are survived by 3 children, Jason (Kristine), Adam (Valarie) and Lisa (Drew) Isaac; 6 grandchildren, James & Andrew Stoler, Jordis and Hudson Isaac, Emily and Hanna Solem. Harvey is also survived by his siblings, Arthur (Nancy) Stoler, Beverly (Michael) Zwick; they are also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends. 

Friends may call at Jennings, Nulton & Mattle Funeral Home, 1704 Penfield Road, Friday 3-7 PM. A Service for the Stoler's will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider Camp Good Days and Special Times in their memory.


Raymond and Sharon Shortino
~


Ray and Sharon Shortino
Obituary

Rochester: August 7, 2015. Predeceased by their fathers, Harold Van Patten and Manuel Shortino. Survived by 3 sons, Mark (Audrey), Matt (Bonnie), Mike (Elizabeth); grandchildren, Emily, Abby, Sami, Sophie, Jack, Alex and Julia; mothers, Betty Gifford and Marion Shortino. Ray is survived by his sister, Arlene (Tim) Thomes. Sharon is survived by her siblings, Linda (Eric) Mahon, Jim (Dawn) Van Patten; they are also survived by aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends.

Friends may call at the Jennings, Nulton & Mattle Funeral Home, 1704 Penfield Rd., Thursday 3-7PM. Ray and Sharon's Memorial Service will be held Saturday (time to be announced) at Faith Lutheran Church, 2576 Browncroft Blvd. In lieu of flowers kindly consider donations to the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, CURE Alzheimer's Fund or Faith Lutheran in their memories.





Penfield, NY (WROC)--67-year-old Raymond Shortino and his wife, 66-year-old Sharon Shortino resided in Rochester but had ties across the community. That includes in Penfield where close friends, 68-year-old Harvey Stoler and 68-year-old Sharon Stoler lived. All four were aboard a Piper PA-46 aircraft when it crashed Friday moments after taking off from the Adirondack Regional Airport. Authorities say no one survived. "Our best guess right now it's three quarters of a mile northwest of the airport in a wooded area," explained Robert Getz with the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Raymond Shortino had a long history with the Radec Corporation--an electrical contracting company in Rochester. Harvey Stoler was very active in the local lacrosse community and was inducted into the the Rochester chapter of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2007. His wife, Sharon, was a retired secretary from the Penfield High School Counseling Office. 

The Shortino and Stoler families released a joint statement thanking the community for its support. The statement reads in part: "there has been a tremendous outpouring of love from many communities, and it has brought us great comfort in our loss. Our parents were traveling to be with their families to enjoy the game that brought them together 35 years ago. They were long standing friends and well respected within our community."

Meantime, investigators say they'll spend days combing through the scene before removing and storing the plane. "We are looking at the pilot, the machine and the environment. And by pilot, I mean overall and recent experience," Getz said. It could take a week before investigators complete their investigation. 

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public. 




The four individuals killed in a small plane crash in the Adirondack Mountains on Friday were Rochester-area residents who had traveled to the area to watch their adult sons compete in a lacrosse tournament.

Family members have confirmed to the Democrat & Chronicle that Sharon Shortino, 66, and Raymond Shortino, 67, of East Avenue in Rochester, were killed in the crash.

The other couple on the plane was the Shortino's longtime friends, Harvey and Sharon Stoler, both age 68, who lived in Penfield.

The family is preparing a statement for later today.

Harvey Stoler was a fixture on the local lacrosse scene, well known as both a coach and referee. He was inducted into the Greater Rochester chapter of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2007.

Stoler's son, Jason, was participating in the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic. His High Peaks team competed in the 45-and-over division and is comprised of players from Penfield and other towns in the Rochester area.

Players gathered with family and friends for a moment of silence before the High Peaks' game at 8:30 Sunday morning. The sons of the couples killed in the plane crash asked their teammates to play on without them.

The Shortino's sons played for a 35-and-older team called Eco Rental Solutions.

Dozens of players and their families from the Rochester area were participating in the four-day tournament that ends Sunday, and sadness swept through the lacrosse community as news of the crash spread.

Saturday afternoon, the @PenfieldLAX Twitter account said, "A dark cloud has been cast over our Penfield Lax Family. With great sadness we are left speechless. #onefamily."

The Piper PA46-500TP Meridian plane went down in a wooded area northwest of the airport just minutes after taking off. The lakeside hamlet of tourist lodges, campsites and outdoors-oriented establishments is about 50 miles south of the Canadian border.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Associated Press that no distress call was received. The last transmission from the Piper PA46-500TP Meridian aircraft was the pilot announcing he was taking off from Adirondack Regional Airport at 5:50 p.m. Friday.

"It crashed into a heavily wooded area, about three-quarters of a mile northwest of the airport," Knudson said. "There was a significant post-crash fire."

Officials say they don't know the cause of the crash. It could take ten days before a preliminary report is complete.

While the impact and fire destroyed the six-seat civilian plane, it appears the aircraft "came down in a fairly vertical position," rather than gliding, Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said by phone.

"There's not a lot left of the aircraft," and the forest is scorched around it, Mulverhill said.

The crash site is half a mile or more into woods, authorities said.

"The pilot announced the aircraft was going to take off. That's the last transmission that was heard from pilot," Kundson said.

He said there was "no distress call, no contact with air traffic control."

Knudson said the plane had flown in earlier Friday from Rochester and was parked at the airport during the day. It was not clear whether the four people who were aboard the aircraft when it landed in Lake Clear were the ones who were killed.

The pilot had filed a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration to return to Rochester that evening. The plane was registered to someone in the Rochester area, authorities said. An FAA spokesman said the agency would not release the plane's registration number until the families of the victims have been notified.

An NTSB investigator from New York City arrived at the crash site Saturday morning to inspect the wreckage before it can be removed.

The crash happened a little over a year after another small plane crashed while approaching the airport in nearby Lake Placid, killing the pilot and his two passengers, who were his graduate student daughter and a friend of hers.

In March 2013, another small plane went down while approaching the Lake Placid Municipal Airport, but all three men aboard escaped with only minor cuts and bruises.

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


State forest rangers helped at the crash scene in the woods near the Lake Clear airport.
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Robert Gretz, a senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, spoke Saturday in Lake Clear, New York. 
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Forest rangers prepare to transport investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board to the crash site in the woods outside of Adirondack Regional Airport property in Lake Clear Saturday morning.
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LAKE CLEAR – Four people killed in a plane crash near Lake Placid on Friday 

LAKE CLEAR - A small civilian plane crashed just north of the Adirondack Regional Airport Friday night shortly after takeoff, killing four people, police said. 

The plane took off from the runway at 5:50 p.m. Friday and crashed just minutes later. At around 6:30 p.m. both state police in Ray Brook and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department were notified and responded to the scene. State Police Aviation located the downed aircraft approximately one-half mile northwest of the airport and troopers and investigators responded to the crash site and found the aircraft.

The plane crashed outside of airport property in a wooded territory owned by Paul Smith's College. The crash site is inaccessible by automobile so forest rangers brought in ATVs to transport investigators this morning.

After a nearly three-hour investigation today, Robert Gretz, a senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a press conference this afternoon that there was "no obvious cause" for the crash.

"Basically our primary goal today will be working with the medical examiner to help them recover the victims," Gretz said, "and really document any evidence."

At around 2 p.m. today authorities were in the process of transporting the bodies of the plane's four passengers this afternoon. Their identities have not been released.

Gretz believes the pilot was headed back to Rochester when the plane crashed. The plane flew to the Lake Clear airport from Rochester, the same city where it was also registered.

Technical representatives from the aircraft manufacturer and the engine manufacturer will meet with the NTSB investigators today as they continue to document the wreckage. The investigation is expected to continue into Sunday. After that the plane will be transported to a secure location for further study.

Gretz said the plane is a Piper PA46-500TP Meridian and capable of seating six to eight people.

"Basically we are going to be looking at the pilot, the machine and environment," Gretz said. "By the pilot I mean, of course, overall and recent experience, the airplane of course we will be looking at any discrepancies and recent maintenance, and the environment we will be looking to see the wind information and radar information."

A preliminary report of the crash will be posted on NTSB's website within 10 days, Gretz said.

The Saranac Lake fire department responded last night with three trucks, an ATV and 12 members. They assisted state police at the scene and were back in service at 1:04 a.m. today

Adirondack Regional Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said the plane crashed shortly after taking off from the facility. However, Hurwitch said airport staff didn't learn about the crash until after they were contacted by aviation officials.

"They file a flight plan," he said. "When they were in the air, they never contacted air traffic control, so air traffic control starts a checklist, and in looking for the aircraft, they call us. That's how we found out."

That was around 6:30 p.m., Hurwitch said. He said first responders accessed the crash site, which he hadn't seen, through a gate on the northeast side of the airport.

Hurwitch said the plane was not based at the airport, and he didn't know the identities of the crash victims.

"Our thoughts are with their families," he said.

Asked what airport employees did after the crash, Hurwitch said "We tried to make sure we maintain a safe airport and making sure it wasn't a anything we could have prevented."

Private aircraft continued taking off and landing after the crash. Things are operating "as normal as they can be" today, including Cape Air's scheduled commercial passenger flights to and from the facility, Hurwitch said.

State police were also assisted at the scene by the state Environmental Police and forest rangers, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and Office of Emergency Services and local airport personnel.

- Source: http://www.lakeplacidnews.com




LAKE CLEAR, N.Y. —National Transportation Safety Board investigators are releasing more information about a plane crash in Lake Clear that killed four people.

Senior Air Safety Investigator Robert Gretz said his agency was notified about the crash about 8 p.m. Friday. Investigators got on the scene Saturday morning.

The plane that crashed was identified as a Piper PA-46. It took off from the Adirondack Regional Airport at 5:50 p.m. and crashed about a mile from the end of runway five.

The Piper PA46-500TP Meridian has room for a pilot and five passengers.

Gretz said the plane caught fire after crashing and the four people inside were killed.

The Franklin County coroner removed the victims’ bodies from the wreckage and was in the process of identifying them and notifying family members.

Gretz said the plane was registered in Rochester and was likely en route there when it crashed.

The NTSB will investigate the pilot and environment at the time of the crash in order to determine a cause. Investigators will look into the pilot’s experience, the plane’s maintenance record, interview witnesses and go over the weather at the time of the crash.

The agency said a preliminary report on the crash would be completed in the next 10 days. It will take about six months for the investigators to release a final report.

Gretz said the investigation will be more difficult because evidence that may help determine the cause of the crash could have burned in the fire. So far, investigators said they have not found anything out of the ordinary.

Investigators will meet Sunday with the plane’s manufacturer and engine manufacturer.

The crash site was in the woods on property owned by Paul Smiths College. Witnesses at the airport did not report hearing any distress calls from the plane before the crash.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reported seeing smoke and found the crash site.

Federal Aviation Administration officials, New York State Police officers and FBI agents were assisting the NTSB with the crash investigation.

The Adirondack Regional Airport is about an hour from Plattsburgh and offers daily commercial flights to Boston.

http://www.wptz.com

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